A lot of us never accomplish our mission becausewe will not be honest about our motives.
So we'll say what we think we should want, and that's why we never get anywhere in prayer, and why we never get anywhere in self-awareness, and this is why we never get past the same cycle of trying to satisfy our needs, becausewe will not even be honest with God about what we want.
So I pray and I ask God to do the things thatI think I should want him to do, but by bypassing my motives, I do not engage my heart, my emotions, and my will.
Jesus asked a question, “What is it you want?” “Um, okay, uh, God, um, hallowed by thy name, bless the missionaries.
” Missionaries? That's really what's on your mind? No, I just, that's what you're supposed topray for, right? The missionaries? Uh, what else? “The Middle East, pray for the Middle East, God.
” Really? That's the first thing you want to talk toGod about? Because I went crazy last year, so I had tostart talking to God for real because I had some stuff that was going on inside me forreal, so some of my prayers got shorter.
Like, “Help me right now before I do somethingthat I can't undo!” Now, I know the God some of us grew up withcan't handle the reality of who you are.
But the God of the Bible became flesh anddwelt among us! And he does not despise your weakness.
In fact, the scripture says that we have aHigh Priest who is not unable to be touched by the feeling of our infirmity.
That means you can come into God's presenceand he can handle the full weight of what you're really dealing with.
God, I'm tired.
God, I'm sick of this.
God, I need help, I did it again.
God, I'm shaking right now I'm so mad.
And if you don't tell him, it's going to comeout somewhere else anyway.
So you might as well tell Jesus.
This is why behavior modification programsdo not produce sustainable longterm change in our life.
That's why we need grace as an operating system, because Jesus will look straight at you and say, “What do you want?” So I can pray about my weight? Yeah! So I can pray about my bills? Yeah! So I can pray and ask God why all these otherwomen are getting married and they're not even going to be good wives and I'm stillsingle? Yeah! What do you want? But see, if you don't understand you're hischild, if you don't understand that you are a citizen of the kingdom of heaven, whichis not earned but it is given, which is not achieved but it is received.
See, the kingdoms of the world are based onarrival.
The kingdom of God, Jesus mentioned it over100 times, the kingdom of heaven, he says in Matthew, it says it in Matthew that waybecause it was for a Jewish audience and they didn't want to mention the name of God, sothey said the kingdom of the heavens or the kingdom of heaven.
But it's also translated in the other Gospelaccounts, but it hadn't been said before Jesus came on the scene.
He started preaching, “Repent, the kingdomof God is at hand.
” The idea of God as king was not a new thing, but the revelation of God as a king who came like a baby was.
And rather than coming like an earthly king, he snuck into the earth on one silent night.
Silent night, it wasn't a silent night.
Baby Jesus was screaming his head off.
And he came like that, he came like that, in human form, human frailty, to show us the kingdom of God.
He could have come like Thor, he could havecome like Dwayne Johnson, but he came as a carpenter.
And he started recruiting disciples.
And they wanted to take him over to the seminary, the cemetery, I mean seminary to get his candidates for who he would choose to use to build thiskingdom, to establish the throne of God so that the kingdoms of this world would becomethe kingdom of our God.
To establish that, the Bible says that hechose, and I want to show you this real quick so we can get a deeper picture of what happensin Matthew 20.
Because what happens in Matthew 20 has happenedto all of us at one time or another.
But before we look at that, look with me forjust a moment at… Mark 3:13, Jesus, this is when he called hisdisciples.
And there was a phrase that touched me, Iwant you to look for it as I read it.
“Jesus went up on a mountainside and calledto him those he wanted, and they came to him.
They appointed twelve, designating them apostles, that they might be with him, ” that they might be with him.
The kingdoms of this world identify you bywhat you do.
But before he called them to do for him, hecalled them to be with him.
He called me to be with him.
Wow! That's not the phrase, I just pointed thatout.
But that touched me.
He wanted them to be with him and that hemight send them out to preach, to influence the world.
Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, the ends of theearth.
Waxhaw, Melbourne, Toronto.
Yeah, the whole thing is started with theseguys, twelve of them.
You know some of their names, you know whatthey did.
They had authority, look at verse 15, “Andto have authority.
” You know, it's very different, the differencebetween getting attention and having authority.
So in a worldly kingdom it's all about gettingattention.
We call someone an influencer if they canget attention.
So you buy something by clicking on a linkthrough their account.
That's what the world calls an influencerbecause they can get attention.
But attention is not the same thing as authority.
Authority is when you know who you are, youknow whose you are, you know what you've got, and you're okay with what you're not becausehe called me.
That's what I like about it.
He called to him, go back to verse 13, thosehe wanted.
Isn't that cool? He called those he wanted.
So if I understand that correctly, that meansthat God does not order anything that he doesn't desire.
That means if he put me somewhere, he pickedme for where he put me.
That means if he gave me an assignment todo .
Now, sometimes we have to pick people to dostuff because we don't have any better options.
God has options.
He called who he wanted.
He could have made any sperm fertilize anyegg so that you would have been born in a different time.
He could have made any conception processhappen so that your children would have been born to different parents.
But he called who he wanted.
The revelation of my life was to believe thatGod wanted Steven Furtick to do what he gave Steven Furtick to do.
I didn't know I was chosen.
Let's do the math on this real quick.
The first four, we'll read the names and thenwe'll talk about it.
“These are the twelve he appointed, ” verse16, “Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter), James son of Zebedee and his brother John.
” That's the two dudes that are representedin Matthew 20.
But he called those he wanted.
“And to them he gave the name, ” let me tryto say it right, “Boanerges.
Holly asked me, because I grew up in MoncksCorner, South Carolina, “Why do call everybody Bo?” It's a southern thing.
Did you all do that in Valdosta? They didn't call anybody Bo in Miami, butit was like a Moncks Corner thing.
We give nicknames, just call each other nicknames, you know? Jesus did that.
He would nickname people.
And he called Simon Peter, petros, rock.
He gave these brothers, the sons of Zebedee, the only thing we know about their family, other than that they had a kind of pushy mother.
Talk about a helicopter parent, you know whatI'm saying? She brought her sons to Jesus, these are grownmen.
And their father, Zebedee, was a fisherman.
And Jesus, when he was starting his ministryand inaugurating his kingdom, the kingdom of God, showing the invisible kingdom in avisible way, he chose and appointed and called to him those he wanted.
And through all the options that he had, hechose twelve.
And two of the twelve that he called werecalled, Jacob is the Hebrew name, but we translate it James and John.
John, you would probably know more about becausehe was the one who stayed at the cross.
He called himself the disciple that Jesusloved.
So he did not struggle in the self-esteemdepartment.
But what you might not know about him is thathe had a nickname called Boanerges, which means sons of thunder.
Which is a weak translation.
The Hebrew term actually means like tremble.
It's not thunder, it's like disturbed.
It's like hot-tempered.
So Jesus called those he wanted, and whathe wanted was two brothers that when he looked at them he named them sons of disturbing rumblingthunder.
Y'all come help me change the world.
Now, I'm going to give you 20 seconds to thankGod in your own way that he chooses who he wants to choose, and he doesn't consult people.
Take 20 seconds and praise God that he didnot ask your enemies.
That he did not even ask your parents.
That he will not consult your failure to seewhat he does through your future.
When God calls you, he wants you.
20 seconds, 15 seconds, 10 seconds, 5 secondsto praise God that he called you to be with him! I'm just really glad that he called me byname, and he knew what was in me when he called me.
So he called these twelve, right? And all their other names are there too, butwe're not talking about all the other names.
We're talking about James and John.
Out of all the fishermen in the region whereJesus was launching his ministry, he chose Peter, Andrew, James, and John.
Andrew even got left out.
Because within the twelve, now let's stopand do this real quick.
I think everybody wants to feel special andunique, right? Okay.
Everybody wants a participation trophy everynow and then.
Everybody wants to feel every once in a whilelike, “I matter to those who matter to me.
” And the feeling that you don't can make youcrazy.
The feeling that nobody would even noticeif I was gone.
The feeling that somebody better could probablydo it.
The feeling that everybody else has somethingthat I don't have and I'm really like, I'm really faking confidence to cover insecurity.
We're going to be real in this series becausethe kingdom of God deals with the internal first.
And when he called them, there was somethingin them.
One time James and John, they were going throughSamaria and the people of Samaria rejected Jesus.
And they took it personally, the sons of thunder, Boenerges.
James and John asked Jesus, “Do you want usto call down fire from heaven on them, Lord?” Jesus is just like, “Yikes! No! That's the wrong kingdom!” But at least they had passion.
At least they had passion.
And he called them and he put their passionin a position where they were able to see and do amazing things.
Out of all the fishermen that he could haveused, he chose them.
And he named them when he saw them becausehe knew what was in them more than they did.
I just got to thinking about that, man, likeout of all the fishermen, these brothers got chosen to be in the twelve.
And check this out, within the twelve disciplesthere was a special group called the three, Peter, James, and John.
He brought Peter to Jesus, then stepped outof the way.
Because the kingdom of God is not about attentionor recognition.
Some of the things that God uses you to do, you will be invisible while you're doing them.
Some of you, the greatest thing that you aregoing to do in your life is encourage someone else.
But we don't know this any more because wedon't know the difference between greatness and fame.
But let me say something, everybody famousisn't great.
And everybody great isn't famous.
There are some great people in this churchwho don't have a Twitter account.
There are some great people in this churchwho will never hold a press conference or release an album.
There are some great people in this churchwho don't have to wear brands to show what they can wear because they know who they are.
There are some great people in this churchand you may never recognize them, but when they show up hell takes notice because theyhave a kingdom authority.
Can I preach this series? High five somebody and say, “God will makeme great!” God will make me great! I might not win a Grammy, but my name is registeredin heaven! My name is written in the Lamb's book of life! I might not have a name you know, but I knowa name that is above every name!.