Future Ready – “The Butterfly Effect”

Future Ready – “The Butterfly Effect”

Everything You Do Matters
Does anyone else have a hard time with that?
→ Some of us are thinking, “what if that’s true?”
…the idea that all our actions carry a weight of impact is pretty overwhelming…
maybe even terrifying for many of us.
→ Or maybe in-light-of the 8 billion people on the planet…
over 300 million of which live here in the U.S. alone… you have a hard time
believing Everything You Do Matters because you view your life as relatively
insignificant in a world that size. “that seems crazy”
The Butterfly Effect
When Edward Lorenz presented a doctoral thesis on what became known as The
Butterfly Effect… his thesis was basically laughed out of the building… and yet Lorenz
was on to something.
This idea that just one single flap of a butterfly’s wings could set molecules in motion,
that would set more molecules in motion all the way to other side of the world… creating
a hurricane. People said, “that seems crazy”.

MIT Technology Review puts it this way…
Like the results of a wing’s flutter, the influence of Lorenz’s work was nearly
imperceptible at first but would later resonate widely. In 1963, Lorenz condensed his
findings into a paper, “Deterministic Nonperiodic Flow,” which was cited exactly three
times by researchers outside meteorology in the next decade. Yet his insight turned
into the founding principle of chaos theory, which expanded rapidly during the 1970s
and 1980s into fields as diverse as meteorology, geology, and biology. 
Years went by and books were written, movies were made… until finally in the mid 90’s
physics professors & experts in the field concluded that, not only is this theory correct…
but that it’s applicable, not only with butterflies (of course) … but with everything that
Said another way… Everything that moves sets more movement in motion.


As a follower of Jesus, that idea has become very interesting to me, especially in light of
His teachings.
In fact, I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am that we’re going to spend October &
November looking at Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount… known as the greatest sermon
ever preached. It’s Jesus revealing what it looks like to be truly human in the Kingdom
of God… what it looks like to live “right-side-up” in a world that’s all upside-down.
In that sermon, Jesus looks at the crowd before Him and says,
YOU are the salt of the earth… YOU are the light of the world.

Now, I remember the first time I read those words…
I was just fine with Jesus speaking those words to a bunch of people who were
gathered around Him a couple thousand years ago… in fact, I was cool with those
words being for other people I knew… but the idea that those words could have
anything to do with me, that seemed crazy.
You gotta understand that when I first read those words it was 2004… I was brand-new
in my faith, and I was living at a Salvation Army Rehabilitation Center, where I was
doing a six-month program after I had just gotten out of jail.
I’d been a meth addict for over a decade and addicted to porn for even longer.
Man, I didn’t know much about the Bible in those days… but I knew that salt was
something of very great value in the ancient world, sometimes traded at a value twice
that of Gold… and I knew that light, especially in a spiritual context, often represents
wisdom and clarity, direction and hope… (none of those being words I related to in
those days) so, for me to internalize Jesus’ words meant internalizing that

  1. I matter to God (I’m valuable to Him)
  2. God has a plan to bring life and light to the world… and that plan involves me.
    My life had been so dark for so long… Jesus’ words were speaking right to my heart…
    and right to my fears… and into my brokenness.
    I remember being so tempted to just write-off Jesus’ words as just for other people…
    but I could never escape this one question… what if Jesus was serious?


    I mean, think about it…
    How would you live differently if you truly believed that
    you are of greatest value to God… and everything you do matters?
    Today, we’re wrapping up our Future Ready series, and we’ve been talking about the
    decisions we make today and the moments we seize today, that prepare us well for the
    future God has for each of us.


    Carlos launched us into this series… with Joshua, Israel’s new leader, preparing to lead
    the people into the land that God promised to them.
    As we continue to trace the story together…
    many years have passed since Joshua and the people of Israel crossed over the Jordan
    river and into the promised land.
    ● It took them 7 years to fight-off the enemies that were in the land. (Canaan)
    ● It took another 13 years for the tribes of Israel to run-out all of the remnants of
    their enemies that hiding-out in the various hills and valleys of the land.
    ● So, a long time had passed and the LORD had given them “rest from all their
    ● Joshua was now about 110 yrs old
    Joshua 24:1
    Then Joshua assembled all the tribes of Israel at Shechem. He summoned the elders,
    leaders, judges and officials of Israel, and they presented themselves before God. 
    This was a pivotal moment for this emerging nation who was learning to depend on
    God. Joshua realizes his mortality is near and he wants this message to go out loud and
    clear to the leaders of this nation and to reverberate in every town and in every family.

    Joshua 24:14-15

“Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your
ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt and serve the LORD. 15
But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this
day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the
Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and
my household, we will serve the LORD.” 
The nation responds with a resounding “Yes”… in many ways how many of us would
respond in the environment on a Sunday morning. And Joshua tells them, it’s not going
to be easy and I’m afraid many of you won’t make it.
He realized this was a butterfly effect moment.
See in being Future Ready, it’s one thing to say the right things, but…
what will actually reverberate further into the future are our choices
And unfortunately, as-a-whole the nation and people of Israel make the wrong choices.
They had the right God… the right laws… the right songs… the right Scriptures… but
their hearts and hands did not match their head (knowledge).
Joshua knew that so many of them had already begun worshiping idols of foreign gods.
The very thing they’d been warned against.
What follows in the book of Judges is probably one of the saddest verses in the Hebrew
Judges 2:8-10
Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died at the age of 110. 9 And they
buried him in the land of his inheritance in Timnath Heres in the hill country of Ephraim,
north of Mount Gaash. 10 After that whole generation had been gathered to their
fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the LORD nor what he had
done for Israel. 
What makes a whole generation not know the Lord?
It’s not one big traumatic event. It’s the small compromises along the way. It’s the
seemingly marginal decisions we make that culminate in a lifestyle opposed to the
things of God.

But friends here me: everything matters. The smallest decisions ripple into eternity. 


Who invited you to Gateway?
Maybe it was Christmas or Easter… a Superbowl Throwdown… the Voices series?

Once you were here…
Who invited you to serve on Sundays or during the week?
Who invited you to join a group?
Who texted you or stopped and took the time to invite you to really lean-into
community… to Belong… to Grow… to Heal… to Serve?
Who has modeled Jesus for you? Who’s invested in you spiritually?
Who has discipled you? Who has prayed for you?
One flap of that person’s wings… making a move that moved you… and impacted
eternity for you and for everyone that your life will touch.
Maybe, just like the people of Israel… or just like the people in the crowd when Jesus
gave the Sermon on the Mount, you have a past and you’re like, “I have trouble
imagining that this could be for me…
→ How could I ever be right with God?
→ How could I ever be of service or of value in His Kingdom?” “that seems crazy”
Friends, everything that ever needed to be done so that you and I could have right
relationship with God… and live under the blessing and the promises of God… has
been accomplished by Jesus on the cross.
And for any of us who would say “yes” to Jesus… the price for all our failures and all our
sin… and all of our shame and all of our guilt has been paid in full… completely
covered by the blood that Jesus shed for us on the cross
Romans 3:22-24
This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who
believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of
God,  24  and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ
God looks at our broken lives and says, “everything needed for you to be made right
with me has been covered by the work of Jesus on the cross… and so you and I are
Free to love God and to receive His love… free to choose to live our lives differently
than we ever have before… and free to live without shame and guilt… and perhaps
most importantly today… we are free to love each other… because God first loved us.
I want you see… that God can be trusted… and I want you to see how much God loves
you today… just the way you are right now… with all your questions and with all of
your doubts… all of you who believe and those who aren’t sure yet…
God promises that…

1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us
from all unrighteousness.
And God’s plan for the world to hear this incredible news and to know Him… IS US.
That’s why everything we do matters so much!
What if we lived like everything matters?
o Not with anxiety but with purpose and expectation knowing we can build the
future with the decisions we make that line up with the heart of God.
o Knowing a conversation can lead to someone coming to the saving knowledge of
o Believing that our prayers are breaking the strongholds of addiction in our loved
o Living understanding we get to create the world our children and grandchildren
will step into
Ecclesiastes is part of wisdom literature in the Hebrew Scriptures… it starts off
wondering about the meaning of life… and the author who we believe to be King
Solomon, actually ponders “maybe it’s all meaningless”.
That’s probably because IT IS when we live for the superficial vain things of this world.
But when we are actively involved in God’s work of building his kingdom here is the
conclusion, and here is how Ecclesiastes ends:
Ecclesiastes 12:13 That’s the whole story. Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God
and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty. 14 God will judge us for everything
we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad. 
So, with that in mind… we land on these two big ideas for today:

  1. Choose Whose Kingdom You Will Build
    Joshua posed this question for Israel and it is the question which should filter every
    major, and minor, decision in our lives.
    o In everything I do and say we should ask, “Whose kingdom am I building- My
    own or God’s?”
    o No matter what we choose, the results of that decision will have eternal
    Matthew 16: 24-27
    Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give
    up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me. 25 If you try to hang on to your life,
    you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. 26 And what do
    you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul? 27 For the Son of Man will come with his angels in the glory of his Father and will judge all people according to their deeds. Being Future Ready means being discipled unto Jesus, and walking and talking how he did as the Spirit leads us. It means dying to ourselves so that the life he has in store for us comes into fruition
  1. Live as if everything you do matters
    → What if we stopped seeing things as chance run-ins and coincidences, but rather
    saw them as divine appointments?
    → What if every hug, every prayer, every group meeting, every devotional, every
    day was met with a sense of purpose with the end in mind?
    → How would your tomorrow change?

Being Future Ready means building it with our choices, here and now… it’s
understanding that when you and I come to the end of our life, we won’t look back on
the things we’ve gained, the money we’ve earned or the things we’ve owned. None of
that is going to matter… but we’ll look back on the people who’ve touched our lives and
the people our lives have touched.
Colossians 3:17
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Prep Communion and Reflection Song
Would you stand with us? Our example for all of this is Jesus. That his
faithfulness to you and I is what carried Him to the Cross. He did not “want” to die, we
see that clearly in the Garden of Gethsemane. But he knew, this is the only way.
There was not a greater Butterfly Effect decision in all of history. It changed
everything for you and I. And we will remember that decision as we celebrate
communion after this song. And because of the crucifixion and resurrection you can
trust Him, you can trust His word, there is nothing He can’t do. And through all of your
decisions good or bad, no matter what God is with you. To encourage, to correct, to pick
up the pieces, to guide. He is faithful.
While we sing this song would you examine your heart? Maybe take this
opportunity to repent of anything between you and God, and also to reflect on who God
is and will always be in your life. If…you’ve decided to say yes to Him.

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