Tuesday, I am headed over the hill. I will turn 40. It has made me become a little introspective. It has made me think about where I am going, where I have been and who has been on the path with me.
I preached my first sermon 20 years ago in 1996. 12 people were there. 8 of them were related to me. Since then, I have preached 1000s of times. I’ve held 4 different pastor positions in 3 different churches in two states. I have ministered in North America, South America, Africa, and Asia. I traveled some in Europe. I have been blessed to serve on boards of non-profit organizations, lead ministers’ associations, help plant 4 different churches. Been married 17 years and have 3 beautiful kids. Our church in San Marcos started in 2003 with 30 people and now (13 years later) averages over 1200 per weekend. I am so blessed.
However, I have lived long enough to know that, I am a man. Every day that I do not die is a great opportunity for me to sin. I am very capable of sinning and falling short of perfect. I could walk into pride, jealousy, selfishness, greed, lust, and loose my focus on Jesus.
Therefore, I CLING to my faith in Jesus and my obedience to His way. I surround myself with other believers that will keep me accountable.
When I look back on my life, I can remember statements that people told me that shaped my life. 40 years is a long time. To remember one sentence that one person said 30 years ago…that is incredible. It had to be a serious situation.
I’m sure everyone in here, if given the time, could remember statements that shaped your life from childhood to the present day. Some were spoken in trauma. Some statements were spoken in party times. Some statements push us. Others challenge us. Some statements make us angry. Some make our hearts skip a beat.
Regardless, of the environment of the statement or even the speaker of the statement, we have a choice of what to do with the statement. We are holders of the statement. We are stewards or guardians of the statement.
Over the course of Peyton Manning’s career (we are the same age), he wrote notes to people in his life. Those people saved the notes and in a tribute to Him in his retirement, Gaterade compiled these notes and sent one back to Peyton.
Words are enormous. They paint pictures. They express emotion, commitment, concern, disapproval.
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:24-25
But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. Hebrews 3:13
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. Ephesians 4:29
Throughout the Bible we see some powerful statements!
“Sarah, You will give birth to a son.”
Joseph told his brothers, “I had a dream last night that you all would bow down to me.”
“Moses, What you are doing is not good. You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone.”
“Naomi, where you go, I will go. Where you stay, I will stay. Your God is my God.”
“Ruth, go to Boaz’s house and make your intentions known to him.”
“Samuel, go back to bed, but listen for God’s voice.”
Elijah said to the widow, “I know that you don’t have hardly any food left, but cook me a meal first.”
Here are some statements that shaped my life. These may not be for you…they were for me.
Starting in around 1980 my dad repeated a certain phrase to me…
- “Your word is your bond.” – Dad
In 1989, my parents had found some materials in my room that were not becoming of a future pastor. Music with explicit lyrics and notes from a girl at school…
- “I’m not going to punish you. You need to pray until you hear from God and then come talk to me.” – Dad
The next statement was from someone that I don’t even remember her name, but she said something so kind. She was a mom in my boy scout troop. This was probably not too much after my dad’s last statement. I was elevated to Senior Patrol Leader at like 13yrs old, which was the highest level of leader as a scout in the troop. I was in over my head. She said to me at one of the meetings:
- “You are wise. You don’t speak much but in that silence, you speak volumes.” – Boy Scout Mom
Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent. Proverbs 17:28
- “You are good enough to play on the A team but I need you to play on the B team.” – Coach Long Dahlstrom 8th grade football team
I was so mad!
Then, 2 years later, I made the varsity soccer team at Hays as a freshman and had a great year as a player. The next year, we got a new coach that had never played or coached soccer in his life. He looked at my height and said,
“You are going to play on JV.” – Coach Mathys
Both those statements were GREAT opportunities for me to be angry, quit, be bitter. I was quite mad. I scored 2 goals that first soccer game I was so mad. I eventually was moved back up to Varsity and made 1st team all district.
- “You are the best Spanish Club president that we have ever had.” – Mrs Clayton
- “You have nothing to prove to anyone” – Tudor Bismark
- “I do” Erica Steele
- “The parents understand that there is no chance of their daughter having a meaningful life.”
- “I want you to run sound in San Marcos.” – Kenneth Phillips
- “You should read Timothy Keller’s: The Reason for God” – Jason Bollinger
Here are 4 Things I Suggest:
- Put your family in the environment to hear these types of statements.
- Allow statements to drive you to Jesus. Allow him to process them with you.
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. 1 John 4:1
- Allow them to push and challenge you to go farther, bigger, and better.
Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future. Proverbs 19:20
- You should Say things to people. Don’t afraid to be a mentor. Don’t be afraid to speak the truth in love. If God is leading you to say something, say it! They might remember it on their 40th bday.
Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. Colossians 4:6