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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Craig Smith » Craig Smith - Mother's Day. Echoes in Eternity

Craig Smith - Mother's Day. Echoes in Eternity

Craig Smith - Mother's Day. Echoes in Eternity
TOPICS: Mother's Day

Well, hey, welcome to Mother’s Day at Mission Hills, so good to have you with us today. Hey, can I just be honest? They didn’t tell you that Mother’s Day is probably one of the hardest weekends of the year for a preacher, because here’s the thing, writing a good message for Mother’s Day feels a little bit like somebody’s lined up like four or five needles and given you a piece of thread and said, “Good luck. You got one shot to get this through all of those needles,” because there’s several different kind of needles we’re trying to thread on Mother’s Day. On the one hand, one of the things we wanna do is we wanna make sure that we honor all of our moms. We know that being a mom is not easy. We know you’re not women, you’re warriors, and we love you, and we respect you. And so we want you to be honored in a way that feels genuine and authentic and not pandering or cliché. So there’s that one.

But then there’s also the needle of the fact that we recognize that not everybody listening is a mom. I mean, first off, 50% of you are men, so you’re out, right? And then you got little kids and people at different stages of life that may not have kids. And then we don’t ever want anybody to walk away from a weekend in Mission Hills not feeling like they got something from the Lord for them personally. So there’s that needle to thread. And then there’s the reality that some women don’t have kids, and that’s a point of pain. You’re maybe even trying to have kids, but you’re struggling with infertility or something like that, and so it’s a painful moment, and Mother’s Day rather than being joyous is a reminder of that pain. And so there’s that needle we wanna be threading. We need to be sensitive to that.

And then there’s…honestly, there’s this reality. And we don’t ever say this on Mother’s Day because Mother’s Day is all about all moms are awesome, and we all know that’s not true. And you might have had a mom who wasn’t awesome. You might’ve had one of the bad moms, honestly, and that might have been a relationship that’s incredibly painful. And so Mother’s Day is a reminder of how bad that relationship was or maybe even still is.

And then, of course, there’s the needle of the fact that sometimes you have kids and you love your kids, but they’re prodigals, not protégés, prodigals. They’ve gone off. Maybe there’s an estrangement in that relationship or there’s pain and there’s suffering there. And so there’s just all kinds of different things that we’re trying to do on Mother’s Day, and it’s really hard, I think, to navigate all of those kind of rocky shores there.

Now, one of the reasons that…this is one of the reasons one of the churches sometimes just kind of skip over Mother’s Day entirely. They’re just like, “Yeah, it’s just too tricky. We’ll let the worship leader say Happy Mother’s Day, and then the preaching just doesn’t do anything at all with it. Sometimes that is messy too. I was the worship leader once for a Mother’s Day weekend where the pastor preached on hell.

I don’t think he did it on purpose. Like, I don’t think he was going, “You know what moms need to hear about?” I don’t think that was what happened. I think he just kind of forgot it was coming, had a series plan, hell was the topic, and then he got closer, he was like, “Oh, you know, it landed on Mother’s Day.” And he’s like, “Yeah, it’s a Hallmark holiday. Let’s just do this thing, right?” I was the worship leader, and I can just tell you, from my vantage point, it did not go well, okay?

I mean, everybody came in. They were all happy. The moms were dressed to the nines, little girls in spring dresses, little boys in, like, suit coats and bow ties. It’s always been interesting to me that for some reason, like, little boys end up in bow ties at church on Mother’s Day. Mother’s Day is the one day moms all get what they want, right? And apparently what a lot of moms want is little boys in bow ties. So they were looking good. Everybody was looking good. The dad’s not quite as much. I’m gonna be honest with you, okay? The dads, a lot of them were sporting little bits of pancake batter in various places, some bacon grease, and a kind of a shell-shocked look in general in their eyes.

But, overall, everybody’s pretty happy. And they came in. I made sure we did kinda upbeat songs. Everybody’s feeling really good by the time the message started. But then the message started. You could feel the joy being sucked out of the room. Like worst Mother’s Day ever, right? So I learned my lesson. We are not gonna be talking about hell today. We’re gonna talk today instead about something I think is much more appropriate to Mother’s Day, sexual sin.

Okay. I’m glad you laughed. I’m totally kidding. We’re not gonna do that either. What we are gonna do today is we’re gonna take a look at an incident, an event from Jesus’s life that I think demonstrates what Jesus values most in his own mom and by extension really what Jesus values most in all of us. So if you wanna join me, we’re gonna be in the Gospel of Luke today, chapter 11, Gospel of Luke chapter 11. And while you’re turning there, let me just say this, Gospel of Luke is one of four books in the Bible, four things that we call the Gospels that record the life of Jesus.

And it’s interesting that in some cases all four of the Gospels record the same incident from the life of Jesus, sort of big moments in his ministry, they all talk about, but there are some things that only each one of the Gospels sort of picks out as their unique things. And the story we’re gonna look at today is something that is one of those sort of unique elements from the Gospel of Luke. Luke is the only one who tells us that this happened, and yet it’s a really interesting kind of a story. It says this, it’s Luke chapter 11, we’re starting verse 27 today, “As Jesus was saying these things.” So Jesus teaching, he’s in the middle of a teaching time, “As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, ‘Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you,'” which is a little bit of an awkward kind of a thing to yell out in a crowd, isn’t it? And, actually, it’s more awkward in the original. This was originally written in Greek, and in the original… The New International has cleaned it up a little bit.

In the original, it literally says that she cried out, “Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts that nursed you.” Can you imagine if somebody yelled that in the middle of a sermon? Like, why are you talking about wombs and breasts? This is way too much TMI, right? What are you doing here? Right? But that’s what she does, and understand that she’s speaking out of respect, okay? She’s impressed by Jesus, and she wants to honor the mom who did this amazing thing, who made this amazing contribution to the world by bringing him into it. And so she yells out essentially, “Hey, you know, blessing and honor on your mom because she brought you into the world.”

It’s also, I think, important to understand that what she’s doing is she’s speaking out of an issue, is articulating a belief that was very, very common in the ancient world. In fact, it was probably the only belief about women in the ancient world. And it’s actually a view that I think we find pretty commonly even today. And that is she speaking out of the belief that the greatest contribution a woman can make to the world is having and raising kids. That’s what she’s doing. She goes, “Hey, your mom did it. She succeeded. She managed to live up to her highest calling. She had and raised you.” There’s that belief that having and raising kids is the highest contribution that a woman can make to the world.

What’s interesting is that Jesus, instead of confirming that belief, he confronts it. Look what he says, “And he replied, ‘Blessed rather are those who hear the Word of God and obey it.'” So he stops, right? I mean, he’s teaching, this woman calls this thing out, and he stops what he’s doing to address it. He says, “No, blessed rather…” And that word rather is actually very strong. In the original Greek, that word was a word that you typically use for a rebuttal. It was a word that you would use when somebody said something, you went, “I hear what you’re saying. I know where you’re coming from, but you’re wrong, and I can’t let this one pass. I can’t afford to allow you to continue to believe this, so I need to lean in, and we need to change your thinking about this, okay?”

So this woman essentially interrupts her, and he goes, “Hey, what she just said was wrong enough that I need to stop what I was talking about, and we need to talk about this thing.” So she says, “Hey, your mom is blessed because she had and she raised you.” And he goes, “No, blessed rather,” or some translations say, “on the contrary, blessed are those who hear the Word of God and obey it. And what Jesus is doing, it’s important you understand this, is Jesus says that a woman’s highest calling isn’t to have kids. It’s to hear the Word of God and obey it. He says, “That’s a woman’s highest call, it’s to hear the Word of God and obey it.”

And I think it’s important to understand that Jesus isn’t dissing his mom here, okay? He’s not taking honor away from his mom and giving it to other people, okay? He’s actually…I believe he’s honoring his mom. Really, listen to me. Jesus isn’t refusing to honor his mom. He’s insisting that she be honored for the right reasons. He’s insisting on honoring her for the right reasons. He wants to honor his mom. I believe he’s thinking about his mom when he said this. And part of the reason I say that is because, as I said, this is a story that’s unique to the Gospel of Luke. But Luke is also the only Gospel that records the details of a time that the word of God came to Jesus’ mother, Mary.

The word of God came to Mary when she was a young girl, an unmarried virgin. The angel brought her the word, and the word was essentially, “Hey, you found favor with God, and there is a reward for that. You’re gonna become pregnant by the Holy Spirit. In a culture that takes sexual promiscuity very seriously, you’re gonna become an unmarried pregnant girl by the power of the Holy Spirit.” And Mary understandably had questions. And it felt like what God was saying was impossible. It felt like what he was asking her to do was impossible. And she asked those questions, and the angel basically said, “Trust God.” And then he said this. He said, “For no word from God will ever fail.” No word from God will ever fail.

And Mary had a choice at this moment. She had to decide, “Am I gonna obey that word or not? I’ve heard it, sure, but what am I gonna do now? Do I obey it or not?” And this is what she said, “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. That’s obedience. She said, “Your word matters more than my plan. Your mission for me matters more than what I was expecting to do. I’m the Lord’s servant. May your word to me be fulfilled.”

So the word of God came to her, and what did she do? She heard it, and she obeyed it. I think it is probably also important to recognize this. Sometimes in the church, in fact, most of the time in the church, when we use the phrase, the word of God, we’re referring to the Bible, right? And that’s not wrong. The Bible is the word of God. But sometimes we hear the phrase, the word of God, and we tend to go, “Oh, it’s a message from God. The Bible is a message from God. The word of God is a message from God.” And what we need to understand is that in the Bible the word of God isn’t a message to hear. It’s a mission to accept. You hear me, church?

That’s not the phrases used in the Bible. It’s not a message from God to hear. It’s a mission to accept. A man named Abraham heard the word of the Lord and the word of the Lord was, “Leave your father’s country and go to a place that I will show you.” That was a mission to accept, and Abraham accepted it. A man named Moses heard the word of the Lord, and the word was, “Go down to Egypt and tell Pharaoh to let my people go.” That was a mission to accept, and Moses accepted it. A man named Nathan, a prophet, Nathan heard the word of the Lord, “Go to King David and confront him on account of his sin.” That was a mission to accept, and Nathan accepted it.

A young woman, an unmarried virgin heard the word of the Lord, and that word was a mission. It was, “Trust me, come with me. I’ve got a mission for you, and it’s not gonna be easy. I promise you, it’s not always gonna be fun. You’re going to get hurt. But if you come with me, the world will never be the same.” The word of God isn’t just a message to hear. It’s always a mission to accept. And that’s what Mary did. And that’s what Jesus is thinking about as he says, “Yeah, the real blessed ones are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”

It’s interesting to me too. You know, Mary had another son. His name was James, and I feel bad for James, don’t you? I mean, he grew up with Jesus as an older brother. Anybody have an older sibling that thinks they’re God’s gift to the earth? Yeah. You gotta feel for James, don’t you? And James didn’t always buy it. He didn’t believe it. In fact, at one point, James, I think, was part of a group that went to Jesus in his ministry, and they tried to take him home because they thought he’d lost his mind. And yet somewhere along the line, James actually became a believer. James came to believe that Jesus was in fact the Son of God. Can you imagine the mental shift that has happened for you to begin to believe that your brother is in fact God’s greatest gift to earth because he’s actually the Son of God himself?

How does that happen? And the answer is the Resurrection. The Resurrection is what convinced James. James knew he was dead. And James also knew, and then he wasn’t. Three days later, he rose from the dead. And the only way that’s possible is if God was on the move. And the only reason God would be moving in that way is because Jesus is exactly who he’s been telling us he is. And so James actually became a follower of Jesus. He became the leader of the Christian church in Jerusalem.

And James wrote this. It’s so interesting. He said, “But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom,” that’s the word of God, “and continues in it not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it, obeying it, they will be blessed in what they do.” He says essentially the same thing that Jesus says. This woman interrupts Jesus and says, you know, your mom has lived up to her highest calling. She’s made her greatest contribution to the world by having and raising kids, by having and raising you. And Jesus says, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word and do it, who hear the word and obey it, who hear the message and accept the mission.”

So understand when Jesus says this, he’s not refusing to honor his mom. He’s insisting on honoring her for the right reasons because she didn’t just hear the message, she accepted the mission. She’s been living on mission with God. And what Jesus is essentially saying here, and this is so important to understand, is that a woman’s greatest contribution to the world isn’t having kids. It’s living on mission with God. You with me, church? A woman’s greatest contribution to the world is living on mission with God.

Now, does that mean that motherhood doesn’t matter, that it’s insignificant? Does that mean that having kids and raising kids is not a high calling or a sacred privilege? Not at all because it’s all of those things if we see them in the right light, if we see it in the right light, if we see it as God sees it. I love what God says about parenting. Probably my favorite statement about parenting comes from Psalm 127, Psalm 127:4 says this, “Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the one whose quiver is full of them.” Like arrows in the hands of a warrior.

But I’m curious. How many of you have heard that before? Yeah, a lot of hands. Okay. I grew up in church, and I heard that all the time. And what people seem to mean by it was children are a blessing because they’ll take care of you when you get old. That’s how people have always used it. And here’s the problem with that. An arrow is not a caregiving commodity. Like, nobody’s ever been going, “I’m just in need. I’m just feeling raw. I really need something. Could somebody send an arrow my way?” It’s never happened, okay? It’s not a caregiving commodity.

And a quiver is not where you store up resources for later. It’s not where you keep your snacks. It’s where you keep your weapons. It’s where you store up weapons for future attacks. Understand, let’s not miss this, okay? Understand God says raising kids is an act of war. And I know a bunch of you’re like, “Hallelujah, my pastor gets it. God allowed him to listen in to bedtime in my house. God must’ve allowed him to have a glimpse into my last family road trip. By the Spirit, God has given him insight into my last conversation with my teenager,” but that’s not the kind of war I’m talking about.

See, ever since Adam and Eve sinned, the people of God have been at war against the evil that we let into the world, that we invited into the world. Ever since Adam and Eve sinned, God’s people have been at war against evil and its agents. I see four primary agents that we fight against every single day. There’s hatred, there’s injustice, there’s apathy, and there’s lies. No wrong that’s ever been done, no evil that’s ever arisen doesn’t depend on at least one or more of those four things. Those are the agents of evil that we do battle with every single day. And as followers of Jesus, we need to understand as followers of Jesus, our mission is to wage war against hatred, injustice, apathy, and lies.

We extend the influence of God wider into the world, doing war against those things. Now, understand winning the war is not up to us. God has done what’s necessary to win the war. He’s dealt evil its fatal blow. He sent his own Son, Jesus, who lived a perfect life, died on the cross to pay the penalty of all the wrong that we’ve done so that evil is satisfied, so that sin is canceled. Three days later, God raised Jesus from the dead, and Jesus offers us salvation, forgiveness of sins, eternal life in heaven, adoption into the family of God. And he offers us the opportunity to become children of God who are on mission with him both now and forever all by faith. That’s the fatal blow that’s been dealt to evil, but evil’s not gone. We continue to do battle as God’s people against evil and its agents.

And if you think about the evil in the world, and if you think about those things, hatred, injustice, apathy, and lies, and if you think about how prevalent they are in the world, then the idea of doing battle against them might begin to sound like a big ask. It might begin to sound like an impossible task. And it’s only when we feel the enormity of that that we begin to understand how it is that raising kids is such an important part of living on mission with Jesus, because reality is you and I are not going to see the end of evil. This is a fight that has to be carried on long after we’re gone. And that’s where kids come in.

Listen to me, raising kids is how we carry the fight into the future. Raising kids is how we carry the fight against evil into the future. And that’s why raising kids is such an important part, is such a powerful part of being on mission with Jesus. Listen, we’re not raising kids. We’re raising warriors who will carry the fight against evil into the future.

Listen, moms, you’re not an M-O-M mom. You’re an M.O.M. mom. And this is gonna be cheesy. But if I can’t be cheesy on Mother’s Day, I don’t know when to do it, okay? This is the one day you get a pass for cheesy. You’re an M.O.M. mom. What I mean is you’re a mother on mission. You’re a mother on mission. Your highest calling in life is not to be a mom. But if you are a mom, your kids are your mission field. They’re one of the most important ways you can be on mission with Jesus right now. And that’s an awesome responsibility. It’s a sacred privilege. It’s a powerful reality, but you need to understand that you’re a mom or a mother on a mission. Remember that the next time you hear that little voice in the middle of the night, “Mom.” The next time you get that phone call, “Mom.” And you’re like, “I’m a mother on mission. This is my mission field.”

So what Jesus is doing in challenging this idea that a woman’s greatest contribution is having and raising kids is he’s helping women, but also really he’s helping all of us understand something so important, which is that our greatest contribution to the world is living on mission with Jesus in whatever mission field he’s called us. That’s my greatest contribution to the world. That is your greatest contribution to the world as a follower of Jesus, is to live on mission with Jesus in whatever mission field he’s called us. If you’re a mom, your kids might be your mission field. Embrace that.

If you’re a dad, your kids might be your mission field. Embrace that. But understand that you’re embracing something larger than parenthood. You’re embracing the call by God to be on mission with him in a particular mission field. Yeah, your kids might be your mission field, lean into that for all that it’s worth, but understand that’s not what defines you. It’s not how God decides whether or not you’re his child or not. It’s not how God decides whether or not you have value or significance or identity.

All that comes from the decision that, “I’m gonna look at whatever mission field I’m in. I’m gonna figure, ‘How do I be on mission here?'” Maybe you’re a coach. Maybe you’re a teacher. Maybe you’re a mentor in business. Maybe you have neighbors that you can pour into. If you’re a teacher, I mean, there’s just so many different places we pour into the next generation, and that’s our opportunity to continually the fight, carry the fight into the future. But all those things, again, they’re our mission field. And our greatest contribution to the world is choosing to be on mission in whatever mission field God’s called us.

I know it’s Mother’s Day, and I know there’s some moms out there going, “My kids are not an arrow. My kids are a boomerang. Like, I don’t think they’re carrying the fights to evil. All the pain’s coming back at me.” And that that happens. It’s not easy. Raising kids is not easy. There’s pain in that. There’s always those moments. Like, Mary had to have understood in that moment when God called her on that mission, “It’s going to hurt. It’s going to be hard. But if you do this with me, the world will never be the same.” We deal with that on a regular basis, and as moms, you deal with it all the time.

So let me give you some ideas about sharpening the arrows. These are things that God’s taught me from his word, things that God’s taught us through other people. Coletta and I have had the privilege of having several great parents that we learned from and tried to model our own parenting after. And so let me share with you some insights that God’s given us about sharpening the arrows.

The first one is this, is see your sacrifices as an act of worship. Look, I know that as moms you make sacrifices every single day. We wanna honor you for that. And we wanna honor you for that in part because we know that you don’t always get thanked for it, right? Because our kids don’t see the sacrifices that we always make. They don’t see them as sacrifices. That’s just the world they live in, right? And if you’ve ever had the thought, “You little ingrate.” And tell me none of you have ever thought that, right? Then you know exactly what I’m talking about. And then the problem is in that moment the sacrifices can be the root of bitterness and resentment and anger and frustration that will poison the well of your parenthood.

So how do you keep that from happening? And the answer is you learn to see your sacrifices as an act of worship because an act of worship really is almost it doesn’t even feel like a sacrifice. This is a privilege. I mean, in terms of finances, like, I really believe that our finances are a gift from God. And so as a family, every time money comes into our house, we give 10% immediately back to our local church, and then above and beyond that, we give to other kingdom work. And the thing is I don’t resent that. I don’t look at my bank statement and see that that money went to Mission Hills or it went to this organization or that. I don’t look at that and go, “Dog gone it. That burns.” I don’t feel that way at all. I actually feel privileged to be able to do that because I don’t see it as a sacrifice. I see it as an act of worship.

And the thing is you can think that way about the sacrifices you make for your kids too. And as you do, it doesn’t really matter how they respond because you’re not really doing it for them. It’s an act of worship for the God who was sacrificed for you. That’s powerful.

Another thing you can do to sharpen the arrows is, this is gonna be a little controversial, don’t make your kids the center of your world. I know in our Christian climate these days there’s this idea, I think, sometimes that the most important thing you can do as a parent is to make your kids feel like they’re the center of the universe. And I disagree. Because here’s the thing. If you have 18 years or 28 years today, whatever it is, right, where your kids grow up as the center of the world. And then we send them out into the world, and they’re like, “Here I am,” and the world’s like, “Who gives a rip? You’re not the center of my world. You’re not the center of the world.” And that we actually do them an incredible disservice.

Look, they need to be loved. They need to be cherished. They need to know they’re valuable. They need to know they’re important. But they also need to know they’re not the center of everything. Look, I hope our kids feel loved and valued and cherished. I know they do, but they also know that when they’re out of the house, Coletta and I are gonna have some good days. We’re gonna have some fun. We’ve been investing in our marriage. And they know that. They know that when they’re not part of our world in the same way that our world will continue. And I think that’s a healthy thing. Don’t make them the center of your world. Love them, honor them, cherish them. But don’t make the mistake of letting them think that the whole world revolves around them. It doesn’t. So don’t make it that way in your home.

Third thing you can do to sharpen the arrow is do make Jesus the center of your world. Do make Jesus the center of your world. Let the kids know that he’s at the very center of everything, and they need to see that you pray. They need to see that you read God’s Word. They need to see that you make church a priority, worshiping together with God’s people, learning from God’s Word together. They need to see all that.

And that points them to the future. It makes them arrows and sharper arrows carrying the fight in the future. They need to see that. I love some of the ways that my wife just raised our kids to understand that Jesus was the center and that we were waging war against evil. One of the things that happened years ago was that our kids were pretty little, I don’t know, maybe 8 or so was Rochelle. And Lynae was 4 or 5, and my wife heard about a group of people who were living in an apartment complex in Denver. They were refugees from Burma, and they’d been brought over here. And they were just poor in a way that most of us have never really experienced.

And she heard that they didn’t really have shoes. And so she took up a shoe collection, and she and our two girls took those shoes up to this apartment complex. And they gave out these shoes to all these kids. And Rochelle was so impacted. She’s our oldest. Rochelle was impacted by that and the poverty that she saw and realizing, “There are kids even in my own, like, state that live completely different than I do.” She came home, and she and her friend started a snow cone business out on the streets selling snow cones at, like, exorbitant prices, I should say, but they were cute, and people would pay them, right?

But they were using like 50% plus of the profits to buy bags of rice, and they would take them up there whenever they could afford to get one and give them to these families. I love that. They learned that by seeing my wife make Jesus the center of her world, and they began to adopt that same thing. It’s awesome. So proud of my wife for doing it that way.

Fourth thing you can do is pray missional prayers every day. Pray missional prayers. And what I mean by that is it’s really easy to get into that place where we pray prayers that are primarily asking, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s so easy to pray those kinds of prayer for as a kid, “You know, God, you know, lead them to great spouses. God, give them great jobs. God, help them get through this, you know, this thing that they’re dealing with on their team or with their friends. God, you know, provide for them, take care of them, give them good health, all that.” And that’s great. Do that. I pray that every day for my kids, but it’s not the first thing I pray for them every day.

For many, many years the very first prayer that I’ve ever prayed for my kids is this, “God, lead them to lives of significance for your sake. God, lead my kids to lives of significance for your sake. Help them to be on mission for you.” That’s always the first thing I pray. Model it for your kids, for yourself too. Pray this, pray, “Hey, God, show me how to be on mission with you today.”

See, Ephesians 2:10, one of my favorite verses in the Bible says that God has prepared works in advance for all of us to do. Literally, it’s prepared works in advance for all of us to walk around in, implying that they’re everywhere we go. There’s opportunities everywhere we go that God’s prepared in advance. He’s put them in front of us. The question is not whether or not there are opportunities every day to live on mission. The question is whether or not we will see and seize those opportunities every day. And so let your kids hear you pray, “God, show me how to be on mission with you today. Show me the ops that you’ve set up for me.” That’ll sharpen the arrows.

Another thing you can do to sharpen the arrows is you can look for opportunities to honor God in non-traditional ways. And here’s what I mean by that. I mean, you know, we tend to think about honoring God, like, “Well, okay, I’m reading the Bible. I’m praying prayers. We’re giving financially. Maybe we’re serving at the church. We’re making sure it’s a priority for our kids and for our family.” And those are all great. Do those. Absolutely, do those, but understand that there are ways to honor God that go way beyond those, but they’re not always the opportunities that we immediately see and recognize to bring God into conversations and into our everyday life.

One thing I love about my wife is that she was a science teacher before we had kids. She taught middle school and high school science. And for a while, we homeschooled our kids because of our travel schedule. And so my wife did science with our kids, and they began to learn to see that science is awesome because it allowed them to see the Creator in the creation. And my wife brought God into that, which is kind of a non-traditional thing to do, but she did that. And here’s the cool thing. My youngest daughter, Lynae, now she’s heading off to CU Boulder, and she’s halfway through her degree already, and she’s studying chemical and biological engineering.

She loves science, and every day that she comes back from her science class, she comes back, and she’ll tell me some story like, “Oh, it turns out that this is what’s going on at the cellular level in the body. This is happening. And I saw that. I learned that today, and I just had to go, ‘Good one, God.'” Like, that’s awesome. She finds worship moments in her chemical and biological engineering classes because she learned to see the Creator in the creation.

One of our highest goals is to actually contribute to the intelligent design conversation. That’s a movement within science trying to communicate to the rest of the scientific world there’s no way that life is an accident. It doesn’t make sense. The science doesn’t support that. There’s no way it’s a series of random mutations again, right? It doesn’t work scientifically. I don’t care what you think about the Bible, okay? This doesn’t work scientifically. There is a mind behind this, and we should probably be asking who he is. My daughter wants to be part of that. That’s mission. That’s ministry. And I believe that she learned that love of seeing the Creator in the creation from her mom, finding opportunities to honor God in non-traditional ways. Be creative. I don’t mean have a Bible verse for every single thing you say to your kids. If you wanna see eyes roll so far in the back of their heads that they might stick, then that should be your approach. Just make sure everything has a Bible verse attached. No, I’m not talking about that. But I’m talking about finding ways to honor God in the midst of every, defining the holy in the commonplace. That will sharpen the arrows.

And the last thing I would say is this, remember that who you are isn’t defined by this moment. Who you are, your significance, your value, your identity, it’s not defined by this moment. Maybe you’re a mom, and it’s a great season of life. That’s awesome, but you’re not always gonna be in this season of life, so don’t look to this season as the source of your identity, your meaning, and your significance, because you’re meant for more than this.

Your greatest contribution isn’t having and raising kids. It’s living on mission with Jesus, whatever mission for that he is called you. Maybe you’re in a season where it’s not good. It’s bad, it’s hard, and you feel like you’re messing up. You feel like you’re doing it wrong. You’re getting way more boomerang than arrow. You’re not defined by this moment there either. Maybe you weren’t able to have kids. That doesn’t define you. Maybe you’re mom, maybe you’re not. Maybe you wanna be a mom, maybe you don’t wanna be a mom. Maybe you would like to be a mom, you can’t be a mom. It doesn’t matter. Whatever moment you’re in, that does not define you. That is not where Jesus says that’s where the blessing comes from. Jesus says, “Blessed are those who hear and obey the word of God.” Don’t just hear the message but live on mission. There’s your blessing. There’s your identity. There’s your value. There’s your significance. Would you pray with me?

God, we wanna pray your blessing on all of the moms in our midst and the grandmothers and the teachers and the youth group leaders and the coaches and the mentors and everybody in every way that pours into the next generation. Lord, we hear and we accept the mission that that is how we’re carrying the fight into the future. We thank you for the truth that the greatest contribution that we can make to the world is simply choosing to live on mission with Jesus in whatever mission field he’s called us to. I pray encouragement on all of those who hear this word today. I pray strength upon all those who hear this word today, men and women alike. I pray courage to seize those opportunities for living on mission and whatever mission field we happen to be in.

Speaking of mission, if you’re a follower of Jesus, would you do something for me? Would you begin praying right now for those who are listening to this message that are not followers of Jesus? Would you just begin praying for all those watching online, joining us in person? And if that’s you, if you’re not a follower of Jesus, can I just speak to you for a moment? Maybe you’re here because your mother brought you, or maybe in some other way, you ended up here, but I promise you, it’s not your mom. It’s not a set of circumstances. It’s actually God drawing you. He’s brought you here for a reason.

Maybe for the first time today you heard God’s ultimate plan for evil. He’s won the battle. He’s dealt the decisive blow. He sent his own Son Jesus. Because he loves you so much, he sent his own Son Jesus to pay the price for your sin. Jesus died on the cross, canceling our debt. Three days later, he rose from the dead, and he offers us forgiveness, a relationship with God, eternal life in heaven, a chance to be on mission with him beginning now and going on forever. He offers all of that simply by faith, by trusting in what he did for you.

And if you’ve never said yes to following Jesus, today’s the day. There’s no reason to waste one more day not being on mission with Jesus, not being on mission with God. Here’s how you do it. If you’re ready to say yes to following Jesus, here’s how you do it. You’re just gonna have a conversation with him in your heart right now. Say something like this to him, say:

God, I’ve done wrong. I’ve sinned. I’m sorry. Jesus, thank you for dying on the cross to pay for my sin. I believe you rose from the dead. If it was convincing enough for your brother, James, it’s convincing enough for me. And I understand that you’re offering me forgiveness, you’re offering me adoption into the family of God, you’re offering me eternal life. You’re offering me an opportunity to be on mission with you. I’m ready to receive all those things. Jesus, I’m putting my faith in you. Jesus, I’m going to trust you from here on out. I’m gonna follow you for now and forever. Amen.

Are you Human?:*