Kyle Kaigler encourages us to remember the core values of Watermark, examine our own life with them, and excel still more. He takes us through four of the nine values, deeply rooted in God's Word: fully devoted to Christ, authentic in your walk, committed to the uncommitted, and focused on ministry and service.
Parable of the Sower: What Is the Soil of Your Heart?
An Evening with Eric Metaxas: Miracles
Don't be a WENI - Christlike Communication
Remembering Our Core Values: Examine Your Life, Excel Still More
Get Busy: Individual Next Steps
The Exclusivity of Jesus
Living Life in the Grace and Sufficiency of Christ: Baptism Celebration 2014
The Continuing Story of Easter
Todd and Greg Answer Questions About the Faith
5 Characteristics of Relationships that Succeed
A Tender Word for Pharisees
Stewarding the Life of a Shepherd
Love is Always Better than the Law
You know we talk a lot around here about shepherding, community, leaning into each other, and having hard conversations in a way that's loving. Well, I will tell you me standing here this morning is a result of some hard conversations. Let me give you a little bit of the story.
Back in the beginning of the summer, my wife said to me, "Kyle, we're launching twins to college these weeks in August. So whatever you do, go easy on your schedule. Don't commit to anything that takes a ton of time and energy. Just be with me. Be physically present. Be emotionally present."
She did an incredible job of communicating. That was going along great. Then awhile back, right in the middle of us dropping our twins at their respective colleges, I get a phone call. "Hey, Kyle. I'm teaching at the LAUNCH retreat. Can you do Sunday morning before Labor Day?" That was easy, right? "Hey, Todd." I texted him back and said, "I have made some commitments to my family, so I'm going to have to be physically and emotionally present with my family. Thank you. I'd love to do it another time, but this doesn't work."
I sent that, and it lay dormant for about three seconds. Then I get this text back, and it says, "I get it. I'll honor it, but I feel like this is something you ought to do. Would you push that to your Community?" What I want you to know is even on staff, we are being shepherded on a regular basis.
I kicked that out, fully knowing my Community Group would say, "No, Kyle. That's a great answer." That lay dormant for about three seconds. My Community Group sent back to me. They say, "Todd rarely asks you to do something that would potentially sacrifice family and all that kind of stuff. There must be a reason he did that. You ought to process it." I'm like, "All right."
I go to Tresha, and I said, "What do you think?" She goes, "Yeah, you've been with me through this. I think we're good this next week. Let's do it." The rest of my Community Group kicks in, "Yes, you ought to do it." So here we are: the result of shepherding today that I am teaching. The more I've gotten ready to go this week, the more it has been confirmed in my heart, "God, this is what you wanted me to do this Sunday morning."
We are going to spend a little bit of time, just like we've done even in the worship… I feel like after the worship set today, we could go home because those songs taught us the basics, the core, of our Christian faith. We've heard a ton, but Todd asked me, "Kyle, you've been here since the beginning. Remind our people about our Core Values and about how they were leaking out of us in the early days and the Core Values that kind of got us where we are."
Now I'm going to say the term "Core Values" a lot today. Here's what I want you to know. Those Core Values that are on our website that we see all over the place that you go through in Membership Class, those are all straight out of the Scripture. That's where they come from. We're going to spend a little bit of time. We're not going to get to all of them. There are nine of them, so we're going to get to three or four today. They're ones I think are so important as we're kind of entering this new chapter of Watermark Community Church.
You know, a year and a half ago or so, the folks from Fort Worth set out and said, "Let's go do this in Fort Worth." We're starting to do this in Plano. Todd just said, "Just remind our body of the Core Values, of the biblical values, we have lived for these last 15 years." That's what I get to do today.
My job is to declare to you what God has done, and then your job today is just to examine your heart and see where God has you. As we go through these Core Values, as we go through the Scripture, where is your heart on these things that are biblical? How are you doing? Man, are you still fully devoted to Christ or have you lost some steam? Maybe you're here, and you've never committed and said, "That's the way I want to live."
I want to ask you today as we go through the passage if you will commit to do that. Examine your own heart. Then at the end of the service, we're going to have an opportunity as Jon leads the worship time to recommit, to commit, or for the first time, to say, "This is how I want to live." Let's pray, and we'll dive in to what God has for us today.
Lord, your Word says, "For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart." That's what we ask you today. Would you judge our heart, our thoughts, our intentions? Would you show us where we're not matching up to the scriptural challenges, the scriptural principles, you've given us?
We tell you that apart from your Holy Spirit who lives inside of us, Father, we can't do that. We like ourselves too much. We like our comfort. We like what we like. Apart from a supernatural Holy Spirit who lives in us, we can't accurately examine our hearts. We need you to do that. We pray these things in Jesus' name, amen.
Well, what we're going to do is as we look at these Core Values, we're going to kind of do that out of the book of 1 Timothy. Just to tell you a little bit of a story, last fall the elders kind of came to me, and they said, "Kyle, we'd really love for you to think about leading our campus up in Plano." I've done a bunch of different things here. I've loved every single thing I've done. I said, "Well, yeah. Let me pray and process, see what's happening, if that makes sense."
When I was praying and journaling, I said, "Lord, how should I figure this out? I've done Children's, and I've done External Focus. I've done some other things. How should I figure it out?" In the middle of a conversation with some buddies, we were just talking about the Pastoral Epistles. That's 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus. Basically what that is is Paul is telling Titus and Timothy, "Here's how you lead a church." I'm like, "Ding! That's probably a good thing on which to spend some time."
The whole month of December 2013, kind of the programming around here slowed down a little bit, and I just said, "I'm just going to double down on the Pastoral Epistles. I'm going to go study 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus and see what Paul says to a young pastor." I probably don't fit the young category, but Timothy and Titus did. "I'll see what he said about leading a church."
That's what I did. I just spent that month. On December 31, I wrote in my journal, "God, the best I can tell, I think this is what you want me to do." I had done that really on my own. At that point, we know the ways of a man seem right in his own eyes, but in the end it's death. Then I went to my wife, and I went to my Community and said, "What do you guys think?"
Over the course of several weeks, the Lord really confirmed that was the right thing for me to do. When Todd challenged me to go back and talk about the Core Values, I just said, "We can do that right out of 1 Timothy. He talks about those things a ton." If you've never spent any time reading the Pastoral Epistles, it is a manual on how to be a leader, how to be a godly leader.
We don't have time to do 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus today, but I would challenge you to go read those books of the Bible to figure out what God says to us about being a leader. We're going to jump right in. We are going to look. The first one is…
1._ Fully devoted to Christ._ You've heard that a ton. We've said around here that full devotion is normal for a believer, to be fully devoted. What does that mean? The first thing I think when I think about fully devoted to Christ or full devotion to Christ is we have got to have…
A. A right view of who God is. Let's look at what Timothy says first of all in 1 Timothy 1:17. In all these chapters, Paul is giving Timothy instructions on how to be a leader and how to lead the church. But then in almost every chapter, he stops, and he says, "Timothy, Titus, don't forget the big picture. This is not just about instructions, okay? This is about remembering the big picture."
He says in 1 Timothy 1:17, "All honor and glory to God forever and ever! He is the eternal King, the unseen one who never dies; he alone is God." Paul is reminding Timothy. He is saying, "Don't forget who we serve. He is an eternal God. He is unseen. He is an eternal king." We have got to have the right view of God. In 1 Timothy, chapter 2 (the next chapter), it says,
"This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth. For, There is one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus. He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone. This is the message God gave to the world at just the right time."
Paul is saying to Timothy, "Don't forget. Don't forget who God is. Don't forget who you worship." There's a parallel passage we all are fairly familiar with in Philippians 2:9 through 11. It says:
"Therefore, God elevated him [Jesus] to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
There are probably right now about seven billion people on our planet. Less than one billion at least claim Jesus Christ is their Lord and Savior. Just imagine Jesus Christ right now sitting at the right hand of God knowing he is the Creator, he is sovereign over all, and yet there are six billion people on our planet who don't know that.
One of the things that drives me as a Christ follower, as a leader in our church, is I so badly want Jesus Christ to get the glory and the honor he deserves. He deserves all seven billion people to stop and say, "You are our God. You are our King." Worship him. That's what he deserves! It breaks my heart at times that he is not getting what he deserves.
Here's the great news. One of these days (get a picture of this), seven billion people are going to bow their knee, and they are going to confess Jesus Christ is Lord. So don't forget who we serve. This is the God who has the power to change individual lives, has the power to change a country, and has the power to change the world. Have a right view of God, and worship him the way he deserves to be worshiped.
I want to read a quote to you that comes out of A.W. Tozer's book called The Knowledge of the Holy. It's a little meaty, so I'm going to read it slowly. It summarizes this whole idea about why this right view of God is really important.
"What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us. […] Worship is pure or base as the worshiper entertains high or low thoughts of God. For this reason the gravest question before the Church is always God Himself, and the most portentous fact about any man is not what he at a given time may say or do, but what he in his deep heart conceives God to be like."
That's a great line right here. "We tend by a secret law of the soul to move toward our mental image of God. This is true not only of the individual Christian, but of the company of Christians that composes the Church. Always the most revealing thing about the Church is her idea of God…"
What we think and what we believe about God informs everything we do. So it is so important for us as we read, as we study. We looked at those Equipping opportunities in the Watermark News today to grow, learn, and expand our view of God. Let me tell you how that practically plays out.
My most recent job the last few years at Watermark has been the family ministry director. We've done a ton of stuff around parenting. We have this formula (everybody is going to laugh at this) for parenting. Haha! Right? There is no formula, okay? But it gives us something to hang our hat on as parents.
We talk about, if you want to raise kids who love Jesus, you have to do four things. You have to model it. You have to train it. You don't want the culture to train it. We need to train it as Christian parents. Model. Train. Pray like crazy. Pray for your kids. Then we have to take our hands off of it and trust. That's the hardest part.
I mentioned at the very beginning, this week our twin girls (19 years old) were headed to college. I thought I had this thing. I thought I had it down. I was going to be cool. I was going to be able to manage my pain. I had friends tell me, "Okay, Kyle, this is brutal. It's brutal!" "I got this. Everything is fine!"
A week ago Thursday, we take Kelsey down to Baylor. We would look back at our family and say, "We've modeled. We've trained. You know, we've prayed. This thing is going to be cake." We are up, and we spend all day getting Kelsey's room ready to go. After everybody was gone, it's just the four of us. We kind of huddle up, and we pray, give Kelsey a kiss. It's teary, but I'm thinking, "I'm managing my pain. I've got this."
We walk down, and it's fine. I'm like, "Hey, I survived. This was not as bad as I thought." Just so you know, Kelsey and Kaylee have lived in the same room for 19 years. They are incredibly good friends. They love each other. They sharpen each other. They care for each other. They love Jesus. We walk down, and what I didn't think about was Kelsey was going to walk us out to the lobby. Can you see it coming? Okay.
We start to walk out. Kaylee is with us. Tresha is with us. We've said goodbye. I'm managing my pain. We walk out, and all of a sudden, Kaylee turns and just sprints back to Kelsey. She grabs her, and they completely and totally fall apart in front of God and everybody in the lobby. Three seconds later, Mom and Dad completely fall apart in front of everybody.
So you know, the Kaiglers are not pretty criers, okay? It was really ugly in the lobby with hundreds of people all over the place. After that, God just said, "Kyle, this trust thing isn't so easy, is it? You have to cut these things loose." Do you know what? As much as I can, I've got (and I'm working on it; I need to grow in it) a view of God that he is sovereign, and he is good. He is trustworthy, and I can trust him.
Do you know what? This last week, I haven't had any idea what my girls are doing at college. None! I have to hand them over. I have to trust. God is having to do some peeling for both my wife and me. Your right view of God helps this deal because a right view of God leads to a deep trust in him and being able to trust him with all of the things that are deep in your heart.
That's why a deep view of God matters, because there are so many things in this world we cannot trust, or we can't control. We have to say, "God, we trust you. We know you're good. We trust you, and we know you're good because the Scripture says so."
The second part of being fully devoted to Christ is we have got to have…
B. A right view of the church. So a right view of God and a right view of the church. Let me go right back. Pick up where I left off. We did 1 Timothy 1 and 2. Here's 1 Timothy 3:14 and 15. "I am writing these things to you now, even though I hope to be with you soon, so that if I am delayed, you will know how people must conduct themselves in the household of God."
He is saying, "I'm writing this stuff to you so you'll know how to lead your church." Then he says this: "This is the church of the living God, which is the pillar and foundation of the truth." Do you understand what we have here, what our responsibilities are here? The foundation and pillar of the truth… See, God has given us the truth in his Word, and he calls us as the church to be the protector, the foundation, and the pillar of the church.
That's our job as believers, that when we see things that are errant or people who aren't doing the things God would have them do, we get to lovingly, caringly have conversations with them. Whenever there's error or doctrinal error in our church, we get to go have a loving conversation with them and say, "I think the Scripture says this differently." The right view of the church is so important to our full devotion to God.
Here's another kind of parallel passage. It's Paul again talking to the church in Ephesus. Chapter 1, verses 20 through 23. I took a little liberty, and I got The Message paraphrase of the Bible because I think it brings some life to it. The Message shouldn't be your study Bible, but it can bring some life to the passages. Here's what it says:
"All this energy issues from Christ: God raised him from death and set him on a throne in deep heaven, in charge of running the universe, everything from galaxies to governments, no name and no power exempt from his rule. And not just for the time being, but forever. He is in charge of it all, has the final word on everything.
At the center of all this, Christ rules the church. The church, you see, is not peripheral to the world; the world is peripheral to the church. The church is Christ's body, in which he speaks and acts, by which he fills everything with his presence."
See, my history is I had a really weak view of the church. For me, when I was growing up, it was boring. I didn't want to go. I was fighting my mom when I was young. My dad didn't go to church. I was like, "I want to be like him on Sunday mornings!" Even as I got into some churches later on, I'm like, "Man, it just feels weak. There's just nothing here."
Then all of a sudden, I jumped into some parachurch ministries. I did some stuff with Young Life, and I did some stuff with Kanakuk and some other places. All of a sudden, I see God working in kids' lives in amazing ways. Just so you know, when we started Watermark 15 to 16 years ago when we were talking and praying, some of the guys who started the church were parachurch guys.
We were saying, "We have seen God work like crazy in these places. He is changing lives, and kids' lives are changing. Then those kids are changing their families. It's working. Why isn't that happening in the church?" A bunch of us got together and said, "If it can happen here, we know God wants it to happen in the church."
There were about eight families at the beginning, and quickly it became a lot more who just said, "Let's do this, okay?" The church is the most powerful agent for life change in the world. It's the most powerful agent for life change in the world. With Jesus as the head of the church, it is the most effective organization in the world for life change.
What I want to tell you is a right view of God leads to a deep trust in him, and a right view of the church leads to a deep sense of mission and purpose. See, if you have a right view of the church, you know God has called you to be an active, fully devoted follower of Jesus Christ. That right view of the church gives you a mission and a purpose for what you're going to do.
Let me just ask you a question. I asked you to examine your heart when we started this thing. How are you doing? How are you doing at being fully devoted to Christ? See, full devotion to Christ changes everything. It changes how you spend your time. It changes how you spend your money. It changes how you raise your kids. It changes how you make decisions about your schedule. It changes everything.
Every one of us in this room (myself included) has areas of our lives where we haven't yielded to what God has called us to do. One of the things I want us to do today is just to tell the Lord, "God, this is one of those areas you've kind of had that little voice in the back of my head. The Spirit has been convicting me, but I've kind of not paid attention to it."
I just want to ask you today, will you pay attention to it? Because here's the promise I will give you. It will get you. Todd uses the illustration all the time that that little cub that is cute and fun later on becomes a lion and devours you. As you think about full devotion to God, I would ask you, "How are you doing?"
2._ Authentic in our walk_. Paul to Timothy in 1 Timothy, just all over this book, has all kinds of things. I'm just going to brain bust you with short Scriptures, what he says about this whole idea of authenticity. First Timothy 1:5: "The purpose of my instruction is that all believers would be filled with love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and genuine faith."
First Timothy 1:19: "Cling to your faith in Christ, and keep your conscience clear." First Timothy 4:12: "Don't let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity." First Timothy 4:16: "Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you."
First Timothy 5:22: "Never be in a hurry about appointing a church leader. Do not share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure." There's a proverb I use all the time in my ministry that kind of summarizes all of these verses Paul is giving to Timothy. It's Proverbs 4:23, and it just sums it all up. It says this: "Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life."
Folks, we have to pay attention. Todd says all the time, "The hardest person to lead in the world is myself." Yes! That is not just Todd. All of us have got to pay attention to our hearts because it determines the course of our lives.
Just to tell you a little bit of a personal example here, I don't know how I got this job, but three or so years ago, I ended up leading the construction part of the children's building. I was kind of the children's director or the family director, and that kind of fell in my lap. Let me give you the illustration here. I was a choir conductor, and I could not read music or play an instrument. I'm like, "Huh?"
The honest truth is I wore myself out because I was not paying attention to my heart. When we got that thing done in January of 2013 as we were going through the spring, my heart, my soul was tired, and it was empty. I got tired early in the day. A lot of times, you'll hear the term burnout. I wouldn't classify myself as burned out because I still loved Jesus, and I still loved the church.
I love this place, but I was tired, and my soul was empty. I went to the guys who lead me on staff, and I just said, "Hey, guys. Let me tell you what's going on. I'm fine. I love you guys. I love the church, but over this summer, there's a break in the ministry for me. Can I take some extended time and just go figure out what's going on?"
I did. I took some time last summer (not this past summer, but the summer before), and I just spent time with the Lord. I just pulled away every day. I worked out a deal with Tresha. I just said, "If you'll give me from 7:00 a.m. till about 1:00 p.m., I'm just going to go disappear. Then the rest of the afternoon and the evening, I'm all yours to do family, for us to be together, all that."
Let me tell you what the Lord said to me in those times away. He said, "Your faith has become checklist Christianity." I was still spending some time in the Word. Check. Still praying. Check. Still writing in my journal occasionally. Check. All that was happening, but my heart was dry, and the intimacy with our Lord Jesus Christ had left.
He told me some other things. He said, "Kaigler, you're not fishing enough." Okay? Awesome! Right? A great guy I read a lot of just says the definition of Sabbath or sabbatical is play and pray. I got to that place, and I just said, "Man, I'm not in a good spot." I had to pay attention to my heart, and the Lord was so faithful. I came back from that extended time away, and I was ready. I was fired up.
I will tell you I would not be headed for Plano if the Lord and the leadership at this church had not been gracious in showing me what was going on. I think I would have been a casualty of ministry. We have got to pay attention to our heart.
You know, a few years ago at Watermark, we had a guy who was a doctoral student at DTS do his doctoral thesis on Watermark. He wanted to know why this place works. Why is there life change? Why do people love coming to church here? What is going on? He spent a ton of time with us. Do you know what his summary was? He said it's a high call to follow Jesus, and it's a safe place.
Somehow at Watermark by God's grace with Jesus Christ the head of the church, with his leadership, they have figured out how to manage those two things. Do you know how that happens? That happens because almost every week Todd is up here on the stage saying, "Let me tell you I was frustrated with my kids. My wife and I got into an argument last night." He talks about it. Our elders all do that.
Years ago, Nate Graybill (and Teresa) got up here on stage and on video said, "I am a porn addict, and it's killing me, my family, and my marriage." He confessed it, and he got help. Nate Graybill now leads re:generation at our church. Think about the number of people who have come to Christ who have grown in their faith because years ago Nate and Teresa got on stage and said, "Here we are."
Leaders of the church, we have got to be authentic in our walk. Here are the two things I would ask you to do as you think about being authentic and examining your walk with God. First, ruthlessly examine your own heart. Second, live openly and honestly before others.
We're going to ask you a little later in the service to commit to those things because, again, there are some of those things that are kind of sitting in the back where the Lord is convicting us that we haven't paid attention to, like, "Oh, I'm just going to take half of the community pill. I'm going to kind of put one foot into this community thing, but I'm not going to be fully devoted to what God calls me to in the areas of community."
Folks, we have got to ruthlessly examine our own hearts, because we like ourselves, and we have got to get help examining our hearts and having other people help us do that. So there are two values: fully devoted to Christ and authentic in our walk. I want to tell you, one of the things that was characteristic all the time of the early days at Watermark was this whole idea of…
3._ Committed to the uncommitted_. We were so excited about what Jesus was doing in our own hearts, what he was doing in and around us that it was leaking out of us. Anybody we met, we said, "Let me tell you what we're doing. We're starting a church. We'd love to have you come visit us. We'd love to have you come be a part."
There were invites all over the place. Any church consultant would tell you the quickest value that leaks in any church organization is the whole idea of being committed to the uncommitted in a way that's loving and serving. Remember, God has made us, the church, the pillar and foundation of truth.
Our job, our command, from Paul to Timothy (we're going to look in just a second) is tell your story. Let's go to 1 Timothy 1:12 through 16. Here's what it says: "I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength to do his work. He considered me trustworthy and appointed me to serve him…" Listen to this.
"…even though I used to blaspheme the name of Christ. In my insolence, I persecuted his people. But God had mercy on me because I did it in ignorance and unbelief. Oh, how generous and gracious our Lord was! He filled me with the faith and love that come from Christ Jesus.
This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: 'Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners'—and I am the worst of them all. But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life."
We are going to do a mini training of how to pursue and be committed to the uncommitted. It's going to take us two or three minutes because it's really easy. I can't tell you how many classes I've been to, I can't tell you how much information is in my brain, about how to love and care for people who are far from God, but for me, it's kind of boiled down to some really simple things.
A. Pray for opportunities. Just ask the Lord, "Give me opportunities to invite, to turn a conversation toward spiritual things. Just give me the opportunity to do that!"
The second thing (just like Paul did to Timothy) is…
B. Use your story. What God has given you is a story of transformation and life change. Use your story. Get to their story, right? People love to talk about themselves. A lot of times when I'm having conversations, it's really just, "Tell me your story." They start talking about where they grew up and how many kids they have. I'll say, "What were the primary influences in your life growing up?" They will say, "Mom and Dad."
They may talk about a tough relationship at home. All of a sudden, you have an opportunity just to say, "Hey, let me tell you my story," or, "Let me tell you about this ministry thing that's happening at our church that would be great for you." All of a sudden, you're off and running into a spiritual conversation.
Pray for opportunities. Get to know their story. Tell your story of grace. Tell God's story at Watermark. If nothing else, the greatest thing I got going to seminary from a professor was, "Just say something." Do you remember the sovereign God we talked about who is an eternal king and eternal mediator between God and man who wants everybody to be saved? It's what he wants. Just say something.
When you get that prick in your soul that, "This is an opportunity," just say something, because the sovereign God can use something to help us draw those folks who are far from God. I just want to tell you that value leaks at a church all the time. My heart and my prayer is that we would recommit to the value of loving and caring for people who are far from God.
I know there are some folks in this room this morning who aren't Christ followers. Can I tell you? We are so glad you're here. Wherever you are on your journey of faith of trying to figure out who Jesus Christ is, man, we want to help you. We don't care what you've done in the past. We don't care what you did last night.
We would love after the service for you to connect with somebody who brought you and say, "Here's my story, and I don't know that Jesus who is eternal and he is a king and he is a mediator. Help me." That's what we want to do. If you're here today, grab your friend. Come up front after the service. We would love to have you.
How are you doing at turning conversations toward spiritual things, loving, and caring for people who are far from God, initiating relationships? Man, if we want to be that church, if we want to be that organization that's the greatest organization for life change in the world, we have to be committed to the uncommitted.
Here's the last one we're going to get to today. Fully devoted. Authentic in our walk. Committed to the uncommitted. Lastly, in the early days at Watermark, we were…
4._ Focused on ministry and service_. First Timothy 4:14 says, "Do not neglect the spiritual gift you received through the prophecy spoken over you when the elders of the church laid their hands on you." This is 2 Timothy 1:6 and 7: "This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline."
One of the things that characterized us in the early days was this attitude of, "I will do anything. I'll just do anything." Right now some of you know Jeff Ward who is our External Focus director here. He is a gifted attorney. We snatched him out of the legal world and said, "Come lead our External Focus effort." Do you know where I met Jeff 12 years ago? On a ramp of a big yellow truck moving children's stuff in and out of Lake Highlands High School.
We have some friends who are sitting down front today, Ray and Sue Bohlin. They lead one of the most respected apologetic ministries in the country. Do you know what Ray is doing two or three Sundays a month? He is hanging out with 2-year-olds in Orange. Nobody wants to work with Orange! I don't know how many degrees Ray has. I don't know all that, but on Sundays, he is with Orange, because we need people in Orange. I love it.
That's the heart of what we were about early on. It's, "I'll do whatever it takes to help the church be the church of Jesus Christ." Yes, right here in these two verses we just read, Paul said, "Fan that spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you." We've all got it. We've got a spiritual gift. If you've got the Holy Spirit in you, you've got a spiritual gift. Yes, pursue that, understand it, know it, and find a place to use it.
But there has to be this attitude of, "We'll do anything to make this work." As you do anything (working in Orange or working on the yellow truck), all of a sudden you get noticed. It's like, "You can do this, you can do this, and you can do this." All of a sudden, Jeff Ward is leading the External Focus area at Watermark. Be focused on service and ministry. That's the fourth one.
We're going to show a video right here that will hopefully (some of you who have been here for a while) remind you of some of these things I've been talking about. You're going to see a much younger Todd Wagner and a much younger Kyle Kaigler in this video. The stories will remind you, "This is who we were. This is who we're about."
The biblical values we've talked about today were leaking out of us in the early days. Do you know what? I look at our body of Christ right now, and as a general rule, those are still here. But for all of us, I know we can excel still more, which is what Paul said to the Thessalonians in chapter 4 of his Bible. Two or three times in that chapter, he says, "Excel still more. You're doing great. Keep making progress. Keep growing." Watch this video, and be reminded of God's goodness to us.
Come down to the river.
Come and let yourself in.
Make good on a promise
To never hurt again.
If you're lost and lonely
Bring all of your troubles.
Come lay them down.
All you sinners
And the weak at heart
All you helpless
On the boulevard
Wherever you are now
Whatever evil you've found
Bring all of your troubles
Come lay them down.
We're all tied to the same old failings,
Finding shelter in things we know.
We're all dirty like corrupted small towns.
We'll bring our troubles, bring our troubles
And lay them down.
All you rich men
And the high above
All of those with and without love
All you burdened broken down
Bring all of your troubles
Come lay them down.
Come lay them down.
Come lay them down.
Come lay them down.
Male: I'm a follower of Christ who struggles with fear and anger.
Male: There comes a point where you really don't care what people think. You just want to be healed.
Female: Being able to be honest with people…
Male: Six months ago, I was a drug addict.
Female: I can't do this alone.
Male: I got remarried to the wife I was divorced to.
Female: That's me!
Male: Finally doing it his way was the first step in the direction of freedom.
Male: I remember specifically sitting there going, "I'm not angry anymore."
Male: You don't have to be perfect to be in leadership.
Female: This isn't about me being perfect. This is just about me being willing to be obedient.
Female: I havefound a real relationship with Jesus Christ.
Female: To know Jesus personally…
Male: I started completely over.
Female: Clean and sober…
Male: It was just amazing grace.
Male: New life…
Female: God always calls me back.
Female: I want to show other people I'm giving my life to him.
Male: I was an alcoholic, and two days ago, I accepted Christ into my life.
Lay them down.
Folks, I'm not sure what God is up to. It feels like a new chapter to me. That's just kind of as I look at this thing. Our first seven years were at Lake Highlands High School. Our last seven we've been here on this campus. Now Fort Worth has courageously gone to do their deal, and we're headed to Plano.
We have the opportunity to take the church of Jesus Christ to different places and to see life change like we've seen around here for months. It's all because of the Lord Jesus. It's for his glory, it's for his honor, and we have the opportunity to see more people confess with their mouth, bow with their knees, that Jesus Christ is Lord.
Jon and the worship team are going to lead us through a song. I just ask that you would do what we talked about at the beginning. "Where are those places I am not paying attention to what God has convicted me of?" Just recommit. Don't dwell. No shame. No guilt. Just excel still more.