Today we're starting a new series and as you all know we do series this year. And part of the reason, and every church does things differently but I like to take subjects and deal with them and work through them so that we can apply them to our lives and make a difference. This series is going to be a little bit different than most series that I do. Most series that I do are more like a history book. You can open up a history book and you can turn to whatever period you're reading and you can start getting facts and understand what's going on and you don't really have to know everything that came before. But a math book is different. A math book, if you flip open to chapter three you better know what happened in chapter one and chapter two or you'll be totally lost. Was anybody else lost in math like I was? Anybody boom, boom, math? That was me, I was the king of the boom, boom math room.
But anyway this series is going to be a little bit different because it's going to build as it goes. And I wish I could give all of it up front. I wish I could put all of it into one message but I can't so this is going to be probably a four or five week series but it's going to be something that's profound. And I want you to listen to me here and those who watch via the internet hope you enjoy these as well. But here is the situation, we started this church back in August 1 of 2010 and most of you all that come here don't know that history. You only know the history of the last two and a half somewhat years that we've been here in Lakewood Ranch and you've seen us grow from one service to two services to three services.
But back when we were pastoring at the old church it was a different deal and just some . . . I told this to somebody at first Friday, they got a big kick out of it. We didn't have, in our children's room, we didn't have a bathroom. So the bathroom was in the sanctuary so usually about right in the middle of my message when I was just getting going good the potty train of kids would come out to go to the bathroom. And it was just God's way of letting me know that I'm not that important, "Bennett, your sermons aren't that great. I'm going to interrupt your sermon with the potty breaks." So I'm still working through that and I've still got some scars but we're going to work through that.
But the reason I say all that is we've been doing this for five years and I feel and again, this is just my opinion and I hope that you will feel the same way after we get through the series but I don't feel like I've ever had a more important series than this series. And I mean that from the bottom my heart. And the reason I say that is there is a lot of wind in the sails here at Grace and somebody from the outside might look in and say, "Huh man, this church has growing," and everything else and trust me there is nobody in the building that wants to grow more than me but let me tell you something and so you hear my heart here, I don't want to just grow to grow and I just don't want to have a church to have a church I want us to do it authentic. I want it to be real, I want it to be raw and I want God to look on the inside of what we're doing and be pleased.
And so this message, that's right, yeah it's good. We're a non-denominational church, you can get your clap on. See it's funny too. I dress up and I get people go, "Man, you look really good." Last night I dressed up and like, "I'm not coming back to church unless you wear jeans." I'm like "I can't get anything right." You know that, right? Pastors can't get anything right. Anyway side here from the issue.
This sermon series is about the DNA of what Grace Community Church is all about and what I think we need to be. And I'm hoping that the series is something that we will go back to in years to come and remember that this is what we are. So all that being said this is an important series. It's going to be a little different than the way we normally do it because it's really going to presuppose that you have been here for these weeks to get the full impact. But this is what I promise you, I believe if you will work through this series with me you will say that was a dramatic life change in my life. However I might step on your toes little bit, okay, and I might make you a little uncomfortable. Please tell me that you'll hug me after church and that you'll tell me that you love me because I don't want to go back to the church where we have the potty break in the middle of messages, okay?
So all that being said let's get real and raw here. Here is the fact of the matter is, our culture that we live in and if you don't think that you are, if you don't think that I am immersed in our culture you're just not being real with yourself. We are born in a culture and culture infuses and creates who we are. We're marinated in it. And our culture in many ways is based on one word and that word is now. And that was cute last night when I said that to the crowd, somebody goes "No, it's based on yesterday. I want it done yesterday." But the point is, is we want everything done now.
If you're in business and you say, "Yeah, I think I can get to that in a couple weeks," they're off finding somebody else because everybody wants it done now. You get people that walk into the office and say, "Hey I'm struggling in this relationship," or "I've got this problem with my son," or "My marriage is on the rocks," or whatever and you say, "Okay, great well, let's take the next couple of weeks," "Weeks? Can't you fix it now?" Well no, it took you like two years to get in this ditch you're in, you think I'll pull you out in one day?
Everybody wants things now.
My kids, it's unbelievable they can't even sit on a couch. Maybe your kids are like Christians and really love God and all that stuff, my kids can't even sit on the couch for a minute without going, "What are we doing?" I'm like, "We're sitting on the couch and we're going to like it. That's what we're doing." And they're like, "No, I've got to do something. I've got to go hang out." And so everything is now, everything is I want it now. Nobody has any delayed gratification, everybody wants everything now. So this is the culture were raised in. Everything's now, everything's fast paced, everything is going on.
And then we go into Scripture and all of a sudden we find that one of the most pervasive themes in scripture is rest. You go, "Whoa! Now and rest. They don't go together." So what we decide to do is do this. We go, "I know what I'm going to do, I'm going to take the rest of God and what I'll do is get a little rest so I can get back to doing it now. And if God would just charge my batteries up I can get back to doing it now." Which is not the biblical understanding of rest. And we're going to figure that out here over the next many weeks as we look at this because your idea of rest probably in many ways is taking a vacation or just getting your batteries charged and whatever and that's not what the Bible talks about when it talks about rest.
And so we're going to look at that and divide that up. And here is the way it's going to work, today we're going to talk about background. We're going to talk about what. What precipitated God doing this rest thing? What is it? Then we're going to look next week at why we need to learn to rest. And then we're going to look at how do we apply it to our lives over two or three weeks. Because this is what I found out, most Christians, and they love God, I'm not saying they don't love God and I'm not saying they're not a Christian but they struggle, they have issues. We're just doing our thing, doing our thing, doing our thing and it's like we look at the Bible and we see life more abundantly. We see that God wants to give us joy and peace and yet we look at most people that are in the church and it doesn't always exhibit what we think that that should look like. And people are worn out and their tired. And they're especially worn out and tired in church.
And so I want to take this and look at it and we're going to do our typical thing that we do here at Grace. We're going to dig in, get our pick axes, get our hard hats and get in after this. And so here's how we're going to do this. In the Old Testament, probably the most pervasive theme in the Old Testament, and it is the story of the Old Testament is the story of the Exodus. And I could take you through all the Old Testament books and show you that God talks about delivering them from Egypt in almost every one of the Old Testament books, it is a pervasive theme. He says, I want you to remember guys we pulled you out of Egypt, we pulled you out and we went with you through the Red Sea, we gave you the manna, we did all the stuff then we brought to Sinai and all of this stuff.
And so when God brings them all there after he's delivered them and they've gone through the Red Sea and he has provided manna and done that, he brings them to Sinai.
And Moses goes up on Sinai, and I want to take a moment here because this is really important that everybody understands this. God did not give these commandments to non-believers. He gave them to believers. And he didn't give them to people that he was trying to get him to work their way into heaven. He had already delivered them. He had already saved them. He had already taken them through the waters of the Red Sea. He had already provided them manna. Then he said, "Hey, I want to talk to you for a moment." When he pulls Moses up on the mountain he could have said anything that he could have said. He could have said, "Moses, I am the God of love." He could have said, "Moses, I am the God that is exhibited in three persons, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit." He could have said, "Moses, I am the God that created the heavens and earth."
He could have said anything but here is what he uses as the background for the Ten Commandments. Here is what it says. He says, "I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt and out of the house of slavery." Everything I'm getting ready to tell you Moses to go tell the people is because you've been in a dysfunctional culture of production and work and people as commodities and everything is about now. And what I'm getting ready to tell you is going to shape you differently. In these 10 commandments which are in the Hebrew, they are are 10 words. That's what the Hebrew says, God spoke these words. He spoke 10.
Now if you read the Bible in a literary fashion you remember in Genesis one and some of you all probably want to go do this today, go through and read where it says God said. Underline that in Genesis one. And do you know how many times you will underline that? Ten times. In 10 words God has spoken the heaven and earth into existence and in 10 words God is going to give society an orderly function that has come out of a dysfunctional society out of Egypt.
The first three commandments are our relationship with God, the last six are our relationship with people. And they are bridged together and held together by a proper understanding of rest. If you don't understand rest then you're not going to understand relationship with God. And if you don't understand rest you're not going to understand relationship with people. So it's important that we understand what rest is. Which means to understand what he's saying we have to understand the story.
So we're going to go to Exodus five and we're going to read this. And both services had been like whoa, had no idea all that was in there. Read it before but they didn't see all that. Let's look at the story here, remember God comes to Moses in a burning bush and he says, here is what I want you to do. I want you to go to Pharaoh. Moses does the typical thing that all of us do when God calls us to do something, we go, "Can't do it," and then God says, well okay, I'll give you Aaron here, ya'll go do your thing. I need you go to Pharaoh, I need you to tell Pharaoh, let people go. Here is what you're going to do. You're going to take a three day walk into the wilderness and I want you throw me a feast. They have no idea what the feast is, they don't know what it's going to look like, they just go, well, God spoke to us. He had a burning bush, he brought Aaron along, I guess I probably ought to go do it.
So chapter five of the Exodus, we're going to break into the story. Says afterwards, this is after God had spoken to him, Moses and Aaron went and said to Pharaoh, "Thus says the Lord the God of Israel, let my people go that they may hold a feast to me in the wilderness." Now Pharaoh understands something and what he knows is, is this, gods want work. Gods want production. The Egyptian gods want more surplus cities and more surplus cities and more surplus cities and it's all shown in the pyramid. You use all the people at the lower end of the totem pole to build it up to the gods that are sitting on the top and if you're Pharaoh you're right underneath there but everybody works, it's all about work.
And so Moses comes in and says, hey Pharaoh, here's the deal man we had this talk with God and God says that you need to let his people go because they're going to go out and through a party in the wilderness. Pharaoh says, yeah, that's not the way it works. Gods don't throw parties, gods work. So rest of the story here, Pharaoh says, who is this Lord that I should obey his voice and let Israel go? I don't know the Lord and moreover I'm not going to let Israel go. I don't know this god you're talking about. Because gods don't do feasts, they don't do parties. So here's the deal. So the king said, "Moses and Aaron why do you take the people away from their work? Get back to your burdens." Moses you don't get it. Gods don't give feasts. Gods don't have parties. Gods require work. Gods require quotas. Gods want performance, that's what they want. And you don't understand it. I don't know your God because no God talks like that and it's surely not what a God wants. So here's the deal. Get back to you work and get back to your burdens because that's what you do.
And then Pharaoh said, listen, behold the people of the land now are many. Look, we've got a great opportunity. We've got a lot of people and what you want to do is you want to make them rest from their burdens. You want to throw a feast. We're not going to rest. This is an environment of work. This is an environment of production. This is an environment of commodity. This is an environment of now and what I want now is production.
So the same day Pharaoh commanded the task masters of the people and their foremen, "You shall no longer give the people straw to make bricks as in the past. Let them go and gather straw for themselves." Pharaoh says, you know what, in the past we gave you straw when you made your bricks. What your job is, your job is to make bricks for God. Your job is to perform and you have a quota and if you meet that quota, great. If you don't meet that quota there's punishment. And you don't meet it long enough you're out of here. The bottom line is you are a commodity, you are to be used for work and you are to satisfy the gods because they want to see you work. So obviously you guys got too much time on your hands, you're dreaming up these crazy dreams. Well what we're going to do is this, rather than giving you straw we're not going to give you straw anymore, you're not going to get it. You're going to gather straw for yourself and the number of bricks that you made in the past, impose on them. You shall no means reduce it because you are idle. You're lazy. You don't want to work, you just don't want to work.
Everything is about work. Everything is about production. This is their culture. It's a performance culture. It's a work culture. It's a quota culture. Everything is based on production. And you guys are thinking you've got time to go through a feast out in the wilderness, we're going to work more. Because evidently you've got more time to work if you're having these types of things. He goes on to say, therefore they cry. Evidently they got enough time on their hands that they're making up these stories about this thing of going out in the wilderness and sacrificing to their God. So let heavier work be laid on these men that they may labor at it and pay no regard to lying words. Don't listen to them talking about their god that wants to deliver them and have a feast in the wilderness. We know what gods want, they want work. They want performance. And you people are a commodity to perform that work.
So the message is clear here. The message is clear what's going on in Egypt, it's all about work. It's all about performance. And you feel good when you get your quota, you're not punished. It's good, I made enough bricks. I made it. I did a good job. And everything now becomes focused around this production and doing and everything gets interpreted based through the lens of work. And so when God brings Moses up to the Sinai Mountain he has entered this story. He's erupted in a burning bush and said, "Let my people go." People weren't created to live in that environment. They're a commodity in that environment. They're more than that. They have dignity and they have worth and they have value. I'm entering into the story to set people free who have no rest. And so God prefaces the 10 words with "I brought you out of the land of Egypt."
What's going on here, the background for what I'm getting ready to share with you is so that you don't live anymore in that dysfunctional culture. You don't live in that dysfunctional culture of now and work and production. I've brought you out of that. You're no longer in bondage. You're no longer in slavery. And then God says, so here, here is the first word, "No other gods before me." Now God knows there's no other gods but the children of Israel don't. God says, listen, you've got to get this straight. If you start trying to have other gods before me you will go back to that world that you came out of and you will lose what it is that I have created you to be. You can't put any other gods before me.
And the first commandment is saying that God is different from the other gods. What he is saying is, I want to have a covenant with you that is based on a relationship. You're not a commodity based on how many bricks you can produce for me. I want to have a relationship with you. People are not commodities to be used for endless production but to be a part of relationships.
Now here is the moment. Listen here, those listening online listen, this is the moment here. You cannot have, I cannot have authentic relationships when everything is based on production and work. Let me explain how this works. When everything is now and everything is focused on now and everything is focused on production and everything is focused on work then God becomes something that you use to accomplish the things that you want to accomplish in your life. And you have no authentic relationship with God. Not only that but people, when everything is about now and everything is about production and everything is about work, people can only take on two things in your life. One, they're either a nuisance and you've got to get them out of your life because they're keeping you from accomplishing the things that you feel you need to accomplish now. Or you use them to accomplish the things that you want to accomplish.
And God says, listen, I want you to have an authentic relationship with me and with people. And the only way that's going to happen is if you can stop for a moment and rest. You have to come out of that environment. You have to come out of that bondage. It can't be all focused about now. It can't all be about production and work because when it is, God is only used in a way to make you feel good, "Well, if I do these things, if I get this thing right then God's okay." And by the way all you've got to do is look at our prayers. Look at the way we pray, "God if you could just do this in my life. God if you could just accomplish this in my life. God if you could just handle this in my life." We're just using God to accomplish the things that we want to accomplish.
And then we look at the way we treat people and we do it in the church. They're a nuisance but we use them. Rather than having these real relationships where you honor your father and mother, which is to genuinely keep the family together. When you have nothing but the moment and nothing but now, you don't care about mom and dad. What you care about is what you want and it breaks down the family. Not only that but we kill. We don't have value for life. And we reinterpret all of this through the lens of our culture.
We write books called Boundaries and say, "We'll stay away from certain people and don't do this with people because these people will drag you down and these people take away from you and these people will do this." And we go, "Yeah, that sounds fantastic. Amen brother, preach." Man thank God, God didn't write the book Boundaries because Chip Bennett wouldn't even be a Christian then. He wouldn't have chosen fishermen. He wouldn't have chosen a tax collector and a zealot to be in the same group.
But see we read these things and we go, "Yeah, yeah that's right," because we're so deluded with our culture and everything is about now and accomplishing what I want to accomplish and getting done what I want to get done that we use God and we use people and we're people of no rest. And then we look around the church and we go, "But I'm trying to pray and I'm trying to seek God man, but my life's a mess. And I talk about abundant life and I can't figure out abundant life," and God's going, yeah, because you are restless. You are still working. You're still in Egypt, in bondage to now and production and work. And the reason you're not experiencing this great life is because you're not at rest with me and with people.
And God spoke those words to Israel so that they would be a light to the nations. Those words were given so that they would have such authentic life that would look so different from everybody else and instead they took them and ran out and started exterminating everybody. And instead of being a light to the world they became a reservoir of God's blessing rather than a conduit. These were given for life, I've taken you out of this dysfunction and I want to give you rest. I want to give you life. And you can't have these types of things when you are still in Egypt. Because here's stuff that I hear Christians say all the time, "I've got to secure my future Chip because I can't let anyone get in my way. And we do that. I even hear preachers say that, that's the way you've got to live. You can't let anybody get in your way because you've got . . .
Can I just drop the bomb on you all? There is nothing in the Bible about retirement. Do you understand how presumptuous and arrogant the idea of retirement is? How do you know you're going to live that long? How do you know you're even going to be there? See we're supposed to be people of rest along the way not people that back loaded into retirement. But see we're so caught up in our culture that we think it's good. We can't see because our eyes are blinded by culture and we don't have authentic relationships. We don't have the real truth. I can have my son and say, "Jack, come here sit on your dad's lap here. Now look at me and tell me that you love me." "Oh, daddy I love you." That's way different than when I'm sitting there watching TV and Jack comes and hops on my lap and says, "Hey dad, I love you." It's like man, cut off the TV. It's like, whoa!
What God wants from you and me, he is not looking for bricks. He's looking for you. And we're still in Egypt and we're still so cultural bound and we try to live out this Christian life and it doesn't work because we're doing it on our terms. And what we need to do is be delivered from Egypt. We need to be delivered from the house of slavery and the house of bondage and start to have life. And you can see it in our life. Let's talk about it for a minute. Advertising, they don't go, "Okay, here is the new Perrier you need it next month." No, you need it when?
Chip: Now. Because it'll make your life what? Better. You've got to have the new phone, you've got to have the new watch. Got to have the new car. Got to have the new this because everything's based on production and everything's based on you need it. And none of us care that the kids in China that are getting paid nothing to build those phones, we don't talk about that. We argue about all these other social things and everything else when there's people that are being used as commodities to produce stuff for the gods and for the consumption of us.
Chip: Education. We don't educate people anymore for virtue. We don't say, "Son, I'd like for you to go to school so that you can be a virtuous person and you can be a contributor to society and make a difference in the world." No, we say, "Son you need an education so you can make more money." "Son you need to get an education so you don't get left behind." Because see the shift is, it's all about now and we're so drugged by our culture that we can't even see it. Politics, we used to go, "Well it's the economy stupid, I'm going to vote for whoever makes my wallet fat."
Well by this point you should be going, "Well, now that's . . . man, I am. I'm caught up," we don't care about the real issues. We don't care about virtue, we don't care about ethics. We don't care about morals. We care about what's best for me. It's what we care about. Because we're a culture that is satiated with now. It's all about now. See that, and with our endless wars and we applaud it. We say, "Well, we've got to be safe. I mean, it's all about protection." Let me ask you a question, do you think any Christian in the first 300 years signed up to be a Christian and thought it was a safe thing? I mean we're just blind.
The land, Bible says the earth is the lord and the fullness thereof, we're told to cultivate and keep the land. And what do we do? We abuse it, we strip it. We do everything that we can do and we don't care. We don't care. We don't care because we are drugged in a culture of now. And you know where all this ends up? I'll tell you where it ends up, it ends up in aggression and violence. You wonder, people ask me all the time why when I drive down the road and somebody pulls out in front of me do I get enraged? Because you're birthed and I'm birthed in our culture and our culture is all about now. And it's all about production. And it's all about work.
We even twist Bible passages. Paul said to the Thessalonians he said, if they don't work then they don't eat. You know what Christians say? The reason they don't have any food is because they don't work. That's not what Paul said. That's what your culture is reinventing that text to say. It's not what Paul said. And so what we do is we read love our enemies, we go, "Well yeah, up to a point." What chapter or verse is that where Jesus said, "Up to a point?" "Well, well, yeah, but yeah but.." Put, put, put others better than yourself. "Well I'm not going to do that, I'll be a doormat or someone might take advantage of me. I mean I've got to have boundaries because I've got to accomplish what I need to accomplish and I can't let these people drag me down and pull me down and everything else." Is that Jesus or is that your culture? That's the culture that you want to read into the Bible.
What happens is aggression and violence are the end results. Do you know how we know this? We look at professional sports. We've got coaches paying players to hurt other players. And we go, "Uh," we still watch it. MMA, the mixed martial arts, that's where they get in the ring and they beat each other to a pulp, Christians watch that. I'm going to ask you a question as a pastor, and I may step on your toes but can I ask you a question? What in God's name do you get excited about watching another human being with dignity and value getting beat up? We're sick. We're one step removed from Gladiator. And they'll do it. And people will watch it because that's where culture of now goes. Pharaoh, what did he do? He said if we can't use them for bricks kill them. Because if we can't use them get rid of them.
Sexual aggression. I've heard Christian men say this, "Well I mean, I don't know why she didn't think she would get raped. I mean just see the way she's dressed." Really? You think some woman deserves to be raped no matter what she's wearing? Listen I agree, people wear provocative stuff and they shouldn't do that but nobody should ever think that something is going to happen to them with sexual aggression because they dressed a certain way or they did something. And we accept it. We're men, preach this stuff. It's sick, because we're in Egypt and we're in bondage and we can't rest.
John Calvin said it great, he said, "Men tire themselves in pursuit of rest." Let me just say this here for some humor. I know you're thinking that's a deep thought isn't it? Yeah, I know, it gets there eventually. It's like still thinking about the plug and the Pine-Sol [SP]. The deal is this, hear this and hear this well. Even if you win the rat race you're still a rat.
See this, Walter Brueggemann is an Old Testament scholar, he says it this way, "These gods of commoditization for the most part go unchallenged in our world. As a result their exploitative systems go unchallenged and unnoticed and abuse becomes normal." Just a commodity. You're just something to build somebody else's empire on on your back. He says anxiety is a given. And it is. It's rampant in the church because we're all about now, we're all about performance. We're all about this. And violence is unexamined as the cost of doing business. It's part of it.
The carnage [SP], little child/woman, no big deal. It's part of keeping us safe. It's part of taking care of culture. He says it's all a virtual reality in which we become narcotized into a system that seems to be a given rather than a construct. And we buy into it. And we have no rest. All we are is restless people. We don't have neighborliness because we can't have authentic relationship with God and authentic relationship with people until we can learn to rest.
And that's why the whole Old Testament takes all . . . Solomon. Everybody you read in the Old Testament is either taking you to Egypt or taking you out of Egypt. It's the story of the Old Testament. Solomon, what does he do? He hires forced labor to build the temple which is telling you he is pharonic. Jeroboam says, "We're going to work." Rehoboam comes to Jeroboam and says, "You can't work the people like that, you should be asking us." Is he going to be a Moses? Is he going to deliver the people? What's going to happen? He says, "You can't do that, Jeroboam. You can't do that," and Jeroboam says, "Well, I'm going to work them harder." So Rehoboam takes a group of people away. And you go, is this another exodus? Is he going to go a good place? What happens? No, they start worshiping golden idols, so he is Aaron rather than Moses.
All these stories are told. The old prophet that tells the young prophet that comes to Rehoboam and prophesies to him and God tells him not to eat, the old prophet gets him to eat. Anybody else told not to eat something and then they ate something? See all these stories are intertwined. You're either going to Egypt or you're going away from Egypt. You're either going into bondage or you're going into freedom. You're either having real, authentic, genuine, honest work in bricks and you're a commodity or you're in a relationship with the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords that values you and says you have worth and dignity and I want to have a real relationship with you and give you a life that shines like a light to everybody else because it's real life.
And what God does, what God does is he erupts into this culture and he says, "Let my people go." And as your pastor what I want for all of us is I want us to be set free. I want us to live like we can build a church and we can have a bunch of people and we can pack the place out and we could do all these things but I'm going to tell you right now, you can get real caught up in doing the kingdom work and ministry work and not spend time with the King and not spend time with God. You can get caught up in doing all the things and miss out. God wants us to have authentic relationships.
And just so that you guys know, I go home and tell Mindy, "I got this great message, it's on rest." And she's like, "Why in the world are you preaching on that? You're like the worst example ever." It gets real and raw around my house. She's like, "Why don't you preach on reading the Bible? Because you do that good. Preach on rest? Give me a break." So you guys think it's rough? I've do this three times. I wore out by the end of the deal. I mean, I'm like, "Man I feel so . . . God, I need to learn to rest." It's what he wants. That's what he wants from his church. He wants you and me to shine with real relationship with him and real relationship with others that's real. It's not using people and not pushing people away but genuine.
So I thought it would be counterproductive to have a To Do list here at the end, okay? So I have a rest list. It's what happens. Here is your rest list, only three things, three things only. First thing, I want you to ask God this week seriously, to search you this week. And I want you to say, "God I want you to show me where I'm still in Egypt. Is it my marriage? Is it my relationship with my kids? My finances? My health? Show me where I'm at God. Show me where I'm just in the now moment, production moment, work moment, everybody is a commodity." You get it all the time when you're a preacher. People come into your office to go, "Okay Chip, here is the way it is, if this person and this person and this person would get in line my life would be good."
And then you have that moment where you're sitting there as a pastor going, "Okay, now when I tell them the truth, they're probably going to leave." But the truth is they're not the ones that need to get right, you're the one who needs to get right. And so what we need do is we need to ask God to search us this week. Say, "God I want you to search my heart and show me where I'm still under the tyranny of now, where I'm still under the tyranny of Pharaoh, because I want to be set free."
Secondly, I'm going to ask you to commit to staying in the game on the series because we're not done. It's funny last night everybody was going, "Hey man, I just want the series to be done now." And I'm like, "Well we're going to get there." We need to talk about why next week because it's huge that you understand why we need rest and what that's all about. And then we're going to talk about how. But we've got to lay all this down. We've got to look at all this, and this is the tough one. The other ones will actually be a lot more fun, this is the tough one. Because this is one where we have to look in the mirror and go, "Yeah, you know what, culture has very much influenced who I am as a Christian."
And here is the last one. I want you to every day read aloud this scripture and ask God to make it real in your life. We have it for you when you leave. We've printed it on a card for you. Normally I preach out of the English Standard Version or the New American Standard Version but this passage was so real in the message that I felt like I should read it out of that translation. And I want you to know that I have laid hands on every chair in this sanctuary that when we read this passage right now and you hear it that it will absolutely be a moment right now between you and God.
Everyday read this scripture. Here it is, "Are you tired, worn out, burned out on religion? Come to me." Jesus didn't ask you to go do something. He didn't ask you to go challenge something. He says, "Are you tired? Are you worn out? Are you spent? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life." You don't need another sermon, you don't need a song, you don't need another church, you don't need another pastor, we need Jesus, is what we need. He is the one who brings life. He is the one who brings healing. He is the one that brings restoration. And in Hebrews four he is the greater Joshua who brings rest.
He says, "Are you tired? Are you wore out? Are you burned on religion? Come to me, get away with me and you will recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me and watch how I do it and learn the unforced rhythms of grace." I won't lay anything heavy. Keep company with me and you will learn to live freely and lightly.
And that's what we all want but you're not going to get that in Egypt. You're going to get that with the 10 words that are bridged by being people of rest. That have real relationship with God and real relationship with others. And I don't want to be a church that just grows to grow and just shows up to show up. I want to see people's lives changed and people getting freed from the bondage of garbage and the bondage of addiction and the bondage of religion and walking along with a smile on their face, walking lightly saying, "You don't understand, I got away with Jesus and he has changed my life."
Let's pray, "Dear heavenly Father I come to you as an imperfect man. I surely don't live out all these things in my life and I'm probably not the only one. But God this is a moment here at Grace as we're growing and every service is growing and all this stuff is going on, I know because I'm a student of history and I'm a student of church that it's so easy to start off right and finish wrong. And God I'm committed as the pastor of this church for this to always be a real place filled with Jesus. And Lord, you know this is my prayer in private and I don't mind to pray it in public. God if you can do better with somebody else, you can surely replace me and put them here because God what I want is Grace Community Church to be something special in the heart of Lakewood Ranch where people genuinely get a real taste of who Jesus is and his authentic life. That's all I want. And I want that for your people God. I want that for the people that are here struggling today, they're tired and wore out and cry at night because they don't know how they're going to make it because they're just a commodity under the bondage of Pharaoh. God deliver them. Let your people go, set them free. Help us to be people that learn to rest, in Jesus name." And everybody said, "Amen. Amen."