Someone asked me a few months ago, what are the biggest lessons that you've learned in your entire journey with Jesus Christ over the last 50 years. And out of that grew the series that you're going to hear. I can't wait to share with you what God has been teaching me.
Stay with me. Stay with us as Chip reflects on how those same invitations deeply impacted his relationship with Jesus for the past 50 years, and what that means for you and me today. There's going to be a lot of wisdom shared in the coming programs, so get ready to soak it all in. And to help you get the absolute most out of the series, we're going to be talking about the four great invitations that Jesus gave to his disciples in the Gospels. In this series, let me encourage you to download Chip's message notes. They contain his outline, scripture references, and much more. You can get them on the broadcasts tab at livingontheedge.org.
App listeners, tap fill in notes. Okay, if you have a Bible turnout of Matthew chapter 11, as Chip kicks off his series with his message, come to me. I received an invitation in June of 1972 that changed the direction of my life. It changed the trajectory of my life. It changed all the outcomes of my life. I received a specific invitation, literally, that changed my career. It changed who I married.
It changed where I went to school. Changed how I raised my family. It changed what I did with my money.
It changed how I measured success. One single invitation. And so if you want to go ahead and pull out your notes, I put some passages there and then some room for you to jot some of your own thoughts. But I'd like you to consider with me that what would it be like to think of life as a series of invitations that we say yes to and we say no to? And those invitations really shape who you are today, who you'll be tomorrow. Some of them are small, incidental invitations.
Some are really big. Invitations like someone says, do you want to go on a date? And for some of you, you're sitting next to that person now. For some of you, do you want to go on a date?
And it was one of the most horrendous experiences of your life. But think of invitations. You want to join a team. Do you want to learn to play an instrument?
Do you want to attend this school or that school? Do you want to smoke a joint? Do you want to steal something silly just for fun?
Hey, would you be willing to lie to a friend to help me out on? Would you forgive your parents? An invitation to forgive your ex. Would you like to take a trip? I'm going to go on a venture. Would you join me?
Would you be willing to change jobs? An invitation to change your major. An invitation to quit something that's really messing your life up.
An invitation to quit something that's really good for you, but it's just really hard, so why don't you just forget it? All I want you to get is there's a series of invitations. You're bombarded by them every single day, and some of them are small and insignificant and don't mean much of anything, and some of the invitations that you receive, based on whether you say yes or based on whether you say no, literally shape your destiny.
You are and you will become how you respond to invitations from people, and even more so, invitations from God. In this series, I want to talk about the four great invitations of Jesus. He invites us to come. He invites us to follow.
He invites us to abide, and He invites us to go. I have the privilege of getting to come to the church where my son is a lead pastor. He said, Dad, what I'd like you to do is, you know, we get a lot of good Bible teaching.
I want you to teach the Bible, but I want you to mentor our church. I want you to teach it through the lens of your journey and your life, and be honest. Share the good, the bad, and at whatever you're comfortable, share the ugly, because we're all on this journey together, and the world is changing so quickly. It's so challenging to be a faithful follower of Jesus, and so that's what I'd like to do, and here's what I want to tell you about this journey. Each invitation, we're going to learn about a love from a faithful creator in the midst of our worst failures and times when we've struggled the worst, that there's an invitation that He'll be with you, that He'll love you. You're going to meet a Savior who's caring and compassionate and kind, who's not surprised by your mistakes or your sin, who you don't have to go and hide when you blow it. And you're going to find a God who is so loving and so holy that He is compelled to not allow you to stay the way that you are, and that some of the things that even in the midst that this couldn't be good, this couldn't be kind, how could God let this happen? You'll look back in a decade or two or three, if you lived that long and the Lord doesn't return, and you'll see, as I will share, some of the worst things that you thought were happening in your life were some of the kindest acts of God you've ever received, because you didn't know what you needed protected from. You didn't know what you needed to become the kind of person that you will become. You didn't know at all what God's ways and plans and the mystery were.
And I'll just tell you this. There were a handful of men and women in my life over the last 50 years that they blazed a trail. And it was just so good to stop and talk and ask them when it felt like God couldn't be in this.
This is so hard. Everything from going through the time in my marriage where I didn't know if I'd make it, time with one of my kids where I thought he was gonna die, time with another one where he said, I don't believe in God and I don't want your God, Dad, and time where I sat and wondered whether my wife would be with me much longer when she had cancer. Life is hard, but Jesus has given us an invitation. And the invitation I've put in your notes, it's from Matthew chapter 11, verse 28. Jesus says, come, come to me, all of you that are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me. And then he gives a reason, for I am gentle and humble in heart. And here's the promise.
And you will find rest for your souls, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light. When he said this to the first audience in context here, if you go back and read Matthew chapter 11, just before this, Jesus has done miracle after miracle after miracle. I mean stupendous miracles in two or three different cities, Capernaum, Bethsaida. And despite all the miracles, the people reject him and the people don't believe.
Jesus says, if the miracles that I have done in these cities would have been done in Sodom and Gomorrah or Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented. And then after all that rejection, he turned to a group of people who were observing how people responded and began to ask about their own lives. And here was the invitation.
Come to me. Come to me, all of you that are weary. It was a picture of, they were weary under the oppression of Pharisees and religious rules. They were weary from a Roman government that pushed them down.
They were weary and heavy burdened for taxes that most of the people were desperately, desperately poor. And then they were like us, people that you just, I mean, is life ever going to make sense? You know, most of us live the if then, if I can get into school or if I ever get married or if we can ever have a child or if my health ever shapes up or if we could ever own a home. Or we play this game where happiness or contentment or satisfaction or meaning or purpose or life is always over in the next horizon. And one of the things about being a follower of Jesus for 50 years and living another 18, as I will tell you, after pastoring for almost 40, I've just had thousands of conversations. And I hate to, you know, be the big spoiler alert is that once you find that person, then you'll ask God for something else.
If you ever get to buy the house or if you have the house, then you want to fix it up. And if you have one house and you start making a lot of money, you'll want another one in a little bit different location. And if you ever, and I'm just telling you, there's no end. There's no end.
There's no end. And there comes a day when you get honest and you realize you're weary and you realize you don't measure up. And you realize that the goals and the dreams. And then we play the game when we become parents.
Well, if my child is smart or if my child gets into the right school or whether they make the traveling team or if they can. And we play all these games and people get weary and weary and weary, and we're looking at a world where people are so discouraged and so anxious and so depressed and so confused. And it's into the chaos then and into the chaos now where Jesus says to each one of us, you come to me. I'm for people whose lives recognize their need, who you recognize that this world, no matter what you get or how much you get or who other people think you are, it never measures up.
You keep grinding and grinding and grinding. He goes, I want to give you peace, meaning, satisfaction, purpose. I want to give you life itself. And here's the prerequisite.
You need to come to me. And we'll talk about what that means and what it looks like. And then notice it's not just a moment.
It's not just an event, although it is a moment and an event. It says, come to me, all of you that are weary and heavy laden. In other words, there's a lot on your back. There's a lot of pressure.
And I'll give you a rest. And notice he says, take my yoke upon you and learn from me. In the day, they would talk about the yoke of the law or the yoke of the Roman government. In other words, a yoke in that day was a picture of two animals together, right? You had the two oxen pulling together. And to come under a yoke would be a metaphor for submission.
It's a metaphor. I'm going to do life with this person. Jesus says, come to me and let's join together. And I want you to do life with me. And then I want you to learn from me. I want you to learn what life looks like, how it actually works, how relationships work.
In fact, everything is super counterintuitive with him. There's a set of values in the world that are going this way that if you have success and money and power and fame, then you'll be a someone. Then you'll be secure. Then you'll be significant. And Jesus says, no, actually, if you want significance and security and meaning and peace, there's a whole different set of values. And I'm going to teach you and I'll be with you. And we're going to do life together.
And then he gives him this great line. He says, for I am gentle and humble of heart. See, one of the things that we all have is a warped view of God. It can get better and better and better, but the more warped it is, the harder it is to come to Jesus. When I was growing up, I went to a church and it wasn't a bad church in and of itself. This particular church was not a very good church. It didn't teach the Bible. The people who were there didn't take it very seriously. They said one thing and lived another way. By the time I was about 14, 15 years old, I opted out.
I don't need this. And when I began to meet people who said they were Christians, basically most of my experiences were people that were very hypocritical. And then, now and then, even back then, with only three channels, can you imagine? I would watch a little TV and people who talked about God on TV, it seemed like all they wanted was your money. And I just thought, I don't know about this Christianity, but I don't buy it.
I just don't buy it at all. And so I became a profound skeptic. And my view of God was, from my church experience, that his arms were crossed, his toe was tapping.
If it was fun, he was against it. And I just felt like there was always guilt hanging over my head, and no matter what I did, it was never good enough. And so I just finally realized, forget it. And so I rejected Christianity. I believed in some vague way someone made the universe, but you know what?
Who that is and what they're like, I really didn't know. The Jesus of the Bible stories that I learned as a kid, I mean, I don't know if there really is a real Jesus or not, but that's where I came from. But I never, ever imagined that when Jesus says he's gentle, in other words, he's safe, he leans in. He doesn't want to create a box that he knows you'll hate and then get you to do something that would be the worst thing for you.
But he is a God who cares and is compassionate and who made you and created you and has a plan for you. And he invites you to come. And so as I was thinking through how to share that with you, I'd just like, in your notes, you might jot down, first, there's an invitation, it's to come.
The audience is for people that have ears to hear. You never come unless you see your need. Third, you'll notice there's a promise of rest. And this isn't just physical rest, this is rest in your soul. It's getting up and having a sense of I am who I am, I'm where I need to be, my life has focus and meaning and peace and direction, and I love who God made me to be, and I'm on a track that gives me absolute significance and satisfaction each and every day waking up being just who God made me to be.
That's the offer. And then he gives us a process where you take his yoke and you learn from him. And so let me share a little bit about my journey, and I'll let you sort of think through. Your family of origin, I don't know about you, anybody here get to choose your parents?
I didn't either. But an all-knowing, all-powerful, sovereign God, either directed, allowed you to have the parents that you had, and if allowed, he'll take even the most difficult situations and use them for your good. And my parents were the great generation. My dad, at about 16 or 17, went into World War II. He was a great athlete. He actually got a football scholarship at a prep school to go to a private high school. At about 16 and a half or 17, he signed on to be in the Marines. And being a big strapping guy, they made him a.50 caliber machine gunner. So at 17, if you can imagine, going to Afghanistan, well, to him it was Guam, Iwo Jima.
If you know your World War II history, it was the bloodiest battles of anywhere. And so I had a dad that I grew up with who, the good news was he lived, or I wouldn't be here. Bad news was he saw things and did things that no human being should ever have to experience.
Despite protecting our country and all the rest, it still doesn't change what happens. And then all the guys he went in with didn't come back. So he had the guilt of being a survivor, and he had the trauma.
My dad died at about 86 years old, and even despite becoming a follower of Christ in his mid-50s, he had nightmares until the very last years of his life. Well, my dad did counseling back then, and weed was not really popular at the time. And so my dad found with two or three beers, he felt better. With five or six beers, he felt a little bit better. With about eight or ten beers, he was a pretty nice guy to be around. And so from about 2.30 or 3 o'clock, as a school teacher, he would go to the bar, and he would drink until suppertime. And he came and was a very functioning alcoholic. By the time I got to be about 14 or 15, he missed a lot of suppers, and he was becoming less functioning.
Saturday mornings were very typical. At 9 a.m., a guy named John would come over, and they'd have two cases of beer, and they would sit at the table and tell stories from 9 a.m. to 9.30 or 10. And I remember he would get up to go to the bathroom, and I would go and I would pour out the beer thinking I was rescuing. If you know anything about the research on alcoholic families, it literally produces very dysfunctional families. My mom was emotionally intelligent, a guidance counselor, a teacher, an amazing person, and she became an enabler. And so our whole life, my dad had a very violent temper.
When he blew up, you better run for cover. Never abusive in terms of hitting us and things, but scary. And so my mom always wanted to keep the peace. So in a classic alcoholic family, the oldest child usually rebels, which my sister did. The middle child usually becomes invisible, which my other sister did. She had an eating disorder and got down to about 80-some pounds. And the youngest child often becomes a rescuer.
That's where I came in. Now, on the outside, you would have thought, I mean, both parents were very educated. Both 30-plus hours passed their masters. My mom did all of her coursework, was working on her dissertation. Out in the community, we just looked like a really, really good family. And my dad taught me a number of things that were really, really positive and really helpful in terms of my life. He taught me that if you want to be happy, here's the mantra. Be successful.
Successful people are happy. And he wanted to help me be successful. So as a small child, I can still remember I was two or two and a half. He was in the summers. He would manage the swimming pool at teacher during the other year. And he liked to show me off. And so he got me to go to the high board, you know, the three-meter board, and the whole pool would stop. And I can still remember climbing up it, climbing up it. And then I would get like this, and then he would say something, and then I would fall. I couldn't swim.
I'd fall in and dog paddle, and everyone would cheer. When I was three, every day before I would leave the room, there was a little easel, and there were letters on the easel, and I was learning to read when I was three. I can still remember as a kid, he would walk in and sometimes take me to the bar and say, okay, Chip, show them. Spell Intercontinental Ballistic Missile. I'm three years old. I-N-T-E-R. I'm not sure I even knew. But you need to understand, he literally said things by the time I was six, seven, eight years old, you know, this country needs a great president. You could be that person. Now, on the one hand, he built a lot of confidence.
On the other, he created a performance addict. You've been listening to part one of Chip's message, Come to Me, which is from our series, The Four Great Invitations. Chip will be back with us in studio shortly to share some helpful application for us to think about. Do you have a mentor, that one person with lots of life know-how who you trust for wisdom and guidance? Well, if not, in this series, Chip will be that mentor for us as he shares some vital lessons he's learned through five decades of walking with Jesus, and he'll unpack how his experiences relate to four essential invitations Jesus challenged his disciples with throughout the Gospels. Don't miss how these biblical insights can encourage, motivate, and comfort you through all aspects of life. Learn more about this series by going to livingontheedge.org.
That's livingontheedge.org. Well, Chip's with me in studio now, and Chip, you're just getting started in this brand-new series, you know, and I love the subtitle, Lessons from My First 50 Years with Jesus. My first 50 years, I love it. Would you take a minute and highlight the advice you'll share with us in the coming programs and how it's relevant to every believer? Absolutely, Dave. I would love to.
This happened in an unusual way. My son is a pastor, and it's of a very, very young multicultural church here in the Silicon Valley. He said, Dad, could you do a series that sort of would share your journey?
We don't have any older people in the church. The great majority of them have, they're first-generation Christians, so they don't have this Christian heritage or background, and, you know, they're living in a pretty crazy world. And so as I prayed that through, I realized that as I'd studied the scriptures all these years, it really boiled down to these four great invitations of Jesus. You know, Jesus says, Come unto me, you know, when you're burdened and tired and wiped out. And then he says, Follow me, and, you know, I'll make you something. I'll give you purpose and destiny and direction.
And then he says, Abide in me so that you can bear fruit and hear my voice and, you know, enjoy me like never before. And then finally, the last invitation is, Go make disciples. Together we're going to make a difference that actually brings life and justice and goodness and a world that really needs it. So those are the things I'm going to sort of walk through and try and take those through my journey over the last 50 years.
And I'm just hopeful that it will be something that encourages people regardless of what season they're in. I'm sure it will, Chip, thanks. Well, let me encourage you to invite a few friends to listen to the rest of this series with you, either through the Chip Ingram app or livingontheedge.org. We all can benefit from the biblical wisdom and life experience Chip's going to share, so I hope you'll spread the word. Well, Chip, before we go, I want to say thanks for being so open and honest about your life.
I know it really inspired people today. But as a place to wrap up this first program, could you boil down all you said into a few key pieces of advice? I mean, as you reflected on your life, what are some of the takeaways for those listening today?
Well, Dave, it's an interesting experience to look back on my life. I don't know that I've really contemplated my journey and my family of origin and the impact that it's made all these years. So I think there's two or three lessons that I would really want to share with our Living on the Edge family. Number one is recognize that our families have a great impact on us. You know, somehow I think we just react to all of that.
And just to recognize that, you know what, we all have a family of origin and that God sovereignly has placed us in families. Focus on the good that has come out of them rather than the blaming and the focus on the difficult. If I would be really honest and share at a deeper level, I would say probably up until I was 40, late 30s to early 40s, I was blaming my dad. You know, he never really loved me. He never verbalized he loved me. He never, you know, really hugged me. And I saw all the things he didn't do like a big deficit. And I remember realizing my dad came through a lot of hard stuff in the war and was damaged. And when I looked back, I finally realized metaphorically that he had a broken arm in a cast, and I was demanding that he hug me. And instead of saying, you know, hey, I learned discipline.
Thanks, Dad. Instead of saying, wow, he gave me a level of confidence and getting over that was a big step in my life. That doesn't mean we take people off the hook and they don't have to own their own stuff. But we don't have to blame. We don't have to live out of our past. And then I think the last thing is that we get to respond to whatever we've been through. Some of the most amazing people I know have come through the most difficult things I've ever seen. And vice versa, some of the most miserable people I've ever met are people that never grow out of what's happened in their life. And so I just say to you right now, listening to my voice, think today about your own family, your own upbringing, and make a list of here's the good that came out of it, and thank God. And if you need to forgive some parents or other things, then do that. But stop living in the past.
It's a dead-end street. Great application for us to think about, Chip. As we wrap up this program, just a quick but important thought, Living on the Edge depends on listeners like you to help us continue encouraging Christians to live like Christians. So would you consider partnering with us every month so others can benefit from the ministry of Living on the Edge? You can set up a recurring donation at livingontheedge.org or through the Chip Ingram app, or text donate to 74141.
It's so easy. Text the word donate to 74141. And thanks for doing whatever the Lord leads you to do. We'll listen to next time as Chip continues his new series, The Four Great Invitations. Until then, I'm Dave Drouie, saying thanks for joining us for this Edition of Living on the Edge.
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