Yes! This morning before school my daughter gave the most genuine prayer to give her heart to Jesus! It has been so fun showing her what grace is for the last 6 years and now she knows that grace is hers because of the gospel. So now, my wife and I get to keep the awesome responsibility of raising our daughter, but we get the added bonus of discipling our sister in Christ.
How you use your gifts and where you serve in the local church are super important (and necessary components in the lives of all believers). But what do you do when you go home?
I work in the church full-time as a youth pastor. That means I don’t get Sundays off, and I’m on the clock for over 13 hours each Wednesday. When I go home, I want to relax and be with my family. But that doesn’t mean my ministry is over. When I leave my place of vocational ministry, I enter my place of missional ministry.
Have you ever considered your neighborhood as your ministry? Think through this:
How many of your neighbors know your name? Your spouse’s name? Your kids’ names? What line of work you’re in? Where you go to church?
Do you know your neighbors’ names? Their spouse’s name? Their kids’ names? What line of work they do? Where they go to church? IF they go to church? Their background with the church? What do they think about Jesus? What do they think about you talking to them about Jesus? How many times have they been in your house? In your yard? In your garage?
These questions should get you thinking about one of the most strategic spots of ministry God has ever placed you in: your neighborhood. You are there and I am not. Therefore, take the Gospel. In the Great Commission Jesus told his disciples, “As you go” do these things. The assumption is that as a Christ-follower you are going to take the Gospel with you everywhere you go. So, as you go out to the backyard, invite the neighbor kids over to play and chat with their parents. As you go to the garage freezer for a popsicle, grab a handful and send your kids next door with the extras. As you bake cookies, make a plate for the neighbors (as long as they’re not allergic…which we found out the hard way).
Guard your private family time, but keep your garage door open the rest of the time. Be welcoming. Be friendly. Mow their front yard just because.
Be a good ambassador of Christ in the neighborhood you live in, for this is where you were specifically placed and therefore uniquely called. Do this well so that if you ever move, your neighbors are legitimately sad to see you go.
Reflect on these verses:
1 Thessalonians 4:10 for indeed you do practice it toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, to excel still more, 11 and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you,12 so that you will behave properly toward outsiders and not be in any need.
1 Peter 2:12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
Proverbs 22:1 A good name is more desirable than great riches;
to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.
Philippians 1:27 Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit,[a] striving together as one for the faith of the gospel
I had a message planned for Sunday, but I blew out my back and was unable to deliver it. Still, I feel like the preparation and the content were Holy Spirit driven, so I want to share my notes with you anyways. Here are the notes for “LIFE HAS A PURPOSE – Grow In Faith.”
QUESTION TO ASK EACH OTHER:
Do you have a spot in your house (like a door frame) where your parents measure how tall you are?
When I hit a growth spurt as a kid, I’d want to measure my height almost every day. Growth is exciting.
When I was a kid I would only eat chicken nuggets. On our last cruise I tried everything on every menu. Growth is exciting.
There have been moments in my life when I’d literally *gasp* while reading my Bible. Growth is exciting.
In KirkYouth, we want you to grow in your faith because it is an exciting journey. A lot of you have told me how much you like Mid-High because we don’t treat you like little kids – we don’t teach you like little kids. That’s because as you grow, your faith should grow.
So today, I’m going to unpack our last purpose: GROW IN FAITH
Acts 17:24-28 (NIV; page 772) 24 “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. 26 From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 27 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. 28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’
Description: “Doesn’t Live In Temples Built By Human Hands”
24 “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything.
If you want to grow in faith, you can’t box God in or block Him out.
Illustration: Not confined to a church building or a church meeting
- JV AWANA – I was a memorizing machine
- School basketball – I was a mouth with legs
- Growth means you understand that Jesus is with you everywhere you go. (Not just @ Night of Impact, but on the bus back from Night of Impact
Application: Growth becomes a rhythm. Daily life
Description: “Gives Life And Breath And Everything Else”
25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else.
If you want to grow in faith, recognize that you can’t do it on your own.
Illustration: Adam didn’t create the Garden, God gave that to him.
But Adam was given the responsibility to make it grow
Gardening – prep the soil, water, fertilize, prevent pests– and I can do ALL of that and still get no growth. God is the one that causes all things to grow.
Application: Faith itself is a gift from God. When I put seeds in my garden bed, I expect them to grow and produce fruit. God is the same way. When he gives you the gift of faith in Him, he wants to see it grow.
Description: “Appointed Times in History”
26 From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands.
If you want to grow in faith, understand God’s plan for you.
Illustration: God knows where you are and what you’re facing
BUSY – “I don’t have time to read my Bible” – finals – state – family vacation (My excuses – tv shows)
DISTRACTED – Or you say “I don’t know how.” Maybe you don’t know how because you’re distracted while I’m trying to tell you how. You don’t need a new high score right at this moment. Some of you need to put your phones away and use an actual paper bible.
HURT – “You don’t know what’s happening at home.” Your parents might be getting a divorce – you know a friend that’s being abused – you have a friend who’s moving – it all sucks, and it’s all distracting.
Application: Growth happens in the struggle. God put you at this time in history on purpose. The easy thing is to stay bored, give in to laziness, or let the hurt that we feel consume us. But we sing all the time about how God lays brokenness aside and makes it beautiful. Do you really believe that?
Description: “In Him We Live, And Move, And Have Our Being”
28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’
If you want to grow in faith, make Jesus your one and only source of life.
Illustration: The opposite is we die, and stagnate, and have no purpose.
Drinking Rio Grande rain puddles – dead water – took our lives in our hands that day
Application: Is Jesus one of many things you pursue? Or is Jesus the one and only thing you pursue? All of life comes down to our connection to the True Vine.
Description: “Apart From Me You Can Do Nothing”
John 15:5 5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
If you want to grow in faith, stay connected to Jesus.
Illustration: abide/remain – stay connected to grow
- Nothing of eternal purpose “Our greatest fear in life should not be of failure but of succeeding at something that doesn’t matter.” – Francis Chan
- Brock to Pearse after winning a tourney (well…this will be in my attic in a few years)
- Nothing to save yourself “While we still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.” – Romans 5:6 “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:8
- Nothing to experience the fullness of joy: just look at Apple’s production rate:
- Jun ‘07
- 16GB Feb ’08 (we need a bigger one!)
- 3G Jul ‘08
- 3GS Jun ‘09 (16 & 32GB)
- released an 8GB in Jun ’10 (nope, we need a smaller one!)
- 4 Jun ‘10
- and a white one in April ‘11
- and an 8GB in Oct ‘11
- 4S 10 days later
- 5 Sep ‘12
- then overlay all of that with the iPads…
- Jun ‘07
Application: If you want to grow in faith, stay connected to Jesus. Our trinkets won’t matter much when we see Him face to face.
[ title slide ] How Do We Respond To This?
Life has a purpose. And that purpose is to grow in faith.
And if you want to grow in faith, it all comes down to Jesus. What do you think about Jesus? How are you spending time with Jesus? Are you trying to act like Jesus? Are you around other people who love Jesus? Are you making disciples who also love Jesus?
Or are you bored? Or too busy? Or too content?
Life has a purpose. And we grow in faith when we honor God in all that we do.
We grow in faith when we make significant connections.
We grow in faith when we reach out to our friends.
Because when we do these things, this puts what you learn in here into practice out there. It’s the proof.
Wouldn’t it be great to know your life has purpose? Then let Christ work in your hearts so these things become a rhythm of your life.
Aren’t your curious to know what a life lived on purpose feels like?
Jesus died on a cross. We all know that. But why did He do it?
John Piper in his book “Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came To Die” wrote:
“The central issue of Jesus’ death is not the cause, but the purpose-the meaning.”
What he’s saying is that the cross is the cause of Jesus’ death. Jesus died on the cross. And while the cross is important, it’s not why Jesus came to die. I want you to think deeper than the cross today to the purpose of the cross.
In the testimony of Duck Commander Phil Robertson, he talks about Jesus’ death on the cross and says, “Man, that was a mighty kind thing to do for a scumbag like me.”
If we focus only on the fact that Jesus died we’ll miss out on why Jesus died. The cross is beautiful and scandalous and it’s only the cause. Today I want to look at:
Why did Jesus have to die?
Hebrews 9:22 In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
If you look to the regulations and reasons for animal sacrifice in the book of Leviticus, you can see how this points to Jesus. If you look at what happened on Passover in Exodus 12, you can see how this points to Jesus.
Jesus had to die because animals had to die. And because His sacrifice was better, there are no more sacrifices for sin. Jesus paid it all. And because of his death we are saved. In the Exodus, the blood of the lamb not only delivered the people from death, but freed them from their oppressor. When Jesus died on Passover, He showed that His blood once and for all would deliver us from eternal death and be our only source of eternal freedom.
Jesus died to save me from being separated from God.
Where did my sin go?
After someone dies, you have a funeral. At the funeral you bury them. We know Jesus was dead because He was buried. And when Jesus was buried in the tomb, he did something miraculous even there. The next line of the hymn is:
“Buried He carried my sins far away”
When Jesus died and was buried, 8 things happened to your sin:
1. He cleanses our sins white as snow.
Psalm 51:7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Isaiah 1:18 “Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow, though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.
2. Our sins are forgiven.
Ephesians 1:7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace
I John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
3. They are removed as far as the East is from the West…the distance is impossible to even measure!
Psalm 103:11-12 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
4. They are blotted out.
Isaiah 43:25 I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.
5. He remembers them no more. (how does that line up with omniscience? Let that blow your mind!)
Hebrews 10:17 Then he adds: “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.”
6. Christ Jesus took them away!
John 1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
7. God blots out even the proof against us, nailing it to His Son’s cross!
Colossians 2:14 (NLT) He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross.
8. He cleanses and washes them all away by the blood of His Son.
Revelation 1:5 (NLT) Jesus Christ…is the faithful witness to these things, the first to rise from the dead, and the ruler of all the kings of the world. All glory to him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by shedding his blood for us.
1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
How Do We Respond To This?
Living He loved me.
Dying He saved me.
Buried He carried my sins far away.
Jesus went to the cross on purpose. He had to die in order to be our perfect sacrifice for sin. Without Jesus, we are still dead in our sin, we are still separated from God, we are still in danger of death.
But because of Jesus we can be saved and our sins can be carried far, far away.