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9 Things I Learned at "Seminary": Sermon Guide

9 Things I Learned at "Seminary": Sermon Guide Hero Image 9 Things I Learned at "Seminary": Sermon Guide Hero Image

The following blog post contains notes and application questions from our December 16, 2018 message, 9 Things I Learned at Seminary.


After 12-years of faithfully serving on staff, JP is transitioning to become the senior pastor at Harris Creek Baptist Church in Waco, TX. In his final message while on staff, he encourages us with nine things that he learned during his time serving Jesus at Watermark over the last 12-years.

Key Takeaways

Walk in the light

  • There is freedom when you walk in the light.
  • You don’t need to hide any longer. Your life can be an open book. You can walk in the light.

Avail yourself to the work of God

  • “God is going to do something amazing today, I pray that we would be so faithful that He’d use us.” -Todd Wagner
  • If God is for you, who can be against you?

The Bible is our blueprint

  • Whatever God wants to build in our lives and this church, the instruction is here.
  • We are just going to do whatever the Bible says. We are going to apply it to our lives.
  • There is no “Watermark way.” There is God’s way as revealed in His Word, the Bible. We are firm where it is firm and flexible where it is flexible.

Every conflict is an opportunity

  • We don’t break or fake peace, we make peace.
  • When there is an explosion, everyone runs away except the people who have been trained to deal with the explosion—we are those people. Run toward the explosion of conflict.

Reject gossip

  • The 24-hour rule. If someone says something to you about someone else, you give them 24-hours to tell the person before you do.
  • A way that we heal conflict—or prevent it all together—is to not tolerate gossip.

Minister through people not to people

  • You are the pastors of this church. It’s not built around a personality or a staff team.
  • You are this church! You don’t go to church, you are the church. You don’t like your church, you are the church.
  • Some of my favorite pastors aren’t on staff, but they are leading ministries here.

Authentic community is forged not found

  • Everyone is looking for a great community group—but you don’t find it, you work for it. It’s a lot of work—just like all relationships.
  • Here’s a secret: everyone’s community group is hard.
  • You’re not just looking for buddies. Stay with it much longer than you want to.

Reach the next 100

  • If you are about the things Jesus is about you have to be about the lost.
  • I leave you with this powerful question: “Do you have a faith?” Ask it early. Ask it often.

Keep worshiping

  • This is all about Jesus.
  • “Have a great week of worship” is not just a cliche way to end a church service. It is the way to live your entire life.
  • It wasn’t until he was fully submissive to his master that he found freedom for the first time. This is one of the greatest paradoxes of the Christian faith...freedom comes through submission.

Walk in the light
Avail yourself to the work of God
The bible is our blueprint
Every conflict is an opportunity
Reject gossip
Minister through people not to people
Authentic community is forged not found
Reach the next 100
Keep worshiping

Questions for Reflection, Discussion, and Application

  • Which of the nine things that JP shared do you have the most room to grow in? Share this with your community group, and ask them to help you come up with one way you can grow in the thing you identified.
  • Is your life an open book? Do people have the freedom to ask anyone, anything, at any time about your life?
  • Is your community group hard? Are you willing to put in the hard work and amount of time it takes to forge a great community group? What’s one way you can invest into your community group in the next week?

Mentioned or Recommended Resources

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