What do you Crave?
Hi everyone, my name is Jon, I have the privilege of being one of the pastors here at Whitewater, and I am excited to be back on the platform today. I am excited to jump into our text. I hope you are, too. I hope you came with an expectant heart. A heart ready and hungry to hear a word of inspiration or encouragement, maybe word of healing or breakthrough. I’m hoping you came hungry.
Is there anyone in the room that is hungry? Anyone on line hungry for hope?
If you’re online watching right now, I want you to put that in the chat…“I’m hungry for Hope.”
A quick shout out to those watching online. We are so honored you chose to hang out with us today. With so many things you could be doing, you chose to give us your precious resource of TIME, and we are honored you are here with us today.
We are in week four of our teaching series Blessed(?), looking at what it really means to be blessed. Not according to your neighbor’s definition of what being blessed looks like, not according to what Jessica on Instagram says what being #blessed looks like, but as people who have made the decision for Jesus to be lord and leader of our lives, what does HE say being blessed looks like.
Week one, JT kicked us off talking about those who are poor in spirit. I’m not sure who that guy is, but as I watched online, with snot running down his face the whole time, I was surprised David didn’t cut him off after the first 90 minutes. It was the longest sermon recorded in the modern era. If you see that guy, be sure to give him a tissue and a hug.
Week two, Jereca continued down a similar path as she talked about those who mourn. She left no one safe…tears were shed, the holy spirit was present. She poured out her heart and drew us all closer to the Father.
Week three, David jumped into the fray as he talked about those who are meek, and we all cried big Charlie Brown, crocodile tears as we saw David’s artistic ability.
This week (week four), I will take us to Matthew 5, verse 6 as we continue on our mountainside expedition through Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. I don’t believe tissues will be necessary today, but stay tuned, you never know where the spirit may lead.
Matthew 5, verse 6: "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled."
I find it cruel I was assigned the Beatitude that has to deal with being hungry and thirsty. I feel personally attacked.
Kind of like… what are you trying to say?
"Ok, yes, I have put on a little weight. But everyone has…it’s called the COVID-19."
“Ok, yes, I have been eating a little more than usual lately, but I’ve been a little more stressed than usual. There are worse things than stress-eating that I could be doing.”
But, wait. According to our text today, I’m blessed, right? Blessed are those who are hungry and thirsty! See…I’m just big and blessed!
You know you may need to change some things in your life, when every shirt you try on, you’re like, “seriously, another one, why are all my shirts shrinking in the dryer???” And of course, it’s Kelly’s fault, right? “Why’d you shrink all my shirts, Kelly?!?”
BTW, blaming your spouse for why your clothes don’t fit is always a good idea, always gets them in the mood. Little gift from me to you. You’re welcome.
Back to our text. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst…
So, speaking of being hungry and thirsty…I tried a new restaurant the other day. A couple weeks ago, it was my birthday. Thank you. Twenty-three never looked so good on me.
My friends planned this whole surprise birthday dinner with a group of people from the church. It was a really powerful night. Each person there took turns speaking life into me. It was such an incredible gift. But, we were driving downtown and weaving our way through the snow and one-way streets, and we finally get to a parking lot and we’re all starving.
We were so hungry and thirsty, we forgot to pay for parking.
Write this down for today’s sermon notes and for life. Misguided hunger will compromise your common sense. And, it will be expensive.
So, let me ask you this question. What are you hungry for?
BBQ? Bourbon Glazed Salmon? Belgium Waffles? Honey Rich Cornbread? Listen, if you haven’t had the cornbread from Richies in Colerain… you haven’t lived.
What are you thirsty for?
Water? Dr Pepper? Coffee? A full bodied Cabernet with hints of coco and cherry? An ice cold Budweiser? A venti extra whip white mocha?
It’s part of the human condition to be hungry and thirsty? Don’t believe me, go 24 hours without eating or drinking anything and notice how your body responds.
What I love about this verse today is that Jesus takes a human condition every single one of us experiences, and he teaches us one of his most profound spiritual lessons.
You are going to hunger and thirst for something.
Some of you are hungry. Is the thing you are craving really going to fulfill?
There is only one thing that will satisfy the cravings your heart and soul longs for… and his name is Jesus.
"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled."
Jesus’ reference to righteousness here, it draws us back to the prophet Isaiah…where in Isaiah 61, God’s prophet says, “God will clothe his people with a robe of righteousness”, he will cause “righteousness and praise to spring up before all nations", and those whom God comforts will be called “oaks of
The Beatitudes leading up to verse 6, each of them are cascading upon the next one, each building upon the previous. Here, we talk about those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.
Hungry and thirsty people are desperate. You ever meet someone who hasn’t eaten in awhile? Hangry. You ever meet someone who needs a drink and hasn’t had it? Desperate.
Those who are poor in spirit are desperate. Those who mourn are desperate. Those who are meek are desperate…they all are desperate to be satisfied by the Father. To be filled with something that will quench the cravings of their soul.
How thirsty for GOD are you? How hungry for GOD are you? How desperate are you for Him?
Last weekend, while David was sharing his dry erase artwork with the world, I was next door in our Student Union. I had the privilege to speak at our four day Youth event, THE BIG CHILL!!
We had over 115 middle school and high school students, not just from Whitewater, but from all over the tri-state area…students who knew Jesus and and students who were just there for the free nachos and sugar water.
It was an awesome weekend where a ton of breakthrough was made in the lives our next generation.
In an email our Yth Movement Minister, Reed Saap, shared that they gained more relational capital in those four days than in the last six months. He shared that one student decided Jesus was more powerful than suicide, that two students accepted Jesus for the first time, that over 10 students recommitted their lives to Christ, and six students are now wanting to get baptized.
These students were hungry for Jesus. They were desperate for something real. Desperate for something that will actually satisfy.
As I was speaking at the BIG CHILL, I shared with them a story from the book of Luke about the prodigal son. We talked about how God loves you no matter what.
But as I was preparing for my message this week, I found myself going back to that same story…but with a different perspective because of our week four Beatitude, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”
In this story in Luke 15, there’s a son who is hungry and thirsty. He’s desperate. But, he’s desperately craving all the wrong things.
And, something many of us have learned in life…when you crave the wrong things, you will get the wrong things.
So, I want to share this story that Jesus tells in Luke 15. He says this: “A man had two sons. The younger son told his father, "I want my share of your estate now before you die." So, his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons. A few days later, this younger son packed all his belongings and moved to a distant land, and there he wasted all his money in wild living."
Now, before some of you think you would never go and waste your money in “WILD LIVING", I want you to think about things you HAVE wasted…time you’ve wasted, energy you’ve wasted, resources you've wasted...money you’ve wasted on bad deals, bad investments, bad bets.
This isn’t just for those people who are wasting their money at strip clubs and staying up all night on porn hub. Yes…I said it…we keep it real here. Listen, somebody needs to hear this. There is nothing on that website that is going to fulfill the craving your soul desires. You’re thirsty. Get a drink of water and go back to bed.
We’ve all wasted some of the precious resources God has entrusted to us.
Jesus continues in verse 14: "About the time his money ran out, a great famine swept over the land, and he began to starve."
I love this. The boy went out because he was hungry and thirsty, obviously thirsty. He went out longing for a feast, but all he found was famine.
When you’re craving unhealthy, you’re gonna get unhealthy.
Unhealthy diets lead to unhealthy destinations.
Think about it…I’m hungry, I’m thirsty…(sounds like I’m at the kiddie Table).
The other night, I was hangin out with friends, and I was hungry. And I had this ridiculous craving for Taco Bell. Right?!? Listen, I’m too old to be craving a 4th meal. But, I gave into the craving. We ordered Taco Bell. We got back to our place, and I opened the bag, pulled out that glorious stuffed gordita supreme…except when I pulled it out of the bag, it wasn’t glorious…it was garbage. The wrapper was stuck to the taco. All the fillings were falling out…and so I’m trying to peel the paper away from the food and everything in me was telling me, “DON’T EAT THIS!!” Right, all the warning bells are going off.
But, I had a craving. And, you wonder why my shirts don’t fit.
So, I peeled off as much of the wax paper as I could and dove right into that stuffed gordita.
Not only did every last bite taste awful, but of course I had to eat the whole thing because I was invested at this point.
I spent the rest of the night tossing and turning and doubled over in the bathroom, praying for God to forgive me of my trespasses.
What’s true for food is true for our soul…unhealthy diets lead to unhealthy destinations. Garbage in. Garbage out. Taco Bell is not going to lead to gains in the gym and a slimmer waist line.
Porn Hub isn’t going to lead to finding your soul mate or a stronger marriage.
Over working and over achieving just so you can climb the corporate ladder isn’t going to lead to you overcoming your desire to be enough. Your desire to not be a failure. It’s not going to bring your daddy back to tell you he’s proud of you.
The only thing that is going to satisfy the craving and aching of your soul is found in the Lord, Jesus Christ.
Just because I crave it, doesn’t mean I should do it. Just because I’m thirsty, doesn’t mean I should drink it.
Back in Luke 15, Jesus continues with his story. He says, "He persuaded a local farmer to hire him, and the man sent him into his fields to feed the pigs. The young man became so hungry that even the food he was feeding the pigs looked good to him. But no one gave him anything."
This is desperate. This is worse than Taco Bell.
I want you to understand what Jesus is saying here. For a Jewish audience (which is who would have been hearing this when Jesus said this), for a Jewish audience, they would have known that the law of Moses forbid you to have any contact with pigs because they were unclean. To get close to something that was unclean, meant you were unclean. To be unclean meant you were cut off from God and God’s people.
For the son to choose to work with pigs and then want to eat their food, Jesus is trying to paint the picture for how far this son had fallen. Rock bottom. Desperate.
Listen, desperation in our human condition will draw us to crave divine intervention.
I want us to crave divine intervention. I want us to crave what our Father has for us. To become desperate for Him!
How many of you are tired of empty promises? How many are tired of empty cravings? I’m tired of craving things that won’t satisfy.
Oh God, help us to be a people desperate for you. For your righteousness. Help us to strip off all the stuff that holds us back from getting closer to you. Help us to let go of the past struggles and mistakes that make us feel like we’re not worth something better, something more...
At some level, we’re all hungry and thirsty. We’re all choosing what we should consume. But, is it going to satisfy? Or is it Taco Bell?
You know the phrase feast or famine. Here’s what God showed me in this text…It’s not an either/or…feast OR famine.
It’s…are you gonna fill yourself up on the Famine’s Feast or the Father’s Feast?
The lost son…he took his daddy’s inheritance, had a craving in his mind and a hunger in his body, and he feasted. He went to town on all sorts of things he thought would satisfy. So much so that he got to point where he was going to feast on pig slop. Famine Feast.
And then, right in his most desperate moment, there’s divine intervention. "When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, "At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger!"
Right there in the middle of that pig pen, surrounded by filth…covered in filth…smelling like filth, in his desperation, divine Intervention…the light bulb goes off….and he’s like… “At home, there’s plenty of food…right? My daddy’s fridge is always full.”
I’m praying that today, for one of you watching online or someone sitting in this room, that your light bulb goes off. That you come to your senses. That you realize, there’s something better for you. There’s something healthier for you. That you realize God will take away your old cravings and replace it with a new hunger. A new thirst. I’m praying you realize today, God’s fridge is always full. He’s got what you need. You’ve got all access to that fridge. He’s got what your soul is crying out for.
Jesus says…when you drink from the water I give you, you will never be thirsty again!
So the son’s light bulb goes off. In verse 18 he says: "I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.” So, he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him."
I hope you hear this. Even after we go chasing the famine’s feast and we fill ourselves up with as much ugly as we can get, our Father, in his grace, in his mercy, with underserved kindness still sets a place at His table, waiting for us…ready for the day we start to make our way back home. And when we start limping in his direction, he comes running in ours.
The text says "while he was still a long way off..." God sees us even when we’re still a long way off and far from him and he comes running to us. He wraps his arms around us even though we still stink of the bad choices of last night and last year, and He says....welcome home.
"His son said to him, "Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son."
This is his apology speech that he’s been practicing the whole way home because he thinks there’s no way his father is gonna accept him, not after all he’s done. Not after how far he’s fallen. But, the father cuts him off…mid-sentence…
“But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. And kill the calf we have been fattening."
Think about this. Think about the condition of the son, how far he’s sunk, how bad things have gotten…
Even though we are unfit, unclean, even at our worst and at our ugliest. In our most desperate state, Jesus says quick get a robe…I will restore you and clothe you now in MY righteousness. Get a ring…I want you to remember you’re a part of MY family…you’re MY son…you’re my daughter, you’re a child of the King. Get some sandals… you’re no longer destitute…I’m going to bring comfort where there was pain.
Verse 23, locked in that embrace, holding his son, the Father says: "We must celebrate with a feast, for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found."
He’s opening up his arms to you today, saying…“Welcome home. Welcome to my feast. You are blessed. I know you have been craving other things, but I want you to crave me now."
I love how the Message Bible shares Matthew 5:6: "You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat."
Whether you are far from Jesus, flirting with Jesus or you’ve gone all-in and placed 100% of your faith in Him...you’re invited to the Father’s Feast. No matter what. For some, maybe it’s time for a change in diet…to remember WHO you are and WHOSE you are.
Maybe it’s time to change what you allow yourself to feast on…
For all of us, today is a reminder that when we crave the Father…when we are desperate for His righteousness… we are Blessed.