August 25, 2013

David Sorn

Is Jesus your all in all or is He just a compartment in your life?


August 25, 2013

David Sorn

Is Jesus your all in all or is He just a compartment in your life?


Morning. David Sorn. Lead Pastor here at Renovation Church.

I’d like to personally add to our announcements that I’m super proud of our Youth Leaders for their visionary and hard work to find space for our growing Youth Group.

It’s great leadership!

Speaking of, if you haven’t heard yet, Rachel Puro is going to be expanding her role here to be working more hours.

As we continue to grow, my plate grows fuller and fuller and fuller, and she is going to be assisting by now overseeing our Sunday morning ministry leaders and overseeing the details behind all of our missions as well.

Along with continuing her role of overseeing children and youth

So if you know Rachel, congratulate her on her expanding role.

You know…people go to church for some pretty weird reasons.

I was talking to a guy not too long ago…who I was pretty sure was not a believer, but I knew he went to a church almost every Sunday.

So I asked him, “So why do you go?”

And he said, “I go…just hoping to hear that I’m right”

And I thought…that’s odd…and very American of you.

Americans go to church for all sorts of reasons.

But it becomes rough for a lot of us when church starts to mess with our lives.

I read a story the other day about a pastor who found out someone left his church because he didn’t like his messages.

The pastor actually had the guts to call the guy and asked him to tell him more.

The guy responded, “I feel like when you speak…you’re trying to interfere with my life.”

And the pastor said, “That’s kind of my job description.”

See, somewhere along the timeline of entertaining music, cushy seats, and cupholders, we started believing we were supposed to feel really comfortable in church.

To a point we should. It oughta be a SUPER welcoming place.

But it also ought to be the place where we weigh our lives versus the call of Scripture.

And unless one of you happens to be Jesus…that gap between how we actually live…and what God calls us to do…is often pretty large.

And it’s in the proclaiming of that gap that we feel uncomfortable.

And we often only change when we feel discomfort

We only sign up for the gym or a diet program when we finally say, “I can’t take this anymore.

So today…as we enter into week 2 or our Radical Normalcy series…I must warn you again.

You will feel uncomfortable today.

And I’m okay with that.

In fact, I think today’s message might be one of the more challenging messages you ever hear.

And I want you to know that personally, this message ripped me up as I as writing it.

I’m not coming from a place where I have this together.

This has already rocked my own hypocritical soul.

Because the call of Jesus on our lives is radical. It really is.

And radically following Jesus should be normal.


This morning…I want to talk about the growing sin of compartmentalization in the Christian life.

Compartmentalization is when you take different segments of your life…and you compartmentalize…you segment who you are.

So, when you’re at your job, you act one way.

When you’re at home, you act a different way.

When you’re with your church friends…you speak one way.

With your old buddies…you speak an entirely different way.

In many cases, we’ve learned to adapt to our different environments, or compartments (think different compartments on a shelf…or different rooms of the house)

We’ve learned to adapt so well in different environments, that we actually have totally different values, attitudes, and beliefs based on what compartment we’re in.

So a compartmentalized person…might look like this:

Say you’re at home getting ready for your church…and you’re going to be late.

You and your spouse are yelling at each other that you both took to long to get ready.

You yell at your kids who won’t stop playing their video games or watching TV

The car ride here is spent still arguing about it.

But as you cross the threshold into the church…it’s like the family magically smiles…

“Smiley faces on!”

And now you are a happy family.

You’re a man of God who loves his wife.

You’re a Proverbs 31 lady who’s raising Godly children.

But what happened to the couple that was just screaming at each other and verbally abusing their kids?

See…you’re in a different compartment now…so you act differently.

It’s like this:


These are all different aspects of your life.

And that’s fine.

But the problem is…so many of us…aren’t just one person.

IN the rush of our lives, we are splitting ourselves into different people for each different compartment.

And even worse…we’ve put our Christian Life into a box.

Rather than encompassing everything we do…it’s just a box we pull out once in a while…like when we come to church.

Or a box we pull out in a crisis.

God’s just another box we can pull out. Just another compartment in our lives.

Like a hobby or something.

Like…once in a while…I pull out my MN Timberwolves compartment.

And I watch games. And dream about one day becoming Ricky Rubio.

I’ve got the clothes, the game tickets, and I’ve memorized the stats.

It’s a fun part of my life.

And for most people. Their God box…rather than being all encompassing, is just a box they pull out once in a while.

Like a Timberwolves box.

Where they can wear the right clothes, talk the talk…and have it be a nice “Part” of their life.

But Jesus didn’t die so you could put him in a box.

He didn’t die in your place, so you could give him a fraction of your life.

See…it’s actually not that hard to come here. It’s not that hard to emotionally respond in worship. It’s not even that hard to hear a message and say, “That’s amazing. I should do that!”

But what’s hard is: Doing it. What’s hard is being a Christ follower at work. At home. In your Family. With your old friends. Being a Christ-follower on Mondays. That’s hard.

But the call of Jesus is that we follow Him everywhere, with everything, at all times.

Anything else…is like saying to your fiancé, “I love you so much, and I commit to spending my life with you. I just have one condition: I still want to be able to see other people at the same time.”


And this growing compartmentalization eats away at our ability to fully follow Christ.

A number of years ago, there was a well-known pastor in the Midwest who people came from all over to hear speak. His church had grown to thousands of people.

Until one day…it came out that he was having an affair.

When the elders confronted him on it…rather than repenting…and stopping…and working on reconciliation…

He left his wife…and left town…and continued in his affair.

And people said… “How is that possible!?” How could this guy have such amazing sermons that were so inspiring and not be living it?”

Well for him…faith was just a compartment. Just a space. A space that he excelled in. And he probably meant it…when he was in that compartment.

But it was just a compartment.

When we compartmentalize, we’re able to rationalize and justify our actions.

That is because, for that moment, we’re not living in the “Christian” compartment.

Because each box has a different set of values & beliefs.

That’s why you can catch yourself acting totally different around different people.

And when we compartmentalize…we seldom feel the weight of our sin

Part of the problem is churches don’t talk about sin.

But the other part of the problem is we’ve put our lives into such compartments, that our self-deception is SO high…that we can sometimes blatantly sin…and not even feel bad about it.

But…but…if you were to do that exact same sin…in church…or around your Christian friends…in your Christian compartment…you’d feel terrible. But when you compartmentalize, you don’t have to feel it.

And I can’t tell you how dangerous that is.

And finding out whether you’ve fragmented and compartmentalized your life is tricky.

Your ability to give the right answers doesn’t mean much.

If you polled Americans and asked, “Do you believe it’s important to eat right and exercise, they’re going to answer yes.”

That doesn’t tell you much.

You can say, “Family is so important to me.” But then take a higher paying job…where you never get to see your family anymore”

People say, “God is my #1. But then don’t go to house groups because it doesn’t work well for their kids”

It’s not a matter of what you can say…

It’s a matter of what you do.

Of…what your schedule looks like.

Or as Randy Mortensen very boldly said here the other week, “What your bank account looks like”


This morning, as is our custom in this series…I want to look at the radical…normal…call of Jesus on our lives.

And we’re going to read some pretty challenging words from Jesus

You might catch yourself going, “Did Jesus really say that?”

If God is going to fill your entire life…and not just a box…one of the things he has to fill is your social life.

Your family life. Your relationships.

(Luke 14:26) – NIV

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.

Now, Jesus is using hyperbole here, he’s exaggerating, to make a point that your allegiance to Him and His will comes even before your allegiance to your spouse…or your kids.

(Luke 9:59-60) – NIV

59 He said to another man, “Follow me.” But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” 60 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”

Crazy! But he’s saying, right now…when I’m coming into your life. Following me is even more important that your own dad’s funeral.

I am first. I am first in your relationships.

Looking for someone to date? Starting to date someone? I am first. Choose someone who honors me.

That’s not a separate compartment.

In how your family lives…talks…spends their time…He is first.

There is nothing more important than him.

One of the trickiest idols of the American church is family.

How often do we put that before God?

It’s just so easy to get caught in this life where, yeah, we do BELIEVE in Jesus, but that faith doesn’t really come out except in the “Christian Life” box.

Let me ask you a question: If you stopped believing in God (besides the fact that you wouldn’t come to church on Sundays), would your daily life look any different?

Would your family notice anything different, or would you pretty much be the same person at home either way?

I remember as a kid struggling with observing different aspects of compartmentalization as I watched different family members…although I couldn’t have labeled it that then.

All I know was that one person would be one person out in public…and then at home…when it was just family…would be totally different.

And parents…hear this: If we’re compartmentalizing God….our kids will smell it 10 miles away.

If it comes to Sunday mornings, and you’re making a big stink about getting to church and “we need to go” and “You’re going. It’s important. Honor God!” yada yada…

And yet…it doesn’t impact your daily doesn’t affect your other boxes… Like…let’s say you don’t pray with your kids. You don’t just ever have a conversation with them about what God’s doing in your life…or what you think of God. They don’t ever hear you talking about what you read in Scripture or any of that…

If that’s true, we’re just compartmentalizing in front of our kids.

Saying one thing, and doing another

Brennan Manning writes, “The single greatest cause of atheism in the world today is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, then walk out the door and deny him by their lifestyle. That’s what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable”

And I worry we do that as parents to our own kids. Perhaps we’re the ones creating so much unbelief in the future generations

Listen…God wants to be in control of all of your life. He wants to invade your other boxes.

Will you let Him?

Too many people get to work at about 9am, and then ask Jesus to stay in the car until they get back at 5.

He’s not a part of their decisions there. Or their conversations.

Compartmentalization of our social relationships has become so out of control, we can’t even recognize the hypocrisy of it.

Barna Research has a fascinating book called UnChristian where through massive polling they found out that 65% of 18-42 year olds report having at one time committed their lives to Jesus Christ. 65%

Yet, to most people, it’s a hollow commitment.

Or at best, a commit of a compartment of their life.

And research proves it.

65% say they made a commitment.

But only 23%, of those same people, believe they need to wait until marriage to have sex.

God I’ll follow you…but not that standard. You can’t have that compartment. Not my relationships.

Only 13%, of those same people, believe that getting drunk is a sin.

I commit my life to you…and I know your Word says that’s a sin…but I’ll keep that box to myself thank you very much!

Our compartmentalization is ruining God’s ability to change us, and to use us to change this world.

There’s a story that says when the Knights of Templar (knights that fought in the crusades) used to be baptized, they would be baptized with their sword.

Except…they wouldn’t take their swords under water with them.

It was their way of saying to God, “You can have control of me, but you can’t have this.

What I do on the battlefield…how I use this sword, that’s not part of the deal”

And I suspect, that we could, many of us today would hold up our wallets, our remote controls, our laptops, our iPods, our phones.

And say, “I’m not giving you this one God!”

I love you and I give my life to you…but I’m not going to stop listening to profanity laced music.

That’s too much Jesus. I don’t love you that much.

I love you…I commit my life to you…but not the box that includes what I watch on TV. Not that one God.

Francis Chan brilliantly says it this way: “Lukewarm people don’t really want to be saved from their sin; they want only to be saved from the penalty of their sin”

Before I go on, let me make an important distinction: There’s a BIG difference between struggling with sin and compartmentalization.

Struggling with sin is what Paul says in Romans 7: Why do I do the things I do not want to do?! Change me Jesus! Help me!

Compartmentalization says: I know the Bible says that this is the standard, that I should live this way, or let my speech or my day be characterized by this: But I’m just not going to live by that standard.

There’s a real coldness there.

And it’s almost rebellious.

By the way, there are two sides to fixing compartmentalization.

One is committing to live for God as much as possible in every arena.

And the other is being honest about your shortcomings while even in your Christian compartment.

The answer isn’t just to become some crazy Christian who pretends to be perfect in all things.

The answer is to be like the apostle Paul who was fully devoted to Christ, and yet so ruthlessly honest about his shortcomings that he still called himself the chief of sinners.

Your goal is just to be one person. To be the same person. To be the same honest, Christ-follower…in every box.


Yet, God wants every little box of your life. Crazy huh?

He’s so crazy in love with you that He gave his life for you. To die for your sins…in your place.

And he wants back every part of your life.

(Luke 14:27) – NIV

And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

Meaning…that we pick up our cross…that instrument of death…and we die daily to follow Christ.

We die to the way we want to do it. To our selfish ambition…to our fleshly desires.

And we surrender…EVERYthing…EVERY box to him each day.

Often a missed part of the great commission that we read last week is to go and make disciples of all nations…then it says “teaching them to obey EVERYTHING I’ve commanded you.” EVERYTHING.

We get this in other places.

People know that if they sign-up for the marines…they own you. They just tell you what to do.

You’re not going to say to your drill sergeant, “You know what bro.…I don’t really feel like doing the 50 push-ups part”

Yet this realization hasn’t crossed over to our thinking about the Christian life: Following Jesus is NOT a lukewarm following comprised of compartments of our choice.

He says…”Take up your cross…die to yourself...daily…and follow me”

A good question to ask yourself is this: “Am I fan of Jesus or a follower of Jesus?”

Do I just really like Him and admire his teachings…or am I following Him? Everywhere. All the time. In everything. Every box.

And by the way…He is worth following everywhere.

My closest moments to Jesus are always the moments when I feel most alive.

He is SO good.

This isn’t just a cop in the sky demanding devotion.

This is a loving Savior…who rescued you…who can’t stop thinking about you…

The Bible says…He is the Christ…and YOU…are his bride

And he wants a fully devoted relationship with you. And nothing short of it.


We see that “call to full devotion” in a number of places from Jesus

(Luke 14:33) – NIV

In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.

(Luke 9:62) – NIV

61 Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.” 62 Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”

See, many of us don’t mind making some minor changes in our lives for God, but he wants to turn our lives upside down.

You and I…we’re thinking…God’s in my life now…I’ll hang a new painting on the wall.

Meanwhile Jesus is thinking about a complete and utter Renovation project of your life.

Instead of Jesus just being a compartment you pull out on Sundays and Tuesdays…our lives oughta be more like what Paul writes:

(1 Corinthians 10:31) – NIV

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

(Colossians 3:17) – NIV

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.

Here’s the deal: When we step outside of the rat race…when we step off the moving escalator…when we WAKE UP from our zombified pursuit of the “American Dream” of just getting that next job…promotion…house…next kid…next degree…

And we STOP…..and THINK about what life is really about…”RADICAL NORMALCY makes sense”

THIS is life:

You are only here…You are only breathing…because GOD created you. HE brought you here and gave you a purpose.

And yet your life…here on earth…will be over in a blink.

In comparison to eternity…this life isn’t even the width of a hair on the timeline of infinity.

But what is true…is that we fall short. We sin… a lot.

And yet our God is still so radically in love with us that he sent His own son to die on the cross in our place and take our punishment for us.

And that Jesus wants to have a relationship with us…and change us…and USE us…to help redeem this WHOLE world to Him.

And if that’s all true…then every second we can live for this amazing God matters.

So I ask you this morning: Are you actually fully committed to God? Or is He just a compartment you pull off the shelf on Sundays and in times of need?

And where is it in your life that you’re saying, “Not here God. You can’t have this box yet. My relationships. My entertainment. My family life. What is it?

Does God really have control of your life?

Do you remember in driver’s training, when you would drive with the instructor in the car, and they had a brake on their passenger side in case you needed them?

That’s what a lot of us have done. We’ve invited God into the car…and asked him to help us out if we get ourselves in a real bind…but we’re still driving.

This morning God’s asking you to move over…and let Him drive. Let him grab the wheel. Surrender your life to God this morning.

Stop putting it off. I see far too many who say, “Yeah, I’ll give this relationship…this part of my entertainment…my job…I’ll give that to God later.

There’s no time like the present.

And maybe…you even need to repent.

Which is to ask for forgiveness…and then commit to turning around. Going a new way.

And know…that Biblically…true change comes not through striving harder.

Just walking out of here and saying, “Okay, I’ll work harder doesn’t produce a lot of change.”

True change comes from true repentance. And from a true understanding of grace.

Don’t throw out what we’ve been talking about all summer in gift vs. reward.

As you work this thing…you’re gonna mess up. A lot. Probably royally. But God loves you anyway. Still crazy about you.

Knew you’d fail before he even decided to die for you.

And let his scandalous love…let his unending grace motivate you as you begin this process of letting him encompass every area of your life!

It’s not a quest to be perfect.

But a quest to seek Him. We seek Him…not a standard.


This morning, as a way to remember what our God did for us, we are going to take communion together.

In the NT, Paul writes this about the reason for communion:

(1 Corinthians 11:23-26) – NIV

23For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me." 25In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me." 26For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.

And communion, is meant as a time of reflection.

So I want you to do something before you go back.

If you need to repent. If you need to ask for forgiveness for not letting God into all of your boxes. This is a perfect time to do it. Before you take communion.

See communion can be just another part of our compartmentalization.

So often in our minds, even though we might be in serious sin, we go back, thank Jesus for dying for us, and tell him we’re living for him.

Well….except for that area.

And I want you to pray through this. Where in your life is the Holy Spirit telling you that you need to surrender to God?

To let God enCompass everything.

Then surrender that to Him…THEN go back.

And then, whenever you’re ready during the next two songs, if you’re a believer in Christ, you can go back, and in the back, there are 2 tables….with pieces of bread and a bowl of juice. When you’re ready, you can get up take an individual piece of bread and dip it in the juice.

Also, If you would like to pray while you’re back there, we encourage you to do so. With each other, by yourself, or our prayer team will be in the back to pray for you as well (POINT THEM OUT)

We really just want you to encounter God during our service.

Let’s pray.

Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN

You may use this material all you like! We only ask that you do not charge a fee and that you quote the source and not say it is your own.