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Focused on Ministry and Service

While we are constantly encouraged by what God is doing at and through Watermark, we believe there is room for so much more! He built this through faithful people who focused their time, talents, and treasure—all of which belong to God—toward ministry and service over the last 19 years. What about you...are you using your time, talents, and treasure the way the Lord would have you?

Kyle KaiglerApr 7, 2019
2 Chronicles 16:9

Messages In This Series (11)
Authenticity and Repentance
John ElmoreApr 14, 2019
Focused on Ministry and Service
Kyle KaiglerApr 7, 2019
Speak the Truth in Love
Todd WagnerApr 1, 2019
Relentless Pursuit of Oneness
Todd WagnerMar 24, 2019
Life Together
Todd WagnerFeb 24, 2019
Committed To The Uncommitted
Todd WagnerFeb 10, 2019
Discipling the Next Generation
Todd Wagner, Becca Nail, Wes ButlerFeb 3, 2019
Love Is a Verb
Todd WagnerJan 27, 2019
Biblical Not Big: A Commitment to Measure Our Success by Our Ability to Be and Make Disciples
Todd WagnerJan 20, 2019
Why Not Us? A Confidence That the Lord Wanted to Glorify His Name
Todd WagnerJan 13, 2019
The Foundation, Fabric, Mortar and Maintenance Program of Everything
Todd WagnerJan 6, 2019

Discussing and Applying the Sermon

  • Are you focusing your time, your talent, and your treasure toward ministry and service? Are you serving somewhere?
  • If no, why not? Will you commit to finding an area of service within the next 30-days?
  • If yes, do you feel equipped and deployed where you are serving? Are your time, talents, and treasure being fully utilized?
  • Whether you answered yes or no, discuss your answer with your community group and ask them to give you feedback and observations.

Summary

While we are constantly encouraged by what God is doing at and through Watermark, we believe there is room for so much more! He built this through faithful people who focused their time, talents, and treasure—all of which belong to God—toward ministry and service over the last 19 years. What about you...are you using your time, talents, and treasure the way the Lord would have you?

Key Takeaways

Why Us? - Romans 12:1-2
* Romans 12:1-2 is following Jesus 101. If you haven't, memorize it!
* Two great ways to grow in your relationship with Christ is to journal and memorize/meditate on God’s Word.
* When you start spending time with the Lord, try writing out and praying: "Speak Lord, your servant is listening. You are in charge and I am not. Lord, you were at work today before I woke up.” Then, sit and listen to what He has for you.
* Make a list of what’s on your mind/heart and give it to God.
* Where has my heart gotten hooked today? Did I have too much of something?
* Where did my heart grow cold today? Where did I miss divine opportunities?
* Where was I scared today? Where did you withdraw and where were you not courageous?
* Where did I get prideful today?
* To live a life focused on ministry and service, start each day by praying: God, will you please use me today? End each day in confession and repentance.
* Are you daily presenting yourself to God as a living sacrifice?
* Are you daily transformed or conformed?
* What discipline can you insert or sharpen in your life to grow in these areas?

What Hinders Us? - Romans 12:3
* Simply put, we are hindered because we think of ourselves more highly than we ought to.
* Man’s view of Time: guarded; God's view: give it away
* Man's view of Talents: my good; God's view: God's glory
* Man's view of Treasure: my comfort; God's view: Christ's Kingdom
* Our obedience affects how we use our gifts for ministry.
* Christianity is not about performance based acceptance. We live in acceptance based performance. Because of Christ, we get to be obedient and follow Him.
* What is hindering your usefulness?
* What is your next faithful step to deal with the debris that is clogging your usefulness to the Master?

Why Not Us? - Romans 12:4-8
* GIFTS are: Given by God, Imparted to individuals, For the edification of the body, Tested against Scriptures.
* If you are not engaged with us and you are not using your gifts, you are hurting the church.
* Are you looking to sail on a cruise ship or a battle ship? This is a battle ship. We have a Master, a mission, and everyone has a role to play.
* Discover your gifts: Where do others see you making a difference? Where do you come alive and what do you enjoy doing?
* Develop your gifts: When you do this, be ready for some sharpening conversations.
* Deploy your gifts: Don’t wait for the right or perfect thing...just get busy.
* Pharaoh never misses his Joseph.

Mentioned or Recommended Resources

Hello, everyone. My name is Kyle Kaigler. I'm the Plano Campus pastor. Somebody asked me this morning if I took a wrong turn or missed a turn when I got here. I just want to say hello to my friends in Fort Worth and Frisco who are tuning in and also to my family in Plano. My story here is Tresha and I were part of the families who started Watermark 20-ish years ago, and since that time, I've been the small groups guy, and then I was the children's guy, and then I was the external focus guy, and then I was the family ministry guy.

Can you pick up a theme? I cannot keep a job is the theme around here. But about four or five years ago, you guys kicked me out of here and sent me to Plano, and we have had an absolute ball being on mission for the kingdom. To borrow a Miranda Lambert line, this is the house that built me. So many familiar faces here, and I'm so thankful for this place for so many different reasons.

We're in this series right now called How He Built This. Todd was really clear early on, "We have to get the pronoun right. This is not how we built this; this is how God built this." Todd has done a great job these last weeks (we've taken a couple of detours along the way) of reminding us of what God used, the values, the Scripture God used to build this place. The first week, Todd talked about prayer is the work of the ministry.

The second week, he talked about "Why not us?" an expectation that God would do something great. Right in the middle of that, Todd said, "We want to be biblical, not big." We want to be characterized by love was another week. Discipleship characterizes us, especially the discipleship of our kids and our students. We're committed to the uncommitted, committed to community, the relentless pursuit of oneness, reminding ourselves that community is forged, not formed; therefore, we have to keep short accounts with each other and work through conflict.

Then last week, basically, I titled that week just "Courage," that we are going to be the first church to be shut down and the last church to shut up. One of the things I've told many of my friends is when we get to heaven I think the thing Watermark is most going to be known for is that we were courageous, that we were standing on God's Word even in the face of a culture, of a world that was being conformed to the spirit of this age.

Twenty years ago there were eight families, and we were a little bit of a mess, but we had 2 Chronicles 16:9 embedded in our heads, which is, "The eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth, looking to support those whose hearts are completely his." That's really all we had. "Hey, God, we think you want to do something great. We want to see God do amazing things. Let's go."

So here we are 20 years later. I just want to tell you, "Way to go." God has done amazing things through this place. Get the pronoun right. God has, not we have, but it's because of your faithfulness. We have Recovery ministries that are going all over the country. Blake just talked about the CLC we did. Just to give you a little more statistics on that, 720 people, 250 churches, 36 states, and 19 countries were here to be awakened to what God wants to do in them, and that happened because of you.

We're going to find out in a minute as we study a little bit in the book of Romans that it doesn't matter whether you change diapers here, whether you turn knobs here, whether you wear funny orange vests in the parking lot. You are a part of that. We're going to find out in Romans that all of these members work together to create one kingdom-advancing organization. I could not be more proud to be a part of what God has done, how he has built this.

I do want to let you know there's a little bit of angst and a little bit of tension still in me as I think about and I'm excited and encouraged about what God has done. That angst comes because here's what I believe: I believe we are only accomplishing a small fraction of what God would have us do. I think there are so many people who are members here, who are attenders here, who are coming here, who are leaving their time, talent, and treasure on the sidelines, and we're not taking advantage of all God would have us do. We are underutilizing our time, talent, and treasure.

This morning I got here early and ran into a buddy who works membership things here. He said, "Kyle, the number-one reason people don't become members here is because they will not commit to serve." He said, "They'll sign a covenant. They'll sit through the Discover Watermark and membership classes. They'll jump into community, but they will not commit to serve." So you want to know where my angst comes from? It's because there's so much more God has for us.

We're going to look at Romans 12:1-8 today, and we're going to let the Spirit of God through his Word, I hope, go to work on you. If you're fully utilizing your time, talent, and treasure, I hope you walk out of this place really encouraged today, but if you're not, I hope the Spirit of God doesn't make you guilty or shame you, but I hope he convicts you that "I am one of those folks who's sitting on the sideline, and I'm hindering what God wants to do through this local expression of his church."

So, we're going to look at verses 1-2, and we're going to ask the question…Why use us? In verse 3 we're going to talk about…What hinders us? Then verses 4-8…Why not us? That is not a passive, "Why not us?" That is a "Why not us?" It's what we did with the 1,720 individuals who were here this week. "Why not us?" The first thing we have to do as we step into Romans is we have to understand that book just a little bit.

In chapters 1-3, Paul is telling the Romans and telling us, "You are a sinner. You are separated from God, and there is nothing you can do about it." Chapters 4-8 are all about salvation, Jesus Christ and his crucifixion on the cross, that he paid a debt for our sin, that that puts us back in a right relationship with God if we place our faith and trust in him. Chapters 9-11 talk about his sovereignty, the vindication of God's righteousness, that he's going to make everything right. His will is always going to be accomplished.

Before we start chapter 12, we need to understand he spends chapters 1-11 talking about what we believe. That's what we are to believe about what's true about life. That's what's true about God, about our humanity. Then he goes to chapters 12-16 and just says, "Now that you believe this, the next logical thing is for you to serve and use your gifts like this."

We're going to get a chance today as we go through the message… I'm just going to ask some questions of you as we get to the end of each section, and they're going to be application questions. I hope you'll either write those down or shoot a picture of them and spend some time thinking about, "Do I need to make progress in this area of my life?" So let's pray. Let's ask God to go to work on our hearts.

Father, thanks for the privilege to study your Word, to be your child, Father. We just pray that you would change us today. Would you transform us? We pray that in Jesus' name, amen.

So, now we're at chapter 12, verses 1-2.

"Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect."

If you're here today and you are not a Christ follower, we are so glad you're here. I would love for you that your application walking out would be, "I'm going to go read those first 11 chapters of Romans, and I'm going to understand that I'm separated, that Christ died for me, and that by putting my faith and trust in him I can have a new relationship with him." I hope you'll go do that, because when that happens, we get to talk about chapter 12, verses 1-2.

Once we understand that, this is following Jesus 101. That doesn't mean if we've been walking with Jesus a long time we get to check out. This is still the foundation of what we do as Christ followers. You may be new to the faith. Memorize these two verses. You may be stuck in your faith and not growing. Start applying these verses.

It starts, "Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice…" That word urge is a tender word. It's like, "Hey, with all this we just talked about, please, I beg you to live like this." "To present your bodies…" It's all-encompassing, heart, soul, mind, and strength. "…as a living sacrifice, which is your spiritual service of worship." Why do we say, "Have a great week of worship"? This is where we get that. We want to walk out of here every day and say, "Everything I do is worship."

So how do we do this? I'm just going to give you a couple of really practical things in this "following Jesus 101." This may be blasphemy to some of you, but when I get up in the morning and start to spend time with the Lord, the first thing I do is not open the Bible; the first thing I do is open my journal. If you're not a journaler, that will help you practice following Jesus 101.

I'll write something in there at the beginning early in the morning that's just, "Speak, Lord. Your servant is listening." Or I might write on there, "Hey, God, I know you're the boss and I'm not." Or I might write in my journal, "Hey, God, I know before I ever got up this morning that you are already at work. Planets were orbiting around the sun and the tides were coming in and out, and I'm going to step into this world of yours." Or, "Hey, God, this is my agenda for the day. What's your agenda?"

Romans 12:1-2 is presenting yourself as a living sacrifice to him. Start your day, start your time with the Lord (as you mature, move to multiple times a day) saying, "Hey, God, whatever you have for me today, I am yours. I'm a living sacrifice." After you've done that, jump into God's Word. Study. Memorize. Meditate. Read. Read other things that help you understand God's Word.

I'll get there and just say, "Lord, here are the 10 things that are cluttering my mind and my heart," and I'll write those things in my journal. Then I'll stop and say, "Hey, God, these belong to you for the day. If I get to them, great. If I don't… But I want to be available for divine appointments and what you have for me today."

Verse 2 goes on. It says, "And do not be conformed to this world…" World there means the spirit of the age that seeks to exclude God from life. There is a spirit in our world that's trying to move us away from God. Don't be conformed to it. Don't be shaped to it. Don't be influenced by it. "…but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…"

That word is so important in following Jesus 101. It is an imperative (meaning, it's a command), it's plural (it means all of us), it's present (something is happening right now), it's perfect (it's continually happening), it's passive (it's happening to us), and it's a verb (it's action). When we open our arms and say, "Hey, God, I'm yours as a living sacrifice," God can go to work because we're yielded and we can continually be transformed by the renewing of our minds, that we might know what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

It starts with here. "God, it's your agenda." Then we start to transform our minds so our heart and our actions are transformed. Here's what I do really practically to apply verse 2 to my life. It's really four words I use. Y'all need to know… Really simple helps me a lot as I walk with Christ. So I'm going to give you four words. I'm trying to do this at the end of every day or every night before I go to bed. I'm not hitting it out of the park, but this is a discipline I want in my life.

The first one is hooked. "God, as I went through my day today, where did I get hooked? Where did I get addicted to something?" That's usually around food for me. I have to say, "God, I'm so sorry. I did not live yielded in that area of my life." A lot of times it's around sports. Hello, Texas Tech Red Raiders. Anybody? Okay. I've watched a lot of basketball. My wife went to Tech. But it can be too much. So where today did I get hooked?

"Lord, where today did my heart get cold? Where did I miss an opportunity, just kind of blew by somebody and missed a divine appointment because I was on my own agenda and I was coldhearted to people?" "Lord, where did I get scared? Where did I not have a conversation with somebody who needs to know the goodness of Jesus Christ and him crucified?"

Maybe a friend of mine who wants to walk deeply with Christ didn't have a great moment and didn't act like he was a Christ follower, but I didn't want to have that hard conversation, so I just didn't have it. I got scared. I confess that at the end of the day and say, "God, I'm so sorry that I didn't do the most loving thing I could do for my friend."

The last thing is "Where does my heart get proud?" I love to take credit for things God has done. This week (this is really wicked), I probably had more stage time at CLC than I've ever had. I was coming off the stage and I had people go, "Oh, Kaigler, that was awesome. Thank you so much." That happened more than it has ever happened. I'm kind of walking through my day, and I think, "Kaigler, you're kind of studly." Is that not depraved and wicked?

How many times have I gone to the verse in John 15 where Jesus says, "Apart from me you can do nothing"? It's a significant verse in my life, yet those thoughts come scrambling. So that night… "God, I'm so sorry. I'm taking credit for what you have done." I said this was "following Jesus 101." It's just confession and repentance. That's all it is.

If you want to use your time, talent, and treasure for the sake of God's kingdom, you have to start here: "God, I'm yours to do whatever you want to do in my life," and then you have to be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Those two little disciplines have been hugely helpful for me. So, let me ask you a couple of questions.

Are you daily presenting yourself as a living sacrifice to God? I don't know when that is, if it's morning or evening, but are you saying, "Hey, God, I want to be yours" before you jump into your day? That will help you mature. Are you daily being transformed or conformed? What's happening? That's not over the last month. That's not over the last year. We need to get in the habit of working through that daily because we're wicked and depraved, and it needs to become a habit and a discipline.

The third one is…What discipline can you insert or sharpen in your life to grow in these areas? So why would God use us? Because he saved us for the purpose of being about his business, using our gifts, using our talents, and using our treasures. Let's move on with those three questions ringing in our heads. Spend some time later thinking about those, but let's move on to 12:3. We're asking the question…What hinders us?

"For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith." I just want to remind you that your ability to view your own life is broken. You do not have an accurate picture apart from God's Word and God's people about your life. Proverbs 14:12 says, "There's a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death."

As I think about that in context of time, talent, and treasure, here's a little chart I wrote out that helps me. Man's view of our time is that we want to guard it. We want to protect it. It's ours to do with what we want. God's view is that we give our time away, that it's to be used for his kingdom purposes. Our talent. Man's view is, "I'm using this for my name and my good." God's view is, "Your talents for my glory and for my kingdom advancement."

Our treasure. I think, "That's for my comfort, my agenda. I want to do what I want to do when I want to do how I want to do it with my money, my possessions, all that." God says, "This is for Christ's kingdom." So if you want to look at Romans 12:3, that sin of selfishness, that we don't have a good view… He's telling us we have to have sound judgment about that. I'm telling you, you can't have it without God's Word and without God's people.

Paul has another verse in 2 Timothy 2:21 that he wrote to Timothy that's so good to explain what Paul is saying here. It says, "If you keep yourself pure, you will be a special utensil for honorable use. Your life will be clean, and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work." Catch that. If your life is clean, you will be available to the Master for every good work.

I hate to use the term, but it's following Jesus 101. This is talking about obedience. When God asks us to do something, we have to do it. We get it with our kids. We need to understand that this matters as we seek to use all that God has given us for his kingdom. It's a little bit like this. My daughter is a mechanical engineer. She was always coming home talking about pipes and volume and capacity and all that kind of stuff, and I'm like, "Who cares? I do not care. But I love you."

It's a little bit like this. Here's a four-inch PVC pipe, and this thing is smooth inside. Whoever is using this can put an incredible amount of volume through this thing because it's clean. That's what I want for my life. I want to be a clean vessel available for every good work that the Master wants to use me for, but what you need to know is that my life and most of our lives look a little bit like this. It's clogged. We're hindering what God wants to do with our lives. It's kind of nasty and ugly, and the reality is that's true of our sin.

Several years ago, some friends and the Lord started convicting me about some insecurities in my life that I just was not making progress through. Some of you know my story. When I was a young teenager, my dad left our family. He never came back, and I never saw him again, and three years later he died without that relationship reconciled, so there's a dad wound there for me. That dad wound was causing me… The vessel God had given me was being a little bit cluttered.

I had some friends encourage me and say, "Hey, Kegs, you ought to go to re:gen, and you ought to start thinking about that, and you ought to start working through that." So that's what I did. For those of you who have been to re:gen, you know you kind of go in thinking it's going to be about food and a dad wound, and you walk out thinking it's about 25 other things. Romans 7:18 is true, that we have the desire to do what is right but not the ability to carry it out.

Here's what happened. I came out of my inventory time, which is where you go through all of the sins to you, sins to others, and I came up with this inventory re:gen tree that you'll see on the screen. I'm so glad this is in small print so you can't read my junk. Basically, I have four main things that I said, "Here are the things I need to pay attention to."

Out of each one of those things there are four or five things that show up in my life that are not helpful to me and are hurtful to other people. We're just going to take a quarter of that tree. You don't have time to see my whole tree, but we're going to take a quarter of that tree, and I just want to show you what God showed me through this. Again, the purpose is trying to keep the pipe clean so I'm useful to the Master.

I had an unbiblical view of what it means to be a man. My dad wasn't home, and I learned manhood in the locker room and on TV and all kinds of places. So here's what happens. Here are the branches of my life. I have almost a demand that I need to be respected. The second one (I think I can say this in church) is I have the "Suck it up" syndrome, which is, "I don't want anybody to know they got to me or that I'm sensitive" or "I'm going to walk through this thing, and nobody is going to get to me."

The third thing is a lack of tenderness and empathy and compassion for people. My friends were saying, "Hey, Kegs, that word compassion means to suffer with somebody. I don't see you entering into their pain and walking them through that." The last one is just poor communication skills. My poor wife. She trained me, praise the Lord, on how to communicate well. We went to a counselor for pre-marriage counseling. He handed me a list of feeling words and said, "Kaigler, how are you feeling right now?" I was dumbfounded. I had no idea.

I was like, "Can I say 'joy' when I score a touchdown? How about just jumping up and down when I hit a home run or do something like that?" I'm like, "There are 300 of these?" I was clueless. It's because of that dad wound. So I went through re:gen. I did that tree, and I kept working the steps. Just so you know, re:gen is just a year of a deep dive into the gospel. That's all it is. I got to spend three weeks on Romans 7:18, that I am depraved, and that was good for me.

I don't know what your next faithful step is in terms of dealing with the vessel God has given you to clean out that debris and what is hindering you, but take that next faithful step, because you want to be fully used by God because it's fun. There is peace and joy and life in being fully used by God. One thing I want to make clear as we talk about this is the gospel is not performance-based acceptance. You can hear some of the stuff I'm saying today and interpret that and say, "I have to go perform for God to love me." It is completely the opposite.

We work on an acceptance-based performance. We are loved by God. We're accepted by him when we put our faith and trust in the finished work on the cross, and then, because of what he has done, we do perform out of love, but it doesn't affect our eternity or it doesn't affect how God loves us. It's just going to affect the rewards we'll get in heaven because we were faithful. So let's pay attention to that vessel we have. What do we need to pay attention to?

So here are some questions. What's hindering your usefulness right now? What's your next faithful step to deal with the debris that's clogging your usefulness to the Master? I don't know if it's Monday nights here or at Fort Worth or Tuesday nights at Plano (hang on, Frisco; it's coming). I don't know what it is, if it's re:gen, if it's re|engage, if it's whatever. We have ministries all over the place that want to help you be a clean vessel for honorable use.

What hinders us? It's the sin of pride and selfishness, that we think too highly of ourselves, that our lens to see who we are is broken. Now we move on in Romans 12:4-8, knowing that we need to be a living sacrifice. We need to be being transformed. We understand that our thinking too highly of ourselves can be a problem, and we ask the question…Why not us? Again, that's not a passive, "Why not us?" That is, "Why not us? Let's go." It says this:

"For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness."

Paul is simply trying to say, "We're together. My heart for you is to be one highly functioning organization, my church centered around the bride of Christ that's moving forward." You each have a gift. I don't know if you're a Christ follower and you know that or not. You have a gift. God gave that to you when you became a Christ follower.

The way we think about that around here… The G is it's given by God. It's imparted to individuals. It's for the edification of the body. That's so important. The gift you've been given is not to edify yourself; it's for the edification of the body. The T is that we test that against the Scriptures. Now here's what's really fun. The people sitting next to you have different gifts than you do, and they are all critically important. The components are to work together for the good of Christ's kingdom.

Here, again, is part of the angst that's in my soul these days. If you're a member here and not fully utilizing your gifts, you're hurting our church. I mean it. There is so much God wants to do with us, and if you're not using what God has given you, you're hurting our church. You're hindering what God wants to do. You're hurting God's kingdom. I sent an email to the campus pastors last week. I just said, "Hey, guys. Send me your list of things." I said, "Spend 60 seconds on this. Send me the list." So here's what I have.

I got from Dallas, "We want to do a gap year for high school kids, re:gen for students, round out ministry for families with special needs kids, a church-planting cohort. We want every person in Dallas, Collin, and Tarrant Counties to hear the gospel from an abiding, passionate follower of Christ who's plugged into a church that is biblical, bold, and wants to disciple.

We want to knock out the foster care issue, more families waiting for kids than kids waiting for families. The separated families come to Watermark so they can be restored. We want to buy the Residence Inn next door so it becomes the residents' inn for our residents. We want to create a discipleship and training program for kids aging out of foster care. We need writers, church planters, event planners, videographers, graphic designers, shepherds, life center."

Fort Worth: They want to grow their footprint. They want to expand and strengthen their external focus partnerships. Junior high, DadU, foster and adopt, new parents, Moneywise, Core classes, Training Days, lay residency. Frisco: "We need re:gen, re|engage, women's ministry, worship arts, tech arts." Plano: There are 700,000 people in our county who don't know Jesus out of a million, 70 percent. We need a blended family ministry, single mom's ministry, young adult ministry, sex trafficking. There are opportunities there. College ministry, Hindu and Muslim faiths.

Folks, there is so much, and if 100 percent, if all of our people were fully utilizing their gifts, this goes away, and so do a hundred other sheets full of things God wants to do with us. There is a need, and we need you. We need you to get in the game. We used to talk about this with a video. On the first half of the video it's a cruise ship. It describes the people, and they're consumers. They're saying, "Do I like the captain? Do I like the look of the boat? Do I like the food? Do I like the music? Do I like my quarters? If so, I'm going to sail with you again."

Then the video flips, and then it goes to a battleship. On the battleship, every single person is clear about who the captain is. It's Jesus. Everybody is clear about what mission they're on: kingdom advancement. Everybody is clear about what their role is. There is not one person on that battleship who is not using their time, their talent, and their treasure for the sake of the mission. That's such a helpful illustration for us.

So what do we do about that? Well, the first thing we have to do is figure out what our gifts are. You may be here, and maybe you're a new Christ follower and you're not sure what your gifts are. We have a website up on the screen. You can literally go to this place and take a gifts test. Let me tell you what I think about gifts tests. It is a tool to help you figure that out. Do you want to know what the better tools are? Your Bible, your Community Group, and then your passions, what God has given you to do.

So you take all of those things, you look at a test, you talk to your Community Group, you compare that with Scripture, and you start to figure out what your gifts are. You know what? I'm not even sure I know for sure what my gifts are yet. So if you're waiting to figure out, "Hey, I have the bull's-eye on my gifts," stop waiting. Get in the game.

I don't know if it's in kid ministry, student ministry, re:gen, re|engage, Summit. I don't know what it is, but if you're trying to figure it out, start serving. We say here all the time that Pharaoh will not miss his Joseph. If you're faithfully serving, God is going to get you where you need to be. He's going to do it. I can look all around my friends. They served in some crazy places. God is going to get you where he wants you to be.

I also want you to know, from a staff perspective, we're not looking for leaders who are always mature. We love mature leaders. It's great. We look for people who are hungry. We use FAT (faithful, available, and teachable). Do you know what that means? That means you show up on time. You're prepared. You do your homework. You memorize the Scripture. We ask our leaders… Give me those people. We don't have to have mature, but we want hungry.

If you're hungry to be God's man and God's woman and you want to fully utilize your gifts, will you tear off that section in the Watermark News and say, "I am on the sideline, and I want to get in the game"? Let us help you do that, because it's good for you. It brings you joy and peace here on this earth, and when you stand before Christ one day you're going to have something to say, "Hey, God, because you were the foundation of my life, I served with all my heart to advance your kingdom," and it is going to be glorious.

So, you go and discover your gifts. Then you develop your gifts. This is not complicated. I'm going right back to Romans 12:1-2. If you will continually present yourselves as a living and holy sacrifice and continually be being transformed, you're going to mature. That's 75 percent of your development.

There's 25 percent that's skill-related, but the thing you need to do is develop your soul and your heart so it thinks like God wants you to think, it sees situations like God wants you to see things, and you know the heart of God because you know his Word. Just get busy. Ask the question, "Where is the need?" Write that on that tear-off section, and we'll help you.

The second thing I would tell you as you think about developing your gifts is you need to be ready because there are probably some sharpening conversations coming. I got up to Plano four years ago, and I have a great friend up there. He's an elder here now, Brian Buchek. Brian and I weren't that good of friends at the time, but they were one of the ones who were saying, "Hey, come to Plano. Come to Plano."

He kind of stopped me one day and said, "Hey, Kegs, can I talk to you for a second?" It was in that tone that you know he's about to wear you out. You kind of know that ahead of time. He pulls me over to the side and says, "I just want to notice something about you. I know you want to love and care for people really well, but sometimes when you're shaking somebody's hand and they're engaging in a conversation with you, you're kind of looking over their shoulder or your eyes are kind of going around looking for the next thing." I'm like, "Ouch." They're helping me grow through that.

If you want to use your gifts, get ready, because we're going to help you use your gifts. We're going to help you sharpen your gifts. We're going to help you be 100 percent utilized for the sake of God's kingdom. I don't know what stage of life many of you are in, but can I just… I want to do more than urge you, but can I urge you? Don't live for a number, trying to hit a number so you can retire. Don't live for a lake house. Don't live for grandkids. Don't live for a nicer car or a nicer house or something else.

Those things are fine as part of the R&R plan. We need to be on the front lines of battle getting shot at, and then every now and then we get to pull back and enjoy those things as part of restoring our hearts and our souls, but those things can't be the thing. The thing has to be the mission of God. That may be spending 90 percent of your time discipling your kids at home. Let's go. That's a great answer to "Am I using my time, talent, and treasure?" but don't live for a number.

Here's a question…Are you fully utilizing your time, talent, and treasure? Are you in the game? Are you engaged? The answer to that question "Why not us?" is "That's right. Why not us?" If we are going to be a platform for other churches to learn and grow how to be God's people and advance his kingdom, we have to be God's people and advance his kingdom. We have to do it before we can give it away.

So why not us? I'm just going to answer that question with 1 Peter 2:9. "But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood,a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light…" So why not us? Let's go. The last question for the day is just…Why not you? Because if we're going to have an impact worldwide it starts with you. We are all members one to another as the church of God. Let's pray.

Father, would you help us? Father, we so desperately want to be your people. We have the desire to do what is right but not the ability to carry it out. It has to be a transforming work of the Holy Spirit to make that happen. So, Lord, would you help us to present ourselves multiple times a day, to pay attention to being conformed to the way you look at the world?

Father, would you help us to pay attention to the things that are clogging our lives so we can be fully useful to you, and would you help us to get in the game? Lord, would you convict us today? Would you encourage us today? Would you lead us into truth today, what's real and what matters? Help us to have a sane estimate, sound judgment of who we are by the power of your Spirit. We pray that in Jesus' name, amen.


About 'How He Built This'

As we approach Watermark’s 20th anniversary, the “How He Built This” series examines the ideas, decisions, and values that God has used to shape this community of faith.