Coming Awake

How Can We Awaken Our Faith And Experience The Glory Of God?

Chuck Eastman
May 8, 2022    36m
Do you find yourself drifting away from your relationship with God; or even feeling bored with Him? This inspiring message teaches us how to awaken our faith and re-experience the full glory of God. Video recorded at Los Gatos, California.

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.

Venture May 8-2022 sermon
Chuck Eastman: [00:00:00] Can we give the Lord a hand this morning? Man, I love that song. Thank you, Shep and Brooke, man, what a beautiful song. My name is Chuck Eastman, if you haven't met me yet, I'm the new college pastor here at Venture, and I'm excited to teach this morning. And I'm just excited to be here and to be with you.

Chuck Eastman: [00:00:25] Happy Mother's Day, by the way, awesome to all the moms in the house. I'm the oldest of six kids, okay, six kids, four boys in a row, and then two little sisters, so my mom's hair is straight gray. She's not even that old yet, but it is straight gray, and she's got the battle scars of going to war with a bunch of sons, and I'm thankful for her and for her influence in my life. And I know there are a lot of moms in the house, you have the gray hair and the battle scars to show for your investment and your children. I also know that there are a lot of people, a lot of women in the house that come with a variety of experiences. There are people in the house that have lost their mom, and you're here, maybe this is a tough day for you and just getting into the house has been a struggle for you. There are moms in the house who really have wanted to have children for a long time, and it's been a battle to even conceive. And then there are moms in the house who have buried their children, I mean, even in my own family, I've got family who've had to bury their children as adults. And so there's a variety of experiences in the house, and here's what I want you to know, God sees you and he loves you. He sees you and he loves you, and you're valuable to him and he cares about you. And we celebrate you here at Venture because we love you.

Chuck Eastman: [00:01:54] You know, as a new college pastor, you know, I've done a lot of reflecting on my kind of college experience, it was very formative for me. I told you I was the oldest of six kids, and I was home-schooled, any home-schooled people in the house? You don't have to raise your hand and admit it, okay. I know that's tough. It was much harder to admit in the eighties and nineties, a little different time, we were kind of weird back then and I still carry a little of that with me. God's healing me, but you know, it's a thing I'm growing in. But I went to college and sat in a classroom for the first time in my life as an 18-year-old, and I was sitting in this class, I'll never forget this moment, I wish I could forget it, but I was sitting in a required Bible class, and I had to go. I was at this Presbyterian school in Branson, Missouri. Woo hoo! Branson! Yeah, where country music stars go to die. And I was sitting in this Bible class, and at the end of the Bible class, the theology professor said, hey, you know, one thing I like to do is I like to pray for the students. And, you know, so I'll take prayer requests at the end of every class, and you can give prayer requests, and I want to just pray for you. And I said, sweet, because any prayer request, I shot my hands straight up. And I said, I'm trying to find a wife. And you know, when you can see when someone's trying really hard not to laugh, you can see the corners of his mouth straining to maintain his face. He said, okay, I'll pray for that. It's a weird thing that for four years, no girl at that college talked to me, and I don't know how spiritual that guy is because it took me 20 years to find my wife. So I don't know, you know, if he's really close to Jesus, Dr. Bolger, he might need to fast and pray a little more. But I didn't mean to throw his name out there and throw him under the bus, Dr. Bolger, if you ever watch this.

Chuck Eastman: [00:04:11] You know, but college is a really formative time, and God did some unique things in me that really shaped who I am. And, you know, I think if you're in college, you're feeling that right now. If you're about to go into college, I've been hanging out with the high schoolers on Tuesday nights some. And if you're about to go into college, you're really feeling some of the shift that's going on in your life. And if you are not in college, you are post-college and you're older, and maybe college is a distant memory for you, you still, I think, can look back and see that lots of the things that happened there were transformative for you, shifted things for you, and set you on the trajectory that maybe you're on today.

Chuck Eastman: [00:04:49] One of the phenomenon’s that we all know about now, in fact, it's getting kind of tired to talk about it, is the deconstruction of many young people who grew up in the church. Deconstructing their faith, not sure if they really believe in Jesus, not really sure what they want to live for. And it's honestly, it's not just young people, it's kind of moving upwards into lots of people that are my generation. A lot of people that I read when I was coming through college, that were like the people to read, are now saying they don't know if they believe in Jesus. And so this deconstruction is happening, and I've been kind of thinking about that, like what's going on in our heart, or what's going on in the hearts of so many people who have maybe been really familiar with Jesus and are now saying, I'm not sure what I think about Jesus, I just don't, I don't know.

Chuck Eastman: [00:05:38] Or maybe you're in the house today and you've never been sure about what you think about Jesus. Like, somehow, you're here, and you don't know why you're necessarily here, or maybe you're here with your mom. Anybody with your mom? Because you're like, Mother's Day is the one Sunday I have to go to church with my mom. I am sorry that she brought you today, the real pastor will be back next week.

Chuck Eastman: [00:06:03] But for whatever reason, people are just not sure about their faith. And I think there are a few things that are starting to kind of, for me at least, to maybe explain some of that. One, and me and Pastor Charles, our high school pastor, we were talking about this a little bit the other day. I think our vision is too small for the next generation. Our vision is way too small. I mean, come on, for a lot of us, the vision for the next generation is they would just graduate. Like some of you, you're like, Oh, God, if we just get to May and they Graduate, that'll be a win. And if they get accepted to college, oh, Lord, somehow, you know? Some of you are like, man, you know, they graduated from college, I just need them to get a job and move out of my living room. It's just that they're 27 years old now, it's time to go. Right? You're praying to God that something happens to the video games, you know, that they're playing, that you would do something, Lord, in the video game that would destroy the video game so that they would go and get a job.

Chuck Eastman: [00:07:17] Our vision is too small, we have this really small vision, graduate, get a job, get married, have a savings account, and maybe start thinking about retirement. And if they do all that, we're like, yes, yes. And this is why everybody in their forties and fifties is having a midlife crisis because that vision is really short-lived, it's actually not even that hard to accomplish, just don't mess around a little bit too much. And a lot of people now in their forties and fifties are starting to grapple with like, man, I leveraged my life for a vision that was really, really, really small. So I think that's one thing.

Chuck Eastman: [00:08:01] I think also there's this identity crisis is going on with people, we've talked about sexuality and the crisis around identity in our sexuality. But I think we're also asking questions of who am I, even beyond sexuality? We're asking questions of, what am I worth? Never before in human history has our worth been out there for everyone to see on our social media and Instagram and Facebook and Twitter, and now our worth is being evaluated by many, many other people, some of them we don't even know. And so we're wondering, what am I worth? And then you are like, wait, what's my purpose? Like, what am I here for? And I think there's a lot, there's like a cloud of confusion around those three things. Who am I? What am I worth? And what am I here for?

Chuck Eastman: [00:08:45] And then I think if I could if I could get underneath all of that, I think one of the base core problems is, I think we're bored with God. I think we're bored with God. I think if we grew up in church, and we've been in church for a long time, and we've been around the good music, and we've been around the Bible teaching, and we've done the youth group thing, and we've gone to Bible studies, and we've been around for a while. I think that if we were honest with ourselves, we might say that somehow in some way, maybe we don't even know when it happened, but somewhere along the way, God became less compelling and somehow, he got boring to us. And if you're not a Christian, if you're like that's exactly it, like what makes this all different than a bunch of religious, moral, more shame-based stuff that you get everywhere else in culture? And I think somehow along the way, we just lost sight of a compelling view of who God is.

Chuck Eastman: [00:09:48] And as I've been thinking about that, I thought, you know, the thing that God used in my life to get into all of those questions was this one passage in the Bible. He used it when I was a college student. He used it when I got out of college. He's used it along in my life. And in any time where I've really grown complacent or I've wondered, you know, what's this thing all about? God tends to draw me back to this, and I just want to share it with you, maybe as a gift, that maybe God would use, that the Holy Spirit would use, to help us have a compelling view of God, but also begin to deal with some of the mystery around our identity and our purpose, and maybe even give us a bigger vision than we really thought possible.

Chuck Eastman: [00:10:29] So I want to read this for us in Isaiah 6, it will be on the screen, or you can pull it up in your blue bible. Isaiah 6:1 says this, In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” 4And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. 5And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!” 6Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for. ”Isaiah’s Commission from the Lord 8And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.” 9And he said, “Go." I love that passage, and I love it for a variety of reasons that I want to unpack this morning.

Chuck Eastman: [00:12:30] The thing that I think I want the Holy Spirit to do in us this morning is, I think I want the Holy Spirit to help us come awake to the glory of God. I think that's my simple prayer this morning, is that somehow in a new way, maybe it's happened before, maybe it's happened last week, maybe it's something that's been a journey for you, but I'm hoping in a fresh way. The Holy Spirit would open up our hearts to get a big view of the glory of God and come awake to His glory. Because I think when that happens, some of the other things will begin to flow out of our lives.

Chuck Eastman: [00:13:05] The first thing you notice in here is, is in this year, this king died, King Uzziah, the Lord is sitting on a throne and he's high and lifted up. Just for some context, I just want to point out here, King Uzziah is dead, he died, you can read about it in Second Chronicles Chapter 26. He became king when he was 16 years old because his father was evil, and for most of his life, for about 50 years, he honored God, he amassed a massive army, he was young, he was strong, he was popular. And the end of his story ends like this, in second Chronicles 26, he said his fame spread around the earth, and he grew strong, and then he got proud. And the end of his story is he thought, you know what, I don't have to go through the priest, I'm going to go straight into God's presence and I'm going to offer a sacrifice. And on his own righteousness, his own sense of, I'm strong, I'm good, I'm the king, I've done what's right, God blesses me on his own credibility, he tried to walk into the holy of holies. He tried to walk into the temple, and God said, no, I'm the king lifted up here. And Isaiah starts up this section, he goes, hey, in the year that a king thought he was something, he walked into God's presence, and he found out he was nothing compared to the eternal God. The eternal God is exalted on a throne, lifted up over all things. That's the scene, Isaiah says, he's exalted, he's high, and he's at the center of the place of worship, he's in the temple and his robe fills the temple. And then there are these seraphim, these angels. Seraphim is a tricky word, it can mean fiery or fiery angels, and they're these angels that it's hard to get our imagination around. But. But they're circling God, and there's just an anthem of he's holy, he's holy, he's holy. And they're covering their eyes, probably as some kind of recognition that he's so bright, I can't look at him. Covering their feet in some sense to say, maybe my feet aren't even worth looking at and I've got to cover them up. And they're flying actively around the throne, just an anthem, he's holy, he's holy, he's holy. This is the scene Isaiah sees, he's high and lifted up, he's central, and right at the center of what makes him who he is is this thing they say about him, his holiness. In fact, intrinsic to God's beauty and his greatness is the reality that he's holy.

Chuck Eastman: [00:15:59] I want to know the last time you sat with the holiness of God. Holy is a tricky word in the Old Testament, in the Hebrew word, it means, different, separate, in a category all by himself, we sometimes attach perfect purity to it. But here's what the angels are saying, it's kind of awesome, they're going, no one is like that, different in a category, not like you and me, by the way, and we're kind of awesome. It's like we're angels, we're on fire and we fly, and he's in a different category. There's no one like him, separate, different, other than, highly lifted up and exalted, central to all things, his Holiness is intrinsic to who he is, and it's the anthem of the angels. And here is the thing that I want to say, when we come awake to how different God is from us, he's not just a better version of you and me, he's not just a little bit smarter than the smartest guy in the room or a girl in the room, he's not just a little bit stronger than the best athlete in the room, he doesn't have just a few more resources than the richest person in the room; he is completely other, different, separate, eternal, exalted, and here's the thing. Every inch of the universe is marked by his glory and exists for his glory.

Chuck Eastman: [00:17:50] Psalm 19 says, "The heavens declare the glory of God." And by the way, this is why in Genesis chapter 1 it says, you and I are made in God's image, and then image-bearers are supposed to go make other image-bearers and fill the earth with them. Why? Because image-bearers have the mark of the glory of God, and everywhere they go, they spread the glory of God. Every inch of the universe is for God's glory and is marked by His glory. And I think if we get a vision of that, if somehow that can begin to shape our heart, I think it'll deal with some of those existential questions that maybe our college students are dealing with, maybe high school students are dealing with, or maybe right now, where you sit, wherever you are in your life, maybe there are some existential questions about purpose and identity, and even your vision for what your life is about, that might flow out of seeing God as the Holy God of Israel.

Chuck Eastman: [00:18:51] Isaiah, by the way, he loves this term, 25 times in the Book of Isaiah, he calls him holy. Isaiah is obsessed with the otherness of God, are you obsessed with the otherness of God? Like just obsessed with, in no way is he like anything else you can see in the universe. Whatever you've seen, wherever you've been, whatever you've been enamored with, he is other than that, and greater than that, and over that.

Chuck Eastman: [00:19:26] I think this causes three shifts to happen in us, that I'm praying will happen to us this morning. I think the beauty of God, and his absolute holiness, generate extravagant worship. It generates extravagant worship, that's what you see there in the throne room. It's not worship, these angels aren't bored, imagine being bored in that scene. They're not bored, they're enamored with God, they're obsessed with God. And the worship is specific, it's about the very character of God, and they use every part of their body. By the way, ancient worship, first century, second century, and third century, worship usually was a full-body experience. Usually, you would walk in, and you would touch something to remind you of who God was you, you would take the table to taste the life of God and the life of Jesus, and you would smell, maybe there would be something you could smell where it would make you think of God's presence as real. First-century Christians could not imagine worship just being singing, it was much more consuming than that. And you see this extravagant worship coming out of these angels, singing about the holiness of God.

Chuck Eastman: [00:20:49] And I think it leads me to say something like, we worship what we're most enamored with, or we worship what we most admire. About 15 years ago I was in Japan, I was visiting, I have some family in Japan. And I was in Japan, and my uncle who lives in Japan, he's a missionary there, he said, Chucky, let's go climb Mount Fuji. Okay, everybody calls me Chucky, by the way, my dad is Chuck, so that's kind of, I'm little. Chuck, you know. And so my Uncle Johnny is like, hey, let's go climb Mount Fuji. I said, great. I said, when do we start, are going to get up like at five in the morning. He goes, no, no, no, nothing like that, we're going to start at 9 p.m. I said, oh, that's weird, we're going to climb a mountain in the dark. He's like, yeah. I was like, okay, Uncle Johnny, let's go do it. So we got to Mount Fuji in Japan and we started climbing, and there was a ton of people, like hundreds of people, and they all had little lamps on their heads, you know, so they could see the path. I didn't have a lamp on my head, I didn't come prepared. And so we started climbing up Mt. Fuji in the middle of the night, miserable experience, by the way, it's cold, it's hard, I hadn't trained for that. I'm not really a mountain climber, you know, I don't know if that's apparent to anyone, but that's really not my skill. And so I'm climbing up the mountain, it's pretty miserable, I'm wondering why we're doing this. I'm kind of realizing, I'm thinking like, I shouldn't have done this. And why are there hundreds and hundreds of people from young to old, they'd be old, there would be like 90-year-old Japanese men just moving up the mountain. And I'd be like, gosh, man, you're impressive, that's amazing. Like, what's going on here? Like, why are you doing this, this is terrible. And we got up to the top, and I was about I was about ten feet from the top, I was about to get there. And as I was getting there, we got like over the clouds. Has anybody ever been above the clouds before? It's kind of awesome. You're like, well, that's really cool, I'm above the clouds. So then you're like, above the clouds and then this weird thing happened, the clouds started turning like reddish purple, and the lights strung like underneath the cloud. As far as I could see, the clouds just started to light up and I was like, what is happening? And then, you know, what happened next? The sun rose, and broke through the clouds, and landed on the top of that cloud. And, I mean, it was like, oh, my God. I was like, I'm eye level with the sun. Like, the sun is coming up over the mountain, and I'm eye level with the sun. And then the craziest thing happened, I saw all these Japanese, some of them in their seventies and eighties, I saw them kneel down and start praying. And then I thought, wait a minute, we are wired to worship what we admire most. We are wired to worship what we admire most. And you could almost go, I don't know what else to admire more than what I'm looking at right now, like that almost makes sense, unless you believe that there's a God who spoke and it happened, and it showed up on the scene by the very power of his word.

Chuck Eastman: [00:24:20] We worship what we admire most, and that levels things for us, I think if we're bored with worship, it's probably because we don't have a compelling view of God. Worship isn't about style, and honestly, it's not even about our personality. Could you imagine the Seraphim as they're circling the throne room and one of them going, hey, listen, you know, I just want you to know I'm kind of an introvert. So I know we're singing here, but I'm just not going to sing, is that okay with you? Can you imagine that conversation? Hey, I know you like to keep your eyes covered, but I was kind of thinking, I want to look. I mean, these are the kind of conversations we have in worship all the time, basing it on our style and our personality. Worship is not about any of that, it's about being obsessed with who God is. Forget how someone might respond, be concerned with if they're obsessed about the God that stands at the center of it. Worship is about him, and when we see him, it generates extravagant worship.

Chuck Eastman: [00:25:28] I think the second shift that happens here, and you see this in the text. Look at this, verse 4, it says, "The foundations of the thresholds..." That means just the foundations of the temple, "...shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke." And then here's Isaiah, he's been sitting there the whole time, kind of watching all this, and look what he says. He says, "I'm doomed. “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!” Here's the next kind of major thing that happens to us, if we're unsure about who we are, see Jesus, and all of a sudden, we're going to be really sure. It will cut through the clutter of your questions about identity. And what Isaiah sees for maybe the first time in his life, is he's not pretty good, he's not like a prophet of the Lord who has been chosen because he's a good guy doing a good thing for God. No, he's like, I am a man with a filthy mouth, and I've got the nation, the people of God, for goodness sake, and they're a people with a filthy mouth, in what? In light of the holy otherness of God.

Chuck Eastman: [00:26:44] If you want to spend your time thinking you're pretty good with yourself, look at the people around you, that's going to be really easy. Find someone that's a little less disciplined than you, and you're going to feel pretty disciplined. Find someone who hasn't overcome some struggle quite as much as you have, and you're going to feel pretty awesome about yourself. Get the Eternal God front and center, and you're immediately going to see how broken you really are. You're going to actually, it's going to humble anything you thought you could grab on to and say, that's my identity. If you're a high school student, and you think your identity is because you're a great athlete. Guess what? You're nothing compared to who God is. If you think you're awesome because you've killed it in the business world, and so many people in this area, more people in this area, have just destroyed and have been awesome in the business world, and it's amazing, but in comparison to God, you're really broken. And it levels the things we might grab on to and say, hey, that makes me something.

Chuck Eastman: [00:27:51] And I'll tell you this, for a lot of my life, I got a vision of the glory of God like this, and I saw how broken I really was, but I kind of stopped there. Is this true for anybody in the house? Like, I'd go, man, God is awesome, and I'm broken, and then God felt pretty far away from me. Once this was kind of laid out for me, that's who God is, this is who I am. Okay, but I didn't feel really close to God at this point because I think what began to happen was, I think shame started moving into my life a little bit, shame started to overcome me. I said, Man, I'm nothing like the Holy God of Israel, and so I started struggling with shame. But here's the deal, I think, if you stay in a place of shame and brokenness, you haven't really encountered the God of the Bible.

Chuck Eastman: [00:28:46] Look what happens to Isaiah, he's there, he thinks he's about to die in His Holiness. And then he says, "Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.” If you stay in shame, you haven't met God. Because what God does when he draws us in and he shows us himself, he doesn't pull back the curtain and go, It's way worse than you thought, Chucky. You thought you were a pretty good kid, but it's way worse than that, you're really broken. Boy, you're way more valuable than you ever could have imagined, you're way more loved than you've ever dreamed of.

Chuck Eastman: [00:29:39] Isaiah, his book is loaded with messianic prophecies, and this is one of the first. Because Isaiah points to a day when God will humble himself, Philippians 2 says, he will empty out his power and he will become human flesh. He'll be held in the hands of a teenage mom, and he will walk in humility, poverty, and obedience all the way to death on a cross. And at the cross, he will be brutally torn apart to say to his creatures, you're valuable, and don't let the culture say anything otherwise. don't let them measure you up to anything else. No one else is the measure of your value except the God who put himself on the cross for you, he's the only measure of your value. And that's where we find our value, it is seeing ourselves in light of this God. And the brokenness that is so real about us, that it's actually drawn close by a Jesus who went to the cross.

Chuck Eastman: [00:30:54] The Jesus that showed up at the well in John chapter 4, in Samaria, with a woman who had five husbands. Talk about some sexual brokenness and shame, a woman who had no friends, so she went to draw water by herself, something you'd never do in that time, who Jesus meets, and talks to, and sees. And in telling her everything about her life, she feels both, this is the best man I've ever met, and this is the most loving man I've ever met. and he sees me, the deepest desire of the human heart is to be known fully, and he loves me. The other deepest desire of the human heart is to be fully known and fully loved, fighting against the echo of the culture that says, never let someone ever really know you, because if they ever know you, they'll never really love you. And be worried about if they really do love you, if someone really shows that they love you, it's because they don't really know you.

Chuck Eastman: [00:32:03] The Gospel does something completely different, it puts this God, God is not going to be made small, but he will come close through the Gospel. And those two things collide for Isaiah into this amazing story that he gets invited into, because God didn't bring him into his presence just to blow his mind with his glory, which is cool enough. And he didn't just bring him into his presence to say, hey, now that you know how broken you are, I'm going to love you, I'm going to show you mercy and grace, I'm going to raise you up and make you realize your value and you're standing as a son in the presence of God. No, I got a big story for you, Isaiah, and here's the big story, the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Is there anything else Isaiah could say in that moment? I mean, what other response is appropriate in that moment? Well, God, what's the plan? No, this is the God lifted up. Well, God, where are we going? What are you talking about? This is the one, the whole world is full of his glory. There's only one response to this view of God, I'm here.

Chuck Eastman: [00:33:29] And what you'll read, if you read the rest of Isaiah, you will see Isaiah walks out of this moment with a message of this holy, glorious God, a calling to a broken people to humble themselves and level all other idols and worship him. And then Isaiah 53, he says, and just if you're not sure, you can stand in the presence of a holy God. God has a plan, and he will crush his servant to make you righteous. So come on, let's go.

Chuck Eastman: [00:34:08] And I think it's this story, this vision, that's so compelling, that could invite us, maybe, to let go of the things we've let grab onto us and pull us down and entangle us, and it might even speak a word to that one area of your life that needs to be healed, that one area of your life that you've defended maybe, at times, or most likely you've hidden. See, the thing is, the Holy One of Israel knows you, and you are more loved than you could ever imagine, and he has a story he wants you to be a part of, namely, to make his name famous.

Chuck Eastman: [00:35:01] Venture, I think God wants us to step into that story as much as we can, maybe in a fresh and in a new way. So here's what we're going to do, we're going to respond to God, we're going to respond to him in worship, extravagant worship that comes out of our view of God, and we're also going to ask the Holy Spirit to deal with us. And so if you would, stand with me. Shep's going to lead us in a song, and as we sing that song, would you press in and would you present to God the things that maybe have been more beautiful to you than him, and ask him to release your grip on it, and then show you the beauty of your value in the cross.

Recorded in Los Gatos, California.
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