28 Jun Parenting On Point #3 – Loving Spiritually With All Your Soul
– [Mark] Howdy, Pastor Mark Driscoll here welcoming you to my first ever parenting series. More than 20 years on the pulpit, never taught an entire parenting series. Parenting On Point is a five week series looking at what it means to love God and live in the love of God with all your heart, emotional life, soul, spiritual life, mind mental life, strength and physical life, and help your neighbor do the same starting with your own family and the kids that are sleeping in the bunk beds down the hall. So thanks for joining me, hope to be of service to you. It’s a parenting series. This isn’t gonna really be a parenting sermon. I mean, maybe it will be, but I don’t think it’s gonna be. I think it’s gonna be really a sermon for you. And how you can have a relationship, not just with your child, but a relationship with God where you’re his child. And I believe once we understand ourselves as God’s child, in relationship with him, that allows us to know how to parent children if we’re given that great opportunity. That being said, we live in a world where people aren’t doing well. Amen? You notice that? How many of you, you’re in a tough season, you know somebody’s in a tough season, you’re walking with people who are struggling, or you’re just one who is paying attention to the news. People are not at rest. People are not joyful. People are not hopeful. People are not kind, at all. People are not patient with one another, they’re not understanding of one another, they’re not compassionate toward one another, they’re not committed or devoted to one another. And if I had to put my finger on it, I would say the problem is at the level of soul. It’s not just what we do, it’s who we are. And how do people get help? Where do they get hope, help healing? I’ll talk today a little bit from this book, it’s called “The Bible”. Those who are counselors, psychiatrists, psychologists, they’ve got their own book they call their bible. It’s not exactly “The Bible”. It’s called “The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual “of Mental Disorders”. If you open that book, it’ll talk about problems that people have. Why we get angry, why we suffer, why we hurt, why we hurt others, how we process pain, how we long for the future. And it’ll give then treatments and diagnoses and ways to help people. All of which is good and I would say praise God, people need help, and let’s help ’em. But if you read that whole book, there’s one glaring omission. Zero times it mentions the human soul. Zero times, it mentions the human soul. And so our whole world is filled with people who have lots of problems, they go to professionals to get lots of help, all of which is good and much of the help is very good and very helpful. But if it overlooks the soul, it overlooks not just part of who you are, but who you are. Conversely, this book, “The Bible,” is gonna talk a lot about your soul. Hundreds of times in fact it’s gonna talk about your soul. Most of the occurrences speaking to your soul are in a book called “The Psalms,” and your soul love is spoken of about 100 times. It’s kind of God’s diagnostic manual for the soul. I want you to get some help today and I want you to be able to help others. They came to the Lord Jesus and they asked him this question, “What’s the most important part of the whole Bible?” And in Mark 12:28-31, Jesus says, “First of all, love the Lord your God. “It’s a loving relationship.” What Jesus is saying there, and this is really the basis for our whole series, that God made you for a relationship, loving relationship, and as God loves you, that heals you up. That makes you healthy. That ultimately to be biblical is to be relational. And if you’re not relational, you’re not biblical because Jesus says the whole point of the Bible is to have a loving relationship with God, to love the Lord your God, and then Jesus speaks in curious fashion with all your heart. It’s your emotional life. Your soul, which we’ll talk about today. Your mind, which we’ll talk about next week. And, your strength, which is your physical life. And Jesus is saying that ultimately God’s love needs to heal you in the totality of your person. Heart, emotional life, soul, spiritual life, mind, mental life, strength, physical life, so then you’re a healthy person made healthy through a loving relationship with God. And then you can love your neighbor as yourself. The people that you do relationship in life with. And in this series we’re saying that your nearest neighbor is your family. For me this would be my wife Grace and our five kids. But until you are God’s child in a healthy, life giving, loving relationship, you’re not in the position to actually be helpful to anyone else, including the child or children around you. I had to simplify it, I would say that there is a difference between your outer life and your inner life. When the Bible speaks of the soul, it’s speaking of your inner life. I believe that the Bible uses the language of soul and spirit synonymously. After the first service, some of you have sent in questions, some of you asked online, I believe that spirit and soul in the Bible are oftentimes referring to the same thing. If I had to break it down in its simplest sense, there’s your outer life, that’s your physical life. That’s your visible life. When you grab your phone and you take a photo, it’s that world. The world that you can see. When you turn it around and take a photo of yourself, that’s the self you can see. What we’re talking about at the soul level is not external, but internal. It’s not visible, it’s invisible. It’s not material, it’s spiritual. We’re talking about the world that God sees. We’re talking about the you that only God sees. I believe that your soul is the integration of your mind, your will, your emotions. The totality of who you are. It’s the sum and substance. Let me say it this way. You don’t have a soul my friend, you are a soul. And unless your soul is well, you are not well. And what we tend to think is this, if I could just get my external world in order, then I would have peace in my inner world. How many of you know that doesn’t happen? Because number one, your outer world never gets put together, right? As soon as I look in the mirror and I see someone more attractive than the person I see in the mirror right now, as soon as I lose 10 pounds, as soon as I get a better job, as soon as I move into a bigger house, as soon as I get my outer world in order, then my inner world will experience peace. It never happens. And even if you get your outer world in order, your inner world can still be in turmoil. We live in a world that is all about the outer world. How do you look? How much do you weigh? What do you wear? What do you drive? Where do you live? Who do you know? What do you do? What are your accomplishments? What are your achievements? So much of life is devoted to the outer world that it neglects the inner world. And I’ll tell you this my friend. Everything could be falling apart externally, if your soul is well, you are well. Everything can come together, but if your soul is not well, then everything comes apart. I want to talk about your soul. Jesus says to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, what does he mean by that? ‘Cause what’s interesting, you can go to school, K through 12, never take a class on the soul. You can go to college, you can even get a degree on how to help people and never a class on the soul. How many of you have even been in a church a long time and never heard a sermon on the soul? I was thinking about it. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a sermon on the soul. I don’t think I’ve ever preached a sermon on the soul. I preached through a couple dozen books of the Bible, I’m sure it was in there at some point. But this could be something that maybe we’ve all overlooked and maybe it’s the most important thing of all, how is your soul? So let me start with this, your soul is on loan from God. You need to know that God doesn’t just have a soul, God is a soul. God, the Father, the God of the Bible, is immaterial, invisible, and spiritual. And he says it this way in Matthew 12:18, “Behold,” God the Father says, “My servant,” speaking of Jesus, the Son of God, “Second member of the trinity, “whom I have chosen my beloved with whom my,” there’s our word, “soul,” “is well pleased. “I will put my spirit on him and he will proclaim justice “to the gentiles.” Here we meet the loving God of the Bible. God the Father speaks, says this is God the Son, my soul is well pleased in him. God, the Holy Spirit is empowering his preaching, life, and ministry. There’s the whole trinity at work. And what God the Father says when he looks at God the Son, he says, “My soul is pleased with him.” God has a soul. I should say it this way. God is a soul. God is a soul. He’s immaterial, he’s invisible. He is spiritual. In addition, God made you to have a soul so that you could have a soulful relationship, life giving, loving relationship with God. In fact, love is the fuel for your soul. You drove here in your car and you put gas in the tank to fuel your car. Your soul is the engine for your life that God made, and the fuel that it runs on is God’s love. The Lord God formed the man of the dust from the ground. So here’s our first father Adam. God takes the dirt from the earth, makes the man, but the man is not yet alive. God has to do something to bring the life to this man. You’re gonna leave here, you’re gonna see trees, you’re gonna see mountains, you’re gonna see things that are alive that were created by God, but they don’t have spiritual life because they don’t have the breath of God, they don’t have a soul. And God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and the man became a living creature. That’s where human beings were given the soul. God gives our first father and all of his descendants a soul. We have a soul. Let me tell you a little bit about your soul. The soul is not just part of who you are, it is the essence of who you are. That ultimately your external life is not as important as your internal life because your soul will continue, even after your body dies. And you think about it, how much time, energy, and money do we put into our body? The food we eat, the bed we sleep on, medical bills we pay, vitamins we take, bottled water that we drink. Everything is about physical health, physical health, physical health, all of which is very important. And we’ll deal with that in the final week of this sermon series. But ultimately what about your inner life? How’s your soul? Do you have a plan to nourish your soul? Do you have a plan to tend to your soul? Do you have a plan to keep your soul? Do you even know what to do with your soul? Your soul was made for relationship with God. God is spiritual. You are spiritual. You are made to connect with God at the soul level and even when your body dies and it goes into the ground, Paul says in the New Testament, he says to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. What that means is even when your body dies, your soul still lives. Here’s why I need you to know that because I love ya and I want you to have hope. Those who do not know that they are a soul and that they have a life after death lose hope in this life. I’ll read one atheist to you. If you’re not discouraged, this’ll fix it. Okay, let me read this to you. His name is Bertrand Russell. This is the antithesis of the biblical world view. The biblical world view is God is eternal and he is a spirit being. He made us with a soul to have an eternal relationship with him. And as a result, all of the suffering and all of the struggles and all of the strife, and all of the strain in this life is ultimately rewarded by God in the end forever. But for the Christian this is as close to hell as we will be and heaven awaits us. That there is hope on the other side of the grave, there is help on the other side of the grave, that there is healing on the other side of the grave, because on the other side of the grave is Jesus. If you don’t believe that you have and are a soul, then your thought is all you are is material. All you are is the visible, not the invisible. You’re the physical, not the spiritual. You’re the outer and there is no inner. And then when you die, you cease to be and you are done. That is the world view and the ideology of materialistic atheism. And here’s what Bertrand Russell says. “Man is the product of causes which have no provision “of the end they were achieving.” What he’s saying is there’s no point, there’s no purpose, there’s no grand, great overarching scheme. “That his origin is growth. “His hopes, his fears, his loves, his beliefs, “are but the outcome of an accidental collocation of atoms.” Everything is just physical matter sort of colliding into one another and the result is just chaos and there’s no meaning or purpose to it. “That no fire, no heroism, no intensity “of thought and feeling can preserve an individual life “beyond the grave. “That all the labors of the ages. “All the devotion, all the inspiration, “all the noonday brightness of human genius, “are destined to extinction “in the vast death of the solar system, “and the whole temple of man’s achievement “must inevitably be buried beneath the debris “of a universe in ruins.” There’s a greeting card for ya. “All these things, if not quite beyond dispute, “are yet so narrowly certain that no philosophy “which rejects them can hope to stand only within “the scaffolding of these truths “only on the firm foundation of the unyielding despair.” What he’s saying is build your life on bedrock. What is bedrock? Unyielding despair. That’s a name for a punk band, that’s not a philosophy for life. Unyielding despair. Can the soul’s habitation henceforth be safely built? Here’s what he’s saying. And this is the view that contradicts Christianity. You have no soul. There’s no difference between you and a plant and an animal. You’re just atoms colliding into one another. You will die and cease to exist and your whole life is pointless and purposeless. How many of you find that discouraging? Amen? It’s a little discouraging. Probably wouldn’t tell that to your kid if you love them. People that hold this ideology, they end up killing themselves. If I come from no one, if I’m here for no reason, and when I die I go nowhere, and all of this has no purpose, point, or plan, then when I find my pain threshold physically or emotionally, then I just want to end my life and get it all over with. Conversely the Bible says that God made you. You’re not an accident. You’re a piece of art work. Handcrafted by God. That God made you to love you in a relationship like a father with a child. That God gave you a soul unlike lower creation, plants, animals. That your soul belongs to God, that your soul comes from God, it belongs to God, it will return to God, and it is the relationship at the deepest level of your being that God longs to have with you through which he seeks to transform you. That whatever you’re going through, that God will reward you eternally on the other side of the grave. That one day your soul will be separated from your body and you will be in the presence of God and you will be rewarded for the life that you have lived and the faith that you have had, and that ultimately one day your soul will reenter your body, and as Jesus died for your sin, and rose as your savior, you too will see your soul reenter your body and you will be resurrected like Jesus to be in the presence of Jesus to be rejoicing and rewarded forever. That gives you hope. That gives you purpose. That gives you value. And that means that everything that happens to you is an opportunity to cultivate the soul that God has entrusted to you. Furthermore, what this means is if you’re a parent, you’re not just raising a child, you’re raising a soul. This is a profound opportunity that God gives us. It’s a profound ministry that God entrusts to us. We talk a lot about the soul but we know very little about the soul. We eat soul food, we listen to soul music, somebody gets in trouble, we send out an SOS, which is save our souls. Right? But at the end of the day, we don’t really understand the human soul. I’ll be honest with you. At the first sermon I really struggled and strained to try and explain the human soul. I don’t think I did a great job. I hope God is gracious to take my words and help some people. What I want to do for you is I want to try as best as I’m able, ’cause I love ya, to explain the human soul, your soul. But so much of this is immaterial, it’s invisible, it’s spiritual, it’s experiential, it’s in relationship to God. It’s healed in the presence of God. It’s fueled by the love of God. That I believe my words in human language strain to fully articulate the depth to which we are seeking to go. So if you’ll be gracious with me, I’ll try my best for you. But here’s what I want to tell you. Who you become is more important than what you achieve. That’s the level of the soul. Who you become, at the level of the soul, is more important than what you achieve in this life. Because when you die, you will not take any of your achievements with you, what you have and what you do does not go with you. Who you are goes with you. Your soul goes with you and the character that God has entrusted to you. Let me tell you a few more things about your soul. Your soul, our soul, is our greatest possession. I would ask you right now, what’s the greatest possession you have? Some of you may name your car, your home, a relationship with someone else, let me say this to you, your most important possession that you have to oversee and steward is your own soul. You are responsible for your soul. If you have a little child, you’re responsible to help cultivate their soul that they know how to tend to and care for their own soul. Here’s how the Lord Jesus says it, “For what will it profit a man “if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?” Or, what shall a man give in return for his soul? Now I’m not saying that physical material things are bad. I ate breakfast this morning, I liked it. Amen? I liked it. All right, I’m wearing clothes. We’re all glad for that. Amen? I’m not saying that physical things are bad. But I’m saying that the things that we see are not as important as the things that we don’t see. That ultimately if you look at your outer world, you can have complete, total success and be a failure if you have not cultivated your inner world. That’s what Jesus is saying. Let me ask you this my dear friend. How much of you, your soul is not well, because of the way you’ve organized your external world. The hours you have to work, the money you have to make, demands you need to meet, the ways you need to perform, you have so prioritized your external world that you are killing your internal world. That the demands of your life are crushing the needs of your soul. And again, don’t hear me say, work is bad, money is bad, responsibility is bad. I’m not saying that at all. I’m just saying first priority, second priority. First priority, second priority. Who I am, what I do, the soul I have, the life I live, first priority, second priority. Right now is your outer world or your inner world doing better? And a lot of times, again, we fall into this myth. I certainly have, I’m guilty of this thinking if I could just get my outer world in order, my inner world would find order. If I could just get everything finished on my to do list, and everyone to do the same, then I would have peace. Those things never happen, and if they do, my soul still will not be well because my soul is not as tethered to my external circumstances as it is to my relationship with God. I’ll prove it to you. How many of you have seen someone that their body is dying but their soul is flourishing? Have you seen that? They’re not always connected. Our outer life and our inner life, our outer life actually can be having trauma and our inner life can be rejoicing. Here’s how Paul says it to the Corinthians. He says, “Outwardly we are wasting away, “but inwardly we’re being renewed day by day.” Day by day. Let me pivot, talk a little bit about parenting. What does it profit a kid if they get straight A’s and have no soul? What does it get if they, what does it profit a kid if they make the elite year round club sports team, and get a college scholarship and have no soul? What does it profit a kid if they are beautiful, and everyone is just absolutely smitten at their stunning appearance, and they have no soul? What does it profit a child if they make it into a great college on a scholarship and have no soul? What does it profit a child to grow up and to buy a fantastic home and to have the most adorable family on the Christmas card and to have the most compelling and impeccable resume and no soul? Ah, we’re in Scottsdale. Nobody believes this. Amen? There are people that would gladly trade their soul for all kinds of things. Or the soul of their child for all kinds of things. Saying Mark, are you saying your kids shouldn’t go to college? Well, mine does. Saying your kids shouldn’t play sports? Mine do. Saying your kid shouldn’t get a scholarship? I hope mine do. I don’t want to pay for all that. I’m not talking about good things and bad things. I’m talking about first things and second things. First thing, how’s your soul? How’s your soul? How’s your inner life? How’s your relationship with God? Second thing, how’s your outer life? Your relationship with God, not just in your soul, but in your life. Yesterday was rough. I was home, kinda day off. Get a text from a buddy of mine, one of my dear friends. A great family. Our family is really blessed with some wonderful families that are friends of ours. This particular family, husband and wife, they got four kids. Two kids have got spina bifida. Little wheelchairs, can’t go to the bathroom by themselves. Lower body doesn’t function. Neurological problems. It’s complicated. Depending on traffic, this family lives two to three hours away from the nearest children’s hospital. So at any point, crisis could erupt, you throw the kids in the car and you drive as fast as you can hoping to save their life. This family that are friends of ours, they’ve made that trip, two to three hours, one way, I think now they’re pushing 200 times. This is the kind of situation that many marriages just don’t endure. With children that are high needs like that, oftentimes the marriage doesn’t endure. This husband and wife, they really love each other. They actually have a remarkable relationship because they have healthy souls in relationship with God. They love the Lord their God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength. And as a result, they’re able to love their neighbor as well. And that includes one another. Two of their kids have healthy bodies. All four of their kids have healthy souls. I was texting my buddy last night, texted him again. Just checking in, praying for him. They’re still in the hospital right now. The youngest child is not doing well. They’re trying to figure out what’s wrong. The oldest child has got one of the healthiest souls I’ve ever seen and one of the least healthy bodies I’ve ever seen. This little girl has spent months of her life in the hospital. Surgery after surgery after surgery after surgery after surgery. But the kids will tell you that though she is outwardly wasting away, she’s being renewed inwardly day by day. She’s got one of the healthiest souls I’ve ever seen. I’ll never forget when we lived in another place, they would come stay with us. So anytime crisis would erupt in their life, sometimes it would come into our life. And they would live with us while they were in children’s hospital for as long as they needed to be and we loved them. I’ll never forget their little girl. Beautiful little girl. She went in for surgery again. And they shaved her hair off. Long, beautiful, blonde hair. If you’re a preteen girl, you get your head shaved, that’s difficult. That’s your outward. And then they cut her head open to check her shunt. And they stitched her back up and she just had these huge bloody stitches in her head where her blonde hair used to be. She was laying on her bed in the hospital and she was coming out of her sort of drug induced sleep, ’cause they had to do the surgery, and she was laying there. And I could see where her hair used to be, and the huge scar was, and I went in to visit her. I get down to the bedside looking her in the eye, and said, “Hi honey, how are you?” I said, “I was so worried about you, “I was praying for you.” I said, “I’m so sorry for what you’re going through.” She said, “Oh, Mr. Mark, I’m doing fine.” She said, “I am more worried about you. “How are you?” Her soul. It’s very healthy. When you receive God’s love like Jesus encourages us to, it makes you healthy. Emotionally, relationally healthy. It opens you up to be compassionate toward other people and empathetic toward other people, sympathetic toward other people, considerate toward other people. Sometimes the one thing that children and their parents just don’t have. Her body is not well. Her soul is very well. Jesus is asked what does it profit someone to gain the whole world and not care for their own soul? I’d ask you right now, if you had to pick one word in this instance to describe, to define, your own soul, and it’s condition today, what would that be? Is it healthy? Is it unhealthy? Is it anxious? Is it at peace? Is it in the presence of God or is it running from God? Is it hopeful? Is it fearful? Is it getting better, getting worse? How’s your soul? And again, sometimes you come into the house of God as the people of God, and the pastor opens the word of God, and he tells you the things to do to get your outer life well. That is good. Today I’m more worried about your inner life. The life that God sees. The life that God knows. The soul that God created to be in relationship with him. How’s your soul? How’s your soul? There are three things that your soul needs. Salvation, nourishment, and rest. Salvation. You are not born in relationship with God. You’re born again in relationship with God. You’re born physically alive, but spiritually dead. And salvation is where we become spiritually alive, that the soul is awakened and reconnected in relationship with God through Jesus Christ. That our biggest problem at the soul level is that sin has separated us from God. And again, I told you that the fuel that your soul runs on is God’s love. That apart from God’s love, there is no fuel for your soul. That’s why Jesus says love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. It is receiving the love of the God who is love, and then living out of that life source of love, that fuel that God gives. And what sin does, it literally severs the relationship with God, it cuts off the flow of love from our soul to God and God’s soul to us, and as a result, we are spiritually dead. Jesus comes, and he brings the love of God, he brings the presence of God, he dies in our place for our sin, he deals with our sin problem, the love of God then flows through the person and work of Jesus to us that heals us at the soul level. That saves us at the soul level. And that relationship with God then is restored forever for those who belong to Jesus. And Jesus says this, Matthew 10:28. “Do not fear those who kill the body, “but cannot kill the soul.” You and I, we oftentimes worry about dying. And Jesus says, don’t only worry about physical death, worry about spiritual death. Let me say this. The worst thing is not to die. The worst thing is to die without knowing Jesus. Actually, if you know Jesus and die, the Bible says that that is gain. If you die and you don’t know Jesus, that is death. Rather, fear him, who can destroy both what? Soul and body. And hell, it’s interesting we live in a day where most people believe in heaven, but they don’t believe in hell. And those who do believe in hell think that other people are going there and they’re not really worried about themselves. Jesus talks about hell more than anyone else in the Bible and here’s what hell is. Hell is those who do not have a relationship with God now, do not have a relationship with God for all eternity. Your soul needs Jesus. Your soul needs Jesus. Because apart from Jesus, your body and your soul are destined toward death and hell. If you’re here and you don’t know the Lord Jesus, you may be saying, I came to church today because I need help with a problem. Let me tell ya, there’s one problem that really is your biggest problem, and that is your soul in relationship to God. Whatever problem you have, it pales in comparison to that problem. And Jesus deals with our biggest problem, and he connects us to him relationally, and the result is that he helps us with the rest of the problems in our life. Let me say this as well for those of you who are parents. Your child is not born a Christian, they need to be born again as a Christian. Some of you look at your kids and you’re like, I don’t know why they’re evil. The Bible tells us. They do not yet have a relationship with the Lord. All they have is a broken, starving, separated, rebellious soul. That’s why we need to bring God’s presence through worship, through prayer. We need to bring God’s word. We need to bring ’em into the house of the Lord, with the people of the Lord. We need to allow them to start to taste and see that the Lord is good. To taste and see that the Lord is good. Number two, your soul needs nourishment. How many of you really worry about what you eat? Any of you that way? I didn’t when we got married. I ate a lot of -itos. Doritos, Cheetos, Tostitos, Fritos, burritos. I was committed to a very strict -ito diet. And as a result, I was not a healthy, and I know it’s gonna shock ya, I wasn’t super healthy. My wife would eat vegetables and lean meat and something called fish. And she was healthy and I was sick because the diet that she had was nutritious and mine was not. So I had to learn how to feed and nourish my body. So I’m doing better. If you can believe it, this is me in the better condition. Wait ’til the resurrection though. I’m gonna, it’s gonna be amazing. We spend a lot of time and energy worried about nutrition for the body. Amen? How many of you are parents and you worry about nutrition for the child’s body? The kid’s like, can I have a Monster energy drink and eat a Hot Pocket? No, no, no. Because you’ll be demon possessed. You’ll do things that are just inexplicable, right? Let me ask you this. Do you know how to nourish your soul? Some of you know how to nourish your body. Do you know how to nourish your soul? When I started reading the Psalms. Again, the Bible speaks of the soul a couple hundred times. It speaks to the soul about a 100 times Just in the book of Psalms. Psalms is like the soul manual in the Bible. Here’s what it says. And it says this kind of language a lot. And as a brand new Christian, I remember being very confused. I read the verses in the Psalms that talked about longings, and I thought they were referred to the body. I was like, this is weird. And now I understand that oftentimes in the Psalms, it was talking about the soul. And here’s one example. Psalms 63:1. “Oh God, you are my God.” There’s the relationship, the loving health. “Earnestly, I seek you.” Well why? Why do we seek God? “My soul thirsts for you.” We seek God because we need God. Our soul needs connection with God’s soul. That’s how we get healthy, that’s how the soul is fed and nourished. Some of you, your souls are dehydrated. Some of you your souls are malnourished. You would not allow that to happen to your body, but that is happening to your soul. And I’m not here to shame you. I just want to point that out ’cause I love ya and God wants to fix that for ya ’cause he cares about you. “My flesh feints for you as in a dry and weary land “where there is no water.” That’s the Hebrew for Phoenix. And so there it is. How many of you know right now that if you’re gonna go for a long walk here in the valley, you need to pack some water? And probably some food. But what we do is we get up everyday and out we go into a world that really is spiritually an absolute desert with no nutrition for the soul, and we pack no water. How many of you would never let your kids go to school with no water? You would never, first thing that they told us. Buy a Hydro Flask, fill it, make your child drink it, otherwise, they will die. I was like, okay, good to know. Good to know. But, you’ll let your child get up and go out into the world with nothing for the soul. No prayer, no scripture, no worship, no understanding of God’s presence, no tending to the condition of the soul. Your soul needs to be fed. The word of God needs to be fed through prayer, talking to the Lord. Needs to be fed through worship enjoying God’s presence. Needs to be fed through silence and solitude. These are habits of a healthy soul. And again, so oftentimes we think as soon as I get my outer world in order, then I’m gonna take some time to tend to my soul. First things first. Who you are is more important than what you accomplish. And if your soul is not well, nothing else will be well. You’re not made to live independently. You’re made to live dependently. You’re not made to be the source of your own life. God has designed you that he would be the source of your life. How is your nutritional provision for your soul? For your soul? For your soul? Your soul needs salvation, to be connected to the Lord. Nourishment, needs to be fed, and it needs to rest. Some of you are weary and the weariness goes beyond the body. It goes to the level of the soul. Goes to the level of the soul. Matthew 11:29, Jesus says, “Take my yoke upon you “and learn from me for I am gentle and lowly in heart, “and you’ll find rest for your soul.” Your soul needs rest. The Lord in the scriptures designed for us something called the sabbath day. I don’t want to argue about what day that should be or all the details. I don’t think any of that really is beneficial at this point. But let me say this. You can have a sabbath day and it doesn’t benefit you if you don’t have a sabbath soul. How many of you have had a sabbath day and on that day you did not have a sabbath soul? You didn’t. What you end up doing is either worrying or working. Amen? Not worshiping. The sabbath day is that the sabbath soul would worship. When we take a sabbath day, but we don’t have a sabbath soul, we don’t worship. We work or we worry, or both. It’s not just your body that needs a rest, it’s your soul that needs a break. And I don’t know what this looks like for you. You gotta figure out what this is in relationship with the Lord. For me, this is silence and solitude, prayer, time with the Lord. Grace, at certain points, she loves me, she knows me. I get to the point where, if I could say this, it feels like my soul has a migraine. Any of you ever, I mean have you ever had a migraine? Here’s what happens. If you have a migraine, that sound feels like a bomb went off. Everything is amplified. Everything is heightened. You know you’re in trouble when your soul basically has a migraine. They say something and you completely overreact. They do something and you completely over respond. And what you need is to be healed in God’s presence. Your soul needs to be connected to its source of life. Your soul needs to be healed. Your soul needs to be nourished. Your soul needs to be rested. That’s what God’s presence is. That’s what God’s presence does. For me this looks like turn the phone off. I don’t know about you, if I have the phone, I get distracted. In fact, someone just called. And they should know I’m working. I swear to you, someone just called. They left me a voicemail. I should call ’em back like, hey I’m working. Email, text, social media, work. How many of you when you get bored, you just start thumbing through the news? This is a rhetorical question by the way. Does that help your soul? Right now the news to me is a bunch of unhealthy souls. And the world is a bunch of unhealthy souls. And the key is not to say, well, how do I get my soul unhealthy? The key is how do I have a healthy soul in the presence of God? Despite the problems in the world. Your soul needs rest in the presence of God. For me this is silence and solitude. Turn the phone off. I like to get in the Jeep, take the top off, go up to the mountains. Silence, solitude, journal, Bible. First thing I’ll do, I’ll brain dump everything that I’m worried or stressed about and I’ll just pray about it and hand it to the Lord. Jesus says give the burden to him. And then I spend time reading, praying, walking, hiking, talking to the Lord, conversing, listening. I have never taken a day with the Lord that I have regretted. There are many days in my life that I regret because I don’t believe that they were well invested, they were wasted. There’s never been a day that I devoted unto the Lord that I came home and felt like that was a waste of my day. And Grace will tell you, that her husband comes home a better man. He comes home a healthier man, a more loving man, a more present man. Not because things have changed, but because I’ve changed in the presence of God. I’ve given him my burdens, he has given me his life, and he has brought rest to my soul. Some of you, you really need that. All of you, we really need that. And if I could sum it all up with one analogy, I’ll use this in closing, our soul, your soul, was made to orbit. I’ll read this from Lamentations 3:23-25. The prophet Jeremiah says, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases again.” Your car runs on gas. Your soul runs on love. That’s the fuel. That’s the fuel. Where do you go for that fuel? You go to the Lord. Here’s the good news. His love never ceases. Here’s what happens. Because your soul is made to run on the fuel of love, if you don’t have a life giving, healthy, loving relationship with the Lord, you put people in God’s place, and you want them to be the source of the loving fuel for your life. This is why we crush the people that love us the most. Your soul is infinite. Your soul is eternal. What that means is the amount of love you need is more than a finite person can give. In fact, the fuel that you need in your soul is so extraordinary that it takes an unlimited God to provide that unlimited supply. This is why we have relationship problems. Sometimes we’ll just look at people. Say, okay, you love me, great. Just be the infinite source of love that fuels my whole life. That’s all I ask of you, one simple thing. And they say, I was thinking the same thing from you. And we call this marriage, okay? I thought you were gonna be the infinite source? No, I thought you were gonna be the infinite, well we’re both very disappointed. Because you don’t have, you don’t have what they need, they do not have what you need. Only God has what you both need. And that is steadfast love that never ceases. Let me say this about your soul. Your soul, it’s too much for a human being. Only God can truly handle the needs of your soul. That’s why you will exhaust people, you will overwhelm people, you will wear people out. Some of you go from relationship to relationship to relationship to relationship. And you overlook the first relationship. Love the Lord your God. Have that loving relationship, and then you will have love, not to take from, but give to your neighbor. His mercies never come to an end. There’s good news. God’s not gonna wake up tomorrow and say, “Now I’m done, you wore me out. “I was doing good yesterday, but what you did today, I’m done.” God’s like, “I’m in.” God is infinite. They are new every morning great as your faithfulness. Faith is in a God who is faithful. Faith is worthless unless God is faithful. Here’s the good news. Faith in the God of the Bible is faith in a God who is faithful. The Lord is my portion says my soul. Therefore I will hope in him. The Lord is good to those who wait for him. The soul who seeks him. What he’s saying here is at the soul level we need to pursue God for life, for nourishment. And when he uses this language here of portion, it’s almost like a diet for the body. We’re talking about provision for the soul. So last night, we had pork at my house. Okay, so we’re new covenant. We had pork at my house last night. And Grace made gravy for it. And it was good. This gravy will be in heaven. It was that good. It was perfect gravy. And so, what you’ll find though at our home is that different portions are given depending upon who’s eating. So our two sons that are over six feet tall and still growing, they eat a lot. I eat some. I’d like to eat more, but I’ll blow up like a puffer fish. So I have to sorta monitor my portion. Our 13 year old daughter, her portion is smaller because she is smaller. Here’s what he’s saying. Your soul needs to be fed its portion. What he’s saying is this. That God alone provides the portion that your soul needs. And as a result, your soul needs to seek him. Your soul needs to seek him to provide the portion to nourish your soul so that you can be emotionally relationally healthy with God and then able to love and serve others. Let me give you an analogy. Maybe this will help. God is eternal, you’re a created being. God is infinite, you are finite. God is independent, God made you to be dependent upon him. Think of it this way. How many of you when you were a little kid, you were told that our planet orbits around the Sun? Do you remember hearing that? First time I heard that my mind exploded. I was like, well what if we get off? They’re like, it’ll go back. Oh, okay, well I hope we stay on course. But everything’s okay as long as we’re orbiting around the gravitational center. If at any point our planet is not rotating around its gravitational center, we all die. God, God, and God alone, is to be the gravitational center of your life. That your life is to orbit around God. And what tethers you to God and keeps you in that orbit is the soul. It integrates the mind, will, emotions, and body. It’s the essence and substance of who you are. It’ll continue even after your body dies. It’ll continue even after it reenters your body. Speaking of your soul. This is supposed to be a parenting series. It’s really a relationship with God series ’cause I believe if parent, and then child, get the relationship with God right, the family will straighten itself out. Just give me a moment. This is an observation after 20 some years as a senior pastor and a Bible teacher, the soul was made to orbit. And if it doesn’t orbit around God, it orbits around someone else. Counselors will call this co-dependency. The Bible will call this idolatry. Sometimes, it is one member of the family that becomes the gravitational center of the family, and everyone and everything orbits around it. This could be the domineering, overbearing, very selfish father. We eat what Dad wants to eat. We go on vacation where Dad wants to go on vacation. We watch on TV what Dad wants to watch because Dad is the gravitational center, and we all have to orbit around Dad. Sometimes this can be the high controlled Mom. Don’t make Mom mad. Don’t break Mom’s rules. Mom is like a grenade with a pin pulled. Make sure you don’t bump her, she’s gonna blow. So everybody orbits around. Or one of the children, one of the children has learned if I throw a fit and create a lot of drama, then I get my way. So they have learned to be the gravitational center. Because of our sinful fallen nature and sometimes the sickness of our own soul, we try to find a way to get ourself to be the gravitational center so that everything and everyone orbits around us. In a family this can be a domineering personality, this can be someone who’s suffering, this can be someone who is high control, someone who is high demand. Sometimes it’s the parents who say we will make the child the gravitational center of the universe. We will do everything for the child. We will love the child. We will serve the child. We will invest in the child. We’ll make sacrifices for the child. And literally, the schedule, the budget, the calendar, orbits around the child. What does that do to the child? It crushes the child. Invariably the parents become disappointed. I sacrificed so much for you, I’ve given my whole life for you. I quit my career for you. I’ve spent all my money on you. I’ve given all my time to you. And what a disappointment you are. This is why couples who make the child the gravitational center of the universe, when the child leaves home, the marriage dies. Grace and I were devastated with some news. Not here, people you don’t know, but people that we know that we thought loved the Lord and now they’re committing adultery and getting divorced, and their marriages and families are blowing up. And they’re all at that age that we’re right on the precipice of. Their kids are getting older and leaving home. Which means the children were the gravitational center for the marriage and family, and once that gravitational center was gone, the marriage was flung into orbit because the child was the gravitational center of the home. You don’t want to have a child centered home. Sometimes it’s this concept of family. Some of you come from traditions maybe in your heritage or your culture. Three things matter. Family, family, family. Those are the three things that really matter. And so everyone and everything orbits around this concept of family. You can’t leave your mother and father. You can’t move away. You can’t go to another church. You can’t celebrate your birthday by yourself. You can’t say no. If there’s a problem with the family, we all drop everything and get involved in their crisis. You’ve watched the movie “The Godfather,” you know this doesn’t end well. God and God alone, should be the gravitational center of life, our emotional wellbeing, our mental wellbeing, physical wellbeing, spiritual wellbeing, heart, soul, mind, and strength, orbiting around this living, loving, life giving, healing, God of the Bible. God gives us a spouse. Now together we need to orbit around God. God gives us children. We need to all orbit around God. And if we do that, we’re healthy at the soul level. And we don’t need someone to be God for us. Instead, we invite others to worship God with us. I didn’t even think about this when I started this series. I think that is the core fundamental problem in any and every broken, dysfunctional home. I believe this is the root cause and I didn’t come to this conclusion until about 30 seconds ago. I believe that once this issue is fixed, and the parent, child, family, are orbiting around God, I believe his love, his health, at the soul level, begins to transform people so that they can love God, stay in orbit around him at the soul level, and then as a result, they can start to love their neighbor as themselves. I’ll close with this. The example of this is Jesus’ own mother, Mary. When she was told you’re gonna give birth to Jesus. She’s a teenage girl. Poor, rural, unmarried. Her first response was what? Do you remember? Some of you don’t know, and I don’t mean to make you feel awkward, but for those of you who do know, what’s the first thing that teenage, rural, peasant, pregnant, Mary said? “My soul “rejoices in God.” As a mother with tremendous difficulty on the horizon, she started in worship. How’s my soul? My soul rejoices in God. God’s gravitational center. She’s connected at the soul level and she’s gonna worship. That’s why Mary was a good mother. Here’s what I would ask you right now. We’re gonna transition to worship. I don’t want you to sing yet. I don’t want you to get up yet. I want you just to sit there in a moment in God’s presence, and ask yourself this question, how’s my soul today? Is my soul saved? If not, I need to ask the Lord Jesus to save my soul. Is my soul malnourished? How can I be feeding my soul? Is my soul dehydrated? How can I be hydrating my soul in God’s presence? Does your soul need to rest and just take a moment in God’s presence?