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James Merritt - Looking Out for Number One

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    James Merritt - Looking Out for Number One

I am convinced that there are only two kinds of parents in the world. There are parents who have, even if just for a moment, lost one of their children, and there are parents who are liars. There are only two kinds of parents. Teresa and I are the first kind of parents. Years ago, we were shopping at a mall when our oldest son, James, was only two years old, and I decided to step into a store to a try on a pair of pants. Well, Teresa was waiting outside the dressing room with James, he's sitting in his stroller and she had put her purse and his diaper bag on the handles. And she was just kind of intently, I guess, watching for me to come out, to see, you know, how the pants fit.

Well, when I opened the door and I walked out, I looked around and I said, "Where's James"? And she turned around and James is gone, the stroller is gone, her purse is gone, diaper bag's gone. I mean, we began to look for him everywhere. We were literally running. I mean, running all over that store, shouting his name as loudly as we could, didn't care if we made a scene. And I finally see this salesperson and I ran over to her and I said to her, "Have you seen a little boy and a stroller"? She said, "Yes. As a matter of fact, he just pushed the stroller out the door about a minute ago". I was furious. True story. I looked at her and I said, "Well, why didn't you stop him"? And she looked at me and said, "He's not my kid, and I'm not his babysitter".

Now, full confession. At that moment, I fully committed murder in my heart. At that moment, she was a dead woman. So we run out into the mall, we looking both ways, we still can't find him. And something just said, "Go to the right". So we started running up to the right and we come to this toy store, and we look into the window, and there are two sales people there with smiles on their faces, and they were just pointing. There was James sitting in a little toy car with a stroller, right beside him waving at us, just smiling and just waving at us.

Now I almost started bawling my eyes out, I really did, and if I remember right, I think Teresa did really cry a little bit, but we were so relieved, we were so happy, we were so joyful, and I don't think in all the years since then we've ever hugged him, and kissed him, and loved on him as much as we did at that moment. And, you know, as I look back and I think about that story, I wasn't a bit embarrassed about what people thought in that store. I wasn't conscious about screaming or yelling, I didn't care about the way I acted, I didn't care what anybody thought, I didn't care what anybody said, I didn't care if I caused a big scene because at that moment in my life only one thing mattered to me, only one person was that important to me. I had only one thing on my mind, I had only one thing on my to-do list. What was that? I wanted to find my son. I didn't care what anybody said, what anybody thought, I wanted to find my son.

Now, have you ever lost something of value that was really, really important, that really mattered to you and you couldn't find it? So. Sure. Well, let me ask you this. So once you realized it, what'd you do? You dropped everything you were doing. You forgot everything you were involved in. And I mean, you immediately went looking for that one thing that you had lost. And do you remember when you found it? Do you remember the joy, the relief, the happiness that you felt? If it wasn't a child maybe it was your wallet. Maybe it was a credit card. Maybe it was a wedding ring. Maybe it was a family heirloom.

Now let me just say just a word. If you've never lost a child, it's probably because you've never had one. In fact, if all of you out there who are parents of little children or you're about to be parents, can I give you a tip? Before your quit, your kid quits being a kid, you're gonna lose that kid. I'm gonna say that again. Before your kid quits being a kid, you're going to lose that kid. I don't care if you hire a full time bodyguard. I don't care if you have three FBI agents on their trail, you're gonna lose that kid. Kids are just like ninjas, they have a way of disappearing right before your very eyes. And that story reminded me of just how important one person is, and just how important the number one is in our lives.

Have you ever thought about how important the number one is to us? We live one heartbeat at a time. We live one breath at a time. You are only one person. You can only be in one place in one time. In fact, I would make the case that there is no number more important to God than the number one, because the very first thing, you know what the very first thing that God wants you to know about Him? The very first thing? Here is God, 101. God says, "Okay, let's get one thing straight, right at the very beginning. There's only one God and I'm Him. Only one: no other God. I am one God". And by the way, that one God loves us so much, He sent His one and only son that anyone that believes in Him could be saved.

The number one is a big deal to God. In fact, to this day, devout Jews begin their day and every day, a devout Jew begins their day by saying what's called the Shabbat. And it's a Jewish prayer, you've heard before it begins this way. It begins with this prayer. "Hear, Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is," everybody say that word. One, get used to that word: one. Because we're beginning a series today based on a question we ask you every week and that is, who's your one? And I know for those of you who've been coming for a while, I get it, you're probably sick of hearing that question. You probably know, that's probably your cue to know, "Okay, service is over when he asks the question, who's your one"?

Let me just get so you'll understand. I didn't make that question up. Our staff didn't come up with that idea. It actually comes right from the heart of God. And I want you to take God's word today, if you've got a Bible, or your iPad, or cell phone or whatever, and I want you to turn to a gospel called Luke. Matthew, Mark, Luke, it's in the New Testament; Matthew, Mark, Luke. I want you to turn to Luke 15. While you're turning, it comes right in the middle of probably, by the way, this is one of, if not the most famous story Jesus ever told, and He shows us why. Listen carefully. If you have a heart for God, you'll have a heart for one. If you have a heart for God, you'll have a heart for one, for that one person who doesn't know God, that one person who needs to hear the gospel, that one person who is lost and who needs to be found.

Now we're gonna set this story up. God, first of all, if you understand the story, you gotta understand who Jesus was talking to, 'cause that's what makes the story such a big deal. So let's notice who He's talking to and who He's talking аbout: Luke 15:1. "Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus". People that didn't know Jesus, loved Jesus. People that weren't even like Jesus, liked Jesus. "They were gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees, the teachers of the law," the people that always went to church, the people that dotted the religious i's and crossed the religious t's, "they muttered 'This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.'"

One of the things that set Jesus apart from every other rabbi and every other Jewish leader of that day was, He regularly hung out with sinners. He associated with sinners. He ate with sinners. Now let me just start so you understand what we mean by sinner, what they meant by sinners. Sinners weren't always necessarily bad people, but if you were a person, for example, that you were maybe slacking your attendance at the temple. Maybe you didn't give money. Maybe you didn't always read the Torah like you should. Maybe you didn't dot every religious i, and cross every religious t, then the religious crowd said, "Well, you're a sinner". If you were a Gentile, you automatically fit that story. You might have been a good guy, might have been a good person, might have been a good neighbor, but if you didn't fit their mold, and you didn't fit their picture of what a believer ought to look like, you were a sinner.

Now, for sure there were the real deals. I mean, there were prostitutes, and there were thieves, and there were embezzles, and there were tax collectors, they were charter members of the club. And here was the problem. If you were a respectable Jew, if you were a churchgoer, you didn't interact with sinner. You didn't put up with sinners. You look down your nose at sinners. You did not associate with sinners. And no matter how good a person was, if that person was a Gentile, you certainly would have nothing to do with them at all. You couldn't share a meal with people like this. If you were walking down the street and someone you thought was the sinner was walking toward you, you were obligated to cross on the other side of the street. You were not to have eye contact with them. You were not to even talk to them. No verbal communication.

So here's Jesus, and in the eyes of the Pharisees, He was not just a felon, He was a double felon 'cause He not only welcomed sinners, sin number one, He ate with sinners, sin number two. So here was the divide between Jesus and the religious establishment. You wanna know the difference between the Pharisees and Jesus, it's real easy. The Pharisees built walls, Jesus built bridges. The Pharisees locked the doors to the church, Jesus tore the doors down because Jesus was looking out for number one, except number one was not Himself, number one was anyone far from God. So for the next three weeks, let me just give you fair warning. I am calling all of us who claim to be followers of Jesus, who say we love the Lord our God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength, who say, we wanna have heart for God, I'm calling for all of us to begin to do what Jesus did and begin looking out for number one.

And Jesus in this story that He tells, tells us why we ought to do it, how we ought to do it, and what happens when we do do it. Okay, so I want you to think about this one person, that one person, by the way let me ask a question, I already know the answer, but I'm gonna ask it. How many of you in this room would say, "The only people that I know know God, love God, believe in God, serve God, obey God, worship God? The only people I know are believers who follow Jesus," raise your hand. All right, no, there's no hands raised. You know why? So you know someone out there that doesn't know God, you know someone out there that is far from God, right. Then you qualify for this series.

So three things I wanna say about that one. First of all, we should properly visualize our one. I want you to think about that one that maybe God just popped into your mind. How do you see that one? Let me tell you how Jesus saw them, okay. Then Jesus told them this parable: "'Suppose one of you has 100 sheep and loses,'" what's that word? One. Say it loud. Get that right. "Loses one of them. Doesn't he leave the 99 in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it". Now, by the way, some of you thought this all of your life, I've heard preachers say, you know, "Jesus told three parables in this chapter". No he didn't. It was one parable in three parts. 'Cause He says, He told this parable, it's just one parable, three acts. He tells a story about a lost sheep. He tells a story about a lost silver. And He tells a story about a lost son.

Now the first question that Jesus just asked is really rhetorical because everybody in that crowd would've agreed. Sure, if a shepherd loses a sheep, that shepherd's going to go after that sheep. Well, why is that? Because a good shepherd doesn't care about some of the flock, a good shepherd doesn't care about most of the flock, a good shepherd cares about how many of the flock? All the flock. He cares about all the flock. So when one sheep gets lost, it becomes their one. Well, why do shepherds have to go after lost sheep? Because lost sheep don't even realize they're lost. They just wonder away, they don't know they're lost. They don't even care that they're lost. They're not even smart enough to figure out how to be found.

So I want you to hear this, now listen, I want you to hear this about anybody, anywhere that is far from God. You ready? Okay. Listen, listen. Anybody that is far from God, they are lost and they need to be found. Everybody got that? They are lost and they need to be found. Well, He then moves from a lost sheep to a lost silver. "Or suppose a woman has 10 silver coins and loses one. Doesn't she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it"?

Now, ladies, if you'd been living back in that day, 2,000 years ago, you'd been nodding your head, and you would've agreed with her. Cause see, back in that day, almost everybody lived in very small homes, about the size of one-car garage. Most of them didn't have windows, they only had one door. Most of the time the house would be very dark and very cold. Now we know this woman's not very wealthy 'cause she only had 10 coins. That's not a lot of money. Matter of fact, one coin was only worth, in today's money, about 18 cents. But for her, even the loss of one coin was a big deal. So the woman does the same thing the shepherd does, she frantically begins to look for that coin. She turns her house inside-out, upside-down, trying to find that coin.

Now that raises a question. Why did the shepherd look for the sheep? And why did the woman look for the silver? There's only one reason, because it bothered them, and it burdened them that one of them was lost. Wait a minute. How did they know one was lost? Well, because they counted. They counted the sheep and they counted the silver, and then the rest just comes down to math. And when you read about Jesus, you know what Jesus, by the way, Jesus might have been an accounting major if He lived today, you know why Jesus was always crunching numbers. He was. He was concerned about numbers and He was always focusing on one number. What was that number? The one that was missing.

Now let me just say this and I'm gonna move on. Sometimes the Church is criticized, and I've heard people say, "Well, all the Church cares about is numbers". Read my lips. I care about numbers. I care big time about numbers. You know why? Because numbers are people. People are not numbers, but numbers are people. So with people you count numbers, and one number we ought to always be concerned about is the number one. Let me go back. Let me go back to that story. So I want you to imagine that James is, at that time his two other brothers had not been born, let's just pretend they'd already been born. So I lose James. Now, do you think I would've said to Teresa, "Hey, don't worry about James, we still got Jonathan, we still got Joshua". Oh, do you think I would've said, "Honey, our diaper bill just went down by 1/3". No, I wouldn't have said that.

The reason why the Pharisees, you know why the reason, the reason why the Pharisees didn't understand why Jesus hung around sinners and welcomed sinners. Two reasons. Not only did they not see themselves as sinners, but they didn't see sinners the way God sees sinners and they cared more, listen to this, they cared more about keeping people out than they did about inviting people in. God sees everyone who doesn't know Him as someone who is lost and needs to be found. And if you are a follower of Jesus, beginning today, we need to begin to see people who are lost the way God sees people who are lost. We need to begin seeing people who are lost that these are people who need to be found just like they needed to be found in this story.

Now think about this. To every other shepherd in the community, that one lost sheep wasn't a big deal, to every other woman in that neighborhood that one coin wasn't a big deal, but it was a big deal to that shepherd. And it was a big deal to that woman. You say, why? You know why? Because it was his sheep, and it was her silver. Now listen carefully. Every person on this planet belongs to God. I'm gonna repeat that. Every person on this planet belongs to God, and every lost person matters to God. And what matters to God also matters to us. What matters to God ought to matter to us. So I'm gonna say something now that may make some of you not even come back next week, and that's okay. You are either one or you ought to have one. And if you have no desire to have one, I doubt, you're not a one. You're either one or you ought to have one. If you're one of those people that say, "Oh no, no pastor, I'm not the one, I have been found". Then who's your one? You are found to go find somebody else.

See if you're a believer, you better see yourself in this chapter, in this parable. You know why? Let let me tell you why all three of these stories ought to relate to us. Because there's one thing that's true about everybody watching me right now, everybody's listening to me in this room right now, one thing's true about every one of us. At one time you were lost. At one time I was lost, but we were found. Keep that in mind when you visualize looking out for number one. That person is lost, he needs to be found. Now, once you properly realize, once you properly realize and visualize the one that's lost, well, that leads to a logical step, right. Then we should personally evangelize our one. If you've properly visualize, "Hey, this person's lost," he doesn't know he's lost, doesn't care he's lost. He needs to be found, and I'm the one that needs to go find him, then we should personally evangelize our one.

Now let's back up to the first part of the parable, notice what the shepherd does when he realizes one sheep has been lost. Watch's this. "Suppose one of you has 100 sheep, loses one of them. Doesn't he leave the 99 in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it"? Now the shepherd is so focused on that one lost sheep, he does something amazing. He leaves the other 99 out in the open country. You know, some preachers have preached this, "Well, he kinda left them in the sheep pen". They weren't even in the sheep pen, they were out in the open country. And normally a shepherd would never leave his sheep except in the case if one was lost. Guess what? Same thing's true of the woman. "Supposed a woman has 10 silver coins loses one. Doesn't she she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it"?

This woman doesn't care about the other nine coins, she doesn't care. She focuses all of her concentration, all of her attention, all of her effort on finding that one lost coin. By the way, that word, the word carefully, it's the only time that word's ever used in the New Testament. It's a fascinating word. It actually refers to obeying the command of a king. You know, when a king gives you a command it's a matter of life and death, you better obey that command. And the reason why Jesus used that word was this. He wanted to let us know. "Listen, when I'm talking about this one, when I'm talking about the one you ought have, don't blow me off. Don't say, 'No, that's not, I'm not in into finding one.'"

What Jesus was saying was, "I am commanding you as a king to have your one. I'm not asking you to have a one, I'm commanding you to have a one. In fact, I'm telling you, if you love Me, have a heart for Me, you'll have a heart for one 'cause I've got a heart for one". So it ought to be unanimous. Everybody in our church ought to have a one. This is no take it or leave it, ho-hum, flippantly casual search. This woman's looking in every corner, every nook, every crook, every square inch of that house, turning it upside-down, inside-out, lighting lamps, sweeping floors. She's giving everything she's got to find that one simple coin as if she'd been commanded by a king to do it. And we have been commanded by our King to look out for number one.

Now I remind you, this is really interesting. The coin wasn't worth that much money. I mean I've already told you, today it's worth about 18 cents. So the question is, "Well, what's the big deal about one coin, or one sheep"? I mean, listen, you people, you guys are in business, you're in sales. You lose one out of 100, that ain't bad. I don't know a businessman in America that wouldn't be thrilled with a 99% return on his profit. You lose one coin out of 10. How many businessmen out there would say, "I'll take 90% profit every day of the year"? No, listen. The reason why the shepherd looked for that one sheep, and the reason why the woman looked for that one silver coin was because of their love for that sheep and their care for that coin. That is the only reason.

Listen carefully. What made one sheep so valuable, what made one coin so valuable was the love, and the concern, and the compassion, and the care, and the affection of the one who had lost it. So hear this. Jesus does not just love us because we're valuable, we're valuable because Jesus loves us. That's why we have so much value. Now the sheep and the silver, both had something else in common, right. They both were not only lost, but they both were also found. It was the shepherd that found the sheep. It was the sheep that found the silver, all right. So let me let you on a little secret. Let me just say this to these kids over here. Thank you guys for being here. Teach you a good lesson today. You ready kids? Everybody ready? Lost things never find themselves, okay. Take that one to the bank, that's worth coming to church for.

Lost things never find themselves, somebody has to find someone that's lost. And if someone does not look for something that's lost, it will stay what? Yeah. If you're not looking for the one that's lost, it will stay lost. So if we don't go out looking for our lost one, that lost one is gonna be born lost, he's gonna live lost, he's gonna die lost until we go out and find that lost one. Now, I wanna get this down to where you and I live. Get it real practical. If I were to say to you one-on-one right now, do you really love Jesus? I mean, no fluff, let's really get down to brass tacks. Do you really love Jesus? If you say, "Oh yeah, I really love Jesus".

Okay. If you really love Jesus, you're gonna love what Jesus loved. If you love Jesus, you're gonna love what Jesus loved. And Jesus loved the one. And when you've properly visualized that one who is lost, I won't have to make you, I won't have to browbeat you, I won't have to put you on a guilt trip, when you really visualize that one who is lost, you will want to personally evangelize the one that was lost. When you realize that person is lost and that person is so valuable to God, God sent His son, you will gladly say, "God, I'm gonna be in the finding business. I am with you". Because as God found you, you want to help others be found as well. By the way, can I just let you in a little secret? I hear people say, "I was lost, but I found God". No you didn't, He found you. I heard about a little girl, she lived at the edge of a big forest and she wandered off into the woods, she got lost. Couldn't find her way back. Got dark, she began to scream and cry and weep, and finally she just wore herself out, she just laid down and went to sleep.

So it wasn't long until her father came looking for her, and he looked for about two hours calling out her name and suddenly he saw her lying on the grass. He ran over as fast as he could, he woke her up. When she woke up, she jumped into his arm, she hugged him and she kissed him. You know what she said? Daddy, I'm so glad I found you. No, she didn't find him. He found her. And the truth of the matter is we don't find God, God finds us. You know why God found us? 'Cause God's always looking for us. You know what else God wants? God's not always looking for us, He wants those of us who have been found to join Him in the search. Say amen into that. He wants those of us who have been found to join Him in the search, to be a part of the search party. Who's the one you're looking for? We have to properly visualize our one. They're lost, they don't know that they need to be found. We need to personally evangelize our one. We need to go looking and try to find that one. And then here's the last thing and we'll be finished. We should purposely prioritize our one. We should purposely prioritize our one.

Now, both the shepherd and the woman do something that would've, if you'd been in that crowd that day when Jesus said this, your mouth would've dropped, you'd have looked at each other and said, "What! Are you serious"? Everybody's been scratching their heads, they never heard this. 'Cause you know what they do when they find the sheep? You know what they do when they find the silver? So what did they do? Somebody tell what did they do? They threw a party. What? They threw a party. Listen to this. "Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me, I have found my lost sheep.'" The woman. "And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors and says, 'Rejoice with me, I have found my lost coin.'"

I want you to imagine. The shepherd throws this big party, gives out in the neighborhood, he's given an invitation to everybody that lives within a mile. "I want you to come to my house, we're going to celebrate". He doesn't tell you why he's throwing a party, you just know he's having a party. So, "'Okay man, I'm coming to the party". So he goes, and they all get there, they sit down to eat and drink, and before they sit down, before they begin to eat, he says, "Now let me tell you why I've invited you to this party". And he points to one little sheep: a sheep. He said, "That sheep was lost, but now it's found. Let's party". You're sitting at the party and you're thinking to yourself, "Dude, it's just one sheep, you had 99. Sheep are just property. Everybody loses sheep every now and then, that's just the cost of doing business". What about the woman? You ready for this? She spent more on the party than the coin was worth. Don't let her manage your money. She spends more on the party than the coin was worth.

Now celebrating a sheep, that's strange enough, but to celebrate 18 cents, you say, "That's weird, the coin was worth even less than the sheep". So the question is, why does Jesus put this celebration in the story? 'Cause here's the point of the entire parable. This is what God right now is trying to drive home in your heart. Lost people matter to God. And if lost people don't matter to our church, let's close up shop, sell it to somebody else and go do something else. Lost people matter to God. And what matters to God ought to matter to us, so listen carefully. Every time a lost person is found heaven throws a party. And then Jesus concludes this story, it's a punch in the gut to this religious crowd. It's a slap in this face to the crowd that always went to the church, the crowd that thought, "We've got it all figured out. We have arrived".

Listen to what Jesus said. "I'll tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over 99 righteous persons who do not need to repent. In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God, over one sinner who repents". Now let's stop, and let's just think about that for just a moment. God, doesn't rejoice over the things we rejoice over most of the time. God doesn't throw a party over the things we throw a party over. I wanna get very personal here. God doesn't throw a party or rejoice when Georgia wins a national championship. I'm saying that tongue-in-cheek, but I mean what I say. God doesn't throw a party or rejoice when our team wins. He doesn't throw a party when we get the promotion. He doesn't rejoice when we get the big raise. He doesn't rejoice when we get to the top of the social media mountain. God throws a party every time one person repents. Every time one person gets right with God. Every time one person surrenders their life to Jesus. Every time that lost person is found. Every time that happens, God says, "It is party time".

I said that, I've worked on that all week, y'all gimme some credit here. You see, nothing makes God sadder than people who are lost. And nothing makes God gladder than when people are found. Nothing. Nothing. God doesn't throw a party when we reach our budget. God doesn't throw a party when we pay off our debt. And boy, I hate to burst a lot of bubbles, but God doesn't throw a party when the preacher quits at 12 o'clock, He throws a party when lost people are found. God doesn't get happy. Listen to me. I'm glad you came today. I'm glad you're watching today. God doesn't get happy because we're in the right crowd. God gets happy when the right crowd goes out looking for the wrong crowd and helps them get into the right crowd. Can I get a hallelujah to that? God gets happy when the right crowd goes out looking out there for the wrong crowd and helps them get into the right crowd.

So here's the question. Who's your one? Who's your one? We're gonna get down and dirty. You're either one or you ought to have one. You're either one or you have one. Put your cell phones down, close your Bibles, put your cellphones, everybody look, just gimme your full attention one more minute, we'll be done. Just one more minute and we're done. Maybe three minutes. Every year, because of a great friend in our church, I get to go to the Masters, every single year. Well, two years ago, I didn't get to go because COVID struck and nobody was allowed to go. So that was the year that something amazing happened, Bryson DeChambeau hit his golf ball on the third hole during the tournament. At this point, he was fully in contention. At this point, it looked like he might very well win the tournament, but what happened next cost him any chance to win the Masters. He pulled his shot slightly to the left and the ball came down somewhere in tall grass in the fairway.

Well, remember on a normal year, it wouldn't have been an issue because you got thousands of people there, and somebody would've found his ball, but they didn't have any crowds. So after a frantic search and rescue operation, it was declared a lost ball. He had to go back, re-tee, wound up with a triple bogey, cost him any chance to win the tournament. Now here's the amazing thing. So what happened to the ball? It was there the entire time. As a matter of fact, a guard found it two minutes after the search had been called off. It was no more than 10 feet off the fairway. You say, "Well, why wasn't it found"? You ready for this? Listen. The guard that found the ball said, "We were looking in the wrong spot. If we'd been in the right area, we would've found it without any problem".

Now, I may get out of camera shot here, but let me just come down here and let's talk just for a minute. You're not gonna find your one in this building. You're not gonna find your one in your little holy huddle small group. You're gonna find your one out there where you work, where you live, where you play, where you go to school, where you shop. So you said to me, "Yeah, pastor, you know what I'm with you. I know people who are far from God. I know people who don't know the Lord". You may ask you a simple question? Why do you think God put them in your life? Why do you think you live next door to that lost neighbor? Why do you think you married that man who's not a believer? Why do you think you talked to that doctor who has no clue about God? Why? 'Cause that person is lost and God is saying to you, would you join my search party? Would you let that person be your one?

Now you may think I'm overhyping this. You may think I'm overdramatizing this. And if you do, I'm sorry. I just wanna say one last thing and I'll be done. Jesus came to this Earth and He died on the cross, and He came back from the grave for one reason, because God the Father, and God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit was looking out for number one. Who is your one? Would you pray with me right now. With heads bowed and with eyes closed. I wanna say just a quick word. If you're that one. If you came in here today and you say, "Pastor, I can't have a one. I'm the one, I'm lost. I need to be found". Can I just say this to you? You can be found today. God's looking for you. We are looking for you. And if you would like today to receive Christ as your Lord and Savior, if you would like to be that found silver, that found sheep, that found, so if you would like for that to be you, let me tell what I'd like to ask you to do.

When this service is over, you go out into lobby, I'll be out there at my table, you can either come to me or you can go to a table called "Connection Point", either one, but we've got people out there, I'll be there. If you're one of those ones, and you know you're lost, and you finally now realize you're lost and you need to be found. I just want you to go to that table, or you come to my table. Here's all you need to say, "Hey, I'm lost, but I wanna be found". That's all you gotta say. That's it. We'll tell you how to be found. We'll rejoice with you. We will rejoice with heaven as you are found. We want that to happen to you today. It's why Jesus died. It's why He was buried. It's why He was raised from the dead so that you could be found. "No, I don't need to be found pastor, I've been found. I was lost, but now I'm found".

Okay, who is your one? And I'm gonna be very bold when I say this. I don't know who's saved and who's not. I wanna make that very plain what I'm about to say. But if you claim to know Jesus and you blow off what I preach today and you say, "I don't care what you say. I'm not gonna have a one. I'm not gonna get a one". I doubt very seriously you know Jesus, very seriously. Because you got a heart for God, you've got a heart for what God has a heart for, and he has a heart for one, that lost one.

So Father, my prayer today in the name of Jesus, for those of us who have ones as I was praying Tuesday for mine, I got about eight ones. Lord, I pray, first of all, for everyone in this room that says, "Yes, my one is blank". God help us in this series, these next two weeks that are so vital to our church, help us, oh God, help me oh God, to help our people, not only have a passion for that one, but oh God, as we give them the practical tools they need to do what you've commanded us to do, God, please, I pray over the next 12 months, everyone in this room would multiply themselves by one. What a joy that would be. And Lord, I want to close for me, and for so many in this room, I once was lost, but you found me in a theater as a nine-year-old boy. I thought I found you, you found me. And I now know, and it didn't take me long to get it, you found me so I could join you in finding others. Let that be the heartbeat of our church, I pray in Jesus' name. Amen.

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