Sermon Notes: How to Wreck Your Life. Week Three. Why do we Settle for less?

**These sermon notes were cut and paste right from my google doc. That’s why there are cues to when the slides go up. 

***This was also one of my favorite messages ever at Thrive! 

Message Notes    |    |

Slide # 1…Series Slide

    • Good Morning Thrive Church! How are we doing today?
    • Today is the day. The last Sunday at Celebration Cinema.
    • It’s both sad and happy, It’s both emotional and exciting.
    • Today is the day we close one chapter of our Church and we move on to the next.


  • I can remembering spending time on Sat mornings praying around this building before they even approved us to use it! It seemed like a GIANT ask of God. I mean, so many people thought there was NO WAY they were going to let us use this.


  • I can remember so many times I have seen people just cry sitting in these seats. I can remember so many times when we have laughed in this room.
  • As you know, laughter and fun are a big deal to us. We just don’t buy the lie that says you can’t laugh in church. I believe that JOY entered the world when the stone was rolled away!
  • So, with that, I want to show you something. Every once in awhile I’ll walk by Matt and Dave’s office and they will just be laughing. You know, working for a church is awesome. It’s also ridiculously difficult. Sometimes, you have to laugh.
  • Sometimes, Matt will put my sermons on slow speed and they will just laugh and laugh and then they will call people into their office.

VIDEO: Drunk Jason

In the office, we call these drunk Jason videos. Now, I don’t even drink and we’re not making light of alcoholism. But, it’s pretty funny! Hahah.

  • I can remember so many times when people greeted me in the hallway and said, I never thought there would be a day when I stepped into Church, but here I am.
  • I can remember the time someone brand new to church was leaving theater one and he came up to me and he yelled…I LOVE THIS F’ing Church!
  • I can remember the hundreds of times I have seen one of our elders, David Stevens praying for people the green room.
  • I can remember the hundreds of times I have seen my dad and Bryan Huntoon, and Ethan Gage and Brian Hull and all the Road Crew folks unload trailers and set everything up.
  • I can remember the first time this place really started to fill up and Matt and I looked at each other and said…ONLY GOD.
  • I can remember the times when I’ve stood up and casted a big vision and I could see the ‘what is he talking about’ looks and then somehow, someway God shows up. Money is raised. Like we did in December of 2014. We raised 15k for our youth and kids. In March of 2015 we raised 14k for shoes. In April of 2016 we raised 24k for shoes and now, our biggest and most successful campaign ever has raised $41,000 for the move to CMU. If you still need GOD confirmation that He’s leading us that way, I’ll give 41000 reasons and soon, I BELIEVE, I will be able to give you 50,000.
  • I can remember the time we had a homeless guy out front and so many Thrivers talked to him and he told someone that he needed a watch and he was then offered 20!
  • I can remember hundreds of times when I walked down the hallway and I’ve prayed for all of our volunteers and begged God to bless them.
  • I can remember the first time we did baptisms in here and we baptized a student and all his friends were in the front couple of rows cheering!
  • And, today, we celebrate all that God has done here in this place.
  • The title of this message is: Why do we settle for less?
  • So often we do, right?
  • Except for things we really care about?
  • When it comes to food, some of us will send back the plate multiple times at the restaurant if the food isn’t just right. Which after working at restaurants for 6 years, I would strongly advise against that.
  • When it comes to our cars, some of us do not settle.
  • When it comes to our technology, some of us are Apple snobs.
  • But, sometimes, when it comes to our eternity or our walking with Jesus or our church, we settle for less.
  • We have to stop settling. We have to want more out of our walk with Jesus. We all should do everything we can to make our Church the BEST is can be. We all should reject the notion that’s it all about us and daily, do everything we can to make this place better for people who haven’t even come here yet.
  • So, do you settle?
  • Are you fine with…well, it’s good enough?
  • Well, I’m not. I want this Church, I want my relationship with Jesus to be the BEST it possibly can be.
  • I love what Mark Batterson said in his book…The Circle Maker. Which, chapter two is where I found some of the inspiration for this message! Mark says…

Slide # 2…‘God does not answer vague prayers’ ~Mark Batterson

  • Right in chapter two he says…Bold prayers honor God, and God honors bold prayers. God isn’t offended by your biggest dreams or boldest prayers. He is offended by anything less.
  • If your prayers aren’t impossible to you, they are insulting to God.
  • Why? Because they don’t require divine intervention. But ask God to part the Red Sea or make the sun stand still or float an iron ax head and God is moved to omnipotent action.
  • There is nothing God loves more than keeping promises, answering prayers, performing miracles and fulfilling dreams. That is who He is. That is what He does.
  • So, stop settling for less.
  • I hope you walk out of here this morning and remember…

Slide # 3…Big Idea: There is so much MORE LIFE available to you

  • Ok, let’s go to the OT part of the Bible for a minute, to the book of Duet.

Slide # 4…

And the Lord said, “Now get up and cross the Zered Valley.” So we crossed the valley.

~Duet. 2:13 (niv)

  • At this point, the Israelites (God’s chosen people) have been wandering the desert for 38 years. Why were they wandering? Because that generation of people didn’t trust in God and weren’t allowed to enter the promised land.
  • Moses lead them out of slavery in Egypt, and even though God did miracle after miracle, they just doubted. Even though God promised them, THEY SETTLED FOR LESS.
  • I mean, they started to miss slavery. That’s settling!
  • So, here they are and have been wandering for all these years.
  • And then finally God speaks and says…get up and cross the Zered Valley.
  • This was a huge moment because this was the start of the end of the wandering. The promise land was coming soon.
  • The crazy thing is though, they didn’t need a sea to be parted. They didn’t need food to fall from the sky like it had. They didn’t Moses to hit a rock for water.
  • God just says, cross this valley. Here’s the deal about the Zered Valley. It’s tiny. All they had to probably do is a little robe holding up to cross it.
  • And, the cool thing is, in the Hebrew, Zered Valley means Exuberant Growth.

Slide # 5…Zered Valley = Exuberant Growth

  • It got me thinking about how many times in my life I’ve settled for AS IS or the way it’s always been done and EXUBERANT GROWTH could have been right around the corner.
  • We don’t say that word exuberant very often.

STORY: Kai in the pool

  • I took Kai swimming the other day at SAC and he has this life vest and I’ve taught him to lay back and then I’ll spin in circles as fast as I can.
  • You should hear this little boy laugh. If I stop, in his words, he just asks me and asks me for more. So, I spin more. And, he’s experiencing JOY and I’m experiencing JOY and it’s amazing!
  • That’s what it’s like to experience EXUBERANT GROWTH.

Big Idea: There is so much MORE LIFE available to you

  • One more story from the Old Testament, from the book of Joshua.
  • Fast forward a little bit of time and now Joshua is in charge of the Israelites and they are marching toward the first city in the Promise Land, Jericho.
  • The first glimpse of Jericho was both awe inspiring and frightening.
  • They were in the wilderness for 40 years, they saw nothing like this city.
  • The closer they got, the smaller they felt. They finally understood why the generation before them felt like grasshoppers and failed to enter the Promised Land because of fear. Which, the interesting thing is, Moses originally sent in 12 spies and only two of them (Caleb and Joshua) had positive things to say. The rest were like, it’s too big, those people are giants.
  • Now, 40 years later, Joshua is leading the people and they are going to take this city.
  • The walls were 50 feet high and 6 feet thick and encircled the entire city. The mud brick walls were so thick and tall that the 12 acre city appeared to be an impregnable fortress.
  • Seemed like God had promised something impossible and His battle plan seemed nonsensical.
  • March your entire army around the city once a day for 6 days. On the 7th day, march around 7 times. Oh, and be quiet.
  • The first time around, the soldiers must have felt foolish.
  • With each circle, a holy confidence was building pressure inside their souls. By the 7th day, their faith was ready to pop. They arose before dawn and started circling at 6 o’clock in the morning.
  • At 3 miles per hour, each mile and a half march around the city took a half hour. By 9, they began their final lap.
  • In keeping with God’s command, they hadn’t said a word in 6 days. They just silently circled the promise.
  • They the priests sounded their horns, and a simultaneous shout followed. 600,000 Israelites raised a holy roar that registered on the Richter scale, and the walls came tumbling down.

Slide # 6…

When the trumpets sounded, the army shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the men gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so everyone charged straight in, and they took the city. ~Josh 6:20 (niv)

  • After 7 days of circling Jericho, God delivered on a 400 year old promise.
  • He proved once again, that His promises don’t have expiration dates.
  • And Jericho stands, and falls, as a testament to this simple truth: If you keep circling the promise, God will ultimately deliver it.
  • Our prayers NEVER die.
  • Now, don’t confuse wimpy prayers with courageous, bold, praying with every ounce of your being kind of prayers!

Illustration: Prayers

  • My parents prayed for 20 years for my spouse. Tracie is an answer to prayer.
  • I have prayed for 17 years for Bekah’s future husband. I pray every day that he is a Jesus loving man who will keep his hands off her till they’re married!
  • I have prayed for 14 years for Bobby. When Bobby was born, a leader at my church told me she had a dream about Bobby. In her dream, she said she saw my dad teaching dozens of kids. Which, he was my youth pastor. She saw me teaching hundreds and she saw Bobby teaching thousands.
  • I have prayed for Zach for 12 years that God would heal him of his pku.
  • I have prayed for Madie for 9 years of the same thing.
  • From the moment we knew that Kai was our son, I have been praying the same thing.
  • I pray for God to use each of them for His kingdom at school and wherever they go.
  • So many people want the miracle RIGHT NOW. They want the ANSWER RIGHT NOW. But, like the miracle at Jericho, that promise took 400 years.
  • We’ve been praying for CMU for 2 years. Our Elders got together last May, after Easter and started praying for CMU.
  • So, what’s your Jericho? What promise are you waiting on?
  • How much MORE LIFE could you be living?
  • What kind of EXUBERANT GROWTH could you be experiencing?

Big Idea: There is so much MORE LIFE available to you

Slide # 7…Know exactly what you want God to do.

  • More than a 1000 years after the Jericho miracle, another miracle happened in the exact same place. Jesus is on His way out of Jericho when two blind men hail Him like a taxi. The disciples see this as in interruption. Jesus sees this as a divine appointment.

Slide # 8…Luke 18:35-43

As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging.36 When he heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening. 37 They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.”

38 He called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

39 Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

40 Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, 41 “What do you want me to do for you?”

“Lord, I want to see,” he replied.

42 Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.”

  • This guy KNEW exactly what he wanted Jesus to do.
  • Lord, I want to see.
  • What do you want to see Jesus do in your life?
  • Are you asking humbly?
  • Are you asking for something inside of God’s will?
  • Are you willing to put in the prayer time?

Know exactly what you want God to do.

Slide # 9…Each step requires your whole heart

Slide # 10…Duet. 6:4-9 (niv)

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[a] 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

  • Does Jesus have your whole heart? Be honest!
  • What’s holding you back?
  • Someone said to me once, I want to experience the miracles you seem to experience. And, I have experienced GIANT miracles. The house I live in is a GIANT miracle. The 3 old little boy running around my house is a miracle. Both cars in my garage were given to us and are miracles.
  • I simply responded with…do you really want to experience miracles. Because sometimes much pain comes along in the process of experiencing miracles.
  • We almost lost Kai in November because we were $8000 behind to our Adoption Agency. I stayed up all night and paced my house. I cried to God. I shouted to God. I begged God. I sang to God. I got on my knees. I raised my hands to God. I walked silently. I quoted scripture for hours that night. I finally fell asleep and knew that the next day I might have to tell Tracie we lost Kai.
  • Then, God sent a miracle to us in the form of our friend, Lindsey. She had this idea for a puzzle and she paid for it. And people could sponsor pieces. By the end of the week, we raised the 8k and we could keep Kai!
  • When we started this Church, I was traveling as a speaker. In 2012, my adjusted gross income was something like 9500 for the year! Someone God got us through. As my speaking began to grow in 2013, we were able to save some money. But, when we started this church, we needed a lot of money. So, Tracie and I gave everything we had. And, that included our retirement account. Not too long after that, 4 Detroit area churches gave Thrive 75k to get off the ground. A miracle!
  • Even last week, I prayed for one of those, oh my goodness God, will you help us out here kind of miracles. To be super crazy honest, we knew it would be a lot to adjust financially after Kai, but wow. And, don’t get me wrong, I feel so blessed at what the church pays, but with 5 kids and 3 with PKU, it’s a lot. But, many years ago, my plan would of been to stop giving or drastically decrease what we gave to God through this church. But, the miracles I have experienced since Tracie and I made tithing a priority is unreal. And, for us, we believe the starting point to tithing is 10% of our income before taxes. Then we sponsor 5 kids through Compassion and whatever is left, we give to a few organizations that are close to our hearts. Adoption and PKU and Church Planting are close to our hearts.
  • But, the last couple of weeks, we were hit with a few, ‘didn’t see those’ coming bills? You know the kind?
  • So, Friday morning, I’m at the SAC swimming and praying for help. Then, I do a prayer walk around Warriner. 7 times. Each time around I just keep getting a deeper peace.
  • I come to the Hub to pick something up and I stop at the mailbox. Inside it is an envelope to me from a couple that I’m performing a wedding for next month. In it is 3, 100 gift cards!
  • This is after my parents bought my PKU 175 dollars worth of PKU food!
  • I lost it! I sat in my car and cried like a baby! I just thanked God!
  • Does God have your whole heart? Do you lock Him out of parts? Have you only given Him a little bit?

Know exactly what you want God to do.

Each step requires your whole heart

Slide # 11…Spell out your Jericho

Slide # 12…‘Don’t just read the Bible. Start circling the promises. Don’t just make a wish. Write down a list of God-glorifying life goals. Don’t just pray. Keep a prayer journal. Define your dream. Spell your miracle.

Slide # 13…Well-developed faith results in well-defined prayers, and well-defined prayers result in a well-lived life ~Mark Batterson (The Circle Maker)

Big Idea: There is so much MORE LIFE available to you


  • It’s time to circle your promises! It’s time to start praying well defined prayers.
  • It’s time to start experiencing the LIFE that God has for you.
  • These are my journals for when I started praying about starting this Church! Maybe it’s time for you try something new if you’re not experiencing the LIFE that God has for you!



You were handed a circle at the beginning of this message.

Today is the day to start writing down some of these prayers.

On one side, write down personal prayers you have for your future.

Mine includes Physical Health and Financial Blessing. Our family has also been praying for a larger vehicle. And, I’m asking God that my kids would still be passionate about Him and the Church after they graduate from high school!

The other side is for our Church! Write down how you want God to use you. Or what you would like to see God do.

I’m writing down fill Plachta. I’m writing down for us to do 5 Schools in a year for the shoe project. I’m writing down a Big Rapids and Midland Campus for Thrive. I’m writing down a budget that fits our vision. I’m writing down 1200 Seats sponsored for the SAVE A SEAT Campaign.

Before I ask some folks to come up and pray for our next chapter at CMU. I just wanted to remind you why Thrive exists!

Slide # 14…

Mission Statement  [what we’re called to do]

Thrive Church exists to help people find and follow Jesus.

We want to make this easy as possible.

Vision Statement  [Why we’re called to do it]

To create environments that people who are done with church and God will find irresistible.

We want to be prepared for Guests. We want to be ready. We exist for people who don’t yet know Jesus as their Savior. That means those of us who buy into this vision, we’ve decided that Church isn’t about me.

That’s why we go out of our way to use whatever tools we can to reach people. That’s why the music rocks. That’s why we use clips from movies. That’s why we dress like comfortable people.

Slide # 15…DNA  [This is what drives our vision?]


  • Lost people matter to God.
  • Create irresistible environments.
  • Make bold moves.
  • Teach for life change.
  • Intentionally develop leaders.
  • Unleash a culture of generosity.
  • Circles are better than rows.


Slide # 16…What every Thriver can do…

[Show Up, Jump In, Do Good] Graphic

I’m challenging and asking you to Lean in to our church like you’ve never have before. If you’re at 50% come up to 100%.

For our Next Chapter to be as successful as possible. We will need more than 25% of us carrying the load.

It’s time for you and I to experience MORE LIFE and stop settling for LESS!

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