In the movie, Nacho Libre, there is a sub-plot that parallels life and scripture almost perfectly. This sub-plot helps us with a core part of Christianity. We will call it:
4 Parts of Connecting Others with God
Nacho and Esqueleto become friends and wrestling partners. Nacho is a friar. Esqueleto is…well we aren’t sure what he is.Their relationship takes a very unexpected turn during their first wrestling match.
Nacho: You take the stallion, I’ll take the pony.
Esqueleto: I can’t wrestle him.
Nacho: But you’re tall and fast like a gazelle, you can do it. Pray to the Lord for strength.
Esqueleto: I don’t believe in God. I believe in Science.
Nacho is Shocked that his partner is not a believer in the Lord.
Nacho is shocked and saddened. This gives us point #1:
1. We Discover that Others are Far from God
This is the first step. The realization and the responsibility of ‘the Lost’.
We see the destruction of loved one’s lives around us. Their lives often frustrate us. We are often disgusted with our friends, neighbors, co-workers. How could you? Why did you? Why don’t you?
It seems so obvious where others go wrong. From our outside perspective, we can often give advice or prescribe a solution for them. When we see their mess and their pain, this is a God-given red-flag. This is a system given to us by God, not to judge or condemn or EVEN give advice.
What we are seeing is their distance from God. Instead of their lifestyle making you frustrated or mad or calloused to ambivalence, we should feel a burden for their separation from God.
Romans 9:2 My heart is filled with bitter sorrow and unending grief 3 for my people, my Jewish brothers and sisters. I would be willing to be forever cursed—cut off from Christ!—if that would save them.
Probably what ever thing or sin that makes you the most frustrated or upset is the area of people that God is calling you to reach out to.
After feeling the burden of the lost,
2. We Participate in Their Relationship with God.
One day while preparing for a match:
Nacho: I’m a little bit concerned about your salvation and stuff. Why have you not been baptized?
Esqueleto: Because I never got around to it, Ok?!
We participate with others’ relationship with God, Just as Jesus participated in our relationship with God
John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us…
So we are commanded to participate in others’ relationship with God:
Matthew 28:19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.
The movie shows an accurate picture of life:
3. We Often Stumble and get Anxious in the Process.
Nacho stumbles with his humanity. He is frustrated and gets anxious with the process.
Nacho: I’m not listening to you! You only believe in Science. That’s probably why we never win! The kids have no food because of you!
Esqueleto: I’m sick of hearing about your stupid orphans.
Nacho: What did you say?
Esqueleto: I hate orphans
Nacho: Say it again to my face
Esqueleto: I hate dem
Nacho: Come again
Esqueleto: I hate all de orphans in the whole worl!!
In the midst of living life with others, we screw things up. We often expect those who have no relationship with God to somehow live like they do.
We often don’t say enough or when we do talk, we show the wrong attitude. Our sin shows up.
What do we do in that instance? Get up, dust off, refocus on God and continue your pursuit of God. Demonstrate your dependence on God.
This leads us to our final point:
4. We Tell a Story and Reflect the Light. God Saves.
Nacho’s life, his example, his testimony in the natural rhythm of life influences Esquelto.
Acts 1:8 …You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses…
In spite of our sin, God uses our story to bring His truth and power to others. Jesus Christ reveals Himself in our weakness! He is made present or appears to everyone when we suffer weakness and then overcome. This tenderizes the heart of those around us.
In the movie, God changes Esquelto’s heart. We see a conversion.
- FIRST, shows up in his practical life.
Nacho: I have given up wrestling.
Esqueleto: Nacho, you are great fighter. You’ve got something none of these guys have. (heart). And the childrens need a real hero.
Nacho: I thought you hated all the orphans in the whole world.
Esqueleto: Not anymore. I like them. And they need you Nacho.
- SECOND, it shows up in his religious life.
When Nacho is facing Ramses, in the final match, it is Esquelto that leads the prayer.
Esquelto: Maybe we should pray.
Write the names of three people who you know need an encounter with Jesus. We are going to pray for them.
Some of you are a name on someone’s list. You are ready to commit your life to Jesus today! Let’s pray right now about that!
When you want to participate in someone’s relationship with Jesus Christ, a powerful tool that you have in your toolbox is inviting people to PromiseLand San Marcos.
This is something we talk about in 101 (first Sunday of every month).
We specifically design our worship services to reach the lost. We want you to have a place where you can worship God intimately yourself, but you can also be confident to invite friends and know that they will have a place to meet God themselves.
We are wrapping up Man Month (June) with a Beard Challenge. Who can grow the best beard in 7 days?
Men came to church clean shaven on June 22. They will return on June 29 with their best facial hair efforts. The winner will take a gift certificate and label of BEST BEARD 2014!
If you missed Sunday and want to enter the contest late, then email a picture of yourself clean-shaven to firstname.lastname@example.org. Here are some of our entrants.
May the force be with you, men!
Instead of posting my sermon notes today, I decided to post our small group discussion guide. It gives a good picture of the story and how to apply to your everyday life.
PROMISEGROUP DISCUSSION GUIDE: WEEK OF MAY 19 – Honorology – Bringing Honor Back!
What part of our society is missing honor the most?
David was a man of great honor. He honored the man of God, Saul even when Saul hunted David to destroy him. He told his men to never touch Saul.
But David lost his honor when we found comfort in the palace. He found himself lost in the maze of adultery. Sin had crept into David’s life and when that happened, honor was the first to leave. When he found out that his lover, Bathsheba, was pregnant, he sent for her husband Uriah. Ironically, it would be Uriah that brought honor back to the palace.
2 Samuel 11:6 And David sent to Joab, saying, Send me Uriah the Hittite. And Joab sent Uriah to David. 7 And when Uriah was come unto him, David demanded of him how Joab did, and how the people did, and how the war prospered. 8 And David said to Uriah, Go down to thy house, and wash thy feet. And Uriah departed out of the king’s house, and there followed him a mess of meat from the king. 9 But Uriah slept at the door of the king’s house with all the servants of his lord, and went not down to his house. 10 And when they had told David, saying, Uriah went not down unto his house, David said unto Uriah, Camest thou not from thy journey? why then didst thou not go down unto thine house? 11 And Uriah said unto David, The ark, and Israel, and Judah, abide in tents; and my lord Joab, and the servants of my lord, are encamped in the open fields; shall I then go into mine house, to eat and to drink, and to lie with my wife? as thou livest, and as thy soul liveth, I will not do this thing. 12 And David said to Uriah, Tarry here to day also, and to morrow I will let thee depart. So Uriah abode in Jerusalem that day, and the morrow. 13 And when David had called him, he did eat and drink before him; and he made him drunk: and at even he went out to lie on his bed with the servants of his lord, but went not down to his house. 14 And it came to pass in the morning, that David wrote a letter to Joab, and sent it by the hand of Uriah. 15 And he wrote in the letter, saying, Set ye Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retire ye from him, that he may be smitten, and die.
What part of that story is most upsetting to you?
Where all does dishonor show up in that passage?
What characteristics does Uriah display in this story? How does he honor his God and his country?
What pleasures did he sacrifice to display this honor?
What ultimately happened to Uriah because of his honor?
Because of Uriah’s integrity, honor was brought back to David. His sin was revealed and purity/honor returned to the Kingdom.
Compare the act of Uriah and his act of integrity and honor with the life and work of Jesus Christ.
How does Jesus’ submission to man (disciples and Romans) pave the way for righteousness to return to Earth?
How does our honor or lack of honor display our heart? Explain.
How do we bring honor back to the society where we live?
How can we mirror Uriah and Jesus in modern times?
Is there anyone in your life right now that you need to show your honor to?
How can we pray with you today for any of these questions/topics of honor?
Here are my sermon notes from Mother’s Day 2014!
Our culture is missing honor. We are so preoccupied with our own progress and contentment, we often forget respect and honor. Although honor is missing in our culture, it is a fundamental part of scripture.
Exodus 20:12 Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.
Mary witnessed the crucifixion from the foot of the cross. Can you even imagine how she must’ve felt? Jesus turns to John and says, take care of her, and looks at his mother and says, let him stand in my place as your son. John lived a very long life, and I believe he took care of Mary until she went to heaven.
You cannot be wrong with your mother and be right with God. If your mother is still alive, regardless of your and her ages, you can HONOR her in these 4 ways. If your mom is not alive find another one! Many people borrow my mom.
Let’s Talk about 4 Ways to Honor MOM!
1 – HONOR MOM WITH YOUR WORDS
Mom taught us a lot with her words!
• Mothers teach us about foresight: “Make sure you wear clean underwear in case you’re in an accident.”
• logic: “If you fall out of that tree and break your neck, don’t come crying to me.”
• religion: “You better pray that comes out of the carpet.”
• contradictions: “Shut your mouth and eat your dinner!”
• contortionism: “Will you look at the dirt on the back of your neck?”
• perseverance: “You are going to sit here until you eat every last piece of that broccoli.”
• circle of life: “I brought you into this world, and I can take you out.
Men have the philosophy—“I don’t have to say ‘I love you’, you already know it. I have told you before, if I change my mind I’ll let you know!” Or, “I SHOW love, not just say it”
That may be true, but momma needs to hear those words, “I Love You!”
Children need to hear it…and saying it makes you more of a man, not less!
-Erica and I have been intentional about creating a verbal affirmation culture in our family.
Our spouses need to hear it, our children…our mothers also!
Some men would say, “I’m just not comfortable…”then be uncomfortable!”
What could you SAY to your mom that would honor her?
2 – HONOR HER WITH YOUR TOUCH
When’s the last time you gave her a big hug w/ out her asking for it…or a kiss on the cheek, or a neck rub, or just sat on the couch with her? Mom was the first person who ever touched you…she held you in her womb for months. Pregnant moms go through hell.
Her first priority was to hold you, she cuddled you, stroked your head, rubbed your feet, held your little cheeks against her, gave you a finger to grasp…in love she did all these things, including grooming you w/ a licked thumb.
When you were little she could say, “give me sugar”, and you’d pucker up and she’d accept your wet, sloppy kiss and even say thank you! You give her bear hugs so tight she didn’t have to hold on to you…you’d just cling to her as she walked around!
She changed your diapers, Momma CLEANED AREAS THAT YOU PROBALY HAVEN’T CLEAN SINCE, potty trained you, and held the Kleenex for you to blow your nose! She wiped food off of your face years longer than she should have had to!
She constantly touched you! Mom’s life may endure some heavy changes, but she deserves your touch and should never have to give that up completely!
How could you show honor to your mom by your touch?
3 – HONOR HER WITH YOUR PATIENCE
Mothers have an incredible job w/ no pay. Minimum wage: $75,000/year. No position in the business world compares to the physical, emotional, and spiritual commitment she has in motherhood.
In spite of all she does for us, we often become impatient with her.
She was (to some still is) your taxi, chef, nurse, wardrobe manager, career advisor, counselor, mentor, confidant, teacher.
Honor her patiently…just because she’s tender to your needs is no reason to take advantage of her, it’s reason to be patient and to love her all the more!
Teenagers: If you treated your friends like you treat your mom you wouldn’t have friends.
If you treated your friend’s mom like you treat your own, their mom wouldn’t let their kid have anything to do with you!
Your mom deserves better…she’s not a rug to wipe every negative thought on!
For us adults w/ living mothers: Love her patiently.
James Dobson read on Focus on Family Radio—letter from 80 yr. old woman on her birthday:
To all my children: I suppose my upcoming birthday started my thoughts along these lines…This is a good time to tell you that what I truly want are things I can never get enough of, yet they are free. I want the intangibles. I would like for you to come and sit with me, and for you to be relaxed. We can talk, or we can be silent. I would just like for us to be together. I need your patience when I don’t hear what you say the first time. I know how tiresome it is to always be repeating, but sometimes I must ask you to repeat. I need your patience when I think too much about the past, with my slowness and my set ways. I wan you to be tolerant with what the years have done to me physically. Please be understanding about my personal care habits. I spill things. I lose things. I get unduly excited when I try to figure out my bank statements. I can’t remember what time to take my medication, or if I took it already. I take too many naps. Sometimes sleep helps to pass the day. Well, there you have it: Time, Patience, and Understanding. Those are priceless gifts that I want. Finally, in his letter, Paul wrote, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” I know I can, too! It’s a wonderful feeling to know His eye is on the sparrow and I know He cares for me. I guess being 80 isn’t so bad after all!
How could you be more patient with your mom?
4 – HONOR HER WITH YOUR ATTENTION
Mom recently caught me in the hall and said, “I need counseling, I haven’t spoken to my adult daughter in days.”
Mothers listen as you pour out your heart…she has a sympathetic ear, always has…and even as an adult you’ve gone to her when you want someone who will really listen and understand…and she’ll always be on your side.
Several years back there was a documentary of men on death row. They interviewed the men and their mothers, too. Invariably the moms would say, “He’s such a good boy!” Interviewer: yes, but he slaughtered 37 w/ an axe!…” Mom responds with, “I know, but he has a good heart!”
It’s no wonder we like to talk to mom…she listens…but now she has issues, and now it’s your turn to be her “rock”…and take time to listen…it’s payback time!
Susanna Wesley raised 19 children including John and Charles. There was a visitor in their home one day when Charles was 5/asked mom question, she answered/5 minutes later asked it again/3rd time…7 x’s total/visitor said, why do you keep answering that question 7 times?/she answered, because, 6 would not have been enough!
Lord, help us to be that patient/attentive to our own parents as they grow older.
In older days, our parents have many fears/anxieties…may we treat them as we’d hope to be treated when we are in their shoes!
How could you honor your mom with more attention?