Gatherings and Groups


In this message, we learn that the purpose of godly relationships is to reveal more about Jesus, not solve a problem.

Now, if you saw that building before we did all that, you were probably a little scared, and you thought, I ain’t going there, I ain’t checking my kids into that building. But with a whole lot of hard work, a whole lot of faithfulness, and a whole lot of generous sacrificial giving by all of you, that has been retrofitted to this place, where it is not Valley Creek Church. It’s Valley Creek Denton, it has the same spirit. I mean you walk in that building; you feel like you just showed up in Flower Mound. It feels exactly the same. A little bit smaller to reach the people of Denton, and that’s what it’s all about. And what I want you to see is, look at this, man, if you’re not inspired by all these people standing up here, saying, I am willing to go move into a new neighborhood with grace and truth to tell people about Jesus, I ain’t got nothing else for you.

Because this is about the most inspiring thing that you can see. Every one of these people are saying, I’m here to take the next step, I’m going to go up there, and I’m going to pray and I’m going to serve, and I’m going to give, and I’m going to be a part of this, and I realize, Christ’s love compels me to go and tell the world that it’s not about me, I won’t live for myself anymore, I’m going to live for Jesus, because that’s what life is really all about.

And every one of these people is taking the next step, which means they’re leaving behind a volunteer ministry role here, they’re already serving in a volunteer role, which means there’s a whole lot of created space for a bunch of you to step up and say, okay, I get the vision, the vision is about raising people up and sending them to new places to tell people about Jesus, and that creates space for new people, to have to step into the void. There’s a whole bunch of you, it’s your job to step into the void, and start serving and get involved in ministry and become a leader and getting children’s ministries and all these different kinds of things that we have around here. That’s what this whole vision is about. You want to say, what’s the future of Valley Creek Church, right here. This is us. Do you want to know where we’re going in the days to come? This.

And we’re going to do it. We’re going to do it over and over and over again. I’m not even going to give you because if I did, it would scare all of us to death. How many of these things? But that’s what we believe God has called us to do. Raise up leaders, raise up people to take next steps and send them to new places to bring the grace and truth of Jesus Christ, to a lost and broken and dying world. Someone did that for you, and now, it’s our job to do it, for others. Okay?

And what I love about this, man, this is, I mean this is our vision and I just want you to catch it, think about this, the three staff people that are going, our campus pastor, a year ago, he was an insurance sales man, okay, Justin. Our next gen guy, that’s going, Mason, a year ago, he was a football coach. Eric, our worship leader who’s going, a year ago, he was a surveyor, okay? These are regular people. Regular people just like you, but they said to Jesus, here I am, send me.

And all of these people up here said, here I am, I’m ready to go, and I’m so proud of you, guys, I love you. I am so excited for what God is going to do in the days to come. So church, let’s pray for them, let’s send them, what do you think? Can we do that?

So, here’s what I want you to do, if you want to come lay hands on them, come on down lay hands on, everybody else, let’s raise our hand as if we were laying hands on them. This is sign of anointing, and covering in authority, and here’s what we did last night, okay? Since all these people are taking the next steps that inspires us, and this is our year where we’re learning how to pray at Valley Creek Church, instead of me praying really loud, and you just kind of being quiet underneath it, how about you pray out loud by faith, and raise your voices, and then I’ll come in closing. Can we do that?
Okay, if that’s how loud it’s going to sound, it’s going to be weak. You’re going to be embarrassed this Saturday night, they rocked it, man, they just went of it, they said, I don’t care who’s listening to me, I believe in what we’re doing and I’m going to pray for it. Can we do that, Church?

Okay? So can you raise your voices, and just pray, let’s send them right now. So Lord, Jesus, we come to you and we pray.

Yes, Lord. We ask, we seek, we knock. We have a faith for big things, Jesus. Let your Kingdom come, let your will be done. Come on, Church, have a faith. Raise your voice. Take a next step. Just even if it’s a couple of words. Lord, bless them as they go. Lord Jesus, protect them as they go. Lord Jesus, keep them focused on the vision as they go. Lord Jesus, thank you that we are a people that go. Have a faith church, have a faith. Step into an uncomfortable zone. Yes Lord, do it Lord.

So Lord Jesus, right now, we just pray over every person that’s going to the Denton campus. We bless them. We ask that you would fill them with the Spirit of the living God, overflowing, that they would walk in the power and the character of Jesus Christ. We pray that they would go to Denton and they would be kingdom carriers, full of grace and truth, that your kingdom would come up there, that your will would be done. Send them with signs and wonders and supernatural ministry that point people to Jesus Christ. Give them new spiritual gifts to do the ministry that you have called them to do. We pray for that building that it would be saturated with the presence of the living God of the universe, that when people walk in they realize there’s something different there, that somebody wants to meet them there and his name is Jesus. And he’s there in every service, in every gathering, in every event. Lord, we pray for the next generation that they would rise up to become the mighty men and women of God up there, that the children would have fun and learn about God.

We pray for families that you would unify them and heal them, that people who are broken would be healed, that the blind would see, the lame would walk, the deaf would hear, and that they would go to bring a life-giving, spirit-filled, Jesus-focused church to the people of Denton. Come on, church. Raise your voice, have a big faith, don’t back down. Lord, we send them with the keys of the kingdom of heaven that they would unlock the resources and the riches and the love of heaven and bring it to this earth to accomplish your purposes, that you would be glorified in the days to come, Jesus, because this is all about you. We say to you, Jesus, here I am, send me to bring grace and truth to those who don’t know how great you really are in our lives. Do you believe it, church? Do you believe it church? Come on, give a shout of praise to the Lord.

We bless you guys, we bless you guys. And we send you forth. Why don’t you go ahead, turn around and be a friend to somebody and tell them you’re glad they’re here.

Can you see it? Can you see the vision? I hope it inspires you. It’s okay, take your time and get your seats. Seriously, this is awesome, man. This is the vision. If you want to know what Valley Creek Church is all about, this is your first time and you’re scared, you’re like, who are these crazy people?

Yeah, we’re crazy, crazy about Jesus and we’re excited about what he’s doing in this place. Listen, I already lost my voice just praying. I mean, come on. Let’s get excited about Jesus and what he is doing in this place. That is the vision, church. That’s why we didn’t build a big, old, macro building, because we want to do that over and over and over again and send people to new places to reach people who don’t yet know Jesus. And here’s what I want to say to you, I believe this is a prophetic word for our church. Right now, sitting in this room, whether you realize it or not, in this room there are future campus pastors, there are future worship leaders, there are future next gen leaders, there are future administrators and operations people for the church. There are future missionaries. Right now, future church planters, sitting in this room right now, there are future people. And you don’t even realize that God has called you yet, but He’s working on your heart. He’s starting to inspire you. He’s going to raise you up and maybe you’re not going to Denton but maybe it’s the next one.

In fact, right now in this room, some of you you’re sitting there and you kind of sense that little bit of excitement that sparks in you for the vision, maybe you’re not going to Denton, maybe you’re going to the next city that we send. Right now, I believe that over our church. Can you receive that? Okay? Can we believe that that’s true? Ultimately, that’s one of the unique things about our church that I love is we’re not just in this for the just Sunday, let’s have a Sunday show. Let’s — man, let’s change the world for Jesus. Let’s go for it. And yeah, there’s a cost to it. And there’s a sacrifice and there’s stuff we have to be willing to pay and I’m just going to tell you, we will always make that sacrifice. We will pay the cost, we will go where Jesus sends us to go because that’s what the kingdom of God is all about. That’s what it — it’s not that we even have to do it, we get to do it. We get to do it. I’ve never been a part of a church that sent out a group of like this to go to a new city to change the world for Jesus. That inspires the heck out of me. And I hope it inspires you, too, okay?

All right. Now, we got to try to get into a message. So if you’ve got your Bibles, turn with me to Mark 4. Let’s see if we can turn this thing. What I want to try to do is this really hard. It was hard last night too but we’re going to do it together. It’s going to work. We’re in our series called 2 or 3, and we’ve been — we want to pull it together today. And I believe it really ties in to what just happened here and what we just experienced. In fact, here’s what I want you to think, is I’m so glad you’re here today because this is the first one in Valley Creek history. And no matter how many we do, you’ll always remember you are part of the first, man. You get to be a part of sending out the first one that has a double portion. First born son gets a double portion, so that’s a big deal, okay? So we’re in our series called 2 or 3. We’ve been talking about godly relationships. And we said that everybody, as a follower of Jesus, you need two or three godly relationships in your life. And we define that as it’s not just Christian community or hanging out with some Christian people, it’s two or three people that you talk about, learn about and become like Jesus together with. And I realized this has been a very challenging series.

We’ve dug into some places of our hearts that maybe we would have rather not gone. But here’s what I want to tell you, I am so proud of you and I am so grateful that we are a church that would rather follow Jesus than remain comfortable, that you’re a group of people that’s not afraid of the hard stuff or the challenging stuff or letting the Holy Spirit really move I our life but you embrace it with everything that you’ve got to say, man, I want to be everything Jesus called me to be. So we got to talk about the hard stuff, we got to eat some fruit or some broccoli, some veggies, we’re willing to take some of that stuff that maybe we wouldn’t want to. And so let try to pull it together and just jump right in for you. Jesus in the Bible has this incredibly effective discipleship method, okay? If you look at Jesus’ life, we would all agree, he was an effective discipleship — disciple maker. I mean he knew how to take ordinary, regular, broken people just like us and turn them into incredible world-changers. But if you looked at the American church of today and you looked at their method to try to learn about Jesus’ method, you might be a little bit confused because you see, when you read the gospels, Jesus never did any programs.

Really interesting. You’ll never find Jesus having any programs. Like Jesus never showed up in a town and the crowd showed up for ministry and he looked at them and said, okay, hey, everybody with marriage problems, come over here. Let’s set up a little booth right here. Peter is here. If you got marriage problems, come and meet with Peter. Peter is marries, so he can help you. He knows what’s going on. Or how about everybody with financial problems? You got financial problems? Here, come sit and meet Matthew. Here’s a little booth, Matthew. And he was a tax collector. He’ll get you all sorted out. Or how about anybody with business problems? Okay, here, come meet with John. He owned a business. He can get you squared away. All right, how about this one? Anybody here got a demon? We like to identify the demon people before things get a little crazy. You got a demon, come over here, here’s Mary in her booth. She had seven demons. We took care of her, she can take care of you. I mean, you never see Jesus do that anywhere. What did he say in every town he went to? He said, come to me all you who are weary and broken and I will give you rest. No programs.

You see, what’s fascinating is I think we’re more interested in having our problems resolved than having a person revealed. We’re more interested in just getting a quick, short-term problem resolved than having a person revealed. And what we forget is when the person is revealed, our problems always get resolved. John 14:6, Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” When Jesus is revealed to you, you know the way you should go, the truth that will set you free and the life that you’ve always wanted. And so when you look at Jesus’ method, it was always about revealing himself. And he had this really interesting thing, he did this everywhere he went. Here’s what he would do. He’d go into a place and he’d gather a big crowd of people and he would sit there and he would teach to the crowd. It would be great teaching. And when that teaching was done, the crowd would leave. And he would take the disciples, he’d pull them over here in godly relationships and he’d sit there and they dialog and discuss what he just taught. You’ll find this is his pattern everywhere. He teaches to the big crowd, impartation, great teaching. But when the crowd left, he’d pull the disciples over here in godly relationships.

They would sit there, they would process, they would discuss. In fact, he doesn’t teach a lot of unique things to the disciples alone. He almost always teaches them and the big crowd and then pulls them over here. They discuss, they dialog, that’s impartation. This is transformation. And Jesus understood that the power of the message was never in the delivery, it was always in the discussion afterwards. And it was such an effective method that when the disciples were left and when Jesus left the disciples and they had the first church, this is what the first church did. Acts 2:46, “Every day, they continued to meet together in the temple courts.” They had a gathering of teaching. “Then they broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts.” Even the first church, they would gather for impartation and then they would get in godly relationships and they would discuss it. Gatherings and groups, that was Jesus’ method over and over again. It was the first church’s method and really that’s our method. In fact, if you really want to know how do I grow at Valley Creek Church, if you’re really serious about becoming more like Jesus, you need the gathering, impartation and you need godly relationships where you can discuss what has been imparted into your heart.

If you’re in the Denton campus, Flower Mound campus, future campuses, this is who we are, this is the method we believe in because this was Jesus’ method, okay? So look with me at Mark 4 and let me just show you how Jesus talks about this. Are you with me so far? I’m still so excited about Denton. I’m doing the best I can. All right. Mark 4, here’s what it says, “Again, Jesus began to teach by the lake. The crowd that gathered,” circle the word gathered. There it is, the gathering and the teaching, “around him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake. While all the people were along the shore, at the water’s edge, he taught them many things by parables and in his teachings said, ‘Listen, a farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering some seed, some fell along the path and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly because the soil was shallow, but when the sun came up, the plants were scorched. They withered because they had no root.’

‘Other seed fell among the thorns which grew up and choked the plants so that they did not bear grain. Still, other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, multiple in thirty, sixty, even a hundredfold.’ Then Jesus said, ‘He who has ears to hear, let him hear.’” In other words, whoever really wants to understand will end up understanding what Jesus communicate. So you got to picture it, he’s got a big crowd. He gathers them together and he teaches. And it’s great teaching. I mean that’s encouraging, it’s inspiring, it builds them up, it’s impartation. But Jesus knew the sermon wasn’t finished until it was processed in relationship. The crowd may have thought it was over, and they left and went on their merry way. But in Jesus’ mind, they’re only halfway through the process. Sermon isn’t over in Jesus’ mind until it’s processed in relationship. He goes on, verse 10, “When he was alone, the 12 and the others around him asked him about the parable. So he just had a big crowd teaching in the gathering, now he’s with the disciples in godly relationships and now they’re unpacking, discussing the very thing that was taught.

He told them, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside, everything is said in parables so that they may be ever seeing but never perceiving and ever hearing but never understanding. Otherwise, they might turn and be forgiven.” Okay, what on earth is Jesus saying there? Honestly, that’s bothered me for a really long time. When I read that, it kind of messes with me. But here’s what Jesus is saying, he’s basically saying this, the teaching is for everyone but revelation is reserved for disciples. The teaching is for everyone in the gathering but revelation is reserved for disciples. And since disciples never walk alone, Jesus is saying revelation is most often received in godly relationships. I mean think about what he says, he says, the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, revelation, the secrets belongs to you, he’s talking to disciples who have already heard the teaching in godly relationships, discussing, it belongs to you. But to those on the outside, everything is said in parables.

In other words, the teaching is for everyone, revelation is reserved for disciples. And since disciples never walk alone, revelation is most often received in godly relationships, which means the power of the message is never in here, it’s out there when you’re gathered in two and threes. It’s when you’re by faith processing what has been spoken over your life. That’s when the revelation is received. In fact, you have to remind yourself what does the word “revelation” mean, okay? Information is cognitive, logical, it’s understanding, it’s human capabilities, revelation is spiritual truth spiritually discerned. It’s given to you by the Holy Spirit, it’s literally deposited and put inside your heart. In fact, the word “revelation” literally means to reveal or to uncover something that was hidden, that’s why it says the secrets of the kingdom become revealed, uncovered, it’s given to you. Information informs you, revelation changes you. And you say, “Well, why doesn’t Jesus want everybody to have the revelation?”

Because it’s his grace. You see, Jesus knows we’re held accountable for the revelation we’ve received, you’re held accountable for it. And in fact, if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it and when you lose it, it actually leaves you with a harder heart. And so Jesus doesn’t want the crowd who’s not really interested in the revelation to have a harder heart, so he says that he who has ears to hear, let him hear, it’s for whoever desires it, whoever seeks it, whoever’s hungry for it gets the revelation and it’s found in godly relationships, okay? He then goes on in verse 13, “And then Jesus said to them, ‘Don’t you understand this parable? How will you understand any parable?’” In other words, here comes the revelation now in godly relationships from what was taught. “The farmer sows the word. Some people are like seed along the path where the word was sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. Others like seeds sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time.”

“When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. Still others, like seed sown along the – are like seeds sown among the thorns, they hear the word, but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desire for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. Others like seeds sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it and produce a crop 30, 60 or even a hundred times what was sown.” Jesus breaks it down for the disciples and he says, “Guys, there’s four different types of soils or four different types of hearts. And the farmer sows the seed and the seed is the word of God being spoken over your life.” In other words, there’s four different types of hearts sitting in this room right now hearing the word of God spoken over them. First one Jesus says is the hard heart. He says this is like the seed sown along the path, this is the heart that’s been walked on in this life. It’s been walked on in this life. Walked on by people, by circumstances, by life in general, this is the person that had and angry and abusive father who was always speaking negative stuff over them.

This is the person whose spouse deceived them and their most trusted person left them high and dry, this is the person who’s had hard circumstances and situations over and over and over again and they’ve become beaten down by life as life has walked on them and out of protection, their heart has become hard and they resist anything new to protect themselves just to survive and any of us can develop a hard heart. I mean continuing in willful sin, not being willing to forgive other people, pride, all that stuff will develop a hard heart in you and Jesus says it’s sown onto them but before they even make it to the parking lot, the word of God spoken over their life is already gone, okay? It’s the hard heart. Then he says there’s the rocky heart, says this is the person that hears the word of God spoken over their live and then once they receive it with joy, this is the person that’s like super excited, they’re hooping and hollering, man, it gets inside them and it springs up really quickly and they’re like, “This is amazing, it’s going to change my life. This is the person in this series, this is godly relationships.”

“Incredible, I need the, it will be amazing,” and then the moment there’s a cost like they have to change their calendar or actually show up and meet somebody, it quickly withers away and dies, because there’s rocks inside their heart Jesus says. Rocks of bitterness and offense, rocks of fear and selfishness and pride and individualism and those rocks actually kill the word of God that was spoken into their life, it actually destroys it and kills it, the hidden things inside the heart Jesus says will kill the word spoken into you. He says then the third kind is the heart full of thorns and thistles. This is the divided heart, this is the heart that wants it all. And honestly, this is probably the most dangerous one, because this is the heart that receives the word of God, they’re excited about it, it starts to grow and on the outside, everything looks amazing. I mean the plant grows up, it looks like everything’s right but it never produces fruit Jesus says. So this is what Paul means in 2 Timothy 3:5 when he says they have a form of godliness but they deny its power.

They look really good on the outside but there’s no fruit in their life, there’s nothing that’s really happening and in verse 19, Jesus’ revelation, he says it’s the worries of this world, the worries of this life, business, stress, anxiety, fear, the deceitfulness of wealth, chasing after power, ambition and money and the desire for other things choke out the word, making it unfruitful. I think the desire for other things in American Christianity is our desire to constantly consume more content. So I think he’s really saying that our desire to constantly consume, Christian consumption of the things of God, just consuming it over and over again I think is what he’s talking about in this one because if you really want a seed to grow in your heart or in life, you got to create space for that seed to be able to grow, this is the person, the third heart, they just consume everything. They leave a message, they never think about it again, then they go to Lifeway and they want the greatest Lifeway book.

And then they want a DVD teach and then they listen to three podcasts, they listen to two radio preachers, one on the way to work, one on the way back home from work. And then they go back online and listen to an old sermon and it’s just this consuming, consuming, consuming that sounds really good in theory but the problem is all those seeds get in one place and it chokes everything out. In fact, I think we’ve gotten to this place where we’re more interested in consuming content than we are in changing our character, because it’s easier to consume content that it is to change character. Think about a little potted plant in your back yard, like this big around. Imagine putting 50 seeds in that little plant. What’s going to happen? They’re all going to sprout but then they’re all going to choke each other out and they’re going to die. And so what Jesus is saying is saying is honor the word that’s been spoken into you by creating space for it to grow. In fact, Jesus wouldn’t give the disciples new teaching until they’ve already processed the things that he is already taught them, okay? And then the fourth heart is the good heart, the good soil. This produces fruit, the character of Jesus Christ, reproduction in the kingdom of God 30, 60, a hundredfold.

And when he says that, 30, 60, a hundredfold, I used to think it was the amount of fruit, here’s what I really think though because this is a passage on revelation, I think he’s saying the good heart gets a 30, 60 or a hundredfold revelation of what’s been sown in their heart. Thirtyfold some revelation, sixtyfold a little more revelation, a hundredfold a full revelation of the seed, the word, the message that had been sown into their heart. And Jesus says we all have one of those four hearts and you can have a different heart based on even the topic we’re talking about but it’s one of those four and so you have to ask yourself the question what’s really the difference between those four hearts? What’s the difference? It’s the same farmer, it’s the same seed and it’s the same field, what’s the difference between them? The difference is the condition of the soil. And how did the good heart become good soil? Because it was cultivated. And how was it cultivated? It was cultivated in godly relationships.

You see, soil can never cultivate itself, someone else actually has to get a rake and fertilizer and nutrients and then water and all this stuff. A heart cannot fertilize itself — develop itself, condition itself, somebody else actually has to do it and if you don’t want the seed, the word of God to spoil, you have to cultivate the soil and that only happens through godly relationships. You see, Jesus is working in the field of our hearts and we’re his co-laborers. He’s working in your heart but he asks us to be the co-laborers to work with him, to condition, to prepare the soil of your heart to be able to receive what he wants to sow. In fact, 1 Corinthians 3:6 says, “Some plant, some water, it’s God who makes it grow.” Some plant, some water, God who makes it grow. God will make it grow but you actually have to have something planted and it has to be watered. And I think we love the planting part and we love the growing part, we want nothing to do with the watering part. Just be honest, that’s why all your flowers in the back yard die, because we don’t like the watering part.

And even Paul confirms Jesus’ discipleship method, he says some plant, you need to gather in impartation the words spoken over your life. Some water, you need relationships that are cultivating the condition of the soil of your heart, that that seed may actually grow and every weekend, whether you realize it or not, I am planting seeds in your heart by the revelation of Jesus, the word he wants spoken over our church who’s watering that seed during the week. Every week, a seed lands on your heart. If you want it to grow, who’s watering that seed? You see, godly relationships is where that happens. Love can break up the hardest ground there is, encouragement is like a fertilizer that will make that thing take off, kindness is like water to our soul when we’re dry and weary, accountability is pulling out the weeds and the things that are growing up that should’ve never been there in the first place. No one can cultivate their own heart.

Listen, if I could, right now I would stop this message and I would pull out every rock in my heart and I’d get rid of the thorns and thistles and I’d break up every hard part in my own heart but I can’t do that, I need godly relationships to do that. In fact, my grandfather was an incredible farmer in upstate New York, he could make anything grow and he had these big old gnarly, nasty, knobby hands, he was known by his hands and how just crazy they were. And I used to think that farming was just about putting a seed in the ground. How hard is that? Put a seed in the ground, man. It’ll grow. Great. You want fruit? There you go, put a seed in the ground. And I remember one time talking to my grandfather about it and he kind of laughed at me and he looked to me and he said, “Johnny,” he said, “planting the seed, that’s the easy part,” he said, “the hard part is cultivating the soil.” He said, “My hands don’t look like this from planting seeds,” he said, “my hands look like this from cultivating soil, pulling out rocks and thorns and thistles and weeding and tilling up the hard ground.” And the same is true for us.

Planting of the seed is the easy part. But listen, this 30 minutes is like the easiest part of the whole thing, right? So long as it’s a good message. If it’s not a good message, maybe it’s the hardest part. But this is the easy part. So a seed gets sown in your heart, word gets spoken over your life, the hard part is cultivating the soil. And a lot of us, we want to plant and harvest on the same day. We want fruit, there’s no person in this room is saying, “I don’t want fruit in my life,” you want fruit, we all do, we’re just not sure we want to wait for it or actually go through the process that it takes to have the soil conditioned and you have to remember, inside the seed that’s spoken in your life, the fruit is contained in the seed and if you don’t want the seed to spoil, you have to cultivate the soil through godly relationships, it’s Jesus’ method. Gather and have a group in godly relationships, it’s our method. So as we launch then, this is not to start new programs, this is about new gatherings and new groupings of people in godly relationships. And if you’re really serious about growing at Valley Creek, that’s the way to do it.

Listen, every week you may not even realize this, we put on the website a discussion guide from the message, every single week no matter who’s speaking because we so believe in this because the revelation is found in the processing. We make our staff do this, they talk about it every single week and process it through it in their own life. In fact, I get so much revelation the following week after a message from the discussion part from cultivating the soil that I always wish I could re-preach that message next weekend because I understand it so much more just from the conversations. Now listen, when you’re sitting here like right now, Hebrews 4:12, it says, “The word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double edged sword, it penetrates soul and spirit, joint and marrow,” which means it gets deep inside of you and when it gets in you, it creates questions, it creates doubts, it creates opportunities. In fact, here’s things that we’ve heard from people, people saying things like this in this series like, “Hey, I’m married to a nonbeliever, which means I’m unequally yoked. What do I do about that? Are they pulling me in the wrong direction?”

That’s a great question. And God has revelation for you found in conversation with godly relationships. We’ve had people say things like, “What do you tell me, I can’t hang out with my friends that don’t know Jesus? You tell me I need to just sever all this and I’m not going to hang out with these people for years?” We’re not telling you anything but I think God has great revelation for you, which will be found in godly relationships. Or somebody that says, “Hey man, I’d love it but I’m so busy and I don’t know how to get my calendar together to create time and space.” Well, man, that’s a great prod and God has revelation for you found in godly relationships. See, if you never let anybody else cultivate the soil of your heart, what you’re doing is you’re always going to hear things the way you want to hear them and you’ll hear it through your own wounding. If no one ever cultivates your soil, then everything that’s ever spoken over your life, you will hear it through your own wounding and as it’s coming in, it literally deflects and it already is going in the wrong direction from which God sent it because you’re hearing it through your own wounding, it’s why you need people to cultivate the condition of your heart, the condition of your soil. Are you with me on that?

Listen, let me just be real honest. Okay, Ben, right? Our lead worship pastor? You know Ben, right? Smiley, happy Ben? He’s one of the godly relationships in my life and Ben, he — the same guy you see up here is who he is in every area of life, he is encouraging, he is life-giving, he’s one of the greatest people to be around unless you’re in a godly relationship with him and you have a rock in your heart, okay? Couple weeks ago, I had a rock in my heart and Ben, he kind of put the guitar down and he smiled at me and he reached over and he just ripped the rock right out of my heart. No conversation, he just literally ripped it right out of my heart because he could see something inside me and a fence was there that was killing the word of God that I didn’t even see, so he ripped the rock right out of my heart and I could’ve gotten all offended and said, “Man, I ain’t talking to you anymore. In fact, you better start getting your resume together after that one.” Just saying, don’t be ripping nothing out of my heart, right? No. That proved to me that he loves me and he refuses to let rocks hang out in my heart to keep me from becoming who God has called me to be.

That’s godly relationships. In fact, you don’t know you’re in a godly relationship with someone until they rip a rock out of your heart. Until then, it’s just we’re hanging out because we’re on the same page. When they rip a rock out of your heart or pull a thorn and thistle or cultivate some hard ground, that’s when you know am I hanging in this deal or am I bailing because if I bail, I don’t really have a godly relationship, I got to let him rip it out of my heart. I wonder how many seeds have been sown in our lives that we’ve never had any fruit, that have never grown because we don’t have godly relationships to cultivate the soil? In fact, no matter what the condition of your soil is in your heart right now, if you have a godly relationship, it can break up the hardest ground. Now listen, I’m pulling all of this to a close, let me just press pause here for a second and say this. For those of you that are here and you would define yourself as healthy and you’re moving forward with Jesus, here’s what I want to say to you, Matthew 9:37 and 38, Jesus says, “The harvest in plentiful, the workers are few.”

“Ask the lord of the harvest therefore to send out workers into his harvest field.” Listen to me, the harvest in plentiful, the workers are few, I am asking the lord of the harvest and I am asking you, we need about 50 people to step up and say, “You know what? I believe so much in this place and in this message that I’m going to start a group for godly relationships where this kind of cultivation can happen.” We’ve grown so much so fast in the last couple years that we need more people stepping up and saying, “I get it,” and not, “I’m going to do this because I want to find community for myself, I’m doing this because I want to be a friend for someone else and I want to love and I want to serve and I want to make disciples and cultivate the condition of other people’s hearts.” You see, at some point in your spiritual journey, the spectrum flips, and it goes from this, I’m here because I need someone to pour into me and encourage me to I’m here to encourage others and pour into other people. In fact, what you’ll hear from a lot of people is this — kind of this thing that’s developed in this church, this attitude of like who’s pouring into me and who’s encouraging me and who’s building up me?

Okay, who’s building up Paul? Think about it for a second. The most spiritually mature person on the live of the face — alive on the face of the earth in his time, who’s building up Paul? Paul built himself by building others. In fact, if you look, Paul gets most of his encouragement from his sons. Go get Timothy who I’ve built into because Timothy encourages my heart. Go find for me Titus because when I’m around Titus, I just feel refreshed. Go get me Mark because I love seeing God move in Mark’s life, that builds me back up. It’s not who’s pouring into me, it’s who am I pouring into. And what I love about Jesus’s method is it’s decentralized, it’s reproducible and it’s got nothing to do with buildings. I need about 50 people to step up and say, “I want to have gnarly, nasty hands in the spiritual realm from digging into the soil of people’s hearts.” I’m serious. Some of you, you know that’s you, that needs to be you, we need you to step up and do that. Listen to me, let me pull this all to a close.

When he says in Mark 4, “The farmer sows the word,” who is the word? Who’s the word? It’s Jesus. Parable says Jesus is the word. So does if Jesus is the word, the seed that’s being planted in your heart, then what he’s telling us in this passage is the whole point of getting in godly relationships, it’s so that the condition of the soil of your heart may be developed so that you may receive a hundredfold revelation of the resurrected Jesus Christ. It’s the whole reason. If the word is Jesus and the farmer sows the word which it’s all about Jesus, then the whole reason you get in godly relationships is so other people can cultivate your heart, get rid of the rocks, the hard stuff, the thorns and thistles, so you can receive a hundredfold or a full revelation of the resurrected Jesus Christ. It’s in godly relationships, you get the revelation of his love for you, that you’re no longer a slave and an orphan, you’re a son and a daughter. It’s in godly relationships you get the revelation of grace, that his undeserved favor is upon you wherever you go.

It’s where you get the revelation of forgiveness, that he has forgiven your sins and remembers your wickedness no more, you’re the righteousness of God and Christ Jesus, it’s in godly relationships, you get the revelation of the spiritual riches, of his love for you. In fact, he died so you could have all things and it’s in godly relationships you discover what those things are. Don’t get in godly relationships because the church tells you to or because you think you have to do that to please God, it’s to get a full revelation of Jesus. I don’t know about you, I want a full revelation of everything Jesus did for me. That doesn’t happen by myself walking through life alone, that happens when I let people like one of my godly relationships, Ben, pull rocks and thorns and thistles and tilled the hard ground in my own heart. You see, when Jesus says, “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am also.” When we gather in his name, you gather with his identity, his authority and with the finished work of Jesus.

When you show up, you’re there righteous, holy, blameless and pure and I’m not there for you to meet my needs, I’m there because he has already met my needs. I’m not there to have you resolve my problems, I’m there to have a person revealed. I’m not there in my name, I’m there in his name to apply the finished work of the cross of Jesus. And the reason groups have stunk in the modern church and many of you have been in them is because we gather in the wrong name, we gather in the name of Dave Ramsey, or we gather in the name of Beth Moore, or we gather in the name of the greatest new book that’s out or in this certain leader and while there’s nothing wrong with those things, when you gather in that name, it’s going to be a bad experience, it’s going to unwind because Jesus isn’t the center and he’s not holding it together. We got to gather in his name and make it about him. And when that person shows up and all they want to do is talk about their problems, you have full permission once you say — once you understand what their problem is, say, “Okay, I think we understand your problem, now stop talking about your problem, let’s start talking about a person revealed.”
Because that’s what happens, we deviate all the focus to crisis management for the problem, talk about Jesus, okay? You can tell I got a burden on my heart to be in godly relationships. I can’t make you do it, I get it, I can’t make you do it. But my hope for you is that you wouldn’t know a little bit about a lot of people in this church but that you would know a lot about a few people in this church because when that happens, you feel like you belong, you believe in the vision, you can’t wait to get here and your life becomes centered around Jesus Christ and if we would submit ourselves to the spirit of the living God, I promise you that’s where He will lead you because that’s what He has for you. How are we going to disciple the nations if we’re not willing first to disciple each other? How are we going to cultivate the soil of the nations if we’re not first willing to cultivate the soil of each other’s hearts right here, okay?

So we close your eyes with me. And as you’re sitting there, thank you for letting me talk fast, I know that was a lot. And as you’re sitting there thinking about what the Holy Spirit wants to speak to you and what he has to say to you, here’s what I want you to do, can you just picture this for me for a moment in your mind, can you picture the condition of your soil? Jesus says there’s four types, there’s not more than that, so every one of us right now, it’s either hard soil, rocky soil, thorns and thistles or good soil. Can you just picture that in your mind? And what I want you to do is just see that field in that condition and now picture a single seed in your hand. Maybe it looks like an acorn or a sunflower seed or a pumpkin seed, just a single seed in your hand, and that seed is planted in whatever condition the field is in, just put in the ground.

And as it’s put in the ground, I want you to picture Jesus and two or three other people walking into that field. And as they walk in that field towards that seed, they’re holding rakes and shovels and watering cans and fertilizer and they come and they start working that field. And as they’re working it, digging out rocks and breaking up the hard ground and removing things that shouldn’t be there and putting fertilizer there, that seed begins to sprout. And as it sprouts, it starts to grow and it’s growing up towards the sky and it’s developing into this tree and as the branches of the tree develop, little piece of fruit start to develop and as the tree grows, those pieces of fruit get bigger and bigger and bigger. Can you see it in your mind? And as that fruit ripens a piece drops to the ground and because there’s seed in the fruit, more seed is now planted in the ground and a second piece of fruit drops and another seed is planted in the ground, a third piece and fourth and so on and so forth and all these seeds are planted in the ground and all the while, Jesus and these two or three people, they never leave.

They’re working the soil, they’re pulling out the weeds and getting rid of the hidden things they didn’t know were there and the hard spots that develop and cutting away the thorns and the thistles. They’re doing it over and over again and all these seeds begin sprouting up and they’re developing into trees with fruit upon them and as that happens, it keeps happening. Now picture in that field tree after tree after tree with fruit all over it and a river running right through the middle of that field refreshing and giving water and life to everything that’s in it and as far as your eye can see, all you can see is trees bearing incredible fruit. Can you see it? That’s what Jesus says is available to us in Mark 4, that’s the picture he’s painting for us, that if we would be willing to get in godly relationships and let other people cultivate the condition of our hearts, that’s what’s available to us.

The fruit, the change, the life you’ve always wanted and a full revelation of the resurrected Jesus Christ. And so Lord Jesus, I just pray that that seed in this series that’s been spoken into our hearts that it would take root and that we would take next steps towards finding godly relationships in this place and in fact, I pray for every person in this room right now, that you would give them two or three godly relationships in this church, that they would believe in it, that they would see their need for it, that your invitation is that they might find the full revelation of the resurrected Jesus Christ. Lord, unite us together as one body, that we gather and then we break up into groups and godly relationships to talk about that which you have spoken into our hearts. Lord, I pray that Valley Creek Church would be a church full of fruit and full of revelation of the resurrected Jesus Christ. Lord, we love you today. Thank you for this, the inspiration of Denton and this launching and the way you’re moving, we bless you, Lord Jesus.

In your name we pray. Hey, if you’re here and you need prayer for anything, let these people pray for you, we want to minister to you before you go. If you’re new, we’d love to invite you to Guest Central, it will be right out these doors. For those of you that give your tithes and your offerings, there’s boxes at all the doors as you leave. Otherwise, may you go rejoicing with Jesus this week. Blessings.

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