Social Distancing & The Sacrifice Of Jesus

You and I have been living with this 6-foot thing called “social distancing” for many weeks now. Or as some introverts are calling it, “Heaven on earth.”

The truth is all this social distancing has caused us all to realize how much we took for granted just being together and being outside.

I feel like this meme captured it well!

In this pandemic, 6 feet evidently makes all the difference.

As we think about how dark this COVID-19 virus has become, there’s also a few sparks of light. 

  • People are getting more intentional and focused with their time, energy and resources.  In this season of separation so many people are reaching out and serving others. It’s inspiring as we really do become the hands and feet of Jesus. 

Another bright spot in this darkness …

  • Churches all around the world, large and small, are embracing technology and actually making more people aware of the love and sacrifice of Jesus by moving so much ministry online.
  • And it could be that you are meeting family members that you forgot lived in your house, because you’ve been so busy for so long!

We are all being reminded of the things that matter most. And it took a pandemic, something dark, to help many of those good things come into the light.

You see when Jesus went to the cross, He also went to battle against a pandemic of sorts. The world was infected with sin. 

Philippians 2 says Jesus “let go of his grip on heaven” (where there was no pandemic / no sin) to come to earth” (where the pandemic of sin was running rampant.)

And Jesus …

  • Walked with us …
  • Talked with us …
  • Ate with us … 
  • JESUS GOT CLOSE TO US!

And then in a move that no one could imagine … he took on our sin and he went to the cross.

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. ~ 2 Cor. 5:21

He took on the virus, to save us from the virus.

No one fully understood why he needed to travel down that road that Friday. But today we understand. We realize the perfect sacrifice of Jesus on the cross was the ONLY vaccine for the pandemic of sin. 

Good Friday isn’t a holiday we really want,
but it is a holiday that we really need. 

Think of it this way: We want this whole 6ft social distancing thing to come to an end, we want this stay at home order thing to end. We want to get past it and get on with things.  We want to get back to life, and back to work, being with friends. It’s hard to be cooped up in the house, restricted, and we’re not sure how much longer we can do this. 

BUT …

  • If 6ft really will make a difference.
  • If 6ft really will stop the spread and flatten the curve
  • If 6ft really will save people lives.

We will do it. 

And I would suggest to you on this Good Friday, 
that is also why Jesus did it.

Jesus knew his sacrifice would save our lives.

Researchers say that the average male height is almost 6 feet tall, give or take a few inches. They also say that your wingspan – from fingertip to fingertip is a one to one ratio. 

That means if Jesus fit our height averages today, the distance from Jesus’ fingertip to fingertip is about 6 feet. 

Jesus spread out his arms 6 feet on the cross
in an effort to defeat the pandemic of sin
and show us what love really looks like.
 

Today, there is a literal and metaphorical 6 ft of separation in our lives. There is the literal 6 feet of separation that we must have between ourselves and others during this crisis. And that is a challenge. But even more challenging and perplexing and frustrating oftentimes is the other areas of our lives where we experience separation.

  • The 6 feet we feel between addiction and recovery.

Sometimes that 6ft feels like 6 miles! You are so close to recovery … but yet it feels so far away.

And it’s the same way in our homes …

  • That 6 feet we feel at times between our self and our spouse who lives in the same house.

We are so close to each other in proximity / often less than 6ft / but that 6ft. can feel like 6,000 miles when we are not on the same page relationally, emotionally, spiritually and physically.

  • And what about the 6 feet we often feel between our self and God … sometimes God … feels like He’s a million miles away. 

And we wonder, how do I …

  • Overcome this addiction 
  • Repair things with my spouse or kids or neighbor or boss or best-friend
  • Get close to God again?

Here’s the deal … that is what Good Friday is all about.

That’s why we call it “good.”

You see Good Friday presents to us historical evidence that a man shattered the barrier that separates us from so many good people and things in our lives. 

Jesus is THE WAYMAKER when there seems to be no way. And because of Jesus we can come close to God again. You see friends we MUST pause and realize today that …

The dark road that Jesus traveled to the cross on Friday,
is also the road that brought us back to God on Sunday.

It’s true we are living in a “Friday” world right now. Basically every day feels like a Friday. It’s pretty dark, and sad, and scary. There are all kinds of unknowns … 

It’s definitely Friday … but don’t forget friends … Sunday is coming!

God bless you and have a fantastic Easter weekend.

Leaders, free COVID-19 message / resources for your family, church, school or business.

Leaders, if you are looking for a COVID-19 specific message outline to build your weekend talk and/or communication to your family, school or business … please feel free to use any of this content or stream this message as needed. 

This past weekend we made a pivot at Parkview Christian Church in Chicagoland and I rewrote the weekend message to address specific coronavirus concerns and bring perspective and hope to our community. 

We are one church, now with thousands of locations!

Leaders, I am here to serve you any way I can in this unprecedented season. If you need more messages, full series content with sermon bumper videos and graphics packages to switch up your teaching series before or after Easter … please let me know. I would be honored to connect with you and serve you.

“We should on God” – SHOULD HAPPENS – WEEK 4

The last should of them all …

This is why …
– The person you work with or your neighbor makes jokes, or is cynical about God.
– The person you go to school with says they are an atheist.
– Your husband, wife, brother or sister, aunt or uncle said “I’m out” and quit going to church.

It’s because at some point in life God did not act like we think He should.

Shoulding on God is not a religious thing.
It’s not a church thing.
It’s not a Christian thing.
It’s a human thing.

Everyone single person on this planet thinks they know how God “should” act.
If I do this … God will do this. It’s like He is required to do this if I do this and then He doesn’t.

And we “should” all over Him.

This message talks about how we can continue to trust God, even when we don’t understand or agree with God.

“OTHERS SHOULD ON ME” – SHOULD HAPPENS – WEEK 3

Jetty 1961 VW Camper Bus

Have you ever run out of gas in your car? You’re driving along – no problem and suddenly you’re about to be out of gas, or you are out of gas. Several years ago, I was driving my mobile office around Phoenix and I am not sure how it happened but at one moment the gas gauge read half full and just a minute later it was sitting on E.

My first tendency was to question the reading. This can’t be right, I was just half full a few minutes ago. How can I be on “E?” So, I ignored the reading for about 10 miles and the needle started to move below E! How can something be below E? Isn’t empty, empty? Well, to make a long story medium length … you can’t drive on “E” for long. 

Here is my question for you … have you ever run out of gas? Not in your car … but in life? Have you ever been at the place in your life where you have been going so hard for so long and doing so many things. You are caring for so many people and carrying so many other peoples burdens … that you are just running on empty? What about right now? 

Let’s say this gas gauge could register what’s in your heart, what’s it reading right now?  

Is it on “F” for full?  Or on “E” for empty? Or somewhere in-between?

If you are you less than half full and headed towards empty … what caused you to feel empty and out of gas? Maybe it was the unrealistic expectations put on you by others? 

The shoulds of others.

In this message we talk about how to kindly but confidently say “not now” to the shoulds of others. And begin to move from a should life to a good life.

OTHERS SHOULD ON ME – SHOULD HAPPENS – WEEK 3

What should I be considering during communion?

Jesus made it very clear to his overwhelmed disciples that communion is time of remembrance.

I Cor. 11:23-26 – The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

The very need for the word “remember” signifies that we tend to forget things. And I believe a big part of our stress, anxiety and sense of feeling overwhelmed is because we have forgotten some things about ourselves and our God that we should remember!

So, what are we supposed to be “remembering” during a time of communion?

What should our minds be considering as we take the bread and juice that represents the body and blood of Jesus?

What should we be thinking about …

  • As the trays are passing by
  • The lights are low
  • The room is quiet
  • And most of our heads are bowed

 

How To Act When God Doesn’t Act Like We Think He “Should.”

Ten hours before the horrific shootings began at Mandalay Bay I was speaking to three Sunday morning services at Verve Church, just off the Las Vegas strip.

I was talking about how we “should on God” when God doesn’t act like He “should.”

Midway through the message God led me to pause and say …

“I am going to share something with you now
that could save your FUTURE FAITH in God.”

At some point in the future, it could be today or tomorrow or next month, God is not going to act like we think He “should.”

And you will have choice to make …

Will you continue to trust God,
even when He does not act like
you think He “should?”

Little did I know that less than 10 hours later I would be inside the Mandalay Bay Hotel watching a band about 10:30pm and in the midst of this surreal event.

  

                                             Police / SWAT moving by us as we hid inside Mandalay Bay

  

Police outside Mandalay Bay.  Thousands being evacuated an hour after shooting began.

 

Here is my message from Verve Church this past weekend.

How do we act when God doesn’t act like we think He “should?”

 

NOTE: This message is from the forthcoming book “Meet The Shoulds” and the teaching series “SHOULD HAPPENS” that will be available at the end of this year.

The Genius of Collecting Emptiness

Generally speaking, in life, would you prefer something to be full or empty?

In most areas of life we would prefer something be full rather than empty. It’s better to have a full can of soda, plate of cookies or gas tank … than an empty one. When it’s your birthday you would rather your Facebook or Instagram timeline be full of birthday wishes … rather than empty. And what about Thanksgiving or Christmas? Would you rather have a house full of friends and family … or a quiet, empty and lonely house?

We tend to prefer fullness over emptiness.

And listen, God is all good with fullness. He wants you to have life and have it to the fullest.

But there are times when God prefers emptiness.

Sometimes emptiness is the only thing God can bless.

In this short message I spend some time talking about the importance and genius of collecting emptiness.

 

“Totally Connected & Yet Lonely” A Three Minute Look At Our Facebook Friendships

We know more about each other and our world than any other era in human history.

We are as connected as ever
but also as lonely as ever.

 

This three-minute video takes a fun and sobering look at our online lives.