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Watch 2022 online sermons » Craig Smith » Craig Smith - Finding Your Part in God's Purpose

Craig Smith - Finding Your Part in God's Purpose


TOPICS: Bootcamp, God's Plan, Purpose

Well, hey, we are in the midst of a series here called “Bootcamp”. We’re talking about how to move our faith forward because we know that when we make progress in our faith, we make a difference in the world. And the more progress we make in our faith, the bigger the difference we make in the world. And today I wanna talk to you about finding your part in God’s purpose. And specifically, I wanna talk to you about finding your part in God’s purpose for this thing that we call the church.

But before I do that, I do wanna ask you a question. Do you know that God has a purpose for your life? Do you know that? Because I know there’s some people listening who don’t know that or they’re struggling to believe it. And before we do anything else, I just need you to hear of the truth, God has a purpose for your life. I love what my friend, Chad Moore down at Sun Valley said to me recently. He said, “You know, there are accidental parents but there are no accidental children.” That’s good, isn’t it?

Yeah, there are accidental parents. Absolutely. But there are no accidental children because the Bible says that God created you. He created you on purpose and regardless of the circumstances of your birth, God created you on purpose and with a purpose. And that’s what I wanna talk to you about today. I wanna talk to you about finding your part in God’s purpose. Now, on one level, we all have kinda the same purpose. We all have a foundational purpose. It’s the same for every human being.

The Bible says we are created as God’s image, which in its simplest terms means that we were created to represent God and to manifest his presence in creation. Okay. That’s what it means to be human. We represent God, we manifest his presence in creation but we don’t all do that the same way. We don’t all represent God in the same way. We all have different ways that we were created to manifest God. We have different gifts that God gave us so we could go manifest his presence and represent him in creation.

And so, what we have to do is we have to find our particular part in God’s bigger purpose. And that’s what I wanna talk to you about today. Sometimes in Christian circles, we talk about finding our part in God’s purpose. We say it’s about finding our calling. How many of you ever heard that? We need to find our calling. And here’s the thing, sometimes in Christian circles, sometimes in the church, we overcomplicate that. And sometimes we even over-spiritualize this business of finding our calling.

Years ago, I went through the process of ordination, which means that a group of older pastors sort of examined me to decide if I was qualified to become a pastor. And I remember it, I sat in the center and there was a semi-circle of older pastors around me. And for three or four hours, they grilled me on my theology, my doctrine, my way of thinking about doing ministry, all those kinds of things. And I thought I was doing pretty good, honestly. But at one point they asked me a question that I hadn’t really expected.

They said, “Hey, tell us about your calling.” And I was like, “Well, what do you mean?” They said, “Well, tell us how you know that God has called you to be a pastor.” And that was the first time I really got nervous because I didn’t have a good story. See, I felt like what they were asking for was some sort of profound spiritual experience. Like, I was supposed to say, “Well, one day I was walking up to of my house and all of a sudden the bushes caught fire and a really deep voice spoke out of the bush and said, “Thou shall become a pastor.” And I didn’t have a story like that.

So, here was my story. So, I said yes to following Jesus when I was 12 years old. I was in college and I was kinda starting to think that I really wanted to serve God with my gifts. And I had a gift for music. So, I was thinking, “Oh, maybe I go into the music business and serve God there.” And a friend of mine, Dave Smith, he led the Bible Study I was part of when I was in college, he took me out to lunch and he sat down with me and he said, “Hey, I got a friend who is leaving a youth pastor position at a church in Cincinnati. And I think you should apply for that job. I think you should become a youth pastor.”

And I was like, “Yeah, I don’t wanna do that.” I mean, I didn’t really wanna be a youth pastor but honestly, I didn’t really wanna serve in the church. I didn’t wanna be in vocational ministry because, like a lot of you probably, I had a mixed set of experiences growing up in the church. I had some good experiences, absolutely, but I had some baggage from church. Anybody else got church baggage? Am I the only one?

Actually, I’m gonna be really honest with you guys. When I was in my… I think, I don’t know, it was 9th or 10th grade but I got kicked out of my 9th and 10th grade Sunday School class, which is not what you wanna hear from your pastor. I understand that. But I had a lot of questions and I wasn’t real satisfied with service-level answers. And so, I kinda got kicked out of my Sunday School class. I had some baggage and so I didn’t really wanna serve in the church.

But I’m gonna be honest with you, completely honest with you. This is my motive. I thought, you know, what I am attracted to is getting paid to serve Jesus. I was like, “That’s a pretty sweet deal.” I knew I wanna serve God and getting paid to do that sounded like a pretty good deal. And I was like, “Well, you know, I need to figure out this music thing. So, if I could get paid to serve God in the church for a year or so, while I figure out this music business, that would be a good deal.” So, I applied and they hired me.

I still don’t know why. I don’t think I would’ve hired me but they hired me. And so, I became a youth pastor and Coletta and I thought we’d stay there for a year. We ended up staying there for three years and God used us. But more importantly, maybe God really kind of caused us to fall in love with ministry in the local church. And so, three years in, we decided that was kind of where we were headed. And so, we needed a little bit more education.

So, we moved out to Denver, Colorado to go to Denver Seminary, put my resume in at the seminary and a church called. And they said, “Hey, we’d like you to be our youth pastor. And we also noticed you played guitar. So, how about becoming a worship pastor?” And I was like, “Okay.” And so there I was. Now a few years later, I was sitting in front of all these guys and they said, “Tell us about your call to be a pastor.” And I was like, “Yeah, I said yes to Jesus. And then I said yes to some opportunities to serve him and here I am.”

And I didn’t think they were gonna ordain me but they did. They did. Just so you know, that’s the ending of that story. I did get ordained but I tell you that because I think it’s interesting that we sometimes, we overcomplicate this business of finding our calling and finding our part in God’s purpose. We sometimes even over-spiritualize. I don’t think it’s all that complicated but I think it’s really important that we all do it because we all have a part in God’s purpose.

And so, what I’ll talk to you today is about finding your part in God’s purpose, finding your calling. It’s not that complicated but there are a couple of ground rules. And the first ground rule is this, is that we can only find the part we play when we understand what we’re part of. You hear me? We can really only find the part that we’re supposed to play when we understand what it is that we’re part of. And to help you understand what I mean by that, I brought a little object lesson. Let me zoom in real close so you can see this.

You might wanna guess what this is. You might think, “Well, you know, it’s a washer. Yeah, a washer.” It’s not a washer. You might think, “Well, maybe it’s one of those parts that you put when you’re putting plumbing together to hold the seal tight.” No. This is actually a cutter. Here’s the part that it’s part of. You put it on the tip of a long handle when you’re doing woodturning. And this is what digs into the wood as it’s spinning around on the lathe so you can shape a vase or a bowl or that kind of a thing. That’s what it is.

But you would never understand the part that it plays unless you understand what it’s part of. Does it make sense? And it’s like that with us. You’re never gonna find the part you’re supposed to play unless you understand what it is that you and I are part of as followers of Jesus. And what we’re part of is this thing that we call the church. And so, I wanna talk to you about what this church is. If you wanna follow along, we’re gonna be in Matthew, Chapter 16 starting at verse 13 today.

You can follow along in your Bible or you can follow along in the Mission Hills app. There’s some notes there you might wanna reflect on later in the week. But Matthew 16:13 says this, “Now when Jesus came to the region of Caesarea of Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” Now, when Jesus uses that phrase, the Son of Man, well, what he means is, “Who do people say that I am?” Because this was his favorite title for himself.

It’s a title that comes from the Book of Daniel. Several hundred years before this, Daniel had predicted the coming of one like a Son of Man. And by Jesus using that phrase, the Son of Man for himself, he’s basically going, “I’m the one you’ve been waiting for. I’m the one that Daniel predicted hundreds of years before.” So, basically what Jesus is asking though is, “Who do people say that I am?” And we’re gonna get to their answer but before we do that, I want you to notice the setting where this conversation took place.

This happened in a place called Caesarea Philippi. And you may not know anything about that. You don’t need to know it but here’s what you do need to understand. It’s a strange place for Jesus to be. Caesarea Philippi was way to the north of Israel and that’s not a place where Jesus spent much time. In fact, almost all of his ministry was way down to the south. He didn’t really spend any time north. This is the farthest north he’s ever been.

And honestly, it’s unusual for any Jewish person to go this far north because it wasn’t a place that good Jewish people went because it was a place full of pagans. Pagans, people who didn’t know anything about the God or the Bible. They worshiped all kinds of false gods and Caesarea of Philippi was filled with shrines to false gods. So, good Jewish people didn’t go there but Jesus went there. He took his disciples there and it’s in this place that he had this particular conversation.

And what’s interesting about that is, as we’re gonna see in a minute, this is the perfect place for Jesus to talk about launching his new project, the church. This is the perfect place for Jesus to talk about this new project. But he starts with a question. He says, “Who do people say I am?” And they replied, “Well, some say John the Baptist and others say Elijah, and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

These were all prophets. And so basically, they’re like, “Well, people say that you’re a prophet. People say that, you know, God’s speaking through you. God is sending messages to us through you. You’re a prophet.” “But what about you?” He asked. “Who do you say I am?” He says, “You’ve had a front-row seat. You guys have had a backstage pass. So, who do you say I am? I’m not really interested in what they say about me. I’m interested in what you say about me.”

And by the way, this is probably the most important question that you and I have to answer. This is the question that Jesus asks every human being. “Who do you say that I am?” And how we answer that question really determines the course of not only our life but of our eternity. We gotta get this one right. And it doesn’t matter what your family says. It doesn’t matter what your friends say. It doesn’t matter the church that you grew up in, what they say. It doesn’t matter what your culture says. What matters is what you say about who Jesus is. So, who do you say that Jesus is?

Simon Peter led out with the answer that ultimately Jesus wants us to be able to come to give. Simon Peter answered, “You’re the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” He says, “You’re the Messiah.” Which means Chosen One. He says, “You’re the guy that God told us to expect. God, hundreds of years before had said he was gonna send a Savior.” And so, Simon’s going, “You’re the one we’ve been waiting for. You’re the Savior God sent to save us.”

But Simon goes a little bit farther than that. That’s a big deal to call him the Messiah but he goes a little bit farther than that. He makes it an even bigger deal and he says, “You’re the Son of the living God.” He says, “You’re not just a prophet. You’re not just a guy who knows about God. You are God. You’re God in the flesh.” That’s a really big deal. Right? That’s a huge answer. But that’s ultimately the answer we all need to get to for ourselves.

And Jesus replied, “Blessed are you Simon, son of Jonah for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood but by my Father in heaven.” So, if you can kinda picture the scene, Jesus says, you know, “Who do people say I am?” They’re like, “Well, they say you’re a prophet. You’re kind of a big deal.” And Jesus goes, “Yeah. But who do you say I am?” And there’s Simon going, “Nobody else is gonna answer? Well, you’re the Messiah but I think you’re also…” Okay. Big risk here. “I think you’re the Son of the living God.”

And Jesus goes, “Oh, you got it. You got it. And you should understand you didn’t just figure this out. This was revealed by my Father. My Father revealed this to you.” You know, and Simon’s there like, “Yeah. You guys hear that? God talks to me. Not so much to you, John, but you know.” But it’s interesting. I want you to notice this. Jesus says, “This was not revealed to you by flesh and blood. It was revealed by my Father in heaven.”

So, this is a revelation. He’s received a revelation but what’s interesting is that we have no record that Peter received or that Simon Peter received this revelation in a big supernatural way. There’s no statement that there was a burning bush that told him this. There’s no statement that there was an angel who showed up and let him know this. Really what happened was it was a realization. As Simon spent time following Jesus and he’d said yes to following Jesus and now he’d said yes to a bunch of opportunities to be on mission with Jesus, he began to realize that Jesus was more than he first thought he was. He began to realize that Jesus was a much bigger deal even than he had thought previously.

And now Jesus says, “Hey, that realization you’ve come to, that was actually a revelation. God was working in you. God was bringing you to this point.” And I think this is so important because when we talk about finding our part in God’s purpose, when we talk about finding our calling, so often what we’re looking for is that big supernatural whoa moment. We’re like, “Whoa, I got it, God. I hear you.” But here’s the truth. Sometimes a revelation takes the form of a realization. Do you hear me, church?

In fact, for most of us, most often the revelation of God takes the form of a realization. It’s a gradual process of coming to understand something and it’s no less supernatural. It’s no less a work of God than those big moments we get so excited about. But sometimes it’s a little bit more subtle and it takes a little bit more time. And sometimes revelation takes the form of a realization. That’s how it happened for Peter. He realized this but Jesus said that was a revelation.

And he says, “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” Two really important things there. First off, I want you to notice that Jesus gives Simon a new name. His given name was Simon but now Jesus looks at him and goes, “From now on I’m gonna call you Peter.” And you may know that there’s a little bit of a play on words happening here because in Greek that this was originally written in, the word for Peter is Petros, which is also the word for…does anybody know? It’s a word for rock.

So, basically, Jesus looks at Simon and goes, “Hey, from now on, I’m gonna call you The Rock.” This was the first The Rock. Sorry, Dwayne Johnson, Simon had it first. Now, what’s interesting about this is that of all the disciples, honestly, I think Simon was the least rocklike. Because, you know, a rock is solid, it’s steady, it’s stable, it’s secure. And that was just not Simon.

You read through the Gospels, you’re gonna see that Simon was, look, he was enthusiastic. I’m gonna give him that one. He was enthusiastic but he was inconsistent. He wasn’t stable. He wasn’t steady. He was the guy that when Jesus was walking on water and he told his disciples, “Get out of the boat, walk with me.” Simon’s the only one who got out of the boat. And he started to walk on the water for a little bit but he’s also the guy who started focusing on the wind and the waves and his fear overwhelmed his faith and he began to sink and Jesus had to rescue him.

He was enthusiastic but he was inconsistent. As we saw all last week, he’s also the guy who said to Jesus, “I’ll die for you.” But then when they came to arrest him, he denied that he even knew Jesus three times. He’s enthusiastic but he’s inconsistent. He doesn’t have a lot of good follow-through. And just a little bit later on in the Gospel of Matthew here, right after this, Jesus starts to tell his disciples. “I’m gonna go into Jerusalem. I’m gonna die for the sins of the world.”

And Simon jumps in and goes, “Hey, I’m never gonna let that happen. Not on my watch, Jesus. I won’t let that happen.” And Jesus looks at him and goes, “Get behind me, Satan.” So, he goes from being the guy that God talks to, to being the devil in a span of moments. Simon wasn’t a rock. And yet this is the guy that Jesus looks at and goes, “From now on, I’m gonna call you The Rock.” And I love that. I love that so much.

Because listen, my favorite teacher in evangelism is a woman named Rebecca Ann Pippert and she says it this way. She said, “Jesus has a new name for each of us. That if he whispered it to us right now, we’d say that could never be me.” You hear me, church? Look at me. This is really important. Jesus has a new name for you. But if Jesus whispered it to you right now, you’d go, “That could not be me. That’s not who I am.” And it may not be who you are but it is who you could be.

See, enough small steps in the same direction take us to places we never thought possible. But enough small steps of obedience following Jesus also take us to being people we never thought we could be. Jesus has a new name for you. What’s the name? What could it be? Maybe it’s forgiven. Maybe that’s the name that you need to understand Jesus has for you, that you are forgiven. Maybe it’s that you’re free. Maybe it’s overcomer. Maybe it’s breaker of chains. Maybe it’s bringer of light. Maybe it’s shaker of worlds.

Jesus has a name for you and you can’t believe that it could be true but it will be if you’ll follow. By the way, this is so interesting. In this passage, we see the two most important things about every human being. First off, what do you say about Jesus? Who do you say Jesus is? That’s the first important thing about us. And the second thing is who does Jesus say you are. You see that? Those two things define us as we were meant to be. They define us as God created us to be. Who do you say Jesus is? And who does Jesus say you are?

Jesus looked at Simon and even though I guarantee the rest of the disciples were going, “That didn’t make any sense.” Jesus said, “You’re The Rock.” And he says, “On this rock, I will build my church.” This is his big project. This is what he’s brought the disciples to this place to talk about. He says, “On you, Peter, I’m gonna build my church.” And by the way, I’m just gonna cut through 2,000 years of church debate here. Can I just do that?

Because people debated, “What exactly does that mean, that Jesus says you’re Peter, you’re The Rock? And on this rock, I’m gonna build my church.” People have gone, “Well, I think it was just about his declaration. He’s building it on what Peter said, not on Peter.” And other people, like, in the Catholic church have gone, “Well, no, it’s Peter. Peter’s the first Pope and all the popes after him. That’s the foundation of the church.”

It’s none of those things. It’s Peter. It’s Peter the man. What Jesus is saying is, is that Jesus had an important part for Peter to play in getting the church up and running. That’s what he’s saying. He says, “Peter, I’ve got an important part for you to play. This is the part in the purpose.” I’ve got an important part for you to play in getting the church up and running. And we saw it. If you’re with us last week, we saw it. Peter’s the first guy who goes public with his faith. And 3,000 people say yes to following Jesus. And the church is up and running. He had an important part to play. He found his part in God’s purpose. His part was to get the church up and running.

So, now we need to talk about this church business for a second. What is the church? People think of different things. Maybe you’re a little bit like me. Growing up, I always thought of the church as a place because we went to church. It was that place there. But the church isn’t a place. The church is a mission. That’s why we say here at Mission Hills all the time, “The church isn’t a building we come to. It’s a mission we choose to be part of.” Church isn’t a building we come to. It’s a mission we choose to be part of. It’s the people of God saying yes to living on mission with Jesus. And what is that mission? Well, Jesus gives us two really big clues here.

First is where he was having this conversation. He was having it at Caesarea Philippi. Remember what we said? This is a strange place because what Jesus did to get to Caesarea Philippi was to leave the place where God’s influence had been felt for hundreds of years in the Nation of Israel, God’s influence had been felt but Jesus left that place where God’s influence was and he took him into a place where God’s influence wasn’t. Where it hadn’t been felt for thousands of years since Adam and Eve said goodbye to God or they rebelled against God.

So, what Jesus did was he took them out of the place where God’s influence was, and he took them into the place where God’s influence wasn’t yet. And that’s key because that’s part of the mission of the church. The mission of the church is to extend God’s influence wider in the world. Are you with me, church? That’s the reason the church exists. People say, “No, no, the church exists for discipleship.” And I go, “No, it doesn’t. Discipleship is how we help people grow to be like Jesus so they can extend his influence wider in the world. But discipleship is not the purpose of the church.” That’s like saying physical fitness is the purpose of the Marines. It’s not. Discipleship is indispensable. It’s key. Helping people become like Jesus is central to what we do but it’s not why we exist. The church exists to extend God’s influence wider in the world. The second clue he gives us is in what he says to Simon. He says, “You are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my church.” And then he says, “And the gates of Hades will not overcome it.”

By the way, I’m not crazy about that translation because the gates of Hades will not overcome it kinda sounds like the church is cowering, fighting against and then the gates of Hades are attacking us. And here’s my question to you. Have you ever seen anybody use gates as an offensive weapon? Can you imagine “Braveheart”? They may take our land but they’ll never take out freedom. Give me that gate. Okay. It doesn’t make any sense. Gates aren’t offensive weapons. They’re defensive ones. You understand?

Jesus isn’t saying the church will survive the attacks of Hades. He’s saying Hades will not survive our attack. What’s this Hades business? Some early translations translated as hell. The gates of hell but that’s not right. Gates of Hades is the better translation because in the ancient world, in first century, Greek thinking, Hades was the realm of the dead. It was the realm of death. And the purpose of the gates was to keep out the living and to keep in the dead. It was to keep dead people in their graves.

Jesus says, “Those gates won’t survive the attack of the church.” And if you think about it, what did Jesus do? He died but then he rose. The gates of death couldn’t keep Jesus in. And Jesus says, “And they’re not gonna keep you out. They’re not gonna keep my church out.” And this imagery is beautiful. Isn’t it? Jesus says, “The gates of death can’t keep me in and they can’t keep my church out.” So, here’s the thing.

The mission of the church is to storm the gates of death with the message of life. That’s the purpose of the church, to storm the gates of death with the message of life. And what’s this message of life? We call it the Gospel that God loves us even though we sinned and turned away from God, ran from him and our sin separates us from God and lead us to death. God loves us so much. He sent his own Son after us and he died on the cross to pay the price for our sin but then he rose from the dead. And if we will say yes to following him, if we will put our trust in him, we’ll be forgiven of our sin, adopted into the family of God, and become part of his mission in the world.

That’s the message of life. And he says, “That’s the purpose of my church is to storm the gates of death with the message of life.” And so, the question that we all have to ask ourselves as followers of Jesus is simply, “What’s my part in God’s purpose for the church?” What’s your part in God’s purpose for the church? Because we don’t all play the same part. At the moment, my part is pastor. It hasn’t always been that and it won’t always be that.

By the way, I’m not announcing anything. It’s not what this is about but someday I’m gonna retire. And I’m still at that moment gonna have to figure out my part in God’s purpose because as long as I’m on earth, as long as I’m part of the church, I’ve got a part to play in it. You gotta figure out your part in the church. How do you do that? How do we find our part in God’s purpose for the church? How do we play our part?

You know, it’s interesting. Again, we have this tendency to think that it’s this big moment. It’s this supernatural thing that happens. Or we say things like this. How many of you ever heard this? You gotta follow your passion. Anybody ever heard that one? Here’s the problem with following your passion. Many of your passions are stupid. You know I love you, right? But I know that because as I look back on my life, I have had a lot of stupid passions. A lot of our passions are stupid. Don’t follow your passions.

I love what Mike Rowe says. Remember Mike Rowe from “Dirty Jobs”? Mike says this, he says, “Don’t follow your passions, follow your opportunities.” That’s good. It may be the first time he’s ever been quoted in church. I don’t know. You wanna find your part in God’s purpose, follow your opportunities because see, that’s what Peter did. He said yes to following Jesus and then he said yes to opportunities. And he had a realization that it turns out to have been a revelation, not only about who Jesus was but about what his part in God’s purpose was. That’s what it was for me. I said yes to following Jesus, I said yes to opportunities and I had a realization that actually turned into a revelation about the part that I was supposed to play. That’s what all of us have to do. We have to follow those opportunities.

Can I tell you about a person that I know, a friend of mine that inspires me so much in this whole area of finding your call? Her name’s Nancy. I got to know Nancy because she’s the friend of a pastor friend of mine. He’s been a friend and a mentor to me for many years and I got to know his wife, Nancy. And I love Nancy. You know, my friend is one of those kinda bigger-than-life pastors. You know, he kinda dominates the room everywhere he goes. But that’s just not his wife. It’s not Nancy at all. She’s very quiet. She’s unassuming. She doesn’t like to be in front of people. She has never at any point occupied an official position in that church or any other church. But what Nancy does really well is she listens.

You know, she goes to a restaurant and she meets the waitress and she goes, “How long have you been working here? And you know, what’s your biggest challenge here?” And she listens to their answer and they tend to open up to her. It’s a spiritual gift actually, I think. Or she goes to get her hair done and she talks to the stylist and she says, “You know, what’s the biggest challenge you’re facing in your life right now?” And they open up and she listens.

And at the end of the conversation, she goes, “Wait, I’m gonna be praying for you.” She doesn’t even pray for them right then because that’s just not who she is. And then she goes away and she prays and she does pray. And then she comes back and she asks them, you know, “I was praying for you about that thing we talked about last time. How’s that going?” And she just keeps doing that. And at some point, in that relationship, she also finds herself going, “Hey, like, you know what? We’re doing a series at church that I think really would speak to this issue you’re struggling with. Would you wanna come to church with me for this series?”

And here’s the thing, and some people will struggle with this. This may be a little controversial for some of you, but Nancy has never actually shared the Gospel. She’s never actually explained the Gospel and how people can say yes to Jesus and invited them to do it. She’s never done that. She hasn’t prayed with them to receive Christ. She’s never done that. But over the years with what she has been doing, dozens and dozens of people have found Jesus. They have said yes to following Jesus. And they found their own calling, their own part in the verse. They’re following Jesus. They’re making a difference in the world because of what Nancy has done because she’s been playing her part. And I love that.

She’s never actually shared the Gospel and asked anybody to pray with her to receive Christ. But Nancy has been storming the gates of death with the message of life for 50 years. And there are dozens and dozens of people whose eternities have been changed because of that. So, what did she do? She said yes to following Jesus. She said yes to opportunities. And she found her part and she played it. So, how do we find our part?

We find our part in God’s purpose by saying yes to following Jesus and saying yes to opportunities to live on mission with him. Some of you need to say yes to Jesus. That’s what you need to do today. You need to put your faith in Jesus. You need to turn from your sins and say, “I don’t wanna go that way anymore. Jesus, I believe you died on the cross. You rose from the dead. I wanna follow you from here on out.” Some of you need to make that decision today.
And if you’re ready to make that decision today, we want you to let us know about it. You can do that by just texting the word Jesus to 80875. Let us know you’ve said yes to following Jesus. We wanna know about it. That’s the first and all-important foundational step. But after that, you’ve also gotta say yes to those opportunities. So, what are the opportunities? Well, maybe you do what Nancy did. Maybe you invite somebody to come to church for a series.

On your way out today, the greeters are gonna have cards about our next sermon series called “Unleashed”. Maybe you take one of those cards, pray over it and give that to somebody and say, “Hey, I think this might speak to you. Would you think about coming to church with me at the start of this series?” Or maybe you need to find a serve team to be part of. We’re big believers in being part of serve teams because when we serve in the church, we’re learning how to serve as the church in the world, which is what it’s really all about. We make it really easy. You can go to missionhills.org/serve and you can sort through all kinds of opportunities. And if one of them doesn’t work out, try another one. You’re not necessarily gonna say yes to an opportunity and immediately like, “That’s my calling.” It could happen. But for a lot of us, it’s a slow realization that turns out to have been a revelation. So, find a team to serve on.

Or maybe… I’m gonna push in on this one a little bit. Maybe you need to step outside of your comfort zone so you can begin to hear what God is calling you to. And one of the best ways to do that is to be part of a short-term trip. We love short-term trips. Not only because we get a chance to be the hands and feet of Jesus in the world, but because it allows us to get outside of our comfort zone and to begin to see how God wants to work in us and through us, as we begin to find our part in God’s purpose. I wanna challenge you to think about being part of a short-term trip. I wanna introduce you to a few people who have experienced God speaking to them about their part in his purpose through short-term trip. Would you listen to their stories?
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