Kill the Spider- Carlos Whittaker
Ah, so funny. Hello, friends. Oh, it's been an incredible, incredible weekend so far. And I think they told you that all my books sold out, which basically means we're just going to hang out here for three hours so I can tell you everything that was in the book. I'm super excited. And I do appreciate Pastor Skip pronouncing my name correctly.
See, I was born in PIco Rivera in East Los Angeles. But then we moved to Nashville, Tennessee. And so people don't pronounce my name right. So every time I come back to the west coast, I love just to hear people that know how to say my name say it.
So since the afternoon, you guys got to sleep in. I know that you can roll your R's correctly. So if you guys could just give me a good afternoon, Carlos.
Good afternoon, Carlos.
I'm home. You guys know what's up. That's so good. I am going to talk for a few minutes today. And I promise, if you guys give me the next few minutes of your life-- and I don't say this lightly-- I honestly believe some of you can find freedom that you've been looking for for years. And I don't say that lightly, because I believe it can happen in here.
And some of you guys are like, oh, come on, man. It's just a message. Really? No, listen. I really feel like today, through something that I've figured out through the help of the Holy Spirit, you guys can find some hope.
Could anybody in the room use just a little sliver of hope today? Can I get an amen? OK, good. Good. That's everybody.
Because the truth is, it is everybody. Whether you're in a really bad season of life, you know, in those seasons, you need hope. But the truth is, even if you're in a fantastic season of life, you still need the hope of Jesus Christ. It's just as important in great seasons to keep your eyes fixed on Jesus as it is in seasons where you can't imagine looking at anything else but Jesus.
You see, these two seasons, they happen through various stages of our lives. And I found myself, about eight years ago, in one of the most incredible seasons of life. You see, a lot of times, when you come into church, we have the tendency-- which is OK, because I understand, the gospel is for healing-- but a lot of times, we have a tendency to lean into people that are on the struggle bus-- people that are just struggling through life.
But I think it's important that we celebrate those seasons of blessing that God has us in. God wants you to live in seasons of freedom. And if you happen to be in a season of freedom, it's OK to celebrate that and let people know. You don't have to feel ashamed.
I am going to brag for a second about this incredible season of life that I was in eight years ago. I'm telling you, everything I put my finger on would-- brr-ing! Turn to gold-- like, everything. You couldn't stop me. I was on a roll. Everything was going right-- absolutely everything.
Everything was going so right that even the mistakes I was making along the way-- those would even turn to gold. I was in the car with my kids. I actually have video evidence of this happening in my life. I was in the car with my kids. And we were in Atlanta, Georgia at the time. And we were driving to an Atlanta Braves game.
And on the way, that Beyonce song, "All the Single Ladies," came on. You guys know that song? Don't act like you don't. (SINGING) If you like it, then you should've put a ring on it. Yeah, that one.
And my kids are in the backseat of the car. And they start singing the song. And my first thought was like, how do they know the words to this song? Because at the time, they were, like, two, four, and six years old.
But whatever. I thought it was cute. So I pulled out my phone to start recording them singing, (SINGING) all the single ladies, all the single ladies. Well, I was going to send the video to my mom.
But then, about halfway through "All the Single Ladies," I decided to tell my two-year-old son at that time that he, in fact, was not a single lady. So I tell him, and his reaction was absolutely priceless. His reaction was so priceless that I decided to not text my mom this video, but to upload it to this website called YouTube.
And I uploaded to YouTube. And 24 hours later, I want to show you how even making my son cry turned to gold. Watch this.
- The Whittaker family of Atlanta was in the car, just singing along to Beyonce's hit song, "Single Ladies." And then the family fun it took an unexpected turn.
[MUSIC - BEYONCE, "SINGLE LADIES"]
- (SINGING) All the single ladies, all the single ladies. All the single ladies, all the single ladies. All the single ladies, all the single ladies.
- Look, you're not a single lady, buddy. [LAUGHS] Oh, yeah, you are. Yeah, you are.
- You're a single lady.
- You're a single lady.
- Sorry! Sorry. Look, buddy--
- You're a single lady.
- --I was just kidding.
- You can do it.
- You can do it. Buddy, I'm sorry. I'm so sorry, buddy. You're a single lady, OK? OK? Here we go.
- (SINGING) If you like it, then you should've put a ring on it. Don't be mad once once you see--
- Did that hurt your feelings? You can be a single lady if you want, OK?
- I'm a horrible father.
- Do you want to be a single lady?
- I'm a horrible father.
All right. I woke up to phone calls from Good Morning America, from The Today Show, The Early Show, Ellen, Jimmy Kimmel, Wolf Blitzer, Fox and Friends. Every show was calling to speak to the horrible father that made his son cry.
We were on all the shows. And like two weeks after this video went viral-- 7.2 million people, by the way, saw this video overnight-- my first record ever came out. I was doing music at the time. And of course, the record went number one, not because it was any good, but because I made my son cry.
Then, seven months after this video goes viral, my family got flown from Atlanta to Los Angeles, landed in LA, got picked up in a limousine, got driven to the Staples Center, got out of the limo, walked down a red carpet into the Staples Center, and on national television, accepted from Queen Latifah herself a crystal People's Choice Award for viral video of the year. I won an award for making my son cry.
Nothing could go wrong. I'm telling you, everything I touched was turned into gold. And in these seasons of blessing, in these seasons of abundance, there is a danger. Let me tell you the danger. The danger's this-- we begin to convince ourselves that we are somehow responsible for the blessings in our lives.
You see, that's the danger. You somehow begin to convince yourself that, oh, look at me. I've got this thing down. I got this Christian thing down. And look at all the blessings in my life. We begin to believe our own hype.
But when you look in James, the book of James, I think it's 1:7, it does not say, every good and perfect gift comes from your hustle. That's not what it says. It says, every good and perfect gift comes from above. "Every," OK? It doesn't say "some." It says "every."
And I know there's hard workers out there. And you guys are working hard. And you've accomplished a lot of great success. But that success, the Lord gave you those skills. The Lord has given you absolutely everything in your life. And the second you begin to believe your own hype, ooh, the enemy is quick to sprint in, like, oh, I think I got him.
You see, what's happened is, you take your gaze off of God, and instead, you gaze at life. And when we begin to do that, and our eyes aren't fixed on Jesus, the enemy's going to come right in start going, psst, hey, you know how you pulled off all this stuff? And God's blessing you, and you've been standing in light over here?
There's darkness over here, but guess what. There's a lot of fun stuff over here in darkness, a lot of stuff that's going to satisfy your desires, and a lot of stuff over here. I promise, if you come over here in the darkness for a second, that you won't get caught.
So you know what I started to do? Things were so good, the enemy came in and started whispering. And I looked over, and I was standing in light, but I was like, yeah, I've always wanted to try that. And that looks-- it feels really good. It looks like it.
So I'm going to just tap my toe in it for a second. Oh, wow, look, I did that. Nobody found out. Everything's fine. Maybe I'll just come stand over in darkness for just a little bit longer, maybe a minute, maybe an hour today, and then back to light.
Then go stand in darkness for a day or two. Hey, back to light. Look, nobody found out. Everything's fine. Wow. This is amazing. I can have my cake and eat it too.
And next thing you know, I'm dancing between light and darkness. And what the enemy wants you to believe is that this is a dance you can continue. But let me tell you, you will not forever dance between light and darkness, because what I found out happened to me-- one day, I was dancing between light and dark, and then I was drowning in the darkness, because sin takes absolutely everybody out that touches it.
And here is what happened to me. One day, I was dancing between light and dark. I had this kind of secret life over here. But I was coming back over here. Everything's fine.
And I was in my condo in Nashville, Tennessee with my kids. And my wife was cooking. And we were in the back. And this was only maybe nine months after this video to the world. So my kids still looked exactly like that. They were that age, two months after we won this People's Choice Award.
And I'm in the back with my kids. And some dinner's cooking. And I smell it. And so I decide to go out to the front to ask my wife, what's for dinner? She's an incredible cook. And I say, baby, it smells amazing. What's for dinner?
And I looked at the stove, and the pot was still on the stove. The burner was on, but she wasn't in there. And I was like, Heather, hey, baby, where are you? I went back out to the living room. We lived in a small condo. She wasn't anywhere in the house.
Then my heart started beating a little bit faster, because when you're in the depths of a secret, you're always worried that the secret will be found out. And in that moment, my heart started to beat, because I was like, where's my wife? And I ran out, and I looked out the front door, and our minivan was gone.
And immediately, I spun around to go look for my laptop. And my laptop was gone. And in one second, I was no longer dancing. I was drowning. And I immediately sprinted to the back of the house, and I grabbed my kids.
I put them on the bed, and I was like, kids, I'm so sorry. Daddy's made a mistake. I'm so sorry. And I was crying. And they were crying, because they didn't know what I was talking about. And I was trying to, like-- I didn't know what to say. And I knew that I'd been discovered.
Right in the middle of my speech, there was a knock on the door. And I walked to the front door, and it was my best friend, Blake, and his wife, Allie. And they looked at me with pity in their eyes.
And they said, it's over. Heather knows everything. She wants the kids. And she wants you out.
Just like that, those sins that I couldn't get past, the sins I thought I was dancing a waltz with, destroyed me. And I entered the darkest season of my life. I moved out of my home, begging my wife to forgive me. She was done. Divorce papers were written, passed to me.
And I moved in with my friend Blake, the same friend that knocked on the door, and his wife, Allie, and their kids. And I felt so far away from God. There were nights where the darkness was darker than dark. And I felt so far away.
And I remember shaking my fist at God, screaming at God, why did you let me do this? You see, here's the thing. It's not like I was a bad guy. I loved the Lord. I was serving in the church. I loved Jesus. I read my Bible. I went to church.
I didn't want to do this. But my flesh was more powerful than me. And suddenly, I'm screaming at God, why did you let this happen? Why did you let this happen, God? I loved them. Now my life is ruined, my family is gone, she doesn't want me anymore.
And that night, about a month in, when it was so dark, I remember getting a text message from a friend. And it just had one scripture on it. He didn't say anything. 1 Peter was the scripture, 5:10.
And it was the first semblance of hope in my story, where, although I'd ruined my marriage and my family life, I finally caught a glimpse of hope. And this is why.
The scripture said this. "Now the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ Jesus--" all right, pay attention to every word here-- "will personally restore, establish, strengthen, and support you." Those are four really strong promises. I didn't feel that at that time, though, because it doesn't just stop there.
I wish there was a period after there. But there's not. It says, after you have what? Suffered. You see, he's promised to personally restore, establish, strength, and support us. But there's also a promise of suffering.
See, Christianity's not a vacation. There's an enemy that is out to steal, kill, and to destroy us-- not to, like, wound us, bother us, and make us uncomfortable. It says steal, kill, and destroy.
But if we can get that scripture up one more time, it says this-- there's not just-- there's not a period after "suffered." There's two more little words-- suffered what? A little. Ah.
But I'll tell you what. When I read that scripture in that room, not living with my family, it didn't feel like a little to me. My suffering didn't feel like a little. And I know a lot of you guys, pfft, a little? But let me tell you about suffering. There's no "a little." But here, the promise is that it's going to be a little.
And here's the good news. Even though I felt so far away from God, and I felt like my suffering was a lot, the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ is that the gospel is not dependent on your feelings. Let me say that again, because some of you guys feel so far from God. Well, you may feel far from God, but the gospel doesn't depend on how you feel. Jesus died and rose again no matter how you feel, and he loves you no matter how you feel, and no matter how far away you feel from him, guess what. He is right there with you.
Right now, in this moment, in that moment in that dark room, he was right there with me, although I felt so far away. And in that moment, I realized, you know what? I've been begging my wife's forgiveness. She was done. I've been trying to chase after fixing my sin.
But I realized, in that moment, what if-- what if I stop trying to fix my sin, and instead just fix my eyes on Jesus? I wonder what would happen. So I did.
There was a switch that night. And I started to fix my eyes on Jesus. And I stopped begging my wife, and I stopped asking forgiveness, and all this. Like, I tried, but I knew that I couldn't do that anymore.
So I just fix my eyes on Jesus, and I start to live, and I start to grow, and I start to change. And suddenly, my wife starts hearing from friends of ours, hey, you'll never-- I don't think you'll recognize Carlos. She's like, no, he's pulling the wool over your eyes. I've lived with this guy a long time.
But story after story would get to her. And then, one day, there was a text message on my phone. And it was from my wife. And I hadn't heard from her in four months. And it just said, "Coffee?" Question mark.
And I was like, "Yes!" Exclamation point. And then she texted me, and she reminded me of this last-- "Is it true?" And I know she didn't want to believe it.
But we went to coffee, and then we went to coffee again, and then we went again. And the God of all grace, who called me to His eternal glory in Christ Jesus, personally restored, established, strengthened, and supported my marriage. And that same wife that I lost is waiting for me back in Nashville, Tennessee when I fly home tomorrow--
--because the Lord will restore, he will redeem, he will resurrect every aspect of your life. That promise is true. And my suffering, which felt like a lot, suddenly felt like a little. You see, it's possible.
And I'm not saying that restoration is going to look the same for everybody on an outside circumstance. I'm not saying that if marriages or drugs, or you've destroyed your life through sin-- that those things are going to look the same. But what I can promise you is He will restore your soul.
And when He restores your soul, I'm telling you, that is when freedom comes in and revival takes place. It wasn't overnight that our marriage got fixed. And we went to tons of therapy. We spent a lot of time fixing that. But the God of all grace will restore you.
But you have to understand this. If you're looking for freedom from your sins, freedom is not found in your striving. OK, let me say that again. You can roll up your sleeves and try to hustle your way out of sin. It's not going to happen.
Freedom is not found in striving. Freedom is found in surrender. They both start with the same letter, but they're completely different words. Striving is you doing it on your own. Surrender is Christ doing it through you-- big difference.
And I was trying to strive to get over my sin issue. But then I realized, it's not found in striving. It's found in surrender. So I finally surrendered to Christ. Things started to progress. And I started going to counseling. And things were better.
We were, like, two years into counseling, post-trauma of my marriage. And things are going good. And I'm starting to walk with a little bit swag into my counselor's office. Like, look at me.
Like, I pulled this up. My wife love me. My kids, everything's back. Things are great. And I'll never forget, my therapist's name was Al. If you know a guy named Al, that's exactly what he looks like.
OK? He's just Al, right? And Al was like, hey, man, you're almost done. You've been in therapy for two years. You just have one small thing that you've got to get over-- one last, final hump.
And I was like, tell me, Al, 'cause I'm ready. Look at me. I'm good. He's like, well, listen, it's a big one. You have to figure out-- and this is exactly what my Christian therapist told me-- you have to figure out why you keep rubbing crap on your blessings. That is what he said. And my mouth did that.
You can't say that. You're a Christian therapist. You can't tell me that. He's like, let's look at the story of your life. Every mark of blessing you've had, you have ruined it, because you don't believe you are worthy of God's love. And you have to figure out why.
And that scared me to death, because he was right. I started looking. Every single time I'd have a season of blessing, I'd screw it up. And so I got in the car. And I said, I have to figure out why. I have to figure out why.
So I called the only person that I knew could help me figure this thing out. And it was my dad, my father. My father, he's a Saint of a man. His name's Fermin Agustin Whittaker. The Whittaker part's a long story. That's for another sermon.
But nonetheless, I called my dad. My dad-- just so you know, he immigrated to the United States of America in 1960 with $20 and a shoeshine kit. That's what my grandparents sent him from Colon, Panama to LAX, with 20 bucks and a shoeshine kit. He showed up at LAX, shined shoes for a year, made enough money shining shoes for one semester at LA Community College.
Went to LA Community College. He got straight As. He got a scholarship for the next semester at LA Community College. He got a scholarship for the next one, never paid any money, got a scholarship to UCLA.
My dad is now a Dr. Fermin Agustine Whitaker. Yeah, you can give him a hand--
--because that's why people move here, right? Because we can pull it off in this country. We live in an incredible country. We can do that.
But he just makes me feel so freaking lazy. And so every time I see him, he's accomplished so much. But I call him, because he's just a saint of a man, and he's got so much wisdom, and he's worked so hard.
And I call him, and I was like, Dad, I just get out of therapy. And you'll never believe what Al told me. He's like, Carlitos, what did I tell you? I said, he told me that I rub crap on my blessings. And my dad goes, oh, Carlitos, let me tell you why you rub crap on your blessings.
Before I tell you what he said, I need you guys to get a visual image of my dad, OK? So this is actually a picture of my dad. I brought a picture of him. I mean, look at him. He's just-- there he is in his timeshare in Hawaii, with his little lei on his neck, all glowy and twice as dark as he normally is. I mean, he's just like--
And I know some of you guys are thinking, I have seen that man somewhere before. And you're right. You actually have, because this is actually also a picture of my dad. My dad is the emoji--
--on your phone. What? Every day, I pick up my phone, and I'm like, Daddy! I don't even text him "I love you" any more. I just send him a picture of that emoji. I'm like, dad, are you and Steve Jobs best friends? That's amazing, right?
That was just a joke at my dad's expense, because I know we've been in some thick, heavy stuff. So we can breathe. And we can step into what he said. He goes, Carlos, let me tell you a story. Oh, Dad-- when my dad says that, I got to buckle up for like an hour.
I was like, Dad, I only-- I got like 10 minutes. He's like, no, no, no, you listen. When I was 18 years old, I was preaching my very first revival in Colon, Panama at Bethany Baptist Church.
I gave the invitation, and nobody came forward. But at the end of the invitation, Miss Ramirez-- she's 80 years old-- she stands up in the back of the church. And she slowly makes her way to the front.
And when she finally comes to me, I say, what you need in? Pastor, can you pray for me, she said. And my Father was like, yes, I'll pray for you. Can you please pray that the Lord will clean the cobwebs from my life?
I was like, oh, that's poetic. So he prayed that Lord clean the cobwebs from Miss Ramirez's life. He said, Carlitos, night number two, Miss Ramirez comes forward to the very front again. And I'm thinking she's going to tell me, he did it. He cleaned the cobwebs.
But no, no, no. She said, can you play harder tonight that the Lord will clean the cobwebs from my life? And my dad said, OK. So he prayed a little bit harder, with some more girth. Ha! Clean the cobwebs from Miss Ramirez's life!
Carlitos, night number three, Miss Ramirez comes forward again with tears in her eyes. She looks to me, says, pastor, can you pray one more time, please, that the Lord will clean the cobwebs from my life? And my dad said, no, we have been praying the wrong prayer.
Tonight, we do not pray he cleans the cobwebs. Tonight, we pray he kills the spider, because, he said, Carlos, I have watched you your entire life clean the cobwebs of sin. You can no longer keep going to therapy and clean the cobwebs. You must find the root of your sin and kill the spider.
Friends, I'd never heard in my life more perfectly described. And at that moment, I didn't have a definition of what a spider was or a definition of what a cobweb was. But I knew.
And so here's the truth. I kept going to therapy. And I finally did kill my spider. And I'm a big believer in therapy. I still go. But let me tell you this-- you can, in therapy, identify your spider, locate your spider. You could even corner your spider.
But see, you can't kill your spider in a therapist chair. The only way to kill your spider is with the blood of the cross and the power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ in your life. That is the only way.
It's it. So you can't life hack your way to freedom. You're going to need to stop striving into surrender. So I did it. And it took it took a while, but I finally killed my spider.
And I ended up writing a book, called Kill the Spider, to help people do that exactly in their lives. And in the book, I want to let you guys know, I defined a spider as this, all right? School time, so get ready. Take some notes.
A spider, which we all have-- everyone in here has one-- a spider is an agreement you have made with a lie. Let me say that again. A spider is an agreement you've made with a lie.
Everybody in here has them-- many of them. We don't just have one. But we have big, hairy ones. So a spider-- let's get this. Remember the analogy my dad said. Don't clean the cobwebs, kill the spider.
Our spider is an agreement you've made with a lie. Most of the time, this agreement has been made right after trauma at some point in your life. Something happened in childhood for many of us that we made these agreements.
Now, that's hard to get to. It's hard to find the spider. But what's easy is to find the cobwebs. See, I define a cobweb as this. A cobweb is a medicator that brings false comfort to that lie. Let me say that again. Cobweb is a medicator that brings false comfort to the lie.
So this is where most of us hang out, because this is what sells-- cobweb land. It's the medicator. What is the medicator that is medicating us? Well, if you walk down the self help aisle at Barnes and Noble, 9 out of 10 of those books are cobweb books, like how to deal with the medicator. None of those books are helping you get to the lie you believe that is causing the behavior.
So what are some common cobwebs? Some ugly cobwebs-- alcohol, right? Alcohol is not the spider. So you got to kill the spider. But what we do is, we think, oh, let's throw all the alcohol away, put a lock on the alcohol cabinet. That's just cleaning the cobwebs.
The alcoholic believes in a lie. That lie is therefore returning the behavior. You've got to get to the lie.
How about artificial intimacy? That's an ugly, hairy cobweb. Artificial intimacy, pornography-- you think, by just putting a-- if you struggle with pornography-- a porn blocker on your phone, that that, somehow, is going to solve the problem, just giving your password to your spouse is going to solve the problem? No. That's just cleaning the what? The cobwebs.
You see, there is a lie that the porn addicts beliefs. And the lie could be 100 different lies. But for some of them, it's like, they believe that they can never find true intimacy the way Jesus has created for it to be. That is the lie that they believe.
Once they get to that lie, they can kill the spider. The pornography goes away. You see? Kill the spider, cobwebs go away. Kill the spider, cobwebs go away.
We spend all of our time-- what about some pretty cobwebs? I'm going to touch everybody in here, not just the ones with ugly ones. How about you guys that have real pretty cobwebs? My wife has beautiful cobwebs-- beautiful.
She lets me share this, because you meet my wife, she-- this woman is a prophetess. She loves the Lord with everything. You think, there is no way you got any spiders in your life.
My wife said this. Carlos, let them know. My wife throws the most incredible parties at her home. People love to come from miles around-- all our friends. She went to culinary school. She cooks the most incredible food ever.
None of this is bad. That's great stuff. Our home looks like Pinterest threw up all over it.
It's just beautiful-- I mean everything. And you don't see any of those things as bad. But she told me, she goes, those are my cobwebs. Those are behaviors that medicate to bring false comfort to the lie.
And here was her lie-- I must do to be loved. When she finally got there, she no longer depended-- she used to throw parties, because she was like, what if I don't throw them? Will anybody love me?
You see, there's behaviors that we do that aren't so ugly that are still cobwebs. How about you hard workers, your corner office people, working your way up the corporate ladder? Look at me. I'm so successful.
My corner office-- look at all the success and all the money I have. Look at all the control I have. Well, control is your cobweb. Control-- you believe that you're in control. Clue phone-- you're not.
But you believe that this control, it's medicating a lie you believe deep down. So you become a workaholic. And you work too much. You see, I just want you guys to get these definitions in your head.
Cobweb is a medicator that brings false comfort to the lie. And then a spider's an agreement you've made with a lie. It's easy to find your cobwebs. That's why we spend so much time and money on cobwebs.
If you don't know what your cobweb is, ask your family. They'll be happy to tell you. It's really easy. You all have them. They'll tell you.
It's easy to find a cobweb, but it's not so easy to find your spider. You know how you find your spider? You don't ask your family. You ask the Holy Spirit.
Now, some of you guys are like, I don't know how to do that. I barely can make it here. Now you're asking me to, like, hear from God? Yeah, no, absolutely. I don't care if you've been a Christian for half a second, you can learn to hear from God today.
And the Lord will speak and tell you exactly what the agreement is you made with the lie, because you got to find that spider in order for the behaviors to change. So how do we do that? Step one, we hear from God when we pay attention. Say, pay attention.
OK. We have to start opening and un-numbing our eyes to the world around us. I don't believe in coincidences. I don't believe in any coincidence. People say, ah, it's a coincidence. No. If you believe that there was a human being who was God himself, died, rose from the grave, then you don't believe in a coincidence. If you believe in that kind of crazy stuff, then you need to believe that everything the Holy Spirit is speaking to us all the time.
So when you start to believe that there's no coincidence, and you start to pay attention, you lower the volume of life. And the volume of God goes up. Let me say that again-- lower the volume of life-- volume of life-- hello, woo-hoo-- the volume of God goes up.
People say, I can't hear from God. Well, I say, well, how many hours a day are your eyes glued to that LCD screen in your hand? The last thing we do at night, many of us, is we're thumbing through this. First thing we do in the morning is we're thumbing through this. And then we wonder why we can't hear from God. That's just one life hack tip to get there.
But pay attention-- the Lord's speaking all the time. My wife and I-- just to give you an example. When I first kind of stepped into this conversational intimacy, hearing from God, and trying to pay attention to see him everywhere.
It was a few years ago, we were flying home from Ireland. And if you've ever been on a trip anywhere, on vacation, on the way there everyone's really excited about vacation, right? You're like, woo! But on the flight home, oh, everyone's miserable, right? Because like, you've spent way too much money on vacation, all the laundry, there's bills waiting at home. Like, you know.
So we're on our way home from Ireland, and we're at Detroit county airport, and we have a layover, one more flight till home. And we go to PF Chang's. And we're at PF Chang's, and my wife-- I mean, she's super jet lagged, and she's just not in a good mood. So I think, I just want to make her happy. So I decided to tell her what I thought was a funny story.
And the story was-- I mean, it was really simple, I just said, hey, listen to this story. Like, me and me and my friend, remember like, when I went to leave worship and I was leaving worship at the place. My percussionist forgot his egg shaker. You guys know those little egg shakers that go--
So he forgot it. So he's like, dude, we've got to go. So we ran to Guitar Center really fast, and Guitar Center, they said they were out of egg shakers. But they did have a shaker, but it was in the shape of a banana. So it's a little weird, but whatever. So we came, and the whole worship set, I kept looking over, and he's like worshiping Jesus, but he's just like, shaking this banana. And so this woman at the service comes forward, and she's like, "Hey, worship was great, but why was your friend shaking a banana the whole service." And I thought that was funny, like 12 of you.
And like the rest of you, my wife was like, nah. I mean, good try, but can we just go? I was like, banana, he was shake-- OK. So the waitress brings our bill, whatever. On the bill at any Chinese restaurant is a what?
No, they don't put bananas on top of bills.
Fortune cookie. I opened the fortune cookie. What word was on my fortune?
Banana! On my fortune was banana! I stood up, and I start looking around, because I'm obviously I'm on some TV show. Somebody was in the back like, listening to my conversation, typing it out, printing it out, stick in there. And I was like, oh my gosh. And everyone's like, what is wrong? And I was like, babe! And I'm shaking, and I turned, and she started dying laughing.
She didn't think my banana story was funny, but she thought the Holy Spirit was funnier. And she said-- this is what she said. She said, the Lord is a whimsical God. He's not always serious. He's speaking to us all the time. How many fortune cookies, Carlos, have you opened in your life? Thousands.
How many times have you told a story about a banana the second before you get to fortune? Never. You're going to tell me that's a coincidence? No. I took that fortune home, and I put it in a frame, and it is next to my bed.
Banana! What kind of fortune doesn't give you a fortune, but just says a fruit? None of you have ever had that. Banana! Listen, guys, we got to learn to pay attention. When you pay attention, these banana moments, they're everywhere, all over. The Lord is speaking to us all the time. We just have to learn to pay attention.
So step one, if we want to get to this agreement we made with a lie, we hear from God and we pay attention. Step two-- this one could change everybody's lives-- ask questions. Say ask questions. We hear from God when we ask questions. Now, for the longest time in my prayer life, I would ask very vague questions of God. And the reason why many Christians pray vague prayers is because we're scared if we get too specific that he won't answer.
Because what happens if you ask for God to do something specifically, and he doesn't answer? Well, suddenly we have a crisis of faith. And so that's why we don't. But my question is, what if he does answer those specific questions? So I started to get really specific with my prayers every day. I'm talking about crazy specific. And he never fails to answer them. So if you've been praying vague prayers, no, ask specific questions.
Case in point. Have a friend Marcus, we were in Nashville, Tennessee, that's where I live. And he wanted to go have coffee because he wanted to talk to me about hearing from God. He said, Carlos, you teach all these people around the world how to hear from God, but I've never heard him. What does he sound like? Marcus.
I was like well, we were at coffee. I said let's practice. He's like, practice? I was like no, no, no, no. You have to practice hearing, hearing from God. This is something you have to practice. So let's do it. And he started getting nervous. He was like, looking around like, what's about to happen? I said, I want you to ask the Holy Spirit right now where should you and I go to lunch.
And he's like, come on. He's going to tell me where we should go to lunch? I was like, oh no, he's going to tell you right now. And I was so confident. Because I'm so confident when I teach people this stuff, like, the Lord will talk to you. And he's like--
So he looked up, and he took a breath, and he goes, "God, where stood me and Carlos go to lunch? Amen." Like maybe he had to say that in order for God to listen. And then I let him sit there really uncomfortably for like 30 seconds. He was like looking around, looking up. He picked up his phone like God's going to text him or something.
And then finally after 30 seconds, he's like, I don't hear anything. I said, you sure? He's like, no. I was like, do you sense anything? He's like, oh, sense anything? Now we're talking about feelings? He said I don't know, I feel all kinds of things, I sense all kinds of things. I was like, when you asked did you sense something right away? He's like, yeah, but. And I was like, no, no, but.
You see what we have a tendency to do is edit the Holy Spirit. Don't edit the Holy Spirit. I said, what was the sensation you got right away? He goes, well there's-- I saw, I felt, Thai Phooket, this Thai restaurant over in Tennessee Titans stadium parking lot. He goes, that's what I saw right away. I said, hey, then let's go. He goes, but was it God? I go, I don't know, he was talking to you.
So we go to Thai Phooket and we walk in, and we have a great meal. It's fine. But we'd actually forgotten that we'd ask God where to go to lunch. Like, Jesus did not appear in our Thai chicken curry soup. Like, our waiter didn't look like Je-- like, it was fine. We forgot, we were done.
So we walk out, we're saying bye. Marcus walks to his motorcycle, I walk to my minivan-- different stages of life. And as he gets on that thing, this man comes tearing out of Thai Phooket. He's like, hey man, hey you! This old like, the most redneck, redneck, redneck Tennessee man you've ever seen. He's like, hey man you! You, you, you! And he comes running up to us. And I'm thinking we left our wallet in there or something.
He's like, man, you're going to think I'm crazy. And he kind of had this little shake thing. He's like, you're going to think I'm crazy, you're going to think I'm crazy. And we were both like, yes.
He goes, and he looks at Marcus, and the second he did this, I just-- my heart started beating, because I knew. He goes, man, do you sometimes work on your laptop over at Frothy Monkey, that coffee shop in 12South? Marcus was like, yeah. He's like, man, you're going to think I'm crazy, but I was in there, and I was reading my Bible the other day, and you came walking in there, and that's fine.
But I felt like the Lord told me to pray for you. But I didn't, I ignored him. And you got up and you left, and it was fine, I never even thought twice about it. But now I'm just sitting in here enjoying my soup, and you come walking into Thai Phooket. And oh my gosh, I watched you the whole time, and I'm just shaking. And the Holy Spirit's like, you got the chance. You got up, and you left. And then the Holy Spirit's like, you can't let him leave again, go chase him. So I chased you out here. Can I please pray for you?
Marcus's eyes got this big. And I got in my minivan, and I left him in that parking lot with that weird man.
But Marcus called me 10 minutes later and his voice was trembling. And Marcus said, God answered my question. God answered my specific question. And his mind was blown. But I told him, bro, this is every day. Guys, this journal right here, that I have right here, every single day. This is only from the last few months.
Every single day I'm asking God specific questions about spiders that are getting birthed in my life. Lord, what's the agreement I made today. Me and my wife got in a fight. What's the agreement I made with the enemy that's going to cause me to behave a certain way? He's going to answer your specific questions.
When we're in seasons of crisis, our prayers are specific, right? That tumor in that part of my wife's body, right there, in the name of Jesus, by the blood of the cross, I rebuke it. Because we believe in a specific God. But then when things are good, we stop getting specific. What would happen if we were that specific in seasons of blessing?
I'll tell you what will happen, revival happens. Revival happens in your family, in your church, in your friends group, in your work, in your school, and Jesus comes. And he will absolutely break every single chain. Guys, it's so possible. That's what he wants.
So the question is this-- the Lord is going to reveal to you when you ask the specific question, what is the agreement I've made with the lie? That's how specific I want you guys to get today. What does the agreement I made with the lie? I'm done cleaning these cobwebs, I know I can't do that. So how do I get to the lie? He will answer.
Once he gives you that answer, it's not hard to kill the spider. I know my book is called, Kill the Spider, but there's only one page in the entire book on how to actually kill it. And this is how you do it. When you find the agreement you've made with the lie-- watch. Scripture says, you confess the lie out loud, you reject the lie by the blood of the cross and the power of the Resurrection of Jesus. And you replace the lie with God's truth.
Confess the lie, reject the lie, and replace the lie. Confess the lie, reject the lie, replace the lie. Poof, spider dies. Freedom is here, and you have breath. You have breath. It's that easy. But Carlos, I mean, that sounds-- sure, OK I did that, I confessed. But I know it's really dead? How do I know it's just not in the corner?
Well, if you do what I just said, it's dead. But let me tell you, scripture tells us how we know. Says this, in scripture-- this isn't me. Romans 8:6 "For the mind-set of the flesh is death, but the mind-set of the spirit is life and" what? "Peace." OK, so many Christians put a period after life. So many Christians think, oh, it's just my job to become a Christian. And we just think, we become a Christian and wait for heaven.
No, no, no, no. There's more that God has for you after you become a Christian. Life and peace. You see, it's not our jobs as Christians to become Christians and wait for heaven. You have the authority in you to become a Christian, and bring heaven. It's a big difference. Don't wait. Bring it.
What does that mean? Well you get peace, you get more than just life. John 10:10. "A thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy. But I have come that they may have life--" is there a period after the word life? Nope. But how many Christians live like there is. There's more. Life and have in what-- abundance. Friends, there is abundance available for you. So much more. God just doesn't want you to get by.
I struggled with anxiety and depression for many years of my life. And I used to say things like, God has given me enough strength to deal with my anxiety. Well, you know what, that's half true. But I'm sitting on a stage as proof that God doesn't just want you to deal with your anxiety, he wants you to be free from your anxiety, free from your sickness, free from your pain, free from your chains. I am living proof.
Man, the devil ain't got no hold on me no more. I have the authority of Jesus Christ inside of me. He is scared of me. He runs and he flees because he can't handle the power of Jesus Christ that is in each and every one of you guys. He can't handle it. So we get abundance. We get peace.
And so many of you guys, you have been. You've been kind of limping through life, coping. Jesus did not die on a cross so you can cope. He died on a cross so you can have abundance, peace, and freedom. What's it going to look like? Let me show you. We're going to end with this.
I believe this is a visual that can make sense for so many of us. My family and I, we were camping in the High Sierras-- and we'll close with this. And when we were camping-- if you're camping up in the mountains, like, when you get away from the city, the stars in the sky at night are just mass-- millions of stars. And so the stars, they're littering the skies, and my wife-- my kids had gone into the tent, they were sleeping.
And so it's just my wife and I by the campfire. And like, I gave her like one of those lines, like-- you know, have ever heard line that says, is your mother at thief? And she said no. This is not in my sermon, this is free for you guys. Is your Father a thief? She said no. I said, well, who stole the stars and the sky and put them in your eyes.
And so I'm like, telling her these cheesy lines about stars. And it backfired, because immediately she looked up at the stars, and she goes, hey, can you go grab the camera and take a picture of the stars? It's like oh, buzz kill. So like I walk over the camera, and I picked up my wife's camera. She has one of these fancy cameras with the buttons and the dials and the knobs, you know what I'm talking about.
And I don't know how to use that thing. So when you don't know how to use a fancy camera, what mode do you put it on? Auto. Right, auto. What do you put it on auto, well, because at least it's going to take a picture. So I put it on auto mode, I aim that puppy in the sky, and I snapped a picture. And there were nine million stars in the sky. But in my picture it just didn't look-- I mean, there was a picture, so I showed it to my wife, and this was actually the picture that I showed her.
And I said, hey babe, how's this? And she's like, um, no. There's nine stars in that picture. There are nine million stars above us. That's a very expensive camera. Can you take a picture of all the stars? I was like babe, I don't know how to do that. I don't know how to do that.
She said, well, why don't you call your friend Jeremy? He's a professional photographer in Nashville. So I called Jeremy and I was like hey, Jeremy, I just took a picture of the stars, I'm trying to take a picture of my wife. And there's millions of stars in the sky, but I only see nine when I take the picture. And the first thing he said was, is it on auto mode?
I said, oh yeah, it's on auto mode. And this is what he said to me, verbatim. He said, "Oh you cannot capture the abundance of stars in the sky in auto mode. You have to go to manual." And it's like I was talking to Yoda himself, because I was like. I said well, what would I do? He said listen. I said, Jeremy, I don't know how to do that.
He's like, I know you don't know how, but I'm going to tell you. And guess what, you're not going to get it right. But just keep practicing. What you have to do is you have to take the ISO in the camera, you have to crank the ISO from 100 to 12,000. I was like, ISO, OK, ISO, OK, got the ISO. Then what you have to do, is you take the shutter speed, and you have to slow your shutter speed down from 1/30th of a second to 30 seconds.
Then you have to take the aperture, and take the aperture from 12.8 to 1.2. Then you have to put it on a tripod, because if you're holding it and the shutter speed is that wide open, it's going to be blurry. So I put it on a tripod, aim it at the sky. Then you have to get a remote on your phone, because even if you barely touch the shutter on the camera, it's going to be blurry. And I just want a picture the stars, man!
So I did what he said, and I failed. And I did what he said, and I failed, and I did what he said, and I failed. And I was so frustrated, because the pictures I was getting were even more black, there was one star. And then it was all white, you couldn't even see the tent. Nothing was working. And I tried and I failed, and I tried and I failed, and I tried and failed.
Until, 30 minutes later, I took a picture, and this was the picture that I got. Friends, you know the parallel I'm drawing here. This is life with abundance. Oh, friends, this is life with peace. This is life when you've killed the spider. Can we get that other picture up one more time?
This is the life so many of you are living, in auto mode. You wake up, you pray, maybe you go to church, maybe you read your Bible once. This isn't what God has for you. When you finally get off of auto mode and manual mode, guess what? It's going to be scary. Can we get that other picture up one more time?
When you get into manual mode, and you ask specific questions, and you don't hear. And you ask, and you don't hear. And you ask, and you don't hear. And you ask, and you're like, I can't hear what's wrong with me. But one day you're going to ask-- boom. Freedom, abundance, more, peace is waiting for you.
Glory a dios. God is good. And that's what he wants for every one of you. Let's pray. Lord Jesus, I just ask right now that if there's anyone in this room that has never heard your voice, oh, Lord, I pray you bust eardrums this week. I pray you are so loud. I pray that people are sprinting around this campus next week, going, I did it! I asked a specific question and he gave me a specific answer, Lord.
And may you show us the agreements we've made with lies. And by the blood of the cross and the power your Resurrection, may we confess, reject, and replace those lies and find true freedom when we kill our spiders. For it is in the name of Jesus, every believer in this room shout an Amen.
We hope you enjoyed this special service from Calvary Church. We'd love to know how this message impacted you. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. And just a reminder, you can support this ministry with a financial gift at calvarynm.church/give. Thank you for joining us for this teaching from Calvary Church.