Change Your World

Description

There is always more, and it’s time to go to a new place with Him in Jesus’ name. When we discover Jesus and find friendship with God, we make a difference and change our world. This is the Gospel. Jesus has restored our identity, reconciled our relationship with God, and redeemed our purpose in this world.

Alright, everybody. Welcome to Valley Creek Church. We are so glad that you’re here with us. Come on, whatever campus you’re at today, Denton, Flower Mound, Lewisville, the venue, watching online somewhere in the world, come on, let’s just welcome each other together for a moment. We are so glad you are here with us. Whether this is your first time here, maybe you haven’t been here in a while, maybe you’re here with us every single weekend, it really doesn’t matter. We’re glad that you’re here and you picked a great weekend to be here because across all of our campuses and all of our services, this weekend we get to celebrate 176 people getting baptized. Come on, somebody. 176 people that are saying, “Jesus is Lord and I will follow.” 176 changed lives. And if you ever wonder why we do all that we do, this is why.

This is why we give, this is why we serve, this is why we invite, this is why we’re faithful and committed and create atmospheres and environments like this because Jesus changes people’s lives. We believe hope is here because Jesus is here. And whatever campus you’re at and whatever service you’re in right now, you just got to experience Jesus changing people’s lives because of you, because you’re willing to serve and give and invite and follow and take next steps. People are meeting Jesus. And what I think is so amazing on this baptism weekend is not just 176 people. It’s 96 students that are getting baptized. Now, I don’t know if you’ve watched the news lately or listened to the world. The world doesn’t think all that highly about this generation right now. 96 students that are saying, “I’m not going to be like everybody else. I got a plan and a purpose for my life and his name is Jesus and I’m following hard after him.”

You see, God’s hand is on this generation. There’s a favor right now in our church for the next generation. I love Psalm 145, it says, “Each generation will praise you and tell the next generation about the great things you do.” That’s a great verse. We not only have the opportunity, we have the responsibility to do everything we can to help the next generation find and discover Jesus and that’s what’s happening in this place. See, we believe they’re generation hope, that they’re not generation fall out, failures, miserable, all the things that the world says. No, no, they’re generation hope before they – of all the generations that have ever existed, they have more opportunity to bring hope into this world than any generation before them.

And so, students, keep coming and hanging out in church and be a part of HUB. Parents, do whatever you got to do to be inconvenienced to make sure your student, for the few years, they’re in middle and high school, get to be a part of what God is doing in HUB. And for the rest of us that just say, “I want my life to make a difference,” get involved in the next generation ministry around here and watch how God is moving and how He’s changing their lives. I don’t know if you understand how big of a deal it is to have 96 teenagers on the same weekend say, “I want to get baptized,” because God is moving in their lives in this church at all campuses. So welcome to Valley Creek. It’s great to have you here. There’s a lot to celebrate today.

See, we’re in a message series called the Ascent and we’ve been, over the last few weeks, talking about going to a new place with God. And so, wherever you are and wherever you’ve been, whatever you think about God, whatever the relationship that may or may not even exist between you and God, what I want to tell you is there is more. This is not as good as it gets. The best of your life, the best of your relationship with God is yet to come and it’s time to go to a new place with Him in Jesus’ name. And so, over the last few weeks, we’ve been talking about what does it look like to go to a new place with God and we said the whole thing starts with discovering Jesus, that if you want to go to a new place with God, the foundation is just His grace, that this is not about what we have to do for Him. This is about what He has done for us. We have nothing to achieve, prove, or earn. We have everything to receive, discover, and explore. We don’t have to go up to God because He has already decided to come down to us through Jesus.

And as I begin to discover Jesus, I begin to desire Jesus and I start to move forward by faith and then I start finding friendship with God because all of a sudden, I start realizing the grace of Jesus has forgiven and transformed me. And now, I start to believe I’m wanted by God. I’m accepted by God. I’m loved by God and I can be as close to God as I want to be because Jesus has removed every barrier that has ever existed. And as I start finding friendship with God, all of a sudden, I start living a life where I’m making a difference. See, if God is my friend, I want to be a part of what He’s doing. And you know what He’s doing? He’s reaching the lost, He’s building His church, and He’s making disciples. And so, all of a sudden, because Jesus has made a difference in my life, I want to make a difference in the world around me. And so whether you realize this or not, over the last few weeks, we’ve been talking about the gospel. This is the gospel. The gospel is not for one hour a week on your church day. The gospel is not a prayer you pray so you can go to heaven. The gospel is not just about eternal life. No, no, the gospel is discovering Jesus, finding friendship with God, and starting to make a difference in the world around you.

The gospel is Jesus restoring our identity, reconciling our relationship with God, and redeeming the purpose for which we were created. The gospel is you discovering who you now are, who He is, and what you were created to do. And it is so much bigger than one hour a week. It is not just for salvation. It’s for all of life. I mean, first Corinthians 1:18 says, “For the message of the cross, the gospel, is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to those of us who are being saved, it’s the power of God.” The gospel is foolish to the world, but to those of us who have put our faith in Jesus, it’s how we go to a new place with God. Or how about Romans 1:16? It says, “I am not ashamed of the gospel because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.” The gospel saves us. And saving you doesn’t mean going to heaven one day. It means to heal you, to save you, to make you whole, to restore your identity, to reconcile your relationship with God and redeem the purpose for which you were created, and it is for everyone who wants to believe in Jesus’ name.

You see if you go to the next thing for me, as you look at this, this is the gospel. It’s bigger than this little thing, this compartment that we put it in and what you have to understand is we were down here in the valley of the shadow of death. We were lost, we were broken, we were lonely and then Jesus came. And as we start to discover Jesus and find friendship with God and make differences, we start moving to a new place with God, we start to become filled with hope. As the gospel starts taking root in our lives, all of a sudden, hope starts to begin to bubble within us. Not only do we have hope, we start realizing that we’re carrying hope, and all of a sudden, as the gospel starts to transform us, we start to believe we actually can change our world.

And notice that this has changed your world. Because we get lost when we say, “Go change the world.” We don’t feel like we can do that, but you can change your world. All of a sudden, you start to realize that hope is a byproduct of anyone who’s gone to a new place with God. That hope is the evidence of the gospel working in your life. And when the gospel starts working in your life, you’re filled with hope and you start looking around, you start thinking, “I can change my world.” Like, “I’ve discovered Jesus. I found friendship with God. I’ve been empowered to make a difference. So I’m not fighting for victory, I’m living from victory. So I’m not going to let my world influence me. I’m going to go out and influence my world. I’m not defined by this despair and this brokenness and this darkness. I’ve been empowered by God to do something about it in Jesus’ name.”

You see, if you want to go to a new place with God, eventually, you get to this place where you realize, “I’m in powered to be a hope carrier, to carry the hope of Jesus everywhere I go.” In fact, I love this next verse. It says, “Living within you is the Christ who floods you with the expectations of glory. This mystery of Christ embedded within us becomes a heavenly treasure chest of hope filled with the richness of the glory for his people and God wants everyone to know it.” That’s a killer verse. That says if you believe in Jesus, there is a treasure chest of hope inside of you. And that treasure chest of hope isn’t meant to be closed up, buried somewhere deep within — no, no. God wants everyone to know it. He wants you to open it up and show it to the world because he’s empowered you to change your world. This is why Romans 5:19, the next verse says, “For if by the trespass of one man, Adam, in the garden, death reign through that one man.

Because of Adam’s failures, we went to the valley of the shadow of death, but Jesus came. So how much more for those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace, discovered Jesus and the gift of righteousness find friendship with God, reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ? He says, “In Jesus, we discover Jesus, we get his grace, we find friendship with God, righteousness, and then we start to believe we’ve been empowered to make a difference and change our world. See? You’re either reigning in life or life is reigning over you. You’re either making a difference in changing your world or your world is literally crushing you and bringing you down. And in Jesus’ name, you’ve been empowered to reign in life, to change your world. But the question is, it’s like, “Okay well, where am I called to reign? What does it look like to change my world?”

Well, see if you can catch all these with me, if you go to the next thing for me. The Kingdom of God is a movement of hope. The Kingdom of God by nature, is a movement of hope. Its atmosphere, its culture, its very DNA is hope. It’s heaven. It’s the hope of heaven. And what you have to understand is that the Kingdom of God is forcefully advancing, it’s moving forward, it’s bringing hope to the areas of life. And where we get confused sometimes, is we think that the Kingdom of God and the church are the same thing but they’re not. The church is a part of the Kingdom of God but the Kingdom of God is so much bigger than the church. The church is the people of God and we’re part of his kingdom but the Kingdom of God is the rule and reign of God. It’s where things are submitted and surrendered to the lordship of Jesus. And I would just say to you that God wants his kingdom to be bigger than just his church, he wants it to be all areas of life.

He wants it to be in the family, and education, and healthcare, and business, and government, and media, and sports, and technology, the places and the areas you and I go every single day. In fact, if you just think about the first thing God ever said to humanity in Genesis 1:28, he says, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and subdue it.” He says, “Go take my hope, not just to the church but to all the areas of life.” Or how about when the Bible says that Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil. Then he sends us to do the same thing that he did. And I would just admit to you that the works of the devil don’t primarily need to be destroyed in the church, unless you had a bad church.

The works of the devil need to be destroyed in the areas of life. Or how about when Jesus commissions us and says, “Therefore, go make disciples of all nations.” We think of disciple in nations as missionaries going to a third-world country and feeding sick children some food, and we think that’s the whole point of disciple in the nation. Well, that’s true and that’s important, it’s bigger than that. See, the word nation is the word ethnos, it means people groups. And people grouped together not just by the country they live in, but by the areas of life in which they exist. And I would submit to you that the NFL has more influence on the world than the nation of Tonga.

Hollywood has more influence on the world than Azerbaijan. And so we have to start understanding when God’s calling us to disciple nations, what he’s saying is disciple people groups, “Take my hope into the areas of life that need my hope.” See, here’s what Jesus says. He says, “The kingdom of heaven is within you. The Kingdom of God, is within you.” And within the Kingdom of God are all the answers to all the world’s problems. The answers to poverty, and sickness, and disease, and cancer, and immigration, and crises, and all of the things that you can think of, divorce and family issues, and education, all of the answers to all the world’s problems are contained in the kingdom of heaven.

And if the Kingdom of heaven resides in you, then every time you walk into one of these areas of life, hope just walked in the door. Because the answer is not somewhere way off in the cosmos, no, the answers, the divine solutions are within us. So when we walk in, hope walks in. This is why Jesus prays and he says, “This is how you should pray, ‘Our Father in heaven, your Kingdom come, your will be done on earth.’” Not the church. All of the earth. All of the areas of life. And guess what? You’re the answer to that prayer. He’s already empowered you with the treasure chest of hope, with the kingdom within you. You’re the one that he has called to go and bring the kingdom of heaven to the places you go every single day. See, here’s what Jesus tells us. He tells us we’re 3 things. He tells us we’re salt, light, and leaven. I want you to think about this. The church, the people of God, we’re salt, light and leaven. Salt, salt is not meant to be on one place on your plate. It’s meant to be sprinkled all over your plate to bring taste to everything.

We, as the people of God aren’t supposed to just be here. We’re supposed to bring taste to a flavorless world. Or how about light? Light isn’t meant to shine on one spot, no, it’s meant to be spread out so every area can be removed of darkness. Or how about leaven? Leaven, yeast, you put a little bit in a lump of dough and it makes the whole thing rise. Well, we’re not supposed to be here altogether, all the time in this thing because we would rise and explode, and kill each other. That’s what happens to churches. Then the works of the devil come, those need to be destroyed in the church, you get how it goes. You see, the leaven is supposed to be sprinkled out here so we make all things rise. We, the people of God are not supposed to be influenced by the world. We’re the ones called to influence the world. We’re the ones called to bring the hope to all the areas, okay?

So just think about who’s in our church, moms, and dads, and sons, and daughters, and brothers, and sisters, and nieces, and nephews, principals, and teachers, and students, and administrators, and coaches. We’ve got doctors, and nurses, and people in administration, and receptionists, and dentists. We’ve got CEOs, and vice-presidents, and salespeople, people that work in factories, people that work at restaurants, people who work in the finance industry. We’ve got town council people and mayors and civil servants and firemen and police — fire people. I don’t know if it’s firemen or women, I don’t know. Fire people, police people, amazing people. Just don’t want to lose you over that one. We’ve got people that are in — that are — I lost myself on that one.

We’ve got people that are artists and musicians and professional, social media experts, newscasters, storytellers. We’ve got coaches and professional athletes and student athletes and trainers. We’ve got really smart people that do things I don’t understand. That’s who we have in our church. Why would we want them all here all the time? See the problem is, is we think this is sacred and this is secular. It’s all sacred. Because if the Kingdom of God is in you then everywhere you go, that’s sacred space. The answers to the world’s problems just showed up because a hope carrier with your name just walked in the door. So think about you, where do you go every day? Because you’re probably involved in more than one of these areas of life.

And you have to start seeing the significance of who God has made you to be. You have to understand that he has entrusted you with his kingdom and you are his answers to the world’s cries and the world’s problems. You’re not just a part of a family. You might be in a family where there’s a lot of drama and brokenness and pain. Well, guess what? When you show up and you’re the peacemaker, everything changes. You’re not just a teacher sitting there in a break room with a bunch of other teachers complaining about this generation. No, you’re the one that reminds them of the potential and the opportunities that God is doing in their lives. You’re not just a student going to school every day. No, when you walk in and you see the kid that nobody else wants to sit with, then you invite them to the lunch table, hope just showed up in that kid’s life.

You’re not just a doctor or a nurse or a receptionist. Before you walk into that room or have that engagement with that patient, you can pray and say, “God, show me how to heal their body, soul and spirit.” You’re not just a business person. Do things with character, integrity and generosity and you’d be amazed at how the Kingdom starts showing up in that space. Come on, you’re not just in the government to get people to serve you, you’re there to serve them. Or how about the media? Man, start making music and art and things that reveal the glory and the beauty of God instead of celebrating the brokenness and the darkness of this world. Or how about being a part of a team that builds people up instead of tearing people down? See, this is where you go every single day and it matters and it’s sacred. And no, you can’t change the world, but you can change your world.

See, here’s my question for you, did you ever just wonder why? Why has God given you the areas of influence that he’s given you? Have you ever just like stopped and thought like, “Why has God given me the family I have or the role that I have or the area of life that I’m in or the influence or the expertise or the skill or the opportunity?” Have you ever just stopped and thought why? It’s not by happenstance, it’s because God has decided that you would be the one to bring hope to those people.

And so when was the last time you just dreamed about what the Kingdom of God would look like and the areas you go every single day? See, God’s looking for us to dream with him, to dream with him about what the Kingdom would look like in these areas of life. And if you want to go to a new place with God, start believing that you can change your world and you’ll start dreaming with him. See, what you have to understand what I’m trying to tell you is hope leads. Hope leads. It doesn’t matter what your title is, what your role is, what your expertise is, what your experience is. If you’re the person in the room with hope, you are the de facto leader of that room.

You say why? Because hope is the confident expectation of the goodness of God. And so whoever is in the room that has an expectation of the goodness of God is the leader that everyone else is looking for because the world is desperate for hope. You see you have to understand this is what Jesus did. Jesus didn’t make a bunch of church pastors, no, he went out and he got regular people like you and me, family man and they were fishermen and business and Matthew was a tax collector and I submit to you that Judas worked in IT. Fails you when you need it the most. I’m just saying, I’ve used that joke before but it’s a good one.

Right? Come on, he picked regular people just like us. And what he was doing is he was showing us, he was saying, “Hey, I believe in you. I’m entrusting you with my Kingdom. So get out of the valley of the shadow of death and come up to a new place with me.” Come on, you don’t have to spend your life with the confusing 20s and the — or the wandering 20s, the confusing teenage years, the wandering 20s, the kind of disillusioning 30s and 40s, the midlife crisis, 50s and 60s, and the purposeless 70s and 80s. No, this is like, “Come on. I got a purpose in Jesus.” All of creation is waiting for you and me to rise up and lead with hope because the world needs it. That’s why Romans 15:13 says, “Now may the God, the inspiration and fountain of hope, fill you to overflowing with his superabundance until you radiate with hope.” It says, “May the God of Hope fill you with hope until you radiate hope.” You’re radioactive. You literally walk into those areas of life and everything starts to change.

Because that’s what hope does and that’s what Jesus has entrusted you with. And that’s what he’s entrusted us with. We need to rise up to that responsibility. Come on, this is why we say, “We’re one church that meets in multiple campuses, that carries the hope of Jesus into thousands of locations.” One church — we’re one church and multiple campuses. A campus is simply a building. It’s a harbor where we come in, and we meet with Jesus, and we get filled up, and we get refreshed, and then we go out to thousands of locations. See, the reason we exist in the thousands of locations is because everywhere you are, that’s where we are. Valley Creek is not a building, it’s a people, and everywhere you go, the hope of Jesus walks into that space. This is what it means when we say, “We’re a movement of hope for the city and beyond.” A movement. We’re all moving together but we’re bringing hope to the different places that God has entrusted us with all over this region, for the city. Not just for us but for them.

And what I need you to understand, go the next thing for me, is the reason a lot of us never really believe we can change our world is because we’re so busy focusing on the brokenness of the world. We spend so much time complaining about the world that we forget we’ve been empowered to change our world. And so let me, like, just help some of you understand this, if you’ve ever wondered why we as a church don’t talk about all the broken things that are happening in the world all the time is because if that’s what we talked about, that’s all we would talk about on every single weekend. We can’t follow the news cycle because the world is broken. There’s all kinds of awful things that happen all the time, they’re real. And we need to pray for that and we need to move towards it, but what we need is not our faith to grow and how broken the world is, we need our faith to grow in what Jesus has already done for us. Faith, listen.

Faith comes by hearing. So whatever I’m hearing, my faith in that thing grows. There is not one of us in this room that needs our faith to grow in the brokenness of this world. Every one of us in this room needs our faith to grow in the finished work of Jesus. So we will spend all of our time talking about who Jesus is, and what he has done, and what that now means for us because when we start to believe that, we start changing our world, and we become God’s answers to the world’s brokenness. Are you with me on that? We got stop complaining about the world and start changing my world, because I’m a hope carrier and I’m a part of a movement of hope, and I’m a part of something bigger than myself, and I want to go to a new place with God because I’m tired of living in the valley of the shadow of death, and Jesus came so I could discover him and find friendship with God, and make a difference, and start changing my world, and that’s who I want to be and that’s how I want to live.

And so in this series, at the end of every message, I’ve just given you three really simple thoughts on what you can do and how you can start taking ground in this area. And so the first thing, these are really quick, the first thing for you is simply this, take a shirt. When you leave in a minute, you’re going to get one of these shirts. Now, let’s talk about this for a second. You’re going to get one shirt and only you can get one for you. You can’t get one for your grandma, for your husband who should have been here today, for the kid who went to college, for your friend who just couldn’t make it, no, no, they can get one later, you can get one for you today. And the reason we don’t want to you to get it for other people is because we want them connected back to the harbor. Everyone is welcome to have one. We will have some over the next few weeks. Do not put our amazing serve team members in an awkward place and trying to be like, “No, I need like five.”

No, you need one. Don’t take a shirt of hope in a deceitful way. It’s not going to work out. Okay. So are we clear on that? And if you think that doesn’t apply to you, you’re the only reason I had to say that. Okay, you’re going to take a shirt, and what you’re going to do is the reason you’re going to go take a shirt is because it’s actually a step of faith. Because when you walk up to that table and you pick one up for you, you’re saying that, “I’m a part. I belong. That Valley Creek is not a building, or an institution, or an organization, it’s a people and I’m a part of that. And I may not be where I want to be yet but you know what, I’m not where I was and by the very fact that I’m taking it shows that I’m moving forward.” And if you’ve ever felt like you didn’t belong or you weren’t wanted, or you weren’t a part of something bigger than yourself, today is the day it changes because when you grab that shirt, all of a sudden, you realize, “I am Valley Creek.

I am a Jesus-focused, spirit-filled, life-giving person, that Jesus is the narrow gate that leads me to a wide life and contained within my spirit is a treasure chest of hope, and I’m a hope carrier. And I might not be where I want to be, but I’m going to new places with God.” So by faith, you’re going to take one, if you want. The beauty is, this is the step every one can take. The second thing is you’re going to represent Jesus and Valley Creek. Represent literally means to represent, represent Jesus and Valley Creek to the world. That’s what this is all about. It’s about saying, like, “Hey, I want the way I live, the way I talk, the way I move, to show the world who Jesus is, and who my family on mission is all about.” I mean, this is why Jesus in John 14, he says, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” He says, “If you want to know what the Father is like, just look at me.”

“You want to know how He talks, and acts and engages, it’s how I do it.” And when you go out, the world should be able to look at you and you should be able to say, “If you want to know what Jesus is like, and you want to know what Valley Creek is like, look at me. This is how we talk and engage and function.” So what I’m trying to tell you is when you’re wearing the shirt, don’t do dumb things. Don’t yell at people, don’t flip somebody off on the road, you know, like all that stuff. And in all seriousness, here’s the deal, some of you are going to be like, “Then I can never wear it.” Okay, here’s what I want you to understand. You may not feel like you’re fully ready to represent Jesus and Valley Creek, but here’s what I want you to do, take a step of faith, and when you mess up, own it, because that’s the greatest way to represent Jesus and Valley Creek. Listen, just this last week, my wife got in a car accident. And she called me and I went running down there and it’s raining. And there’s the fire — the fire trucks and the ambulance, everybody is there.

And we get it all squared away. And there’s the fireman, and he’s there and he’s so kind, he’s taking care of Colleen. And all of a sudden I showed up and he looks at me. He goes, “Hey.” It was a hope carrier, taking care of my wife without even realizing it. And then it’s pouring — hang on. It’s pouring rain, and it’s like we’re soaked and were trying to deal with all that stuff. And another Valley Creek family pulls up, and it’s a hope carrier. And they opened up the door and they say, “Hey, you want to sit in our car while it’s raining, while it’s all out?” Like, “No, thank you so much. You’re so kind.” Two hope carriers, like bringing hope into my family in account of a crazy situation. I go home. I get on the phone with the insurance company, and I didn’t have very much hope and I wasn’t really good carrier in that moment.

Okay, to the point that I had to call them back later and apologize for being so frustrated. So what I’m telling you is, we don’t all get it right all the time. But when you get it wrong, own it because it shows people even more the heart of God. Because what it says is the grace of God is changing me so I don’t have to be prideful that I can’t admit that I was wrong. I was wrong and I’m sorry. And that’s not who I am and that’s not who I want to be. Jesus has given me grace so I’m asking for your forgiveness, for the way I behave, acted, whatever, that’s representing. Does that make sense? Represent.

And then the last is this. Just be a hope carrier, man. Be a hope carrier. If hope is the confident expectation of the goodness of God, then anytime you walk into a scenario and you expect the goodness of God, you’re carrying hope. So the question is simply this, do you expect the goodness of God or the brokenness of this world? In your daily life, when you go to work, in school, and all those different areas that you go, do you expect the goodness of God or the brokenness of this world? See, all you got to do is carry the opposite spirit. Where there’s hate, bring love. When there’s chaos, bring peace. When there’s brokenness, bring wholeness. When there’s despair, bring out.

Just be the one person in the room that has an expectation that God is good and he wants to do something in that moment. That’s being a hope carrier. And here’s what’s going to happen. You’re going to start seeing these things all over town. And when you see them, you’re going to be like, “Boom, hope carrier.” And then you’re going to be reminded, “Boom, hope carrier.” And what’s going to start happening is people are going to say, “What is that shirt that I’m seeing all over town?” And you’re going to say, “Boom, we’re hope carriers.” No, that’s not what you’re going to say. You’re going to say — you’re going to say — I don’t know why I did that. You’re going to say — you’re going to say, “This is my church and it’s full of hope because of Jesus and we would love for you to come.”

And you’re going to serve and you’re going to do things with excellence and kindness. And all of a sudden, see, these shirts are so silly. “It’s just a shirt, man.” But what it does is it shows you in the spiritual realm how we are all over this region. And if we would all live with the mindset of being a hope carrier, we will be amazed at how much it changes. You see, I get for some of us, it’s really hard to carry hope until you have hope. This is why in 1 Timothy 1, it says that Jesus himself is our living hope. Jesus is our hope, so if you don’t have hope, go back to Jesus, because to follow Jesus is to follow hope. If he is hope, then every next step I take towards him, I’m taking a step towards hope. If he’s living hope, then following him, is how I live a life of hope. And the problem for a lot of us is, we think hope is found in the mountains of this world. It’s what we’ve talked about, go to that thing for me. We think hope is found out here, so we go and spend all of our time trying to find hope in these places.

But what this is telling us, what Jesus is telling us, is these places are void of hope, that’s why he’s sending you there. The only place you will ever find hope, is in the person of Jesus. And when you find that he sends you out, then everything begins to change. Are you with me on that? Okay, really quickly, to close this, go to the circles for me. If you’ve been a part of this church, you are familiar with this. This series, in a lot of ways, is just the circles. Receive his grace, experience his presences, release his kingdom. The gospel is a restored identity, a reconciled relationship, and a redeemed purpose. All we’ve done in the Ascent is made it – brought vocabulary in that makes it even more friendly for people. Go to the next. Discover Jesus, find friendly, make a difference, and change your world, there’s a life of freedom. Jesus is the grace, that changes my identity.

I can have friendship with God, and experience his presence, and then I actually believe I have a purpose, and I can make a difference. And where the three of these crossover, is God’s heart for my life, that I would walk in victory, and authority, all the days of my life, in Jesus’ name. That’s the gospel. That’s the gospel. See, Jesus came for you. Jesus came all the way down here in to the valley of the shadow of death, and he came so that you could discover him. And as you discover him, you find friendship with God, he came to make a difference in your life, and he changed your world. And when you start to understand that, you start helping other people discover Jesus, helping other people find friendship with God. You start making a difference in their life, and you start changing their world. And if you don’t believe that you can change your world, if you don’t believe that the hope of God is inside of you, it’s probably because you don’t feel like you’re making a difference.

And if you’re not making a difference, it’s probably because you don’t really feel like you’ve got friendship with God, like you got a relationship with him. And if you don’t feel like you’ve got friendship with God, it’s because you have yet to discover the grace of Jesus. Always track it back when you get discovered, or when you get stuck, because it’s always going to bring you back to discovering Jesus, and everything launches you forward from that point. Come on, it’s time to ascend, it’s time to go to a new place with God. We are a movement of hope for the city and beyond because of this stuff, and you are a hope carrier, in Jesus’ name. And so may you go with that passion, that belief and that understanding, that within you, is the Kingdom of Heaven, the hope of Jesus. Let’s take it to the areas of life. So close your eyes with me, whatever campus you’re at, come on, this is a great day.

In Jesus’ name, thank you God, for what you’re doing. And if you’re here today and you have never put your faith in Jesus, today is the day. Maybe you’re here and you’re hearing all these stuff, you’re like, I got no hope, bro. Today is the day to say, “Jesus, would you help me discover you? I open up my heart and my life and I receive your forgiveness, your restoration, your grace. Thank you for transforming me and giving me a new identity and now, drawing me into this place where I can have a relationship with you.” And for the rest of us, we’re on this journey, of going to a new place with God, and so may you have the courage, and the confidence, and the faith to just take a next step. You can change your world, because of what Jesus has done. So right now, Lord, I pray over every person that’s going to take a shirt, we commission them, in the name of Jesus as hope carriers.

Across all of our services and all of our campuses, in Jesus’ name, we are a movement of hope for the city and beyond. I pray that you would stir something up deep inside of us, that we would know where a part of something bigger than ourselves, that we would start seeing our daily lives, and our daily assignments as an appointment from you, to go in and bring the hope of Jesus into that broken situation. I pray for supernatural breakthroughs, for divine solutions, for profound wisdom to come forth. And I pray that as silly as a t-shirt may be, it would help us have the faith and the courage to go to a new place in you. Thank you that we are Valley Creek, a church, a family on mission. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

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