[00:00:00] Well, it’s good to be back with you, and happy new year to you. As we all celebrate 2017, and we really enter into a season of mourning as the end of the college football season will be tomorrow, and were not going to know what to do with our lives after that. Some of you are like, “Thank goodness. Get my family back.” Whatever that might be. Welcome to you if you’re a guest with us, if you’re in our north venue, if you’re in Odessa, it’s great to have you here. [00:00:30] Some of you didn’t want to come to church and sit as close to the people that you’re sitting next to, but thank you for being here and being a part of what’s going on this morning. Forgive me if later on I put a mint in my mouth or something, I’m just trying to keep my voice as we go through the morning together.
I would hesitate to call this what the first screen here calls this morning, which is vision, why we do what we do. I don’t like the term vision casting messages, and different things like that. I’m going to spend the next several weeks with you talking [00:01:00] about who we are at Stonegate Fellowship. It dawned on me this morning that I am much closer to preaching the last vision sermon to you than I ever have been. I’m not submitting my resignation yet, which some of you are like, “Man.” I am telling you that 18 years ago when I stood in front of a congregation in the Fellowship Hall of First Baptist Church, we were trying to cast a vision, and we [00:01:30] went over to Abel junior high, and tried to cast a vision there. It’s been quite a journey. I still reflect back quite fondly, really, literally quite fondly on the phone call about starting this thing that didn’t have a name yet.
An acquaintance that I knew from back in Oklahoma, I recall fondly being flown here at night, and that’s true, and seeing a city underneath the airplane, and going, [00:02:00] “Wow, this is really cool.” When I woke up the next morning went, “Wow.” It’s become a beautiful place to us, it’s become home to us, and it’s where we’ve raised our kids, and it’s where we’ve seen God do an amazing thing. The more important thing is really all of us understanding who we are as a church. You have to understand that if what we are as a church is not who you are individually, then the church will never be who she’s supposed to be. The church is really made [00:02:30] up of people, and a church that grows and a church that carries on to the next generation can only do that if each of us embody individually what the church is supposed to be.
When you and I individually embody who it is God has called us to be. When we live out of who we are. Stonegate Fellowship will never endure, it’ll never endure past a generation until we all begin to capture who it is God calls us out to be individually. Over the next few weeks I just want to talk about that. This is not a [00:03:00] vision message series to try to get you motivated, it’s not to try to get you to work in children’s ministry, it’s not to try to get you to go on the mission field, all those things really should be a result of you and I discovering who we are.
I’ll tell you that years ago, or almost 2 decades now when I preached this kind of message, there was a part of me that hoped everybody caught it and got excited, because whether you like to hear it this way or not, when you start in the church, you’re just going to want the business to start, because you want to make payroll [00:03:30] and all that. I know some of you are thinking, “Oh, but it’s a church, you don’t worry about those kind of things.” Yeah, you do. We just needed to get this thing going.
As time has gone by, and it’s just almost impossible for me to believe that I’m standing here 18 years later, and it’s not a matter of us meeting payroll, it’s not a matter of us surviving, it’s a matter of us passing on a legacy. It’s a legacy that has [00:04:00] to be captured in your heart. A legacy of who you are, not who we are, because we will not be any more than you are individually. What I want to do this morning is really just go through some Scriptures here. I will not be opening my copy of the Scriptures, because everything from the Scriptures is going to be on the screen. I hope you don’t leave here and go, “He never opened his Bible.” I’m opening it up there, and so if you have a copy of the Scriptures, you might want to look these up. I use the first service as a guinea pig to see how far we can make it, and so now I know all were going to get through is this foundation of Scripture, and [00:04:30] hopefully you’ll be able to come back next week and we’ll keep moving on.
I would encourage you now to look at this passage in Proverbs chapter 29 verse 18, and it’s probably one you’ve heard before. Proverbs chapter 29 verse 18. You’re going to hear me, and forgive me for sniffing, I know some of you think that’s just nasty, and gross, and I’m trusting the first row that if something starts hanging, you’ll just tell me so that I don’t have this embarrassing moment. It just is what it is. [00:05:00] Proverbs chapter 29 verse 18 is a passage I’m not sure that we’ve dug into as a church, but many of us have read personally, and wondered what it meant. You’re going to hear me say over, and over, and over again this morning, possibly, that we will never be corporately any more than what you are individually.
Every passage of Scripture that I’m sharing with you this morning, though I think it has great application to us as a body, it must first be applied in your own. When you look at this passage of Scripture in Proverbs 29 one, you have probably read [00:05:30] before. Let me just dig in a little deeper and give you some definitions of some of the words that are found in the Hebrew language, and talk to you just a little bit. You see it on the screen, “Where there is no prophetic vision, the people will cast off restraint.” Some of you know the Old Testament was written in Hebrew first, and some Aramaic, so let me go back and define some of these words. This word for prophetic vision, it doesn’t mean that I stand up here and I get this [00:06:00] message from the Lord, and I’m going to give it to you. It means something actually a little deeper than that. Something a little more personal.
I’ll just give you some of these definitions. It actually means a proclamation about what we are doing, and a proclamation about why we are doing it. That’s literally the meaning of this prophetic vision. What are we doing, and why are we doing it? Now, remember, this is not just something corporately, this is something individually. You need to begin thinking about that same question in your life, what [00:06:30] are you doing, and why are you doing it? You need to stop at the beginning of the year, if you didn’t already think about it, and think about, “What am I doing, and why am I doing it?” Really what’s interesting is when you continue to follow through, it says, “Where there is no prophetic vision, the people will cast off restraint.”
Let me define for you this idea of casting off restraint. Just go into my notes here, and maybe you can jot a couple of these things down, and I hope you will. I hope you’ll take out your phone, this is going to be the first time you’re going to hear me say, “Take out your phone.” And you’ll use the notes app or something to take [00:07:00] notes with. To cast off restraint means to lose your purpose, it means to give up, and it means to even get out of hand. Do you know why we go crazy in life, and do you know why we go through a midlife crisis? Because we don’t have a prophetic vision in our lives. We don’t know why we’re doing it, and we don’t know what we’re doing. We punched a clock for half our life, and then one day we wake [00:07:30] up and we go, “I don’t know why I do this, and I don’t know what I’m doing.” We lose hope, and we give up.
As a matter of fact, if you were to go to Exodus chapter 32, I hope you’ll look later on this week in Exodus chapter 32, this is the part where Charlton Heston brings him up to that mountain, and he’s going to go up, and all of a sudden his beards going to turn white, and … Some of your like, “Does he really think it was Charlton Heston?” No, it wasn’t that long ago. No, it was Moses who takes the children of Israel to this mountain, and he disappears to go meet with the Lord 40 days and 40 [00:08:00] nights, he gets the 10 Commandments. The Bible tells us a story in Exodus chapter 32. I’m going to paraphrase it for you, because it’s the words that are used. The Bible says the people forgot why they were there and what they were doing there, and then it literally says later on in that chapter, “And so they cast off restraint.” You know what happened, they told Aaron to build this god for them, and this ended up being a tragic event in the nation of Israel.
The whole reason it happened is because at the foot of the mountain at this [00:08:30] opportunity, and you’ll hear more about opportunity here in just a minute, they forgot who they were, they forgot what they were doing, they forgot what God was doing through them, they forgot everything they were designed, called, and gifted to be, and they threw off restraint. They lost hope. As a matter of fact, I didn’t tell the first service this, but if you do a little more research, you’ll find out that there’s a word picture used here for casting off restraint that you have to think more Middle Eastern, and the turbans that are on their heads. I know some of [00:09:00] you already, you’ve made that an Isis issue already in your mind, so I need you to stop, and I need you just to listen to the historical context here. Because it actually says that if someone has lost vision, and loss what they do and why they do it in the Middle East, that they would then take off their turban. What that meant is it meant they had quit, and they had given up hope.
There are many of us who give up hope, because we don’t know who we are, and [00:09:30] we don’t know what we’re doing. This morning, I want to also remind you, and it’s not going to come up on the screen, there’s another passage of Scripture you have to remember. With this passage it’s Ephesians chapter 2 and verse 10. Ephesians chapter 2 verse 10 says you and I are God’s workmanship, we are his masterpiece, created in Christ Jesus for good works that he prepared before hand that we should walk in them. Let me just make sure you hear me say this, I am not intending to motivate you this morning. You may think, “Well good, [00:10:00] because you’re winning.” I just want to make sure you know, I want to share with you some truth that the Bible says of each and every one of you, whether you’ve been rode hard, put up with, abused, used, and you don’t even think there’s anything about your life that’s worthwhile, the Bible calls you a masterpiece. God’s creation.
I don’t care how many marriages you’ve had, failed businesses you’ve had, [00:10:30] abortions you’ve had, how many times you’ve cheated. I don’t care how many people you’ve cheated in business. I may not care, but that doesn’t change the biblical reality that God calls you a masterpiece. I don’t care the ongoing struggle with alcohol, or drugs, the ongoing struggle with anger, or whatever the issue is, or bitterness. Remember, and my friend who told me this years ago was sitting in the service, there’s not a one of us, I don’t know how good you are, how [00:11:00] bright your halo is, there’s not a one of us that doesn’t have a junk drawer that’s full of junk. The reality is, if you woke up this morning, which it looks like you did, your his masterpiece and he’s not done with you. Psalm 139 says he knows the days ordained for you, and that is a difficult verse for those of us who have lost loved ones before we thought we should. You’re here, and you are his masterpiece created in Christ Jesus for good works he designed before hand that you’re supposed to walk in.
[00:11:30] Now, why does this matter? It matters because I am communicating to you a prophetic vision. A what and why about your life. You may not understand it, and you may not get it, and you may wonder why. I look throughout this room, and I have made eye contact with some of you who are cancer survivors. I’ve made eye contact with some of you, and I should close my eyes when I say this so you don’t think he’s talking about me, I have over 18 years seen you walk through the heart [00:12:00] ache of children, of divorce, of problems. At each day, he wakes us up to say, “I’m not done with you. I’ve created something for you to walk in. The failures of your past, the prisons of your past, literally and figuratively. I have created you for something.”
When we, as a church, individually, begin to lay hold of the promise that we are [00:12:30] masterpieces, then we as a church will become the church he’s called us to be. Something else about masterpieces by the way, and I did this in the first service, I’ll do it in the service, you probably might not like it, but I’m not going to make you stand up and do a dance or anything. I want you to do something with me. Because there’s something in the power of a confession. I’m going to count to three, and after I say three, I want you to say, “I’m a masterpiece.”
[00:13:00] Can we do that? I know some of you won’t, some of you are going to cross your arms like I did when I visited a church not long ago, I was like, “Whatever.” I was, I was like, “We do it better.” I’m going to count to three, and you’re going to say, “I’m a masterpiece.” Now, here’s not the funny part, some of you will not be able to get those words out of your mouth. Here we go, ready? Set? One, two, three.
I’m a masterpiece.
[00:13:30] Now, let me give you an assignment, because I’ve been going to this talk with our staff, and in December I gave them an assignment, and I said, “I want each and every one of you now to take a piece of paper out.” Don’t do this right now, we don’t have time for this. I said, “I want you to take a piece of paper out, and I want you to begin writing at least 25 positive words or statements about yourself.” Again, I’m not trying to be Zig Ziglar or Tony Robbins, but I just wanted them to begin to write things about themselves that were positive. Because you know if I would’ve told them to write things about themselves they don’t like, they would have said, “Can we have the entire day.”
[00:14:00] When I said, “Start writing the things about yourself that you know God would say about you and that are positive attributes about you.” Here’s what I saw them do, I saw them put their heads down and go, “Okay, okay.” Then I just saw them stop. I said, “Okay, we got to go to work.” Because we do a Monday and a Thursday devotion together. Then I sent them an email that afternoon, I said, “By the way, the assignment’s not over. As a matter fact, I’m going to give you until Thursday.” This was several, several weeks ago, and this was on a Monday. I said, [00:14:30] “I’m going to give you until Thursday to write out your list, and then you have to take your list and you have to post it on the whiteboard in the conference room.”
After that, here’s all the emails I got, “Do we have to put our name on this?” I said, “Yes, you do have to put your name on it. Everybody had to do it, from the proverbial talk, which is supposedly what I am, to what you would call the bottom, and the people who empty your trash, which really, they’re the top and I’m the bottom. The reality is, there was an exercise where they had to come to grips with [00:15:00] the fact of what God thought about them, rather than what they had concluded about themselves. That’s the question I have for you, is your conclusion about yourself based upon what God has called you, and who he calls you, or is it based upon your conclusions about yourself? I’m telling you, you will lose hope and you will cast off restraint if you do not recapture the vision that you are a masterpiece that God has created.
What happens about a masterpiece, is masterpieces do not have to call attention [00:15:30] to themselves, but people walk by them and see them and go, “Something has happened.” That’s what I hope we as individuals, and then eventually we as a church become is that people walk by this place, and they walk through this place, and they say, “God has done something.” If you don’t hear me say anything else this morning, that proverbial line, I hope and pray that you will go home today and you will begin to say, “God, renew in me in understanding of the [00:16:00] vision for my life.” I’m just going to tell you what it is so you don’t have to worry about it. God’s greatest vision for your life is for you to be totally captured and shackled by his love, so that you can then pass that on to other people. In fact, this is what tell your seniors in high school.
One year at camp, this is a rabbit trail, we called a restaurant, because we take the seniors in high school to a dinner on the last night of camp, so we called this [00:16:30] restaurant to say, “Hey, we’re bringing 60 seniors to your restaurant, so we want to just make sure you know.” When we got there and we were getting off the bus, people at the restaurant went, “Oh, we put together the wrong menu. We put together that which would be easily chewable.” I was like, “Oh.” My wife and I get the privilege of walking with the seniors in high school in our senior year, and here’s what I tell them, and some of you aren’t going to like this because you’re trying to get your kids to commit to the life of something, and I tell them, “I firmly [00:17:00] believe God could care less what you do with your life, as long as what you do with your life is love Jesus and be loved by him.” We’re so worried about finding a career instead of understanding our calling.
The greatest calling and career of your life is to be captured by the love of Jesus, and shackled by the love of Jesus so you can then pass on that love of Jesus to other people, regardless of what your career is. I hope you hear that. Because [00:17:30] many of you have defined your purpose by what you do for a paycheck, rather than being captured in the purpose that Christ has for you to understand how much you’re loved, and to be shackled by that love, and to pass that love on to other people.
Let me give you another passage of Scripture, about 2002, 2003 I have written in my Bible, this call onto my heart, and it’s found in first Corinthians chapter 16 verse 9. First Corinthians chapter 16 verse 9 says the following, “A wide open door for [00:18:00] effective work is opened up, and there are many adversaries.” Some of your translations may say there is great opposition. Let me define some words for you. Again, the New Testament was written in Greek, and some Aramaic. I just have the right tools to figure it out. Let me define this for you, the word for wide is where we get our English word mega.
In fact, if you were to look up the Greek word, you would even look at it, and you would say, “That looks like mega.” That’s what it is, massive, it’s huge, it’s just … [00:18:30] You go to the convenience store and all you want is a Baby Ruth, but next to it they have the mega pack, and you’re like, “Oh, I better get that one. I’ll only eat one.” Then you find out you eat the whole thing. Anyways, that’s what it is. That’s what it means, it means massive, it means huge. It doesn’t mean just a little bigger, it means massive. Let me keep reading to you. There is this wide open door. Now, the word for door does not mean something on its hinges, it means an opportunity. It means an occasion.
[00:19:00] Now remember, all these words are spoken to you as an individual in order that you as an individual might grasp them, and then as a result, corporately, we’ll be able to live them together. That’s why first Corinthians 12 talks about us being the body of Christ. One member is weak, we’re all weak, one member strong, we’re all strong. We have to be this individually if we’re ever going to be this corporately. He’s telling us there is a huge occasion for an effective work. Let me [00:19:30] define effective work, it means in operation, it means to accomplish something. Now, pause for a minute, because you may think I’m transitioning into the corporate piece of a message. There is no corporate piece to the message that is not individual first. Back up to what you just heard, you’re a masterpiece, that’s a prophetic vision over your life of why you’re here and what you do. To love him, and to be captured by his love.
[00:20:00] Now he’s telling you that he woke you up this morning because he has a massive opportunity for a work that only you can complete. Do you understand? I cannot complete your work. You cannot complete mine. Nor can you complete your neighbors, or your neighbors complete yours. There is a wide open door of opportunity for you and you alone. Only you can know the purpose, and live the [00:20:30] purpose, and be the purpose that God has purposed you to be. I know that sounded a little Doctor Seussy, but that’s just what it is. You’re it. It’s hard to grasp sometimes when I say that God has your days numbered, as Psalm 139 says, because that brings up heartache of people we have lost that we thought we lost too early, but the fact of the matter that sits in front of us today is the day numbered for you was today.
The prophetic vision over your life is there is a massive opportunity for you, and I [00:21:00] tell you once again, all you have to do is read the passages of Scripture to find out that God desperately seeks out the losers to make them winners, and he convinces the winners you’re nothing but a loser, and he uses us all regardless. There is a wide open door, and massive opportunity, and there’s going to be great opposition. The greatest opposition to you and I becoming everything God has designed, called, and gifted us to be, the greatest opposition resides in here.
[00:21:30] Now, I know our greatest opponent is the enemy, but the enemy knows our greatest opponent next to him is ourselves. Because no one speaks more negatively to ourselves than ourselves. Especially the ones who look like they speak so confidently to themselves. We look at ourselves in the mirror, whether it’s a literal mirror, or the mirror of our lives, and we say, “Nope, nope, nope, nope, [00:22:00] nope, nope, nope.” All the while the creator says, “Yes, masterpiece. Yes, masterpiece. Yes, masterpiece.”
The same way he did when he found Gideon hiding and he said, “Hail, mighty warrior.” Gideon said, “Wrong guy.” Jesus said, “No, you may not know it yet, but that’s what I’ve made you.” For many of you who come from long lines of dysfunction and addiction, I’m telling you, God still woke you up to be a warrior [00:22:30] who changes the storyline of your family. It’s those kind of changes he brings together in a thing called the church that impacts two cities, and a state, and a nation.
A wide open door for your life, a wide open door for your life. As I’ve told you 1000 times before, if you can’t get yourself to believe it, or no one will speak it into your life, then start taking a marker and write these things on the mirror you look at everyday so that you have to see your face through the Scriptures to remind [00:23:00] yourself of the truth of who you are. You say, “Does this have anything to do with who Stonegate Fellowship is?” Everything. Everything. Because if you don’t grasp this, Stonegate Fellowship will die. If you don’t understand who you are, and live out who you are. Let me give you another passage of Scripture, Revelation chapter 3. It says, “Behold.” Again, it’s another one of these passages, [00:23:30] and this was probably about 2004, 2005 when I was reading through the Scriptures, and just thought, “Man, this is for us.” “Behold, I have set before you an open door.”
Now, the phrase I have set carries with it the idea of grace. It carries with it the idea of having been granted, ordered up, or delivered. I used an example in the first service, not many people got it, so I’m not expecting anything different from this service. It’s like the Lord is saying, “I’m hanging a curveball for you.” Some of you [00:24:00] are like, “Yeah.” Some of you are like, “I don’t even know what that means.” I don’t know what to tell you. I have no other well to pull from, so it’s an amazing quilt. I don’t know. I don’t know. All I can tell you is, the word means the Lord just hung a curveball, and you’re a great hitter. He just delivered up for you what you do not deserve, but by grace he has given to you. Let me finish this verse, [00:24:30] he has granted, he has delivered up for you an open door, and it’s the same thing. It means an opportunity. It means an opportunity. You’ve seen this before, I’ve got to get a new life, because all I can think about is sports analogies.
It’s like when you have a little kid, you know when you want to teach them how to swing a bat? You take a ball, and you lob it up there, and they miss it, and you’re like, “What’s your problem?” You lob it up there, and you just go, “Here it is.” [00:25:00] You’re doing everything you can, and then here’s what’s funny, and I think this is true with the Lord, that kid doesn’t even know what they’re doing, but they swing the stick, and it makes contact with the ball.
We act like it just went forever, and were like, “Yeah, yeah, we’re like run.” They go the wrong way and we’re like, “Yeah.” Listen, that’s exactly what the Lord’s doing over your life. You think you have to be perfect. The greatest asset you have when [00:25:30] it comes to the Lord using you is what a lousy failure you are, because then he’s great. He has thrown up a curveball, as Revelation 3:8 says, an open opportunity, check this out, and nobody can shut it. Look at that.
Now, I don’t know who I’m talking to this morning with what I’m about to say, but [00:26:00] I’ll bet you there is about 80% of you that think you have shut this down because of what you’ve done and who you been. The reality is, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. He woke you up today to throw you another hanging curveball. I’m going to tell you this morning there is only one thing that can shut it down, and we’re going to start studying about it the next [00:26:30] month when we start studying the church at Ephesus, because here’s what God said to the church at Ephesus, he said, “You’re doing everything right, it’s amazing how good you are.”
I’m paraphrasing, you can read it in Revelation. “You’re doing everything right, your children’s ministry is amazing, you have parking attendants, you got great coffee, you give out free donuts.” I think the greatest revolt we would have is if we stopped giving out donuts. “You’re an amazing church, you’re an amazing church, you’re an amazing church, you’re an amazing church, but I have one thing against [00:27:00] you, you have lost your first love.” If you don’t get that back, here’s what the Lord says, “I’ll walk away. You’ll keep being good, but I’ll be gone.” Remember what I said earlier was your purpose? Your purpose was to be captured and shackled by his love so much that you pass that love on. That’s the people God uses. That’s the church he gathers, and that’s the influence he gives away. To be captured by his love.
The apostle Paul says this in Ephesians chapter 3, he says, “Here’s what I pray, that [00:27:30] you would come to understand the width, and the depth, and the magnitude of God’s love.” If you don’t know what to pray, go home and say, “God, show me how much you love me. Show me how much you love me. Show me how much you love me.” Quit praying for a vision about a career, and quit praying about the economy.
Just start praying, “God, show me how much you love me.” Because when the people of a church understand how much they’re loved, they will love each other, [00:28:00] and they will love a community, and nothing can stop that gathered people. God has set before us, you, individually, a wide open door. He’s set it up, he’s offered it up, and nobody can close it. That has to be true about you individually, or it will never be true about us corporately.
Let me give you another passage of Scripture, we got a few minutes left. Psalm 78. Psalm 78. Some of you may wonder why the biggest building we have that as a big [00:28:30] red wall is there, and here’s why. You may wonder in Odessa why the bigger part of the building is committed to this what I’m about to talk about, than even the auditorium. Here’s why, this does go back to the heartbeat of this church from the day it started, and I pray this never leaves your heartbeat, and it always remains our collective passion in this the next generation. Read this passage of Scripture with me, it’s pretty long, well, don’t read it out loud. If you’re wondering, [00:29:00] “Should I read out loud?” Just watch it as I read it. He established a testimony, any time you read in the Scriptures something about the Lord’s testimony, I would encourage you to use the word story, because that’s what a testimony is, it’s a story. He established a story in Jacob.
Jacob’s the same thing of Israel, and appointed a law in Israel that he commanded our fathers to teach their children that the next generation might know them. The [00:29:30] children yet unborn. They would arise and tell them to their children so that they should set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments. I don’t know when that verse was first latched on to by our children’s ministry, it was early on, I didn’t have anything to do with that. It was early on.
From the very beginning, I can tell you, unequivocally, that the greatest passion of [00:30:00] this church, second only maybe to missions, has been that God would reach the next generation. That’s why you never hear us say we have a nursery, we don’t have a nursery, we have a ministry to children. It’s why you see the entire staff, and you even see so many of our unpaid servant leaders take off the first week of June to go to camp. It’s why you see unpaid elders, and I’m always amazed [00:30:30] at this, that our elders who are, I’ll put it this way, most of them would say, “No, that’s not true.”
Some who are captains of industry, who when we go to camp sleep in bunks with seventh and eighth graders. That’s like going to the lion’s den. Doing that. It’s why we send as a church, it’s why we spend over $1 million on campaign a year to go [00:31:00] share the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord. It’s why that was the first building built. It’s why it’s such a major part of the Odessa campus, that the next generation would rise up. It’s why, again, I can look across this auditorium and, whether you know it or not, I’ve seen you, and I’ve locked eyes on you, that I have literally been able to be here long enough to see your children be the next [00:31:30] generation. To see your children go on the mission field. To see your children be on staff here. To see your children plant churches in places. To receive emails from your children this morning from places I cannot disclose.
This morning when God woke me up at three, I do not like that when God does that. When he woke me up at three, and I look at my phone and I see an email [00:32:00] from one of your kids asking for prayer in a closed country, that’s the next generation. The most important thing about this fellowship is not who preaches on the stage, but the message we preach in that building and to the next generation that they might rise up and carry the gospel to the workplace into the world. To tell the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord from when they started singing [00:32:30] Jesus loves me in the hallway of Abel, to where now they have boomboxes, and sound, and all kinds of things over there. What matters is that we teach them why I’m telling you again this morning. Know your purpose. He created you, called you, and made you.
Wants you to be captured and shackled by his love. Then someday you will spread out to the right and to the left. Isaiah chapter 54. I didn’t even share that passage where God says, “Do not fear, lengthen the cords, and strengthen the pegs, and [00:33:00] spread out to the right and to the left. Have nothing to fear, for your children will rise up, and they will occupy desolate cities.” Those are promises spoken to you as individuals, meant to be lived by you individually so we corporately can be blessed by him beyond what we could ever hope or imagine. It is the next generation. That is why this is the only part of the message that is intentionally meant to cause you guilt. That is why, and if you don’t think I meant that, I meant it.
[00:33:30] That is why, if you’re a servant, leader, member of this church, and you don’t serve somehow in children’s ministry, you are sinning against the call of God to the next generation. There is no reason whatsoever that in children’s ministry they should ever wonder where the adults will come from to care for these kids, because we should empty this auditorium to care for those kids. If you ever sit [00:34:00] around and say, “I’m just praying about where God wants me.” Let me tell you to quit praying, and get yourself up in that ministry and start pouring the love of Jesus into the next generation. If you ever say to me, “I don’t know what God wants me to do.” I’ll show you right there. Pour into the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord.
Final passage of Scripture, I’m out of time, Psalm 118 verse 25. Give me just a few [00:34:30] minutes and I’ll let you out of here. Psalm 118 verse 25 is a passage of Scripture that I’ve never shared with you before that I just felt like the Lord was pressing into my heart about this, about us, about you and I. It says, “Save us we pray oh Lord, oh God, oh Lord we pray, give us success.” I think that success word is a word we’re scared off sometimes in the church, because it’s abused in the health and wealth preaching of the gospel and different things. Let me give you the [00:35:00] Hebrew definitions of this word success. It means to accomplish what is intended. To accomplish what you have been designed, called, and gifted to accomplish. That’s what it means.
I was reading recently in a book about this fighting together, and winning together, because a lot of people don’t like the word compete. I’m a competitive person, I like to compete, and for there to be a loser, that’s not me. You know what I’m [00:35:30] talking about? I remember one time I was at a basketball game and I was like, “Compete.” There was a lady there who said, “We don’t compete, we try hard.” I’m like, “You try hard.” Anyways, in the name of Jesus. I’m doing a little bit of research the last couple weeks, and I come across this study, it’s actually about Pete Carroll, and I don’t even like the dude, he chews his gum with the mouth open. He coaches the Seattle Seahawks USC, and all that.
[00:36:00] This whole culture they have around the Seattle Seahawks, and the researcher is watching them, and they keep using this word compete, compete, compete, compete. The researcher stops them and says, “You got to have a different word, I don’t like the word compete, it insinuates a loser.” They say, “Whoa, you don’t know your work, because the word compete came about in the Latin in around 1620, and it never meant for there to be a loser. The word compete [00:36:30] actually started in describing people who come together to compete for a shared objective.” Here’s the funny thing about that, you know why that sounds familiar? Because that’s what first Corinthians chapter 12 says about the body of Christ. What I’m telling you now is that each and every one of us have to compete to be everything I have been designed, called, and gifted to be so that we, together, can compete to be everything we have been designed, called, and gifted to be.
[00:37:00] When the Psalmist says, “Give us success for us to win.” Is to be everything he has intended for us to be. I know, at the very least, it means to be captured by, shackled by the love of Jesus that we might pass it on to others beginning with the next generation. If you come back next week, I’ll share some more stuff with you, and you’ll learn more about who we are individually, and who we should be corporately. Let’s pray together.