Listen in as JP finishes his three part series on Head, Heart, and Hands. Today’s message focuses on the gifts God has given to His people. Whatever the gift God has entrusted you with, He desires for you to use the gifts He has given you for His kingdom and for His glory.
Keeping the Head, Heart and Hands the Way God Wants Them
Many Hands, One Body
Navigating The Heart
Change Your Mind, Change Your Life
Hey guys, it's me again. How are you doing? Anybody know what this is? This is a water pump. You all have one. I don't know if you knew that, but you relied on it today to get here. It's very important. You may not know you had one because it's attached to something else you depend on on a regular basis; namely, your automobile. Even more specifically, it's on the engine in the car that drives you down the road, that brought you to Watermark, more than likely. Even if you took public transportation, you depended on one of these guys.
This is the reason my buddy's car doesn't run. He called me a week ago. He took his vehicle into the shop to get repaired, and they said, "Your engine is toast." I don't know if this has ever happened to you, but a car without an engine is much less of a car than it was with an engine. You rely on that.
You can have a very nice, very expensive car, and then, all of a sudden, it needs a new engine, and its value is cut in more than half. It depreciates significantly without an engine. He's like, "How did this happen? How did I go from having a car with a sound engine that was driving me down the road and that I relied on on a daily basis to having a car, now, that needs a brand new engine? Can you even get a new engine? What does this look like?"
As they began to dig and problem-solve in his vehicle, they realized there probably was an issue with the water pump. This little thing wasn't pumping water to the engine and cooling it down. The car continued to run, but it didn't realize it was doing some damage over time. This individual part caused a complete breakdown.
This part has some value by itself, but it was never meant to be by itself. No one designed this part to sit on a shelf individually. This part was designed to attach to something else so there would be power, so that thing would function as it was meant to be. The Scripture we're going to look at today as we wrap up this series says each and every single body, every individual in this room this morning, was designed by God, a creator, to attach to something else so it would function as it was meant to.
I hope the Spirit of God hits our hearts with that, we would realize that this morning, and everyone would leave here completely convinced of that reality. We are in a series called Head, Heart, Hands. We looked at the head, and we looked at the heart. We talked about how what we think influences how we feel, which influences what we do, which influences how we think, which determines how we feel, which influences what we do… It's this cycle.
Really, we're looking at the anatomy of a mature Christian. A mature follower of Christ has a renewed mind. A mature Christian has a new heart, and not just a new heart, but a guarded heart, protecting their new heart from the things of this world. We're looking at how the mature Christian, today, lives out their faith and uses their hands to serve as a part of the body of Jesus Christ, the one we follow. Today, we're talking about hands, what we do with our renewed heart and mind.
If everything we know and feel about God does not lead to doing, then what we know and feel about God needs to be reexamined or probably redefined. It's interesting, because a human cannot live without a head or a heart. None of you can live without a head or a heart. Our heart is a vital organ. We cannot live without it. Likewise, the body of Christ on this earth cannot live without hands.
It's a controversial statement, but think about it. On the earth, Christ is the head. Christ is the one we follow and the one we serve. He's the head of this body, and without the body it does not exist on the earth. Without people living out their faith, there is no church in the world as we know it. That's why the Scripture says so much about that. That's why the Bible exhorts us to live it out in the way it does.
You are a vital part within this engine. The most powerful force the world has ever seen is known as the church. You serve a function. You play a role. God made you to do so. What I'm really excited about in the message today is some of you are going to find that out for the first time. You're going to realize, in the next few minutes together, God created you for a purpose. I hope you find it as we get to hang out for a few minutes this morning.
You're a vital part within this engine, and your faith depends on you realizing that. Those are not my words. Those are the words of God I hope to show you this morning. We're going to be back in Romans 12 where we started, if you want to turn back there. We looked at Romans 12:2 in week one, and now we're going to go through 3-8.
Here's the path I'll take you on. My first point will be this idea that everything you have you have been given. My second point will be when you belong to Christ your gifts belong to his body. My third point will be the admonishment to use your gifts. For 11 chapters, the apostle Paul has talked about who you are in Christ. He said, "This is who you are in Jesus. This is who God called you to be. Now I want to tell you what to do. This is who you are; now here is what you must do." In chapter 12, he's going to unlock that for us.
In 12:1, it says this. It starts, "Therefore…" so we have to look backwards. He's coming out of Romans 11, which is called the doxology. Here's a summary of the doxology. Are you ready? "God is amazing, and you're not him. He is incredible. All power, honor, and glory is his. God is amazing."
"Therefore…in view of God's mercy…" Because God is merciful to you, he's created you. He's not just created you; he's called you to know him. "…offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship." This is the worship God wants from you, not just singing songs, not just reading, and not just discipline, but presenting your whole self as a living sacrifice, a gift given back to him. He gave it to you. You give it back to him.
"…offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." We talked about how God transforms us, but our job in that transformation is partnering with the Holy Spirit in renewing our minds.
In week one, we talked about the filing cabinet. We're replacing old files, old habits, and old ways of thinking with new truths as we learn God's Word, so when we're driving down the road and we reach for a file, we don't reach for that rap song we memorized or whatever that is up there. We reach for a Scripture, a truth we can renew our minds on. It says, "Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."
In week two, we talked about guarding our hearts. We said, "Don't follow your heart, but inform your heart. No one would get into a car and follow a GPS device or navigation system without first telling it where to go," we said in week two. You have to tell the navigation system the address you want to go to and then follow it.
Likewise, we have to inform our hearts of the things we want. We're always informing our hearts, and some of us are informing our hearts of the wrong things, so we're looking for those wrong things. That was week two. You can catch up on the app or on watermark.org.
In week three, let's go to verse 3. "For by the grace given me I say to every one of you…" What does he mean there? It's a flashback to the first chapter Paul wrote to the church in Rome. In verse 5, he says, "Through him we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith for his name's sake."
Paul is saying, "I received grace and the gift of apostleship so I might call you to obedience. I'm using my gift to call you to yours." Candidly, that's what I'm doing this morning. I'm using my gift to call you to use yours, as we hang out in this text. The context of this passage is giftedness. The Lord has given us gifts. "Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you."
What is he saying? Here's what I can tell you. I know people with really small gifts and really huge faith who make a really big impact in the church. God gave them a few talents, but they had huge faith, and they used those few talents in accordance with their huge faith, and they make a tremendous impact. I also know people with huge gifts. They're very, very gifted people the world exploits. They have little faith, and they make no impact in the church whatsoever. Use your gifts in accordance with your faith.
1._ Every gift you have, you've been given by God._ It's really important we realize this. Every gift you have, you've been given by God. I'll go on to say you've been given it by God for God. Some of you are really gifted, and you've never learned this. You don't realize how the world has exploited you. You were made by God for God.
The worship he wants is that we would give back to him the gifts he has entrusted to us. James 1:17 says it like this: "Do not be deceived." Remember that word deceived. "Every good and perfect gift comes from God above." What do you have that God has not gifted you? My wife Monica and I have three children. Kids learn this idea of, "Mine!" at an early age. Have you ever seen this? "Mine! That's mine!"
It continues in my 6-year-old's life. Every night we go through this routine where we read a story and say our prayers. The girls, Presley and Finley, share a room. They have two twin-sized beds in this room. Every night, I'll crawl into one of them, and then I'll crawl into the other bed. One night I'm in Presley's bed, and the next night I'll crawl into Finley's bed, and we'll say our prayers and read stories and whatnot.
Whenever I crawl into Finley's bed, she always responds the same way. "Daddy, that my bed! Get out of my bed. You're in my bed. That's my bed. Get out." I started saying, "It's your bed, huh? Remind me how much you paid for it. When you got it, and it came in that box from IKEA in 16,792 pieces, did you struggle with that? When you had put it all together, and there were a few parts left over, tell me how you handled that." She's like, "Daddy, what are you talking about?"
"Well, you said it was your bed. Let me make something abundantly clear to you. This is my bed, and I have lent it to you. I let you borrow it so you might sleep comfortably on my bed, but make no mistake about it. It's my bed. If you'd like to buy it from me, we can work out a payment plan. I see your piggy bank over there. We could make it your bed if you want, but make no mistake about it. This is my bed. That A/C blowing on you is my A/C. My house and the roof over it is mine."
If I were more theologically accurate, I would have been like, "It's God's bed, God's house, and God's A/C," but some of us haven't outgrown that concept. We go through life like, "These are my gifts. This is mine." No, it's not. It's been given to you by God for God. When you believe your gifts are from God, this results in humility.
In humility, we serve sacrificially, not desiring the spotlight or notoriety, not needing the approval of man, and not performing for man so they might give us an attaboy or way to go, but serving faithfully, knowing God has entrusted gifts to us that we would give them back to him. We think of ourselves in accordance with our faith.
That means if you believe what you have is from God, you use it for God. If you believe what you have is from you, you're going to use it for you, but if you believe what you have has been given to you by God, you tend to use it for him and for his glory. This means your StrengthsFinder, your DISC, your Meyers-Briggs, your personality, and your skills and capabilities have been entrusted to you by God for God so he might unleash them in his body; namely, the church.
What are you gifted in? You know. I don't. What are you gifted in? What are you good at? How are you wired? What are you trained to do, and do you find identity in it or have you made a habit of giving it and entrusting it back to God? Do you use it for the approval of man or do you use it so God might use it for himself, to strengthen and edify his body?
When you see this, it's a beautiful thing. Does anybody here know the name Harold Abrahams? Harold Abrahams won a gold medal in the 1924 Olympics in the 100-meter dash. You probably don't know him, but you may know a guy who should have run that race, a guy named Eric Liddell. He didn't run the 100-meter dash. He held the record in the 100-meter dash, but because the race was on a Sunday, the Sabbath day, he didn't believe God wanted him to run it, so he didn't.
The world said, "That's a waste of talent." I believe God said, "That's worship." He said, "I don't need a trophy or a medal. I don't need the world to affirm my gifts. God made me fast. I run for God. When I run, I feel his pleasure," he famously said. "I'm not running for attaboys. I'm running because God made me fast. This is a platform to do his will. By the way, I don't think his will is that I would run on this Sunday," so he didn't.
It's very interesting what happened. Eric Liddell's people went to the Olympic committee and said, "Can he run the 400?" Eric had no impressive time in the 400. It wasn't a race he ran. His timing in it was not impressive at all by national standards, but he got to run the 400, because it wasn't on a Sunday.
When he stepped to the line, a friend of his came and told him 1 Samuel 2:30. There he is, standing with all the other runners on the line in the Olympics, about to run the 400-meter dash. The verse says, "Those who honor me I will honor…" and he was so inspired he sprinted the entire race. He set a world record that held for 12 years. Not only that, but a few days later, he ran the 200 against Harold Abrahams and beat him. After that, he went on to be a missionary, to tell foreign countries about God.
The world said, "What a waste," and God said, "No, that's worship." He said, "God made me fast. When I run, I feel his pleasure. I run for God. I unleash the gifts God gave me for him." When we use our gifts for God's glory, we share in his glory and don't need our own. Have you given your gifts back to God? When you think of yourself in accordance with your faith, the result is strength focused toward God. Every gift you have, you've received from him.
2._ When you belong to Christ, your gifts belong to his body._ Verse 4: "For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others." Do you see a text God has preserved for thousands of years that you would read this morning?
"All of you have gifts, and all of your gifts belong to all of you. Not you specifically, but all of you. Every single one of you has gifts given to you by God. You cannot deny the fact that you have gifts." He's specifically talking to believers, followers of Christ. "The gifts you have belong to all the others, that you would use them in the body, for the body."
The other day, I was at dinner with my bride. Sitting next to us was a man I didn't recognize. I don't know a lot about sports, but she asked, "Is that Emmitt Smith?" I said, "If you say it's Emmitt Smith, I'm sure it is." It was him. It reminded me of a story he tells. When he was in his heyday as the running back for the Cowboys, he was interviewed by a reporter.
She was like, "You had an amazing game!" He was like, "Yes, I did." She was like, "You ran the ball for 132 yards!" He was like, "Yes, I did. That's true. I did." She was like, "You scored two touchdowns!" He was like, "Oh, who's counting? Yes, I did. I surely did." She said, "You received the ball for 26 yards!" He said, "Yes, this is true. Yes, I did."
The next week, in practice, every single time he would receive the ball, he found himself flat on his back in pain with some linebacker on top of him. They'd handoff the ball and Emmitt would be flat on his back in pain. Again, handoff the ball, he's flat on his back in pain. When he tossed the ball, pitched the ball, or received the ball, he was flat on his back in pain.
Finally, he gathered the line and said, "Guys, what's going on? What are you doing? Why aren't you doing your jobs?" They said, "Man, we saw your interview. Yes, you did. You ran 132 yards and got two touchdowns. Yes, you did. We didn't know you needed us, man. It's the Emmitt show. Do your thing. Oh, you need us to do something?" He said in that moment he realized it's a team sport, and he's a role-player. He plays a role, and he can't do his job unless everybody else does their jobs.
Church is a team sport. Christianity is a team sport. I'm up hear preaching, but I can't do my job unless they turn this thing on. There are people back there controlling these lights. There's a person here whose job is to make sure these work. Those screens don't just show up. That thing didn't design itself.
You were parked, greeted, and ushered. That didn't just happen. Somebody coordinated all of that. These cameras have people back there… We ate breakfast back there, because someone showed up to cook it this morning. They served, and that's how we do this. That's how this comes together and happens.
When you belong to Christ, your gifts belong to his body, because you're a member of his body, and he's the head. He did his job right. Maybe you don't belong to Christ. Can I tell you something? Christ is the head of his church. He gave all of his gifts for his church. He gave his life as a price paid for your sins, for everything you did, so you can be with God forever.
If you've trusted Jesus Christ died for your sins, and God raised him from the dead, you can be with Christ forever and ever. When that happens, because some of you have trusted in that, you become a part of his church, the body, and you begin to deploy the gifts the Lord has entrusted to you for his purpose.
That's what's actually going on this morning. It's not for your purpose. You are uniquely you, indeed, but as a Christian, you're never just you. There's no such thing as an individual Christian. As a Christian, you're part of something much bigger than you. You attach yourself to a powerful engine and play a role you were meant to play.
That passage talks about members. You need to decide if where it says members is for you, if it's talking to you and for you. Does God want you to be a member of a church? I know it's talking about the body. I understand that, but membership is important. In fact, it's vital to the organization of the church, the most powerful force the world has ever seen.
It means you would come under the authority of Jesus as the head. It means you would come under the authority of those he's placed in authority to lead you. A lot of us have issues with authority. We've seen authority exploit people and take advantage of people, but you cannot use that as an excuse to not be a part of a church. If you have, stop using that as an excuse to not be a part of a church.
This authority God has in place is for your protection and provision, to keep your best interests in mind, and to help you be deployed under the will of God. That's happening here, I pray. I've seen and observed that happen here continually. Dismemberment is gruesome. It's always gruesome, and it's gruesome in the church as well. If I had a severed hand up here with bones and veins hanging out and blood dripping, it would be gross and disgusting.
Likewise, dismemberment in the body of Christ is gross. We should be a part of Christ's body, not just as a member but as a contributor. That water pump, in and of itself, is just a water pump, but when you attach it to an engine you see the way it functions. That little round thing, which I think is called a pulley, right above the bottom round thing in the middle is the water pump. (I'm not a mechanic.)
That's the water pump, and it's necessary for that to function and run as it is intended. It cannot do its job without that water pump doing its job. Without all those other parts doing their jobs, frankly and candidly, only then can that engine produce power and move forward. Likewise, in the church.
The metaphor Christ has given us is the body. If you have an organ fail, you're going to be in a bind. So you belong to the body. If a part breaks down that is not cared for, it tears the engine apart, but when you belong and have identified your gifts, you look for ways to deploy your gifts. Did you hear that?
My wife and I always have a conversation… I ask her a question I think is really helpful, and she has said it's not helpful. The question is this: "Hey, babe, do you need any help with anything? Hey, babe, can I help you?" To me, that's Ephesians 5:25. I'm laying my life down for my bride. I'm striving to live with her in an understanding way. "Hey, babe, can I help you?" I'm husband of the year.
She's usually carrying laundry, she's dragging one kid around her leg, and there's another one tugging and spilling Cheerios who maybe had an accident or something. I'm like, "Hey, babe, can I help?" She has learned over 10 years of marriage to say, "Yes. You can look for ways to help. That would be helpful. The question, 'Can I help you?' is not that helpful, but if you would turn the TV off, get up, and look for ways to help, that would be really helpful."
My friend Blake Holmes said the same thing in his message, Responding to Crisis. He said, "When there's a crisis, people who call and say, 'Let me know if I can help,' are not helpful, but people who show up to help are really helpful." People who say, "Let me know if I can help," want to appear as though they're willing to help. People who show up to help are helpful. It's likewise here in the church. It's no different.
Some of you are professional critics and consumers. You show up, and you see everything wrong with the place. Other people are contributors. They show up, and they fix it. They need your help. It's a big engine made up of lots of parts, and I need you all to function as the Lord created you to function, so we would function as God created us to function. We have needs. There are two ways to serve.
One is formally. That's in the church in areas of service like Kids' Ministry. We turned 53 kids away the other day. Several new families showed up wanting to put their kids here, and we said, "There's no room at the inn." We're short on volunteers. We turned kids away at the 9 o'clock service this morning. We said, "Sorry, we can't. The classrooms are full. We don't have enough volunteers." If you want to serve in Kids' Ministry, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chris Fulmer has served in our parking team for 14 years. In 15-degree weather and 115-degree weather, for 14 years he's been out there helping you find a parking spot. From our greeting team, Mickey Swords is here every Sunday for all three services. She spends her entire Sunday here, for all three services. Why would she do that for all three services? There aren't enough greeters.
We need ushers, people helping you find your seat. Jim Parmley gets here at 7:30 in the morning every Sunday to set up the Watermark News at the doors. Everybody else shows up at 8:30. Kerry Schroeder is a pastor on that team. He doesn't just view his job as an usher, but he's ready to sit, pray, and help with someone. Alan Winstead hasn't slowed down, even though he's doing kidney dialysis in between services so he can continue faithfully doing these things. These are people who are getting after it.
I remember when I became a member here. I'm embarrassed to tell you I was a consumer on the back row for over a year, and one day, there was this call to get in the game. I went through the membership class, and in the membership class they said there was this call to service. They said, "What can you do?" I said, "The only thing I can do is make cold calls. I'm in sales. The only thing I'm really good at is sales. I make 200-250 cold calls a day. I'm the guy who interrupts dinner." I was, anyway.
The guy who was leading the class goes, "Do you know what? We need somebody to make phone calls for us." He didn't say cold calls. He said follow-up calls. "There are people who check the boxes, and they have questions… We need someone who would come here and follow up with them. Do you think you can make an extra 75 calls when you get off work?" I'm like, "Only 75? I'll do that in my sleep, man. Come on."
I came here after I'd get off work, and I'd make phone calls. The guy who told me about that is the guy who hired me. He said, "Hey, would you come onto my team and make cold calls full-time?" No, he didn't say that. He was like, "Hey, would you come onto my team and help us?" I said, "Sure." That was the way the Lord called me to vocational ministry.
All of you have a gift the church needs, and that is what God, through Paul, is exhorting us to this morning. Some of you are artists, graphic designers, and video people. You love YouTube or something, and we could use your help with social media. We need engineers and mechanics, not just to repair cars but to help with sermon illustrations. We need your help. We need you. You serve formally in the body.
The other way is informally. Go to watermark.org/impact and work through our partnerships, or maybe you're just aware of needs that happen in the church or in your Community Group. Whatever there is, you live in Acts 2 community. If there's a need and you can meet that need, you meet that need through the church.
It's amazing, because God has given you gifts for him. They were given to you for the benefit of Christ's church. Can you imagine if someone gave someone a gift to give to someone else, and that person just kept it? Every year, we raise prizes for Launch Retreat. It's this big three-day party on Labor Day at Sky Ranch for young adults. We take a thousand young adults out there.
Part of it is we raise prizes. I'm always blown away by the prizes we get. There are watches, sunglasses, gym memberships, autographed sports memorabilia, Rangers tickets, Mavs tickets, and all that stuff. Our team gets into this room, and we look at the table. We always look with really covetous eyes like, "Wow. I really like those sunglasses." We can't even win the prizes. We're disqualified.
How gross and heinous would it be if we said, "All right, everybody, take your pick. We'll give away what's left. Do you want those sunglasses? Go ahead." You would be upset. You would be frustrated. You'd be like, "Hey, guys, that's not why I gave you that gift." If we did that, all that would be left is a DeAndre Jordan ball or something. Who wants that? Let me go one more with you. How crazy would it be if after the service, Todd and I were in the back dividing up the tithes. "One for you; one for me. Two for you; one for me…"
How crazy would that be? Would you not be upset by that? Would that not be front-page newsworthy stuff? "That's not why I gave them that. I gave them that to deploy it according to God's purpose." Likewise, God gave you something to deploy for his purposes, and it would be just as crazy if you used those gifts for your own self and not in the body of Christ for which they were given to you.
3._ Use your gifts._ Verse 6: "We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully."
I'm going to summarize it in three words: Use your gifts. That's my third point. You have gifts. Use them. Identify them and unleash them. Use your gifts. They weren't given to you to make a bigger, better you. They were given to you to make a bigger, better, more Christ-centered church. It says, "Use your gifts according to the grace given you." When you became a Christian, you were given gifts to strengthen the church. Use your grace-given gifts.
Don't forsake your gift because you desire another. That happens in the church all the time. People show up and they're like, "Hey, I want to do this. I want the spotlight. I want to lead. I want to teach. I've taught in the past. Let me teach." It's like, "Cool, man. If you teach, we will create space and places for you to use that gift. If you should be up here, you will be up here. I pray that's true. If you can't teach, we're going to have a difficult conversation. We're going to help you find the other gifts of God."
Don't desire the gifts you weren't given. Use the gifts you were given. Unleash the gifts you were given according to God's grace in your life. This water pump isn't upset he's not an alternator. I asked him. He didn't care. He said, "No, I'm a water pump." He's not upset he's not a fuel pump or a piston. He's like, "I'm a water pump. That's what I do. I pump water. That's the role I play. I'm a necessary, vital player. I'm a role-player to the big, bad-boy engine. I play a role."
The other day, an Almond Joy ruined our day. I had one, and I gave it to my daughter Presley. She ran to my other daughter Finley and said, "Look. Daddy gave me an Almond Joy." Finley is a really picky eater, so I honestly didn't even think she would like it. She comes up with tears in her eyes: "Why didn't I get an Almond Joy? I want an Almond Joy!" I'm like, "It's coconut and almonds. It's a chocolate-covered salad. I didn't even think you would like that."
She's crying, and I go, "Finley, why don't you stop and ask your sister if you can share in her gift? I don't have another one. I can't create one, but you can go and ask your sister if you can share in her gift." If you're like, "I want to teach," that's cool. There are teachers who need your help. Serve under them, and be deployed in those areas. "I want to lead." That's cool. There are leaders who need your help. Serve under them, and be deployed in those areas. Share in those gifts.
This is important. Gifts differ not because God neglected you but because he selected you, specifically. God is problem-solving. Whenever you're problem-solving, you invent something. You are the solution God, the Creator, invented to solve a problem. What problems did he want you to solve? What problems did he want to solve with you? You have to think through that. God is a masterful inventor, and he invented you to solve a problem.
I won't spend a ton of time here, but there's this weird "be vs. do" debate I've heard. Most of you haven't heard it. I won't get into the details, but it's this weird… Maybe you've heard, "I'm a human being, not a human doing." It's like, "Okay, what does that mean?" Here's the deal. I'm just reading the Bible to you. I'm just telling you what God says.
Jesus says, "If you love me, obey my commands." It seems like the doing part of Christianity is really important. If that's you, and you disagree with that, I'd welcome that conversation. I'm going to read to you something Paul's friend James said. This is Jesus' brother. You can circle the dos if you want.
"Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves." Do you remember that word deceive? If you just listen to the Word, you deceive yourselves. "Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do."
James is saying if what you know about God and feel he desires for you does not turn into doing his will, you have deceived yourself. We can know the Word of God and not change. He gives this awesome illustration. I love it. He says it's like someone who looks at a mirror and sees themselves, but does not change.
What does he mean by that? It's like if I looked into a mirror, saw I had this big piece of cilantro on my tooth, said, "Huh. Okay," and didn't change anything. You'd be like, "Dude, what? You didn't see that?" If I looked into the mirror and saw my fly was down, and I said, "Yep. No big deal. Let's go," you would be like, "Bro, you didn't change."
Likewise, when we look into the Word of God, the Word of God is convicting us about our lives. We see that, we're convicted, and then we go on and don't do anything. We're like the man who looks at himself in the mirror and forgets what he looks like, James says. We look into the mirror to change something. We look at the Word of God to make changes and do something. Paul says this doing happens best in the context of Christ's body, the church, that we would unleash our gifts in the body.
The reason I put that verse in here is because, for some of you, this message is a mirror. You're listening to it, and you're like, "That was funny. Water pump…" and you go on on about your lives, and you won't change anything. I didn't work on it this week so you would hear it and not do anything.
I'm telling you, exhorting you, and even admonishing you from the Scriptures that now is the time to make a change in your life, to unleash your gifts in the body. I'm sure you have had every reason and every excuse not to do so, and some of them are really good. Now is the time to do so. That's why God has you here this morning.
If I were to summarize it in as few words as possible, it's that saved people serve people. It may be better said that saved people serve saved people. Saved people serve in the church with other saved people. But saved people serve people seems to work.
What's the application? If you're a guest, welcome to our home. I hope you found a parking spot. I'm glad you're here. If you've been sitting on the sidelines, it's time to get into the game. We have this membership class. It's two weeks, and it starts August 9 at 2:00 p.m. If you can't make the second one, don't use that as an excuse not to go to the first one. On August 9 at 2:00 p.m., become a member. Write that down. If you're not one, this message is for you.
If you're not serving, we have a ministry fair on August 16 at 3:45 p.m. You can come here. There'll be representatives of all the different needs in the church, and you can go and ask questions. You can say, "I believe I'm an engine part created for a purpose, to do a function, to play a role. Can you help me find that role?" We will.
If you don't know what that role is, and you're like, "I need some help and guidance," we have something for you. It's the Find Your Mission class. It's four weeks. It's at 6:30 p.m. starting July 16. Find Your Mission is an Equipping class. We have lots of Equipping classes, if you didn't know that. A lot of them are taught by volunteers and people who serve.
You show up, and we say, "How did God wire you? What are the needs in the body? How can we connect the way he wired you to the needs of the body? How can you meet the needs of the body?" We would love to help you with that. Check out the Find Your Mission class. We've deployed resources specifically for that purpose, to have a class so we can help you in that way.
Some of you… I'm looking out there, and I see you. You're doing such a fantastic job, and to you I just want to say, "Thank you." Frankly, this is the time to applaud. Some of you are getting after it. Thank you. It's heartfelt. I mean it. To you I say Galatians 6:9: "Do not grow weary in doing good." You're a part of a powerful engine, and God is changing and saving lives through your work. I'm so grateful for your contribution. You're not a consumer or a critic. You're a contributor. Thank you. I'm so glad you're here. Thank you.
If you didn't hear anything I just said, go to watermark.org. We have a new website, and all that information is there. Check out that 5:00 p.m. service. That's a great place to serve, too. I remember when I was sitting at Lake Highlands. Like I said, for a year and a half, I was a consumer.
I was like, "This place is awesome! There are all these people here to serve me." They had coffee, and we had donuts then. It was great. It was the heyday of the church. It was like, "This is amazing. They like teaching me the Bible." This guy at the door said, "Hey, how can I help you?" and I was like, "Yeah, that's awesome."
I even remember being intimidated walking the place because it was so big. (It's so much bigger now.) I remember laying in my bed and waking up in the morning, and what got me there was I knew the guy was going to preach truth. It was so intimidating, but I remembered the smiling face at the door with the signs and lanyards that said, "How may I serve you?" It was Jay Reinke. I saw him every Sunday. That's what got me out of bed and going back.
I remember, as I was sitting there one Sunday, they showed this video. Today it's a really bad video, but then it was cutting-edge, innovative, and amazing. That was 2003. Today it's really bad. They showed this video of all the things that went on to make church happen. I saw it, and I was inspired. I was like, "I need to do that." Let me show you the video. Watch this.
I saw that, and I was like, "Man, there are so many people who are doing everything they can to make this happen." Now we have a building and fixed screens, and honestly, it hasn't gotten easier. It's gotten more complex as God has added to our numbers daily those who are being saved. Praise him. We'd love for you to step into that game with us.
In summary, every gift you have, you've been given. When you belong to Christ, your gifts belong to his body, so please, use your gifts. Be deployed in his body. Friday, I was writing this message. I go to Panera, and I have this chair I sit in there. The chair is right beside the table, so it always surprises me when someone sits at that table. I'm like, "I'm sitting here…"
I was at this part in the message, and I was praying for a close, because I didn't have a close: "Lord, would you help me to know how to close the message?" He did. This lady sat down with her son at the table. I wasn't eavesdropping, but again, I'm sitting at their table, so I guess I am eavesdropping.
I could tell she was a single mom and having a hard time in that. Single moms are my heroes, so I was moved by the way she was trying to love her son in that season. He got up to get a refill, and I engaged with her. I said, "Hey, are you a single mom?" She was like, "Yes, why?" I said, "I belong to this place, and we have this incredible single parent ministry. Are you connected to a church? Do you have a faith?"
She said, "Why do you ask?" I said, "Well, I was going to tell you you could come here, be surrounded by other single parents, and be spurred on in that endeavor. I know it can be hard." She said, "What does it cost?" I said, "It doesn't cost anything." She said, "What's the catch?" I said, "There's no catch."
She kept asking, "What's the catch?" She said that four or five times. I said, "There's no catch. You just come, and you can be a part of the Single Parent Family Ministry. It would be amazing. I'd like to invite you on Sunday." She goes, "What time?" I said, "9:00, 11:15, and 5:30." She said, "That's three times." I said, "I know. We have the same service three times." She said, "How can you do that?" I said, "Volunteers give up their time three times."
She said, "Why would they do that?" I said, "That's what they do. That's what they believe their calling is." This is amazing, right after I prayed for a close. She said, "Yeah, but how much does it cost. I need to write down my bank account number, right?" I said, "No. Members give to fund the Lord's work, but you come as a guest and receive. Let us care for you and host you." Again, she said, "What's the catch?"
I go, "Your son can go into Kids' Ministry and be poured into." She goes, "What do you mean, poured into?" I said, "It's Christianese, you know. They'll teach him the Bible." She goes, "Who will teach him the Bible?" I said, "Volunteers will teach him the Bible." She goes, "Why would they do that?" I go, "Because they believe. They want to help your kid." It's getting confrontational there in Panera. I'm like, "They just want to help your kid. They just want him to know the Bible."
She's like, "Okay. I'm sorry I'm so skeptical. I'm in between jobs. I'm looking for another job." I go, "We have this thing on Tuesday morning called Careers in Motion. You can come, and we'll help you find a job." She said, "How are you going to help me find a job?" I said, "We get all these leads. When other people are looking for a job, they come and share leads, and they talk about them and encourage you. It's hard work looking for a job." She's like, "Tell me about it."
She goes, "Why would anyone help me look for a job? They don't know me. Why would they help me do that?" I said, "Because they're the body of Christ. That's what Jesus people do. Saved people serve people. Come, and be a part of it. We would love to help you in that." I love what's going to happen. She's going to come. She might be here. If you're here, let's talk. I'll bring you up and you can vouch for the story.
Here's the deal. She can plug in. God's going to save her if she's not a Christian. She's going to come here and serve here. She'll be one of those who are teaching kids the Bible in Kids' Ministry. That's the way this works. That's the way it worked for half of you. I see you out there. You came in here, you sat in the back, you plugged in, you became a member, and you began to serve, and God changed your life.
I've never seen a greater transformation in any single individual, other than their trusting in Christ, than their not going to church anymore but becoming the church. They switch their mindset from, "Church is something I attend and consume," to, "Church is something I am a part of. I'm a contributor. I'm going to use my gifts there." That will change your life. The benefit is for you to gain. The band is going to come up here, and I'm going to pray that we would do that and respond in that way.
Father, help us. Help us to simply give the gifts you have given to us back to you through service. Help us to not covet gifts you didn't give us. Help us to deploy the gifts you have given us. Help us to lay our lives down to be used by you in your body, so you would continue to transform lives through the work of your people. Father, if there's anyone here who doesn't know you, would you show them what you've done for them through the head of your church, Jesus Christ, who gave his all so we can be a part of your church. It's in his name, amen.
Stand up, please. Let's respond in worship to God. If you're a believer with a renewed mind and a new heart, guarded against the things of the world and being consumed by the things of his Word, I pray we would lay our lives down so he would lift them up, use them, and deploy them for his purposes.