EPIC Part 3 - Wild at Heart
In this message you will learn: The three core desires of every man's heart.
We're in a series that we began a couple of weeks ago called EPIC. And what we mean by EPIC, what we're talking about is this grand story that God is doing not only in our world, but since before the creation of time and what it means to us that there's something larger that is going on and our heart calls to that. And that's what we've been going through and exploring in the series.
So in the first week, two weeks ago, we made a statement that I think we need to backup and revisit, and that is that you are created and God's desire for you is to live forgiven and free.
Most of us, if you grew up in a church, had a church experience, you probably only lived out the first half of that and you've learned what it means to live forgiven. And in church we're really good at pointing out how to live forgiven. We're good at pointing out your sin and telling you that you're living wrong or that you're not living right. We're really good at that. And for some of you, that's why you left the church and maybe you're back now after a long time, but you left because all they did was point out all the sin in your life. We're, we're good at that, but we're really terrible sometimes, as a church, in teaching people how to live free. That Christ's mission, when he came, was not that you just live forgiven. He wants you to live forgiven and free.
And then last week we moved from that and we said, OK, so there's got to be a grand story that's going. There's got to be something going on that is bigger than who I am. There is a larger story, and so we began telling the story that began before our existence, before time as we know it, and we walked through what has transpired, how we play a critical role in that story, and how so much of life would make a whole lot more sense if we realize that we have a very real enemy. One who tried to stand up against God himself, lost that battle, was hurled to Earth, tried to stop Jesus and all that he was going to accomplish, failed in that mission, and now has taken all of that anger and all of that hatred and he has turned that on the object of God's love, and that is you, and that is me. That we'd do ourselves very well to realize that we do live as Jesus said in John 10:10, that there's an enemy that comes to steal, to kill and destroy.
Not to be afraid of it, but to be aware that there is a reality of those things. And so what we're going to do this week is we're going to talk about how God created us as human beings. We're going to talk specifically about a man.
We're going to talk about a man's heart and why men are created the way men are created. And then next week, ladies, don't worry. Next week we're going to talk to you about how God created ladies and the heart and the desires of your heart, and you get a really special treat because my wife is actually going to be on stage and she will be delivering the message, and if you've never heard my wife teach, you're in for a treat. But this week we're going to talk about the heart of a man. How is it that God has created us as men? But first, let, let me just state this. Men were all on a different spectrum.
There are all kinds of different guys. So, this isn't about being a rugged outdoorsman, that we're not going to have a contest here that says, OK, real men, how big and how long can you grow your beard? We're not, we're not going to do that. We're not going to flex muscles. And you may be the type of guy that you can't communicate about cars and things like that, and neither can I. So when we talk about the heart of a man, we're not talking about the stereotypical heart. Some of you, you're here. I get it. Braveheart is a movie that speaks to me. The Patriot speaks to me. Gladiator speaks to me. But you may be the type of guy here that your favorite movie is The Notebook and that's OK. If it is the notebook, your wife probably loves you.
Look, every guy matters. Your idea of a weapon might not be a two handed broadsword. Your idea of a weapon might be your computer keyboard at work. If so, this message still applies to you.
The other thing that I want to point out before we dive into this, is that I've only got about 30 minutes and I'm going to talk to you and we are not even going to crack the surface of how deep of a journey God wants to lead you on and what he can do in your life. To give you just an idea. We take guys on a retreat and we spend three or four days together and during that time we talk about this topic, the heart of a man and we spent 14 hours and we just get started and then we invite them into fire pits and we talk for two hours every single week of every single year.
So 30 minutes is not going to cut it. There's more to the journey, so I just want to state that upfront so that you understand the depth of it.
So let's get going here. William Wallace, in the movie Braveheart, if you've not seen that movie before, it's the story of a character named William Wallace who was a Scotsman and he is trying to lead his nation, his people, Scotland, into freedom against a very evil king of England, Longshanks, and so it's a whole story of a battle between him and Longshanks and how he is trying to bring freedom. And one of the best quotes of the whole movie is the last quote that's in that trailer where William Wallace says this, and I think he nails it.
Every man dies, but not every man really lives.
Every man dies. We're all going to die. That's why some of us, we don't like funerals and we don't mean like being reminded of our mortality. Every man will die, but not every man really lives. And so we're going to spend a little bit of time talking about how do we really live. That God's desire for us is to really live.
In order to do this, we're going to the book of Genesis, to the beginning of our story. Genesis 1:26 is when men begin to come on the scene and it says,
26 Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.” 27 So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
So God creates Adam and Eve in his image. And long before sin enters the world, and we need to pause there because when I hear the story of Adam and Eve, I immediately go to the moment in the garden to which sin entered the world, but at this particular place in the story, it is long before that has happened, God creates man and he places Adam into this garden and he gives him dignity. He creates man with strength, honor, glory and purpose.
This text says that we as human beings were created to reign over, or rule over, or have dominion over. Before sin enters the picture, this was our destiny. And as a kid growing up, I kind of missed all this.
As a kid, you know, you see the pictures. Remember last week we talked about flannel graphs and growing up in Sunday school and the flannel graph of Adam and Eve as what you put them up and there's a couple of apple trees and some different things and we talk about Adam and Eve and so the picture that I had as a kid, all the way into adulthood, is Adam basically is a glorified gardener. This is his role and to me that means nothing because I don't have a green thumb or a brown thumb. I have a black thumb. I will kill anything. My wife and I, she shares it as well. If you give us a plant, we will kill it. My mom wants to try to challenge this. She gave us a piece of bamboo. She says, no one can kill bamboo. It doesn't need to be watered. We killed it. Honest to God.
So Adam is a gardener. I'm like, well, who cares? I don't care anything about gardening. Now, if you're a gardener is great. I'll eat what you grow, right? Anything anyone grows, unless you're from Colorado then there are some exceptions. OK?
But Adam is a gardener and I'm like, I just don't get that. But we miss the significance of the moment. If we just say, oh, there he is, tending the garden and doing his thing, and the significance is that he's placed into this incredibly huge, this large story and given a mission where God says, look, I know that Satan, Lucifer, or however you want to name him, tried to rise up against us because he wanted to take power. Here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to create man and woman and I'm going to make them in our image. I'm going to give them the very thing that Lucifer desired.
I'm going to create him in my image and I'm going to give him my authority and I'm going to give him my dominion.
See, this is the story in which we were created. And so Adam is placed into this grand place with purpose, which leads us to this idea of, what is at the heart of Adam that was created?
There's three core desires that I've learned over time that are in every guy's heart, and the first one is simply this.
1. We have a desire for an adventure to live.
There is some thing deep inside of us that when Adam is created and placed into this garden, there is an adventure that takes place. And every guy has a desire to live out an adventure. We all have it. I have it. You have it. You look around at every little boy. They all have it. You don't have to look that far.
In fact, how many of you have children? You have a boy and a girl. You've raised both. How many of you would you agree that they play differently? Little girls do what? they talk. Boys do what? they make sounds. They blow things up. They go on adventures.
If you have raised a little boy, every small stick becomes a gun and every long stick, a sword, even if you don't like swords and guns. And they go on an adventure with it, they play cops and robbers. You're the bad guy. I'm the good guy. They play superheroes. All of my kids went through superhero phases. They were superman and superman was awesome, and then they were Batman and Spider-man, and then they played the greatest hero of all. Bob The builder, right?
There's something inside of us that wants to do crazy adventures. That's why we will jump off buildings. We will jump off bridges with bungee cords attached to us. We will jump out of perfectly good airplanes. Because there's something inside of us that craves an adventure, right? I mean, you guys get this.
You get a group of guys together. What are they going to talk about in general? They're going to talk about all the stupid things they did when they were younger and all the reasons that they should be dead, right? Here's all the dumb things I did when I was 15 years. All the dumb things I did in my twenties, there's all the dumb things I did and some of you are still talking. Here's all the dumb things I did last night, right?
And we'll try to one up the adventure story like, Oh yeah, you did that, well I lost a finger. Oh yeah, well, I lost a hand and they had to sew it back on. Right? We will try to one-up your adventure because there's something deep inside of us that just craves adventure. We do stupid things in pursuit of adventure.
The problem that we run into is that the adventures that we generally turn to are temporary.
The adventures that we turn to, they're not very long lasting. We jump out of that plane. We're scared to death. We pull the chute, we land on the ground, adventure over. I need to do it again. Do it again. You see the adventures that we tend to turn to are temporary. They don't fill the void that God created inside of our heart. There's this core desire, something in us that says, there is something more to this life. There is some grand adventure that you have been designed and made for. You were created for so much more.
But in churches, unfortunately, we haven't done a really good job of tapping into this core desire that God created us to have
And if you want to know what I mean, I just want you to think and reflect. Those of us that grew up in church. This church is a bit of an abnormality, so when I make these statements, they're not always true of this church, but think of the church that you grew up in.
Would you want to be like the men that you saw in the churches that you grew up in? Was that your desire to say, Oh man, if I could just do that, I would be a nice guy.
Let me put it to you a different way. The Super Bowl is coming up in two weeks, right?
Would you rather watch the game with the church guys that you grew up with or would you rather watch the game with your buddies from work? And again, this church isn't an abnormality, You can watch the game with us and it’s going to get a little bit rowdy. It's gonna be a little bit crazy, but just think about that. Sure. I mean, churches are loaded with guys. They're nice guys. They're good guys, but adventure, I don't know. You know, I don't really know that they understand adventure.
And so the challenge, the problem, is this. Men come to us in the church and they say, look, I want to live a wild and free life with God. I want to go on a great adventure. I want to live with my hair blowing back, what little hair I have left. I wanna live going 90 to nothing. I want to go wide open. I want this crazy life with God.
And we say, man, you really want to live? Yeah, I want to live. You want freedom? That's awesome. We're going to put you on the rules committee. Ah, yeah, man, that's really living. Talk about adventure. We might make you an usher. Nothing wrong with ushers. We got some ushers here, and if they told me to sit down. I'm sitting down, I'll tell you that.
But we are just missing the adventure component and this is what we do to men. They come in and there is some desire. There is something in them that says, there's got to be so much more to life. And we say, yeah, that's awesome. Come on in and now that you’re here, you need to stop doing this. You need to stop doing that. You need to start doing this. You need to start doing that. We need to clean you up. You need to dial it back. We got to knock off some of those rough edges. You know, you're, you're a little bit rough. You need to control yourself. You need to sin less. You've got so much sin in your life. You've got to learn how to sin less. You need to stop cussing. You need to stop smoking cigars. You need to stop drinking or at least do like other Christians and switch to light beer. You have got to stop all this stuff.
We take these men that are looking for some grand adventure, and we hand them a rule book. And we say, just follow the rules. That's the adventure.
Really? This is what I'm supposed to do? God created me to fight the evil one, to take on the battle. And we are doing this to men over and over and over. Guys, this is why in church after church, today, there are guys sitting in services that are dutiful, but they are bored out of their minds. They love Jesus. But they're bored in his churches, and we have done it to them.
So guys come in and we say, look, you need to be more like Jesus. And that's a great answer. That really, truly is a great answer. But the question is, what Jesus are we talking about here? Like, I don't understand what Jesus is like. Let me give you a little bit of picture of what God is like and what Jesus like.
Exodus 15:3 says this,”The Lord is a warrior. Yahweh is name.”
The actual Hebrew word there for warrior is dread champion. That just sounds cool. I like that translation better. The Lord is a dread champion.
Let's do a little bit of logic here. Did we not just read? What did God say? Let us make man in what? Our image. If God is a warrior and I am created in his image, what does that make me? A warrior? Men, what does that make you?
Now, I get it. Many of you are going, I don't feel much like a warrior. I mean, that's not the picture that you have been given of Jesus. And so there's a lot of confusion around what Jesus is really like, right? We say, oh, be like Jesus. He is a super nice guy, but the image that mostly we get of Jesus is not that of a warrior. The image that we portray in of Jesus in most churches is more like this. Let's watch this together.
Clip of Mister Rodgers playing a pitch pipe for children.
Yeah. Really? So you want to live life to the full. You want freedom. You want to take on a battle? You want a grand adventure? That's what we've done, right? Jesus, the meek, mild, carrying around the lamb.
And we say, just be a nice guy. But that's not who Jesus was. Jesus was a warrior, fighting for the freedom of people that no one else would fight for. Jesus was reaching out to people that no one would touch. Jesus was taking outsiders and bringing them in as insiders. He was fighting against the political system that put everything in its place and he said, no, that is not how it is. It is like this. He was fighting against a religious system that had put people into bondage and he said, no, I have come to bring you freedom. Jesus carried a two handed broad sword, not a pitch pipe.
This is Jesus. Jesus is a warrior. If you want an accurate picture of who Jesus is… I know we've given you a lot of books in the series, but this book right here will open your eyes to who Jesus really was.
Beautiful Outlaw. Jesus was an outlaw.
You're going to see a side of Jesus that John Eldredge writes in this book, that will open your eyes to the warrior and will call you out to an adventure to live. You see, Jesus was a fierce warrior on a on a search and rescue mission to seek and save people that were lost and we've been created in his image. We are a warrior and outlaw on a grand adventure,
But here's the danger. C. S. Lewis nails it when he says this, “If we don't find the adventure in life with God, we ultimately find it somewhere else.”
In affairs, addictions, pornography, drugs, and things like that. You see that right? That is the story of too many men that I know that are trying to follow Jesus.
They can't seem to find the adventure in the church, and so they find it in all these places that just bring damage into their life and it's time for that to stop. It's time for us to give men the adventure that God has called them to. Don't ignore the desire in your heart.
Some of you need to go back and reawaken it, but it's there.
But adventure alone is not enough and God knows that. So, he begins to tell us in Genesis 2:21
So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep. While the man slept, the Lord God took out one of the man’s ribs and closed up the opening. 22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib, and he brought her to the man. 23 “At last!” the man exclaimed. “This one is bone from my bone, and flesh from my flesh! She will be called ‘woman,’ because she was taken from ‘man.’”
24 This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.
25 Now the man and his wife were both naked, but they felt no shame.
So, God drops Adam into the story, into this great adventure and he said, look, it's not complete. It's not good that he has to do this thing alone. It's not good for him to be alone. So he creates her, creates woman. And she has her own unique ability to reflect who God is and what he's like. And we'll talk about that next week.
But this brings to light another core desire that comes out of a man's heart...
2. To have a beauty to rescue.
And I probably don't have to do too much to convince us that, man, we are just drawn to the beauty of a woman. We could make a whole series on how that's gone awry and the mistakes that have been taking place, but there is something built inside of us that it is just drawn to a woman and you need to know this ladies, your beauty, it slays us. It will just knock us to our knees, will make us do silly, stupid things. But your beauty is a reflection of the beauty of God.
And I know that you have an enemy that will come to mar it and scar it, and try to tell you things that are different, but you are beautiful because you reflect the beauty God. And that beauty will just slay us.
You know, if a woman tells a guy that he's amazing, it just makes his day. Like, if one of my friends come up to me and they say, hey dude, you're awesome. I’ll say, You're awesome too. But if my wife comes up and says, “hey, you know that thing you did? That was amazing.” And all of a sudden, it is time to put the kids down for a nap.
We have this desire, but it's not just for beauty. It's a desire to rescue the beauty. That in moments when you know, she needs rescue.
A couple of weeks ago, my wife brought me a jar of salsa or something like that and she couldn't get it open and so I'm messing around with it, you know, and I played with and finally I open this jar. It was like, “I rescued the beauty here is your salsa,” right? In the small things. It's that way.
Some of you, your wife's asked you to do something for the last six months and it has been on the To-do list and you haven't done it. And then when you finally do it, you know, you finally replaced the light bulb that she's been asking you for the last year and a half. What do you do? You blow up her phone, Hey, I changed the light bulb and it is awesome. I'm amazing. It's great. I've rescued you.
Now, those are funny things, but were also made to come in and rescue for the big things, a lot of which my wife is going to talk about next week. But women are under assault by the enemy and God has created you with a desire to rescue her, to help her, to fight for her.
And so the stage is set early in creation. God Puts Adam into the adventure. He gives him this wonderful beauty. He has a desire to rescue her. And they're in the garden and the enemy shows up as the serpent and he begins to warp and twist God's words. And in Genesis chapter three, the serpent begins to speak to the woman.
4 “You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman. 5 “God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.”
6 The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too. 7 At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves.
Now, adventure is there. The beauty is there. They are in the garden and when Satan shows up, God provides Adam with an opportunity to step in, to step up, to step in between his beauty and the lies and the deception of the enemy. He had an opportunity to rescue the beauty and he failed.
The first moment man has to fulfill one of the core desires of every man who has ever lived, and he fails. He blew it. And he chose Eve over God. Guys, we've been doing that ever since.
And in this moment, we get a peak into a third core desire of every man.
3. A battle to fight.
There's a battle in front of Adam right in there. There is a fight, there's an enemy that is lying and deceiving and trying to come against them. There is a battle, Adam. Look, fight, turnaround, go against this, and he doesn't.
You know, we all have this core desire inside of us to fight a battle. If someone were to break into your house tonight, you would do everything you could to stop them, including sacrificing your own life to protect your family. I know that that is true. That desire is put inside of you.
Now, you may not have someone break into your house tonight, but your family is in a war. They are constantly under the assault of the enemy. The woman that you love is constantly under assault. Her identity is constantly under assault. Your children are constantly under an assault. There is a battle that sits in front of you every moment of every day, of every week of your whole life. And the question becomes, do you step in or do you not, do you wage war or do you step back?
Many times I miss the opportunity. You miss it, and a lot of times we all miss it. And guys, I wish I had one story of where I've missed it and I just told you that story over and over because I didn't have any more, but I continually keep adding to the library of times that I've missed it.
One of the times was about 2 months ago with my daughter. If you know Logan, she's a beautiful girl. Now, she's a mess. And when I say a mess, I mean she's a mess. We've called her hurricane Logan since she was two, because wherever she goes, it's a whirlwind of mess. So one day I went into her room and it was a mess, which it is always a mess. But some things had gotten broken, some things that were very important to her had gotten broken. And in the midst of all of this, her heart was broken about it.
And I had an opportunity then to step in and to rescue her by speaking to her heart. But I just had a meeting about where our finances were. So, my whole brain was just focused on money. And so I just went after her and I said, how could you do this? How can you be so irresponsible? You're continually breaking things. Do you know how much money that it's going to cost us to fix the thing that you did? I just went after her, and after her, over and over. And I took her little heart and I shot arrows into it. I had an opportunity to rescue my beauty and I blew it just like Adam. I blew it.
So some hours later I was just feeling really, really guilty about it. I went back into her room, I woke her up. I said, hey babe, I got to tell you where I was wrong. I shouldn't have said these things. I went in a whole litany of things. And I started to build her up and tell her how she's a princess and how she's beautiful and how she's more valuable than any stupid thing. But I missed the battle the first time and we do it continually.
There's a battle in front of all of us. There's a battle with the people that are in your life. Don't miss it. Don't miss it like Adam did. Now, watch what happens next.
8 When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the man and his wife heard the Lord God walking about in the garden. So they hid from the Lord God among the trees. 9 Then the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” 10 He replied, “I heard you walking in the garden, so I hid. I was afraid because I was naked.”
You see, Adam messes up. He misses his opportunity and he hides. And as men, we have been hiding ever since. We run from the battles. We hide. We don't engage.
Yeah, there's a desire that's there, but we choose not to get into the battle. Why? Mainly because of the failures in the past, because we have an enemy that whispers into our head, “Hey, you messed that up. You messed that up. Oh yeah, remember that time that you said that to your daughter. You're a terrible dad. You should just give that up.”
And because we have failed so many times in the past, we think that we can never come through in the, in the present.
And so we just give up and we pass up and we don't engage. And we hide.
We hide in all kinds of different ways. We hide behind our titles. We hide behind our income, we hide behind our education. We hide behind knowledge, fitness, muscles, our wives. We hide behind our news outlets. We even hide behind our bibles in the scriptures that we know.
But we hide because we were afraid. Because of my past, how could I ever go to war? How can I ever fight? How could I ever be in an adventure? Because I'm such a failure. But it's not true. And many of you need to rise up.
Albert Schweitzer said this, “The tragedy of life is what dies inside of a man while he still lives.”
Every time that you miss a battle, every time that you don't step up, there's something inside of you that dies. Doesn't it guys? Be honest with me, it dies.
And that is not how God created you to be. That is not what he desires for you. He wants you to rise up, take the battle head on.
This is who you were created to be: An adventure to live, a beauty to rescue and a battle to fight. This is who you are. And the journey to get there is an amazing journey. It was a wonderful journey. I know it because I personally have been on it. I played church for 30, almost 40 years of my life and then I began to understand these core desires and how God played them out in my life. And for the last 10 years I've been living in new kind of life.
But I will tell you it's not been easy. But is worth everything. To everyone around me, it is worth everything.
And I kind of have a dream for this place that we call Next Level Church; for every guy that comes into this place, every person, but specifically, I just have a dream for you, that when someone thinks of men that are connected to this community, three words come to mind, restored, alive and free. Not bored, not despondent, not apathetic, but restored, alive, and free.
God wants you to rise up. And one of the ways that you guys can do, and I know we've said it, you can pick up the book wild at heart. I'd encourage you to do it. Actually we had someone in our church go out and buy a case of them and bought them in today, put them back at guest services and said, I believe in this message so much, I'll just give them away.” So, if you want one, pick it up.
Pick it up, read it. If you're not into reading, get the audio, but let me tell you, don't just read it. Get a bunch of guys together and read the book together. That's how you'll live. Get a group of people and say, Hey, let's meet before we go to work. Let's meet after work. Or can we get together on Saturday. Whatever. Let's talk about some of the things that are in here because I want to be alive, I want to be free. If you will do that, God will awaken something. You'll really begin to live. The guys that I know that are living this message are the most alive guys that I know.
One last question before you walk out of here today. What best describes your life? Is it battle, adventure and beauty or is it hassle, obligation and duty? Be honest, because if it is the second one, that's not how you were created to be. God wants so much more for you.
Every man dies, but not every man really lives.
And it’s time for that to change.