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Craig Smith - Security Exchange


Craig Smith - Security Exchange
TOPICS: Threading the Needle

Well, yeah. Welcome to Mission Hills. I want to do a special shout out to some people that I know are joining us from some different parts of the world. So, this will be a special shout out to everybody who’s over at our Dove Valley Campus. We love our Dove Valley Campus, welcome to you guys. Also, we have a family… The Boyd family that we have figured out they join us every single weekend from the Philippines, and we think that’s really cool. So well, let’s just all yell, “Hey, Boyds.”, One, two, three, “Hey, Boyds.” We love you guys, so glad you’re joining us. And then now, also we have a whole bunch of our friends, Pastor Mike who attends our Littleton campus. Pastor Mike actually shares the stream of our service with a whole bunch of our friends at the Sousse Church in Tunisia every single week, which is super cool. So we’re in, on three we’re all going to yell, “aaslama.” That’s how we say hello in a Tunisian Arabic. So, “aaslama” okay? So, one, two, three… aaslama.

We love you guys at the Sousse Church in Tunisia. And, wherever you are joining us from, we’re just so glad you’re with us. Why don’t you go ahead and grab a Bible, and start making your way to the Gospel of Mark 10? We’re going to be wrapping up our series today called “Threading the Needle” where we’ve been looking at a conversation Jesus had with a man who came to him because he was looking for a little bit of certainty when it came to eternity. He was a good man, he was a religious man and yet he didn’t have any certainty when it came to eternity, and so, he’s asking like, “How do I get that?” And as Jesus began to speak to him, we learned a number of important truths. The first truth that we have learned is that being with Jesus is the key to everything. Being with Jesus is the key, it’s not religion, it’s not a list of do’s and don’ts, it’s having a relationship. It’s being with Jesus, that’s the key to everything. Jesus is where all the good stuff is.

It’s where salvation is, right? That’s where forgiveness is, it’s where hope is, it’s where peace is, it’s were certainty is. Religion can’t give us certainty, only a relationship with Jesus can. So being with Jesus is the key to everything. But, Jesus is a moving target, that’s why we’re called… What are we, we’re what’s of Jesus? We’re… Followers. We’re not standers around with Jesus, we’re not hangers out with Jesus, we’re followers.Because he’s always on the move, and so like if he’s at Mission Hills, we’re called to follow him, to become like him, and to join him on mission in the world, that’s what it’s all about, and that he’s a moving target, so what that means is mobility is a must. We have to deal with the things in our lives that are holding us back from following Jesus wherever he calls us, so mobility is a must. Now, for the man in this conversation, the thing that was holding him back was his money, and so Jesus gave him and gave us the key to not allowing money to hold on to us, and the key was generosity, because generosity is the key that…to not being held back by our money, generosity is the key to not being held back by our money. Unfortunately for this man, that wasn’t something he could embrace, generosity was not something that he was able to practice, and because of that, he wasn’t able to accept the invitation that Jesus gave to him to come follow him. And so, he went away sad.

And as Pastor Mike unpacked for us last week, that caused Jesus to turn back to his disciples and say what I think we all wish he’d really not said, which was, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God.” Like, anybody else wish he hadn’t said that? Right, even if we don’t think of ourselves as rich, you know, sometimes it’s hard to avoid the reality. If we look around at the rest of the world, like if we’re driving a car to church, and if we have a closet full of clothes to pick when we decide to get dressed for church, we’re rich, we genuinely are. And so, Jesus said, “It’s really hard for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God.”, we all go, “Oh, no.”, right? And, to make it worse, Jesus said, “No, no, let me tell you how hard it is.” He said, “It’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God.” You know, he took the biggest animal they were familiar with, and the smallest opening they were familiar with, and he’s like, “Yeah, it just doesn’t work.”, right, it just doesn’t happen. And fortunately, he gave us the good news as Pastor Mike unpacked for us last week, which is that, “What’s impossible with men is possible with God.” And in fact, he said this, and this is so important, he said, “All things are possible with God.”

And everybody breathed a big sigh of relief, right? All things are possible with God. But you notice, we’ve kinda come full circle, right? We’re kind of back to where we started. We said being with Jesus, being with God’s Son, being with God, that’s the key to everything. And he says, “All things are possible with God.” Being with him is key to everything, and that’s what caused Peter to respond in this way, we’re in chapter 10 verse 28, “Then Peter spoke up, “We’ve left everything to follow you?” Now, that’s a statement, but it’s also a question. I guarantee, if you could hear it, it would have a little bit of kind of a weird note at the end. He was like, “We’ve left everything to follow you?” Because he’s looking for some assurance, right? He’s basically going, “Hey, hey, we’re with you, right? We’re with you, we’re good, right?” I mean, “We’ve, we haven’t let anything hold us back from following you, we left it all behind, so we’re with you, right? So we’re good, right?” And Jesus assures him, “Truly, I tell you…” This is verse 29, “Truly, I tell you,” Jesus replied, “No one who has left home, or brothers, or sisters, or mother, or father, or children, or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in the present age. Homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and fields, along with persecutions.”

I don’t know about you, but I feel like you could have left well enough alone, right? I was digging the list up until that point, and we won’t spend a lot of time, but we spent a lot of time in the last series. Jesus said, “If you’re going to say yes to following me, the world is going to push back, it’s just going to be the way that it is, so just be prepared for it.” What we can expect, we can endure, and so he says, “Yeah, it’s coming, but he says that in the age to come, eternal life.” So he says, “Yes, Peter, you’re with me, and you can be assured of eternal life.” But, along the way, he makes a pretty incredible promise, doesn’t he? He says anybody who’s left all of these things is going to get them all back a hundred times over. And he says it’s going to happen when? In this present age. Which is Bible talk for this life, not the next one, this one.

And that promise has become the subject of a lot of what I would call, irresponsible teaching. And probably, but my favorite one that I’ve ever heard is, I heard a guy preaching that passage, and he kind of set the Bible down, and he said, “Let’s talk finances.” He said, “This is God’s investment plan. If you really want a good return on your money, you’ve got to give it to God.” Because let’s face it, I mean you invest in stocks, you invest $1,000 in a stock, maybe it goes up 10% that’s a pretty good return, that means you got $1,100. But, Jesus ain’t talking percentages, he’s talking times over. He says, you give him $1,000, he’ll give you back $1,000 a hundred times over, that’s $100,000. And I think we can all agree, that’s a pretty good rate of return, can we not, right?

But is that what Jesus is saying? Is this God’s investment plan for the here and now? And I get it like, I mean, don’t misunderstand me. I understand why that misunderstanding happens, because then it’d be really easy to avoid that if he had just said, you know, “If you leave things, you’ll get them all back in Heaven, right?” He’d kind of spiritualize it, but he didn’t do that, he said, “If you leave these things in this present age, you’ll get them back a hundred times over.”, right?

So what does that mean? And I think to understand what Jesus is saying here, what we need to do is, we kind of need to answer three questions about what he’s saying, and the three questions are these. First, what are we leaving? Second, why are we leaving it, what’s the motive for leaving it? And so, what exactly are we leaving behind? Why are we leaving it, what’s the motive for leaving it? And then, how is it multiplied, how is it multiplied back a hundred times over? Those are the three questions I think we need to ask and answer.

Let’s start with that first question, what are we leaving? Well then, let’s all go back, look back again at 29, “Truly, I tell you, Jesus replied, No one who has left home, or brothers, or sisters, or mother, or father, or children or fields”. There’s seven things there. Seven distinct items, but honestly, all seven of those items boil down to three very clear distinct categories. The first one, you might call comfort, the second one, you might call community, and the third, we might call career. There’s three categories, comfort, community and career, right? So home is comfort. All those relationships, that’s community, it’s your immediate family relationships, but in the ancient world, those immediate family relationships, that was just your first circle of community, and the idea was, you know, it continues to extend out from that, so it’s community. And then, the third category is career, fields were you know, it’s not only where you grew the food, but if you owned fields, you able to grow not enough food for you, but enough food to sell some of it, so it was income generation. And so, comfort, community, and field, all those seven categories, were down to those…all those seven items were down to those three categories.

But honestly, if we think about it a little bit more, those three categories all kind of boil down to one thing, doesn’t it? And that is security. All of these things really are things that people look to for security. These are all things people look to for security. And it’s not any different in the ancient world than it is here, right? Think about comfort, and community, and crew, those are the things that we continue to look to for security. I mean, if you think about your home, your home is, it’s clearly your source of comfort, and that is also a source of security. Our home is the place we feel most secure, or I hope it is, I hope it is for you. I mean, the reality is that you might be in a home situation where home doesn’t feel secure, it doesn’t feel comfortable, it doesn’t feel safe. But even if that’s the case, there’s probably something in you that goes, “Man, I just…I know how broken this is.” Because there’s something in you that says, “This is not how home was supposed to be.” Because I think God built us to find a sense of comfort, a sense of security in our home.

And so, even if you’re not experiencing, my hope is that God will move in your life, and in your family situation to bring that to the place where you can feel secure in your home, but home is a place of security. But you know, our relationships, our community, that’s also a tremendous source of security. And then, of course, our careers, we get a lot of security from our careers, right? And not necessarily all the jobs, but I mean certainly jobs and careers can be, but also, you know, the skills that we have, or the ways that we ended up being able to bring in income, maybe it’s the education we have, there’s all kinds of things. They’re the way that we bring in money, the way we pay for what we need, and that also is a source of security. So all of these things are things that people look to for a source of security. So that’s what it is that we’re leaving. He’s talking very clearly about those things that we look to for security.

Now, why would we leave those? Why would we ever leave those sources of security? Well, Jesus says very clearly, I want you to notice Jesus doesn’t say, anyone who leaves these things so they can get back more of those things. He doesn’t say, anybody who wants more of something needs to leave it with me so that you’ll get more of it. Well, here is what he says, he’s pretty clear about it. He says, “Truly, I tell you, no one who has left home, or brothers, or sisters, or mother, or father or children, or fields, for…” What’s that word? “For me and the Gospel.” That’s the reason they’re leaving, that’s the motive for leaving. He says anybody who leaves sources of security in order to follow me, and to advance the Gospel, as we say it in Mission Hills, “To become like Jesus and join him on mission.” To become like him, to enter a relationship with him, to follow where he leads, to allow him to transform us, to learn from him, to be changed from the inside, we’re becoming like Jesus. And, to follow him on mission, we’re joining him on mission in the world, that’s what we’re called to. So, basically, Jesus says, “Anyone who’s left these things so that they can follow me, and join me on mission in the world.” And you see, that’s very different than leaving those things so that we can get more of those things back, right?

This isn’t about getting more stuff, this is about getting more mobility, isn’t it? In other words, this is about people leaving sources of security, honestly, short-term security, so that they can get long term certainty. Because look what he says, “And in the end.” This is the end of verse 30, he says, “They’re going to get back all of these things, but then and in the age to come, eternal life.” That’s long-term certainty right there, long-term certainty. Jesus says anybody who leaves the sources of short-term security, and it is short-term by the way. We don’t always see it that way, you know, we look at those things, we look at, you know, community, we look at homes, we look at possessions, we look at career and all of those things, we go, “I don’t know what you’re talking about, I’m not thinking short-term, I’m thinking long-term. I’m thinking retirement, right? I’m thinking college education for my kids. I’m really…I’m thinking not tomorrow, I’m thinking, you know, 10 years, 20 years, 30, 40, 50, 60 years down the line. I’m thinking long-term, that’s not short-term, that’s long-term Craig.” No, it’s not.

I mean, try to wrap your brain around this. I mean, the Bible is really clear, we’re immortal. I mean, yes, our bodies will die, but the essence of who we are will live forever. We’ll be reunited to physical bodies again, the resurrection of bodies, believers and non-believers, every human being is going to be around for the rest of eternity. The Bible is really clear about that. Which means, I mean try to wrap your brain around this, I just watched an interview with a woman, she was 100 years old and she gave this interview about how to live to be 100, and apparently one of her secrets was ice cream. So, I was very intrigued by the thing. But, I was thinking about it. It’s like 100 years, that’s long-term, and then I realized it’s not really. Because you understand that like there’s a day coming that we’re going to turn a thousand, because do you understand that? You’re going to turn 1,000 someday. Not necessarily in this body, in this world, but you’re going to turn 1,000, so, you’re going to be around.

And if that doesn’t blow your mind, how about this? You’re going to turn 10,000. You’re actually going to turn 1 million, one day. How about this, you’re going to turn a billion. Like, I don’t know when we stop putting the candles on the cake. I’m guessing it’s somewhere around a million, when you’re just like, this is just not worth it anymore. So that the cake is the size of Littleton and that’s just not going to work anymore, all right? But you’re going to turn a billion, and then, like, I kid you not, guys, there’s going to be a day coming, you’re going to look back on your billionth birthday and go, “I was such a child.” Now we’re talking long-term, do you understand what I’m saying? And really what Jesus is saying here is this. He’s saying, “Hey, don’t let a preoccupation with short-term security holds you back from following the only one who can give you long-term certainty.” It might seem like more than short-term security, but on the eternal scale of things, it’s not. And so many people make decisions that affect their eternal certainty, because they’re fixated on short-term, very, very short-term security. And he says, “Don’t let that happen.”

But what’s interesting is that even though he says, “Don’t be preoccupied with short-term security so that it impacts your long-term certainty.” He also says, “But I’m actually going to take care of the short-term security thing too.” Right? Because he says, “I’m going to actually multiply back into your life all of those sources of short-term security.” “In this present age,” he says, “I’m going to do it.” So, he doesn’t just give long-term certainty, he also gives short-term security. How does that happen? How is it multiplied? Well, let’s look again and let’s go back to verse 29, “Truly I tell you.” Jesus replied, “No one who has left home, or brothers, or sisters, or mother, or father, or children, or fields for me and the Gospel.” And I want you to notice, there are seven items there, and we said they break into three categories, we got comfort, career…comfort, community, and career. But I want you to notice there’s only one item that really represents comfort, right, homes. There’s also only one item that represents career, that’s fields, but there’s five items that represent community. Five items that represent that first circle of community, which is a stand-in for all of the other circles that extend out, and ripple out from that.

One item for home, one item for career, one category with five items in it, which clearly makes community a bigger deal, doesn’t it? He’s clearly putting a stronger emphasis on this community business, which is not surprising because in the ancient world, your community was your primary source of security, do you understand that? Nobody had 401(K)’s, nobody had IRAs, they didn’t have Social Security, your community was your number one source of security, but it was also the source of security that was most threatened by the invitation to come follow Jesus. Because you think about how, I mean Jesus comes into your village, and you’re listening to him teach, you’re seeing the miracles, and there’s something stirring in your heart and you’re beginning to go, I think this is the guy. I think he’s the one, I think he’s the Messiah. I think he’s the Lord himself among us, and then he does the most amazing thing, he says to you, “Hey, come with me, come follow me.” And then you go, “Seriously, you want me to come follow… I would love to follow. Yes, I would love to be with you.” He goes, “Great. And they takes off.” Like he just turns around and takes off and you’re like, “But…”

And, you know, you’re kind of huddled there with your source of security, your family, your community, and he’s going and he’s looking back, “Are you coming?” You’re like, “What?” “Do you guys want to come with me?” And you’re like, “No, we really don’t.” And you… Suddenly, you know, you’re going, “Should I stay, or should I go?” Right, that song is playing over and over in your brain. You’ve got to make a decision, “Do I stay, do I go, do I follow Jesus, do I be with him, or do I stick with my source of security?” See, the community was the number one source of security, but it was also the number one thing that was threatened by Jesus’ invitation, “Come with me.” So there’s a strong emphasis on it in 29, but then look at verse 30. He says, “No one who has done that will fail to receive a hundred times as much in the present age.” And then look what he says as examples, “Homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, fields.” He loads up on the community business again.

It’s still mostly about community. He says, anybody who leaves their source of security will get back a similar source of security, but it’s not exactly the same. You know, I was in India a couple of weeks ago, and I had a chance to talk to a number of men and women who experience that tension in a way that most of us have not, and some of you have. But, most of us in America probably have not really experienced what they did, and that is, when they decided to follow Jesus, when they said yes to putting their faith in Jesus, when they said yes to following Jesus, they were disowned by their families. Pretty much said, “We don’t have a son, we don’t have a daughter, you’re not part of the family anymore.” They were exiled from their villages, and really they were rejected by the dominant culture of their nation. They found themselves without community, and in India that matters a whole lot more than it does here, because very much like the first century, most people in India aren’t counting on Social Security, or IRAs, or 401(K)s, or investment properties, or any of that stuff.

They were counting on their community, and their community said, “You’re not one of us anymore.” But what’s interesting is that, as I talk to these men and woman who’d said yes to following Jesus, they didn’t really see themselves as being without a community anymore. They didn’t feel like they’d lost their community, and the reason was because they felt like they came into a new community, it was actually better than the one they left. It shared their priorities, it shared their values. They came into the community of other followers of Jesus, and that’s really what Jesus is talking about here, do you understand that? He’s not saying, anybody who’s lost security… This isn’t a security loss, this is a security exchange, does that make sense? It’s a security exchange. Anybody who’s left, especially the source of security in their community, they’re actually going to get back another source of security in the people of God, and it’s not just better because they share the same values and priorities, it’s actually bigger too.

I mean, I just…I’ve experienced this in my own life, maybe you have, like, you know, I’ve only got one sister, but I’ve got a whole bunch of sisters in Christ. I don’t have any brothers, but I have a whole bunch of brothers in Christ. Men that, they hold me accountable, they helped me when I need help, I mean, I can count on them. I got no brothers, but I’ve got dozens of brothers in Christ. I got one mom and I have about a half dozen mothers in Christ. Women that have supported me and nurtured me over the years. And I love my mom, Mama, just in case you’re listening, I do love you, but I’m also so grateful for these mothers in Christ. And I know some of you were like, “Man, I just…one mom is all I can deal with. I don’t know that I need a bunch of more moms.” And mothers in Christ sounds a lot like mothers-in-law, and hey, these are way better than mothers-in-law. Linda, if you’re watching, I love you too, I do. I have a great mother-in-law, but my mothers in Christ, they’re the best. You know, I’ve only got two daughters, but I got dozens of daughters in Christ that Coletta and I have poured into over the years. I don’t have any sons, but I’ve got a whole lot of sons in Christ that I’ve been privileged to… Some of them to lead to the Lord, disciple them, and to kind of walk beside them as they’re figuring out family life, and work life and, what it means to follow Jesus and all those areas. It’s not just better, it’s bigger.

By the way, you might have noticed that there’s five items that represent community in the first list, but there’s only four items that represent community and the second list. There’s an item missing, do you see what it is? It’s father. Why is that? Yeah, because in Christ, you don’t just get access to some fatherly figures, you don’t just get access to more human father figures, you get access to a Heavenly Father, and no human father figures. And I’ve got a number of those that God’s provided in my life. Mentors that continue to help me along and that I can turn to for advice, and wisdom, and help, but none of those hold a candle to being a son of God Almighty himself. And when we’re following Jesus, when we’re with Jesus, we get access to a Heavenly Father, we become sons and daughters of the King of kings, and the Lord of lords, of God Almighty himself, and that’s awesome.

This is not a loss of security, it’s a security exchange. The people of God, God and his people become what we look to for security. God becomes what we look to you for certainty. And his people are what we look to for security. We see this played out even in the Book of Acts in the early chapters of Acts. If you go and read it today, what you’ll see is that the early church, I mean they were constant…they were selling things and having everything in common so that they could take care of each other. For those who lost security by saying yes to following Jesus, they found it multiplied many times over in the context of his people that knew community.

And so then in verse 31, Jesus says, “But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” And really, I think all he’s saying is, when it comes to these sources of short-term security, many who have all of those, many who are first, the world looks and goes, “Hey you’re doing well, you’ve got all the things you need to be secure.” Jesus says, “Yeah, you might be first in terms of short-term security, but you’re last when it comes to long-term certainty, because those sources of short-term security, they are holding you back from following me just like this young man.” That was exactly the problem. He had it all. I mean, the world said, “You’re first, you’ve got homes, you’ve got a community that respects you, you’ve got fields in many numbers, you’ve got all the sources, so you’re first.” And Jesus says, “Yeah, but he couldn’t say yes to following me because of all those things.”

So, he’s actually last when it comes to long-term certainty, but then he says, “And many who are last.” The world looks at us and goes, “You don’t have any security. You’re way underfunded on that IRA this year, and the previous 10 years.” Like, “you’re way behind when it comes to retirement, saving for college, all those…you don’t have it, you don’t have security, you’re last when it comes to short-term security.” But, Jesus says, “Yeah, for many are those, they’re first when it comes to long-term certainty because they’re free to follow Jesus.” And being with Jesus is the key to everything. And, really what Jesus is saying is just this, We have to understand, Jesus is my certainty and his people are my security. Amen.

Do you believe that? The first part is probably easier to believe actually, isn’t it? Jesus is my certainty. It’s also true. What Jesus is telling us here is, Jesus is my certainty, but his people are also our security. And I just want to acknowledge, I just want to be honest. I think some of you who’re listening to this, they don’t feel that way about the people of God. Maybe you’ve been mistreated by people of God. In fact, maybe you’ve been abused to the point that it’s hard even to think that Jesus could be your certainty, because you’ve had some pretty negative interactions with his people. Or maybe that’s not the problem, maybe you think that I’m okay with Jesus, I’m just not all that fond of his friends, right? It happens.

And so, I want to say I can’t fix that, but I can speak to the Church as the people of God, and I can say this, what Jesus is saying here is true. Jesus is my certainty, his people are my security, that’s true, but it’s only evident, it’s only obvious when the people of God act like the people of God. When we act like the Church that God called us to be. And so, over the next couple of weeks, maybe as we’re, kind of, ramping up to Easter, I’m going to push into that. We’re going to have a little series here, a little, kind of, sort of huddle-talk where, we’re going to call the series, “Don’t Come to Church.” That’s not a command, that’s just a title. “Don’t Come to Church.”, and then right underneath it, you’ll see, “Be the Church.”

And so, we’re going to talk for a couple of weeks leading up to Easter. But what does it look like to be the people of God that are the security for one another, that Jesus taught? Jesus is my certainty, his people are my security, so how do we do that, how do we live that out? What are we called to be as a church? And we’re going to push into that because that’s the only way that the truth of what Jesus is saying here is going to be completely evident. Jesus is my certainty, his people are my security.

So, let me give you a couple of questions. Question number one, what short-term security is holding me back from following Jesus? Because, I think we all have sources of short-term security in our lives that exert too much influence, that keep us from being able to follow Jesus wherever he leads, so what is it for you? You know, we’re talking about possessions, and community here, or, you know, maybe it’s one of those categories. Maybe it’s comfort, maybe it’s community, maybe it’s career, maybe it’s something in that area. But if you’re not really sure how to even identify that, you go, “Why?… I mean I, can think of some sources of security in my life, but I don’t know that I’m necessarily putting them in front of Jesus. How do I know if I’m doing that? Let me give you, kind of, a push in question, because this is a principle that I’ve come to understand in my own life and it’s this, it’s the sequence of my actions reveals the priority of my heart. Let me say that again, the sequence of my actions reveals the priority of my heart.

The sequence in which I do things tells me a lot about which of those things are most important. I mean, if you think about it, if I go home after work on a weekday and, you know, when I open the door, if I decide not to greet anybody…Well, I’m going to have to greet the dog because they’re pushy, okay? But if I…you know, if I don’t greet my family, and if I go immediately to the basement, and play video games for an hour, that sequence of my action says something about my priority when it comes to my family, doesn’t it? The sequence of my actions can reveal the priority of my heart. And so, when you think about life that way, that question, like, what does the sequence of my actions reveal that might actually point us into the directions of some things that are short-term security, that are actually getting more of our hearts than they should.

I mean, let’s talk about money, shall we? And you’re like, “Can we please?” Because we haven’t done nearly enough of that over the last few weeks, right? But I think we go to money, because money is what sponsored this conversation, is what kicked the whole thing off. You know, and one of the things we said a couple of weeks ago, because this is about money, and it’s about being free from its holding back influence in our lives. We said, you know, the Bible talks a lot about money, 800 passages. It boils down to basically three simple concepts, give first, save second, live on the rest. Give first, save second, live on the rest, the Bible’s teaching. And we see that giving first honors God, saving second practices wisdom, and living on the rest builds contentment, that’s the biblical teaching.

So, the question in terms of money would be, is that the sequence? Are you following the biblical sequence when it comes to money? And if not, what does that reveal about the priority of your hearts? And it’s remarkable to me how easily you can get the sequence wrong without even realizing it. It can be a very subtle thing. I am going to be super honest with you guys. I realized this week that I actually wasn’t following that sequence, and it surprises me. Hopefully, it surprises you, like, some of you are like, “Yeah, whatever.” Like, I’d prefer to see shocked faces at this point, right? Because what I told you a couple of weeks ago was, you know, the way that I have practiced it, and we didn’t start this way, we’ve built up to it as a family. We’ve taken our constant next step of generosity, but we…you know, when I get my direct deposit on Fridays, I look at it, I move the decimal place one point to the left, that gives me my 10% number and I give that to God through Mission Hills first. But what I realized this week, and I can’t believe that I’ve missed this all along is actually, by the time the money gets deposited me, they’ve already peeled off some retirement savings, so, actually, what I’m doing is saving first and giving second, which is not what I told you guys to do, no.

I don’t think that’s hypocrisy, I think it’s stupidity because I just honestly…it just…I never made the mental connection, but the Holy Spirit showed me that, and so immediately you Coletta and I went, “Okay, we’re going to change. We’re going to fix that so that we’re actually…we’re incorporating that number that is getting peeled off into our giving.” We want to give our tithe to God through Mission Hills, and so we fixed that. Now some of you are like, “Well, if you’re really going to fix it, you’ve got to go back and post-date all those other…” Like, Jesus and I are working on that, we’re figuring out, okay? I’ll just…you just let him and I deal with that one, okay? But where in terms of money are your priorities, what do those sequence of your actions reveal about the priorities of your heart?

And it’s not all about money, right? Because, you know, Jesus talks about comfort, and community, and career and money is certainly in there, but there may be other things that are not money that are your sources of short-term security, right? It might be a relationship, it might be a toxic, unhealthy relationship, it might be a career path, it might be an expectation, it might be a possession of some kind. I mean, there’s all kinds of things that we can point to, but what Jesus says is, don’t let a preoccupation with short term security keep you from following the only one who can give you long-term certainty.

And so, as you think about all kinds of stuff in your life, just sort of asked this question. I mean, the question we’re really asking again is, what short-term security is holding me back from following Jesus. But the push in question is, what does the sequence of my actions reveal? And we need to apply that question to all areas of our lives.

And then, as you begin to, kind of, get a handle on maybe here’s an area where short term securities holding me back. The second question, you’re not going to be surprised about, we do it almost every week at Mission Hills is just, what are you going to do about it? What step will you take this week to start loosening its hold on me? What step will you take this week to start loosening that things hold on you? Now, if it’s money, which it often is, for a lot of people it is, what we said a couple of weeks ago, and I think what Mike reiterated last week again as well was, the step is just to take the next step of generosity. Generosity is what sets us free from the power of money over us. So, what’s your next step? And we said, you know, if you’re not giving anything, start giving something regular. If you’re giving something regular, the next step is to start giving a percentage. If you’re giving a percentage, start giving a tithe, and if you’re giving a tithe, start doing Spirit lead sacrificial, where you give a tithe to your local church, and then you ask God, you know, “How else do you want me to bless others and extend your Kingdom with generosity?”

And then, let me just say again what I said last week is, as I know that there’s always the potential when we talk about money to make it sound very self-serving, or for it to come across like it’s self-serving. And I swear to you, I’m not saying any of this to make Mission Hills bigger or to get more money out of you for what we do, I’m saying this for you. Which is why what I said last week, and all right, I don’t know, two weeks ago, and I’ll say again, is this, if for some reason you don’t trust Mission Hills or you don’t trust your local church, whatever that happens to be, then don’t give to Mission Hills, don’t give to that local church, but give somewhere. Start practicing the next step of generosity somewhere because it’s for your benefit. Generosity is what peels the hold of money off of us, and so if for some reason you don’t trust Mission Hills or your local church, then give somewhere, because it’s for your benefit, but what step will I take this week, and if it’s money, really, what’s my next step of generosity?

If it’s not money, then you need to ask the Holy Spirit, you know, what step do I need to take this week? What small step in the right direction? You know, sometimes we go, “Well, this thing’s got a really big hold on me, so I’ve got to do this massive change.” Honestly, attempting to do massive change rarely succeeds. Whether that’s generosity or you’re dealing with something else in your life. What would I say a lot of times to the staff here is, small steps in the right direction take us to places we would never have gotten otherwise. One small step this week in the right direction, and then you keep taking those steps in that right direction, you’ll end up in a place where you were freer than you would have ever thought possible. Free to follow the only One who is your certainty. Jesus is our certainty, and his people are our security. Would you pray with me?

Jesus, you’re so good to us and we love you. We know you loved us first, but we love you right back. Lord would you send your Holy Spirit to move in us in such a way that we deal with the things that are holding us back from loving you back, from following you. Lord, whether that’s money or something else that has its hold on us, would you show us what that thing is? Could you give us the courage to take those small steps of obedience in the right direction to be free? Free to follow you, because you are our certainty. And Lord, thank you that your people are our security, that when we trust you, we come into a family where we have God Almighty as our Father, and brothers and sisters, and moms and, sons and daughters, not just a better community that shares our values, but a bigger one. And Lord we confess to you that your Church has not always acted in the way that we are supposed to. We have not always been the people of God that you’ve called us to be, and so we haven’t always been a source of security for each other. And so, we ask for your forgiveness on that, especially over the next few weeks as we push into what your Word says to us about being that, would you show us how to be the Church you call us to be? We love you.


If you’re a follower of Jesus, would you just do me a favor, begin praying with the people around you. There are lots of people that are watching online from all over the world. Because I believe that there are people listening right now who, they’ve heard this idea about long-term certainty and maybe you’re hearing that word this day and you’re thinking, “I don’t have that.” You know that you don’t have long-term certainty. Maybe it’s because you’ve been focused on short-term security and for the first time you’ve realized you thought you were thinking long-term, but you’re only thinking 30, 40, 50 years, and that’s not nearly long term enough. And you realize that your focus on really short-term security has blinded you to the need for this long-term certainty that you can only have by a relationship with Jesus.

If you’re here today and you don’t have that relationship, you don’t have that certainty, I want you to know there’s no reason for you to leave this place without it, without the relationship and the certainty that comes with it. That’s what God wants for you. He loves you so much he sent his only Son. He lived a perfect life, he had no sin to pay for, and so, when he went to the cross, he did so carrying your sin. And when he died on the cross, he paid for it with his blood. Three days later, he rose from the dead. These are facts of history.

And right now, today, right here, right now, he’s offering you forgiveness, new life, adoption into the family of God and the certainty about where you will spend eternity. And if you don’t have that certainty, but you’re ready to say yes to Jesus, to say yes to following him and trusting in him, would you just lift your hand up. That’s awesome. That’s fantastic. If you’re watching online, just click the button right below me, and wherever you are, you just say this to Jesus.

Jesus, I know I don’t deserve a relationship with you, because I’ve done wrong, but I’m sorry for that. Thank you for going to the Cross to pay for my sin. I know you rose from the dead, I believe it, and you’re offering me new life, forgiveness, a relationship with you, a relationship with my Heavenly Father, adoption into the family of God, certainty about my eternity. I’m ready to say yes, Jesus. So right here, right now I say, “yes.” I put my trust in you. Jesus, come into my life, be my Savior, be my Lord, because I’m yours for now and forever. Amen.

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