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You’ve Got to Keep Your Head Up

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Hillsong NYC, Sunday 18th January 2015
Pastor Carl Lentz
Title: You’ve Got to Keep Your Head Up

(Shortened Transcript)

Go quickly to Galatians chapter six. What God put on my heart, it’s a once-off beginning of the year setting your course right message. The context of Galatians is Paul speaking to a group of believers in desperate need of some reminding. You had a bunch of people mixing old teaching with new teaching – they were trying to get a hold of the grace of God and they didn’t really understand it. Early in Galatians, Paul talks about theological things. And then he moves into doctrinal things. Chapter Six is about practical Christian living.

Galatians 6:1-10
Doing Good to All

6 Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. 2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3 If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. 4 Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, 5 for each one should carry their own load. 6 Nevertheless, the one who receives instruction in the word should share all good things with their instructor.

7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8 Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. 9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
Come on somebody. I’ve called this message: You’ve got to keep your head up. I love verse nine and how it starts: Let us not become weary in doing good. Have you ever noticed when you’re tired and fatigued whatever it is you’re doing becomes no fun at all? Everything becomes harder, more annoying.

Any Mom or Dad who has traveled with a child knows what I’m talking about. Fatigue in the natural does things to your soul. You don’t see things the right way. You don’t hear things the right way. Being fatigued ruins an experience. It will wreck an experience and you’ll never want to do it again.

I believe what the devil loves to do to Christians and people who love Jesus and believe he is the hope for the world, if he can’t stop you from serving God he will get you so weary from doing good and doing the right thing the wrong way and get you so fatigued that you don’t even enjoy Jesus in the middle of the journey.

This is why Paul said: Let us not become weary in doing good. There has to be a way to serve God and do verses 1 through 9 without getting weary. My prayer for our church is that we can keep our head up when we worship, when we’re serving our world, in the job that you might not love. So you realize you might not be where you want to be but you’re not where you should be. What I love about Jesus is that wherever he went peoples’ heads went up.

So when the disciples showed up, Jesus showed up with the good news – lepers put their heads up, prostitutes put their head up, outcasts put their head up because they were hearing the solution to the sin problem that no-one else was giving. You, my friend, keep your head up this year. This year, I hope you understand your reality is reflective of your routine. If you don’t like what you see – change what you do.

If you don’t like your reality, your reality is reflective of your routine. Some reality you can’t escape – that’s life. But some of our reality as a Christian we have control over. Don’t fight symptoms: go after your routine. Some people’s relational reality is that they always date the wrong people. And I feel like saying maybe the reality is reflective of your routine which is leaving a gap in your soul that when you go looking for relationships you look for the wrong things. And it’s nothing to do with the people, it’s the way you see yourself.

Galatians 6:1-10 is a routine. If you follow it, your reality will be a harvest.

What if you changed your routine so that every day you’re going to Jesus, ending with Jesus, going to Jesus: I guarantee you that your reality would be different. Start putting God first in your routine and your reality would be different. If you don’t like your reality, what I am proposing is that you can change your pattern and routine and your reality will reflect what you’re doing in private and your public life will look a little different.

I pray you get on top of this year before this year gets on top of you. Get your head up before this world tries to push it back down. If you are immediately overwhelmed this year thinking you’ve got so much going on, your reality so messed up: I would propose that you bought the lie from the pit of hell.

ONE: WHAT HABITS WILL YOU BUILD AND WHAT HABITS WILL YOU BREAK?

What habits will you build and what will you break? This is not on church; this is on you. Doing good is habitual.

2 Timothy 1:13
13 What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus.
Get in the habit of doing the right things. I believe being a Christian is habitual. Do you have a habit of helping people; a habit of doing right? Your habits are shaping your future. I believe a lot of people have some negative thoughts they need to break. My prayer is this year you’ll look at some habits: what you need to break, what you need to build today and you start to see harvest in areas you didn’t even know you wanted a harvest in.

Typical Christians are good at having great intentions. But they are bad at some follow through.

I believe you have to have a habitual structure to support the things that are important to you. And here’s what some Christians end up doing: they say one thing and they do another and they start saying things like but my heart was good.

Life lesson: Your good heart will not outshine your bad habits.

Nobody can see you heart. Jesus didn’t say go shine your heart.

Matthew 5:13
Salt and Light
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
Good intentions but no habit to live pure, kind, faithful, don’t expect the world to just understand your heart.
Don't expect the world to understand your heart. If you want a harvest in your life, show me the habits that are going to support the harvest when it comes. You don’t have to change or fix everything. But you have to fix something. Resolving to do many things with no responsibility attached to anything leads to doing nothing. That was a zinger. Resolutions to do anything that have no responsibility attached to something leads you to doing nothing. I resolve this year… great – but where’s the responsibility, where’s the habit?

This year when you go home, don’t try to fix everything. Pick one thing.

Say: Jesus I’ve got a bad habit here, I want to start a better habit here, and by his mighty grace you can start to build in this area and it will start to build, in a positive vein, to other areas.

I had a bad habit years ago of being a prisoner of my personality. I’d naturally go introspective. My habit was to close off. I heard a sermon like this and thought I’m going to build a new habit by asking people a question. I believe evangelism, compassion, helping the homeless is a habit. Reaching out to people with nothing is a habit. And I was in this arena where I helped out and I got into a habit of asking the people I saw how’s your family. And I knew I couldn’t fake it.

People would be ready for me to ask how their family was.

One day I went back and I’d pass five people and one day the first person said Mom’s in the hospital can we pray? Sure, we prayed. The next guy – about my son, pastor, he’s not doing well – can we pray? Cool no problem. Let’s pray.

Someone else said I’ve got stuff with my family – can we pray? We prayed. I remember walking out and feeling so grateful. I don’t feel like doing that – I don’t naturally feel lead to be a kind Christian doing the Galatians pattern of helping people. When you have a habit that forces you to do what God has called you to do, when your flesh wants you to do what everybody else wants to do -- you start to see a harvest.

What habits will you build? What habits will you break? Please leave here today and tell somebody – I’m going to build this habit and break this habit. I’m going to keep my head up and my habits will help me. A lot of people have habits that push their head down. That day has to be over.

TWO: WHAT RELATIONSHIPS WILL YOU INVEST IN THIS YEAR?

We did this with our staff on Wednesday. And we focused on the part in Galatians about doing good to those who are in your direct community of faith. I wonder what relationships you are willing to invest in this year to reap a different kind of harvest? Do you have the types of relationships that will pick you head up when you feel like putting your head down.

Someone once said to me show me your five best friends and I’ll show you where you’ll be in five years. It meant I had to invest in the types of relationships that will help me to be who God has called me to be. What relationships are you prepared to invest in: I believe it could determine your whole year. When you look back on this life it’s not going to be so much about the moments but the people in the moments with you – the people you helped, the people you went to war with.

If you struggle keeping your head up – get some people around you who will help to keep your head up.

Here’s my added challenge: Step outside your comfort zone because people are amazing.

The tragedy of a verse like this is when Christians fall in love with their Christian bubble.

What I love about Jesus, and reading about his amazing life, is that he hung out with the lepers and the leaders and everyone in between. That to me is reflective of the kind of relational harvest I want to have in my life. I don’t want to be that Christian that only knows other Christians. I don’t want to be that Christian that jumps when I hear a curse word.

People are amazing.

Invest in the people in this church and then go outside and find someone in this amazing city that you would never hang out with, and have nothing in common with, and watch what God does. Watch the harvest it brings out. You are a Christian: you have every right to reach out, to help somebody. The harvest is compassion, courage, boldness and relational depth. We need to keep our head up and one way is reaching out to the world we’re called to reach.

Talk to your wife, your connect group. Don’t go into the world as an experimental Christian like people are a zoo. You’re not on a wildlife safari talking to sinners and worldly people. We live in the zoo. We’re part of the zoo. Find somebody to expand your relational depth.

THREE: WHAT “NON NEGOTIABLES” IN YOUR LIFE WILL YOU HONOR BETWEEN YOU AND GOD?

The end of this verse is a non negotiable. Paul says: you will reap a harvest. You will. Not might. You will. You will reap a harvest: it’s a non negotiable. So I need to do some things to get to the finish thing so these non-negotiables will not be optional in your life. Options go out of the window when non negotiables show up. Habits are private; non-negotiables are public. It’s a non negotiable that I will go to church. It’s a non negotiable that I will worship. It’s a non negotiable that I will not live that life of sin any longer. It’s a non negotiable that I will be bold with my faith.

Be bold in your faith.

What are the non negotiables in your life, in your family, that you will honor this year?

What will you honor this year to see a different reality?

I grew up in a house where it was a non negotiable to go to church. As for me and my house -- we’re going to serve the Lord. Sometimes you’ve got to speak it out before you walk it out. A non negotiable is I will see a harvest. But you probably got to speak it out to someone else. We’re going to celebrate Martin Luther King (MLK) Day tomorrow as a society. Thank God.

We don’t have it right in America, we need to see change, but thank God we have a holiday worthy of a holiday. The whole civil rights movement in our country began with single people making non-negotiable declarations than they walked out. You can’t walk out something you haven’t spoken out first.

Even before Martin Luther King, there was a lady named Rosa Parks who was on a bus and someone said you’re a black woman you should move for a white person to sit in your seat. But Rosa Parks said I’m not moving any longer: It’s a non-negotiable in this world that I should have the same right as you (a white person) to sit in this seat. So they took Rosa Parks off the bus and put her in prison and that could have been the end of the story but there was a young up and coming civil rights leader called Martin Luther King who heard about what was going on in Montgomery, Alabama.

And history tells us that was one of the events that forced him to make some other non-negotiables and we see him years later making a speech which is really a declaration, where he said: I have a dream that someday I will live in a country where our children are not judged by the color of their skin but the content of their character.

He had a dream and he walked it out.

Who told you that you have to accept things the way things are?

There is no reality our God cannot change; no brokenness he cannot mend; no chain he cannot break; no marriage he cannot restore. We’ve got some non negotiables as a church. We’re going to preach the whole gospel: Sin, repentance, forgiveness, salvation, Holy Spirit led living – non negotiable! So everything in our church comes through those non negotiables.

What about you in your life? What are your non negotiables?

I’m a Christian man, a Christian woman. I’m going to live pure. Non negotiable.

I’m going to write that song God put in my spirit in 2012 and I’ve been sitting on it. Non negotiable.

This year, God you put it in, I’m getting it out.

Non negotiable: I’m going to get involved.

Non negotiable: I’m going to stop drinking.

Non negotiable: I’m going to stop going home to that private habit.

Non negotiable: I’m not going to speak to my wife like that anymore.

What does our Bible say because of the power of the risen Savior…

Galatians 6:9
9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time (The commentary says in the perfect will of God) we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
Hillsong New York City: Keep your head up.

Keep your head up against the storm, the mountain and the struggle.

Keep it locked on the Savior and we’re going to see a harvest.

Amen
 
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