“There is never a neutral moment” – Patrick Payton
“The triumph of the church as a whole depends upon the personal victory of every Christian. In other words, your victory, your life, your personal testimony, are important to the cause of God today. What happens out in New Guinea, down in the Amazon jungle, over in disturbed Congo, is not unrelated to what happens in your own personal relationship with God and your personal battle against the forces of darkness. Victory for the church on the whole world-front depends upon victory in your life and in mine; ‘home’ and ‘foreign’ situations cannot be detached.” – Alan Redpath
It’s good to be with you. Hey thanks for showing up on a day like today. I wanna say hello to the smart people. There’s about 110 of you that are live streaming right now from your home, so I just wanna tell you welcome. To the parking team, I think I saw Hank walking in here soaked to the bone, and just everybody who showed up this morning and had a part in everything that we’re doing. I heard that Jeff Turner at our Odessa campus got one of those trial by fire mornings. He was about [00:00:30] a third of the way through the message. We lost power and they lost power, and so Jeff got to stand up and wing it at Odessa and preach, and that’s how you grow. And so happy for those things that are happening for them.
I want you to do something we did in the last service that’s kind of interesting. Let’s stand together, find someone around you you don’t know, and tell them who you want to win this afternoon. Stand up and greet somebody. [00:01:00] Or you can tell them if you even could care less. (Indistinct chatter) … Let’s stay standing, if you would, and let me pray with you, and we’ll get started. Did anybody say Packers? [00:01:30] (Cheering). Oh, wow. Did anybody even not know what was going on? How many of were like, “What’s he talking about?” That’s probably the best part about this whole thing. Let me pray with you, and then we’ll get started. Thank you Father for the day. Would you open our eyes to see wonderful things from your word and to learn more about who we are in you and put that in practice. In Jesus’ name, amen.
You can have a seat. Thank you for that bit of stupidity. I don’t know what it was. Some [00:02:00] people were visiting this more morning, and the lady who brought them said, “I gotta tell you a story about my visitors. They’re from Wisconsin, and when they woke up this morning, they actually had Green Bay jerseys with them.” They said, “Do you think we can wear those to your church?” The host said, “Oh, yes. You can wear those.” But I don’t think they did. Anyways, two things are gonna happen in the message this morning, and I hope you have a copy of the scriptures with you. You can open to Romans chapter 12 as I tell you the two things that are gonna happen.
I’m gonna continue to give [00:02:30] you a few more scriptures that kind of are in line with what we talked about last week, describing how our Biblical purpose and what it is that we’re about and what we are supposed to be about. Then I’m gonna change, about halfway through the message, and really start getting into some more specifics about where we came from. We started with that passage of scripture in Proverbs that says, “Without a prophetic vision, the people perish.” The prophetic vision, the translation of that word is understanding what you do, why you do it, what you’re all about, otherwise you can [00:03:00] lose hope. That’s really what that passage means. The intention is just to spend a few weeks with you, giving you more of a Biblical understanding of the roots of this fellowship, as well as helping you understand some of the driving values and things we hold dear in this fellowship.
Last week, someone came up to me and they said they were following a family into the children’s area, going up the steps, and it was a husband and wife. She said, “I heard the guy turn to his wife.” [00:03:30] The guy said, “You know what that sermon was.” The lady said, “No, what do you mean? It was a vision message.” He goes, “No, you know what that message was. He’s leaving.” I thought that was kind of funny because that’s what I said. I go, “This is not a see you later deal. It’s really more about us who have been here for almost two decades understanding we have a responsibility to every generation, for them to understand who we are and what we do.” When I say the truth, it thunders. I just want you to know, you better be careful what [00:04:00] you do with this message.
Let me show you Romans chapter 12, knowing that I’m gonna share with you some scripture and then kind of turn into a more kind of informational thing. I need you to understand that last week when I told you we will never be any more corporately than what you and I are individually, you must understand this message, you must let this sink in deeply. Just saying it a different way, the strength of a fellowship is nevermore than the strength of individual followers of Jesus walking with Jesus. [00:04:30] That doesn’t mean you have to be perfect. You never will be. There’s not a perfect person in this room. It just means you catching and understanding a glimpse of the understanding, that you are an absolutely, not just vital, but essential and indispensable part of the body of Christ and the work of God throughout the world. Yes, throughout the world.
In fact, your life today matters to the church of Jesus Christ and the work of God literally the world over. That’s not hyperbole. That’s not trying [00:05:00] to make it sound more than it is. That’s not even trying to be motivational. That is really simply just showing you the truth. When I read Romans 12, follow along with me. Let me show you this. In Romans chapter 12, verse 4 and 5, the apostle Paul says, “For as in one body, we have many members.” He’s literally using a bodily example. Our bodies are made up of all kinds of members, arms and ears and eyes and so forth. The members don’t all have the same function, which is obvious. [00:05:30] The ears do their thing. The mouth does its thing. So we, though we are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. It literally translates, we are each members, we are appendages to the body of Christ. Jesus is the head. Everyone of us have a piece in this. We are a part of this.
Actually, I said that wrong. You don’t just have a piece of it. You’re a vital part of it. It doesn’t matter your education. [00:06:00] It doesn’t matter your upbringing. It doesn’t matter your past. It doesn’t matter your present. If you have been saved, if you know the Lord Jesus Christ is your savior, you have been attached and you cannot become detached. It doesn’t mean you live perfectly. It means we will all fail and we will all succeed. But as a member of the body of Christ, you matter. Those of you over here are attached to this group over here and attached to this group, and you’re attached. If you’re a follower of Jesus, you [00:06:30] belong to this one body.
Now let me read another passage. 1 Corinthians chapter 12. These are all Paul talking about the same thing. It’s so important that Paul brings this up in Romans and he brings it up in Corinthians and he brings it up in Ephesians. I’m gonna show you these passages. 1 Corinthians 12, and then u can find your way to verse 26. If one member suffers, well then everybody [00:07:00] else suffers together. One member suffers, we all suffer together. You may not feel that or know that, but the Bible is communicating to us that when any member of the body of Christ suffers, there’s suffering in the entire body. I’ll show you something much larger here in just a moment. If one member is honored, all of us rejoice together. You’re the body of Christ- there it is again- and maybe this will help you get the idea of this, [00:07:30] individually, you belong to each other.
Let me read you another passage. You might wanna look this up. Ephesians chapter 4. Just keep going to the right in your Bible. Ephesians chapter 4, this is another place where the apostle Paul talks about the magnitude of the reality, that we are never more corporately than who we are individually in our walk with with Jesus, but we are corporately, absolutely dependent upon the effective individual living of our lives. We’ll begin [00:08:00] at Ephesians 4. “So rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up”- and that just means we’re to mature, we’re to keep growing and pick up wherever you are and keep growing. Again, I’ll probably say this several different ways this morning. Every single one of us have tripped up, failed up, messed up, whatever it is. Not everybody’s lived a perfect life and nobody who thinks they’ve lived a perfect life has lived a perfect life. The body of Christ is not made up of perfect Christians. It’s made up of imperfect [00:08:30] people saved by a perfect savior who live together and pursue Jesus. We’re to keep growing, pick up where we are and keep going.
He says, we’re to grow up in every way, into him, that is, into Jesus, who is the head, into Christ. That’s the objective. If this helps you, to grow up to be like big brother. Some of you hated your big brother, so you’re gonna have to get past that example. Whatever it is that helps you understand he’s the pattern, he’s the model, he’s the example. Then it goes onto say, “From whom [00:09:00] the whole body”- the whole body receives everything it needs from Jesus. Then it says, “We are joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped.” There’s no part that’s insignificant. Every part matters. Every piece matters.
There’s another place in 1 Corinthians 12 where the apostle Paul talks about how the more important members, God doesn’t look upon as important, but the least important [00:09:30] members, he considers important. For those of you in this room that think you’re just a very, very small part of the body of Christ … Another really stupid example is find somebody who got up in the middle of the night to go do something and jammed their toe on some piece of furniture that somebody moved, and then they say, “Praise the Lord” right after they do that and they roll around on the floor. Then the next day, watch them put shoes on and spend the day trying to walk like it doesn’t hurt. It might’ve been the little pinky toe, but it affects your whole [00:10:00] entire life, doesn’t it? Just remember that stupid example whenever you think about how insignificant you are.
Then it goes on to say this. “Held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, and it makes the whole body grow so that it builds itself up.” Now in that phrase, “held together and working properly,” Paul uses two humongous Greek words. I won’t even attempt to say them in front of you. They’re the two [00:10:30] words where we get the following words, synergy and metric. This is what he says. When we understand who we are and we become to come together under the love of Jesus, then it creates a synergy where we’re working together towards the same thing. What we’re working together towards is to be a people who are consistently captured by the love of Jesus, who are shackled by the love of Jesus. The apostle Paul says, “It is the love of Christ [00:11:00] that compels us,” and we want to do everything we can to make sure people around us have met this Jesus who loves us and we love. It creates a synergy.
Then it goes on to say that we grow up and we reach the measure- it’s where we get our word metric- so we become the measure of who we’re supposed to be. Unfortunately, too many times we quit and we just give up the battle. But before I change gears- [00:11:30] remember, I told you there were two things. I was giving you some more scripture about where we came from and what drives us, then I’m gonna turn to some descriptions about our history. I wanna tell you this. This came up this morning. I’ve been spending the entire morning so far trying to help you see you belong to the bigger part, the bigger picture.
This morning in my quiet time- some of you don’t know what a quiet time is, but years ago in church, we used to teach that you oughta have a quiet time. If you’ve never heard that, it’s just getting up in the morning- some people are better evening people [00:12:00] than they are morning people- but sitting with the Lord and maybe a time of prayer and reading your Bible. Sometimes I’ll read a book that’s a Bible study for my time and the word. To be honest with you, it’s sometimes difficult for me to read the Bible and not be working on a message, if you kind of know what I mean by that, if you got any idea what that’s like. So sometimes I’ll read a sermon, a series of messages. This is a book I’ve shown the men’s Bible study before. It’s by a guy named Allen Redpath. He’s an old, dead Presbyterian. [00:12:30] Died a long time ago. The book’s called The Making of a Man of God: Studies in the Life of David. This was written in 1962.
By the way, the reason I have this book is because of a men’s small group that I was a part of. This is what we studied together in a men’s small group. I break this open this morning. I’m having my coffee and having my healthy oats and all that kind of stuff that you do when you’re older. I’m reading today’s chapter. Remember, I’ve told [00:13:00] you this a gazillion times. There’s never a what kind of moment? Can you remember it? Neutral moment. If you can’t remember that, remember that now. There’s never a neutral moment. All I’m doing is waking up, going, “I’m gonna read the book I’ve picked to study about Jesus.” Here’s the quote. Ready? I’m gonna read it to you. “The triumph of the church as a whole, depends upon the personal victory of every Christian.” Now that you’re listening, let me read that again. “The triumph of the church as a whole, [00:13:30] depends upon the personal victory of every Christian.” In other words, your victory, your life, your personal testimony are important to the cause of God today.
As much as I would like to think that I’m really a creative preacher, there’s nothing new under the sun. The dude wrote this in probably 1960 or ’61, telling you the same thing. Let me finish the paragraph. “What happens in New Guinea or the Amazonian jungle or in the African [00:14:00] Congo is not unrelated to what happens in your relationship with God and your personal battle against the forces of darkness. Victory for the church on the whole entire world front depends upon victory in your life and mine. There is no such thing as the home and foreign situations.” See, we stand in a great [00:14:30] history of the church of Jesus Christ, understanding the love of Jesus. Being compelled to understand that as the body of Christ, there is no insignificant member, neutral moment, or neutral life.
You have got to understand that your walk with Jesus, matters not only to you and to your family and to your circle and to your wider circle. But if I could be this [00:15:00] personal, your walk with Jesus matters not only to our church body in Odessa or people who meet in the north venue, but your life matters to the hundreds of people who will all of a sudden be coming to Midland again, or Odessa again. As each and every one of us begin to get this feeling- and all of us are in the oil and gas business, let’s just admit it- and even if you preach, that every single one of us are already beginning [00:15:30] to feel that maybe this whole place is heating up again and God is speaking to his church saying, “Are you ready again? Can I trust you to understand the bigger movement?”
Will you understand tomorrow when you’re walking as a follower of Jesus that Mike and Megan Elkins and the Harpers who are in Uganda, from this body, are dependent upon your walk with Jesus? Will up please understand that on [00:16:00] Tuesday, when you wake up and the way you walk with Jesus in the body of Christ is connected to how our brothers and sisters who are walking among Muslims in Iran and in Turkey and seeking to demonstrate the gospel of Jesus Christ are dependent on how we wait in line at Swenson’s? It matters. You are connected to the body of Christ. You cannot opt out of that. [00:16:30] That is the bigger part of what Stonegate Fellowship is about. It is not about getting a crowd on the corner at 6000 West Wadley. It is not about how unique it is to have church in a place that used to be a bar. It is not about how creative we can be. It is about being captivated by the love of Jesus, shackled by the love of Jesus, and willing to show that to others, understanding that you are connected to something bigger.
This [00:17:00] is gonna matter to someone in here. You’re gonna spend your entire life, and you’re never gonna meet anybody famous or be somebody famous. That’s just the way it is. You’ll even say that someday, “I never met anybody famous. It’s me.” The fact of the matter is, your private, non famous life matters to the spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ. That moves me now to this sort of, what [00:17:30] did all this do for us as a church? Where it brought to was, I think in the past. I think maybe back in the ’80s, back in the ’90s, when churches were growing and we were building these huge auditoriums all over the United States, that some of them are empty now, and we had the moral majority and the religious right and everything else, and we were mad at the world and mad at presidents and mad at the culture, that oftentimes we as a church forgot the bigger picture. The bigger picture was [00:18:00] not about how right you could be but about how right he was and how much he loved us.
What kind of church would we be understanding the bigger picture the scriptures give us? What kind of church would Stonegate be? As I turn the corner, let me show you the very first thing that mattered to us, before we had our very first service at Abel Junior High. It was very simple, this phrase. It’s gonna come up on the screen for you. That anyone, everyone, and all baggage were welcome in the church. Anyone and everyone and all the baggage were welcome [00:18:30] in the church. It didn’t matter what you did Saturday night, didn’t matter how you’d lived, it didn’t matter if you’d been drawn over, tattooed, or if you had a tackle box hanging from your face, it didn’t matter if you’d been a saint on Saturday night or a sinner on Saturday night. We just wanted you to come close to Jesus.
As a matter of fact, let me show you a passage of scripture. Open your Bibles to 1 Corinthians chapter 6. Before anybody thinks, “Man, it must’ve been easy back then. You [00:19:00] just created all the rules you wanted and all that kind of stuff.” It was funny because we were a bunch of church people trying to start a church. If we’ve ever had any struggles with what we’re supposed to be as a church, our greatest struggles have always come from church people. Always. It’s coming to the point whenever somebody wants to complain, I ask them, “How long have you been in church?” Because I just wanna know how bad this is gonna be.
One of the first struggles we had, and I’ve called them out in both services, and [00:19:30] we love each other and we care for each other, but Trent Day and Mark Lloyd were a part of our founding group, and they’re two of my all time favorite rednecks. We love each other. We’ve got some stories we could share about each other. I remember when we started at Abel Junior High, we didn’t say, “Let’s tell people they can wear shorts to church.” We just said, “Come as you are.” The next thing you know, they’re wearing shorts. That’s just the way it was. We just said, “You’re welcome. You just come on in.” See? It [00:20:00] was right. We just said, “Come on in. Just be a part of this.” I remember young guys used to come to church, and older guys, too, and they would come in with their hats on. Remember, this is still the late ’90s and this west Texas and there’s like 6 people that live here still back in ’99. Oil was like $10 a barrel. We were just trying to start this thing. We wanted anybody to feel welcome.
I remember those two guys, what really was getting under their skin [00:20:30] was these guys wearing their hats in church. It was a big deal. I know you’re like, “Really?” And some of you are like, “That’s right.” I went to Texas A&M, and you took your hat off. The Red Raiders are like, “What?” Anyways, we had this huge discussion, and I said, “Listen, man. I don’t care if they wear their hat. In fact, maybe what’s happening is that no one’s ever walked with them, no one’s ever taught them what it means to be a gentleman, no one’s ever taught them [00:21:00] what it means to be a follower of Jesus. Why don’t you get close to them, get to know them, and walk with them? Then one day, you can talk to them about their hat.” It ain’t that big a deal after all. Whatever the deal is. It’s just anybody and everybody.
In fact, I did a message one time where I brought all this luggage on stage. I said, “Just bring your luggage.” Here’s what that’s so important. Because for decades, the church has been made up of people who are suffering Monday through Saturday and pretending on Sunday. The fear [00:21:30] is, can I tell anybody what I’m struggling with? The reality is, most of us are struggling and we’re just kind of sweeping it under the rug and hoping nobody finds out. I’ve said this before, we let these big elephants of issues traipse around in our homes and in our families, and we never deal with it. We’re just a lot of people faking it, and we finally need to be a place where a lot of people can be real and stop faking it. That means, when you come in, you just bring everything you’ve got. That doesn’t [00:22:00] mean you’re gonna stay the way you are, but you recognize where you are so you can move forward to where you’re supposed to be.
I told you to turn to 1 Corinthians chapter 6, and this whole idea of anybody, everybody, however you are, let me show you something. Verse 9 of 1 Corinthians. “So don’t you know that the unrighteous”- and when you read the word unrighteous, if it helps you, you can say the unsaved- “Will not inherit the kingdom of God. Do not be deceived. Neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, [00:22:30] nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” We’ve gotten very good in our church world to read that verse and go, “That’s right. Amen. Ain’t none of them people getting in, and I ain’t one of them.”
I love verse 11, “And so are some of you.” [00:23:00] Paul just stops them before they get the amen out of their mouth, and he says, “By the way, so are you.” “Well, I wasn’t-” Yeah, you were. “I wasn’t-” Yeah, we were, because we were all sinners. We all were dead in our trespasses and sins. He reminds us, everyone of us, we were dead. Then he says this. “But you were washed and you were sanctified and you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the spirit [00:23:30] of our God.” Anybody, everybody, because the body of Christ is made up of all of us who have been changed by the love of Jesus. As my good friend tells me often, “Never forget where you came from.” Unfortunately, too many of us, as followers of Jesus Christ, forget what we’ve been saved from. Sometimes we lose the grace necessary for those who have never been saved.
[00:24:00] The other thing you saw on the screen was we said the methods would change but the message would not. We probably don’t do some of the crazy things we used to do, but I remember one Sunday when we were trying to do a series about getting people engaged and wanting them to volunteer. We had this whole Army thing, and we all went to the Army Surplus and bought all this gear and wore it on stage. We even had this old Army jeep. We drove up on the stage, and I think everybody was about asphyxiated once we got that thing in [00:24:30] and turned off. I was joking about it during the first hour and this young lady comes up to me who’s been with us for a long time. You’ll know her as Brandy Bell, although her last name has changed over the last few years. I was just sort of talking about that crazy week when we used that jeep, and she came up and she said, “That’s the week I got saved.” I said, “What happened?” She goes, “You told us to write on a piece of paper the year we enlisted [00:25:00] in the body of Christ. I sat there and I couldn’t remember the day. There wasn’t a day when I enlisted. I looked at the girl next to me and said, ‘I’m not in.’ That’s the week I got saved.”
Listen, we may not drive a jeep on stage, but we have a Christmas special and then don’t have services on Christmas Eve or Christmas day. That’s kind of crazy. We see what God does. We’ll try anything, short of sin, I guess. My [00:25:30] pastor before we moved here, we were talking one time before I left, and I said, “Just give me some advice. Tell me what to do.” He said, “Listen. Never do anything, just experiment with everything.” I was like, “I like that.” He said, “Just try it. And then you can always just say, ‘It was an experiment.'” We’ve tried crazy things, and we’ll keep trying things, and if you’re waiting for us to settle down, then you’re probably in the wrong place.
Let me give you the next part. We had this little corny [00:26:00] phrase we used years ago. Over the next couple weeks, I’m gonna give you some more of this history and things that drive us. Early on, we started using this phrase, that we called it, “R3 for U3” Some of you may never remember this or understand what it was. The Star Wars wasn’t big back then, so if you think this is some Star Wars thing, it wasn’t. In fact, one time we did a Mission Impossible theme. Was anybody around when we did the Mission Impossible theme? Anybody remember that? You guys remember that? With Gary Gray, and we were like, “Dun-dun-dun-dun.” Anyways, this [00:26:30] is third service, so it’s filter-less. Do you remember the commercials we used to do? Remember when Mike and Gary did the ESPN commercials? Do you guys remember that? That was funny. I know some of you are like, “You’re not funny anymore.” It was probably wrong.
Anyways, let me tell you about “R3 for U3” It hasn’t changed. It’s just the words have changed, and the way you talk about these things. The R3 meant that we were gonna reach up, reach in, and reach out. [00:27:00] We even had hand motions that went with that. We were gonna reach up, reach in, and reach out. [inaudible 00:27:06] worked over there, and some of you won’t forget it. It was in intentional order, too. Here’s what it means. It means we will get people to worship, we will be in groups together and do life together, and we will reach out to the lost together. Some of us grew up in churches where the most important priority was reaching out and doing evangelism. The problem with that is, if you’re not a worshiper before you evangelize, [00:27:30] oftentimes you’re guilting people into decisions, rather than discussing a love relationship that leads to a decision.
See, the greatest calling in our lives is to understand how much we’re loved and to love and return to worship the Lord. Real worshipers will talk about the object of their worship. You can be an evangelist and just be a good salesperson. But you can be a worshiper, and then you have to share life with others. You wanna tell other people about that life. Let me give you a way that you can [00:28:00] probably know how that’s true in your own life. I’ll use a small personal example. I’m the grandfather of two beautiful grandchildren. If you came up to me and we had a discussion, there’s about one thing I care about in my mind most of the time, and that’s those two kids. In fact, if I just get the hint of an idea that you would like to see a picture of them, I will show it to you. It’s my screensaver. [00:28:30] They’ve replaced Cindy. I bring her back in every once in awhile. I’m not on her screen anymore either. But listen, I adore them. I adore them. Same way with Cindy. It just doesn’t take much to talk about what you worship.
As a matter of fact, you didn’t know you were part of a little experiment. At the beginning of the service, when I said, “Let’s stand up and talk about football.” The room [00:29:00] just erupted in discussion. It just kind of got loud. I’m not saying that was a sign of what you worship, but listen. What captures our heart is what we discuss. It’s what we’re about. Our community doesn’t need another church that does everything right. Our communities need churches that are filled with people that are deeply in love with Jesus and worship him, and that it comes out when I’m at work, it comes out when I travel, and all these different things I [00:29:30] do, because I’m a part of something bigger than me.
I must hurry, but I wanna show you this last part. We focused on three groups, and we still wanna do that. We really did have an idea of who we wanted to reach when we started, and I think it’s still true today. We’re absolutely looking for people who don’t know Jesus, and we wanna show them Jesus because here’s what we believe. We absolutely believe if we can just get you in front of Jesus, it will change your life. He will change your life. We absolutely believe that. If we can just introduce you to Him [00:30:00] and you give Him a chance, He’ll change your life. That’s why on the student ministry, on Wednesday night, you’ll see banners around here that say, “We do what we do in student ministry because we believe Jesus Christ changes a student’s life.” Same thing in kid’s ministry. Just get them in front of Jesus.
We also wanted to reach the uninvolved. I did some research before I came to Midland Odessa, and that research is pretty much still true today. Here’s what I found out. Per capita, compared to similar cities or metropolitan areas, [00:30:30] among the adult population, Midland Odessa had the lowest adult church attendance. Everybody here sometimes is like, “What? That can’t be true. Everybody’s in church here.” No, they’re not. Not even close. But what we discovered in discussions with people was there are a lot of people who had a story of meeting Jesus as a child, but had another story of not walking [00:31:00] with Jesus as a teenager or adult. They didn’t know the story that Jesus loves you deeply. He hadn’t left you. You’re still a part of the body of Christ. We want you to get reengaged. That’s the story they didn’t know. They knew the story of guilt. They knew the story of confusion, but they didn’t know the story of inclusion, that He never changes and He never leaves you or forsakes you.
Then, there’s just a bunch of people who got saved, and maybe they got [00:31:30] saved at a crusade. They met Jesus one day at a youth event, and nobody ever told them what it was to walk with Jesus. All of that- and I’ll give you more of these next week- all of what you’ve heard, led us to one big, long phrase that we don’t use much anymore, but it really hasn’t changed. Let me read this big, long statement to you, and you sort of see kind of what the DNA has always been. I’m using the word winning. You had to have been here last week to hear me talk about what it means [00:32:00] to compete, so I like the word winning. If you don’t like the word winning, I don’t know.
Winning is when each and every person has the opportunity to truly find peace with God. Peace with God is not found in what you do. It’s found in what He’s done and what you receive of what He’s done. Remember that. It’ll never be found in what you do, because you can never do anything to make him love you less or [00:32:30] love you more, but if you can receive his free gift of salvation, Romans 5 says, “We have peace with God because he has justified us.” We want them to find peace with God, love for each other. That’s why it’s important you find a group. Enjoy in living this life through a life transforming relationship with Jesus Christ.
What I absolutely know is that Jesus saves us, and we need to be captured by his love and shackled to his love and sharing that with others. Here’s what else I absolutely know, [00:33:00] that there’s something much bigger going on than just Stonegate Fellowship Midland and Odessa, that your life and my life, when we walk out those doors, matters to the worldwide work of Jesus Christ. There is not exception. That’s not a motivational speech. It’s not a poster. It’s not made up. Your walk with Jesus matters the world over. This church will last for generations, if we always remember that.
Let’s pray together. Father, thank you for this morning. Thank you for your word. Thank you for letting us laugh together and maybe even cry [00:33:30] together and be under your word to learn from it. Would you help each and everyone of us to know that our lives are absolutely critical to the greater work of the Gospel. Give courage to those who need to pray with someone down at the front. Give courage to those who might need to go have a discussion about getting in a group. As we go through this week, would you use little reminders to help us to remember how significant our walk [00:34:00] with Jesus is to the body of Christ? In Jesus’ name, amen. Hope to see you next week, and go Packers.