Archive for the ‘Ed Young Ministries’ tag
It is contemporary. They have this minister. He is a pretty good speaker. Five crosses for the Fellowship Church.”
ED: I don’t necessarily agree with everything D Magazine says, but I appreciate the article.
TORY: We came. The first Sunday we came it was at MacArthur High School, and Randy Draper was the speaker. We thought he was the minister they were talking about in the article because he was so good. We decided to keep going back, and we kept going back and back and back. I will let Steve pick it up there.
STEVE: Well, as Tory said, I was raised Jewish. I was actually raised by a single, loving mother who although born Jewish, did not attend a synagogue. She taught me very much what was right and wrong in life, but she didn’t necessarily tie it to the Bible or anything like that. When Tory and I were getting married, I did agree to raise the children Christian, but it was easy for me to do partly because of my upbringing and also because I had no true understanding of Christianity.
Ed Young Pastor stated that when Tory said it was time to start going to church, I happily went along. I had read the D Magazine article also, but nevertheless, I was struck from the moment we pulled up by the greeters and the people in the parking lot. They had a big impact even before we got inside.
But I really hadn’t kept my part of the bargain. Then God spoke to me through a letter I received from my grandmother. In our family, God speaks through Nanna Carney.
ED: God does have a way of using those grandparents.
TORY: The letter was simple, but there was one sentence that gave me a sinking feeling: “Do you have a neighbor who could take Alexis to church?” I thought “No, that is my child.” I have failed. It is time. I am going to get in gear. So I told Steve that it was time for us to start going to church. Loving spouse that he was, he said, “Sure, you pick.” I realized that was a huge decision. I had to pick something that was good for the kids at their pre-school age but would be great for them when they got to junior high and high school. Like Jill illustrates, I wanted something that would be a good influence on them when I lost influence. I was also hoping it would be a place to reach Steve given his diverse Jewish background. Coincidentally, I got D Magazine and they were doing a church review. The church man had gone to many different churches in the Metroplex and he told you about all the different ones. It was a critical review.
Ed Young says Yes, it was.
TORY: For some churches he said, don’t worry about this church. They have 2,000 members, but 100 of them show up. It’s not that big of a deal. And then it got to the Fellowship Church. This guy had nothing critical to say. “You feel welcomed. The parkers park you. It may be big, but the greeters greet you. You know where to go. They make new people feel welcome.
I want to introduce you to another couple. They have an interesting lifeline rescue story. Tory and Steve Levine. Would you guys kind of share with us what is going on in your life and what God has done.
TORY: And how we got here?
TORY: Well, I grew up in rural Oklahoma in a small town whose whole population was 600. That would be basically the balcony here. I went to church every Sunday. My Father was a deacon, my Mom taught Sunday School. I left the small rural community to go to the big city for college and then law school. Then I moved to Dallas into a big, marble building. I picked up the phone one day, called my parents and said, “Hey, great news. I’m getting married. Yeah, Levine, that’s Jewish, but don’t worry about it. We have decided to raise our kids Christian.” Well, you could have felt the shock wave go over western Oklahoma. My family had never even met a Jewish person, so when I brought Steve home for the first time, everybody was kind of looking at him seeing if he was different from them. They did not stand too close in case that bolt of lightening would come down. But everything went fine. We ran on our little partnership tracks, no bumps in the road. Then we decided that we wanted to have a family, and we hit the first bump.
Ed Young says that We had to go through some infertility treatment which, for anybody who has ever gone there, is a very trying time for your marriage and your faith. I remember praying, “God, if You bless us with a child, I promise I won’t mess this up.” We were blessed not only once in 1994 but again in 1997.
We knew that we needed that third cord to make it work. We went around the Metroplex with another couple—a church here, a church there, every Sunday something different. Nothing felt quite right until we came to the Fellowship Church. We walked in and it was wonderful.
ED: I appreciate that. We have a lot of wonderful people here. I really think our church is the friendliest church, the most open and receptive of people of any place I have seen. Tell us a little bit about your reaction and your mindset when you first walked into the Fellowship Church. I love to ask people that question because the responses are so varied.
CHRIS: Well, it was a little bit overwhelming. As we pulled into the parking lot it seemed so big. Then when we walked into the auditorium. Wow, it was huge, but instantly I felt relaxed. It was a casual environment and everybody was so friendly. It was such a contrast to my upbringing as a Catholic where I would walk in, get the holy water, and go kneel immediately and be quiet. The music started and we got excited. The excitement grew with the message and afterwards we said that we were definitely coming back. And we have been coming back ever since.
Ed Young says that we look forward to seeing what God is going to do in your lives here at the Fellowship Church. We have some great things in store for you, to build your marriage, your faith, your parenting skills in the future if God blesses you that way. Thanks so much for sitting up here and sharing your life stories with us. I read three or four weeks ago in the paper that people fear public speaking more than death itself. I do this a lot, but these people up here, it is not a regular thing for them. So thanks for doing that.
Five years ago Lisa and I went to Korea on a mission trip. We had a fabulous experience and we really developed a love for Korean food. We traveled through the countryside of Korea, and got to see Korea the way most people don’t see it, on the back roads, going to public schools and speaking and doing mission work, etc. I was able to attempt conversation with the Korean faculty and the Korean students. But guess what? You know, I don’t speak Korean. They didn’t speak “American”, and I got to a point of frustration two or three times, cause I would be speaking and talking and sharing the Lord with them and I wanted to talk and speak their language, but I couldn’t do it.
And they just kind of looked at me, smiling, with kind of a blank stare, and I am sure they thought I was an idiot. But talking louder didn’t help, you know how you do when the other person doesn’t understand what you are saying. Our children, and if you have three kids, or four kids like me, or five kids or eight kids, our children all speak a specific language and they want to receive and understand a specific love language from their parents. And I highly recommend Gary Smalley’s books on this topic. What love language to you speak, Moms and Dads?
Ed Young will give you another little test. How many of you are huggers? You don’t want to say it, but you just hug when you express love. Raise your hands. Wouldn’t it be great if we could move all of you like on the front three or four rows and let you just have a hugathon, just hug and hug and hug.
Check it out on the side screens. Here’s what He said. [Deuteronomy 8:17-18] “You may say to yourself, ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.’ But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms His covenant.”
You and I must never lose sight of the fact that it is God who made us who we are. It is God who has given us the abilities that we have. It is God who has blessed us wherever we are, whatever station of life we’re in. And one of the easiest and simplest ways to constantly remind ourselves is this thing called the tithe.
Ed: So what you’re saying, Tracy, is living in the land of Ing, we get so focused on the Ings that we miss the blessings, we miss the fact that God owns it all; thus, we think we’ve done it. Yet, that heaps guilt and pressure and stress on our lives, because we’re trying to protect it, to horde it, to take care of it, and it is not ours.
Tracy: “It’s all mine. It’s resting on my shoulders.” No, it’s not. No, it’s not. You see, you and I have been given of God all that we have, whether it is our stuff, our abilities, or whatever. And God is wanting us to recognize that He is the Blessor. And so when we bring that tithe, it is a tangible reminder of who God is.
For instance, I’m employed by Fellowship Church, so I’m paid twice a month. Well, twice a month when I’m paid, I take ten percent of my gross amount, the gross amount of what I make. Now what I do is I write a check for that ten percent, round it up to the nearest 100, and put it in pink envelope. Now, I’m old school. I do it the old-fashioned way. I put it in that little pink envelope. And I come in, but when I come in with that pink envelope, I do it every time, I pray over that envelope.
I say, “God, this money inside this envelop represents the tithe and it represents all of what You’re doing in my life and in my family’s life, that You have provided for us, that You are our God, that You are the source of everything we have. Thank You, God. Thank You, God. Thank You, God. And I pray that this tithe would be multiplied a thousand times over into the ministry of this church.”
Ed Young stated that and so twice a month that’s what I’m doing as I bring in the tithe in. And it is a very, very tangible and visible reminder that Tracy is who he is, not because of what I’ve done or how clever I am or how smart I am, but rather who God is working through Tracy’s life. That’s why that tithe is so important, because God doesn’t need our money.
Ed: No, He doesn’t. I remember I was working out in a gym recently and there were a couple of guys there who are in our student ministry. They’re like 17 or 18 years old. And one of them walked up to me and, “Ed, how ya doing?” “Fine,” I said. And he goes, “What are you talking about this weekend?” And I said, “You know what I’m talking about? I’m talking about bringing the tithe.” He goes, “Really, man? That’s pretty cool. Hey, do you mind if I ask you a personal question?” I said, “Yeah, go ahead.” He says, “You’re, like senior pastor. That’s your title.” I said, “Yeah.” “…of Fellowship Church.” I said, “Yeah, that’s right.” He said, “Does the church, like, make you tithe?”
And we want you to be a part of the zone. We want you to realize that God created you and that God loves you, and that God sent his Son to die for you, and that God wants to bless you. And so many of you for the first time have just heard that. And my prayer, and I know the prayer of many in our church, is that God will just continue to identify himself and make himself real in your life. And as you come into contact with people who are in the zone, you will finally get it. You’ll understand and accept God’s blessing of Jesus Christ.
What an incredible opportunity it is to live in the zone. If you’re one of those folks who are out of the zone, my prayer for you is that through God you will finally crack the zip code. Let’s pray. Ed: Tracy, I’m going to write tithe. T-I-T-H-E. Tithe.
Ed: And what does that mean?
Tracy : It means one-tenth –
Tracy: Or, ten percent. That’s all it means. There’s nothing religious about it. It is just a numerical term meaning one-tenth or ten percent. And as we’ve seen, God says, “The first ten percent of all of your income or gain,” He says, “that belongs to Me.”
Ed: What a minute, dude? You mean I came to Fellowship Church and that we’re here about giving?
Tracy: No. We’re not talking about giving. We’re talking about bringing.
Ed: Yeah, we’re not talking about giving.
Tracy: Because I don’t give what is not mine, I bring back what is God’s. And when I bring the tithe into the local church, what I’m doing is, I’m bringing that which belongs to God, the first ten percent of all my income or gain.
Ed: Tracy, some might say, “Oh man, the church is only interested in my money.”
Ed: You know what? The last time I did this statistic—this is pretty cool—we did some research. There’s been like 740 some-odd weekends in the history of Fellowship Church. And I’m the founding pastor, so I’ve been involved in most of those. I’ve only done – this is pitiful – 24 messages on money in 740 weekends. That’s pitiful.
Let me tell you why it is pitiful. Jesus talked about money more than He talked about heaven, hell, faith, or belief. One out of every eight verses in the New Testament has to do with material possessions.
Tracy: That’s right.
Ed Young says that 30 percent of His parables were all about bling-bling, cha-ching, cha-ching—stuff that we have. God is not anti-stuff. We need to accept that and go, “Man, this is cool.” So today, we’re simply talking about bringing. And throughout this series, we’re going to talk about money management. You realize the Bible has a lot to say about saving money. We’re going to talk about saving money. The Bible has a lot to say too, Tracy, about debt.
You follow the next sign — the “hospital” sign. [Ed reveals the “hospital” sign on stage] Isn’t it comforting to know that 24/7, if you are sick, injured or don’t feel well, that there is a trained staff in hospitals to help you, to bring you back to health. You can just take the exit and go to a hospital. The same is true in relationships. Sadly, most marriages and most single adults wait too long to get help, to go to the hospital. I’m talking about Biblical Christian counseling. God has wired a lot of people who have the gift of counseling to help us, to give us coaching.
Proverbs 15:22 says, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisors they succeed.”
What is keeping you from going to Christian counseling? What’s keeping you from it? Is it your pride? Is it your ego?
Maybe you think, “Oh, I can just figure it out myself. I’m a self-made man. I can pull myself up with my own bootstraps. I can do it.”
However, I’m telling you that you need to go to Christian counseling.
This past Wednesday, my ten-year-old son walked in and announced to me that he wanted to take up the sport of golf. I like golf. I play maybe twice a year, but it’s not my passion. The first words out of my mouth back to my son kind of went something like this, “You want to play golf? Ok. I’ll just get you some golf lessons. You need to learn from someone who knows what they are doing.” I have seen people who try to play golf, who didn’t start young, who didn’t start right, who learned the wrong way and they have some funky swings.
Ed Young Creative Pastors – They can’t play golf. To learn the right way, you have got to learn from someone who knows what they are doing. My response was that quick. I said, “Son, we are going to find you golf lessons.”
When I got into college, I had my first serious relationship with a guy. We were together for three years and had talked about getting married. When we broke up, I was devastated. I thought I had finally found someone to fill that void in my life, only to be let down. From that point on, I had several relationships that didn’t work out because I was so desperate to get married. I thought that as long as I had a man in my life, I would be happy.
Three years ago, I thought I had finally found that person. We were together for almost six months and I was in love, or at least I thought I was. I am still single so, obviously, that one didn’t work out either. After this breakup, I sank into a horrible depression for two months. I had to force myself to get up and go to work each morning. My HomeTeam friends were there for me when I was going through my depression. God certainly blessed me there. They sincerely cared and worried about me. They called me everyday and even came and dragged me out of the house, just to get me out. Eventually, they talked me into seeing a Christian Counselor. Talking to the counselor brought out a secret I had kept to myself for over twenty years.
I was molested by my dad when I was ten years old. No wonder I wasn’t happy! After bringing this out in the open with the counselor, I was an emotional basket case. I would break down and cry if someone just looked at me wrong. About the time I went to the counselor, Ed was doing the series on the Ten Commandments. Ed did the sermon on, ‘Honor thy father and thy mother.’ I think I cried through the whole service.
Ed Young Creative Pastors – I felt like Ed was talking to me directly when he was talking about those who had been abused by their parents and how they need to forgive and love them, regardless. I decided to let go and forgive my dad. It felt like a ton of bricks had been lifted off my shoulders. But, the tough part was still to come. I needed to actually tell him.
We will go through God’s word and obey those nice verses that are good and fine and holy and pure. But when something begins to ease into our vocabulary, or begins to press against the wall as regards honesty, or begins to talk about our lustful thought life or our materialistic nature, we just tune out. Do you have those earphones on drowning out God’s word? God is always telling us to apologize to someone, to stop something, to start something, to continue something, to be something. But adolescents have those earphones on.
Also, adolescents we do another thing. We make a big old giant pot of spiritual gumbo. You know I am pretty much of a health nut, but I love gumbo. It is bad for me, but I love it. Gumbo has a lot of ingredients in it, doesn’t it? We think that as spiritual adolescents we can have it all. We believe we can have the fast track career, the soccer star kids, can run 10Ks, golf in the low 80s, read the latest novels, go to the latest movies and still have a little room for God. I will put the recipe together and see that something is missing. Then I will put some God in. God will help me here a little bit and also in eternity. God can be a part of my recipe. And we stir and stir the gumbo. Little do we realize that God’s going to ruin the recipe. He is not some insignificant ingredient. He is not some seasoning. He wants to wear the chef’s hat. He wants to put the recipe together. He wants to tell us what our priorities are spiritually, relationally, emotionally, biologically, psychologically. But in our autonomy, we say no, I will do what I please, thank you.
Ed Young Creative Pastor – There is another characteristic though. Spiritual adolescents not only advertise their autonomy, they also realize their responsibility. They begin to realize their responsibility. In other words, spiritual adolescents look past the plains of puberty to the mountain tops of maturity and they begin to count the cost of really being a Christ follower, or really going on with the Lord and they decide that it is a little strong.