Message 3 of 21

Inquiring of The Lord

Jonathan Pokluda · Jan 22, 2017

Message 3 of 21

JP leads us during a Raise the Mark service where our church gathers for an extended time of prayer and praise, proclamation of what God has been doing in and through our body, and partake corporately as the body of Christ in the Lord's Supper. During this time, we ask people to break into small groups and pray through the prayer guide inside the Watermark News.

Scripture References: 1 Corinthians 11 , Joshua 9

Jonathan "JP" Pokluda

About Jonathan Pokluda

I am the leader of The Porch and one of the teaching pastors here at Watermark. I grew up on a farm outside the small town of Cuero in South TX. I was involved in... Read more

Message Transcript
It's such an incredible thing to say words that the church has said for centuries in praise and honor to God. So much of what we do is tradition started by Jesus and just a few followers that grew to thousands very quickly. As we gather in this place, we continue so many of those traditions. One of them is confessing sin and professing who God is and what he's done for us in the name of Christ. This morning we're going to continue in some of those traditions that the first-century church started as it gathered. In the name of Jesus, they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the breaking of the bread. One of the ways we continue to ask you, "Are you here?" and "How are you doing?" and "How can we serve you…?" In 2017 it's a form. It's the 4B form. This is the last week you guys can fill that out. If you're new with us or you don't know what that is, every January our membership rolls go to zero and we start over. We just ask the body, "Who is still here and wants to be accounted for under the elders' authority and a part of this body?" There are three of you who haven't taken that, and I'm going to call you up by name. No, I'm kidding. But you do need to take that today. Something else we're doing as a body is the Six-Week Challenge. We're doing Psalm 1. It's six verses. You're not too late to jump on that train. I'd encourage you to text your Community Group today and say, "How are you doing on the Six-Week Challenge? Here's how I'm doing memorizing Psalm 1." Let me pray for us. Father, I don't get tired of singing to you. I love that I get to be encouraged by your Holy Spirit working through this body. I love watching you move and change lives and change marriages and make disciples of children out of otherwise worldly parents and take young adults who are stuck on themselves and make them world changers and people who are headed toward death and destruction and save their lives and people who were brought up in the church and targeted toward self-righteousness and pride and self-reliance and the way you remind them that you're God and we can do nothing without you. Father, as we open your Scriptures this morning, would you just show us more of who you are? Increase our faith and create a quiet and still time that we can be with you corporately. In the name of Jesus, amen. Last night in this room we had our member celebration, which was an incredible evening. I very literally lost my voice saying "Thank you," which is an awesome way to lose your voice. In full transparency, as I was walking out the door headed toward member celebration, I was running late, and we were going to start the evening with a magic trick. The theme was magic. We were going to start the evening with a magic trick, an illusion, and I had my supplies right there sitting by the door for a week that I had purchased on Amazon, ready to grab and run out the door. When I did, it wasn't there, and I'm supposed to be at the church at this time. I'm like, "Where did it go?" So I'm like, "Monica, help!" She comes running in. "What do you need? What? What happened?" I'm like, "Where did this go? There was a deck of cards here and some stuff. Where did it go?" She said, "Oh, Weston was playing with that." That's our 4-year-old. I thought, "Oh no." Then I'm like, "Kids, get down here now!" They come up front and center. "Yes, Daddy?" But I said it much kinder than that. I said, "Weston, what did you do with my stuff that was right here?" He said, "Oh, about that…" He kind of will send you chasing rabbits, because I'm not even convinced he knows what I'm talking about, but he goes, "Oh, Daddy, I just remembered, it's funny that you should ask…" I'm like, "Tell me. Where is it?" He just doesn't know. I said this phrase that I've said so often in our home. "Buddy, you've got to ask me first. Everything I have is yours. I want to share it with you, but you've got to ask me. I need some sort of accounting to know what you're doing. I'm right here. I wish you could ask me." I say this all the time to him and to my girls. Like the other day, one of my girls built a fort or a tent, which included a blanket and some masking tape and a ceiling fan. It was one of _these_ kinds of tents. I walked in, and I'm like, "Oh man, I love the creativity. Way to go. You've got to ask me first. I wish you'd ask me." Sometimes they do something. They make a mess. "I wish you'd ask me." Sometimes they miss out on blessings I want to give them. "I wish you'd ask me." One time we were cutting back on sweets in our family. We realized our dessert consumption was more than it should be, so we were cutting back. The kids had done a great job, so I was going to bring home their favorite dessert. One of them had gone in the pantry and took a piece of candy without asking, and it cost them the blessing I had brought to them. I just sat them down and I said, "I wish you'd ask me first." That's reasonable when you're 7, when you're 4. Sometimes when you're 9 that's reasonable, but at 36, I get the sense that sometimes that's what God is saying to me. "JP, I wish you'd ask me first." "The reason I don't, God, is because I made a decision based on all of my senses and the brain you gave me and my perspective, and it just seemed right." He's like, "I know. Proverbs 14:12: 'There's a way that seems right, but in the end its way is death.' I wish you'd ask me first." As followers of Jesus Christ, we have more to make decisions on than just our brilliant mind, our tenured education, our diplomas, and all of the things we've learned in the corporate world, our five senses. "Well, I just assumed." God says, "I wish you'd ask me first." That's one huge benefit of being a believer in Jesus Christ. You have direct access to the one true God, the Creator of the heavens and the earth, the all-powerful God. He says, "The veil is torn, and I'm right here, and at a moment's notice you can start talking to me." He says, "I wish you'd ask me first." There's real risk when we don't. Sometimes my kids harm themselves, sometimes they bring harm to others, sometimes they bring discipline into their lives, and sometimes they just miss out on blessings I want to give them. The same is true for God and me. Sometimes when I don't ask him I hurt myself, sometimes I bring harm to others, sometimes I miss out on his blessings, and sometimes I invite discipline into my life. He's saying, "Hey, I just wish you'd ask me." I feel this big time this morning. I think we have to do better at this part. In the busyness, chaos, and hecticness of work and making decisions and kids and sports and school and all we have going on, I think we have to do a whole lot better at stopping and saying, "God, what would you have me do? I know what I think I need to do. I got ahead, and I think I need to go this way, but, God, what would you have me do? Would you show me?" There's a story in Joshua, chapter 9, if you want to turn there. It really starts in Deuteronomy, chapter 7, but you can go to Joshua 9, and I'll set it up in Deuteronomy 7. In Deuteronomy 7, God is giving instruction about this land he preserved for his people. It's called the Promised Land. It's this great land that he's going to lead them into. In Deuteronomy 7, he gives very specific instruction. "In this land there are wicked people. They are people who have turned their back on me, people who have gone to worship false gods and done detestable things, and I want you to purify the land. I want you to wipe them out," he says. "This is your land. It's a land I preserved you. I will give you victory over armies much bigger than you if you just trust me." He says specifically, "Do not, under any circumstance, make a treaty with the people of those lands." He even specifically gives them names. The Hivites are one of them. Among the Hivites is a group of people called the Gibeonites, and the Gibeonites had heard the decrees of the Lord and all that the Israelites were doing to the people in the land, and they said, "Well, we don't want to be wiped out. We'll trick them." So they loaded their donkeys up, like they had traveled from a faraway land. They put holes in their sandals. They put on old clothes. They grabbed old stretched-out wineskins, and they made it look like they had traveled from a faraway land, even with moldy bread in their bags. It says this in Joshua 9: **"We are your servants; make a treaty with us. This bread of ours was warm when we packed it at home on the day we left to come to you. But now see how dry and moldy it is. And these wineskins that we filled were new, but see how cracked they are. And our clothes and sandals are worn out by the very long journey."** Everything you looked at was like, "Oh, these people are from a faraway land. I can tell because of what I know. I have the data. I have the facts. I'm a smart person. They're clearly from a faraway land." It says, **"The Israelites sampled their provisions but…"** And then this really haunting line. **"…but did not inquire of the** **Lord****." **They just made a decision based on what they knew.**"Then Joshua made a treaty of peace with them to let them live, and the leaders of the assembly ratified it by oath."** And it cost them. Sometimes I think we think we're so smart. Can I tell you something? People don't tank their lives when they don't know what to do. People do not train-wreck their lives when they don't know what to do, because when you don't know what to do, a lot of times you stop and are like, "God, what should I do?" You invite others into it. People don't train-wreck their lives when they don't know what to do; people train-wreck their lives when they know what to do but it's wrong. "I'm certain I need to go this way. I'm certain I need to marry them. I'm certain I need to move to that neighborhood. I'm certain my kids need to go to that school. I'm certain I need to change to this job. I know. I have all the information. I have all the data. I see what I need to do, and, God, I don't need to talk to you. I don't need to ask you, because I have everything I need to know." He's up there like, "Why don't you ask me?" The essence of being a Christian is that we have a relationship…not assenting knowledge, not intellect and awareness that there is a God, but a relationship. Our lives are marked by us communing with him and talking with him. "How are you doing?" Here we're busy, and we're busy because of God's blessings. I mean specifically here. We are growing. We're adding classes and training days and Equipping opportunities, and we're buying buildings and renovating floors and grabbing real estate. God is just doing silly amazing things in our midst. Please be a part of that by the way you pray every day, that this wouldn't just be a place that you come to and consume the Word of God and then leave and feel a little bit better about life and who you are. I pray that you're a part of what he's doing here and that you're praying adamantly for our elders and for all that he's doing, that that would be what marks us, because we don't want to be too busy. If you're too busy to pray, then you're too busy period. That's just the fact. That's the reality. That's a part of what we're going to do this morning. We're going to participate in the call to inquire of the Lord. In your Watermark News, there are these bullets and these six sections, and each section is starting with a verse. We're going to pray through those corporately together this morning. We're going to have a little bit of time to do that. If you'll stop for just a moment and let me say… I know some of you are here. You're first-time guests. You're like, "Oh great." You leveraged all of your relationship to bring a friend. It is a fantastic morning to be a guest, because you're going to see the church be the church, that we would actually participate in what the original church… Forget all of the traditions and everything you know of church and the way you grew up. "I'm just used to… Well, I'm just used to… Well, I'm just used to… " That's great. I'm glad you're used to. This is what the first-century church did. They gathered around the Word of God and prayed. That's what they did. We get to take part in what the church did 2,000 years ago this morning. That's what we're going to do. If you're a first-time guest with us, you have a great opportunity. Right out these doors and up the stairs there's a chapel. In that chapel we have our class called our First Step class. You can go in there and hear more about Watermark. It's a safe place to ask questions about this place, what God has done here. "How did you do this? How did you build this? How much debt do you have?" (Zero is the answer.) You know, those kinds of questions. Those are great questions to go and ask there and just inquire more about this place and hear about, "How do you become a member? What is a Community Group?" All of that kind of stuff. If you're here and you're like, "Oh great. The church is going to pray to a God I don't even believe in, or at least I'm wrestling, 'Do I actually believe?' What about six-day creation, dinosaurs in the Bible? You're telling me that a man died and came back to life? That's crazy. I have big questions. How can the Bible be trusted? How do we know it's true? Can you really believe everything it says?" Those are great questions, and down this hallway in the South Community Room we have our Great Questions team. You can go in there. There will be dozens of people in there asking questions just like that, and we want to invite you in there. Right now you can go in there and just say, "Hey, I have questions." If you're a member, you're going to have about 20 minutes to pray through those bullets. I want to be really honest with you and tell you that's not enough time. You won't finish early. It's not really a time to talk and catch up. That's going to be great at Mattito's afterwards. You can go talk and catch up and hang out. It's really a time, from the second you're dismissed here, to pray to God, to talk to God together, and then when you hear the music up here it's time to come back. You don't have enough time to make it through all of those bullets. I was pretty discouraged, honestly, last night about how many folks used that time to talk and catch up together. We don't have time for that. There's too much going on here. We have to talk to God about what he's doing here. For some of you, this may be the only time that you clear out and really block to focus on him. If that's terrifying, it's as simple as reading the bullet out loud. That's all you have to do: read it out loud. It truly is that simple. Read the verse out loud. You have a lot of options of where you can go. There are two options that you don't really have, I'd love to say to you. Sometimes when we do the Raise the Mark service people leave. I'm just going to ask that you don't. Just plain and simple. I'm going to ask that you don't leave. You're here this morning. God is sovereign. He brought you here. You have three great options. You can go hear more about what he has done at Watermark, you can go to Great Questions, or you can stay and pray. Those are three great options. Please don't leave. More specifically, please, please, please…I'm begging you…do not pick up your children. They are in a program right now, and if they leave early that disrupts that program for everyone else in the classroom, so please do not pick up your children early this morning. The band is going to come back up. That's your cue to come back here. If you need to leave to find space to pray out there, you can, or just turn in your chairs and pray right where you are. First Step, up in the chapel. Great Questions, right over here. If we can answer any questions, I'll be in this area. Feel free to come up and ask any questions, but we're just going to dismiss you to pray for about 20 minutes. We'll see you in about 20 minutes. Thank you, guys. We just got back from staff retreat as a staff, and while we were there Todd gave us an hour and a half to be by ourselves with God to pray and read and study. Collectively as a staff, as we looked back… We had such a great time at the retreat, but everybody's favorite time was that one and a half hours of solitude, which was kind of sad to me, because that's always available to us, but somebody asked us to turn off our phones and go out in the woods and just spend time with God, and we all loved it. It was so good for all of us. Prayer works. God hears prayers. He answers prayers. Prayer is our partnership with God. Why wouldn't we do it 100 times more than we do right now, corporately, personally, together? One thing we need to do a better job of here, too, is celebrating answered prayers. A part of answered prayers around here are lives changed and growth and trying to figure out where to do ministry. Fifteen months ago, we came to you guys saying, "Hey, we're really out of space." I had a friend visit last week, and he said, "Wow, you guys do a lot there. There's a lot going on every night of the week. You have re:generation, re|engage, the Porch, Equipping ministries. There's always something happening here." As a staff, internally, we started fighting, like the Christian version of fighting, over space, you know, putting stakes in real estate, saying, "Hey, I really need that room that night," and it was like, "Well, I need that room too. How do we figure that out?" So 15 months ago, we came to you with that problem, not knowing what to do, and it turns out this tower on our property became available, and we presented the need to you of $19 million. In my small-town mind, I'm like, "Nineteen million dollars? Mind blown." The Lord provided that through you guys, so we own that building. I just want to say thank you for that. More people are coming to know Jesus. Because of you, we have opportunities to create rooms over there to tell more people about Christ and invite more friends to participate in what God is doing here. We will begin to renovate that building. Of course that takes money. This is my best effort to communicate to you the needs of the church. We have floors one and two being renovated currently, and we'll continue with that as the Lord provides. As you know, we don't do anything with debt or haven't to date done anything with debt around here. We have some friends in Fort Worth. They have been meeting in a temporary facility. There are a lot of challenges with that. It's been an incredible blessing, but also they face challenges we don't have here as they share a facility with concerts and other things that happen on that property. We're tenants, simply put. We've been praying, asking God, "We need a permanent home for our friends in Fort Worth." We believe that he has provided that in the form of 26 acres that became available. These 26 acres have a 44,000-square-foot building on it. It's currently a church. To communicate more about that to you and just to thank God for answering that prayer, here is a video from Todd. [Video] **Todd Wagner:** Hey, Watermark family. I have some exciting news to share with you today. Just like we did in Dallas and then in Plano and everywhere God takes us, whenever there's an opportunity we have to put a place in the ground that we can use as our permanent home facility, we always love to give you the opportunity to pray about it. Well, guess what? Today is the day we get to share with you that while the Ridglea has been an amazing home for our Fort Worth friends and we're grateful for it, we're maxing that thing out to pretty much all of its potential, not just on Sundays but, just like all of our other properties, all throughout the week. Today I get to share with you an exciting opportunity for us to make a permanent home for our Fort Worth Campus. Twenty-six acres right there on I-30. Just four miles from where we're currently located in Fort Worth, we have a facility with a building on it. We've been looking in Fort Worth now for months, over a year, a couple of years, in fact, for a potential home for our Fort Worth family. Most of the property we've looked at has cost two and three times as much for half the acreage with nothing on it. We have a chance in the next 60 to 90 days, as a family, to invest together to find ourselves a home in Fort Worth. We've always said we can't wait for a new facility, and we're not going to wait in Fort Worth. We're faithfully using the Ridglea, and that's what we'll continue to do until God allows us to come up with a permanent home. We can get this property for what's going to come to $2.5 million and some change, but that just gets us on the property. While there's a facility there, it's not a facility we can immediately move our kids and all our midweek and even weekend opportunities into, so there's a tremendous resource need. Here's what we're doing. As you know, there's stuff going on in Plano and in Dallas where we're tying to make room to make disciples. We're actually going to delay some of the things we're going to do in both of those campuses so we can move all our resource to acquire the property in Fort Worth and then develop it. It's going to take some work on that building that is there to make it a home for our children, our midweek ministries, and even the AV stuff that's necessary for Sundays. What we're asking you to do, as we share this information with you, is be as intentional as you can be to prayerfully consider how God might have you respond. If you remember the _Generosity_ series, we don't want you just slinging mashed potatoes with bitterness. God loves a cheerful giver. Our hope and our prayer is that 100 percent of us around the Watermark family would prayerfully respond in a way that would bring you great joy and God great glory in what we're doing. Some of you have already been giving generously. To you we say, "Way to go," and we're praying God resupplies you. Others, this is your chance to jump in. Every time I walk onto our Plano Campus or our Dallas Campus or even our current rent property in Fort Worth, my family and I are humbled that we're a part of that investment, and we ask you to jump in and prayerfully join us today. As always in opportunities like this, you can go to [watermark.org/makingroom](http://www.watermark.org/makingroom) to find out some more information. Right now, I think you have all the information you need to pray and respond with great joy. So let's go, church. Let's not wait for our new facility, but let's also not _almost_ respond in this moment. Here we go. [End of video] **Jonathan Pokluda:** There's a lot going on. I hope you caught that website at the end, [watermark.org/makingroom](http://www.watermark.org/makingroom). If you have any questions, again if you're a guest with us and you may be asking questions like, "Why do you build buildings? Why do you do a satellite model? Why not send all the money to Africa?" those are all things we've wrestled with and prayed through, and we believe we are operating in the Lord's will to make disciples here so that we might send them to Africa and around the world. God has been gracious to us. It's really overwhelming. If I'm completely transparent with you, I hear it all and I think about it and I have this mixed emotion of gratitude and just like, "God, what are you doing? It's just amazing. It's overwhelming." I'm grateful for that feeling. To tell you another story about my kids… (It's funny to some of you if you were here last night. The rest of you missed out on the joke.) One thing that we do when we have dinner is I'll do magic tricks for them, little lame magic tricks. They used to be amazed by them, and they are no longer. They're over it. When their friends come to dinner with us, I'll do a magic trick. I'll make the salt shaker disappear or something, and their friends are like, "Your daddy just made the salt shaker disappear. That is crazy!" They're like, "No, he didn't. It's under the table. I've seen it a thousand times. He did this thing. He screwed it off. You just didn't see it." They're just over it. They kind of have this attitude. We could never have that attitude toward what God is doing here and, even more specifically, the gospel of Jesus Christ. "Oh yeah, another marriage saved. Kids, yeah, the young adults. Was there 4,000 here Tuesday? Whatever. Who cares? Oh, Jesus died and rose back to life. Yada, yada, yada. Cross, empty tomb. So what? What else? Another Easter." You drift. Before you know it, you're that older brother. The thing that used to bring so much excitement to your life, that you realized, "I don't have to pay for my sins. This is great news. I can be a new creation…" Yada, yada, yada, yada. Older brother. We wake up and stop inquiring of the Lord. The relationship stops. It grows stale. What was once on fire you just kind of write off to youthfulness. It should not be. I do not see that among the apostles. I see this up and to the right, willing to die for faith, a continuation as they grew in the faith, spending more and more and more time with God. If we do not spend time with God, why can we call ourselves a Christian? You're not a Christian. Now hear me out. It's not a statement of salvation. Here's what I'm saying. The word _Christian_ means little Jesus. If you do not do the thing Jesus did more of when he was on the earth, which was spending a lot of time with the Father, then why can we embrace that name? How can we do that? You can't just say, "I'm a doctor." No, I'm not a doctor. It's doing the things that Jesus did, trusting in God's provision through him, and then following in that way. That's what we're about to do in just a moment, to take part in another tradition God has given us that the first-century church took part of. Jesus sat with his friends. It was a meal. It was the Passover feast. It's this crazy reality that he sat with his buddies, knowing he was about to go die for them. As he broke bread it was a symbol to them that his body was going to be broken. As they drank this red drink it was a symbol that his blood was going to be poured out for them. He says, "When you do this, you remember what I've done for you." It says in 1 Corinthians 11 that you can do so in a way that's flippant, without examining yourself, without realizing the sin in your life. It says literally you drink and eat condemnation on yourself. Don't do that. In just a moment, as these elements are passed down the aisle, pause to reflect. Pray. "Search me, O God. Is there any offensive way in me? You know when I sit and when I stand. Is there anything in me offensive?" Would you pause for a moment to pray through that and have God examine your heart? I'll come back up in just a minute, and we'll take those elements together corporately. As I said, one of the traditions that mark us as the church is what is traditionally called _Communion_. We gather together like this and, in a symbolic way, do what the very apostles did the night before Jesus died. That's what we have in common here as the church. We gather around this reality that Jesus, a man who was fully human and fully God, died for us, was a payment for us, that he suffered and died so that we don't have to. Not just a death, not like he died in his sleep or died instantly. It was a slow, torturous, humiliating death on our behalf. He got what we deserved, and if we trust that he got what we deserve, then as heirs, adopted children, adopted sons and daughters, we get what _he_ deserves, being a perfect person, a person without sin. We get invited into his inheritance. It says… **"The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, 'This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.' In 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.' For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes."** I've done this three times now, and I love how I can't just put that in my mouth and move on. It stops me. It pauses me for a moment. I've tried to make it a habit of seeing Jesus there, picturing him on the cross, knowing everything he was going to endure on my behalf. Friends, I'm telling you, I believe wholeheartedly this morning that we have to do a better job of stopping, inquiring of the Lord, and giving him thanks for all that he's doing in our midst. If we can help you do that in any way… I've told several friends now, "Please write in the Watermark News how we can be praying for you as a staff." Our staff actually gets that, and we pray for you during the week. Someone will follow up with you and pray with and for you over the phone, and if there's anything we can help you with or you have any confusion around anything that's going on here, please let us know, and we'd love to have that conversation with you. Please this week, as you gather in your Community Groups, consider how you would invite in the practice of being still, stopping before the Lord, inquiring of him, and giving thanks for all he's done. Let me do that now. Lord, we do thank you for a slower service, an opportunity to look at things differently, an opportunity of reflection, to think about what you've done in our midst. Here, today, the incredible things we have to be grateful for, but also through the gospel, the death and the resurrection of your Son, the forgiveness of sins, the grace we receive. For it is by grace we have been saved through faith, not of ourselves; it's a gift from you. So, Lord, help us as we go now throughout our week of worship to continue to reflect upon that. We love you, God. We praise your holy name. It is in the name of Jesus we pray, amen.