7540 Lyndon B Johnson Fwy Dallas, TX 75251
Saturday 4:00 PM Sunday 9:00 AM and 11:15 AM
8000 Western Hills Blvd Fort Worth, TX 76108
Sunday 9:00 AM and 11:00 AM
6401 Parkwood Blvd Frisco, TX 75034
Sunday 9:00 AM and 11:00 AM
6400 K Ave Plano, TX 75074
Sunday 9:00 AM and 11:00 AM
Join us as Kyle Kaigler, Campus Pastor at Plano looks at Jesus, his mission statement in Luke 4:16-19, and then his interaction with Levi, the despised tax gatherer, in Luke 5:27-32. We should all model Jesus as He has a Heart that Loves, Eyes that Notice, Feet that Engage, and a Mouth that Speaks.
Engaging the Lost
Good morning, friends. We're glad you're here. My name is Kyle Kaigler, and I get to play the role of campus pastor here. We are doing something a little bit different during the month of July. All four of the campuses…Frisco, Plano, Dallas, and Fort Worth…are all kind of going offline for every Sunday in July.
The reason we did that is as the staff, the elders, and the campus leaders were talking about what would be helpful for the summer, we thought this would allow all of the campuses to address their number-one need. What can we talk about specific to these campuses? So we're going to do five weeks, and we're going to do a series called The Outsiders.
We're going to take five stories out of Luke and look at Jesus. We're just going to pay attention to Jesus and how he interacts with folks who are different than us, how he models that. That's the gospel to go to in order to learn how to do that. We just want to learn from Jesus during these five weeks. The reason this came up… Some of you know we do this spiritual assessment or spiritual survey every year. We call it the 4B around Watermark.
There are a couple of questions that ask, "How are we doing, as a church, in all of these different areas?" There were a couple of areas that talk about "How do we engage with outsiders?" I just want to show you a little bit of the results. We decided, as campus leaders, "We think this is our number-one need. We need to spend five weeks in July talking about how we can grow in this area." The first one is "This year, how often have you shared your faith?" The reality is that only about 26 percent of us have shared it more than once a month.
That basically means 75 percent of us who are Christ followers, members at this church, are not sharing our faith like God would have us do. We looked at that and said, "That's a growth area for us." The second one was "How often do you invite people to Watermark as a means of introducing them to Jesus?" That one said only 19 percent are inviting people, saying, "Come and see who this Jesus is." So we looked at that.
I'm looking out in the audience right now. There are a lot of people here I see who are doing a really good job engaging with outsiders or outcasts or folks who are different than us, but this is an area where we have to grow as a church if we want to be all God wants us to be. If we want to change Collin County and see change happen, we have to become good at this or we need to grow in this. So let me pray for us. We're going to open up God's Word and spend some time watching Jesus engage with people who are outside of the norm. Let's pray together.
Father, thank you how your Word shows us how we are to live our lives. Father, your Scripture says we're to be conformed to the image of Christ. Paul says, "Imitate me as I imitate Christ." Father, I pray that you would help us today. Would you open the eyes of our hearts? Would you do surgery on us, that you might convict us… Not guilt, not shame, Lord, but that you would convict us if we need to grow in this area. I pray the Word of God would be active and alive and sharper than any two-edged sword. Father, would it do its work today? We want to make ourselves available for that change. We pray these things in Jesus' name, amen.
One of the things that originated this series was personal for me. About 18 months ago, I kind of woke up. I found myself hanging out with church people all the time. Now don't get me wrong. I like church people, but it was all I was doing. My background, for some of y'all who know, is I was on Young Life staff for 10 years, so every single day from the age of 27 to 37 I would pull my car up to Lake Highlands High School and pray and get prepared to go into a place where the common question was, "Don't you have any friends your own age?"
I was always with people who were different than I was. What I figured out about 18 months ago was I was missing a significant part of the gospel, what Jesus was asking me to do, because I wasn't engaging with folks who were different than me. We're going to talk about what that means as we go through this. Here's what I did. One of the things I love to do to keep fit is to play tennis.
I went to Tresha and asked, "Hey, are you okay if I use one night of the week to join a tennis league?" She said, "Yeah, that's fine." So I joined a tennis league, and it was in Garland, not too far from my house. I was intentional about jumping into that league. I only knew one guy who was in the league, but I did it for the reason of "Hey, I want to engage with people I don't know, not my same group of friends or the same group of people I run with."
I made three commitments. Here were the commitments I made going into that. The first one was to look for opportunities to move a conversation toward spiritual things. The second thing I was going to do was to look for opportunities to invite them to something that happens at Watermark, whether that was a Sunday morning or re|engage or re:generation or DivorceCare or whatever that was.
The third commitment is a little bit weird. If you watch tennis on TV (Wimbledon is coming up) you know there's a net, and then the players sit on benches on either side of that net. Well, that also happens in leagues, where you sit on either side, and there's not a ton of interaction. So my commitment was I was just going to commit to being weird. Anytime we changed sides, I was going to go plop this 6'5" body right next to that dude who was sitting on that bench, because that said, "Hey, I'm interested in engaging and starting a relationship with you."
I would love to sit here and tell you that 10 out of 12 of those guys came to Christ and they all came to Watermark and they're plugged in at re|engage. I'm not sure if anything happened. I have no idea. Here's what I know: it changed me. What happened is my prayer life changed. I started praying for these folks, and I prayed for wisdom and opportunities to get into a spiritual conversation. My alertness to being on mission changed. I was looking for opportunities, and I developed 10 or 12 brand new great friendships. That's what was going on.
So even though I can't look and say, "Hey, this was successful; this is what's happening," it changed me. For most of us, at some point we gave our lives to Christ, and when we did that we understood who Jesus was and we understood and believed in the God of the Bible. We also understood that other people knowing about that was really important, that we had a role to play for other people to know who Jesus is and how he can change the trajectory of a life. I'm going to give you four reasons I think we have lost our first love and then a couple of things we're missing because of that.
The first reason we don't do that as passionately as we used to, or if we never did, is we have gotten really comfortable. Our world makes it really easy to drift toward ease and comfort. I call it comfort creep. I make decisions all the time to make my life easier. If you're under 50, I just want to tell you it gets worse as you get over 50. This subtle thing creeps in, and because we're comfortable we make decisions… In this case we're talking about a decision not to engage with people who are different than us.
Secondly, we get fearful. We feel like we don't have all of the answers we might need if we get in a situation. We don't want to be in an awkward, uncomfortable situation. A lot of us kind of pre-live situations. What I mean by "pre-live" is we say, "Hey, if I do that, then this and this and this and this are going to happen. No, I'm not going to do that." We kind of pre-live it, so we live in fear and, therefore, don't engage with folks different than us.
Some of us are stuck. What I mean by that is we are kind of inoculated to the gospel. We have just enough of Jesus and the gospel to make us immune to anything else. We're kind of going through the motions. We're playing checklist Christianity. If that's you, if you're in this room today and you're bored with your Christian faith, something is wrong, because there is nothing more fun, engaging, and faith building than being on the front lines and being on mission with Jesus Christ. So if you're stuck, we'll talk through how to work through that.
Lastly, we've gotten self-righteous. We're not overt in our self-righteousness. We're not proclaiming what studs we are or anything like that, but we do portray this idea that we have it all together. Therefore, we don't invite people over, because we have four kids under the age of 7 and our house is a wreck. Right? We want to have everything together before we engage with somebody else. Everything has to be just perfect.
The reality is we're all a mess. Invite people into your mess. We talk about authenticity a lot around this place, and letting people into your world is a way that you break down barriers and develop friendships and relationships. So those are the four things that happened to us, and there are a couple of things we're missing out on as well.
First, because we don't engage with people different than us, we're missing out on the exhilaration of walking with Christ. Like I said before, it's really fun to be on the front lines with Christ. Anytime I get a chance to have a spiritual conversation, my heart starts beating a little faster, and I'm thinking, "Which way is this going to go? Is this going to go well, not going to go well?" My heart is beating a little bit. I get into the conversation. The butterflies go away, and most of the time it ends up being a great conversation.
Very rarely does anybody get angry. Sometimes they're like, "I don't want this conversation to go anywhere after this part," but very rarely is it somebody who's angry. We had a great story this last week that we told at staff meeting. In our Watermark News there's a tear-off section, and one of the boxes there says, "I want to know more information about how to have a relationship with Jesus Christ." We follow up with every single one of those.
A couple of our guys on staff met with this guy. This guy had some church information, I would say. He knew a little bit. These guys met with this guy for about an hour, and he began to understand grace and freedom and forgiveness. This guy progressively got excited. "Oh my gosh! I can't believe that."
To the point that by the end of the conversation this dude was giddy about what he had just read and understood for the first time. Not only was he giddy but the two guys who were on staff were giddy because they got to be used in that situation. Walking with Christ is an adventure. Don't miss out on how exhilarating it is to be on the front lines with Christ.
The other thing we miss is an opportunity for God to grow us. If we don't live on the front lines, if we don't take some risks, we stunt our growth, our faith. There's a formula I have. It's really simple. Risk-taking equals faith-growing. When you put yourself out there, when you take a risk and get those little butterflies and that heart is beating a little bit and you step through that, that builds your faith when God comes through.
We have a situation right now in our family. One of my daughters just graduated from Texas A&M, and she took a job. It's a great job, but from Dad's perspective there's a problem. It's in Raleigh, North Carolina. She is about to pack up her car and drive up there, and she doesn't know anybody where she's going to work. She doesn't know roommates. She doesn't know anything. My prayer for her the last few weeks has been…
I hope when she takes off in that car and leaves Dallas, Texas, not knowing anybody, she is saying, "Okay, Jesus, it's me and you." That's what I want her to do, and then I bet you in three months or six months at Christmas, or whatever, when she's back here, she's going to say, "Hey, you wouldn't believe what God has done in my life in these few months when I went out there." Risk-taking equals faith-building. We don't want to miss out on those opportunities.
Now let's take a look at Jesus, whom we are to model. We're going to take a look at his heart, his eyes, his feet, and his mouth. We are going to start, before we get to Luke 5, in Luke 4:16-19. Jesus in this passage is basically setting up his own personal mission statement. It's our mission statement for the series we're doing these five weeks, and then certainly even for the message today. So let's just read Luke 4:16-19.
"And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read. And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book and found the place where it was written, 'The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor, He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.'"
What's interesting about that is Jesus is now… He has been baptized. He has been tempted. He is now on the scene, early in his ministry, coming back into Nazareth. He steps into the synagogue, which was probably his norm growing up as a kid. They hand him Isaiah to read, and he says, "This is me. I am fulfilling this prophecy right here in Isaiah 61."
First of all, it set everybody crazy who was in the room at that point, but what also happened was that Jesus was explaining, "Hey, I am changing the rules. Kingdom of God is not just for these Pharisees and Sadducees. Kingdom of God is for the poor." That term poor in that section of Scripture is an all-encompassing poor. It's talking about women and children and handicapped and special needs, all of those folks who in that society were outcasts…the ill, the lepers.
Jesus is coming and changing the spiritual economy. He's saying, "I am coming to minister to the poor and set people free." Don't just think set prisoners free. An all-encompassing freedom. He is going to set you free from whatever there is. In Luke, chapter 4, he totally changes who is in and who is out. After that passage, after he has set his mission statement… Just so you know, that mission statement has social implications. It is going to change that community.
If you've ever read this passage of Scripture… If you haven't, go read it, because it's pretty cool. It's one of those scenes in the Scriptures where I can't wait to see the video when I get to heaven. Jesus kind of pulls a ninja move. It just says he kind of slipped through the crowd unharmed. I don't know how that happened, but I'm really anxious to see what that looked like at that time.
Then he went on and healed a demoniac, who was a spiritual outcast; he healed a leper, who was a social outsider; and he healed a paralytic, who was a physical outsider. Then he healed a mother-in-law who's a… We won't go there. Anyway, so there are four people he heals, and then he gets to Luke, chapter 5, and the story of Levi, and here's where we're going to camp out for a few more minutes. Here's what it says: "After that…" He's talking about, "After I had just done all of these things…healed people who were outcasts, outsiders."
"After that He went out and noticed a tax collector named Levi sitting in the tax booth, and He said to him, 'Follow Me.' And he left everything behind, and got up and began to follow Him. And Levi gave a big reception for Him in his house; and there was a great crowd of tax collectors and other people who were reclining at the table with them. The Pharisees and their scribes began grumbling at His disciples, saying, 'Why do you eat and drink with the tax collectors and sinners?' And Jesus answered and said to them…"
He's about to do it again. He did it in Luke 4. He's about to do it in Luke 5. He's going to redefine who gets in, who's an insider and who's an outsider. "It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance." Jesus has come back and kind of restated his mission. This is what he is about.
As a step toward application, I just want to tell you what that means for us today. Maybe you're here this morning and you feel like you're an outsider. Maybe you're here and you're from another country and you're surrounded by people from this country who don't understand what you're going through. Or maybe you're here and you're a person of color and you're surrounded by people of a different color who don't understand.
If you're from a different country, if your skin is a different color, you're welcome here at this place, and you're also welcome inside the kingdom of God. He wants you. You may be sitting there thinking everyone around you is good. "These are good people." I'm telling you the people sitting around you are not good. They're a mess, just like I am. You may think if we just knew what you have done, like in the last 10 minutes or 10 hours or 10 days or whatever, we wouldn't let you in.
Well, if you knew what I did you wouldn't let me be up here. We're all a mess. You may have had a fight with your spouse. You may have missed it with a kid. You may have looked at something you shouldn't have looked at. You may even be hungover this morning or you may have made a decision where you had an abortion or some other painful memory. You're welcome here. We want you here, and we do that because Jesus wants you as part of his kingdom.
1._ Jesus had a heart that loved people_. He cared about people deeply. We're going to look at how he cared about people. In 1 John 4:18, it's a passage that says "Perfect love casts out fear." As we grow in our love of God and develop a 1 Corinthians-type love, it casts out fear. Remember we talked about that just a few minutes ago, that we don't engage with people different than us because we're afraid.
Love moves us out of our comfort zone, moves us out of being stuck, and destroys our self-righteousness. If you don't hear anything else this morning, I just want you to know it doesn't matter where you are, where you're from, what color your skin is, what you're doing in your life. Jesus loves you and wants you to be a part of his kingdom.
2._ Jesus had eyes that noticed_. Early in that passage we looked at in Luke 5, it says, "After this, Jesus noticed Levi." What you need to know about a tax collector during those days is Rome was the occupying force in Palestine in those days, and in order to enforce tax collection, the military had a tax collector who was Jewish and enforced the collection of taxes through this tax collector.
What happened was the tax collector gathered what Rome needed to fill the coffers in Rome and then said, "Hey, you can charge whatever else you want to these people, and that's what you can take home." So basically, tax collectors were exploiting their own people. They were informants. They were the despised of the despised, yet Jesus noticed him. His eyes noticed him.
I just want to take a second and ask you how you're doing at noticing people by giving you a couple of examples. Now I'm going to start meddling a little bit. It may be a little painful as we talk about some of the things I do that I need to repent of and change, but these may be some good ideas to help you have eyes that notice people.
First of all, as a culture, as a society, as Christ followers, we need to do a better job of eye contact, of looking people in the eye and saying, "Hey, I'm interested in a relationship with you." One practical way you can do that… What if we were not on our phones in public places? Ouch. Anyone? What if we're in a grocery line and instead of checking email or texting or being on the phone our eyes are looking to see, "Is there somebody I can notice or engage with?"
How about this? We all have schedules. We have our days planned. We have time for the drive-thru at Chick-fil-A. What if we parked and went in to intentionally be with people we don't know? Body language. Eye contact. What if we did those things? Here's what I want to challenge you to do. We all have our routines. Microsoft, calendaring… We have everything planned for the day. What if we have our day planned but are looking for divine interruptions? We're so paying attention to our relationship with God we're looking for opportunities to engage with people.
You guys get to see Todd Wagner and JP on the screen all the time. There is nothing more fun than going to lunch with those two guys. It is a blast, because every time we get a chance we're all engaging with waiters, waitresses, people we meet, going to the store, whatever it is, and you never know what's going to happen. I may be 30 minutes late to a meeting, but it is fun. It's an adventure, because they are noticing and looking for divine opportunities God has given them. We need to have eyes that notice. We need to get out of our routines and open our eyes to divine interruptions.
3._ Jesus had feet that engaged_. The tax collectors got some kind of booth or some kind of table or something, and the Jews would come up and pay taxes. They only did that once a month or once a quarter or whenever the taxes were due, but the rest of the time, let me tell you what it looked like. It looked like you walking into the mall, and you see a person with their clipboard who wants to take a survey from you. What do you do? Yes, we're avoiding.
That's what it looked like around the tax collector's booth. Folks were walking by and avoiding the tax collector because of who he was. Jesus does just the opposite. Jesus goes right up to that table and engages with him. Some of you now are thinking, "Okay, but you're asking me to be weird." That's what you're thinking. You don't have to be weird. The Scripture says in Ephesians 4:29, "Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment…" What does the moment call for?
First Thessalonians 5:14 says, "…admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone." Our job is to be walking through our day…we have our plan…to notice an opportunity and then be able to say, "Hey, God, what does this opportunity call for as I engage this person who looks different than I look?"
I don't know where you are as you think through those four reasons we don't do this, but one of the great parts about this passage of Scripture is Levi's response to Jesus. After Jesus noticed him and engaged with him, Jesus said to him, "Follow me," and it says Levi left everything and followed him. As you think about engaging with folks who are different than you, what does repentance look like for you? What needs to change?
Practically, one of the things that would be helpful… We're busy. We're so busy. The reality is we all have 24 hours in a day, and it's not busyness; it's just prioritization. One of my challenges today is let's make a priority of hanging out with people who are different than us. Align your life. In my case, I love to play tennis. That happened. I just said, "Can I move my tennis game to a place that would put me in a place with folks who are different than I am?"
For you, as a mom of young kids, it may be that you invite a different set of friends over for a play day, new friends from school or wherever that is. It may be that you're in your neighborhood and you don't know your neighbors very well and you're intentional about asking them to come over. "Hey, let's just start getting to know one another." Here's a great idea. We do meet and greet every single Sunday. Let's just say ahead of time you say, "I'm going to take two Sundays a month, and I'm going to keep asking people until somebody goes to lunch with me."
Just use the time. Schedule it, and just say, "Hey, I'm going to plan I'm not going to get home until 2:00. As soon as church is over, I'm going to ask some people I meet, 'Hey, let's go to lunch.'" That's old school, but that's good. That's really good. Jesus had feet that engaged people. If those things don't make sense to you, how about using some of our Watermark partners we have here?
We have a great relationship with Prestonwood Pregnancy Center. That ministry is doing amazing things. If you volunteer at that place, it puts you in touch with folks who look different than you, live differently than you do. You can jump in at Sigler, which is our elementary school we partner with in Plano ISD. You can jump in with ISI, which is our international student ministry we have at UTD. We have a bunch of families that have adopted kids from China, and it's awesome what's taking place. We give you all of these opportunities to help you engage.
The last one is… Thank goodness Christy gave me permission today to go public with this. Our clinic has been open for about four weeks, but she was like, "Kyle, we don't have the supplies yet. We don't have everything we need." So I texted her this week and said, "Christy, we're doing a five-week message on interacting with the outsiders. Can I tell our people?" I finally got a text yesterday that said, "Yes. We can use the clinic."
For those of y'all who don't know, it's a Watermark urgent care clinic, and it's for people who are underinsured and people who are not insured. They need volunteers to follow up with people who have come to the clinic. They have their diagnosis, but we need people to be part of a team that follows up and says, "Hey, are you doing okay? Can we help you with anything else? Oh, you're having some marriage stuff? Hey, we have re|engage at our campus." It's a follow-up team, a connecting team to follow up. Easy way to get connected with other people.
One of the things you can do is you can volunteer there or you might just go to the school where your kids go to school. Get with a nurse (all of our schools around here have kids who are underinsured) and say, "Hey, Watermark urgent care clinic is three miles away. You can use this for your kids and parents who are in your school." It would be a huge blessing to families. That's how you can help and how you can serve those folks who are different than us.
One other important thing. One of the ways your kids know you are serious about your faith is they watch you do this. They watch you love Jesus enough that you have conversations at a restaurant with somebody. They watch you move conversations toward spiritual things, and it is one of the best ways for you to disciple your kids.
4._ Jesus had a mouth that spoke_. He spoke up. As he approached Levi at the tax booth, he just said, "Follow me." He went on in that same passage and got back with the Pharisees and the scribes, and they were saying, "Hey, why are you hanging out with tax collectors and sinners?" Jesus spoke up and challenged the culture of the day with the truth about God's kingdom. He basically told the scribes and Pharisees throughout his ministry, "Hey, you think you're an insider. You're really an outsider, and those people you think are outsiders are really insiders."
He turned the tables upside down. He spoke up at the right time. God's plan for changing the world is you. You are his plan A, and if we're not engaging with people who are different than us, unlike us, then plan A doesn't work very well. Let me take a second and tell you my very, very simple formula for talking to people about Jesus. The first thing is eye contact. I look like I want to have a relationship with somebody, an engagement with somebody. Body language says the same thing.
Then I ask them about themselves. People love to talk about themselves. They love to talk about their story. As I'm listening to their story, I'm like, "Hey, where does my story intersect? How can I potentially talk about my story or where does the gospel intersect that story?" That's it. That's my evangelism strategy. You get them talking about themselves and then pay attention. We can make a difference just by doing that. So, Jesus' mouth spoke up at the right times.
Here's what we've done. This will hopefully help you remember as you seek to model Jesus. It's LENS. He has a heart that loves, feet that engage, eyes that notice and a mouth that speaks. It creates a LENS of how we look and how we love people who are different than us. I hope and pray today that over these five weeks God will do a work in our hearts that will make us better at this, that we'll grow in this, that we'll be intentional about this.
You may be here and feel like an outsider. I just want to tell you we're all outsiders. So, a little bit of my story. I grew up in a home where my dad left the family at a pretty early age. He ended up dying shortly thereafter with that relationship completely unreconciled. I never saw him again. I wasn't a believer, wasn't a Christ follower. We went to church every now and then. As soon as that happened, my mom said, "Hey, one of the ways we're going to survive this thing is we need to get back in church."
I had an eighth-grade Sunday school teacher named Connie. The thing I remember about Connie is that at the end of every lesson Connie said, "Hey, Kyle, do you know that God loves you? And do you know that he's a holy God and y'all can't have an intimate relationship?" I was like, "I don't know." Eighth-grade boy. Nothing. Then she would say, "But that divide between you and God can be bridged by putting your faith and trust in Jesus Christ and what he did on the cross for you." Again, I heard words. Nothing was happening, but I remember it.
One of the things I did as I was getting ready for this message a couple of weeks ago was I sent Connie an email. I said, "Hey, Connie, you and I haven't talked in 35 years. Can I just tell you 'Thank you' that part of my story of coming to Christ was because of your faithfulness in that eighth-grade Sunday school class? And can I tell you the trajectory of my life is 180 degrees different than it was at that time?"
Folks, my life has not been perfect by any means, but I have an amazing wife who loves Jesus, and we get to do ministry together. I have three amazing daughters who love Christ and are on mission wherever they are, and I've gotten to work in ministry for the last 25 years and help people reach their potential for the kingdom of God. I told Connie, "Thank you, because of your faithfulness."
So that was in eighth grade. The lights were not going on. Just the words. In ninth grade, I have another Sunday school teacher. He's a gentleman, a big strong guy. Not sharing the gospel as much as Connie did, but he invites me to be part of a church league basketball team. If I'm really honest about this, I just thought, "Hey, 6'5", athletic. I'm going to go dominate this league." That's what was going on in my brain.
So I go out there. He coaches the team, and our first practice he wears me out. I mean, boxing me out, being physical, playing the game the way you're supposed to play the game. Before, I had always thought Christian men were pansies. It's what was in my head. It's not right, but that's what was in my head from my family growing up. After that practice, I remember making a mental note, "Hey, if a Christian man can do that and be that and compete like that, I like it."
So you have Connie doing the gospel all the time and Bob, who is wearing me out on the basketball court. You put those two things together in this chaos that's going on in my home at the time, and that's when I came into a relationship with Christ. One night I got down on my knees and just said, "God, I cannot handle this." I prayed the most inarticulate prayer ever prayed: "Help." That's all I prayed, and God showed up in my life.
Connie and Bob modeled Jesus. They loved me. They noticed me and told me I was valuable. They engaged with me. They invited me to join a basketball team and be a part, to live life with them a little bit, and then they were faithful to speak up and share the gospel. Because of those two and the incredible grace of God, the trajectory of my life changed 180 degrees.
You may be an outsider here, but it's not because of your skin color or where you're from or anything like that. If you haven't done what Levi did when Jesus said, "Follow me," if you haven't repented and followed Jesus, that's a problem. That's how you become an insider. Not based on anything else. It's about…Do you have a relationship with Jesus Christ?
My hope is, as we spent time today, that you will come to Christ, you'll come to know that relationship if you haven't already, and if you're here and you do know Christ that you will model Jesus in how he loves and engages and notices and speaks up at the right time according to the need of the moment.
Question: How are we going to change our community? It starts right here. It starts with our own hearts and you doing business with God today and over the next month as we talk about the outsiders, as we look at how Jesus interacts with people who are different than us. That's how it starts, and guess what happens.
As you transform, our church transforms, and as our church transforms, our neighborhoods transform, and as our neighborhoods transform, our communities transform, and all of a sudden we become a city set on a hill, and anytime people are in need in this community they're like, "I can go to that place, Watermark Plano, and they will help me. They will serve me, and they will love me and tell me what's true about life." Let's pray together.
Father, thank you for your Word and how it is active, sharper than any two-edged sword. It pierces. I pray we would respond to your movement, your conviction in our lives, not, as I prayed before, as guilt and shame, Father, but with conviction to change, to grow, to be better at what you've asked us to do, which is engaging with people who are different than us, who look different. Father, I just pray that you would help us. Would you help us do that?
Father, I pray that our church would be a city set on a hill, that anybody in Collin County who finds themselves hurting would make a beeline for our doors and they would be engaged by people who love them and will serve them and give them truth and grace so that their life might be transformed. Would you use this place, Lord, as a way to transform our community? It starts with us. We pray this in Jesus' name, amen.