Commentary

We live in a world of disclaimers
We live in this amazing world where our phone can, right now, play any song we want to hear
and you don’t have to put a quarter in it or anything
We live in a world of disclaimers

Last year I didn’t release music.
And that’s true of a lot of us ... but it is not part of your identity … to release music
To make public what God and intellect and years of rhythm have written on the interior walls.
To risk it. with someone who says, “I don’t really like rap,” and say, “Who cares, have some.”
We live in a world of disclaimers

I had all the perfectly good reasons.
I’m a father of two, and 5 and 2 is harder than whatever and whatever, because I’m living it.
I’m a pastor, and I didn’t release music, but I did 40 sermons. 40 sermons that ranged from AIGHT to OKAY! to HOMERUNS
And this happened, and then …
We live in a world of disclaimers

We live in this gracious world where, in baseball, if you hit .300 you can be an All-Star
30% success rate and you’re one of the BEST
we live in a world of disclaimers

Because we live in tribes
Because we lack the requisite character
Because there’s a value gap
Because we’re wearing mismatched socks

We live in a world of disclaimers
words before pictures, warnings before engagements
“Do not remove this disclaimer under penalty of law”
Come on ... it’s a tag on a mattress
Our fidelity to disclaimers

Before I start, I should tell you I’m a black man … WE KNOW
Well, before I start I should tell you why this won’t be as good as …
Don’t watch this if …

Disclaimers have become apologies before you’ve done anything wrong
Excuses for doing nothing at all

All of us have a reason why the dream on our hearts won't come to pass this year.
The thing God won’t leave us alone about. Perfectly good reasons.
I don't have a full-time position
I live so far away
I’m not black enough, brown enough, white enough, rich enough, poor enough
I don’t go enough, I don’t know enough
It’s too hard, this isn't my issue
I’m too young God, I have a stammering tongue
I wouldn’t even know what to say
But for the sake of God’s children, you know the one that is getting a raw deal in a land that says it loves God
no excuses

Let’s decide now, in January
to live and lead without disclaimers
to do the work as best we can
to be disciples, and make good plans
“I will tell you what to say to them. Tell them I AM sent you."
While it’s early, while it’s January
take a moment today and write down all the excuses you’ll use in December
of why it didn’t happen, crumple them up, throw them away
and start working on what’s in your way
No disclaimers

If it needs doing, will it
if it needs dying, kill it
Don’t spend more time disclaiming than proclaiming
Do the work and let the work speak for itself.
If you can, say yes. If you can’t, say no, and make sure your WHY can stand before God.

This is a world of NON-SENSE
I won’t insult the intelligence of people in this room by explaining it
We live in a world where they put peanut butter and jelly in the same jar
(now do I refrigerate this or keep it on the shelf)
Non. Sense.

If they figured THAT out
If they figured out how to print livers in 3D
If they figured out how to get rid of CDs
let me mention …

“Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, about this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son”

Our problem is not theology. It’s reading comprehension.
That’s in Genesis.

The problems are environment, pollution and dieting
black folks diabetes, white folks rioting
promises at the border, presidents lying to them
folks killing Jesus like he ain’t already die for them
the church too silent, is this a crisis in confidence
or more disclaimers, all the more we abide in them

GOD:
remind us of the promises you’ve made and kept throughout time
remind us of the promises you’ve made when you gave us the work
that you would keep us, and be with us
remind us, God, that nothing is impossible with you
Forgive us for all the excuses we make
for all the ways we discount ourselves and you
Use us this morning as we lead ourselves and our people out of the whale’s mouth
and into Nineveh
Amen.

Julian DeShazier serves as the Senior Minister of University Church in Chicago. A native of the city, he graduated from Morehouse College and the University of Chicago Divinity School. Working with the community, Julian was instrumental in bringing a Level-1 trauma center to the Southside of Chicago, and was named one of "40 Under 40" leaders by Crains Chicago Business. He's also an Emmy award-winning musician and songwriter, known to many as “J.Kwest.”

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