If Jesus isn’t in it, I don’t want it.
What’s up Valley Creek Students, and welcome to Student Circles. Last week, we kicked off a brand-new series called “Along the Way”, where we’re talking about some of the things we’ve discovered or learned during 2020 – the lessons that have impacted each one of us.
And any time we experience seasons like the one we’ve had, we don’t just wanna get through it, 2020 doesn’t have to be the year you just wanna forget all about, I mean, we’re the PEOPLE OF GOD man, and we wanna learn from this season and discover Jesus in it; and we wanna look back at 2020 as the year where we, GEN HOPE, move forward on our journey, grew in our relationship with Jesus and stepped into our created calling as a generation of hope carriers!
So, what HAVE we learned along the way? Well, our teaching team kicked it off last week by reminding us that we walk by faith and not by sight and this past weekend, we learned that “If Jesus isn’t in it, then I don’t want it.” Come on, someone needed to hear that today. If Jesus isn’t in it, then I don’t want it; and that’s today’s lesson. But before we break this down, let me tell you a story about a guy in the bible who teaches us what this looks like.
Maybe you’ve heard of him. In the OT in the book of Exodus, there’s this guy named Moses and God tagged him and said, YO Moses, I want YOU to lead my people out of Egypt into the Promised Land. My people have been in slavery for 400 years and YOU Moses are gonna lead them into the more that I have for them.
If you’re anything like me and you picture yourself being Moses, then you probably hear that and immediately you start planning it out. You pull out your smartphone and pull up Google maps (imagery of cell phone pulling up map) or Waze and you find the quickest route from Egypt to the Promised Land. You’re sitting there looking at the landscape seeing where all the cool rest stops are at, and where the best places to stop and eat are, cuz you know people gonna get tired and hangry. You also notice that along the way, there’s a couple tourist attractions that you wanna check out so you plan that too, and then you get on your way and you quickly realize that leading that many people , who ALL have their own opinions, is really hard and you find yourself just worn out and physically and mentally exhausted.
You ever felt that way? After you map it out, and you make the decisions, and you do all the things? Yeah, me too. And Moses would have felt that way too, but he asked God a great question before he did anything, and we find that in Exodus 33, starting in verse 12
Moses and the Glory of the LORD
12 Moses said to the LORD, “You have been telling me, ‘Lead these people,’ but you have not let
me know whom you will send with me. You have said, ‘I know you by name and you have found
favor with me.’ 13 If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and
continue to find favor with you. Remember that this nation is your people.”
14 The LORD replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
15 Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.
Did you catch that?
Moses says, “Hey God, if you don’t GO, MO don’t GO!”
If your presence doesn’t go with us…we don’t want to go. If Jesus isn’t it, I don’t want it —-
What Moses teaches us in that moment is that we don’t need all the snacks, and the cool pit
stops to take selfies at and the perfect mapped out route, Moses tells God, “We just need your
presence.” He says only one thing matters – God’s presence — If Jesus isn’t it…I don’t want it.
Go back to verse 12 and look at what it says:
12 Moses said to the LORD, “You have been telling me, ‘Lead these people,’ but you have not let
me know whom you will send with me.
That may be where a lot of us are at… — We’re trying to hold my friend group together —-
We’re trying make it to the end of the year – We’re trying to survive all the new things at
But Moses doesn’t feel any of that. He doesn’t talk about WHAT he is trying to do. He asks
“WHO” will be with him.
Moses knows “Who” is more important than “what” – Come on.
Jesus is more important than answers. His presence is more important than, “that new car, the
college acceptance letter, that team, that recognition” — the WHO is more important than
WHAT(who > what) and if Jesus isn’t in it…you don’t want it.
WHY? Because Jesus is the way, the truth, the life. He is the good shepherd directing each of
your steps. He is the narrow gate that leads to the wide life…and Jesus is life itself. If he’s not
in it…you don’t want it.
Listen to Paul in Act 20:23 “Compelled by the spirit I am going to Jerusalem not knowing what will happen to me there.” Paul says I don’t know the what…but I know the WHO. Brave! Courageous! I don’t know exactly what is going to happen but that’s ok because God is with me. Can I just tell you…the who is with you. And when you know “the Who”…the “what” starts to matter less. Maybe you’ve experienced that? You find out about a crazy difficult “WHAT” — and Jesus just keeps remind you that “WHO is with you” Keep going Exodus 33:13 13 If you are pleased with me, (In Jesus, God is pleased with you…you know what that means…?) Now he teaches me your ways so I may know you… And this is why are the essentials of faith so important? Why does it matter than our theme for the year is Set Apart for the good of others and the glory of God? Why are we talking about what we’ve learned along the way… So that we may know you – Know God! John 17:3 Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent John says I agree with Moses — what you think of as “eternal life”…what we think of as the “destination” the end game… the whole point of the journey comes down to one thing. Knowing Jesus. Can I just ask you. Do you know Jesus? You know could probably tell me the details of your life —- do you know where Jesus is in the details of your life. Where is Jesus in your marital conflict? Where is Jesus in your struggle with your 15 year old? Where is Jesus as you move houses? Has 2020 been a season of knowing God? Not knowing about Jesus? Lots of people identify with him. Like know him. Deeply, intimately, connected. Where you wake up in the morning and start the day with a conversation” – I may not know the outcome…but I can know you! And that’s what makes this season so important…God has been teaching you…so you can know him more…so you can experience HIS eternal life!
All that is critical to this next part — What we really desire along the way. 14 The LORD replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” And that’s what God speaks to your heart right now… “hey, I will give you rest.” Doesn’t that just sound good? Can I ask you? Are you restful right now? Moms are you restful during the school day? Students are you restful as you start the semester? Market leaders are you restful in your decision making right now? RESTLESSNESS in your soul is like an oil light in your engine…it let’s you know how much Jesus is in the engine. How much your life is powered by Jesus will determine much rest you have. Just like you want an engine running with oil….you want a life powered by the presence of Jesus – You want Jesus “in it” The primary problem many of us have right now is not 1) a lack of vacation 2) a lack of sleep 3) a lack of time to ourselves. You know how many people I’ve heard that from? But that’s not it…It’s that Jesus isn’t in that vacation/He isn’t last on your mind before you go to sleep/ Jesus hasn’t been invited into your downtime/And a lack of His presence leads to unrest in our soul. Earlier in the spring…during shutdown…Kerry my wife and I would just get in our car and drive….didn’t even matter where…just drive…just time and space together. And it was good, and it brought peace. But can I just tell you… it’s because we were together. The destination didn’t even matter. We found rest and peace in the drive. In the journey. Maybe you have struggled with rest, with peace, with joy this year… can I just invite you back? It’s a presence problem. Presence problem? Well if you have Jesus that God’s presence is always with you…. It’s being AWARE that he is with you. Like Jacob in the book of Genesis cries out “Surely God was in this place and I was not aware of it” (point to heart…he is in this place…are you aware of it?) admit we need an awareness of God in our day to day. And that lack of awareness is robbing our rest, and stealing our joy. Psalm 16:11 English Standard Version You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; Along the way I’ve learned that – There is a rest beyond situations. There is a joy beyond circumstance. Hope beyond the news cycle. It comes from being aware of the presence of God. Every moment. Every situation. Every country drive. And every difficulty…. Remember, God is present. Giving you rest. Filling you with joy!
And then to finish it out — Moses nails the whole point. He declares what he has learned along the way in verse 15 15 Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. There it is: Moses declares, If Jesus isn’t in it, MO DON’T want it. Moses says 1) the Who is more important than the what 2) Knowing God is more important than knowing the outcome 3) The only way to find true rest is in His presence If Jesus isn’t in it, then I don’t want it. We need more Moses in our thinking… Sometimes I hear him…but I still try and do it alone. I want to get to the destination fast and get through the journey faster!!! We try and build our lives around everything EXCEPT the presence of God and then we wonder why so many things seem to come crashing down??? Why are emotions off, family disconnected, why does God feel so distant? Why do I feel so apathetic? Psalm 127:1 Unless the Lord builds the house, the workers labor in vain. For too many of us our life is man-made, not God-made. Honestly we are really bad at building our own life…we think we are good (kind of like those people who tryout in the early stages of American Idol and think they are awesome singers….but just aren’t) We are not supposed to spend our life brick-by-bricks (man-made). We are supposed to spend our life planted firmly on the Rock (God-made) Israelites in Slavery – they made bricks every day for Pharoah (rep. the Kingdom of Darkness) When you made the financial decision without seeking Godly counsel = That’s a Brick When you tough it out without being vulnerable or letting anyone into your pain = That’s a Brick When you fill your calendar without placing the mission the God into it = That’s a Brick When you try and find rest for your soul on your own and it’s exhausting = That’s a Brick BUT When you make that Financial Decision based on Godly principles rooted in wisdom = That’s life on the rock!
When you are open and honest about the pain you are feeling and then not getting stuck there = That’s life on the rock! When you complete your calendar with mission in mind, and ask Jesus to join you = That’s life on the Rock! AND When you experience true rest through the presence of God it’s because you have placed your whole life on the Rock! Jesus, the stone that the builders rejected has become the Cornerstone, our firm foundation. SAFE > SECURE > STRONG Look what God goes on to tell Moses next Exodus 33:21-22 Then the LORD said, “There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you” (stop) This is way more significant than you may realize… This is us. This is how our lives are supposed to be built. God-made, not man-made. Solid on Jesus, covered and protected by him. A firm foundation and a constant protection – that is why you want Jesus in it. So like Moses …wake up tomorrow and say Say out loud “if you’re not in it…I don’t want it” PAUSE Along the way I’ve learned, if Jesus isn’t in it, I don’t want it. I don’t believe you do either. Jesus is the Alpha (the beginning) the Omega (the end) and everything else in between. So let’s invite him into our journey. Wherever he is leading is better than where we’ve been. What if today…you invited Jesus into the journey. What if you look at every decision, every relationship, everything in front of you and ask “Jesus are you in this?”
You don’t want to do this on your own. There is a firm foundation and constant protection that can only be found when you build you build your life on the Rock —- Along the way I’ve learned…if Jesus isn’t in it…I don’t want it