As we discover Jesus and the difference He has made in our lives, we begin to want to make a difference in the lives of other people. God is reaching the lost, building the Church, and making disciples. He does not need us, but He wants us to come be part of His work.
Alright, everybody. Welcome to Valley Creek. We are so glad that you are here with us today. Come on, whatever campus you’re at, let’s give it up for each other right now. Come on, let’s encourage each other a little bit. We are so glad that you are here. One church, multiple campuses, and that is amazing because we really believe we are better together. And whatever is going on in your life today, we’re glad you’re here. See, we believe hope is here because Jesus is here and that he has something great for you at whatever campus you’re at today.
And we are in a series called The Ascent. We’re talking about going to new places with God and we’re going on this journey for a couple of weeks and we kicked it off last week and we just kind of said that no matter where you are, or whatever is going on in your life, no matter how young or how old you are, no matter if you’ve walked with God for years or you’re still not really sure about this Jesus thing, there is more. This is not as good as it gets. The best is yet to come and it’s time to go a new place with God. See, you were created for the ascending life. You were made to go from glory to glory and victory to victory. You were made to go to new places and new heights. But like any climb, like any adventure, you don’t just leap to the top. It’s a series of small next steps that eventually get you from where you are to where you want to be.
And I realize that some of you walked in here today and you’re like, “I don’t really know that I want to go to a new place with God. That’s not even really why I’m here. I’d like to go to a new place with all kinds of other things.” What we said last week, that if you go to a new place with God, you’ll go to a new place in every other area of your life. If you ascend with God, you’ll ascend in business and in school and in your family and in your relationships. And so, our theme verse in the series is Psalm 25 that just says, “Show me your ways, O Lord, and teach me your paths.” That we don’t want our ways or our paths. We want God’s ways and God’s paths because if we’re honest, sometimes, we get lost, we get confused, we get stuck so we need His help and it’s time to go to a new place with God in Jesus’ name.
It’s time for you to take some ground in your life, get past where you are, and get going on that ascent to all the things that God has in store for you. You see, we said it last week that in a sense, all throughout the Bible, mountains are a prophetic picture of going to a new place with God, that when He invites someone on a mountain, He invites someone to climb something, He’s saying, “I want you to come to a new place with me.” And it’s not that the journey is hard, it’s that it just requires faith, commitment, and intentionality.
Ascending is not really all that hard, but it requires three things you and I don’t like; faith, commitment, and intentionality. And everybody said — Because we like to do things by sight. We give up very easily and we are more reactive than we are intentional. So it’s not that it’s hard. It just pulls on things in us that we don’t naturally like to do. But the only thing worst than not climbing is climbing the wrong mountain and getting to the top of something that doesn’t really matter anyways.
And so, we started last week and we talked about how the beginning of the ascending journey is simply discovering Jesus. That if you want to go to a new place with God, it’s all about discovering Jesus, that the foundation of the ascending life is paved with grace, that this is not about what you have to do. It’s about what Jesus has done, that there is nothing to achieve, prove, or earn. You have everything to receive, discover, and explore. You don’t have to go up to God because God has come down to get you in Jesus’ name. And when you start to discover Jesus, his grace begins to draw you and change you, to go further and farther than you have before.
And we said last week that the more you discover Jesus, the more you desire Jesus. And the more you desire Jesus, the more you have the faith, commitment, and intentionality to keep ascending on the journey, that the question is not, “Have you discovered Jesus somewhere way back there?” And the question is, “Are you discovering Jesus today? A fresh experience of his grace.” And that is so important because that’s where it all starts.
As you begin — excuse me. As you begin to discover the grace of Jesus, it draws you to the next thing which is simply finding friendship. As we begin to discover the grace of Jesus, we then move to the next step of the ascending journey where we start finding friendship with God and God’s people. Like do you remember being back in school? All our students, this is like relevant to you right now. But for adults, like do you remember being back at school?
You remember how everything was about finding your friends? That you didn’t really care what your classes where or what the — who the teacher was, what sport you play, what’s the schedule. None of that really mattered. What mattered was did you find you some friends? And in the seasons when you found good friends, you move forward in life. In the seasons when you had the wrong friends, you went to the wrong places in life.
And in the seasons when you had no friends, you found yourself stuck in life. The same is true not just when we were in school or are in school for our students, the same is true on our journey with God. When you have the right friends, you ascend to new places with God. When you have the wrong friends, you spend your life climbing the wrong mountains. And when you have no friends, you find yourself stuck on the journey.
This is why Proverbs 13:20 says, “He who walks with the wise becomes wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.” In other words, whoever you hang out with, whoever you walk with, you will end up becoming who they are and going where they’re going. We got to find friendship with the right people. In fact, if you think of mountain climbers for a second in our year of pioneering and ascending and taking new ground, I’ve been fascinated with mountain climbers this year. And if you think of mountain climbers, they’re really serious about who they climb with. Like no one climbs mountains alone. It’s difficult. It’s dangerous. It’s discouraging. No one climbs alone. They all climb together. But serious mountain climbers are very particular about who they will clip on the line with because they realize, once I clip on the line with you, I’m putting my life into your hands, that I trust you, that I’m going where you’re going and you’re going where I’m going, so I got to know that we’re trying to get to the same peak together. They won’t clip in with anybody. They make sure their clipping in with the right person.
So the question I want to ask you as we begin today’s message is just simply this, are you climbing with the right people? Come on. Are you climbing with the right people? Are you climbing with somebody that’s helping you go further in your journey with Jesus? Or are you climbing with people that are making you climb up the wrong mountains? Or are you climbing with no one and maybe that’s why you feel stuck? Maybe a better question to ask you is, are you finding friendship with God and his people, or are you finding friendship with the world and its people? Maybe it’s time to find some friendship with God and friendship with His people. You see in Mark chapter 3, I love this, Jesus — Mark chapter 3, not James chapter 4, says that, “Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted and they came to him. He appointed the 12, designating them apostles that they might be with Him.”
I want you to catch this, Jesus goes on the mountain and he calls disciples to Him. He’s calling them to the ascending life, to a new place with God. And they came to Him that they might be with Him. From the very moment Jesus called them to follow Him, he called them to be with Him. It doesn’t say that he called them so they could go do things for Him. No, no, He called them to be with Him. He invited them into relationship. He invited them into friendship. He gave them the greatest gift of all. He gave them the gift of himself. The disciples were invited into friendship with Jesus, and think about it, they walked together, and they talked together, and they laughed together, and they cried together and they ate together. He never gave up on them, He never left them, He never abandoned them, He invited them to be with Him, to be His friend.
And what Jesus reminds us is the all throughout human history, God has longed to be our friends. In the beginning of creation, God makes Adam and He says He walks with Him in the cool of the day, wanted to be his friend. And God was friends with Abraham and he was friends with Moses, and spoke to him face-to-face the way a man speaks to his friend. And then he invited the Israelites into this place of intimacy and friendship. He was friends with David. He was friends with the disciples and He wants to be friends with you.
You see what Jesus reminds us is that this whole life with God is not about doing things for Him, it’s about doing things with Him. In fact, I want you to write this down if you’re taking notes, “Life is not about doing things for God. It’s about doing things with God.” This is not about what you have to do for God. He’s already done everything for you. He now wants to do everything with you. In fact this is why John 15, “And Jesus says, ‘I no longer call you servants because a servant does not know his master’s business, instead I have called you friends.
For everything I’ve learned from my Father I have made known to you.’” Okay can you just pause for a second and just pretend like you’re not in church with a busy life and lots of stuff going on like you’ve heard this before? Can you just stop for a moment and catch the gravity of this? Jesus says, “I no longer call you servants, I call you friend.” Like are you kidding me? The God of the universe, the God of all power and authority, the creator, the sustainer, the redeemer of all things, the God of grace and mercy, the God who raises the dead and heals the sick, and calms the storm, calls you by name and says, ‘You are my friend.’ When was the last time you stop to reflect on that? He says you’re not a servant.
Think about it, a servant they do things out of fear, out of duty, out of obligation. They don’t know the master’s heart. They only know the master’s hand and they do the least common denominator. They just, “What’s the bar? What do I got to do? That’s all I need to do.” And they’re always in this posture of fear and distance. But a friend? A friend knows the master’s heart. They do things out of love, they move in close, they go above and beyond. They want to do everything they can because they’re friends. And some of you are probably sitting here today and you’re like, “Yeah, I don’t know. Friends with God — like not me. Like you don’t know my life or how is that even possible?” Because of Jesus.
Like catch these verses. Roll the next one for me. “For Christ died for sins once and for all, the righteous for the unrighteous to bring you to God.” Jesus died to bring you into friendship with God. Go to the next one. “For I will forgive their wickedness and remember their sins no more.” On the cross, Jesus paid for all of your sins and the ones you can’t seem to forget are the ones God says he can’t seem to remember. So there’s nothing between you and him anymore.
Roll the next one. “All this from God who reconciled us to Himself through Christ.” We have been fully reconciled. There’s no more barrier, no more debt to pay, no more distance between us because of what Jesus has done.
One more. “So while we were still enemies, God fully reconciled us to Himself through the death of his son then something greater than friendship is ours.” In other words while we still hated God and we’re his enemy, he said, “I want to be your friend.” And friendship is not the summit, it’s the beginning of the journey in Jesus’ name. Come on, if the Bible says that Jesus is the friend of sinners, how much more is he a friend of beloved sons and daughters? Come on, Venue Campus, you with me today? Come on. Come on. Denton Campus, are you with me today? Come on Lewisville, are you with me today?
Come on, we’re a little slow in Flower Mound today. Come on. If he’s the friend of sinners, how much more does he want to be a friend of beloved sons and daughters? Come on, you are as close to God as you want to be, is what I’m trying to tell you. The only barrier that exists between you and God is that what you allow, because in Jesus’ name, it’s all been removed. You see, if you think about this, you can be as close to God as anyone who has ever lived. Read the Bible, find any relationship that you think, “Man, I wish I knew God like that” and Jesus says, “Well, guess what? That’s what I offer you.”
And most of the people you think, “I wish I had their relationship.” Well, people in the Old Testament, they didn’t even have the Holy Spirit yet. You now do. You can go as — ascend as high as you want because he has paved the path for you. This is why Hebrews 4 says, “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence,” that’s friendship. “Let us boldly go and build a relationship with God because Jesus has cleared the way.” And so, if you think of the ascending journey, “Go to the mountain for me,” as you begin to discover Jesus, you’re drawn in the friendship with God. It’s grace that gives me the faith to move past where I am, to boldly approach God, and not just have relationship, have friendship with him.
Come on, the great privilege of your life is being friends with the God of the universe. And that’s not something to take lightly. That’s something to steward, to honor, to value. I mean, just think of the concept of a friend for a second. If you just think of the friends that you’ve had in your life, like I’ve been thinking about this, this week and I would define friendship has these three things. If you think of any good friend you’ve ever had, it’s really — it sums up in these three things; they spend time together, they talk together, and they serve each other. Do you agree with that?
Like, if you just think of friendship like, like — you spend time together. Like you spend time hanging out, you enjoy the same things, you want to do the same stuff, you like being together and connecting, you talk, you spend time asking questions and listening and not just talking about the cowboys and the weather, you talk about your heart, and your life, and your story, and the deep things inside of you, and the pain of your past, and the dreams of your future. You connect at this deep level and then you serve each other. Your friends, you’re like, I love doing things for you and you love doing things for me, like this doesn’t cost us anything because we’re friends. We love to do this. So basically, if you think of that as friendship, here would be my question, based on that definition, do you feel like you’re living in friendship with God?
Are you spending time with him? Because he’s spending time with you. He never leaves you nor forsakes you. You can’t get rid of him even if you want. Do you talk to him, and share your heart, and pray, and ask him questions? Because guess what, he is always talking to you because a good shepherd is always speaking to his sheep. And do you serve him? Because he never stops serving you. Maybe it’s time to go to a new place on our friendship with God. You see, John 15 — I love this, what Jesus says, he says, “You are my friends if you do what I command.” Now, just think about that for a second. And you can change the inflection however you want, it’s going to make it a different read for you like, like, you’re my friends if you do what I command. That’s probably how most friendships in your life have worked out.
You’re my friend if you do what I want you to do. The moment you stop doing what I want you to do, we’re no longer friends. That’s not really what Jesus is saying here. You see, what Jesus is saying here, is he’s saying, “When you start to figure out that I am your friend, it will be easy for you to obey my commands.” He’s not saying you have to get it all right to be my friend, no, no, there would be no grace in that, that’s why the beginning of the ascend journey starts with grace. He has paved the way for us. What he’s saying now is when you figure out that I am your friend it will be really easy for you to obey what I command you to do. In other words he’s saying, “This is about doing things with me not for me.” See, I think in the church for years, we have over emphasized obedience and underemphasized friendship.
Oh, come on, people, are you with me today? Denton, Lewisville, Venue, I’m going to start talking to you again because Flower Mountain we’re a little slow today. Come on, for years in church, we have overemphasized obedience and underemphasized friendship. In other words, we’ve made it all about all the things we have to do for God instead of that life is all about living with God. And for those of you that are panicking when I say we’ve overemphasized obedience, calm yourself down and think about it like this, when you’re friends with someone, it is very easy to do what they value. Obedience flows from relationship.
The more the connectivity in a relational dynamic, the easier it is to serve, honor, obey, do what is valued by the other person. The problem is, is we never move out of servanthood to friendship that’s why we struggle with obedience. Like, if you’re here today and you’re struggling doing what you feel like God is asking you to do, it’s probably because you haven’t ascended to this posture of finding friendship with him.
Because come on, think about any friend in your life, it’s easy to do what they value. I mean, just think about the Israelites for a second. Go in next verse for me. “God shows up to me with the Israelites to invite them up the mountain to be his friends.” And it says, “When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance and said to Moses, ‘Speak to us yourself and we will listen but do not have God speak to us or we will die.'”
God comes to invite them into friendship. And they decided they would rather be servants. God is inviting them to ascend to come to a new place with him, and they see the greatness of God and they’re afraid, so they back up and they pull away. They thought if they live life with God, they would die, not realizing that we die when we don’t live life with God. And so they backed up wanting to remain servants instead of friends and that’s why the Israelites were never able to obey God, because he was always a distant task master that they had to do things for.
I’m convinced that’s where a lot of us gets stuck on this journey, we get so comfortable on the mountain of religion and God is inviting us to come down and go up the mountain of grace. We know how to live his servants, God’s saying, “But I want you to learn how to live as my friend.” This is why in Matthew 7, Jesus says, “Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, will enter the Kingdom of Heaven but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” What’s the Father’s will? That we would believe in Jesus. That we would discover Jesus and start finding friendship with God. “Many will say to me on that day,” “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name? And in your name, drive out demons and perform many miracles?” “Then I will tell them plainly I never knew you.”
Jesus says many people are going to come to him and say, “God, I did all kinds of things for you. I prophesied and I drove out demons and I did miracles and I gave money and I served in the kids room and I was an usher for a season somewhere way back 20 years ago in church and I tried to take my kids to church and I tried to put a verse on my wall at home, so my kids would see it as they grew. I did all of these things for you, God.” He says, “But I never knew you. We were never together. We never have relationship.” See, God knows everything about everyone but he doesn’t know everyone.
It’s what he’s saying. He knows the number of hairs on your head when you wake up, when you go to sleep, how you were created, what your destiny is, but it doesn’t mean he knows you. Why? Because to be known means you have to bring your heart out to God. And you say, “How do I do that?” By confessing and being vulnerable and talking and listening and leaning in and sharing our junk and our — all the things you don’t share with other people are the things he says, “I want you to tell them to me.”
You can only be loved to the level you are known. That’s why most of us never feel loved from God, because we got all these secrets back here, we think he doesn’t know about. He already does. He’s just waiting for you to say, “God, I don’t want you to know about me, I want you to know me. And so can I give you my brokenness? To which he takes you then feel known and loved and you know what he gives you back? The mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven. Remember what he said, “You’re no longer servants because the servant doesn’t know his master’s business.” I call you friends, I tell you everything the Father has told me. You give me your junk, I give you the mysteries and the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven. That’s how it works in God’s economy. That’s why most of us — that’s why most of us struggle because we don’t figure out that’s how revelation comes, that’s how breakthrough comes, it’s like God saying, “I got a great exchange here, going with you. Let’s be friends.” And it’s not just lip service, he’s so serious about it that he’s given us the Holy Spirit. John 14, he says, “And I will ask the Father and he will give you another savior, the Holy Spirit of truth who will be to you a friend just like me and he will never leave you.” He’s given you the Holy Spirit, your best friend, your comforter, your guide, your counselor, your encourager. He’s with you at all times, in every place, the question is not, is God with you? The question is, are you aware that he already is?
And when you start to figure out that the Holy Spirit is with you every place you go, you’ll start to go to new places with God. Because you start realizing friendship is always right here, I don’t got to go find it, he’s already given it to me. This is why all throughout the bible when it says, “Do not be afraid, I will be with you” again, we want to put that on a plaque and on a journal and all this but we miss the gravity of that. You know every time you read, “Don’t be afraid, I am with you.” You know what he’s saying? Don’t be afraid. I’m your friend and I’m right here. He says, “Hey, I know your marriage is struggling but I’m your friend and I’m right here. I know you are worried about that sickness, but I’m your friend and I’m right here. I know you’re stressed out about your job but I’m your friend and I’m right here.”
And when you start to believe that the God of the universe is your friend, it’s amazing how fear starts to leave your life. If we want to ascend with God, we got to find friendship with God, but we also got to find friendship with his people. You see, no one climbs alone. The journey is difficult, it’s dangerous and it’s discouraging, no one climbs alone, we need each other. And if you read the bible, you will discover there is no one who ascended to heights with God that did it by themselves. Moses had Joshua and Aaron had David and Jonathan, Elijah had Elijah, the disciples had each other, Paul had Timothy and Silas, who are you climbing with? When you climb with the right people, you ascend with God, when you climb with the wrong people, you climb the wrong mountains, when you climb with no one, you get stuck. Because it’s difficult, dangerous and discouraging so you sit down and say, “This is as far as I go.” You see, one of the most important and yet underrated parts of our journey with Jesus is walking in friendship with his people.
If we’re honest, most of us, we’re just very prideful and we just don’t think we need it. We think, I can get to the summit by myself, just me and the J man. If you’re really walking with the J man, he’s going to say somewhere along the way, “Hey, I want you to clip in with that person, because you need them to fully find all of me.” This is why Hebrews 10 tells us, “Let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds and let us not give up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing but let us encourage one another.” He says, “Come on we need each other to spur one another up in the mountain. Don’t give up being together because we need each other to encourage each other when we get stuck or want to give up.
Listen, I’m just telling you right now, I wouldn’t be where I am out on my journey if I didn’t have friends that are walking with God of the mountain of God with me. Because there are times when I don’t have faith and I want to give up and I want to be reactive, when I want to sit down and pout about how hard it is, and how difficult my life is, and that is when they yank on it and say, “Let’s go, get up. We are going to continue to go.”
And if you want to go to new altitudes — if you want to go to new altitudes with God, you got to do it with other people. There is no way to do it by yourself in Jesus’ name. Are you with me on that? Okay. And so the question then is, is how do we do it? If you all find friendship with God, you’ll start to find friendship with His people, and when you find friendship with His people, you’ll start to find friendship with God. It’s a cycle and it starts working together.
And I told you in this series, I’m going to try to build your faith in the front half of the message, and then really at the close of it, I just want to give you three next steps that we hope everybody in our church, at some point, will take and what these are is just humility. It’s acknowledging that I not only want this, but that I actually need this.
So real quick if you want to ascend with God and find friendship with God and his people to a new level, really fast, first thing is this, get in a group and/or join a team. Get in a group and/or join a team. Now before most of you sit there and just instantly say, “This point is not for me.” Okay. I get it. I get your life is busy. You don’t think you need it. Tried it before, been there, done that. Like, it’s literally the moment those things get in a group, join a team, and all of a sudden your life, boo, what should I do later?
Okay, here’s my best one. But instead of making the decision, what if you just ask God? Let’s go — don’t like don’t do anything because I’m asking you to do it. If you’re here couple of weeks ago, we talked about the puzzle of life, like you need borders. Like ask God, “God do you — you don’t want me — to do that, right? And just see what he has to say. See a group is just a group of people that get together to discover Jesus and find friendship. We take the weekend message, we have a discussion guide and we just discuss it so we can actually apply it to our life. A team is a group of people who get together to grow while serving others and they’re using their gifts and their talents to find friendship and make a difference along the way.
This is why Matthew 18:20, Jesus says, “For where two or three come together in my name, there I am with them.” There is a unique experience of the friendship of God that only comes in small groups. You can experience amazing things on a worship gathering, but there are some things that only our experience in a small group or a team setting where he says, “In a small grouping, I am with you.” Now, I show myself to you. See getting in a group or joining a team is basically saying, “I’m serious about going to a new place with God.”
And I’m convinced that a lot of us never really find friendship with God because we don’t allow friendship with his people to point us to God. So we get stuck on the way and this is why the next verse says, “Humble yourselves therefore under God’s mighty hand that he may lift you up.” Listen, it takes humility to get in a group or join a team, especially when you think you’re too busy and you don’t need it. It requires humility. But if you humble yourself, he lifts you up and you start to ascend to new places with God. Get in a group, join a team. I can tell we all love that one.
Second one is this. Go to second step. You say, “What’s the second step?” I told you last week, first step is the beginning of our journey with Jesus and Valley Creek has three classes happens every month in all of our campuses. Second step is now an addition that we’re adding on to that, that is a growth track, a pathway opportunity for you, three classes, and the whole point of this is to help you learn how to walk in your relationship with God. That’s why we teach you how to engage the scriptures and pray and hear God’s voice and how to have a relationship with the Holy Spirit, and what grace has to do with your relationship with God, and how it flows with one another. We hope everybody at some point, if you’ve been to first or you’re already all in, we want you to go through second step so we can help you flourish in your relationship with God. See this not as something to do, but as an investment into yourself and investment into your relationship with God.
And then the third thing is express your worship. If you want to ascend to a new place with God, express your worship. Now I know some of you, you’re sitting there and you’re like, “Express my worship, what on earth does that have to do with friendship with God?” Everything. Think of every real friend you’ve had in your life, it’s full of praise, isn’t it? Anybody who you actually friends with, the relationship is full of praise. You’re constantly telling each other how awesome you are, right? Back and forth. You’re like, “You’re amazing. Oh, you look so beautiful. You’re so talented. Like, you’re so kind and you’re always there when I need you and thank you for doing this for me, and thank you for doing that for me. And thanks for the sending me that text when I really need it.” It’s amazing how with the friends that we’re really friends in our lives, how honor, gratitude, and love just seem to naturally flow. True friendship is generous with praise.
Okay. So express your worship is simply saying, “God is my friend and I’m going to tell him who He is to me.” It’s not a religious thing. It’s not just three songs. It’s not a church-y thing. It’s coming in to this place and saying, “God, you are a really good friend and I’m grateful for who you are and what you did. And I want to honor you and lift up your name. And thanks for being there when I needed you this week. And thanks that even though my marriage was just kind of like wonky this week, you gave me courage and compassion when I needed it. Thanks that in school, when I felt lonely, you just — you didn’t leave me. You were there. And you provided for me. It’s amazing that all of a sudden, when you start to see worship as a connection of friendship, it starts to shift what worship is really all about.
I mean, you won’t find anybody in the scriptures that went to a high place with God that didn’t live a lifestyle of worship. Why? Because all it is, it just friendship. Tell me what person you want to be long-term friends with, that never says, thank you, gives you any honor, or expresses any love? No. That’s not how friendship works. Friendship is thank you, and I love you, and I honor you. You see, if you can catch this, I love this, in Psalm 120, it says, “A song of ascent.” “A song of ascent.” Psalm 120 through Psalm 134, every single one of those Psalms, starts by a song of ascent, a song of going to a new place with God.
There’s 15 chapters of the Psalms that were songs, worships things that they would sing to God, as part of going to a new place with Him. And what I love about what those Psalms were, is, if you can just catch with me on this, Jerusalem was up on a hill, and then Jerusalem was the temple of God, the presence of God, and that’s where people would go and meet with God. And the people were down in the valley, and as they would go up to meet with God, they would sing these songs of ascent. They would start worshiping, these Psalms, and signing them out to God. And as they were singing them, they were ascending and they were going to a new place, and a connection with God, a song of ascent, means working takes you to a new place with God. That what it means — a song of ascent, worship, will take you to a new place with God, because you’re starting to believe that He is your friend, and He wants to take you further and farther. When there’s a song in your mouth and a song in your heart, you can’t help but go to a new place with God, because you’re starting to declare that He is good, and He’s good to you, as your friend.
You see, next steps aren’t expectations to fill their discoveries to be made, so which of those is next for you? Let me close it with this, in Revelation 3, Jesus, the resurrected Jesus says, ‘Behold,’ do you know what the word behold means? It means, be amazed, stand in awe and wonder, of what? Be in awe and wonder, behold, be amazed, that I stand at the door of your life, your heart, and knock. And if any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. In other words, Jesus says, have some awe and wonder and be amazed that I want to be your friend. That I am standing at the door of your life, knocking, saying hey, I want to be your friend. Do you want to be my friend? And regardless of what my answer is, he keeps knocking. We say, “No, not today,” He says, “Okay, I’ll be here tomorrow.” We let him in for a snack and decide there’s someone more fun to play with and push him back out, and he just turns around.
He never stops knocking and all you have to do is say, God, I want to be friends with you. He’s paved the way, he’s cleared the road, He’s given Jesus so that you might ascend to a place where you don’t think you’re living, doing things for a distant God, but that you’re living with a close and intimate friend. And when you start to understand that God wants to be your friend, it changes everything about your life. The ascending journey starts with discovering Jesus, and it will move you to a place where you start finding friendship with God and his people. So close your eyes with me and let me just ask you today what you feel like the Holy Spirit is saying to you.
Come on, whatever campus you’re at today, what’s God saying to you? I think we have been so conditioned to live on the mountain of religion of doing things for God, that we don’t even believe that a mountain of grace, of living life with God, even exists. But today, He’s saying, hey, come on, come down, come down from the wrong place, don’t pull back, don’t be a servant, be my friend. Open up the door, and let me in. See, here’s where I want to just nudge you a little bit right now. Right now in this moment, He is knocking. And just like when you were a kid, and your mom called, and said, hey your friend is at the door, today, I’m calling and saying, hey, your friend’s at the door, and he wants to be your friend, and he’s got some great things for you to go do, not for him, but with him. Jesus, may today, we be humbled and in awe, of the reality that the God of the universe calls us friend. May the grace of Jesus draw us into friendship with God. Today is a great day to take a next step church, and go to a new place, with Him. We love you Jesus. In your name we pray. Amen.