no neutral ground

Today, we want to talk directly to the younger generation. We want to share with you what we wish someone would have told us at your age. You will have to make a decision that will have huge implications in your life. This one decision will determine if you will have a life of success and joy or a life of pain and struggle.

Sam and I have been walking through the book called the ‘Divine Mentor’ and it explains two ways you can learn about life. You can learn through wisdom or you can learn through consequences. If you learn about life through wisdom, that means you listen to your parents, your teaches, your pastors and your coaches. This is how scripture puts it,

If you think you know it all, you’re a fool for sure; real survivors learn wisdom from others… Grow a wise heart – you’ll do yourself a favor; keep a clear head – you’ll find a good life. MSG Proverbs 28:26, 19:8

That means you listen. You are obedient. You are responsible. Here is what is so cool about wisdom. You get to learn about life before you make a mistake. It’s awesome. You learn from the mistakes of others. When you do that, you avoid all the pain they experienced. Here are two examples.

  1. If you put $170 away a month from age 19 to age 26, financial advisors tell us, based on the market returns chances are that you might have around two million when you turn 67 years old. You can ignore that or you can learn from older people saying, “DO THIS!”
  2. When I was a kid, one of the things I did was listen to my older brothers. They told me how important it was to work and save money. So I did. I worked and worked hard and I saved it all. When I was old enough I paid for my car in cash. As I got older, they allowed me to be a part of the painting company they started. Over time, I took it over and that is how I paid my way through college.

Now there is another way to live. You can learn through consequences. Proverbs explains it well.

The wise accumulate wisdom; fools get stupider by the day… Fools are headstrong and do what they like. MSG Proverbs 14:24, 12:15a

The other way of learning about life is through consequences. You can be a fool. You can be rebellious, head strong and just do what you want. Here is why this feels good to you. You think you are in control and it kinda feels cool to be rebellious.

Here is what you don’t realize. That way of living feels good for a short time but it will destroy your future. Every person in this room over 30 will tell you, being a fool will ruin your life. You can ignore wisdom but it will cost you dearly. You will live life on your terms but years from now you will look back with regrets and say, “I wish I would have listened.”

That’s called learning through consequences. By the time you realize how silly it is to ignore wisdom, you can be 30 or 40 or 50 years old. By that time, it’s too late. You look back and realize your foolishness cost you years off your life. It might cost you money, tons of wasted money. It may cost you relationships with your spouse, your parents, your kids.

For example, if you turn 65 and you don’t have around 2 million set aside, you will look back and think, “Man, that new car I wanted wasn’t worth it! I wish I would have listened”

Do you remember when I told you about the car I paid for in cash? About the time I was going to college, I needed to sell it. It was a 1968 Ford Mustang, 302 engine, cherry red with chrome wheels. It was a head turner. I was working at a Ponderosa in NJ, that would be a Hosses, and I had a guy who wanted to buy it.

I have to explain, the car was too expensive for me to keep with all the repairs I had to do. My friend wanted to buy it because it looked gorgeous and I had an awesome radio in it. Now, his father told him directly, do not by that car. He wanted it so badly, he paid cash for it and kept it at his girlfriend’s house.

So I go to college and come home for Thanksgiving break. Guess what I found out. The guy who bought the Mustang from me was furious. He took the car to be inspected. In NJ at that time, all they did to inspect it was drive it a little and slam on the breaks. They did just that. Guess what. The engine pin rusted out and the broke, the engine smashed on the ground.

I love you enough to tell you, fall in love with wisdom, is saves you so much pain. You can learn about life BEFORE you make mistakes. Scripture says this,

My son [daughter], if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, 2 turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, 3 and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, 4 and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, 5 then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God.

6 For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. 7 He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, 8 for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones.

9 Then you will understand what is right and just and fair – every good path. 10 For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. 11 Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you. NIV Proverbs 2:1-11

Would you like that? Would you like it if God gave you wisdom? If God protected you, guarded your life? Listen, you have a huge decision to make. This one decision will determine if you will have a life of success and joy or a life of pain and struggle. Here is the decision you have to make. Will you do life with God or are you going to do life on your own without him?

Today, Kim and I want to share with you what it looks like to do life with God. Jesus said this.

Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. 6 Anyone who parts from me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. 7 But if you stay joined to me and my words remain in you, you may ask any request you like, and it will be granted! 8 My true disciples produce much fruit. This brings great glory to my Father. NLT John 15:5-8

You walk with God by staying connected with God.

Jesus taught that if we do life with God, if we stay connected to God, He will produce fruit in our lives like love, joy and peace. However, if we decide to be disconnected from God, we can’t produce anything that will last.

So how do you stay connected? How do you learn wisdom? How do you avoid being a fool? How do we tap into the Holy Spirit to lead us?

First. You need a bible. Get a translation you can understand.

Second. You need a pen. Maybe a gel pen or pencil, whatever.

Third. You need journal. A cheap journal.

Fourth. You need a plan. A daily objective. If you don’t have this, you go nowhere.

Lastly, here is what you do. Read the bible, a small section at a time. You write down, in your journal, a brief overview of what you think the author was saying, that’s called observing. Next, you write down, in your journal, how you will apply that scripture into your life, that’s called application. Next, you write down, in your journal, your prayer.

If you want God to lead you through life, He is available to you everyday.

My advice to the next generation.

Strength! Courage! You are going to lead this people to inherit the land that I promised to give their ancestors. 7 Give it everything you have, heart and soul. Make sure you carry out The Revelation that Moses commanded you, every bit of it. Don’t get off track, either left or right, so as to make sure you get to where you’re going. 8 And don’t for a minute let this Book of The Revelation be out of mind. Ponder and meditate on it day and night, making sure you practice everything written in it. Then you’ll get where you’re going; then you’ll succeed. 9 Haven’t I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. GOD, your God, is with you every step you take.” MSG Joshua 1:6-9

  1. Vs 7: Give it everything you have… Wherever you are in life, work very hard to be the best at it.  Warning: stop looking around for short cuts, there are no short cuts. Some kids think, I deserve good grades or I deserve a job. No you don’t. You earn your grades and you earn the right to have a job. If you are a student, you study and study hard. If you are out of school, be a volunteer and be amazing at it. If you get a job, be amazing at it. Stop looking at how you can do the least possible and get the biggest reward.
  2. Vs 8: Don’t for a minute let this Book of Revelation be out of mind. Ponder and mediate on it day and night, making sure you practice everything written in it… You must stay unapologetically connected with God.

Fall in love with wisdom. Here is my challenge, find someone over 30 and ask them; ‘Looking back, what do you wish you would have done differently?”