The Decision is Yours
Todd Wagner | 02.25.20
It’s easy to think that your 20s don’t really matter, but the truth is that what you do today will matter tomorrow. In this message, we learn how to own our faith now and impact the next decade of our lives. The decision is yours: Will you go through life just getting by or choose to go all in with Christ?
The Decision is Yours
It’s easy to think that your 20s don’t really matter, but the truth is that what you do today will matter tomorrow. In this message, we learn how to own our faith now and impact the next decade of our lives. The decision is yours: Will you go through life just getting by or choose to go all in with Christ?
All right, here we go! Hello, friends, who are joining us from around the States, and hello to my friends who are right here with me in Dallas. My name is Todd. I'm part of the team that gets to hang out here in Dallas at Watermark. We love being at The Porch and being with you. We are wrapping up this series Roaring 20s. We've talked to you about how so much of what we do in our 20s has consequences well down the line.
It's no surprise looking at me that the 20s are a bit in my rearview mirror. It wasn't exactly last week. It was actually three decades ago. Let me tell you what happens when your 20s were three decades ago. You start to understand why people begged you when you were in your 20s to listen to them: because they have lived a life that has now borne out the fruit of that life. There's a little syllogism, a little phrase I have long quoted. It's worth sharing with you as we get started.
It goes like this: Sow a thought, you're going to reap an action. In other words, we do what we think. Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, you're going to reap a habit. Some of you guys know that. You're imprisoned to certain actions. You don't even know why you keep doing what you're doing. You do it and go, "I'm not going to do it again. This is the last time." You have pain because you do it, and you swear, "I'm going to stop doing it," but you have tracks laid in your brain.
Literally, your brain has formed tracks that your life runs on. I'm going to give you some encouragement tonight that there is such a thing that exists called neuroplasticity, which means you can change some of those rails, but a lot of folks are laying down some iron and some roads, and they are learning how to roll, especially in their 20s.
Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character. I talk to my friends who are on the street a lot, and I love to do it, especially with my younger kids. Not just hand them something that makes us feel good or even makes them like us for just a moment, but when we're dealing with and rolling with folks who are on the street, I want to know their name, and I want to hear their story. We talk to them, and we sit with them.
Again and again, when I was with my friends who are living on the street, folks who I'm loving who I bump into who are living a hard life… You look at them and go, "Man, I don't know how old they are, but I know how old they look, and it doesn't look fun." I would always say the exact same thing to them. "Tell me how you got here. Tell me your story. How did you end up where you're flying a sign?"
Almost perfectly, first they go, "Man, you don't care" or "Man, that's a long story." I go, "No, no, no. Why don't you do this? Give us the two-minute version. Then we'll see if we want the two-hour version." Every single time, I'd hear the exact same thing. Some version of this: "Do you want to know how I got here, man? One bad decision at a time. It didn't just start with me being on the street. Just one bad decision at a time. That's how I got here."
Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny. I remember that I was in my 20s, and I was spending time with high school kids. As I was spending time with kids who were in high school, I was begging them to believe me on this one thing.
That was: if I knew how many of the people I went to high school with that I lived and died for their approval, that I desperately wanted to be thought by them as the best in class or homecoming king or whatever thing it was that I thought would validate me and fill me up… If I knew how few of them I would know 10 years later, man! would I have lived differently in high school.
I want you to think about that right now. I want you to think about all of your friends on speed dial. I want you to think about the number of kids in your graduating class. Do you have them in your mind? Do you know how many you graduated with? How many of those folks are still deeply involved in your life? How many of them are making your day today? Think about how they ruined you with your obsession about what you thought they thought about you.
But you try to convince your kids of that when they're in high school, like, "I'm just telling you, man, these are not the folks who are going to make or break your life," they look at you like, "You're crazy. You forgot what it's like to be me." We haven't forgotten what it's like to be them. We carry the burdens and the stress and the pains of them, and that's why we're so desperate for them to listen to us. Amen?
Do you all remember that constant foolishness as you look back? Well, I can tell you, one of the things about being a couple of decades away from my roaring 20s is now I'm getting phone calls regularly from some of the guys I ran with through college who are on their second or third marriages with kids who are being divorced, kids who are going into rehab, kids who are struggling with their gender identity.
It's really interesting. A lot of my friends didn't go deep off the rails. They somehow held it together. I mean, they ruined their marriages. Some of them have drinking problems and recovery things, I guess, but some of their kids… They're calling me, and they're like, "I don't know what to do with my kid. My kid is causing me so much pain. What would you say to them, Todd?" I'm like, "Well, I'll tell you what I'll say to them right now, but the first thing you might need to do is get on your knees and ask them for forgiveness that you're just now showing up saying to them what you should have been saying for a while."
Actually, I give a message here at Watermark that I think is my most downloaded and listened to message I've ever given at Watermark. I'm not for sure, but I think they tell me, "Todd, this is the one people keep taking." It's called 16 Things to Convince Your Children of Before 16. A lot of us are in our roaring 20s, and we're out there just having a rip-roaring good time, and we don't know that it is not going to be a good time, because it's laying rails that might look like it's working right now, but I'm just telling you, you sow a thought, you're going to reap an action.
Some of you guys are reaping actions that are going to reap a habit. Some of those habits are going to turn into a character, and you're going to marry somebody with a character like yours. Or maybe you believe your character is so shot that it doesn't matter and you can't marry somebody with a good character. You're just walking into a destiny. Somebody who loves you is just trying to say, "Stop. Whoa. Slow down. Don't. Change. Turn around. Figure it out right now that you will reap what you sow."
The law of the harvest, something we share here a lot, is that you reap what you sow. In other words, you put an apple seed in the ground and you're going to get an apple. You put despairing actions into the ground, and you're going to bear great sadness. But here's the law of the harvest: not only do you reap what you sow; you reap it later than you sow it.
One of the things that's true is this verse that God drops into the middle of a Bible in a book filled with wisdom. It says, "Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed quickly, therefore the hearts of the sons of men among them are given fully to do evil." This is what that means. Because you jack around and kind of go, "Okay, that worked. I didn't really get busted. I didn't get caught. I'm not that person who just puts it in there one time and dies. I slept with him. I'm not pregnant. Oh, no one knows I had that abortion. I guess I got away with it…"
What happens is that stuff doesn't leave you. You know better than anybody that you become unpregnant, but you know you don't ever become an un-mother. Every year about that time, you go, "They'd be 1. They'd be 2. They'd be graduating from high school." I'm here to beg you to believe me that what you do in your 20s matters.
I'm getting phone calls from people who were kind of living the roaring 20s, and there were times that looked like I was missing out, and it just turns out…no. It turns out that God in his kindness had taught me some things young, that not only did I not need to live as a slave to others in high school, I didn't need to do what the world told me I should do when I was in my 20s.
Let me tell you something else that's happening. My friends who just rock 'n' rolled and made it happen, who weren't careful, didn't save, racked up debt, had a party, drove the car, looked like a millionaire even though they had more debt than they had sense and money, are now, at this age, like, "Man, I wish I would have listened to those guys when they told me if I would have saved $2,000 a year starting in my 20s, due to the power of compound interest, by the time I was getting to where I am now, I would have had a million dollars saved."
But nobody thinks about it when they're in their 20s and go, "I'll catch up later. I'll get to it later." I'm just telling you, your 20s matter. I have prayed for you, and I'm praying over you right now that you'll start doing the things today that you'll wish next year you would have started a year ago; that you won't just say, "You know what, man? Next year is going to be different. I'm going to turn it around"; that you'd go, "Today is the day."
Don't wait until the next January. Don't wait until next Monday. Just go, "You know what, man? I have to draw a line somewhere. I'm going to draw it now." Do you know what is so true of 20-year-olds? Most 20-year-olds right now are trying to figure out, "What am I going to do with my life? How am I going to change the world? What am I going to do to change the world?"
What I'm going to tell you is you ought to start to think about what you're going to do to change yourself. What are you going to do to change you or what will bring about the change for you? I thought if I ever got to know God and got serious about God that what would change is I'd be kind of opting out of life. That was the voice I heard, and it was a lie. It was from a liar who comes to steal, kill, and destroy, and he feeds you those lies in your 20s.
I'm here to take him on tonight. I'm here to tell you there's a God who loves you who has, in his grace, created in your brain that which he put in a lizard's tail. What do I mean by that? Have you ever tried to grab a lizard by the tail? That sucker runs off, and then you're sitting there holding a tail, and it kind of freaks you out because it still moves.
What do they tell you happens to that little lizard's tail? I've never studied lizards extensively, but word is they kind of come back. They grow back. Listen. God in his kindness has said, "I want you to regard my patience as your salvation." It is true in Proverbs 29 it says, "A man who hardens his neck after much reproof will suddenly be broken beyond remedy."
In other words, there's a day where you're like, "One decision at a time, one decision at a time, and here I am. Here I am pregnant. Here I am got a girl pregnant. Here I am, all this consumer debt. Here I am thinking that no good guy would ever want me because I've been out there with not-so-good guys. Here I am addicted to images and porn, taking Roman (or whatever the latest way to call it is) in my twenties because I just don't work without help."
There's a different destiny for you. There's a better way, and I'm here to tell you by the kindness and grace of God I've been living it, not because I'm smarter than you or smarter than anybody else or smarter than your moms or dads but because grace has grabbed my heart. God is good, and he has shown me that he is good, and I've learned to love him and walk with him.
Some of you guys want to change the world, and today, I'm asking you to not just be so passionate that you want to change the world but to be so wise that you're committed to saying, "God, change me. Today is going to be the day I start not just wishing a year from now I'd have changed; I'm going to do today what I wish I would have started today." You all know Abraham Lincoln. Abraham Lincoln said, "You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today." It's going to come.
You reap what you sow. You reap it later than you sow it. You don't immediately get the consequence of putting a seed in the ground. It takes a while. Then here's the thing. What do you get when you put an apple seed in the ground? Do you get an apple? What do you get? You get a dadgum apple tree. You reap what you sow, you reap it later than you sow it, and you reap more than you sow. It's the law of the harvest. It's a fact. I've watched it.
There's an amazing little section of Scripture. It comes in a book written by a guy named Joshua, so it is brilliantly titled Joshua. I just want to read to you this little section of Scripture in the book of Joshua. This is what it says in chapter 24, verses 1-15. Joshua is an older man, and he's hanging out with a lot of Porchies. He's wrapping it up, and he's going to say, "I know you don't pay attention in school…" No one likes history when they're in school, but what everybody wishes they'd have studied more of when they're my age is history.
So, Joshua is going to take one more time, and in Joshua 24, he is going to share with them some history. So let's just read some history. This is Joshua compressing the Bible up to the time that Joshua is about to say, "Adios" into one little section of Scripture. I'm going to save you Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, and here comes Joshua, chapter 24.
"Then Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, and called for the elders of Israel and for their heads and their judges and their officers; and they presented themselves before God. Joshua said to all the people, 'Thus says the Lord , the God of Israel…'"
Listen, guys. I'm about to read to you what God wanted people to hear then, and he has preserved it because he wants you to hear it now. I'm not about to tell you what I think; I'm about to share with you what God says. It's worth remembering this. God calls himself the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Why? Because he wants you to know you can check him out. The brother has a dossier. He has a CV. He has a history. He has referrals. He's the number-one rated God on Yelp. Just go check him out.
He loves you. Nobody who has done business with God long complains long. There might be some people saying, "Man, I gave my life to Christ, and ever since then things have gotten terrible." A guy named Job a little bit later was righteous and blameless, feared God and shunned evil, and he had some bad chapters, but just hang in there, because he goes, "Hey, ignore all of those other posts. I was ignorant. He's who he says he is. Trust him."
God gets some bad posts and ratings on Yelp for a little bit, but you just hang around. You look at the preponderance of evidence, and you look at people who hang around long enough to tell you the whole story, and it's always five stars. He's alive, and he loves you. So he preserved this. He says, "From ancient times your fathers lived beyond the River…" Basically, in a place called Babylon. There was a guy named Terah, who was the father of Abraham, and they served other gods. "They were clueless, because I hadn't revealed myself to them."
You're here tonight, and God is going to do for you what he did to Abraham. He's going to reveal himself to you. Abraham was a pagan. Abraham was clueless. Abraham was living the roaring 20s that all pagans live, and God said, "Abraham, I'm going to show you who I am," and then you trace the story of Abraham. What you're going to see is blessing came because Abraham listened, and blessing can come to you.
"Then I took your father Abraham from beyond the River, and led him through all the land of Canaan, and multiplied his descendants and gave him Isaac. To Isaac I gave Jacob and Esau, and to Esau I gave Mount Seir…" That's not really my point here. I want to tell you that for a while he put Jacob in this incubator of a nation called Egypt. Then, a little bit later, there were a lot of folks who were living in Egypt, and things weren't going so well with them. Go back and read that story.
"And I raised up a deliverer because I heard the cries of my people. The guy I raised up was named Moses along with his brother Aaron." "…I plagued Egypt by what I did in its midst; and afterward I brought you out." In other words, "I did what only God could do, which is to bring the most powerful nation on earth to its knees, and I sent you out as a nation of slaves that pillaged its owners." Go read the story.
Verse 6: "I brought your fathers out of Egypt, and you came to the sea…" That was a bad place to be led. "Egypt pursued you with a bunch of chariots, and there was a dead end there, but guess what? I was just reminding you you're following the right God. So I split the sea." It says in verse 7:
"But when they cried out to the Lord , He put darkness between you and the Egyptians, and brought the sea upon them and covered them; and your own eyes saw what I did in Egypt. And you lived in the wilderness for a long time[about 40 years]. Then I brought you into the land of the Amorites…" That's modern-day Israel, also called Palestine, also called Canaan in your Bible.
"I drove out, basically, seven nations more powerful than you that had no reason to be driven out except it was time for my judgment to come on them, because if you harden your neck after much reproof, you'll suddenly be broken beyond remedy. So every now and then in history, I bring judgment on people as a reminder that judgment is coming on all people."
He walks them through some stuff that happened with a false prophet in verse 9. In verse 10, he says, "I was not willing to listen to this false prophet, so I made him bless you." Verse 11: "You crossed the Jordan and came to Jericho…" Remember that story? "The citizens of Jericho fought against you, but they didn't do so well, because I was with you." He goes on and says the same thing happened with the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Girgashites, and so on.
"Then I sent the hornet before you and it drove out the two kings of the Amorites from before you…" In other words, "I kept showing you that nature is mine." Like your buddy is Dr. Dolittle, and he'll summon up a herd of buffalo just to clear a way into the crowded bar so you can get the seat you want. God just did what he wanted to do to bless his people.
Verse 13: "I gave you a land on which you had not labored, and cities which you had not built, and you have lived in them; you are eating of vineyards and olive groves which you did not plant." Let me tell you what God does. He gives you what you do not deserve and puts you in a place of blessing you didn't earn. Can I say that to you again?
If you're here and you know your thoughts aren't good, which make your actions not so good, which make your habits pretty rotten, which give you a character you're not proud of and a destiny you're scared of, and that's why you're on your anxiety meds and numbing yourself with porn and food and whatever else you're numbing yourself with, he's not mad at you. He just wants to go, "Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired? I love you."
Jesus says it this way: "Are you weary and heavy-laden? I'd love to give you rest. I'll put you in a place you did not deserve to be in and give you things you did not earn, because I'm just that good. I'll pluck you out of this destiny of destruction. I'll restore to you the years the locusts have eaten. I will take your sins, though they're red as scarlet, and make them white as snow. I will turn your ashes into beauty." I'm quoting Bible here. I'm telling you this is who God is.
He's not scared of your sin. He's not scared of your abortion. He's not scared of your porn addiction. He's not scared of your dead religiosity. He's not scared of your depression. He's not scared of your anxiety. He just loves you, and he's just trying to say, "Would you pay attention? All of these things that are buzzing around you that are troubling you are evidence that you might be serving the wrong god. Come here. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. Just let me in. I'll dine with you. I'll restore you. I love you." He's a good God.
I just want to remind you, when we make a choice today, we're deciding who we're going to be tomorrow. Today is the father of tomorrow. You will be what you're now becoming. What I'm going to beg you to become today is wise. Wisdom starts with recognizing God for who he is and saying, "I don't want to miss you anymore, man. I want to quit buying the lie that life with you means I no longer get to run after life indeed." That's exactly what someone who hates you would tell you.
God is not mad that you've been deceived. He just wants you to listen to truth, and truth will set you free right out of your 20s. Let me take a little pivot right here. The Porch isn't just made up of pornographers, prostitutes, pimps, drug addicts, and folks who are destined to homelessness. Every now and then, one of those stories comes along through here and we all go, "Wow! God can do that?" Yes, God can do that.
But do you know what most of you are? Just kind of getting by, getting along, going to The Porch, not really all in with Jesus, but kind of making it happen. Life isn't really bad. It's not really good. The reason you tuned me out up to this moment is like, "Dude, I ain't that bad. That ain't my destiny. I'll pull out of it like most of your friends did, Todd, and I'll be okay when I'm in my 50s. It may not be perfect, but I'll deal with God when I'm on my deathbed. I'll go to church, and I'm going to marry a guy who wants to go to church."
I'm telling you, that's not going to work out for you. I'm going to talk to you right now. You have to figure out who you really are, because who you really are really matters. So I'm going to tell you another story. It's from 2 Chronicles. I'm going to throw up a family tree at you, and I'm going to tell you a little bit about your Bible.
As you work your way into your Bible, eventually you're going to come across a time when the nation that had been given a land it didn't deserve and a blessing it hadn't earned didn't continue to walk with God, so God said, "All right. I'm going to let you reap what you sow." What they sowed into the land was dissension and pride and idolatry and foolishness.
So there was division in the family. There was godlessness in the family. There was a lack of God being with them and for them, so there was marauding and raids and death and famine and plunder, because God was just going to be like, "Look. I love you enough…" This is the hardest thing to do as a parent, and God is a good parent.
The hardest thing to do as a parent is to stop rescuing your children from their foolishness and stupidity or even from their general indifference. Can I tell you something? We really do love you. It really does hurt us more than it hurts you. There is no pain like the pain of a godless child. There's not a parent on earth, no matter how abusive they have been to you and how much they have abandoned you, who wouldn't gladly die so you wouldn't repeat their mistakes.
I know you might hate your dad and hate your mom. I'm just telling you, there's something about the way we're made that there's so much guilt and shame when we fail you we just stop relating to you and stop talking to you, and nothing hurts us more than the fact that you don't want to talk to us and we see you repeating what we have modeled for you.
Israel was jacked up. It got split. The family was screwed up. Let me show you a quick family tree. This isn't going to take long. A bunch of names here you've probably never heard before. You might recognize Saul and David. That red is when the nation was unified. There was just one family reunion. You trace that thing down about 160 or 180 years, and the family wasn't gathering anymore. There were the Hatfields and the McCoys, the north and the south, Israel and Judah.
Over there on the left you're going to see two names that are rather infamous in your Bible. One is Ahab (think Voldemort) and Jezebel. Think some combination of Cruella de Vil and Nanny McPhee, and I don't know who else is awful out there. Is Nanny McPhee even bad? I don't know. Just think of a pissed-off Mary Poppins. I don't know. She wasn't good. All right? And you didn't want anything to do with her. She was not a nanny you wanted.
Her name was Jezebel. You don't find many girls in your first-grade class… "What's your name?" "Oh, it's Jezebel." It's like saying, "What's your name?" "Wicked Witch of the West." No. We name our daughters Elsa. What are we naming our daughters today? I don't know. We're not calling them Jezebel. There are not a lot of Adolfs running around sixth grade. That's Jezebel, and she has three kids. One is named Joram, one is named Ahaziah, and one is named Athaliah.
If you go back over to the right, you'll see on the one side there's another tribe over there, but there's a guy named Jehoram. He was all in all not a bad guy, but he was a little insecure and didn't really trust God, so he goes, "We've got to get along with our old family." So he said, "Why don't I make a treaty through marriage with that kingdom in the north? Oh, yeah! Jezebel, do you have any chicks you've discipled? Send her over." That's what he did. He married Jezebel's daughter. Let's pick up the story. Are you ready?
Second Chronicles 22. Now Athaliah, Jezebel's daughter, was the mother of a guy named Ahaziah who died. He was king, and he died. I don't know if you follow the royal family or not. I don't, but word is that the way a woman, like Queen Elizabeth, becomes the ruler of England is she's the remaining person from the royal family with the most seniority. The king is dead. The queen is there. The king's son is dead, so the queen mother takes over.
She rose, and here's what she did. This is just a peach of a grandmother. She goes, "Just so we don't have somebody who becomes king, I'm going to kill all of my grandsons." Who would do that? Jezebel's daughter. That's what she did. She tried to wipe out all of the men so there was nobody else who could become king. You kind of go, "This is in your Bible?" Yeah, this is in your Bible. This is kind of a crazy family. All of a sudden, you feel a little better about your crazy family.
Here we go. "But Jehoshabeath…" Who's Jehoshabeath? In this family, there was somebody who was the daughter of Athaliah, this wicked woman, who was a woman who married a guy named Jehoiada who's going to show up. I don't know how, but somehow, Jehoshabeath got her head screwed on straight and married a good guy, Jehoiada, who loved God and feared God.
God is always going to break the chain with somebody who's willing to listen. I don't care if your mama or your grandmama's name was Jezebel. The deal ain't locked. You have to figure it out. So, Jehoshabeath and Jehoiada heard that Ahaziah was dead and they were killing all of the descendants of Ahaziah, and they tried to save one. Guess who they found. They found Joash. Watch this.
"But Jehoshabeath the king's daughter took Joash the son of Ahaziah, and stole him from among the king's sons who were being put to death, and placed him and his nurse in the bedroom. So Jehoshabeath, the daughter of King Jehoram, the wife of Jehoiada…hid him from Athaliah so that she would not put him to death." That's the big story. Joash is saved.
Drop down to the next chapter, chapter 23, verse 11. You have this: "Then they brought out the king's son and put the crown on him…" Like seven years later. So Joash is a little runt, and about six years later, they brought him out one day in the presence of the queen and said, "Guess what. You missed one. This is going to be the king. This is the son of the dead king. His name is Joash, and we're going to make him king. Long live the king!" Everybody was like, "Yes! Because we don't like the way this wicked queen is making it go down."
Verse 16: "Then Jehoiada made a covenant between himself and all the people and the king, that they would be the Lord's people." So this godly uncle is saying, "We're going to help you out." Second Chronicles 23:21. Watch this story."So all of the people of the land rejoiced and the city was quiet."** That's what happens when you have godly leadership.
Let me say that again. It's why in your New Testament Paul says, "Pray for kings and those who are in authority, that you might live a quiet and tranquil life." In other words, you're not going to have to raise hell. You're not going to have to insurrect against a government that's moving toward craziness, because the king lives wisely. Pray for your king, because when the wicked rule, people hide themselves, but when the righteous rule, people rejoice.
Can I give you a little hint here? Good kings don't promise you something for nothing, because socialism and communism don't work. I know you don't like history. Just do a little research. All I'm going to tell you is that the people rejoiced. They were happy. They were glad that the wicked queen was gone, not because she was a socialist but because she was a sociopath. In verse 21, it says they rejoiced and the city was quiet. It means there was peace.
So, 2 Chronicles 24:1: "Joash was seven years old when he became king, and he reigned forty years in Jerusalem…" Are you with me in this story? He was 7. Now he's 47. And his mother's name was thrown in there. Way to go, Zibiah. You're doing okay, I guess. Verse 2: "Joash did what was right in the sight of the Lord…" Watch this line. "…all the days of The Porch." "…all the days of Jehoiada the priest."
While they were hanging around a good guy, things were going okay. Now we're in chapter 24. Watch this. Here's what goes down now. The king starts to do good things. He restores the temple. That's a good thing. In 2 Chronicles 24:8, it says they made a chest and set it outside by the gate, and they said, "Hey, everybody, why don't we come here, and let's rebuild the Lord's temple so we can remind ourselves of grace that comes through sacrifice that anticipates a perfect sacrifice that will come someday.
He's called the Messiah. In Greek that word is called the Christ. He'll be the sacrifice that ends all sacrifices, but until then, we have to have a constant memorial reminding ourselves that our God is giving us a way now by faith that we can believe that he passes over our sins so he can put us in a place we haven't earned and bless us in a way we don't deserve." God has always saved by grace through faith.
Here we go. Verse 11: "It came about when the chest was brought to the king's officer by the Levites, they saw there was a lot of money, so they did all good things with it." Verse 12: "The king and Jehoiada gave it to those who did the work of the service, and they rebuilt the house." Verse 13: "So the workmen labored, the repair was progressed, and they restored the house of God according to its specifications." That's awesome. Verse 14: "They did this continually all the days of Jehoiada."
Here's the pivot. Verse 15: "Now when Jehoiada reached a ripe old age, the godly uncle died." Two verses later: After Jehoiada is dead, Joash, discipled for about 40 years, around godly people for around 40 years, is now king. Watch what happens. It says all of the officials of Judah, the buddies of Joash, come and bow down before him, saying, "Bro, you're king! Jehoiada is gone. I know he kind of made us feel bad when we wanted to be young kings and roar through our 20s, 30s, and 40s, but he's gone. You're king. You can do whatever you want."
Joash listened to them, and he didn't follow Jehoiada. Watch this. Jehoiada had a son whose name was Zechariah. Let's look at the chart to remind ourselves. You're going to see over there Jehoiada has a son Zechariah, and he is a cousin of Joash. For 40 years they watched their godly uncle. Zechariah and Joash were probably buddies. Zechariah is going to show up, and what's he going to say to Joash?
He's going to say, "Why do you transgress the commandments of the Lord so it leads to trouble? Because you've forsaken the Lord, he has also forsaken you." Verse 22: "Thus Joash the king did not remember the kindness which his father Jehoiada had shown him, but he murdered his son. And as he died [Zechariah] said, 'May the Lord see and avenge!'" Then 2 Chronicles 24:24 basically says, "The Lord avenged."
Now, why do I read you that long story? Here's why: because some of you guys in your roaring 20s aren't really roaring 20s; you're just kind of dead outwardly religious. You haven't had real renovation and change. It is time to get Joash in gear. It is time for you to figure out who you will serve. Do you remember what Joshua said at the end of his life? In Joshua 24:15, he says, "We're in this land we don't deserve," and he says at the very end, "…as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." Who are you going to serve?
Joash when Jehoiada was gone, and the people of Israel when Joshua was gone, and too many of you when The Porch is gone, maybe tomorrow, maybe Friday… Because there hasn't been real regeneration in you, you're going to find yourself in a bad place, and it's going to hurt. I don't want you to make that mistake.
You guys know about this. Right? There has been this little event that has happened in Dallas the last few days that has been a bit of hilarity. There's a new tourist attraction in Dallas, if you're watching from other places or online a little bit later. It's the "Leaning Tower of Dallas." Here's how it became the Leaning Tower of Dallas. There was a demolition that happened last Sunday that didn't…well, it didn't demolish, so it was a disaster.
So what they decided to do with the Leaning Tower of Dallas was say, "Okay. Well, we can't blow it up again," for some reason. I don't know why. There's an elevator
BY 'Sandi Rhodig'
NOTE: 'Wrong-word error.']
shaft in the middle of it and some steel, and if that video kept rolling, you would see it. It's just standing there. It's still standing there. What they decided to do was say, "Okay. What we're going to do is we're going to try to knock it over." I don't know if you've watched this. Have you guys watched the live feed? Here it is.
They're going to knock it over. Five hundred pounds of dynamite didn't knock it over, so they got a 15-pound kettlebell from LA Fitness, and they're going to go, "Well, maybe that will knock it over." It's like, "Are you kidding me?" This is why I love Twitter. I wish that was my joke. Someone else posted that on the D Magazine deal. That was hilarious. It goes, "Five hundred pounds of demolition explosives couldn't do it, but yeah, the 15-pound kettlebell from LA Fitness…that's going to do it."
This is Twitter. I love Twitter. Someone immediately grabs the handle @DallasWrecking. It says, "Don't worry. I got this." I think the next day it said, "Today's the day." Oh, there's that one. Just blow it over. Then there's this one. I love this particular one. "Name things that will happen before the 'Leaning Tower of Dallas' comes down. We'll start: Christmas." Then they got a lot more descriptive after that.
Anyway, it has just been this hilarious little thing on Twitter. You look at this, and here's what I want to say. What's the relevance? I was just thinking about this today as I drove by it. I just want to tell you something. God wants to completely destroy the remnant of sin in you. He wants to wipe it out. He doesn't want to just damage it; he wants to demolish it. You have this elevator shaft of a steel will that's just bent toward self.
That little wrecking ball that does look like a 15-pound kettlebell? That's 6,000 pounds. That's three tons banging up against that building, and it's not going to go anywhere. I will tell you, there's no weight of personal will that will destroy sin. Three tons of religion won't destroy sin. The Porch and church activity won't destroy sin. Dipping into your Bible and reading devotionally and Jesus Calling and whatever you're reading won't destroy sin.
The sadness of your sin won't destroy sin. The scars of your 20s won't destroy sin. One thing will destroy sin. You have to know something. God wants to demolish it because he loves you. The only thing that's going to destroy sin is radical repentance and acknowledging that there is a strong bent in you of deception.
You are a child of wrath. You're a son or a daughter of disobedience. You are a slave to self and this world. You realize no matter how many times you tell yourself, "This is the last time; I'm not going to do it again," dadgum! here we are doing it again. Sorrow doesn't destroy sin. This is 2 Corinthians 7:9-11.
Do you know why some of you have cried tears and said, "O God, please don't make me pregnant. O God, please let me pass this test. O God, please just this one time bail me out. Don't let that cop write the ticket. Don't let him give me the DUI. Don't let anybody know I got a DUI. Let me get a DUI and let me recover from it." You're just begging him, and then you kind of look up and go, "Okay, okay," and you're like, "All right."
Listen. That relief you feel is not repentance. This is what the Bible says. Paul said some hard things to the folks who were in Corinth. He said, "I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful…" Because when he said those hard things it kind of hurt their feelings. He said, "…but that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance; for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God…"
This is why God lets you feel pain. Pain is a gift. When you have pain, it's an indication something is not right. When you stick your hand in the fire and it hurts, it's there to say, "Get your hand out of the fire!" That aching in your soul is not your problem. It is a symptom of the problem. God is saying, "Let's deal with the problem. The problem is sin, your wrong view of me." God isn't mad at you for your pornography and your premarital sex and your love of money and material things and your obsession with body image. Those are secondary sins.
The only sin that offends God and will keep you in judgment is the sin of not knowing who God is. It's the sin that says, "I think I can do it better than you. I don't think I need you. I think you're a killjoy. I think I don't have to follow you. You're not really good." God goes, "Okay. I'll let you live that way. Just appease me if you want. Act like I'm going to get mad at you if you don't do certain things. You don't know me. Just see how that works out for you. I love you enough to let you reap what you sow. Man, I don't want you to go that way, because I love you."
Jesus used to stand over cities of rebels and just weep. Do you know why we do this? Because we love you. I'm just telling you, I've lived my 20s with Jesus. It's so much better, and so are your 30s and 40s and 50s and 60s, and so is forever. God is not looking to rip you off; he's looking to set you free.
Paul says, "I rejoice not that you were made sorrowful, but sorrowful according to the will of God." Why? "…so that you might not suffer loss in anything…" Because this is what the Scripture says: "For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance…" What I'm telling you to do is to quit dinging your steel will with little bits of pain, little bits of The Porch, little bits of the Bible, and little bits of Christianese, and get along.
Do you want to make life roar? Then make today your day and choose that you're going to follow this God who rescues people and gives them what they don't deserve and puts them in a place of blessings they did not earn. But you have to choose for yourself who you're going to serve. Don't just blow up and have this appearance that certain things fall around when there's still a steel will of, "I don't really think I'm going to follow hard after God," because it's going to be an embarrassment.
So don't lean toward Jesus. Decide who he is, and let God wreck you with his love. Let him rebuild you and resurrect you to what you were intended to be: his daughter, his son, a godly woman, a godly man who clothes themselves in dignity and strength. He says, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me."
"If any of you are weary and heavy-laden, come here, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light." I know him, and he loves you. He gave his Son on the cross for you, and he's not looking to rip you off. He's calling you to roaring 20s, 30s, 40s, 60s, to forever with him when he plucks us out of sin and death. Do you know him? Is he your God or is he just your Jehoiada's, your parents', your Porch's, your church's, your friend's? Is he yours?
Father, I pray that we'd quit playing games and we'd choose to follow you and know who you are and to run hard after you and say, "Lord, I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired and managing this thing and playing games and going my own way and doing the best I can with what I have and trifling with wrecking balls of religion and 'Porchiness.' I want to go all in. I want to say, Lord, I know who I am. I'm not somebody who can change this steel will, Lord. I'm broke.
I'm a son of Adam, I'm a daughter of Eve, and my heart is bent toward evil. I need a savior, and I can't believe there's one who would rescue me out of the bondage of Egypt and set me free and put me in a place I did not deserve and bless me with things I could not earn. Thank you, Father, that though the wages, what I've earned with my sin deserves death, I am hearing from the Word you've preserved that the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus."
But Lord, we have to decide. So Father, I pray that right now somebody says, "Lord, I'm sick and tired of playing games. I'm going to say, 'Nope, it's you I'm going to follow.' I'm going to make you my God. I'm going to choose to serve you. I repent of my sin. I believe that Jesus is Lord. I believe you declared with power that he is God by raising him from the grave. I believe he was on the cross for my sin, that he died for me, that you love me. God, the story is too wonderful. I don't even understand it. I believe. Will you help me in my unbelief?
But, Father, help me to run with Jehoiadas who will teach me to be godly. Thank you that you don't love me because from this moment on I'm going to do everything right. Thank you that you just love me enough to show me that I'm not right and that you love wretches like me. O God, I confess I'm a sinner. I declare Jesus is my Savior. Take me. Wreck me. Demolish me. Resurrect me to what you intended me to be." In Jesus' name, amen.