Hey Everyone, welcome to Hope City. My name is Peter, whether today is your first Sunday in church, or your first time in a long time, we are glad you’re here. This morning we are starting a brand new message series here at Hope City called WHITE NOISE that I think will help us as we navigate a very noisy world. Do you know what White Noise is?
White noise is a type of noise that is produced by combining the sounds of all different frequencies together. If you took all of the imaginable tones that a human can hear and combined them together, you would have white noise.
Because white noise contains all frequencies, it is frequently used to mask other sounds. Have you ever tried to have your whole family sleep in one room? Praise God for the White Noise App! How many of you sleep with a fan on at night? Well, the noise from a fan is pretty close to creating white noise.
Let’s say two people are talking at the same time. Your brain can normally “pick out” one of the two voices and actually listen to it and understand it. If three people are talking simultaneously, your brain can probably still pick out one voice. However, if 1,000 people are talking simultaneously, there is no way that your brain can pick out one voice. Your brain goes into a bit of interpretative paralysis. You can no longer interpret what is being said.
Can we agree that our life is noisy? Your phone is consistently sending you a notification that it’s time for your next appointment, someone texted you, your Instagram post is blowing up… Dings, vibrations, and alerts happen all day long. Then we get in the car, and we are always turning up the music, the radio, firing up a podcast, filling our ears with noise. Head into any store, and there will be background noise filling the space to ensure that you are not left in silence. We live in a noisy world. Our schedules are noisy, we move from place to place with a hurry that no other generation has ever experienced before.
Have we become so accustomed to noise, that silence has become a stranger?
Maybe even a deeper question that we need to wrestle with is, are we so entangled with external noise that we no longer hear some of our deepest internal needs?
I’m a noise junky…. I find a way of filling my ears with noise just about everywhere I go. I’ve got a podcast list too deep for me to even listen to all of it. I’ve got Audible downloaded, so I can listen to books as I go. And I love good music, none of this country stuff that you guys are all pedaling down here in the south.
I know this about myself. Which is why every now and then, I have to make an intentional decision to shut it all off. To turn down the dial and ratchet back the decibels of my life in order to listen to the sound of silence for a bit. When it gets too loud, I get distracted, and I can easily miss out on what people are saying around me.
The other day, Tiffany was trying to communicate with me, not just talk to me, she was trying to communicate something that was important to her, and the kids were in the background laughing and carrying on, I was scrolling through Instagram, and the TV was on. And my loving wife could tell that she was speaking, but there was no communication happening. So she simply stopped talking. It was that moment when your professor stops lecturing and says, “Mr. Gowesky, I’ll wait. Would you like to tell us what’s so important?” I looked up and realized that I was too distracted to understand what my wife was saying to me. I could hear her voice, but I was not hearing her words. I had filled the room with WHITE NOISE.
Every day we are faced with decisions that drive the decibel level in our ears. We make decisions and then our decisions make us. One of the decisions that we must make is what will we focus on? What will we tune our ears to?
Proverbs 14:15 says,
“The Naïve believes everything but the prudent man considers his steps.” Prov. 14:15
The naïve person believes whatever is in front of them. But a prudent, or a wise person, considers what’s happening. They focus and pay attention to their decisions. Because we make decisions, and then our decisions make us.
In this series we are going to be focusing on 4 decisions that we have to make. 4 decisions that can help shape the course of our life, and that either add to the noise level or help us cut through some of the frequencies. We will be talking about Surrender vs. Control. Discipline vs. Regret, the Important vs. the Urgent, and today, we’ll be talking about PURPOSE over POPULARITY.
Few things shape and make the decisions more than our desire for Popularity. Popularity drives many of our decisions, from what we wear, what we listen to, what we eat, and even what we do. Imagine what it could look like if you chose purpose over popularity!
We’re consumed with “SOCIAL” media. This idea that we are socially interacting with people on a daily basis. Instead of having to actually interact in a party, or a workplace, we simply post, tweet, or gram our way through SOCIAL interaction.
These interactions are driven by questions like, What do you think of me? What about what I do, what I say, who my friends are, where I go to school, the clothes I wear, my car, my house, the music I listen to… and then of course we seal the deal with a selfie and an appropriate filter.
Living for the approval of people, keeps you from the purposes of God! Our desire for Popularity can drown out the voice of God, and it is possible to miss out on living a life of true fulfillment.
Look with me this morning at a story of a man well known by many of you. There’s a guy by the name of Moses (image). A man who made history because of a singular decision that he made. This incredible decision came long before this moment. In fact, it’s safe to say that without this decision, this moment would not have happened in Moses’ life. Moses had to mute the white noise before he would ever be in this moment.
Let me remind you of who Moses was. Moses was a Hebrew slave that was raised by Egyptian Royalty. He went from being born to a slave, to being adopted into royalty. It is safe to say that Moses had a comfortable childhood. He had everything he needed and wanted. And yet, before Moses every came to this moment, Look what happened in Hebrews 11:24… That’s page 823 in the Bible’s around you. Moses had to decide what was more important, COMFORT, or CALLING? POPULARITY or PURPOSE? Before Moses could accomplish the purposes of God he first had to deal with the white noise of popularity.
24 By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. 25 He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. 26 He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. Hebrews 11:24-26
Look at this. Moses grew up. He matured. He came to the place in his life where he was at a cross roads. He had to decide who was he going to be? Was he going to be a person that chases after comfort or calling. After popularity or purpose? And he made a decision. Moses left the ranks of the palace in order to pursue the people of God, and the purpose God had for him.
We’ve already said that Living for the approval of people, keeps you from the purposes of God! But look at what happened when Moses chose purpose over pleasure, and popularity.
He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time.
Moses made a decision. He had to dial down the white noise… in order to hear what God wanted for his life. And the moment that he did that it was clear… 1. Purpose Diminishes Distractions. When you find your purpose, when you choose your purpose over your popularity, it will always diminish distractions. Remember Nehemiah? What did he do? When they invited him up to the plain of ONO… he said NO TO ONO. HE said no to temptation. He was focused on His Purpose. I’m doing a great work. I can’t come down.
Do you know what I have been trying to do when I get home these days? I’ve been putting my phone in Time-Out. Between 5-7:30, my phone is in Time Out. It’s not in my pocket. It’s not within arm’s reach… It’s on the “time out table”. Why? Because my purpose in that moment is not to be connected to work, not to be connected to the office. It’s not to be accessible to all of you. My purpose between 5-7:30 is to be connected to my family. To be accessible to my kids for homework help, for laughs, to get on the floor for a game of mancala. My purpose diminishes distractions. But that’s a choice that I have to make, I’M CUTTING DOWN ON THE WHITE NOISE.
- Purpose Diminishes Distractions.
Why are you brown bagging your lunch this month? You’ve set yourself to a great work of paying off debt, and saving for your emergency fund.
Why are you staying pure in a world of lust? You’ve set yourself to a great work of being a husband that honors and cherishes his wife.
Why do you step out of conversations at work when everyone else is talking about your coworkers? You’ve decided to use your language to build others up and honor God in the process. And gossip would feel good in the moment but ruin your reputation in the long run.
Your purpose diminishes your distractions. Look back at the mindset of Moses.
26 He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt… Heb. 11:26
Did it cost Moses something to leave the palace? ABSOLUTELY. You better believe it. It cost him his reputation, his social standing. It cost him friends. It cost him financial gain. All of those things added to the white noise in his life. But Moses was certain that being disgraced for the sake of Christ, for the sake of God’s purpose was worth it. See, 2.PURPOSE PUSHES YOU THROUGH THE PAIN. Very often the pathway to your purpose is paved with pain.
Sometimes doing what God calls you to do puts you in a position for others to wonder if you’re sane. Look at Gowesky… He’s gone and lost his marbles, he said he’s going to start a church. When we started Hope City Church, there were a few people who said, Are you sure you’re up to this task? In fact, we had one couple who said, We want to sit down with you and tell you just how terrible this process is going to be. Not everyone understood why we were launching Hope City Church. There are people that will get in your way and cause pain in your life. But when you are certain of your purpose, your purpose pushes you through the pain. We knew that we wanted to start a life giving church that would be FOR Sarasota… and see people move from a God of religion to a God that wants relationship with them.
Think about Moses… Think about David. He was a shepherd boy and then one day he was serving in the kings court, and moments later, the king was trying to nail him to the wall with spears. Nehemiah grieved over the destruction of the temple. Esther watched as her entire people were being threatened by national genocide. Mary was whispered about, and put in the category of unsavory women. Jesus lived a perfect life and yet, ended up hanging on a cross being executed for His purpose.
My wife, Tiffany, is a superhero. Honestly. Almost 13 years ago, we were sitting in the living room of our first house and she looks at me and says, I think my water just broke. She’s 9 months pregnant, and we knew that it could be any moment that this baby was going to join this world. She was having some contractions, and laboring, so the water breaking was really the next step in the process. Well, me being the loving husband that I was looked at my wife who was in labor and I said, “I think I’m going to go take a shower.” I knew we were going to be at the hospital for a while, and I didn’t know when the next one was coming. So my saint of a wife says yes. By the time we got to the hospital, this baby was on it’s way, and wouldn’t you know it, Tiffany missed the window of getting an epidural? Her first pregnancy was au natural.
It’s amazing… How a mom can push through the pain of labor, some of the most intense pain on planet earth. The purpose pushes her through the pain. On the other side of that pain is this precious baby.
So, what do you do when people criticize you for the project you’re working on, or the company you’re starting. Your purposes pushes you through the pain of criticism.
Critics can’t stop you, Obstacles won’t deter you. Pain won’t slow you. You just get up earlier. Work harder and stay later. Purpose pushes you through the pain.
Look again at Moses…
26 (Moses) regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. Hebrews 11:26
He handled pushed past the distractions, he handled the pain, why? Because he was certain that His purpose would please God. Aligning himself with God’s calling put Moses in a position to honor God, and please Him.
Remember what happened with Moses. He went to Pharaoh and said, “The Lord God says, LET MY PEOPLE GO.” Pharaoh tried to stop Moses. He chased him into the desert, to the Red Sea. Moses wasn’t deterred. When Moses was wandering in the wilderness with the nation of Israel and they were complaining, rebelling and criticizing his leadership, Moses stayed on task. Why?
Because 3. PURPOSE EMPOWERS YOU TO PLEASE GOD.
What was Moses purpose? He was called by God to lead His people from slavery in Egypt into the promised land. The place where God wanted them to thrive. Moses endured suffering from all sides. From the Egyptians, and the Israelites. There was something in Moses that knew that what God called him to brought joy to God. That even though it was hard, it was worth it.
I have this mantra… It’s simple. It’s only 3 words. You ready for it? “DO HARD THINGS”. Next weekend a few other guys and I are going to be participating in a GoRuck challenge…. This is a cross between, crazy, and dumb. We’ll be starting the challenge at 9pm on Friday night and won’t finish till 9 am Saturday morning. We’ll be spending 12 hours in Tampa with a 35-45 pound bookbag on walking anywhere from 15-20 miles while being pushed to our physical limitations by a Special Forces Cadre. PRAY FOR YOUR PASTOR!!! Do you know what I’m going to be saying on repeat? DO HARD THINGS! Why am I doing this? I need a reminder that I’ve got to do hard things. I want to push myself to see what I am capable of, and not just physically.
Listen to me… Life isn’t just about comfort. Life isn’t about how cushy can you make it for yourself and your family. There are times when you’ve got to get up and work. You’ve got to get up earlier than your body wants to and get after the task, or responsibility. No one ever changed the world by taking it easy.
What is God calling you to do? What is your great purpose? IT MAY BE HARD. But Purpose pushes you through and empowers you to please God!
Tonight, we are launching Hope City Youth Nights… because we believe that God wants to have a relationship with an entire generation of students. And that this generation is more connected to one another than any previous generation. Imagine if this next generation was taught how to share their faith and given the tools to do that, imagine what could happen. We are launching Hope City Youth Nights because we believe that students need a place to explore their faith and make it their own.
But let me tell you, this has not been an easy task. This has cost hours and hours of planning, and logistics… Justin and I, and all of the staff team have poured into the launch of this. Liz has designed every graphic that you have seen. Tiffany and a crew of ladies have prepared New Here gifts for every student that is going to show up tonight. This is a passion, and a burden of ours here at Hope City. But it has not been easy. It has a financial cost attached to it as well. In order to get where we need to go, we’ve had to purchase and prepare for people.
We will do WHATEVER it takes for students to meet Jesus! EVEN IF IT IS HARD! And I believe that this will honor God. PURPOSE EMPOWERS YOU TO PLEASE GOD.
Do you remember when Peter and the other apostles were preaching about Christ, and the religious leaders hauled them in before the whole counsel, they were being told STOP PREACHING ABOUT JESUS. Remember, the religious leaders had Jesus put to death. They didn’t want the radical message of Grace to spread and overturn their life’s work. But listen to the Apostles decision.
29 Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than men!
They knew something incredibly powerful. They made a decision to follow God’s purpose for their life. And that PURPOSE EMPOWERS YOU TO PLEASE GOD.
We can’t please everyone. But we can please God.
So you’ve got a decision to make today…
What are you going to choose? Purpose or Popularity?
- There is value in being like by people… But there is even greater value in being loved by God.
- There is value in having fun with friends, there is greater value in being faithful to God.
- There is value in comfort, but even greater value in calling.
- Being popular is valuable… but not nearly as valuable as serving God’s purposes here on earth.
This morning, if you’re raising kids, and you’ve got diapers and kids toys all around you and the only thing you’ve been listening to these days is Baby Shark on repeat, keep your eyes on the prize. Remember your purpose is to raise kids to love God and love others.
If you’re mailbox is filled with bills and you’ve decided that this is the year you get out of debt, let me tell you it will take daily sacrifices. But look forward to the reward. Look forward to when you can go to your mailbox without fear of what bill showed up that day and you can live in financial freedom and honor God with your finances!
If you’re fostering a child, or considering foster care… This very well may be the hardest thing that you’ve ever done. Your heart may be broken time and time again. But remember, push through… Think about the purpose…. Think about how you are reflecting their heavenly father… You may not be their biological father, nor are you their legal father, but you’re in a position to love them and influence them and shelter them from fear and harm.
You can’t please everyone… But you can please God. Today, I’m praying that you will take a step, a step closer to Christ and choose PURPOSE OVER POPULARITY! If you’ve got a pulse you’ve got a purpose.