Message 9 of 19

Dignity of Responsibility

Gary Haugen · Todd Wagner · Apr 29, 2018

Message 9 of 19

Dignity of Responsibility

Gary Haugen · Todd Wagner · Apr 29, 2018

Do you remember when you were first given the dignity of responsibility? Gary Haugen—founder and CEO of International Justice Mission (IJM)—teaches us how we have all been given the dignity of responsibility from God, as we do His work in His world. God has us in an utterly unique moment in history, fighting against the most iconic evil in the human story: slavery.

Scripture References: Genesis 1

Todd Wagner

About Todd Wagner

In 1999, a group of friends and I desired to be the same awe-inspiring community that we saw in the Scriptures and to connect God's people with opportunities to know... Read more

Message Transcript
Good morning, Watermark Church. I feel a great sense of joy to get to be back here with you. I would like to take a moment before we get started to have you think back of when you were little and see if you can remember when somebody gave you the dignity of responsibility. I can remember this so clearly, because I was about 8 years old. I was on family vacation, and we were going to see my Uncle Chuck and Aunt Phyllis in Tacoma, Washington. Uncle Chuck is this old-school construction worker, and what you have to picture is he's the guy with the height and the girth and the mobility of a vending machine, but Uncle Chuck is my favorite uncle of all time because he was funny and also because he would let me watch TV. One night, we were up way past my bedtime watching _Gunsmoke_ together when Uncle Chuck turned to me and asked if I would be willing to go to work with him the next day to help him out. Well, this was pretty much like Neil Armstrong asking you to help him out with the Apollo mission to the moon. This was serious. I was needed. This was the big time. We were probably going to have to wake up before dawn, and we'd have to drink coffee. In fact, my little 8-year-old body did both of those things the next day. It was an epic, sweaty day. I was picking up big tools and handing them to Uncle Chuck, sweeping up little piles of sawdust and trash. At the end of the day, I packed up the truck pretty much all by myself. Then I clamored up at the end of the day into the seat to ride shotgun on the ride home. I couldn't really see over the dashboard, but I put my arm out the window anyway just to ride home like any hardworking man does at the end of a long day. See, I had arrived at Uncle Chuck's house that summer about 3'10", but I went home about 7 feet tall, because Uncle Chuck had given me the dignity of responsibility. He had given me grown-up work to do, and that gave significance to my little being. I got to experience the joy of actually making a difference. This, of course, is the great joy our heavenly Father invites each one of us into as he gives us his work to do in the world, as he gives us the dignity of responsibility. In fact, think for a moment with me about everything God wants done in the world. He wants the gospel to be shared. He wants the sick to be healed. He wants the hungry to be fed. He wants families to be whole. He wants justice to be done. But there are two things we know about everything on this kind of list. First, he could do all of these things by himself, but secondly, we know he actually chooses to use human beings to get his work done. Now we might argue quite easily that this is probably the most inefficient way possible for God to get his work done in the world, and we could show a lot of evidence that this is not the world's greatest plan, but it's clear it _is_ the plan. Like Uncle Chuck, who chose perhaps not the sharpest tool in the shed when he brought little Gary to the workplace… He clearly had other purposes in mind for that day, and likewise, God, in his sovereign purposes, has chosen to get his work done in the world through us. He grants you and me the dignity of responsibility. Of course, God maintains ultimate responsibility for what happens in the world the way Uncle Chuck maintained ultimate responsibility for what happened on the worksite, but nevertheless, it's clear that God has decided to place in our hands responsibility for getting done the things he is passionate about…to share the good news, to love the lonely, to raise children, to protect the vulnerable, to paint the beautiful masterpiece, to tell the truth, to plant the seed, to order the chaos of our world. This is what you and I get to do. If you think about this on the great scheme of history, what you can also see is that, occasionally, there are special generations that are given unique moments in history they become stewards of. Think, for example, of the people who just happened to be born in the first century where there came together a generation of Christ followers who turned the world upside down with a gospel of love. Or think of those who happened to be born in the sixteenth century along with Calvin and Luther, this whole community of saints who turned the Christian world upside down with a Reformation that opened up whole new channels of God's grace. Or think about those who happened to be born in the eighteenth century who were part of that generation of founding fathers who, in that special moment in history, pioneered forms of democracy and rule of law that changed everything on the world landscape. Or think about what they have called the _Greatest Generation_ (some of whom will be here in this room with us today), who fought and defeated the genocidal violence of twentieth-century Nazis and fascists. Or a civil rights generation, some who might also be in this room, who marched out of churches with songs of hope to defeat systems of legalized racism. Or a generous generation that confronted the onslaught of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in our world and saw that disease taken down. If you think about it, what a great dignity for the people of God to be given a role to play in these dramas of such enormous consequence to God. That's why today, on this Sunday, I would like to invite you to pause with me to consider the extraordinarily unique moment of history in which you and I happened to be born. Whether we know it or not, almighty God has ordained for us to be born during the most decisive moment in his ancient struggle against the most iconic evil in human affairs. That is, God's struggle against this thing we call _slavery_. Very few people know this, but there are actually more people in slavery today than in any other time in human history. About 40 million people are held illegally as slaves in our world today. That's four times the number of people who were extracted from Africa during 400 years of the transatlantic slave trade. Right now, human slavery in our world is a $150 billion business every year. It generates more profits than Coca-Cola, Disney, General Electric, Wells Fargo Bank, and ExxonMobil combined. Slavery is not a relic of history; it's a larger reality than ever before. So what I want to do this morning is to suggest that if the mental image of slavery we are carrying around is a black-and-white photo from the nineteenth century it really has to be updated with color to represent, for instance, the millions of people who are held in slavery in agricultural facilities around the world. Or if _this_ is the picture of slavery in our minds, it needs to be updated to reflect the millions of people who are held as slaves in brick factories around the world. The horrors and degradations of slavery we would have come across as children when we turned the page of a history book continue on an even more vast scale today. Of course, children in other eras who found themselves born into slavery find themselves today inheriting the yoke of slavery again on an even more vast scale, because the old violence and humiliation of slavery has taken on twenty-first-century forms. Now I must admit if these images of modern-day slavery are almost surreal and overwhelming and seem almost unbelievable, I know exactly how you feel, because I remember the first time I met a slave. It was about 20 years ago, and I met this little 10-year-old girl named Shama who was just a few years older than my own daughters. She was forced to sit on the floor and roll cigarettes seven days a week, 12 to 14 hours a day, day after day, year after year. Or the time I was conducting an undercover investigation in southeast Asia, investigating child sex trafficking, and I was taken into the back room of a brothel, and all of a sudden I'm presented with about a dozen kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years of age who were being sold to foreign pedophiles and sex tourists. This is very simply the reality of our world today. We're not talking about metaphorical slavery; we're talking about people who are actually owned by other human beings and forced to work by violence. These boys, for instance, are beaten by their masters if they don't comply with his orders, these men who are clients of ours at IJM had their hands cut off when they tried to run away from their owner, this young woman sleeps in a room where there's a padlock on the outside of the door in the brothel where she is held day after day, and these slaves are held in this brick factory by the sheer power of terror. The brutality of slavery in our world is real, and I feel that the family here at Watermark has demonstrated year after year that they have the hearts of strength to confront the actual world into which God has sent us as his disciples. In fact, it is a world in which now slavery is taking on some particularly ugly high-tech forms. I was in the Philippines not too long ago. I met a young girl named Cassie. Cassie's life is hard because she lives in a very poor rural area where there's no electricity, no running water. She doesn't even have school available to her, but somehow Cassie has remained this gentle and very kind young woman. One day when she was just 12 years old, there was a man in the community who said to her family, "Hey, we have a special opportunity for Cassie to come to the capital city of Manila to get an education." Now Manila is 800 miles away, so this seems big and scary, but it also seems like the family has won the lottery, to be able to get an education like this. Or so it seemed, until 800 miles too late Cassie found she had actually been sold into what they call a _cyber sex-trafficking ring_, where she's held inside a dingy house and abused in front of a web camera so pedophiles in France and the US and Russia can pay and direct that abuse. This is the new scourge of cyber sex trafficking that threatens the poor around the world. As much as I appreciate the willingness of you, brothers and sisters, to stand up to see what is true about what is going on in our world, here's the message I want to be more clear than any other. What is also true about slavery in our era is that it is absolutely more stoppable than ever. For the first time in human history, there is a coalition of forces that are coming together to make it possible to end slavery for good. Now why is that the case? First, for the first time, slavery is illegal everywhere in the world. Secondly, slavery has concentrated itself, these 40 million, in a few places, in a few countries in the world. There are about 12 countries that have 70 percent of the world's slaves. In other words, while it's against the law everywhere, there are a few places in the world where those laws are simply not enforced, so slavery has been allowed to thrive during our patch of history. This leads to the final reason why ending slavery is possible in our generation. We've discovered the vaccine that stops it. It's the simple combination of excellent law enforcement with excellent services for the survivors. When those two things are combined, slavery collapses. What I can tell you is we've been able to measure this several times now at IJM. One of our first projects addressing this was sponsored by the Gates Foundation in the Philippines, where they gave us the task of trying to take on the problem of child sex trafficking in one of the largest cities in the Philippines. They wanted to see if we could carry out a program that would reduce child sex trafficking by 20 percent. So we went ahead and built a small team of Filipino justice advocates who worked with local authorities, and they rescued hundreds of kids out of sex trafficking, but they also sent about 100 sex traffickers to jail. When the auditors, the experts, came back to measure what the impact was, did they find a 20 percent reduction in child sex trafficking? No. They found a 79 percent reduction in child sex trafficking. It just collapsed. Then we were able to replicate this in attacking two other of the largest cities of the Philippines that had child sex trafficking, and we saw it reduced by between 75 and 86 percent. This just blew our minds about what it is that is possible, and now we're simply sharing this with the people of God. We're living in an era in which we could actually end slavery in our world, because it turns out the slave owners are not brave, and if they are afraid of going to jail for doing this they just leave the kids alone. They leave kids like Cassie alone. In fact, some earnest Christian friends heard about the way she was being abused. They then partnered with IJM so we could bring rescue and get her out of that nightmare. Now Cassie is not only free, but she's also leading other children to freedom in her country out of sex trafficking. I got to talk with Cassie for a time, and she said when she was in this horrific place of darkness and slavery she just wanted to stop breathing, but she says now that God has brought her freedom she just wants to use every breath God gives her to rally us, the people of God, to raise the alarm and go to the fight for other kids who need to see the love of God. So consider what the God of history seems to have placed right before you and me. He has placed us in this utterly unique time where there are more people in slavery than ever but also where it's possible to finally sweep the ugliness of slavery into the dust bin of history for good, because he has placed in our hands the vaccine that actually stops it. The problem is there are places in the world that don't have access to that vaccine. They don't get the enforcement of the law and these great compassionate services for survivors. The question is…_Might we, you and I, common Christian people, be_ **the** _justice generation that transforms this?_ Could we do this? Could God be giving you and me the dignity of this responsibility? It's fascinating, because he has done this before. Sometimes we think that when God does these great acts of transformation in history he does it through these elite individual leaders, but that's not so much what history teaches us. If we were to travel back together to the 1800s, we would find a world in which the largest, most prosperous economies in the world were run on slavery, but then within a single generation the most surprising thing happened. The most prosperous slave economies the world had ever seen were forced to stop doing it and forced to stop doing it for _moral_ reasons. How did _that_ happen? Well, a passionate generation of Christ followers were invited by God into the dignity of responsibility, and they launched the world's first mass movement of Christian abolition, a movement in which (this is the important thing) common, everyday Christians by the millions took up the cause of ending slavery. We, of course, have heard of the famous leaders of these movements, leaders like William Wilberforce or Harriet Beecher Stowe or Frederick Douglass or William Lloyd Garrison or Sojourner Truth. It's true that they sounded the alarm, but what they did is they woke up a sleeping giant, the giant of the church, and by the millions, common Christians went forward to take up the cause of ending slavery on a mass scale. God gave common, everyday, churchgoing Christians the dignity of responsibility, and they chose to take up their prophetic call. What did they do? Well, first they rallied to anti-slavery rallies all around their country and the world in sometimes small church gatherings but sometimes in big revival meetings. They circulated millions of copies of _this_ image. In the day before Facebook and Instagram, if you imagine, how did people really understand the horror of slavery? It was by common Christians sharing hard copies of _this_ image so people could wake up to, oh my gosh, the truth about slavery. They also demanded to know, "Where does the sugar in my tea come from?" or "Where does the cotton in my dress come from?" They addressed themselves to their elected governing authorities and demanded an end to slavery. Christian citizens by the millions gathered up their dollars and their shillings and made sure the forces that were fighting against slavery had what they needed to take on the bullies who were making money off of slavery. Over a single generation, after slavery had existed and reigned in our world for thousands of years, they were successful beyond anyone's dreams and outlawed slavery from the most prosperous slave empires the world had ever known. Totally amazing. It seemed as if slavery had come to an end, and the church by the millions went back to sleep. But as we know, slavery did not go away. It evaded extinction by adapting. It took on forms the old laws didn't address, and then it began to thrive in the places where those laws were not enforced. Then in the twentieth century, human population grew so much and there were so many vulnerable people living in those countries where there was no law enforcement that now we find ourselves where we are now, where there are more people in slavery than in any other time in human history, because there simply are these places that don't get the vaccine that causes slavery to collapse. So now in the arc of history what does God do? What he seems to do is stir up the prophetic passion of his people, and he gives them the dignity of responsibility. He invites them to the grown-up work of sounding the alarm, of placing in their hands the practical work of raising the awareness and the resources to make sure the forces fighting slavery in the twenty-first century do not fail against the forces of slavery in our world. This does seem to be what is at stake in this dramatic moment of history God seems to have placed before us, and now we find ourselves here at Watermark Church, an extraordinary fellowship which for years and years has declared in the midst of much darkness in the world, "There is a God of history who is still alive, and he is raising up constantly a witness of hope in a world that otherwise is paralyzed by despair." At this moment, when there are both more slaves than ever but also a vaccine that could end it, International Justice Mission, this organization that in many ways you have helped launch in the world over this last decade, is now the largest anti-slavery organization in the world that provides a platform for everybody to move forward in the fight. When I think of that little girl Shama I met so long ago enslaved in that cigarette factory or I think of those little girls being sold to pedophiles in that brothel or those boys abused on that lake in the fishing business, I ask myself, "How in the world are they somehow supposed to believe that God is good?" Then I remember, "Oh, that's the dignity of responsibility we've been given, to go to them in the name of Jesus and show them his great love." If you do find any of this beginning to tug on your heart with a special sense of joy that, yes, God may be giving us this dignity of responsibility, I would just ask that you not allow that spark of hope to end with some joyless defeat that so often happens in the church parking lot, that great asphalt graveyard where the holy whisper of God's glorious hope is swallowed up by the rush of driving off to the next busy thing but perhaps less important thing. In fact, as you consider all of the invitations that come before you (and they must come before you one after another here at Watermark as you are led by Pastor Todd and others into this invitation of God into ministry), I don't know how it makes you feel. Maybe it's sometimes overwhelming or too much. We're like, "Oh my gosh. I've got to do this thing for God." I always love to remember Uncle Chuck. If you think about it, did he bring little Gary to the worksite because he was panicked about getting his construction done? "Oh my gosh. I need little 8-year-old Gary to get this solved." Did he not have other alternatives for manpower? Clearly he did, but clearly what was at work was love of his little nephew. It was all love and joy for me. It was his pure delight to show me what I was capable of working alongside him, that I was capable of grown-up and weighty work at his side. Likewise, this morning I believe our heavenly Father is giving us a glimpse into the grown-up and weighty work he is calling _us_ to. He's asking, "Do you want to step out onto the worksite with me? Do you want to smell a bit of the sawdust and the sweat and get into the work with me of building my kingdom?" "As Frederick Douglass preached on Fourth of July over a hundred sixty years ago, 'Let the people of God array their immense powers against slavery and slave-holding; and the whole system of crime and blood would be scattered to the winds.'" Frederick Douglass didn't get to see this fully completed in _his_ day, but what I would share with you from the heart of God is that he may be preparing to complete this in _our_ day. These are the words of Jesus to you and me, his people. He says, "You are the light of the world. Let your light so shine among men that they'll see your good works and then give glory to your Father who is in heaven." Will you pray with me this morning? Kind Father, thank you for the grace and gentleness with which you allow us to know you more deeply. Thank you, Father, for this church family and all that you have done to demonstrate your love to them and for one another. I would just ask that you would, by the power of your Spirit, help each one of us to take whatever is the next good step right in front of us today to follow you in the great dignity of responsibility you offer us as a loving and kind Father. We pray all of these things that they might go to the glory of him who is worthy. In the name and to the glory of Jesus Christ, amen. **Todd Wagner:** Gary and I were talking last night. This room is very alive, usually. It was extremely somber last night. There's a somberness in the room right now, and there ought to be. You just said 40 million people are in slavery, 10 times more than were a part of the African slave trade. I think we kind of go, "Really? Is that possible?" Let's just make one thing clear. We're not talking about metaphorical slavery here. Explain that. You're talking about humans who own humans. **Gary Haugen:** Yeah. Words lose their meaning in our culture many times, because _slavery_ is a metaphor for all kinds of things, but we _are_ talking about human beings who are forced to work by others by old-school violence. So they're in rice factories and brick mills and rock quarries and domestic servitude. There are people who own them and trade them because they control them with violence. **Todd:** We think, "Well, not here." Can I just show you something someone sent me last night? This is an article released by our justice department. This is a while back. It's April 27. It was two days ago in Fort Worth, Texas. There was a couple in Fort Worth that was charged with forced labor of a domestic servant. A little girl from Western Africa was brought over here when she was 5 years old. Finally, some neighbors realized, "They have multiple children, but there's one child who doesn't come out of their house." It's because she was a slave. This happens right here. You just have to have your eyes open to see what's happening. There are a number of things I want you to become aware of today, because we're not just supporting IJM, and I want you to know we _are_ supporting IJM in a lot of ways. We're going to talk about ways you can continue to do that, because this is one of the places you can get busy. But there's stuff that's happening right here with members of this body who are raising up their gifts and their passions and doing something about it here in Dallas. Let me tell you about one thing Gary and I want you to know about that's happening in September of 2018. One of my favorite things about IJM is that you understand this isn't something you can knock off by yourself. We've said this a lot around here recently. We've said, "We can do more than pray _after_ we have prayed, but we can't do more than pray _until_ we have prayed." Tell them what you do every day at IJM. **Gary:** Well, this is what you find. If you are going to go place your body between violent slaveholders and those they're abusing, you get acquainted really fast with your own weakness and vulnerability. So we begin every single workday in total silence. Every individual member in solitude spends a half hour in prayer just to spiritually prepare for the day. It's called our _8:30 stillness_, from 8:30 to 9:00. Then at 9:00, boy, we work for two full hours. Then we stop everything we're doing and gather together to pray together for another half hour. Then once a quarter we stop all work and just spend a day together in prayer, and then once a year we gather all of our leaders from around the world and invite our prayer partners to come spend two days praying with us. That's what's happening in September, Todd. We're actually bringing all of 1,000 IJM staff, the largest core of Christian anti-slavery workers in the world, and we're bringing them, of all places, to Dallas, Texas. We're talking about the lawyers from Cambodia and the Filipino undercover investigators and the women who lead rescue operations in India. They're all coming here, and I would just invite you to come and pray with them, pray with us. They would be so encouraged if you would be there, and I think you would find it to be the most powerful step in figuring out how God might use you in all kinds of ways as you get close to those who are engaging the fight. So come if you can. **Todd:** Yeah, come if you can. Let me put this slide up here, because Gary and the IJM team want to make it especially available to those of us here. There's a promo code that will allow you to come at the minimum rate that makes sense for them to be able to put the conference on and still have a lot of folks like us come. They want to do that because of their love for you and the way you invest in that ministry. Next September, that's going to be 24 hours we're going to be up there. Gary is going to be a part. He's going to let me be a part. Louie Giglio and Jennie Allen, who's a member of our body, are going to be a part. It's going to be an amazing 24 hours together of prayer, testimony, and encouragement. But that's way out in September. We don't want to wait until then to get busy. Sometimes we kind of look at what's going on in our lives, and we didn't graduate magna cum laude from Harvard University. **Gary:** You didn't? **Todd:** No, I didn't. And I didn't graduate cum laude from Chicago University School of Law like you did. If you go to Gary's web page on Wikipedia… I love it. It says, "If you're looking for the convicted murderer, it's a different Gary Haugen." **Gary:** Yeah. It's a mix-up. **Todd:** This is the one who's involved with justice mission. What I really love is you go down a little bit, and it says "Christian testimony," and the very first line says, "Gary is an engaged Christian." What a great, amazing description. That's what we want _you_ to be. God forbid that they ever say, "John Doe attends Watermark Church" unless as we pray it would become synonymous with "Therefore, he is an engaged Christian," which is what we're trying to do all around here. I want to share with you a couple of things we're doing, and then, Gary, I want you to think through how you would encourage them. Yesterday Gary was kind enough… We sat and shot a few Real Truth. Real Quick. episodes together. We answered questions like, "What can I do locally to fight against global injustice?" So we have those in little compact ways coming to you, but I want you to think just a second, Gary, about something you want to share with this body. Meanwhile, I want to encourage you with this. If you forget everything else we're saying today and you want to go, "Who was that guy who spoke that one day at Watermark?" or "How do I get to sign up for Liberate?" if you just remember [justice@watermark.org](mailto:justice@watermark.org) and shoot us an email and just say, "What was that?" we'll direct you to the registration. We'll direct you to opportunities where you can get engaged and join us in not just being stirred this morning and being sober in appropriate ways in reflection but getting in the game. This is what we do, by the way. This is what Proverbs 24:11-12 says: "Deliver those staggering away to death, and those who are staggering to slaughter, oh hold them back. If you say, 'See, we did not know this,' does he not consider it who weighs the hearts? And will he not know it who keeps your soul? And will he not render to men according to their lack of work?" So we have to get to work. Here's the good news. You have members of this body who are already doing some things. If you want to know what some of those things are, just go [justice@watermark.org](mailto:justice@watermark.org). First of all, we have life work Affinity groups. We have what's called Dallas Justice, where hundreds of lawyers who go to Watermark are engaged with IJM and other strategic partners around the world and locally where they disciple one another, encourage one another, and remind each other how they can use their gifts to work against systematic injustice in the world. If you are in the legal profession, you want to get involved with our Dallas Justice group, just like if you're a medical professional, a nurse or a doctor or some kind of practitioner in the medical area, get involved with our medical life Affinity groups. If you're an educator, get involved with _that_. If you're in banking and finance and the systematic injustice of payday loan stores and oppression in that, get involved with our financial teams. Those groups are waiting for you to join them so you can be discipled, so you can understand that what you do, where you are can be strategically used for the glory of God. Secondly, you need to know one of our partners here in town is called ACT, which stands for Advocates for Community Transformation. We work with neighbors in this city in order to disciple them, encourage them, help them understand the current laws that are on the books they can use to deal with flophouses and drug houses and prostitution centers in their community and deal with the blight in their community through housing codes and other, at times, legal means if necessary to get rid of these epicenters of darkness in their communities. That's happening right here in Dallas. We have a ministry to the folks who are victims of sex trade in this community. It's called Reclaimed. If you want to know what we're doing in our town right now to work with women who are in bondage right now to maybe trafficking their own bodies willfully (even the ones who look like they're doing it willfully often aren't), you can get involved. We have guys who used to be addicted to strip clubs who now stand out in front of strip clubs and love individuals walking in there and tell them there's a better way and there's more life. We have women who work with people who are involved in the sex industry to disciple them, encourage them, and help them get a way out. We have folks who rescue people from prostitution and sex activities who are working with gals, many of whom attend Watermark, who live in safe homes where they're being discipled, encouraged, and reminded of the love God has for them, given the dignity and the opportunity to go forward. If you want to get involved in that, we're not just going to throw you out there. We're going to put you through a discipleship curriculum called Reclaimed and help you understand the theological basis and framework of that problem and the solutions Christ has for us as we get involved. There's so much going on already right here with members of this community in the area of justice that you just have to join ( [justice@watermark.org](mailto:justice@watermark.org)). We're gospel people, and the gospel has implications in your life. One of the things I love about Gary is IJM started about the same time Watermark did and about the same time that little girl was brought from the western coast of Africa to Southlake, Texas, into bondage. God is always at work and evil is always at work, but we have work to do, and partners like IJM help us do it. Gary, if you had one more shot to encourage the body and just say, "Hey, Watermark…" What would you say to them? **Gary:** Clearly, the church leadership has provided platforms to be engaged. Sometimes we just have to think, "What really is the hindrance? What holds us back?" Because the scandal of the gospel, what Jesus taught, was that the world will tell us happiness and joy is found from pulling away from all the suffering. We have enough suffering in our own lives, so we get very busy about making our lives as safe as possible, getting all of the problems we can solve as possible, and sometimes making it smaller and smaller and safer and safer. What Jesus is saying is, "Oh, that's a dead end. It might look like the place where joy is, but it's not." Jesus invites us to his extraordinary joy of love, of experiencing the way his power is made perfect in our weakness, in going into places of great need and seeing the way God wants to use us. So yes, we could all find out how powerful we are in our own power or we could experience the power of God by going into places of great need. This is Jesus' invitation to us. This is what I have experienced. This is what Pastor Todd clearly has experienced, and I think he wants everyone to experience his joy. **Todd:** The dignity of responsibility. God has invited you into that. I love in Genesis, chapter 1, where it says "God blessed them," and then it says, "Let me tell you how you can continue in the blessing I've placed you into." He says, "I want you to be fruitful and multiply. I want you to fill the earth and subdue it. I want you to rule over the fish in the sea. I want you to be my agent of sustaining grace that leads to human flourishing, and later, I want you to rescue people who are in bondage to a lie. I've rescued _you_. Now you rescue others." God, from the very beginning, gave us the dignity of responsibility that will lead to continuing human flourishing as agents of grace, as vice-regents of God. You're looking at two broken guys here. All we did was say yes to God. Gary and I were talking about that message I gave last fall. God wants to be your next yes. We're not just playing defense here; we're playing offense. We're discipling young children and adopting kids who are in difficult environments to raise them up so they wouldn't be more vulnerable to the perpetrators of violence. Get involved with Mercy Street. Get involved with our Cornerstone Academy. There's so much to do ( [justice@watermark.org](mailto:justice@watermark.org)). Pray with us now. Pray with us in September at Liberate. Let me just tell you something. We don't put booths out there right now for you to sign up for Liberate conference, because we're not selling. Go to Amazon. Type in "Gary Haugen, author." Read the one by the justice Batman, not by the convicted murderer. Read Gary's books. Educate yourself on this issue. We're not selling; we are inviting. This is the greatest privilege of our lives, and we want to share it with you, to have the dignity of responsibility. Father, I pray that this body would be part of your eternal justice mission, and we thank you for the scandal of grace that rescued us from the justice we deserve so we could come running out of the grave of the bondage of slavery and be set free for your glory. Would you remind us of that now and call us to action as we abide with you? In Jesus' name, amen.