James Meehan - Make a Difference
- Get involved
All right, come on, somebody tell me who is built different. If you are show your hands, type it in the chat, leave a comment down below. We are picking up in week two of our series title built different because the reality is all of us, we want to make a difference. We want this world to be better because of the role that we play, right? There's all these people that we look up to in the world. Maybe they're athletes, musicians, business owners whatever you've got like the Steve jobs of the world. Who changed the world with the iPod and then the iPhone. You've got the Justin Bieber's who made it big on YouTube, "Baby, Baby baby, Oh". The classic, the throwback. And then you've got people like Tom Brady, the greatest quarterback of all time. If you disagree, then fight me. Just kidding, please don't fight me. We love each other. We're followers of Christ in here.
And what I love though, is just the reality that there is this desire in us to make a difference. And I believe that that desire comes from the God who made us. What I want to do is talk a little bit about somebody who is absolutely built different. His name is Khabib want to make sure I don't mess this up, Nurmagomedov and I I'll be honest with you, it's I probably just messed that up. But if you are unfamiliar with this guy he is the greatest MMA fighter of all time, right? Undisputed. He just had his final fight to defend the title with a record of 29 wins and zero losses. At the top of his game he decided to retire from fighting because his father who was his coach and his biggest fan passed away earlier this year. Khabib 29 and now greatest of all time dedicated his last fight to his father before retiring. Like there are not people like him very much.
Not only is he an amazing fighter but this dude knows six different languages, right? That is the definition of somebody who is built different. And he has left a mark on the sport of UFC and in mixed martial arts as a whole. And what's so interesting though is that the greatest mark that's ever been left in history was made by Jesus Christ. The Son of God who entered history 2000 years ago in a little spot in a Roman occupied Israel who changed the world by the message he taught, by the life He lived by his death on the cross and by the way, he was raised from the dead. And so what we're going to do, is we're going to talk about what it looks like as followers of Jesus to be built different. Because as followers of Christ, we are called to follow his example. And the example that he set is an example that changed everything.
When Jesus taught the people who responded to his teachings they talked about, he was somebody who spoke with authority, right? He wasn't like other teachers. He was built different and the world has been impacted because of his message, his life, his teachings, his death and his resurrection from the dead. And so what I want us to do today is to look at some words from one of Jesus's followers, a guy named Paul. Now which you need to know about Paul is that before he was a Jesus follower, he was a Jesus follower killer, right? Like this dude literally was so passionate about his religion. And he was so angry at these people who were saying that Jesus is the son of God that he literally hunted down these Christians. He arrested them. He persecuted, he had them beaten, tortured imprisoned, and then he even had some of them killed.
And then one day this man had an encounter with Jesus that changed everything. He went from killing Christians to planting churches. He wrote more of the New Testament books. More of the letters that are found in the New Testament wrote Bibles today than any other author. This dude Paul was built different. And in one of his letters he talked about this idea where he was inspiring this church, challenging them to follow his example. As he follows the example of Christ. How are we to live as people who are built different? We follow the example of Jesus. And in a letter that Paul wrote to somebody he was mentoring, a guy named Timothy he starts to help Timothy understand three ways that we as followers of Jesus, can choose to live lives.
As people who are built different how we can choose to live lives that make a difference in this world. What we're gonna do is we're gonna start in first Timothy chapter two we're going to start in verse one, go through verse six. And then we're going to talk a little bit about these words that Paul wrote and how they apply to our lives today so that we can live lives that are different and make an impact. Starting in verse one. Here's what Paul writes. He says, I urge you first of all, to pray for all people, ask God to help them intercede on their behalf and give, thanks for them. Pray this way for Kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by Godliness and dignity. This is good and it pleases God, our savior who wants everyone to be saved. And, and to understand the truth. For there is one God and one mediator who can reconcile God and humanity, the man Christ Jesus. He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone. And this is the message that God gave to the world at just the right time.
So what does it look like for us as followers of Jesus to be built different. To live lives that are bigger than us, to lead lives that make an impact on others so that when people see us instead of just seeing us, they see God through us. The first thing that Paul is telling us that we have to do is we've got to pray, right? He literally starts out by saying, I urge you first of all to pray for all people, ask God to help them intercede on their behalf and give thanks for them. Here's the deal. It's one of those things that we talk about a lot in church but honestly, so many people like never actually do, right? We talk about the importance of prayer and praying for other people but rarely do we ever put those words into action.
And so what I'm challenging you to do is to not just hear that we should pray not just to agree that we should pray, but to actually pray for other people in one of Jesus's messages that he taught. It's the sermon on the Mount. He talked about this idea; that we are called to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. Right, so there's probably somebody that you can think of that just drives you crazy, right? It might be a younger sibling. It might be somebody that you're friends with who just keeps saying things like, gosh please stop saying those things. Or maybe it's somebody online that is sending you messages that are just really really hateful. And you're trying to figure out how do I love this person like Jesus does. I don't even like them.
Pray, first of all, pray for all people, intercede on their behalf. Ask God to help them. I think about this guy who is really really against some of the things that we do as a church. And I'll be honest with you. There have been so many times where I just want to let go and just tell this guy, what's what, right? Like I just wanna have a conversation with this guy, put him in his place and just let them know like, dude, like you're not helping, you're hurting. Like we're just doing everything we can to reach people with the gospel of Jesus Christ. And you're trying to do everything you can to distract us from that. And I kept finding myself over and over again every time I saw this individual just getting so angry. And I knew that's not how God called me to live. Because the truth is as followers of Christ if we're so angry at somebody that we forget to love them then we are not following the example of Jesus because Jesus taught us to love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us.
And even though this guy disagrees, what I've come to understand is that he's honestly doing what he thinks is right. And we have a lot of things that we disagree about but what I know is that he is a human being made in the image of God. And no matter how angry he makes me, God has still called me to love him to pray for him because Jesus died for him too. And so now every time I see him instead of allowing myself to just get so mad and angry and like run through all the things that I had that I want to say that this guy I literally just pray and I ask God to bless him. "I pray God help me to see this man, the way that you see them help me to love him, the way that you love him. God, I pray that you will bless him tremendously. That God, you will use him for a purpose, that God, even if I disagree with his methods that his methods would make an impact for your mission. God use this individual for your kingdom, for your glory. Let his life be something that points people to you".
And I'll be honest with you. That was not an easy prayer to pray at first. Because at first, all I wanted to do was to teach this guy a lesson. But I think back to the fact that before I knew Jesus, I was just like that guy. I did all kinds of things that were so far away from God's best. I did things that hurt others. I did things that hurt myself. I did things that hurt the heart of God. But even while I was still a sinner, Christ died for me. While you were still a sinner, Jesus Christ died for you. And he has invited everybody to be a part of his family his kingdom, his rule. What I love is literally in these words it tells us that God wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth. And so I don't know who it is in your life but there's probably somebody that drives you crazy. There's probably somebody that you don't even like but Jesus is asking you to love them.
And the first thing you should do is to pray for them. As followers of Christ, people who are choosing to be built different. The first thing that we've got to do is we've got to pray. The second thing we need to do is we need to follow. We need to follow. Now to be clear we're not just following anybody, right? We're choosing to follow Jesus. Our Lord, our savior, the greatest leader the world has ever known wherever he's going I'm going to follow because here's the deal, if there is somebody who predicted their own death and resurrection and then pulled it off, I'm going to follow him wherever he goes, right? There might be things I don't always understand. But if Jesus is who he said, he was, if he really did rise from the grave. And I believe that he did, look at the evidence.
What you'll find is that he is somebody worth following. He doesn't just teach us a better way. He taught us the way because he is the way the truth and the life. And I think one of the biggest mistakes we make as Christians is we kind of forget what it actually means to be a Christian. Being a Christian isn't about believing in God, being a Christian is about following Jesus, right? There are a lot of people who believe in different gods. There are people who even say they believe in our God but the reality is if Jesus didn't come into this world, inviting people to believe in him. He said, come and follow me. Yes, belief is part. Trust is part, but that is not the end. That's just the start.
As followers of Christ if we're not actually following Jesus, then there's no way that we'll be able to make the impact and the difference that he has called us to make. And we're living in a world today where there are so many people who are desperate for hope for relationships, for meaning, for purpose, and God has called you to show it to them. But it requires you to step out, to do the work, to choose, to follow Jesus. What I think is so beautiful is that in Luke's gospel chapter nine, Jesus is talking to a group of people and he tells them, that, Hey if you want to be my follower, here's what I need you to do. I need you to deny yourself. I need you to take up your cross and I need you to follow me.
That's what we've been invited to be a part of people who don't just believe in God who actually follow Jesus. Because when we do that, we will be following the leader who changed the world, who had a bigger impact in history than anybody else. And when we choose to follow Jesus, we will be more like Jesus. So that when people see us, they don't just see us. They see God working through us. That's how we choose to live as people who are built different. First, we pray, then we follow. And finally we share. At the end of this passage what we're told is that this is the message that God gave to the world at just the right time.
This is the message that God gave to the world at just the right time. Our world is crazy and it is really hard to follow Jesus as a teenager. But God has called you to this moment in time to the community you're a part of, to the family that you're in to the friend group that you have, God has called you to this time in this place for a purpose. Never forget that God didn't make you you on accident God is intentional. He is all knowing. He's all loving. He works all things together for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose. And he has called you to be built different so that when people see you they would see him working through you.
You got to pray, you got to follow and you've got to share. You've got to be willing to share your story. The story of what God has done in you. Because when you're willing to share your faith with somebody else, the message of Jesus, how God has transformed your life. What God's going to do is he's going to use you to transform the lives of others. Now here's the deal. We fully recognize that there are times where it can be a little bit intimidating and I want you to know that that's okay. But that God is calling you to step past the fear and into the purpose he has for you.
Now, there are some of you who you're going to find yourself in a conversation this week where somebody is going to say something and you're going to have that thought pop into your head, and you're going to think Oh my goodness, I need to invite this person to church. Or I need to tell this person about Jesus, or I need to talk to this person about that thing that God did in my life two weeks ago. And what I hope and what I pray is that you would take that step, choose to follow Jesus choose to be bold, to share your faith as the Switch movement, what we want to be is we want to be people who live lives that tell a story to the world.
We want to be story tellers. Because what we know is that every single one of us has a story that has been impacted by God. And that story can be used by God to change others, to help them experience the joy, freedom, grace, love and mercy that so many of us have experienced. But it's not going to happen if we just sit on our hands and do nothing. It's going to happen when we choose to share, when we choose to share the story of how God has changed our lives. And honestly that could be as simple as just sharing a post from our LC Switch Instagram page with somebody else it can be as simple as inviting somebody to switch back with you next week or switch online later this week.
There are so many opportunities that you have to share your faith. What I want to challenge you to do though is when you feel that little voice inside your head saying man, I think this is the time to share, that you would be willing to do it because you have no idea the impact that God will make through a simple step of obedience. Because throughout history, God has chosen people just like you to step out, to step in and to change the world. As a follower of Christ, you are built different. You have power from God to make a difference right here and right now. Let's pray:
Heavenly Father, I thank you so much for this group of students that's listening to this message. God, I pray that you would work through the words that have been said and that you would work in the hearts of our students, that they would understand that what you have called them to is special. That what you've called them to is to make a difference right here, right now and in eternity. God, I pray that our students would be willing to do exactly that that they would pray for all people, that they would follow your son that they would share their faith. Because we know that when we do those things that you're going to use us to impact others. And so God, I pray that you would fill these students with the confidence, with the courage and with the wisdom to lean in and to live lives that are different. It's in Jesus' name we pray. Amen, Amen.