Church is the place where you come as you are and become who you were created to be. We gather around the Word of God, encounter the presence of God, and minister to each other as the people of God. Then, we are sent out to be hope carriers in every area of life. Jesus came to be our hope; He came to us, we didn’t have to go to Him.
Alright, hey everybody, welcome to Valley Creek. We are so glad that you are here with us, whatever campus you may be at Flower Mound, Denton, Lewisville, the venue and extension site watching online somewhere in the world. Let’s just celebrate each other together for a moment. We are one church that meets at multiple campuses that carries the hope of Jesus to thousands of locations and I am so glad you are here with us today. Because it’s a great season to be a part of Valley Creek Church. God is doing a new thing, he’s doing a fresh thing. And we’re in a series and a season called missional move, hope for the city.
And we said a missional move is simply when you take a next step, so somebody else can take theirs. A missional move is when you take a next step to create space, movement, opportunity so that someone else can take a next step on their journey with Jesus. You see, all the missional move is, is when you choose to move forward with Jesus so someone else can move forward with Jesus. And what we’ve said is that at the heart of every missional move is the spirit of a pioneer, because you’re moving into the unknown for the good of others and the glory of God and in the process finding freedom for yourself. And so we want to move missionaly with Jesus. In fact to be a movement of hope means we all actually have to move, that’s what it’s about. In fact Isaiah 60 says, arise, shine for your light has come and the glory of the Lord Rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and a thick darkness over the people but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you and nations will come to your light and kings to the brightness of your dawn. In other words, it’s time for us to arise to go to a new place with God and bring light to darkness and hope to hopelessness. And so we’ve said the whole thing of this missional move, hope for the city, is that we believe God is inviting us to move from being a church for a city to a church for a region. That he’s inviting us over the four years to start for new campuses, a university campus, a Gainesville campus, a North Lake, Argyle Roanoke campus, and then the fourth campus we’re not sure yet, God will show us along the way. And what we’ve said is what would it look like if we just drew a big circle around North Texas and just owned it. Said, we want to make sure that everybody in this space has multiple opportunities to see and experience the hope of Jesus. Like what if we made it hard for people to go to hell from our region.
What if we made it hard to live a hopeless life in our region. So we want to put a campus or a harbor of hope within a 20 minute drive of everyone in our space because we believe every student, every child, every family, every person deserves to see and experience the hope of Jesus. And that’s big, and because it’s big it’s a big investment. And so it’s a $20 million investment to do four campuses over the next four years. It’s going to require 750 new serve team members and 400 new leaders. And so what we’re doing is we’re asking every family in our church to consider making a sacrificial gift over the next two years above and beyond what they already give. All we’re asking you to do is ask, listen, and respond to God’s voice in your life. You see the question isn’t can we do this, the question is will you use what you have for the good of others and the glory of God. We can’t do this by ourselves, it’s going to require every one of us. And this is the spiritual journey that we’re on together. And so on February 17th, two weeks, we’re going to have our commitment weekend, we’re going to come with our commitments and our initial offering to the Lord. And I want to encourage you, use these two weeks to pray and seek God and ask him how you would have you be a part of bringing hope to the city and beyond. If you didn’t get one of these, it has all the information in it, a missional move, a bracelet, the commitment card, all this stuff, I want to make sure you get that because we’re believing that God wants to do something special in our generation. And we want to align ourselves with what he is doing, arise for the light has come to push back the darkness. You see our new vision is to be a movement of hope for the city and beyond. And what we’ve said is that we want to do that through harbors or campuses and hope carriers or people. Every one of us needs a harbor or a campus and every one of us is called to be a hope carrier.
And what we’ve said is that a harbor is simply a campus. And if you think of that it’s a great analogy, like every one of us needs a campus. You need a church the way a ship needs a harbor, you need a place like today to pull in here and unload the anxiety in the depression and the worry and the fear and the sin patterns and the dysfunction and get filled up fresh with the presence of God get a word from God and then be sent back out into your life. We come in here and we gather around the word of God, the presence of God, and we minister to each other as the people of God. Churches come as you are and become who you are created to be. And then we want to send you out to be a hope carrier. You see whether or not you realize it, you were created to be a hope carrier. In fact you’ve been commissioned by God himself to carry hope. The first thing that God says to humanity is Genesis 1:28, be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and subdue it using its vast resources in the service of God and man. In other words, God says to Adam and Eve, “Hey, I don’t want you to just stay here, I want you to take hope to the dark corners of this world.” Be fruitful, live a life of productive beauty, bringing the things in your area of influence to their fullest of potential. Multiply, reproduce the life of God in you and the world around you. Fill the earth or your area of influence with the knowledge, of the glory, of the goodness of God. Subdue things, bring light to darkness and hope to hopelessness, and then use your resources to accomplish my purposes in the lives of men. It’s our created commission. And yet when Adam and Eve sinned they lost their hope, they lost our hope. And when they lost our hope and their hope, they lost our purpose. Instead of being fruitful, we became barren. Instead of multiplying life, we started multiplying despair. Instead of filling the earth with the goodness of God, we started to fill the earth with hopelessness. Instead of subduing darkness, darkness started subduing us. And instead of using our resources to accomplish God’s purposes in the lives of men, we started using God and men to go out and get a bunch of resources for ourselves.
Instead of carrying hope, they started carrying hopelessness and started to spread death, despair, and destruction. But hear me, the human heart was never meant to be a container of despair. The way that your lungs need air, your soul needs hope, so Jesus came to restore our hope. He literally stepped out of heaven moved into your neighborhood with grace and truth. He didn’t make you go looking for hope, he came to bring hope to you. In fact that’s why Romans 5:5 says, “And the hope does not disappoint us because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit whom He has given us.” Jesus came to be your hope. So hope is the byproduct of anyone who follows Jesus. Hope is the evidence of a spirit-filled life. He poured his hope into our hearts through the love that he has given us. Which means if you’ve lost your hope it’s because you’ve forgotten you are loved. This is why 1 Corinthians 13:13 says, “And these three remain faith, hope, and love; and the greatest of these is love. Okay, we always quote that, faith, hope, love; faith, hope, love; faith, hope, love. But it’s actually love, hope, faith. You say, are you rewriting the Bible? No I’m reverse engineering. So I say, and the greatest of these is love. Why? Because if you know you’re loved you will live with hope. And when you live with hope you will move forward with faith. When I know God loves me, 1 John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave me Jesus.”
If he lays down his life for me, now I have hope. I have the confident expectation that he will be good to me regardless of what I see with my eyes. And when I have hope, I now have faith because Hebrews 11 says, now faith is being sure of what we hope for. Certain of what we do not see. So it’s love that gives me hope, and it’s hope that gives me faith. So if I don’t have faith to move into the unknown, it’s because I’ve lost my hope. And if I’ve lost my hope, it’s because I’ve forgotten I’m loved. So today if you have no hope, go back and remind yourself that you’ve been loved by Jesus. And if you have no faith go back and remind yourself that you can have a confident expectation of the goodness of God. We live in love, we receive hope, and we move forward by faith. See Jesus came to restore our hope and the hope to the world and he came to restore our purpose as hope carriers. You see, catch this verse, Colossians 1:27 says, “Living within you is the Christ who floods you with the expectation of glory. This mystery of Christ embedded within us becomes a heavenly treasure chest of hope filled with the riches of glory for his people, and God wants everyone to know it.” That’s a killer verse. It says within you is a treasure chest of hope, and it’s not meant to be closed up and kept to yourself, it’s meant to be opened up so the world can see the glory of God. And where is that hope supposed to be shined? In the areas of life. You see what you have to understand is that the kingdom of God is a movement of hope. In fact the atmosphere of heaven is hope. So wherever the kingdom of God is, there will always be hope. And what you have to remember is that the kingdom and the church are not the same thing, the church is a part of the kingdom of God, but the kingdom of God is bigger than the church. The kingdom of God is the rule and reign of God, it’s where things are submitted and surrendered to his lordship.
And so, yes, the church is a part of the kingdom, but God wants his kingdom in family, education, healthcare, business, government, media, sports, and technology, and all the areas of life where you and I go every single day. In fact this is why in John 17 at the end of Jesus’s life he prays to the Father and says, “Father, I pray that you don’t take them out of the world but that you protect them and send them into the world the same way you sent me into the world.” Now, I know some of you are thinking, is that verse really in the Bible? Jesus is sending us into the world, yes. If the whole point was for you to get to heaven then the moment you got saved, bloop, you’d be gone. So if you’re here it’s bad news. In fact I’m not sure who’s even preaching because whoever can preach is bad news, don’t listen to them because they’re still here if that all goes. That’s not the point, Jesus was saying, father send them into the world the way that I came into the world. This is why in John 14, Jesus says, “I tell you, you will do the things I have done and even greater things than these.” And what did Jesus do, 1 John 3:8, he came to destroy the works of the devil. The works of the devil don’t primarily need to be destroyed in the church, they need to be destroyed in family, in education, in healthcare, in business, in the areas of life. This is why in Matthew 28, I’m giving you a bunch of verses here to give you context for this, Jesus says, “All authority in heaven and earth has been given unto me, so go and make disciples of all nations.” He says, hey, you now have authority over any giant in every area of life. Because it belongs to me, I’m giving it to you, so go disciple nations. When we think nations we think Pakistan, Tonga, Azerbaijan. Okay, that’s part of it, but the word nations is the word ethnos, it means people groups.
People don’t just group together by their country, they group together by the areas of life. And we talked about this a few weeks ago, I said, I would submit to you that Hollywood is more influential than Azerbaijan. The NFL is more influential than — wasn’t saying North Korea, but I don’t know that’s a tough one there. You hear what I’m saying? Pakistan or whatever, the American government is more influential than Tonga, right? Okay so the missionaries of today are the hope carriers who go into the areas of life. When we think unreached people groups we think a certain dialect on some random island in the middle of nowhere, these are unreached people groups that God is sending you into. You see Luke 17 says, “The kingdom of heaven is within you.” And contained within the kingdom of heaven is all the answers to all the world’s problems. The answers to divorce, and poverty, and crisis, and immigration, and dysfunction, and brokenness. Every problem has an answer, and that answer is contained in the kingdom of heaven. And Jesus says the kingdom of heaven is in you. So when you walk into the place, you go every single day, guess what, hope just walked in the door. The answers are in you. So we’ve got to stop separating sacred and secular. We think the one hour a week we’re together is sacred, and the rest of this is secular, all of this is sacred. In fact last week we talked about how the Church of Jesus, she’s sacred. She deserves awe, and respect, and reverence. And if you don’t have an awe, and a respect, and sacredness for this, it is impossible to understand your mission as sacred out here. But guess what, this is sacred because Jesus himself has sent you here.
And this is why he tells us we’re salt, light, and leaven. Salt it’s not supposed to be in one spot but sprinkled to bring flavor to a tasteless world. We’re light, not in one spot, but to bring light to all of the darkness. Leaven, not just in one spot, but to be scattered around to make all things rise. You see you have to remember in the Old Testament, sin was the influencing agent. If the people of God got around the things of the world they became contaminated. But now in Jesus when the people of God go into the areas of life, the areas of life don’t contaminate them, they change the areas of life by the righteousness of Jesus that exists within them. Are you with me on that? So think about this, think of who is in our church. Moms, and dads, and sons and daughters. Teachers, and students, and principals, and educators, and administrators, doctors, and nurses, and dentists, and administrators, CEOs, and vice presidents, and sales people, and restaurant workers, and employees, and managers, we have town council people, and government office people, and firemen, and policemen, and civil servants, we have artists and musicians, and social media influencers, and reporters, and newscasters, professional athletes, and trainers, and coaches, we have really smart people that can do really smart things, we have all kinds of amazing people in our church. We don’t want them all to be right here, we want them to be spread out to bring hope. So here’s the question, where are you? Because every day you go into some of these spaces, maybe multiple of them. So what would it look like for the kingdom of God to come into these spaces. And if you say this is this is all cool, you kind of told us this a couple weeks ago, but I don’t really connect to it. Here’s what an example would be, if you just bring hope into education, when you’re in the break room and everyone’s talking about how kids are problems, you can talk about how kids have so much potential. That’s all. If you’re in health care, you could just stop at the door before you walk in, and say, “God give me wisdom on how to bring healing to their body soul and spirit.”
If you’re in business, you could just do things with character and integrity even though no one else does. If you’re in government you could just choose to walk in every day and say, “I’m here to serve the people not be served by the people.” If you’re in sports, you could do teams in such a way that build people up instead of tearing them down. Are you catching what I’m saying? It’s really simple. The problem is, is we have a low view of people and a low view of the finished work of Jesus. We look at each other and we look at ourselves and say, I can’t make a dent in any of this, really? Because second Corinthians 5:17 says, if you’re in Christ, you’re a new creation, the old is gone. You’re now included in Jesus which means everything that’s true of him is now true of you. And I would submit to you that every space Jesus walked in he brought hope and made an impact. So we can never stop believing in people because Jesus never stops believing in you. I mean, think about this, Isaiah 61:1, the passage that Jesus quotes when he declares that he is here and his ministry has arrived, he’s saying, this is Jesus, “The Spirit of the sovereign Lord is on me because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor, he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.” In other words he says, “I have come to bring you hope.” Ready, the people who receive the hope, they shall rebuild the old ruins, they shall rise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the ruined cities the desolation of many generations. So see if you can catch it what Jesus says, is I’ve come to bring you hope, and the people that receive my hope become the rebuilders of the city, they become the hope carriers that go out into the world around us. The people we touch today, they’re the ones that become the hope carriers of tomorrow, and literally change the city, they repair the things that have been broken and lost for generations, it says.
Come on, see, this is what God is doing, and he’s doing it through you. Revelation 11 says the kingdoms of this world will become the kingdoms of our God. God wants all of these kingdoms back, and he’s sending you to bring them into submission and to surrender to his lordship. And the Bible says, “All of creation is waiting for you and I as sons and daughters to rise up and say our father’s kingdom has come.” So we’re showing up and we’re walking in with hope because hope leads. Doesn’t matter what your role, your job, your title, you show up with hope, you’re the influencer in that space. This is why Romans 15:13 says, May the god of Hope fill you with hope that you radiate hope.” Literally radioactive man, we should be able to get in here you and be like, whoa, there so much hope coming off you, I don’t even know what to do myself, why? Because you got a treasure chest of hope inside of you. Are you with me on this? Okay, so now I want you to understand how these work together, harbors and hope carriers, you can’t have one without the other. You can have all kinds of great campuses, harbors everywhere, but if you don’t have hope carriers reaching people, then nobody is going to come. And you can have hope carriers, they go into all the spaces of life, but if there’s no harbors to bring people to gather around the presence of God to be rebuilt and restored, the whole thing falls apart. You see, here’s the interesting paradox, however you gather will determine how you scatter; and however you scatter will determine how you gather. Think about this for a second. However you gather like if you walked in here today to gather with passion and excitement; and you came in with faith expecting God’s going to speak to you, you got a journal out, you’re ready to take a note, you’re ready to worship, you’re here to gather around the word of God, the presence of God, and minister to the people of God, you show up like that, you’re going to leave here and you can’t wait to scatter. To go wherever you go on purpose and with mission, and you believe God has an assignment for you. And however you scatter will determine your excitement to gather. Like if you go out and live on mission, all of a sudden by the end of the week, you’re like man, I’m running on fumes, I’ve been giving so much hope away, I need to get back to the harbor. But if you go out, and just live for yourself all week, at the end of the week you’re like, “I still got a full tank, I don’t really have any need to go back to the harbor. So if you find yourself not excited about gathering, it might tell you about how you’re living. Because the ship that’s really living on purpose, at the end of the week, it needs a harbor.
It’s not even optional anymore, it’s like my fuel gauge is so low that if I don’t get back there I’m going to run out of gas and be tossed by the waves of life and sink. And here’s the other paradox, if you’re scattering and you’re out way out here and you this rundown broken up beat up, nasty boat and you give it some hope, you hook it up to your towline, you have a harbor to bring it back to. Because guess what, you’re excited to come back to the harbor when you’re dragging people back in here with you. And let’s make no mistake about it, all ships are always welcome. I want you to be real clear on this right now, I hope there are so many lost lonely and broken people that show up in this church that it makes you uncomfortable. Why? Because guess what you were that nasty lost ship that had a hole in it that was sinking and was radioactive somewhere else out here too. And Jesus said you weren’t too far being restored, okay? So however you gather is how you scatter, however you scatters how you’ll gather.
And what I need you to understand is that this is not one of the areas, this is the primary area. This is the primary area of life, this is really important. The Church of Jesus is the training center and the standard bearer for the kingdom of God. The church is the training center and the standard bearer for the kingdom of God. The church is a training center, like this is not a resort, you’re like, we know. This is not entertainment, this is not a teaching center, this is a training center. We’re trying to train you to become who God is created and called you to be, this is not Burger King have it your way, this Home Depot you can do it, we will help. You see when you come here we’re trying to train you. We’re trying to help you have a whole heart a renewed mind and skillful hands. We’re trying to teach you to live in grace, not just be saved by grace, no, no, I want you to be drawn by grace, changed by grace, and empowered by grace. So when I push on you, or we push on you, there’s a reason. It’s like going to a gym, it’s a training center. You don’t want to coach at a gym being like, men, whatever you want to do, today it’s going to be great. You’re doing awesome. Oh, there’s got to be a little stretching but not beyond a breaking point, so we never will break, but man we got to stretch you. Sometimes it’s raised your faith, pray out loud, move forward, take a next step, renew your mind, repent about this, that’s stretching. Why? because we’re training you to live a kingdom life. See, it’s in the church that you discover God’s heart for all the other areas. You discover what he wants his kingdom to look like in those spaces. So it’s the training center, and this is really important, it’s the standard-bearer. We’re not supposed to just declare the kingdom, we’re supposed to demonstrate it to the world. We’re supposed to be the standard.
Like can you imagine a ship coming into a harbor, and the harbor is an absolute chaos. Everything is broke down, run down, there’s no one working, there’s no fuel, there’s like boats flipped upside down half floating, half sinking, you know as green monsters kind of coming up and out like — that Harbor wouldn’t teach that ship anything about sailing. But if a ship comes into a Harbor and it’s well run, and there’s workers on every dock, and there’s a place for every ship to pull in no matter how broken it is, and there’s fresh fuel, and there’s energy and excitement, and there’s a welcoming spirit, and there’s a place where a ship, if it’s so broken, it can even be dry docked for a while to be put back together. All the sudden that’s teaching that ship what sailing is all about. Okay, so my question for you is this, the way you engage here is that a picture of the standard of the kingdom of God. Because it’s really hard to bring these things into submission and surrender to the lordship of Jesus if we don’t live in submission and to surrender to the lordship of Jesus here. Like so when you walk in here, is it a picture of the kingdom of God? But just think about it, this is standard right, we’re trying to show the world what the kingdom looks like. So when you show up, when you show up, when you’re here and you engage with people, are you engaging with the people in this room the way we want to teach people how to engage with their families? When you’re here and you’re learning, are you learning and teaching, listening and sharing the way we want people to do in education? Are you treating the lost the sick and the broken the way we want people to be treated in health care? Are you doing things with integrity and character and excellence? Like here, like do you come with integrity, and character, excellence? Like if you register for something, do you actually show up to the thing that you’ve registered to? Do you do things in such a way that we would say to the business world? This is how you do life, this is excellent, this is faithful, this is serving do you serve other people the way we want the government to serve in the kingdom. Are you catching this? Come on because this is the standard so we can’t get all grumpy about how the government doesn’t serve the people and then not actually model that standard to the government.
Do you use social media in a way to tell the stories of light or stories of darkness as a standard? Do you use sports your team’s that you’re on here that you engage with people in a team and know each other’s names and cheer each other on and coach the way we want the kingdom and sports? Do you use technology for light instead of darkness? And here’s the deal, when you’re here, do you engage your group, your team, the atrium, the parking lot? Do you show up in our gatherings in a way that you can say to the world, this is the standard of the kingdom of God? We are the people responsible to not just declare to demonstrate. People should be able to come into our atmosphere and be so inspired by the kingdom of God that it teaches them how to bring the kingdom of God in their areas without words. If you lead a team, you should lead your team with such excellence that you just taught somebody how to lead a sports team or a business team. If you have a group, you should be so invested in that group that you’re showing people what family looks like in the kingdom of God. Does this makes sense to you? See, we literally need to be able to say to the world, look at us, this is what the kingdom is like. We’re here to represent or represent the kingdom of God to the world. So can we see the kingdom in your life when we gather, that’s a fair question isn’t it? Kind of looking at me, like this — I just come here because I’m tired. I know, come here and be tired, but engage in a way that is an atmosphere of faith, hope, and love. That literally shows the world, this is key — like, oh man, I could go down this path. Like just hear me, lost people show up, this is why I push on you. And some of you are like, why you always wants us to respond, why you want us to worship, why you want us to engage. Because I want you to show the world the kingdom of God. And if we’re not willing to demonstrate an atmosphere of faith, hope, and love, why on earth do we expect them to trust Jesus for their life.
Listen to me it is really hard to bring things into submission to surrender to the lordship out here if we’re not doing it here. It’s even harder when we’re not doing it in here. That’s why, Jeremiah 29, God says, “Seek the peace and the prosperity of the city.” In other words we are the stewards of hope, we’ve got to steward that well. And listen, I get it, some of you are here and you’re like, “Alright, bro, this whole thing, hope, I don’t have a lot of hope in my own life right now. It’s really hard to give what you don’t have. And I totally get it, like, it’s hard to be excited about a movement of hope when you don’t feel like you have hope for you. So the question then is, where does hope come? Well, hope doesn’t come from my circumstances, it’s not a wishful thinking, hope is not found in the things of the world, hope is a person and his name is Jesus. Because of what Jesus did yesterday, I can have hope today. This is why first Timothy 1:1 says Jesus is our living hope. What you think about, this is really important. It says, he is living hope, that means, when I follow Jesus, I’m actually following hope. That means when I follow Jesus, that’s when I find hope. That means when I take next steps I’m moving my life towards hope. That means when I am moving after Jesus I am walking in the pathway of Hope. When I follow the living hope, I’m living hope. When I follow the living hope, I’m a living hope.
See, hope is not found in your work, your circumstances, the things of this world, your money, your influence, he’s founded Jesus, the living hope. And here’s the crazy part, like think about it, Peter, one day, he’s at his boat, right? And Jesus comes walking by, hey Peter, come follow me. And Peter very quickly figured out, hope wasn’t found in his fishing business, hope was walking on the shore and he was going to follow him. Or how about when Jesus shows up to Matthew, the tax collector, hey Matthew, follow me. Matthew figured out very quickly that hope wasn’t found in money, but hope was right in front of him and he was going to choose the living hope. How about the woman at the well where Jesus comes and invites her to a new way of life, she figured out very quickly, hope wasn’t found in her former lifestyle of partying and being out late at night, hope was standing right in front of her. How about the paralyzed guy sitting on a map, defined by comfort and convenience, Jesus says, “Do you want to get well?” He figured out very quickly hope wasn’t in comfort nor convenience, hope was standing in front of him and he was going to choose the living hope. See, here’s the paradox, we don’t actually follow Jesus sometimes. And then wonder why we don’t have hope, you say bro, you don’t know my circumstances, my situation, you’re right I don’t. But I also know very often we turn away from Jesus and then wonder why we don’t have hope. And then we cry out to God and say, “God, I’m hopeless, help me.” And you know what I think God says, I think God says, what do you think I have in heaven that’s better than Jesus.
Like I’ve already given you all the hope there is. So to turn to Jesus is the turn to hope. To choose Jesus is the choose hope. That’s why any area of your life that has no hope is an area that’s out of alignment with the living hope. Are you with me on this? Which is why I think what he’s saying to us in this missional move is follow me. Because he’s saying follow me, I’m The living hope, and you’ll live hope. This whole missional move is not about money or buildings or campuses, it’s about you following the living hope and allowing hope to be like a wake that cascades out of your life into the world around you. In fact think about these couple verses, you can just, this week, look at them yourself. Jesus called out to them and said, come and? Say it with me. And I will transform you into men who catch people for God. He says, hey, when you follow me, the living hope, guess what, you transform. And I transform you. So here’s the question, are you changing? Are you different than you were six months ago, a year ago, two years ago? Because if you’re following the living hope, he says he changes you. And you know what changes, your purpose. From now on you’ll catch people for God. You’ll become a hope carrier instead of living for yourself. Or how about Mark chapter eight, that says, if any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way. Take up your cross and? If you try to hang on to your life you will lose it, but if you give it up for your life for my sake and for the sake of the good news you will save it. You know what he says? He says to follow me means you have to give up your own way. So where in your life are you doing things your way?
Where are things not in submission and surrender to the lordship of Jesus, that’s a place that he’s inviting you to bring back into alignment so you can have hope. Or how about the next one that says, “Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ.” You know what he says, he says anybody who’s following Jesus should be able to say, I don’t really know what’s going on here, just follow me because I’m following hope. I don’t have it all figured out, I don’t understand how this all they works, I just know living hope is going this way so I’m going with that, so you just follow me, we can go find some hope together. So here’s the question, if we followed you, would we be following Jesus? It’s a fair question, right? Like if we all worship the way you worship, would we be a worshiping Church? If we all gave the way you gave, would we be a generous church? If we all serve the way you serve, would we be able to serve you? We all had the passion that you have, would we be a passionate church? if you were the standard and we all followed you as the standard of the kingdom of God, would we be a church that models the kingdom of God? If we all missional move the way you’re going to missional move, would we missional move? It’s a fair question, right? Okay, and one last one, Matthew 28, then Jesus came close to them and said, “Hear me, the harder the thing is that God asks you to do, the closer he’ll move into you.” He says all authority has been given unto me go, make disciples, we’ll fast forward here to get to this? And, oh come. He basically says, “Hey, if you’re going to follow me, you got to teach other people to follow me too. It’s a paradox to say, I’m following Jesus but I never help anyone else follow him. Why? Because when I’m living hope, I can’t help but give hope. And so don’t feel guilty, look to grace. This isn’t try harder, behave better, do more; don’t try harder, trust more. Don’t behave better, believe deeper. Don’t do more, receive more.
And stop looking at what’s wrong with you, and start looking at what’s right with Jesus. This is why 2 Corinthians 3 says, But we with unveiled faces, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord Jesus, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory. He says when you look at Jesus you go from glory to glory, victory to victory, mountaintop to mountaintop, breakthrough to breakthrough, he changes you. This is why every blind person that Jesus healed started following. Why? Because they couldn’t see Jesus but the moment they could see, they couldn’t help but follow. Because the first time their eyes opened, they were looking in the face of living hope. So follow me I think Jesus is saying to us in this. Because to follow Jesus is to follow hope. And this world is full of storms and giants, mountains and impossibilities. Yeah, Jesus says he has overcome the world. And if we will follow him, we will follow hope. When you follow the living hope, you live hope. And when you live hope, you can’t help but give hope to the areas of life you go into every single day. Hopelessness comes from a face that is looking at something other than Jesus. So lift your eyes and look to the hope so that you may carry that hope.
So close your eyes with me, here’s the question I want to ask you. I want you to think about this with me for one second. One day on the shore Peter was standing by his boat and Jesus came walking by. He said follow me, I want you to think about where you are in most days of your life. Like Peter, where are you, if you’re a student, picture yourself in school. You’re a stay-at-home parent, you’re at home. You’re a business person, maybe it’s in the office or on the road. You’re in healthcare, picture yourself in the hospital or the office that you work in. Where are you on most days, what’s the area of life that you exist in. Now, I want you to think about Jesus walking into that space, looking at you and saying, “Follow me.” And my guess would be, you know exactly what that means. For Peter was letting go of his boat. For Matthew it was letting go of his money and being a tax collector. For the woman at the well, it was letting go of her sinful and broken life. What’s it for you today? When you hear Jesus whisper follow me. What’s he asking you to pick up or set down? What’s he asking you to get started or to let go of. What is he asking you to move towards or away from. See the goodness of the Holy Spirit is he shows us those things. Not out of guilt but out of grace to say living hope, is in this direction, not that direction. So follow him, whatever that thing is that you feel like he’s inviting you, like do it this week, like actually do it. Because in doing it you’re choosing hope. And we all need hope. Jesus, thank you that you are the living hope, may we learn to follow you with everything that we’ve got, that we may live hope, that we may give hope, and be a hope carrier everywhere we go. We love you Jesus, in your name we pray, amen.