Simon Says

In our Christian life we are not expected to be perfect.

Linn Winters
Jan 21, 2018    41m
Pastor Linn talks about living our Christian life and realizing that God doesn't always expect us to be perfect and that as long as we are at least trying to walk with him and spend time with him that is all he desires of us. Video recorded at Chandler, Arizona.

messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

Introduction: 00:00 Whether we realize it or not, we're all in pursuit. We pursue career, family, money, pleasure, things. All too often we chart our own path never considering what God's path for us might be. Christ said, "Come follow me. Do your marriage, just follow me. Do your job, just follow me. Do life, just follow me." Join us as we examine our lives and take our faith deeper as we learn how to follow.

Linn Winters: 00:50 Hey Cornerstone, how you doin' man? Super glad you're here today. I want a really quick shout out to San-Tan and to Scottsdale. Just glad you guys are part of this conversation that we're having about following. So if you're just now checking in this week and you weren't here last week, we started a brand new series. This is the second week of it and which is just entitled "Follow." And the question we've been asking is, "am I really following Jesus or am I just going through the motions? If I just checked into kind of a religious thing, am I following this person called Jesus?" This is one of those series. I'm just gonna encourage you. You're gonna want, uh, to be part of every conversation that we have. So part of that is staying in the room each week for the next couple of weeks, but part of that is if you missed last week, going back and just listening to what we said together. Because this thing is gonna build, uh, as we go along.

Linn Winters: 01:42 If you missed last week, here's the basics of the conversation, uh, that we had. We said, look, uh, Jesus, when he asked us to follow, it is never some, uh, moment of intellectual suicide. It's not Jesus saying, "Hey, just take this blind, crazy leap of faith. It's not built on any thing lodge. Just follow me. Do what I asked you to do. Don't ask questions." Jesus never does that. That following Jesus always begins with investigation. It always begins with asking your questions and hearing the answers and coming to a moment, you ready for this? A moment where you say it is reasonably, reasonable to now step into this thing by faith. They go, what Linn that (inaudible) still sounds a little weird to me. No, no, no, no. All the time. All the time. You and I, as we live life, have moments that we, we listen and we take in information and we get to a moment, that we go, you know what?

Linn Winters: 02:41 It's reasonably, reasonable to now take a step of faith in my life. Ladies. You did this when you were dating. You were with that guy. You were watching how he treated you on date. You were asking him how many kids he wanted. You watched how he behaved when you disagreed. You took that information. You process that, and you got to a moment where you said, it is reasonably, reasonable for me now to move forward and attach my life to his life for the rest of my life. You were wrong. No, I'm teasing, I'm teasing, I'm teas-, but you get it, right? You, you, you, we do this all the time. Every job interview, you've done this, you've gone in, they asked you their questions. You ask your questions and, "hey, what are the benefits like? Hey, what's the staff culture like? What do you do when there's conflict?" You asked your questions, but the truth is there was no way for you to know 100 percent what it was gonna be like to work there.

Linn Winters: 03:38 You had to get to a point where you said it is reasonably, reasonable to now step forward in faith and just say, Hey, I think I think it is what they say it is. I, I think I can trust." But you didn't know that beyond a shadow of a doubt, when you accepted the job. Christianity is exactly the same way. It's OK to ask the questions. It's OK to interview Jesus. It's OK. But there is gonna come a moment. You just need to know, that's just like so many other things in life where you're gonna have to decide. It is reasonably, reasonable for me to step into this Jesus thing. To become a follower of this Jesus guy. It's just what happens. And then we said last week there is gonna come a moment as you and I follow Jesus that Jesus is gonna ask you and me to do something that we've done a thousand times before.

Linn Winters: 04:29 Hey, I've, I've done my marriage this way a thousand times. Hey, I've handled my finances this way a thousand times. Hey, I've handled bitterness and angriness this way a thousand times. And Jesus is gonna come in that moment. He's gonna say to you, "look, look, I know, I know, I know. I know, I know this is how you've always done it. I know you feel a certain level of success doing it that wa-. I know I know, but I'm gonna ask you to do something you've done a thousand times before and I'm gonna simply ask you this time. Would you do it my way? And just see what happens. When you do what you've done a thousand times before and this time when you do it my way." And we said, when that moment comes, it's gonna seem a little irrational. It's gonna. It, it, you're gonna go, loo-, you, you know I, I don't get it, and why do I have to do it that wa- (inaudible)?

Linn Winters: 05:14 And there's gonna be that moment and in that moment you've gotta do exactly what Peter did in that moment. You've gotta say, "hey, Jesus, look fishing in the middle of the afternoon makes no sense. I, I'm a fisherman by trade, but I'm willing to try it one time because you asked. I wouldn't do it for anybody else, but because you asked, I'll try doing what I've done a thousand times before and simply this time doin' it your way." And last week we gave everybody bracelets an on the bracelets it simply says, because you said, because you asked, because every one of us, as we unpack this conversation about following is gonna come to the moment, which is gonna say no, no, no. I, I know you're living with them. No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, I, I know, I know, you think you have that habit mastered, I know.

Linn Winters: 06:07 No, no, no, no, no, no, no, I'm simply asking you to do what you've already done a thousand times, but this time I'm asking you to follow me. I'm gonna ask you to do it my way this time and in that moment you and I need to give the right answer. Jesus, I'm only gonna do this because you asked, and so I hope everyone's got brace-. If you don't have a bracelet, are we ready to hand them out if they don't have a bracelet, is that a yes? Yes. OK, so if you don't have a bracelet, raise your hand right now. We'll give you a bracelet. K? Cause you're gonna want this bracelet. It's worth thousands of dollars just alone, ya know, so for that very reason. OK? All right. So there, that was last week. We caught you up on the-. Keep your hands up. They're gonna hand you these invaluable bracelets, uh, that are amazing.

Linn Winters: 06:47 All right. When you were a kid, did you ever play "Simon Says"? OK. All right, so, very cool. So here's what we're gonna do, we're gonna play "Simon Says" for just a moment, just so that I have fun. You're not gonna enjoy it. I'm gonna enjoy it. K? So we're gonna play "Simon Says," so here we go. You ready? Uh, Simon says, touch your nose. All right, Simon says, scratch your ear. Simon says, pat the shoulder of the person next to you. Simon says, someone's pattin' their own shoulder. Simon says, Simon says, rub your belly. Raise your hand.

Linn Winters: 07:24 AHHHHHHHHHHHHH, AHHHHHHHHHHHHH Which is right? The greatest joy of Simon says, getting someone to do something stupid, right? As Simon said. Here's why that's a big deal. Early on in my Christian life, I thought that following Jesus was just a cosmic version of Simon Says. That this following Jesus was just, Hey, Jesus says, don't sleep with your boyfriend. You know? Jesus says, uh, you know, don't drink til you get drunk. Jesus says, Jesus says, right? And I thought that's what following Jesus was, was just this kind of like Biblical version of Simon Says. And let's be honest, some of you, that's what you thought following Jesus was, and you tried it out at some point in your life when you were younger and you just went, "look, this, this game's no fun. This, oh, this feels so much about like ego of whoever Simon is and, and (unlegible) it feels like it's built to trip me up and, and there's just, there's nothing about this that works for me." And so you opted out of Simon Says, following Jesus.

Linn Winters: 08:20 Here what, here's what may be scarier. There are Christians in the room right now and your version of following Jesus is a Jesus version of Simon Says. That you've actually opted in to the game and that's how you're, you're just going, "Well, you know the Bible said so, ok." And, and you really believe that, that is the essence of following Jesus. Guys, I'm just tellin' you today is gonna just blow up your world on the deal. Now, here's, hear what you hear me say at the very, very beginning. I am not on any level minimizing what scripture says about how we're to live. I'm not minimizing on any level what it means to be in conformity to the teach-. I'm not, I'm not doing that. Matter of fact, I think one of the problems we have in Christianity today is that most Christians aren't playing Simon Says with Jesus. We're playing Simon Says with the culture, and we go, "well, the culture says it's OK. Well, the culture says this is what's right. The culture says, if it feels good, it's OK."

Linn Winters: 09:22 And guys, the answer at the end of the day is none of it is about Simon Says. What we're gonna discover today is, is that it begins with my heart. It, it begins with just saying, "hey, following Jesus is about really in the heart of Jesus and, and all of the other stuff, all of the, hey, you probably shouldn't, and that's not a good idea. All of that stuff's gonna fall in line if I start with my heart. If that's the first thing I give when I follow Jesus."

Linn Winters: 09:55 So here we go. Grab your bibles because there's a story that's just gonna absolutely unpack this for you and me. It's in Matthew, Chapter nine. If you're not familiar, if you go to the back of your Bible, start working to the left. You're gonna find this book of Matthew. It's Matthew, Chapter nine.

Linn Winters: 10:14 It's the story of a guy who was just doing life. I mean, he's, he's kind of OK and things are pretty much working out and in the middle, in the middle of a day in which he had no desire, no, not even a thought about following Jesus. Jesus is gonna walk through his life and say to him, "Hey, Matthew, follow me. Just come hang out. Just come, come spend time with me and let's just see what happens when you and I just kind of do life together. Not clean up your life, not start behaving different Matt. Just Matthew, come hang with me. Come follow me and let's figure out what happens together." Here we go. It's Matthew, Chapter Nine, starting in verse nine. It says, "Jesus went on from there. He saw a man named Matthew." Now stop there for a second. The book of the Bible we're in is named? It is not a trick question, and your seven year old could of answered it. K? The book we're in is? Matthew. The story is about? Matthew.

Linn Winters: 11:28 So here's what's happening. Matthew is tellin' a story about himself. He's sayin', "I, you just need. I, I want you to know how I became a follower of Jesus Christ. I, I wanna bring some clarity to this conversation because if you can figure out how a guy like me could actually become a follower of Jesus, it's gonna help everybody else. Because nobody, nobody, nobody, nobody, nobody was further from being a follower of Jesus than I was, on the day that Jesus invited me to be a follower." Here we go. "As they went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting in a tax collector's booth. Follow me he told him and Matthew got up and followed him. While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew's house. Many tax collectors and sinners came." Now don't miss this moment. Isn't it interesting that Matthew gives you and me two categories for the guests at the dinner?

Linn Winters: 12:28 Think about this. He goes, OK, so here's what you need to know. There were sinners there. I mean, there were blasfemurs. There were adulterers there, there, there, there, there were heretics. I'm just telling you, this was a sinful crowd. Hell's Angels looks like choir boys compared to the people who Jesus was having dinner with, but he says, worse than that, you ready for this? There was a group of people worse than sinners. They couldn't even be included in with all of the adulterers: tax collectors. Now, here's the thing, guys. Some of you are right now having a visceral response. You're going, I know, uh, "April fifteenth is coming really quick and I don't care what things Congress pass. It's still painful," right? And so you're gonna, I, I think I understand this. You don't understand this. Matthew is being serious when he says there was a group below the center group and that group, that highly despised, actually hated group, was my group. They were my people. They were tax collectors. Let me see if I can get you to this. Rome has conquered Israel. They now have taken tons of their rights away and now they've imposed on them taxes in order for you to fund your enemy.

Linn Winters: 13:54 The closest I can get to this would be, can you imagine if, if Russia were to invade the United States. They strip us of all of the things that we consider rights and dear, as Americans. And now we're under communist rule. In the mist of that, they now impose absolutely, suffocating taxes. In order to collect your taxes and make sure you're paying. They now hire Americans to collect your tax, to watch you and make sure you pay. And here's the crazy part about this, it's actually incredibly profitable for the tax collectors. Rome would actually sell the right to collect taxes. Here's why, because if you're a tax collector, you can impose any tax you can get away with. So let's say Rome is saying, "Hey, we want 20 percent of your income." The tax collector can charge anything they want as long as Rome gets there 20 percent. As long as Russia gets there 20 percent. So the tax collector comes and say, "Hey, your taxes are 35 percent," right off the top. They could pocket the 15 percent as long as they sent the other 20 percent on. So here they are, think about this, these are Americans who have absolutely for profit turned on us for the sake of the enemy. They are selling their souls. No wonder Matthew has to say, "hey, there were sinners in the room and then there was us. The lowest of the low, the most despised and hated people in all of Israel." And Jesus, ready for this? Jesus, decides to have dinner with us.

Linn Winters: 15:51 Verse Eleven, "when the Pharisees saw this, they asked the disciples, why does your teacher eat with tax collectors?" Even they are making the right, "tax collectors and sinners. On hearing this, Jesus said, it is not the healthy who need a doctor but the sick, but go and learn what this means. I desire mercy, not sacrifice for I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.

Linn Winters: 16:24 Guys, guys, guys, get the moment.

Linn Winters: 16:30 If Jesus had been playing, Simon Says, if Jesus had been saying, hey look, here's what it means to follow me. You got to give up these certain things. You got to do certain thin-. I mean, that's just what followers of me do, right? What in the world is he doing it's, at Matthew's house? I mean, wouldn't Jesus have had to begin with, "hey look, Matthew, look, I'd like for you to follow me, but the truth is you're gonna have to give up your tax collecting business first. Hey, hey Matthew, I'd really like to hang with some of your friends, but I'm just telling you that guy can't bring the woman, that he's sleeping with, who's not his wife to eat dinner. He's got to bring his wife instead." Right? If Jesus was playing, Simon Says, why not all the, when you, if you, after you, clean yourself up then you can come follow me. What does it mean to you that Matthew, in the middle of being the tax collector, in the middle of being the betrayer, Jesus says, "Hey, uh, follow me. Matter of fact, uh, we ought to hang out. Let me go to your house. I want to be with your friends tonight."

Linn Winters: 17:41 Which guys, let this sink in. K? Being a sinner does not disqualify you from following Jesus. Whatever you did last night does not disqualify you from following Jesus. Whatever you did when you went off to college does not disqualify you. No matter how dark, no matter what it was, no matter if it's past or present, it does not disqualify you from being a follower of Jesus. Cause you ready for this? Cause Jesus isn't playing Simon Says. The invitation to be a follower is not when you change, if you change, after you change. Which guys, you ready for this? Is gonna freak out a whole bunch of church people in the room.

Linn Winters: 18:37 I'm 13, and some of you heard a little bit of my story, and, and I'm going to this incredible little church. They've been so helpful to my family and they hire a youth pastor, his name is Wayne. And I'm just telling you that Wayne was an absolutely amazing guy. I mean he, his personality was just so dynamic and so winsome that we had kids coming to this little youth group and filling up the room. Not because they believed in Jesus and not because they'd made any deci-, they just wanted to be around Wayne. They just wanted to be in the sphere of this guy.

Linn Winters: 19:13 And lo and behold, you ready for this? As they hung with Wayne, as they were just in the room, and as, as we had conversations about scripture and Jesus and all of that, life started changing. We had a kid who was one of the major drug dealers on Marcos de Niza High School where after a Bible study, he goes, "man, I think I'm gonna give my heart to Jesus." And, and so the next thing I know, we're in the bathroom flushing drugs down the church toilet. Ah, there was a kid who was selling drugs at Tempe High, couple weeks later, we're in the bathr-. He's flushin' his stash down the toilet. Now here's, here's what you gotta get.

Linn Winters: 19:47 That's as far as they'd gotten to following. So there was still a whole bunch of rough stuff in these guys life. You don't wanna know what they were doin' in the bushes before Bible study. You, you, you don't wanna have any, you don't wanna ask any questions about what, what they and their girlfriend were doing last night. You, you don't wanna hear their language, eh, eh, right? This was the seventies guys.

Linn Winters: 20:15 And so this little church comes to Wayne and says, "Hey, all those drug dealer kids, all these just, you know, just out there, ri-. They can't come anymore. They, they, we can't have kids like that infecting kids like us. Now, if they would straighten out their life, I mean if they would, ya know, agree to certain terms, but otherwise they can't come." Why? Because a wonderful little church that, guys get this, get this, that actually loved Jesus and loved his word, got caught up in playing Simon Says.

Linn Winters: 20:54 And you need to know that Jesus is sitting at dinner with these guys and he hasn't asked one of 'em to change yet. He just simply says, "Hey, if we could hang together, if we could be it, let's just be around each other and let's just see what happens to your hearts as we linger in the room." Here's, here's what I wish I could have said. I surely didn't have the ability to articulate as a 13 year old at that church. "Guys, this is dumb. I know, I know. I know. I know. I know you're trying to protect your children, but can you imagine how powerful it is for your teenage son, your teenage daughter, to see these guys, who've already gone off the rails, who are already living in a lifestyle that this world is going to tell them is really, really cool and it really, really exciting for them to be sleeping with their boyfriend and doin' drugs and getting drun- and watch them leave that to come follow Jesus? There's a really, really good chance your kid doesn't have to go explore that cause they've got a living object lesson right in front of their lives and you're gonna take it away, because you're afraid that they're not playing Simon Says." And, guys I'm just telling you right now, following Jesus is not a game of Simon Says. You're gonna get there. I'm gonna get there. There's gonna be moments that we're gonna do what Jesus asks, and what scripture says, but that's not where following begins. That's where following lands.

Linn Winters: 22:34 Jump down to Verse 11 again with me. When the Pharisees saw this, how dare Jesus sit at a table with a bunch of sinners and tax collec-. How, (inaudible) when the Pharisees saw this, they asked the disciples, "why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?" On hearing this Jesus said, "it is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick." Now guys get this moment. I'm gonna fill in some blanks. I think they're reasonable blanks.

Linn Winters: 23:07 First off, I'm absolutely confident the Pharisees are not in the house. I mean, they weren't gonna there, there's no way, I mean the thing they're accusing Jesus, why are you in the house? Why are you hanging with these guys? So chances are the Pharisees are standing outside going, "see what he's doing. Oh yeah, (inaudible). Can you believe he's sittin' next to -," "Oh, I know," "You, have you heard, what I heard they did that they did, they heard." Right? I mean, that's what they're doin'. And in the midst of that, one of the disciples comes walkin' out and they go, "what's your, what's your master doin'? What, what's Jesus doing that he's in the house with those people? And guys, let's just be honest. If you're having dinner with tax collectors and sinners, there's stuff, there's stuff goin' on in the house that doesn't look like Jesus. Right?

Linn Winters: 23:59 And again, and the reason this really sinks in in an Eastern culture, is that to break bread with somebody was to literally just say, "Hey man, I'm with you. You're with me." It was so hard to procure food, let alone prepare food; no microwaves, right? No Amana Range, and you turn on the -. I mean this is a big thing and by the time you ate with somebody, by the time you had a meal with him, you were saying, "Hey, I'm, I'm tryin' to bless you. I'm, I'm tryin' to be part of this." It was a big deal and so the Pharisees of course go, "how in the world? What in the hey- is goin' on? Why would Jesus, your leader, be in there doing this?"

Linn Winters: 24:40 Now, what I don't know is what happens next. Do they say this so loud that Jesus can hear it on the inside of the house? You gotta remember, no air conditioning. There would've been open windows. You know, is the discussion with the disciples just so condemning and so loud that Jesus over hears them? I, I don't know, or does the disciple come, ya know, in and go, "hey Jesus, ya know the Pharisees are out there wondering why you're in here, having a meal with all these people?"

Linn Winters: 25:04 What we do know is that Jesus then responds and says, "Hey, you go tell them. Go tell them that it's not the healthy that need a physician. It's the sick." So get this, what are the chances that the rest of the people in the house over hear Jesus' reply, "Hey, you go tell them healthy people don't need me. It's the sick people that need me. If I'm one of the sick people inside the house, I'm going to Jesus." "Hey, I think you just offended me. I think you just called me sick," and again, here's me filling in the blanks. K, I'm admittin' it.

Linn Winters: 25:45 I got a feeling Jesus had already developed enough rapport. I don't think Jesus just knows their, their sins. I got a feeling Jesus knows their names, and probably their stories. And they've already felt enough acceptance and, and enough of Jesus just saying, "Hey, look, I just want to hang with you," that Jesus is able to turn to them in that moment and go, "Matthew, you're sick." To which Matthew goes, "yeah, you're right, yeah," and I can just see Matthew turnin' the guy next to him, "Hey, we're sick, high five man, high five, we're, we're the sick group."

Linn Winters: 26:29 Guys, guys, guys, guys, guys, you ready for this?

Linn Winters: 26:33 When you and I are willing to live our lives in proximity to people who don't know our Jesus yet. Without playing Simon Says, "Hey, stop sleeping with your-," you know, stop, stop, stop, stop, and just say, "Hey, I'm, I'm just gonna live my marriage in front of you. I, I'm just gonna, I'm just gonna, live my faithfulness in front of you." There's a part of that that becomes absolutely compelling. There's a part of that that causes people who haven't become followers of Jesus yet to wanna lean in and say, "look, I, I don't, I'm not ready for this yet. I don't understand this yet, but I'm intrigued. I'm intrigued." Which means, are you ready for this? You don't even have to be a believer to be a follower of Jesus. K, is that just wild? You don't even have to be a beli-, because, because you ready? Cause it's not a game of Simon Says, it's just a, hey, would you come and have dinner with me?

Linn Winters: 27:31 Would you just live life around me and see what you think? See what happens, see what God would do with your heart? Which means, can I just say to believers in the room, which is why you and I can't live like people who don't know our Jesus. Because then they'll never see our Jesus. But it's also why we don't exclude people who don't know our Jesus from living their lives in proximity to us and around us. Guys, think about this, none of the disciples, when they first started following Jesus was a believer. I dare you, go back and read scripture. Find me one disciple, when they first started following Jesus that actually believed in him. They're all unbelievers when they start following.

Linn Winters: 28:25 Which is really, really cool for you in the room, because if you don't even believe, and you go, "I don't think I believe any-." That's OK, you can still follow Jesus because here's (inaudible) listen to this. The worst that can happen is that after you follow Jesus for a while, you discover it's not true, but you'd still be a better person. Or maybe, just maybe, you'd find something that would change everything in your life, if you just followed Jes-, if you leaned in, even as a non believer.

Linn Winters: 28:59 There's a guy, think about this, there's a guy who follows Jesus all three and a half years of his ministry, doesn't believe. He sees, think about this, he sees every miracle that Jesus performs, doesn't believe. He hears every single sermon that Jesus gives, doesn't believe. Matter of fact, he's so notorious in his unbelief that we've given him a name. His name is doubting Thomas and he gets, think about this, he gets to the very end of Jesus ministry of earth, three and a half years and he goes, "no, I doubt it." The women come running in after the resurrection of Jesus Christ to go, "wait, you got over there, the tomb was empty. We met this angel and Thomas says, "I doubt it."

Linn Winters: 29:50 Jesus comes in, appears to the disciples. Thomas happens to not be in the room, and so Thomas comes back and says, and the disciples go, "man, Jesus was just here. I mean it's real. We saw him. Thomas says, "I doubt it." So Jesus has to come back another time. And as he appears in the room, it's interesting. You turns only to one person in the room. He says, "Thomas, come feel the holes." And then he believes, which means, you ready for this guys? You don't even have to believe in Jesus yet to be a follower, you just have to be willing to sit down and have dinner. You just have to be willing to be in the room and just say, you know what? I'm just going to lean in and figure this out and, cause it's not a game of Simon Says. Where no one's gonna ask you to follow the rules. We're just gonna ask you to explore the person.

Linn Winters: 30:46 And then there comes a passage in here that just turns this whole conversation on its head. So go back, we'll start in verse 12 again, "on hearing this, Jesus said, it's not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick," and then guys get this one. Because this one lands the conversation for you and me, "but go and learn what this means," Jesus says, "figure this out. I desire mercy, not sacrifice, for I have not come to call the righteous but sinners." So get the moment, get the moment.

Linn Winters: 31:28 Jesus says, "look, this first step in this first thing of following me happens in the heart. I desire mercy, not sacrifice," which thinks about this, sacrifice would have been the proper behavior. It was already in the law. You were supposed to come every single year. You had to offer a lamb. You had to give the best of your flock. There were other moments you had to come back, give sin offerings, all the right things to do. And Jesus says, guys get this, "playing, Simon, doing the right thing is not the first foot forward in following me the first foot forward in following me is giving your heart to this thing." And Go-, and here's what he's saying to the Pharisees, "If you were leading with your heart and not playing a cosmic game of Simon Says, you would've looked at these sinners, you would've looked at these tax collectors and your heart would have been filled with mercy.

Linn Winters: 32:23 You're heart wouldn't of been broken, and you wouldn't go, "if these peoples keep living the way they are, if he keeps sleeping with his girlfriend, if, if they keep using alcohol to solve all their problems, if they keep walking over and being dishonest in order to gain money somewhere, that life falls apart somewhere, they're gonna be filled with nothing but heartache and regret. And somehow we've got to get into their lives before they make that mistake." And he says, "guys, you should've led with mercy. You should've come with your heart, not with your list of to do's."

Linn Winters: 33:06 Doing the right to do's does not make you a follower of Jesus. It makes you a great employee. Let me say that differently. You can work at Intel. You can work at any company. Read the handbook, know everything the handbook says, all the requirements, how you're supposed to behave at work. You can, you can actually meet every single one of the quotas that they have. You can be the high performer, makes you a great employee. It doesn't mean you love the place. Jesus is not looking for employees. He's not asking you to read the Bible and figure out all the do's and don'ts. He's not asking you to go through all the Christian motions that would make you an employee. He wants your heart.

Linn Winters: 34:00 Husbands, you intuitively know this, so you could go to the marriage seminar and Kevin Leman says, "all right, here's the deal. Every day you're gonna spend 10 minutes of couch time." So you come home every single day. You sit down on the couch, you start the clock, you talk and then 9:48, 9:49, 9:-, done. Hey, uh, uh, a really good, a really good, uh, husband, really good father reads a story to his kids. OK guys, grab the book we, we got, we're gonna read three pages, "I moved down (mumbling)."

Linn Winters: 34:32 A really, really good husband takes his wife on dates every week. "All right, where are we going this week? Can we get back in time for CSI?" Right? You can, you can learn all the rules and you can do all the right actions and here's what men you, here's what you already know. Given that choice, your wife would say, I'd rather have a husband who stumbles and doesn't get it all right, but does it from his heart.

Linn Winters: 35:00 This is exactly what Jesus is saying about following me. He's saying, "guys, look, this isn't a game of Simon Says, this isn't a list of to do's. The truth is, if you give me your heart first, if you just say, Hey, look, I'm, I'm just, I'm gonna, do this. I'm gonna do what I'm gonna do because I want to please the heart of God." All the to do's are gonna come. They're all gonna get in line. May, maybe this lands it. My absolute desire is to make my wife Lisa believe that she got the best end of the deal when she married me. K? That's my goal. And so I try, I try every day to do something, something, no matter how small it is, just something that's gonna cause her to smile and say to herself in that little moment, "I love that guy."

Linn Winters: 35:52 And so I, I, I do dumb little things. I, I pick up around the house when it's not even my stuff sometimes. I carry out the trash without being asked because apparently carrying out the trash is the man's job. I don't know how that got decided. I'll, I'll unload the dishwasher cause in our house loading the dishwasher is my job, unloading is hers. And so I'll unload the dishwasher so she comes up to it, and goes, "oh."

Linn Winters: 36:25 On occasion I'll put gas in my wife's car. Now guys, I just got to tell you how hard this is for me. Because I'm the guy that when my needle gets down to a quarter of a tank, I pull in and get gas cause that's the responsible thing to do; not Lisa. Lisa's the one that waits and she watches that thing that says 38 more miles. Right? And then she pushes, ya know, in the little odometer thing. So she can watch it go down and when that needle gets all the way to the bottom where you go, "it's gotta be broken, it can't, they can't go that far down." I'll get in the car. She goes, "no, I got two more miles."

Linn Winters: 37:04 So the other day, I get in the car and uh, start out, run a little family errand. And sure enough I look down, I mean that thing is, (sound effect), the poor car is going (sound effect) trying to get gas, right? And there was a part of me as I'm doing this says, "OK, I'm gonna run my errand, I'm takin' that car back home. She can pray on the way to Shell. She can, she can do that." And instead I thought to myself, yeah, as hard as thi-....I'm gonna fill their tank. Later that day she takes off to run some errands. She doesn't check the gas gauge, anybody surprised? Uh, she pulls into the gas station, starts trying to put gas in, 15 cents it shuts off. She is convinced the gas pump is broken, right? And then she realizes her husband filled the tank.

Linn Winters: 37:56 She comes in a little bit later. She goes, "I looked like a fool today. I'm at the gas pump, I'm trying to put gas in, I'm saying things to the gas pump I shouldn't say, and then I realized, you filled my tank." Can I tell you that was the best moment of my day? Here's what I know. You ready for this? I knew there was a moment as she stood at the gas pump and she said, my husband filled my tank for me. And I know that he did that because he loves me and I know she smiled.

Linn Winters: 38:35 That's following.

Linn Winters: 38:37 Following is waking up every day of your life and saying, "what can I do today to make my Jesus smile?" It's not about the rules. It's not about Simon Says. What can I do today? How can I live? What decision can I make? What, what, what do I do when I'm tempted, but w, w, w, what do I do in my rel-. li-? What do I do today that would make my Jesus smile? The rules have come guys, but it's not a game of Simon Says. It's living in proximity. It's giving my heart to the one I'm following. No wonder Jesus said, without mercy, I'm not about sacrifice.

Linn Winters: 39:31 Let's bow our heads. Here's what I want us to consider today with our heads bowed. Some of us in this room, you're not believers. Stay in the room. This isn't about a list of rules. This is about hanging out with Jesus and figuring out if Jesus makes sense. To wait and see if something begins to happen to your heart. Believers, stop playing Simon Says. Start waking up every day and sayin', I wanna do something today that makes my Jesus smile. Smile that I'm a follower, smile that I'm on this journey with him. In a couple weeks, we're gonna ask you to make a decision to say, hey, would you move one? Would you make one decision in your life that if you did that, it's, it's, it's substantial enough. It says enough that Jesus would smile if you gave that part of your life to him this year.

Linn Winters: 40:51 Dear Lord Jesus, we, we simply come to the moment. God, thank you. Thank you that this isn't religion. It, It's not about checking some boxes or playing Simon Says. It's, it's about hanging with you. It's about bein' around you. It's about falling in love with you and getting to a place in our lives that says, "Hey, I just, I just wanna wake up today and live a life that would cause my savior to smile. God, help us to follow like that. In Jesus name. Amen.

Recorded in Chandler, Arizona.
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Cornerstone Church
1595 S Alma School Road
Chandler, Arizona 85286