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Climbers scaling Mt. Everest often fall victim to cerebral edema, a condition where lack of oxygen can result in confusion, disorientation and often death. Todd discusses a spiritual condition - the disdain for knowledge - that inevitably leads its sufferers to a similar fate.
Be Thirsty: Where the Sherpas Drink
Kindness: Never Random and Far Too Rare
How to be a Prude and Like It: Living a Life of Discernment
The Tamed Tongue: Controlling the Uncontrollable [Wise Speech]
Purity and the King of Candy Selection
A Generous Dozen, part 2 [Generosity]
A Generous Dozen, part 1 [Generosity]
Integrity: Sleeping Well, Living Better
If You Don't Get the 'God' Question Right, It Doesn't Matter What You Get [The Fear of God]
Who Needs a Dragon When You Have a Father Like This? (Introduction to 'This is the Life!')
Unfortunately, that is a song that I could keep adding to from personal experience. That is not the way that the Father in heaven who loves me wants me to roll. He wishes that I could just say a lot of things in there about, "Hey, let me tell you how to have a family who loves you, who respects you, who is blessed by you being present. Let me tell you how to have a community who is glad that you're a part of it. Let me tell you how to have friendships that are enduring and lasting and not fleeting. Ask me how I know."
See, the Scripture says that if folks aren't consistently asking you to give some explanation for this character of your life that is so beyond what is natural, something is wrong! One of the seminal verses in my life is 1 Peter, chapter 3, verse 15 where it says, "…but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you…"
It says a little bit later even on those who are critical of you, live your life in such a way that all people who watch them criticize you would know your critics to be idiots. That is the life that God wants for you. We are in the middle of a little series called This Is the Life where we're talking about how our Father God is desperate to set us up in this life so that we live our lives in a way that the rest of the world is scratching their heads and go, "Man, who is behind the way you live? Who is behind the way you live? Where did you learn to get a life like that?"
Folks ought to ask us how we know. They ought to ask us, "How did you figure out how to live like that? To work through conflict like that? To shut your mouth then? To not deal with pain by medicating it or running away? To not give up a life-long love for a moment of pleasure? How do you resist?" This is the life. What I want to do today is just walk you through something that all I can really do is mess it up.
I'm going to give you a lot of different little pieces here that are true about this attribute that I'm going to talk this morning, but are very simple. I'm wearing this T-shirt Sunday morning one more time. I wore it in December. I'm wearing it again today because I'm inviting you to join me in the journey toward knowledge. This is a life characteristic that God wants you to have.
In fact, you cannot have a life that is awesome, that is supernatural unless you have this characteristic in your life. The characteristic is the thirst for knowledge. Now here we go. I'm going to tell you, this is an amazing little section of Scripture. In Ecclesiastes, chapter 3, 1 through 8. This week when I was with my kids I was just… I always hold out little carrots for them.
They know there are certain things every day they should not ask me if they can do that I know they enjoy until they have spent some time in God's Word. What I just tell them is, "Don't even ask if we can do this or do that or have this event or take this time to do something until you have spent some time in God's Word."
Here's how I define time in God's Word for my kids. Is there something that you have learned from your loving Father today that you can tell me? I don't care if it takes them 30 seconds. I just want them to add a little bit to their knowledge. Sometimes they come to me and they go, "Where can I go to learn something today?" I always send them first to the proverb that goes with the day.
Sometimes they just read one proverb. Then they'll come to me and they will have just read it and they'll come in and they'll say something. They'll have memorized the words. I go, "That is awesome. What does that mean?" They go, "I have no idea," but they quoted it perfectly. I go, "Well, so what do you think you should do?"
They go, "Go get another verse?" I go, "No, why don't you ask me what it means. I'll help you. You can go get something else that's kind of right there in the lower shelf, be kind, let kindness and truth be bound to you and you can figure out what that means. But if there's one of these that has words in there that you're not familiar with and you want me to help you, I'm happy to help you with it."
So sometimes they'll read stuff and it just doesn't even make sense to them because either the language is not one that they really are using yet or because they really don't understand how to unpack the riddle. I'll go, "Great. Let's talk about it." Then I'll explain it to them. I'll say, "Do you understand this is the lesson we're learning today?"
They go, "Yeah." I go, "Great, let's come back to that." It's amazing how many times just through the course of that one little bit of the time of the day they then will refer back to or I can refer back to, "What was that thing you learned from God today? How would that apply to right now?"
What I'm trying to develop in my kids, as much as they thirst for a little Madden '07 or a trip up the tree house I built them for Christmas or a chance to watch a show on TV that's not going to harm them but really isn't necessary for their growth… Don't even bother to ask until you have somehow taken a little bit of a drink of knowledge, just a little.
You don't have to get all the way through seminary today, but let's just add to what we have. The other day one of my kids asked me, "Dad, what should I read?" I said, "Why don't you go to Ecclesiastes, chapter 3." They go, "I don't know where that is." I go, "Great. Let's figure out how to get there sometimes." So I taught them where the table of contents is. Now they can find it.
The first question I always ask is, "Is it Old Testament or New Testament?" We ought to start to know that. What's the difference? I'll ask them that same question a hundred times. They may not have known if you asked them today what the difference is, but we're learning. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8. This is what it says. So they read this. I said, "I want you to read these eight verses."
"There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven—a time to give birth and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted." Let me just stop right there. The first statement is just a truism that we have all been appointed to be born at one point and we've all been appointed to die at one point.
That is a fixed event in God's eternal economy. Now he is about to tell you there are other things that are fixed that we can get our hands around in this world that we need to make sure we learn God's revealed rules to be successful in this world. The fact is that you can plant whatever you want and you can dig up what is planted whenever you want. Right? But when you plant and when you reap will significantly impact the fruitfulness of your planting and your reaping.
What he is saying is you can mess up when you were meant to be born or when you were meant to die specifically by having an untimely death through your foolishness or suicide or something like that. You can screw up what God intends for you to do when you plant and when you reap and it not be as bountiful and as productive as it should be, but the idea here, and the second thing is look, you have to figure out what those times are.
There's a time to plant and a time to reap so that you can have what you plant and reap for. Watch, he keeps going on. "A time to kill and a time to heal…" I just want to make that very clear. Do you see what the Scripture says? There is a time to kill. People who will tell you that there is never a time to kill are just not reading their Bible.
Now who kills, why they kill, when they kill, how they kill is also spoken about in the Scripture, but to say that we never kill? I'm sorry. I can't stand with that. Genesis 9, Ecclesiastes 3, Romans 13, and on down the list. People say, "There's never a time for war." They're just not reading the Bible. Now whether or not this is a time for war, this is a war we should be in, this is the way we do war? We need more information. Let's keep going.
"…a time to tear down and a time to build up. A time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance. A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones…" Knowledge is knowing, in effect, "When is the time?" That's all it is. "…a time to embrace and a time to shun embracing." Lord, you teach your kids that, you're going to spare them so much pain.
"A time to search and a time to give up as lost…" Let me tell you one of the things that drives me crazy just looking back at that text really quick. I see parents make this mistake all the time. I see teachers make this mistake all the time. Where it says right there that there is, "…a time to embrace and a time to shun embracing," verse 5 is where it says that. I've heard what some people have done is that they make embracing something dirty. They make it something that God and people who love God should never talk about or want to do. They screw kids up doing that.
I tell my kids as they've gotten a little older, "Let me tell you, one of these days embracing is going to be one of the greatest things in your life, but knowing who to embrace, when to embrace them, what the goal of that embrace is, how God delights in the right kind of embrace in the right time and the right place is the key to embracing being one of the greatest, sweetest things in your life or being a source of poison that some folks never get over." But the worst thing you could do in trying to keep people away from the wrong embrace is to give them the wrong reason to stay away from.
"A time to keep and a time to throw away. A time to tear apart and a time to sew together; a time to be silent and a time to speak." Oh man, I am still learning that. "A time to love and a time to hate; a time for war and a time for peace." Now you read those eight verses and if you're my child, I go, "Okay, we just read it."
They go, "Great. Now can I go do this?" I go, "No, we don't just read it to read it like it's some little good luck charm and now we've had these syllables form on our lips and we can get on with our life. What's that mean?" They look at me. What do you think my 9-year-old and my 7-year-old said this week when I asked them that? "I don't know!"
I go, "Good. Well let's talk about it. When you get in trouble, sometimes it's because I ask you a question and you just give me this blank, dumb stare and you don't respond at all to me. It's a time to speak. You're not speaking. There are other times when I've asked you to do something and you talk back about why my information and appropriate request are not right. That is a time to listen. So sometimes I'm frustrated with you because you don't respond, right?" They go, "Yeah!"
"Sometimes I'm frustrated with you because you talk back, right?" "Yeah." I go, "What do you think the problem is? That I'm just crazy?" If they're being honest, they look at me and say, "Yeah." I understand. I go, "Good, that's why you're learning. What you have to learn is when is a time to listen and when is a time to speak. It would spare you so much pain. Let's get some knowledge so that you can apply that to your life and spare yourself pain. Don't you wish you know when was a time to…" And I just walk them through a few events. They went, "Yeah."
"Don't you think it would spare you a lot of trouble with your friends, your sisters…?"
"Well, where do you think you're going to get that knowledge? From me, but mostly from God. So you ought to be God's best friend. If you don't know what to do, freeze until God has informed your actions."
Look at this. This is why Proverbs is one of my favorite books in the Bible, because it was written for guys like me. Proverbs 1:1-5. "The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel: to know wisdom and instruction, to discern the sayings of understanding, to receive instruction in wise behavior, righteousness, justice and equity; to give prudence to the naive, to the youth knowledge…"
The knowledge they need to know what time it is. Listen, if you're out there and you're one of those folks that Steve Wariner sung about in his song "Some Fools Never Learn" and you have scars all over your heart and all over your life and you just go, "What's it going to take for me to learn?" I'm going to tell you. It takes a thirst for knowledge.
Now a humble person who has the faith of a child knows they need a dad. They know they need a mom. They know they need somebody who loves them and knows a little bit more, who has been before them who can speak into their world. My kids, it delights me like nothing else when they ask me a question, "Dad, what would you do?"
When they're young, I sometimes give it to them one, two, three. As they get a little older, I go, "Here's what I would do. Let me tell you why I would do it." A little bit later, I do this. "What do you think I would do and why would I do it?" And I let them try and work that out. Then I watch them do it and then I talk to them about it, how they did it, as they get a little older still.
Then hopefully one day, I'll get to celebrate how they did it and are doing it. But I have to have a child or a friend or a soul in myself that thirsts for that knowledge. I have to acknowledge that I need discretion. I need information. "A wise man will hear and increase in learning…" And he goes on to say, "…and a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel…"
This is what God says to some of you guys who are here this morning and you still have not figured out a time to embrace and a time to shun embracing. It just kills him, because he knows the tears, if they're not on the outward part of who you are they're on the inner part of who you are. Why some of you guys have still not learned to save your money, pay with cash, to not give up a life of love for a night in Panama City. It kills him because he loves you. This is what he says in Proverbs, chapter 1, verse 22.
"How long, O naive ones, will you love being simple-minded? And scoffers delight themselves in scoffing and fools [how long will you] hate knowledge?" That's what he says. This is just a fact of life. I love you enough to let certain things roll out. Proverbs, chapter 1, verses 29-32. He says, "Because they hated knowledge…"
Do you see that? Because they did not thirst for knowledge. You have to thirst for knowledge if you want a chance to have the life that you're looking for. "…and did not choose the fear of the LORD. 'They would not accept my counsel, they spurned all my reproof. So they shall eat of the fruit of their own way and be satiated with their own devices. For the waywardness of the naive will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them.'"
Their lack of need to hydrate their lack of information will be their end. I've been watching on the Discovery channel, a friend turned me on to it, this unbelievable six hours called Everest: Beyond the Limit. It's been an amazing thing to watch. One of the things that happens, as men try to summit up this mountain is they get what's called cerebral edema.
Most people die from altitude sickness, not adjusting to the altitude that they're moving into appropriately. They don't have a body that can produce enough red blood cells to help them survive on the limited amount of oxygen that's available the higher they go up the mountain. I want to tell you, that's exactly what I see happening in life.
I see people all around me dying from cerebral edema. Now it is very graphic when you watch this show. Their head is swollen, their eyes bulge out, and they are frozen. Literally, not like frostbite frozen. You have plenty of that, but I mean they are just there and they're just stuck in this comatose state where their eyes are bulging and their brain is just swollen from their lack of handling appropriately where they have climbed to in life, and they die.
I see folks like that all the time right here at sea level with cerebral malfunction. Their eyes are just like this, and sometimes they never recover. We can never bring them down fast enough to where they can begin to think clearly again and start to ascend through life. What God is telling you is he wants you to be able to summit the greatest challenges in life and do it in a way that men marvel at.
There are some Sherpas over there that you just can't believe the way they run up and down that mountain because they are acclimated to that specific environment. God wants you to be, as they say on that mountain, "They are not human. They are super human." Do you know why? Because they've spent their whole lives learning how to go up that mountain.
What God is saying is, "Come here, children. Let me show you how to go through this thing called life where the rest of the world will look at you and go, 'Those folks who know Jesus Christ, they're super-stinking-human! They don't get cerebral edema like we get when they are confronted with the same challenges, peaks, avalanches, weather changes that we are. Why is that?'" Because they've grown.
I want to tell you some good news this morning. Just like I am more desperate for my kids to have the information they need to grow up and experience a successful life than they will ever be to seek it, this is what's so fantastic about our God. He is more passionate for you to know his will, his knowledge, his goodness, his love than you'll ever be to seek it.
This is not a shell game. He is not trying to hide it from you. He is not trying to taunt you with it. He wants you to have what you need to have life. He wants it more than you'll ever want to seek it. I've brought great pain into my life because I have not sought knowledge, but the only thing that's brought me greater pain is to watch individuals who I love and care for not want it and to watch them suffer because they are refusing something I can give them.
That has made me more empathetic toward God in his relationship with me. Time and time again when I am with friends who are spurning counsel because it doesn't meet the logic of man or their understanding because of just the incredible pressures they're facing at a particular moment and they want to make it about an opinion between me and them or a group of people and them.
All I can do is take them to somebody who is a lot wiser than me and say, "Look, this is what it says. I know it doesn't seem like it makes sense to us, but this is what it says. It says to expand circles, not to narrow them in moments like this, but everything in us wants to hide and pull back. I'm just telling you. Now that we know what we're dealing with it says to expand it." And to watch them go, "Nuh-uh. You must not have ever been where I am now on the mountain."
I'm going, "You know what? I haven't, but here is someone who has, and he is telling you." When I watch the pain that comes from different decisions and different actions, it kills me even more than the pain that I experience myself. It's made me very empathetic toward God. Every time I leave one of those conversations, I don't leave with disgust for that friend or that child.
I leave with just a panging in my heart to go, "God, where am I doing that to you right now?" I am desperate today. If I do my job, you'll walk out of here and you'll say, "You know what? I just don't want to go through life without a thirst for knowledge." Because you will not have the life you want without that. It's an attribute that God says, "Get it early and stick with it."
So here we go. This is the very simple statement. The thirst for knowledge is what makes wise men wise. Let me just give you a few proverbs for this. "Wise men store up knowledge, but with the mouth of the foolish, ruin is at hand." Now it doesn't just mean when you're around a foolish person, all they're going to do is speak ruinous things. Let me just take you to Proverbs 15:14 and show you really what it means there in Proverbs 10.
When it says, "…the mouth of the foolish, ruin is at hand," it's basically talking about you are what you eat. I don't remember much about elementary school, but I do remember in the cafeteria every day they would have all the different food groups right there kind of with a little circle and a line through the Cheetos bag saying, "You don't want to grow up to be a bunch of processed carbohydrates that don't give your body real nutrition and energy. You will be what you eat." Pushing the milk and the carrots at me.
This is really what Proverbs is saying. "The mind of the intelligent seeks knowledge, but the mouth of fools feeds on folly." This is what I want to ask you this week. Where have you dined? We've heard ad nauseam in our computer age, "Garbage in, garbage out," right? Compare your Bible intake this week. Compare your seeking spiritual wisdom this week with your Entertainment Tonight, movies, iPods, Oprah, romance novels, and magazines.
You wonder why you're getting cerebral edema on sea level? God would say to you, "Where are you eating? The thirst for knowledge is what makes men wise and where determine you're going to find knowledge is everything." Proverbs 18:15, "The mind of the prudent acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge."
God has not hidden it this week. It is everywhere for you around here if you want it. Matthew 5:6, the fourth sentence out of God's mouth when he goes into public ministry. "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness…" For knowledge to live righteously, for folks who want to know what time it is. "…for they shall be satisfied." If you'll just come and get it.
The Scripture says only when you learn to delight yourself in the Lord's table, when you learn to eat what he has provided for you, will you have the desires of your heart. In other words, there are lots of guys out there who want knowledge and are going to eat a lot of different places, but only when you eat at the table of the one who can really provide for you what you're looking for, that insight, will you get what you're looking for, the health that you want. All right, here we go.
The ability to order your life so that you can have your thirst quenched is what determines whether you will be transformed or continually troubled. I just have to tell you that as lovingly as I can. There are all kinds of folks who will come through here. Thousands of folks will hear the exact same message, but what's going to happen is certain folks are going to take what God wants to pump into your bloodstream and you're going to be transformed by it and you're going to be able to go up the mountain this year with less trouble than others.
Everybody else is going to be in here and they're going to go and have the same opportunity, but they're going to get cerebral edema because they will not do what they should do while they're at base camp. You have to figure out… It's not just being an individual who knows that he needs knowledge. It's not even just being an individual who knows where to go to get that knowledge. You have to begin to prioritize yourself so that knowledge can be gotten.
One of the things that happen in this little show is that some guys don't get to summit because they get behind in doing the things they need to do to acclimate their bodies. It almost costs them and those who are guiding them their life. I want to tell you, we take from each other all kinds of time because we don't do the things we should do before we face the challenges that are coming and then things hit us. It makes everybody rush in and apply a ton of time and attention because we did not prepare ourselves in the way we should've before we got where we were going to go.
So now we have to put back that family. We have to try and restore that heart and that tender soul that's been exploited. We have to help dig out of not just one month of missing a credit card payment, but sometimes six years because not only did they not save their money and pay with cash, but then they did not humble themselves to admit that they had a problem they couldn't get to. All of sudden, we're not dealing with $1,000 or $2,000. We're dealing with $50,000, $80,000, $100,000. The pain gets so immense it becomes critical.
Finally, out of desperation we cry out, but it just takes a little longer, a lot more resource, a lot more time, and a lot more help. That's why we're gracious toward each other whenever we're here, but I'm telling you, what God is trying to keep us from doing is being those folks who keep adding to our pain and from being a body that encourages each other day after day the right way so that we won't be overwhelmed and overwhelming each other.
Now if you're somebody out there today and you have six-figure debt, credit card debt, consumer debt, I welcome you here. Please just don't wait until you have the twice the six-figure credit card debt you have now. Let us begin to help you like we've helped others who have been right there. I promise you won't set the record.
If you're on your sixth immoral relationship that's devastated you already in 2007, it's not too late to get help. Just don't wait until you're on your sixth abortion. If you've had five, come. If you've had 60, come. Don't wait until you've had 61. Because I have to tell you there are certain little events in my life that I'm on my like 1,006 of them. I'm trying to get knowledge so I don't do it the 1,007th time.
I'm grateful for the grace given to me by others who will spur me on. What I cannot keep doing is saying I want to not make that mistake and not order my life in the way that God says I should order my life to get what God is trying to give me. Are you thirsty? Drink. Let me just say this real quick right here. The Journey that we have put together is a tool to help.
It is not going to change anything if we don't apply what we're learning there. It might even not be the best thing for you, but if you don't have something, start there. We're trying to put the cookies on the lowest shelf. We're trying to call you to things that will make the knowledge that God wants for you accessible.
Do you know last year, I think it was less than 50 percent of us did that together. What I would tell you is if you're somebody who has been seeking knowledge and seeking wisdom, seek it a little bit more because you should know now how great it is to have that thirst quenched. Jump on with us so that you can converse with others who that is the only place they know to go right now. I'm going to tell you, I'm learning every week, every day from that Journey, and I'm doing a lot of other things.
I'm just telling you, the reason we're pushing that is because we know that it is something that we can give you that's accessible that will help you get hydrated. Get in the Book. Folks ask me all the time, "What can I do to start to have my life be the life that I've wanted?" I said, "You have to spend time with the Lord, and you have to take the knowledge you get with the Lord and be around a community of friends who know whether or not you are applying what you say you want to know or what you've learned."
These next two weeks: this week and next two weeks, I think are the two attributes that will help you experience the life that God wants more than anything I'm going to talk about this whole year. This week, gang, it is about Bible intake and taking that Bible intake and having it apply to your life. Next week, it's about what you need to have in your life during Bible intake to have it have its greatest manifestation in you.
Your ability to order your life so that you can have your thirst quenched is what determines whether you'll be transformed or continually troubled. Proverbs 13:4 says this. "The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the soul of the diligent is made fat." There is not a single person on Everest who doesn't want more oxygen, but certain people do what they need to do to acclimate their bodies to the challenges that are before them. Everybody here wants knowledge. They want to know the time to speak and the time to be quiet. They want to know a time to kill and a time for peace. They want to know a time to embrace, a time to shun embracing.
They want to know, but only a few, a very few, which is what is so amazing how easy it is to really be somebody who the world looks at and go, "How can you run up and down this mountain of life? Where did you get this insight how to become a Sherpa of life?" The answer is, "I have to tell you. Come here. There's plenty of room at the table." But I don't want to kid you. You have to discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness. The sluggard wants the same thing the diligent wants, but the sluggard comes up with excuses and doesn't do it.
Watch this. Proverbs 8:6-19: "Listen, for I will speak noble things; and the opening of my lips will reveal right things. For my mouth will utter truth; and wickedness is an abomination to my lips." This is a dad talking to his son. "All the utterances of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing crooked or perverted in them.
They are all straightforward to him who understands, and right to those who find knowledge. Take my instruction and not silver, and knowledge rather than choicest gold. For wisdom is better than jewels; and all desirable things cannot compare with her." Here's what I want to tell you this morning. Very few of you, if I came up here and said, "Here's knowledge and here's $100," would come up here and take the $100.
I doubt there was $10,000 here and there was over here knowledge to have a successful month in relationships, you'd take the $10,000. But this month, you will work inappropriate hours at hobbies or a career or in travel that will take you away from where God says knowledge is acceptable. You are not able to back off this gravitational pull of advancing career-wise, moving toward a certain zip code or a certain ad to whatever your material possessions are in order to get over…
I hear it all the time. "I can't be in that study. I cannot be around a group of guys who will know me and love me. I can't come because of work." I want to say, "If that work is causing you to not hydrate, you will die. It isn't worth it." So we read stuff like this and we think in just very specific ways, "I'm never going to take $5 if I could take over here a chance to learn something," but I'm going to say, "Look at your calendar."
If your today is too full to spend time listening to God, letting his Word come over your heart, and articulating something you've learned from God today, a way you've grown in knowing when the time to speak and a time to listen is, who Jesus Christ is and how to live like he would have you live, then you are busier than God intended or you are just choosing straight up to be a person who doesn't think knowledge is that big a deal to them.
I will promise you that cerebral edema is headed your way, spiritually speaking. Knowledge, gang, is what delivers us from constant failure, frustration, fatigue, futility, and even fatality. It's what frees us up from the failure of handling situations wrongly. Let me just say this. If you have knowledge, it doesn't mean you're not going to drop snapped field goal attempts.
In fact, last night, I'll just tell you this. When I saw that happen with Tony Romo, I don't care if it was the holder for Seattle or for Dallas. We've all gotten to know Tony over this last eight weeks a little bit. I don't have any idea where he is with the Lord, but I can tell you what I did do after I saw that happen. I just started praying for that kid because he was not a failure in my eyes because he dropped that snap.
What was about to happen when he came before that press conference was going to determine whether he had the ability to handle where he was or not. I said, "Lord, I don't know if Tony follows you or not, but I know this. He is about to define himself in this moment." I just started praying for him.
I said, "I know you love that kid. The kid is 27 years old. His heart is devastated. He is numb right now. Would you just allow him to handle this with grace, to put it in the right category and not have this be a defining moment in his career?" Not that he just dropped that snap but if he handles it really poorly. The weeks ahead are going to determine that. Here's the deal.
Knowing what God wants you to do with situations and disappointments in life is what determines your success or your failure. I'll tell you. I was proud of that kid. He stepped up and he handled that as well you could in that moment. I'm proud for my little Cade who got a Tony Romo jersey for Christmas to wear as long as he keeps handling dropped field goals snaps the way he did last night.
We'll see. We'll see. I have more respect for a man who can do that and keep at it than I do a guy who always puts them down and always puts them through. It'll save you, not from failures like drops, but failures by really screwing up when drops come. When your spouse forsakes you, when something really good is out there before you that you think you can get away with, but you know it's not ultimately right.
How do you handle all these different things? From the frustration of trying to find life in fleeting things? It'll save you from the fatigue of constantly clawing your way out of holes that you get in. It'll save you from the futility (I just made a note to myself) of doing the same thing again and again hoping for different results. Knowledge will do all that for you.
That's why the Scripture says knowledge is power. It just says that straight out. Watch. Proverbs 24:3-4: "By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; and by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches." Then look at verse 5. This is what it says. It says that knowledge is the key to increasing power. Have you ever heard that before? Knowledge is power. That's a biblical idea. So who wouldn't thirst for it?
Knowledge is what gives you the ability to overcome the failures that are going to be dealt to you in life, the frustrations that you'll face, the fatigue that comes from the futility of making consistently wrong decisions. I pray for folks all the time when I see a situation like that happen.
"O Lord, deliver them with information from you right now that will help them handle that biting remark, that inappropriate tone, that unfaithful spouse, that tempting advertisement, the way that girl dresses, the freedom that they have, the tremendous financial blessing you've given them. Deliver them."
If you don't discipline yourself, I'll just tell you this. There's always another more painful form of discipline love and grace will bring to you. This is what the Scripture says. If you don't want knowledge and you're not going to discipline yourself to seek it, then God still loves you enough just like I love my kids enough to bring some things about. Proverbs 12, verse 1 says, "Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid."
Here it's not talking about just the discipline that you can build into your own life, but specifically the discipline that God will bring into your life when you have not sought knowledge appropriately. When you start to go up the mountain of life too quickly and you get lightheaded and dizzy, that's discipline saying you're not ready yet. Back it down. If you mock at that and keep going up, you will be one of the 140-some-odd bodies that are forever perfectly enshrined along the path up to the summit of Everest.
If you don't discipline yourself, there is always another more painful form of discipline love and grace will bring to you, but fools will always mistake gifts of love and grace as evidence that there is no good God to trust in this place. Now what do I mean by that?
What I mean by that is look if you don't discipline yourself, God will bring about disciplining moments in your life, but a fool will even take those disciplining moments in their life and they will go, "See? There is evidence that there is no God who loves me. If he loved me, I wouldn't experience this pain."
This takes us back to Proverbs, chapter 19, verses 2 and 3, where it says, "Look, fool, do not be without knowledge." Then it goes on to say a little bit later in verse 2 that if you hurry through life without getting knowledge before you act, you're going to make a mistake. But look what fools do. "The foolishness of man ruins his way…" Because they act without knowledge, they act without asking God to inform them and then they "… [rage] against the LORD." Because the consequences of that foolishness comes and hurts them.
So they can't even learn from discipline because they think discipline is evidence that there is no one there to love them, when in fact anybody who has ever been responsible for raising up a child knows that discipline is the most loving thing that you can give. If you don't discipline your child, it says you hate them. So God has brought some pain into our lives when we don't live in knowledge because he wants you to thirst for knowledge more. He is gentle. He is gracious. He is patient, but he is purposeful, and that is good.
Guys, knowledge is ours to have, but it is not ours to keep. In other words, when you have knowledge, it's not just a matter of saying, "I'm glad I have this knowledge." What God would tell you to do is to make sure that you do everything you can to serve other people in humility, knowing that all you are is the beneficiary of grace to give that grace to others and not to remain silent.
That is why we are incessant here about reminding us to whom much is given, much is expected. If we are a Sherpa in the city of Dallas in the United States of America, wherever God pushes us in life, then he wants you to help others acclimate to this world by having life flow through them in the way it flows through you.
How we share the knowledge we have will determine whether others want to hear what we have to share. This is Proverbs 15, verse 2. "The tongue of the wise makes knowledge acceptable, but the mouth of fools spouts folly." I will tell you that the life of us as a body, the way we live in our life is what is going to determine whether or not others want to hear what we have to say.
We are not going to be folks just walking around talking to other people about how awful they are and, "Shouldn't they be like us?" I had a guy say to me one time, "Todd, if you show up at the very first tee at the golf course and all you do is you tell people how to play golf before you've ever swung a golf club, no one is going to want to play golf with you, and it won't be long before no one wants to be your friend."
In other words, just get out there and play golf. If you do well enough through the first seven, six, or eight holes… It's happened to me that I have played with a better golfer that at some point I'll say, "Hey, let me ask you a question." Every now and then I'm playing with some hacks who go, "Hey, can you help me figure this out?" Because they've seen I play a little bit better than them.
If I start off before we even go and start to undress their game and tell them what to do, not very many folks want to play golf with that guy. It won't be long before they don't want to be your friend. That's why you just get in life and love people and build relationships so that they will turn to you and go, "Can you talk to me about my marriage?"
I'll tell you what. Just in the last 24 hours at gyms that I've been at, one guy came up to me and said, "My wife just filed for divorce. Can I talk to you?" This is a guy who I've been around for a while and has never really approached me very much, but he has watched the way I've loved my wife. He has waited until he got pretty high up that mountain for cerebral edema to kick in. The eyes are bulging and the brain is full, but now he is saying, "I need knowledge, and I'm coming to you. No one else in this gym."
Another guy yesterday, my dearest friend, critical place right now. "I'm going to come to you and talk to you about this friend." Never had a spiritual conversation with this guy in my life. Just been with him coaching sports, playing ball with him for a while. So he said, "Hey," and finally there's a moment.
We have to be people who are investing in others. God expects us to take that knowledge and share it with others, but we have to get that knowledge first, and then we have to be wise about the way we steward it. Now those guys knew that I was somebody who the reason that I climbed through the mountains of life was because of my relationship with God. That wasn't a secret to them. You can't make the reason you're living your life a secret either.
Well let me just say this in closing. Knowledge alone doesn't save us. Thirst for knowledge, you have to have, but knowledge alone doesn't save. What saves us is the application of knowledge. In fact, the reality is the more knowledge you have, the more culpable you are. We are without excuse. We are people who have been given much and much is expected of us.
We are people who folks are begging you just to put your email address in so God can push his Word to you every day. You've owned three, four, five, six Bibles. You came to a church today where God graciously, lovingly spoke to you. What are you going to do with that knowledge? People die because of dehydration, but people who die of dehydration with fountains and springs all around them have a tougher bill to pay.
We just invite you to come to the fountain. We want to tell you that we know that there are times that you won't execute knowledge exactly right and this is a community of grace. I am a kind recipient of the grace of God in my past and I will be tomorrow. So I want to eagerly share it with you and spur you on. But lets spur each other on today by being people who thirst for knowledge and avail ourselves to that which God gives us. Amen?
Father, a very simple message today. We could say all day long that your ways are better than silver and gold, but until we seek you and prioritize our lives in such a way that we're at least making enough of a priority to spend some time with you every day to learn something and to visit with it with others and to talk about it, embed it in our life, to read it through, pray it in, live it out, and pass it on, then all we are is heaping judgment on ourselves as we stand before the Library of Congress of knowledge and just don't read or just don't apply what we have read.
So Lord, we want to thirst for knowledge. We ask that you hydrate our bodies with truth so that others might look at us and say, "What is the source of the life that flows through you?" I pray, Lord, that the way we live would cause others to ask us how we know and we could tell them one thing: Jesus Christ. May God get the glory.
Lord, we pray that you would just open the eyes of our hearts this morning to the knowledge that you have for us, the knowledge to seek you, to humbly acknowledge that we don't know the way, and to be your children. Open the eyes of our hearts to yield to the knowledge that we know. Would you do that? We make this song our prayer.
Well gang, listen. If you really want to know him, you can know this. He wants you to know him more than you want to know him so he says, "Come, and drink." If this helps you, great. We're just trying. All you have to do today is take that perforated section and write on that little thing. "This is my name. This is my email. Sign me up." We'll sign you up. Write your name.
Say, "Get me connected." We'll get you connected with other folks who are seeking knowledge, but you have to do more than sing. You have to drink. You can lead the horse to water… So come and drink with us. We pray that as you go that you would know that God says, "Open your mouth wide and I will fill it." Have a great week of worship. Let us know how we can serve you.
It's the ultimate self-help book. Centuries before Drs. Laura, Phil and Benjamin came on the scene to tell us how to live, love and parent wisely, God weighed in on these matters in the Book of Proverbs. Today's "life coaches" have simply repackaged God's wisdom but the concepts are timeless and truly life-changing. In this multi-volume series, Todd Wagner combs through the book's 31 chapters and identifies principles for approaching life with wisdom and skill. Each of the attributes is perfectly embodied in the person of Jesus Christ and guaranteed to bring abundant life to those who apply them - regardless of whether they've chosen to acknowledge Christ as Lord or not. Discover the blessed life God has in store for you in Volume 1 of this practical and applicable series on Proverbs. This is The Life, Volume 1, offers advice on: the fear of God, integrity, generosity, purity, wise words, discernment, kindness, and the thirst for knowledge.