Pioneers are bold and courageous! They go beyond the horizon, they push the limits, they see what’s beyond the bend, they go further and farther than those before them, they blaze new trails, they create the future. A pioneer is someone who moves into the unknown for the good of others and the glory of God. When we ask, listen, and respond by obediently taking next steps, we not only bless those who come behind us, but our lives are blessed as well. If we are going to have the courage to move forward, we need to look back at where God has been faithful in the past.
Alright. Hey, everybody. Welcome to Valley Creek Church. We’re so glad that you’re here. Whatever campus you’re at, Denton, Flower Mound, Lewisville, The Venue and extension site watching or listening online somewhere in the world, can we just welcome each other together for a moment. We are so glad that you are here with us and we really believe we are better together. So, welcome to Valley Creek. I’m so glad you’re here with us at the beginning of the year. And if you missed last week, we kicked off the year by talking about our theme for the year. You see, on most years at Valley Creek, we have a theme, a word, a big idea, if you will, for the year and it, kind of, guides everything that we do. We spend a lot of time seeking God, listening to his voice, asking for wisdom, and then when God speaks to us, we take that theme, and we build everything we do around it for the upcoming year. And when God gives our family a word, there’s a special favor and a special grace on that word for that season if you lean into it. If you lean into that space, in that season, God does something extraordinary in your life throughout the year, and so it becomes like a vision if you will, that’s like a guardrail that constrains us, that helps us move in the right direction all year long.
And so, we started last week by telling you that the theme for 2019 is “Pioneer”. That our theme for this next year is to take new ground together. That this is our year to increase, to advance, to move forward, to expand in our lives, in our church, in our city, and in our culture. And I don’t know about you but I love Pioneers. I love the concept of pioneering. When you think about pioneers, you think of words like bold, adventurous, courage, faith, initiative, the unknown. Pioneers go beyond the horizon, around the next bend. They go further and farther than those before them. They blaze new trails, they create the future. You see, pioneers refuse to settle because they believe there is always more. And so they go into the unknown and discover new things for the glory of God because pioneers really believe that with God, all things are possible. They believe that if God is for us, then who on this earth can be against us? And we define the pioneer. We simply said a pioneer is someone who moves into the unknown for the good of others and the glory of God. That’s a pioneer.
Pioneer is someone who moves into the unknown for the good of others and the glory of God. They want to see God’s kingdom come, his will be done. They want to see all things submitted and surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus. They want to go into every wild, unruly, broken and dark place, and bring that thing into submission to Jesus so that it becomes fruitful and life giving. See, pioneers lay down their lives so other people can live in freedom. And you are created a pioneer. You were made in the image and likeness of the ultimate pioneer, God, who pioneered the heavens and the earth which means you were made to move mountains, walk on water and fight giants. And I know last week, when I shared with you the theme for the year is pioneer, some of you, you freaked out a little bit and you think it’s like a history lesson, or you get so overwhelmed and like, “I’m not a pioneer. I don’t know about this thing.” Okay. Yes, you are. You’ve already been pioneering, and you don’t even realize it. If you’re the first person in your family to believe in Jesus, you’re a pioneer in faith for your entire family lineage.
If you’re the first person in your family to want to get up and go to church every single week, you’re pioneering church for your family. If you’re the first person in your family to go to college, you’re a pioneer. If you’re the only person in your work that does things with character and integrity, you’re a pioneer. If you’re the only student on your team, or in your class that believes in Jesus, you’re a pioneer. In fact, every next step you’ve ever taken in your life is pioneering. Our whole vision of helping people take a next step and moving forward with Jesus every time you walk, because you’re moving into the unknown, you’re going further and farther than you have before. And even if someone else has done that in their life, you haven’t done it in your life. So it’s pioneering. See, pioneers believe there is always more.
They believe this is not as good as it gets, that the best is yet to come. That our glory days, that your glory days are not behind you, they’re in front of you. Because God was good to you back then, God is good to you today, and God will be good to you in the future. We go from glory to glory, and victory to victory because Jesus is the narrow gate that leads to an ever widening life. The kingdom has come and more of it is coming in your life, in my life. And so, the best adventures have yet to be lived, the best stories have yet to be written, the best discoveries have yet to be made, the best life, the best of your life has yet to be lived. The best pioneering has yet to be done. And so that’s our theme for the year. You see, the difference between a pioneer and a settler is really simple. Settlers talk about moving forward, pioneers actually move forward. That’s the difference. Settlers sit in camp day after day, week after week, month after month, year after a year, and talk about, “One day we should move forward.” Pioneer say, “Today is the day we’re moving forward.”
I mean, do you remember the story in John chapter 5, you’ve got this guy who’s been paralyzed for 38 years and he’s sitting on a mat, 38 years. And Jesus shows up in his life and asks him, “Do you want to get well?” In other words, Jesus says, “Hey, you want to pioneer? You want to move into the unknown? You want to do something you haven’t done before?” And the guy very quickly, breaks in all the reasons why he hasn’t moved forward in his life, and Jesus stops him and he says, “I don’t care about what you did back then, I want to know, what do you want to do today? I’m not asking why you didn’t move forward back then, I’m asking you do you want to move forward today?” So, how about you? If you feel like you’re stuck, like you’re spinning, like your life has become small and narrow that you’re stuck in the mundane routine. It’s not about what you did back then, it’s about what do you want to do today? That’s why in Luke 11:28 says, “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and… Obey. There’s no blessing in talking about pioneering. The blessing comes when we actually get up and move forward. And so, we’re going to start the very second week of the year and we’re going to pioneer. We’re going to start moving forward in our lives, our church, our city, in our culture, and we’re going to kick off a new sermon series today called, Missional Move: Hope for the City. Now, if you’ve been in Valley Creek for any period of time, you know missional moves are really big deal around here. When we do a missional move, it’s, kind of, like all hands on deck. It takes everything we’ve got, it takes all of our faith, and be able to move forward where God is leading us. And when we take missional moves, we are never the same again.
And a missional move, this is how we define it. A missional move is simply when you take a next step so that someone else can take theirs. That’s all it is. A missional move is when you take a next step for the sole purpose to create space, opportunity, movement so someone else can take a next step on their journey with Jesus which means at the very heart of missonal moving is the spirit of pioneering. Because it’s moving into the unknown for the good of others in the glory of God. And this is the biggest missional move we’ve ever done. Over the next few weeks I’m going to tell you what our new vision is, where we’re going, what we believe God has in store for our church, and it’s incredible, and it is — it’s going to stretch everything within all of us, and it is going to take our faith, and it’s going to be this amazing journey. But before I can tell you where we’re going, we have to stop and look back. See, if we’re going to have the faith to move forward, we have to take a moment and look back so we can have the courage as we look at God’s faithfulness to move into the next season. In fact, if you think about the story of the Israelites for a moment, they’re sitting on the edge of the Jordan River and on the other side of the river is the Promised Land. It belongs to them, all they got to do is go and take it, but they were here 40 years earlier.
And they didn’t have the faith to go and fight the giants. So they spent 40 years wandering the wilderness, here God, brings them back by his grace for the second round and this time, Moses, he remembered what happened the last time. So he sits him all down and he tells them their story. The entire book of Deuteronomy is Moses telling the Israelites, “This is your story, this is what God has told us, and this is the calling God has put on our lives.” He says, “Don’t you ever forget you are slaves in Egypt and God came with his graciousness, and his mercy, and he set you free through signs and wonders, and he led you through the dessert and gave you manna from heaven and water from a rock, and you were rebellious, and you disobeyed, and you didn’t have the faith, but he didn’t give up on you, he didn’t leave you to die in the desert. He took care of you and for these last 40 years he’s been with you and he’s setting you up to go take that land, so do not forget who you are and what he has done. In fact, this is why Deuteronomy 4 says, “Be careful never to forget what you yourself have seen. Do not let these memories escape from your mind as long as you live. And be sure to pass them on to your children and your grandchildren.
Moses says, “Don’t you ever forget the stories of the goodness and the faithfulness of God in our lives.” You see, when we tell stories of who God is and what he’s done in our lives, it does three things. First thing it does is just — it just honors God. When you tell the story of what God has done, what you’re saying is that, “God, you’re the one who brought me to this point today.” Yeah, tell you something, you’re here today not because you chose to get here, because God carried you by his goodness and his graciousness. And when you tell that story, it just honors him. The second thing it does is it focuses our attention on God. When you tell the stories of what God has done, it takes your eyes off of the giants and fixes your eyes back on God. It takes your eyes off of the obstacles in front of you, and it reminds you to focus unto God who is with you. And the third thing that it does is that it builds our faith. When you tell stories of what God has done, it gives you the faith for what God wants to do. He’s got the faithfulness yesterday that gives you the faith you need for today. Because when you tell stories of what God did, all of a sudden, you start saying, “If God did it then, he’ll do it now.”
If God was good to us then, he’ll be good to us now. Why? Because Hebrews 13:8 says, “Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever.” My glory days aren’t back there, my glory days are out here. And if he was good to me then, he’s going to be good to me now. Okay. So, here’s what I want to do. Before we move forward into what’s next for Valley Creek, I want to tell you our story. I want to say in a sense, we’re sitting on the Jordan River, there’s a new ground that God wants us to take but you got to hear our story, and so many of us are new, and we don’t know what that story is. And so, I believe there’s five major movements in the story of our tribe. That there’s five major chapters if you will, that God has written in our story together. And I want to tell you those to build your faith, so we can move forward. And so, here’s what I want to invite you to do, will you just lean in and let God build your spirit for this next few moments, okay?
This is the story of us. This is us. First thing that happened to us is we climbed the mountain called Following the Cloud. Eight years ago, the founding pastor of this church, Pastor Kevin, felt like God was calling him to be a missionary in China. Pastor Kevin was an amazing pastor and he shepherded this church incredibly well, and God was calling him to this new season. And so, the elders prayed and came together in unity and said, “Yeah.” And so, they blessed him, and they sent him, and then they had to figure out who is going to be the next pastor. I was one of the pastors on staff at the time, and they went through the process and prayed, and came to unity, and they felt like God was calling me to step into this role in the next season and so, we did, and I was 29 years old. I was 29 years old. And what you have to understand is I had preached like maybe 10 messages in my entire life. I had no idea how to preach. I had no idea how to lead a church. I had no idea how to lead a staff. And all of the sudden, I’m the new pastor and it’s like, “Have fun, you know? Like, here we go.” And it’s like, “Okay.” I had no idea.
I got up on the first weekend and I’m like, dear Jesus, how do we do this? I’m not even sure what we’re supposed to be doing. And so, we got started and we weren’t sure what to do and so we had this really novel idea. We said, “What if we just ask God what he wants us to do and then just do that no matter what it is, no matter how crazy it sounds, no matter if we understand it or get it. Let’s just ask him. God, what do you want us to do? And when we hear him, let’s just do it.” And that’s what we did. And we started to believe that we could hear God’s voice. We started to believe that God would lead us one step at a time. You see, following the cloud is a picture of the Israelites going from Egypt to the Promised Land. God gave them a cloud, his presence and he just said, “Just follow me. Where I go, you go. When I stop, you stop. It doesn’t matter if it looks crazy. It doesn’t matter if it makes no sense. Just follow me and the best possible picture of your life will emerge.”
That’s what we started doing. That’s where the whole concept of next steps came from because we started to realize God doesn’t lead us in giant leaps. He leads us in small steps. And if we’ll just have the courage to take each step he’s giving us even if we don’t get it, the best possible picture of our lives will emerge. So we started saying things like this. Just ask, listen, and respond. Ask God what he wants to do. Listen to his voice and then have the faith to respond and move forward and that’s how we started to lead this church and live our lives. Psalm 1:19 says, “Your word is a lamp into my feet and the light into my path”. In other words, usually God will show you your next step and the direction you’re going and that’s it because he wants you to be desperately dependent upon him.
And so, all of a sudden, we became the people that followed the cloud. We follow the cloud the way we lead our church. And then, we started to follow the cloud the way we live our lives, the way we lead our families, the way we make business decisions, the way we make school and career and calling decisions. We became people that started to take one next step at a time with God. No matter how crazy it seemed, we said, “God, we will follow.” And as we climb that mountain and then that started to become part of our life, then, we started to climb this next mountain called valuing the presence of God. See, as we started following the cloud wherever he wanted us to go, what God kind of did is he dropped in our hearts this desire to know him. And the only way I know how to say it to you is when we first started this like it was about eight years ago, like in our minds, we just said something like this, we said, “We just want to be a worshiping church.” We didn’t even know what that meant, but that’s just what we started. We just wanted to be a worshiping church. Why? Because, we just discovered this thought that we’re like I don’t want to study about God. I want to know God.
I don’t want to just learn about God. I want to encounter God. And all of the sudden, we started to realize, “Wait a second. God’s presence is actually here. He actually wants to meet with us and come and be among us.” And we started to have this faith and this belief and so we started to lean in to worship. We started to value his presence above all the programming of the church. And it was about that time that I started saying crazy things to you like this. I would say things to you and say if your life is so busy that you can’t be here for an hour and five-minute service, I would rather you have come on time and leave early than come late and stay until the end. In other words, I said I would rather you’ll be here for worship than the sermon because the sermon is not the main event. The presence of God is. That’s crazy. Who says that in church? People who follow the clouds say that. And we started to believe it and God’s presence started to show up
And he started to change us. And we started believing that we were created and called to worship. And all of a sudden, we started to understand God inhabits the praises of his people. See, when we worship, what happens is we build the throne room — a throne right here in the middle of our room for Jesus. And when we worship, we build this spiritual throne and Jesus himself comes and he sits to rule and reign over the fear and anxiety and doubt and brokenness and pain and dysfunction of your life and my life. See, his presence is the greatest change agent on the face of the Earth. I’ll never forget as we started valuing God’s presence, the first time that a big, old guy came up after service. He was big, you know, one of those muscle guys. He’s got like muscles coming out of his neck kind of guys. Do you know what I’m talking about? The last kind of guy you would ever think would be crying. And he comes up after a service and he’s like, “Man, I don’t know what just happened to me, but…” snot bubbles coming out, “I felt something I never felt before. What’s happening to me?” It’s like he’s totally lost. And I remember it’s the presence of God changing his life.
Because the message wasn’t that good that day. It was the presence of God. And then, the very next day, here he comes and he brings another one of his friends with muscles coming out of his neck and then he comes up and he’s like, “Look, my friend, he’s doing. Well, I don’t know what’s happening to me?” You know, like there’s the whole thing and all of a sudden we started realizing, oh my goodness. If we will welcome Jesus in this place and value his presence, He will change our lives. So we are people who value His presence and as we started to discover that, we started climbing the mountain called developing leaders. See, as we did what God asked us to do and we started to value His presence in our gatherings as a people, we started to grow. The first three years we did this journey together, we grew by about 50 to 100 people a month. We were one of the fastest growing churches in America for multiple years in a row. People just kept coming because we just did what God said. And God’s presence was here. And I remember all of a sudden, I’m like, “Lord, how are we going to take care of all these people?
So, God, I need you to give me some leaders. And I never will forget when God said, “If you want leaders, build them.” And I remember saying back to God, “I don’t want to build them, I want you to bring them.” And he said, “I already have.” And yet, when I looked around, I didn’t see very many leaders. And what God started to do for us is He started to change our mind on what a leader was. You see, all of a sudden, we started to realize that there is a redemptive potential within every person in this world. We started to, all of a sudden, understand that in Jesus every one of us is created to be a leader. Think about it. You got the Holy Spirit of God inside of you. The Kingdom of Heaven is within you. You are the head and not the tail. You have the keys of the kingdom. You have been empowered and commissioned and sent by Jesus. Tell me why you’re not a leader? But we didn’t believe it. And so all of a sudden we start looking at the Bible and Acts 4:13 says, “When they saw the courage of Peter and John.” The courage, Acts 4:13, “When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized they were unschooled ordinary men, but they had been with Jesus.” All of a sudden, we started realizing, wait a second, regular people become amazing kingdom leaders when they’re with Jesus.
When they just started following Jesus, all of a sudden they become who God has called them to be and all of a sudden we created this developmental culture where we said we want to help you become who God has called you to be. We want to create space for you to try and to fail and to discover everything you’ve been created to be. We want to cheer people on as they’re taking next steps and all of a sudden the whole face of our church started to shift. See, 95% of our staff as we’ve grown all these years have been raised up internally, 95% are ordinary unschooled men and women. What does that make the other 5%? I don’t know, maybe they’re extraordinary and educated. I’m not sure.But hear me, and it’s not just them because everyone started to grow as a leader. And you see, here’s what you have to understand, we discovered on that mountain all of a sudden that we’re not trying to give you a really good church experience anymore.
Like, I knew there was something about this church, right. Why? Because we’re not a resort, we’re a training center. This is not Burger King, have it your way. This is Home Depot, you can do it, we can help. Right? And that’s what we discovered. And we actually started to believe that. And the best church experience you will ever have is when you’re in a atmosphere of people who believe in your redemptive potential. And we didn’t just develop leaders for the church, listen to me, we’ve developed moms and dads to be leaders in their homes and students to be leaders in school and business people to be leaders in the market place and in the government and the world around us. Now, this becomes the normal way we live our life. And the guys are so excited, they want me to move on to the next one that we climbed called “Making Mission Moves”. Because as we started growing what happened was we had one campus, the Flower Mound Campus, it was very small at that time. We had five services and we were turning people away every single week. So we knew we needed to do something. What do you do? We started praying, we started asking God and we knew. We knew we were not supposed to build a mega building. We knew it. Everyone in the world that I went and sought counsel from said, “Build a giant building.” And yet the only voice that mattered said, “Don’t build a giant building.”
And so we wrestled and we prayed and we thought, well, what are going to do? Well, this is where the mission moves came into place for us. And we felt like God was inviting us to go beyond where we just –we were to go into the new neighborhoods with grace and truth. You see, what we started to believe was that we wanted to expand Flower Mound and basically double its size and then say, “We’re never going to build Flower Mound any bigger,” why? Because if we can’t turn the people that come here into kingdom leaders, at some point in time, you lose the right to keep gathering people into you space. Like, I wholeheartedly believe that churches that build these giant, big buildings, that’s great, build them, but then make sure you’re making disciples and kingdom leaders because at some point if you can’t multiply out and send new people, you lose the right to gather those people. They need to go somewhere else where they’re actually becoming disciples and not just becoming consumers or a crowd. So it felt like God was inviting us to make missional move, Acts 1:8, when Jesus says, “Go to Jerusalem, your City, Judea, Samaria, your region in the ends of the earth.” And we doubled our Flower Mound Campus and that was it. We launched our Denton Campus, the first campus that we ever had in another city and became one church that met in multiple campuses, and said, “This is our model.” And then we started a ministry school for church planters in India, and since that time, we have planted more than 150 churches in India. Do you understand how much faith that took? The answer is no, it took a lot. Because that was massive, but it changed the trajectory of who we were.
Because you see, it wasn’t just a short while after that, that all of a sudden we made missional move breakthrough and we launched the Lewisville Campus and the next step center. And as Lewisville has gotten going, and the next step center has gotten started, the next step center is just serving people, no strings attached, winning awards from the school district. What church center gets awards from the public school district? And the government, and agencies because we just went to serve. And what’s amazing is, hear me, Denton was called the graveyard for church plants, and no one was going to Lewisville to do church. So, we said, “Let’s go where no one’s going.” And we went to Denton, and we went to Lewisville, and if you just look at the atmosphere of those two cities in the last few years, the cities are changing. Why? I’m not saying we’re taking credit for it, I’m saying when the kingdom shows up, everything starts to rise. Okay.
So what we decided on this mountain is we will always give our best. We don’t keep it for ourselves. We move into new neighborhoods with grace and truth. And then the last one is living the three circles. Maybe the most defining thing of our church has been the three circles, and you say, “What is that and where did it come from?” Well, for years, I was super discontent when I would look out at the church world beyond us sometimes. People would say to me all the time, “So, what kind of church are you?” Because we’re non-denominational church, we don’t necessarily have this tribe thing that we fit into. Who cares? So we didn’t know it, so we would just, kind of, say this, “I don’t know. We’re a Jesus-focused, spirit-filled, life-giving church.” That’s how it started, like I don’t know how to define us. We’re focus more on what Jesus has done for us than what we have to do for him. We’re spirit filled, we want to walk into character and the power of Jesus, and we’re life giving, we’re on mission to receive and release the life of God wherever we go.
And I would look at these other churches and there will be some churches that man, they got grace and they were so good, but it never moved them to actually do anything in the world. And then there would be these churches that, man, they knew how to worship and meet with the presence of God, but they never really built any kingdom leaders, they never stepped outside of themselves. And then you see this churches, they could crush it, like developing leaders and getting people saved and serving but they didn’t do it very graciously. They did it more out of religion. And so I have this massive discontent in my spirit like, ”Lord, we’re supposed to be a part of all these, what are we doing?” And I know we wrestled and we prayed, we would draw things on the board all the time, and then just one day, I don’t know, just these three things that we drew on the board, receive his grace, experience his presence, and release his kingdom. And we kind of took these three circles and pulled them together and all of a sudden we started saying, “Wait a second. This is the Gospel.”
You see when we receive his grace, we then want to experience his presence, and then we’ll start releasing his kingdom. And all of a sudden, we started to understand, “Hang on a second, everything starts with the grace of Jesus.” When the grace of Jesus comes into my life, he doesn’t’ just forgive me of my sins, he makes me a completely new creation. And so we started to discover that everything that was true of Jesus was true of us. And we heard the most important whisper of all, that in Jesus, you are the Father’s beloved son or daughter in whom he is well pleased. Before you do anything right and even after you do everything wrong, that one statement changed the entire trajectory of our church forever. Because when you receive that kind of grace, you can’t help but want to go and experience his presence. Because now, I’m not ashamed, I’m not afraid, I know he loves me. I can go right in and meet with my Father. And when I’m enjoying his presence, guess what? Now, I feel empowered to, like, actually have a purpose. I don’t have to spend my life saying, “Why on earth am I here?”
What was I created for? I know what I was created for, I know I’m now part of advancing my Father’s kingdom. And if you start seeing how this play together, if I receive his grace, I’ll experience his presence and I’ll release his kingdom. When I know who I am, I know who God is, I know what I’m created to do. When Jesus restores my identity, he reconciles my relationship with God and he redeems the purpose for which I’m created. When I know I’m a beloved son or daughter, I will run to my Father and spend my life releasing his kingdom. But the opposite is also true. If I resist his grace, I’ll be afraid of his presence, and I’ll spend my life trying to do my own thing. When I don’t know who I am, I have no idea who God is, I have no idea what I’m created to do. When I believe I am an orphan, or on my own, I will be afraid of the Father and I will spend my life trying to become significant. But what’s worse, is what religion does is religion says you need to try really hard to earn your way back into God’s presence so you can pay for the brokenness of your past.
You need to try harder, behave better in order to work off all of God’s anger and frustration towards you so you can finally be forgiven and set free. This is the cycle of religion, the cycle of performance and that’s an exhausting way to live. But we are not driven by expectations. We are drawn by grace. And what we discovered is that identity determines behavior. You who are determines what you do and if you’ve been with us, you know this. This is what we believe, fish — Swim. Birds. — Fly. Cows. — Moo. Come on, dogs. — Bark. Cats. — Meow. Sinners. — Sin. Righteous people. — Live righteously. Beloved sons and daughters live free in their father’s kingdom. When you understand that your identity has been changed in Jesus, it changes who you are and how you live. And what this helped us discover was our core theology that God is good. Jesus has forgiven me. I am loved and everything is possible. That’s the gospel. And we will never walk away from that truth.
That’s us. In about 15 minutes, that’s the last eight years. That’s the journey we’ve been on with Jesus and that’s humbling. Think about what he has given to us, what he has entrusted us with, where he has led us and how he has provided for us. You want to talk about a faith builder. You want to talk about looking back to have faith to move forward. Yeah. It was hard and it wasn’t always easy, but it’s incredible. And I know some of you are sitting here and you’re like, “Bro, what does this had to do with me?” The answer is everything — everything. You say, “How?” Because, everything you like about the Valley Creek — go to the next thing, please — everything you like about Valley Creek comes from these. Everything you like about this church comes from these. You say, “No. There’s things I like about church.” No. Because, listen, five years ago, every seat that anyone is sitting in here today and any of our campuses didn’t even exist, five years ago, any seat that you’re sitting in right now, it did not exist. You have a seat today because we followed the cloud, valued the presence of God, developed leaders, made a missional move and had a theology that says, “We are free in Jesus and now, we can go and do and live a different life.” That’s why it has something to do with you.
You see, at the end of the day, this is either your history or this is your inheritance. I want you to think about this. This is either your history or this is your inheritance. It means one of two things. It means you either climb these mountains by faith or you’re now enjoying them by sight. It’s either your story. You climb this or now you’re here with us and you’re getting to look back and enjoy what’s been pioneered for you. And the truth is most of us in this room, this is our inheritance because most of us didn’t climb most of these. I want you to think about an inheritance for a second and an inheritance is when you get something for free that someone else paid for. Inheritance is awesome. Inheritance is an advantage. It’s a head start. An inheritance usually allows you to start at a point in life that you could never get to on your own. So someone else paid for this, served for this, led this, prayed for this. They created an amazing inheritance and now it’s your responsibility to steward it.
You say, “How do I steward it?” By using it to take new ground, see, we’ve all seen examples of people that get an amazing inheritance but they blow it, right? A guy that gets all kinds of money as an inheritance and he squanders, somebody who gets a business, the family business, but they blow it, someone who gets a reputation or a family name but they blow it. An inheritance is meant to be stewarded and how do you steward it? By using it to take more ground for the people behind you, that’s why Jesus says in Mark 4, “Consider carefully what you hear. With the measure you use it will be measured to you in even more. Whoever has will be given more. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.” In other words, Jesus says, “Hey, whatever you do with the mountains I’ve already given you will determine the mountains that you’re going to take.” However you steward what I’ve already said to you determines what you’re going to hear from me in the future. If you’ll be faithful in the little, I’ll entrust you with more.
You see, what you have to understand is that if we take new ground but we lose these mountains, we did not advance. If we take new ground, but we lose all this, we did not advance. Think of pioneering. Pioneers move forward. They increase and advance and they use the ground they’ve already taken to take new ground. They don’t give up what they already have to go get new stuff. Come on. Columbus didn’t lose Europe to get America. Lewis and Clark didn’t give up the east to get the west. Neil Armstrong didn’t give up the Earth to get the moon, I’m just saying. But why? Because pioneers use what they have to take new ground. And this is the difference between spiritual pioneers and spiritual nomads. Spiritual pioneers increase and advance and take new ground while stewarding the old ground. Spiritual nomads show up and enjoy the ground other people have taken. And the church is way too full of spiritual nomads. Think about this, pioneers move forward for the good of others. Nomads move around for the good of themselves. Are you with me on this?
A nomad doesn’t have a place, doesn’t have a home, doesn’t have a family. They just show up when everyone else has already done the pioneering. And they show up and enjoy the ground other people have taken for them. And if you look at the American church, this is how the American church often lives. We go to the next greatest thing and the big thing over here. And this church is happening and this church is doing this and all these Bible study and all this book and all this song and all these things and we go from place to place to place as nomads trying to consume something to satisfy something inside of ourselves. In fact, if you’re a spiritual nomad, here’s what happens, you show up to consume when you’re hungry. If you’re a pioneer, you show up and contribute because you’re called. The problem is, is when you’re a nomad and you show up only when you’re hungry, you start to eat what’s available. The problem though is it never actually satisfies you. And you take two or three bites of it. Have you ever had one of these friends, like, in your life that maybe is a part of church, right? And they’re like, “Oh, this thing is amazing, everybody needs to come, it’s so good.” And by the time you get there, they’re already leaving, you’re like, “What’s up?” They’re like, “Oh, there’s something better over here, come over here with me.”
Probably he’s a little bit too close to home for some of us to really like lean into that space. Do you understand what I’m saying? Nomads are restless, pioneers have purpose. And you’re not a nomad. You’re a pioneer. So, hear me, you’ll need a history with God. You need a history. History is His story in your life. That’s all history is. You need a history with God. You need to be able to look back on things and say, “Remember when God did this and how He showed up there and how He was faithful to us then? And how he asked me to do something that I never thought that I could and I had this faith to move forward with Him.” You need a history with God and hear me, a history with God will always involve a history with His people. Because He’s building a family for Himself.
So if you’re actually following Him, He’s always bringing you into a family because He’s building a family for Himself. So what I’m trying to tell you, you need remember-when-we stories. You need remember-when-we — remember when we were just one campus? Remember when we had purple carpet as our carpet in a worship center? Remember when we launched Denton and launched Lewisville? Remember when we learned about grace? Remember when we discovered the goodness of God? Remember when we got rooted in Jesus? You need a history. Hear me. This is my history. I can leave today and no one can ever take this away from me. Because I climbed every one of these mountains with my best friends and with my family. So this is my history and you can’t take it away from me. I have a remember-when-we for all of these and you need one of those. The problem is, is you can’t have a remember-when-we if you’re never committed for a long enough period of time to actually build a history.
This is why Psalms 92:13 says, “Those who are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish.” Those who are planted, rooted, committed, those who stay there. A tree stays for seasons, plural. That’s why it flourishes. And here’s what we say — we say things like this, we say, “Bro, I go to church when I can.” Okay, but you don’t go to church, you are the church. Or we say things like this, you’ll hear people say this, they’ll say, “Well, I’m not a part of a local church because I’m not part of the big C church”. Okay. I guess, I am too. But every Christian needs a family and every family needs a home. And so, if you say those things, here’s what you’re saying, just say it differently and say it honestly, say, “I’m a spiritual nomad, not a spiritual pioneer,” because pioneers lay down their life so other people can have freedom. Nomads go where other people have already pioneered and show up to just consume the ground that’s already been taken. While nomads are consuming and complaining, pioneers are contributing and celebrating. Listen to me, if you’ve got time to consume and complain, it’s because you’re not pioneering because pioneers are too busy moving mountains, walking on water, fighting giants to complain.
Or consume. And the sad part is, is that pioneers have stories to tell about God. Nomads only have stories to tell about themselves. What stories do you tell? See, if you’re here and you’re like, “Yeah. But bro, you have no idea how I’ve been hurt in church. You think I want to that rodeo again?” Listen, I’m so sorry. If you’ve been hurt in any church at any point in time, will you on behalf of me, allow me to apologize for the church of Jesus hurting you, or your family, or anything in your life? That’s not God’s heart and that’s not God’s design. So don’t let man’s brokenness keep you from God’s purposes. You need a family. Hear me. You need to be in a church where you trust the leadership, where you believe in the vision, and you want to be a part of the culture. And if it’s not here, tell us. I’ll help you get anywhere. I don’t want you to be here if you don’t trust this, if you don’t love the vision, and you’re not excited about the culture. Let us help you get someone because you need a history with God and his people. Our faith is so often anemic because we can’t look back and have a storied run of seeing the goodness of God over time. So what happens is we start believing the dysfunction of the world instead of the goodness of God. You need to watch God be good to us so you actually start to believe he’s good to you. And so parents, here’s a really challenging question. Are you raising spiritual pioneers or spiritual nomads? Are you raising your kids to say, “We’re a family on mission,” or your kids like nomads?
Do they just go with you to consume where you want to consume in that season? Are your kids 20 years from now going to wake up and say, “Man, I got a history with God because I was a part of what my family was doing walking with Jesus in one church for a long time,” or they’re going to wake up and say, “Man, I don’t know. We kind of went to church if my parents felt like it and we went to a bunch of different churches because they didn’t like what was happening in here, what was happening in there,” but kids pick up on all of that stuff. Now hear me. Some of you, I know I’m making you uncomfortable. Listen, it’s okay to consume and enjoy, but at some point you got to start contribute and engage. We all start consuming and enjoying, every one of us. I don’t care if this is your history or not. Guess what, there’s a thousand mountains before here. So guess what, I show up right here consuming and enjoying. I now get a choice. Am I going to keep consuming and enjoying or am I now going to start contributing, and engaging, and writing a history with God that no one will ever be able to take away from me.
That’s how the Kingdom works. The 12 took ground for the 120, 120 took ground for the 3,000, the 3,000, the first church, took ground for the 5,000, took ground for Samaria, Judea, to Paul, and then Paul took ground for the ends of the earth. That’s how the thing goes. You with me on that? Listen to me. This is what I’m trying to tell you. You are given an inheritance from God to build a history with God. This is how it works. You have been given an inheritance from God to now build a history with God, and your history with God becomes someone else’s inheritance from God. You’ve been given everything you need to pioneer and move forward with God because someone else paid the way. You now get a choice of what you’re going to do with it. So moms and dads, are you building a history with God that will be an inheritance for your children? Students, leaders, Valley Creek, are you building a history with God? He will be able to give us an inheritance to someone else in the future because your history with God becomes someone else’s inheritance from God. Your ceiling becomes their floor. The ground you take, they get to start from. What you take by faith, they get to enjoy by sight and your summits become their base camps. You with me on that?
Hear me. Here’s what I’m trying to tell you. You are not made to hear about other people moving mountains, to watch other people walk on water and to celebrate other people fighting giants, no. You are made to hear about other people walking or moving mountains, to watch other people walk on water, to cheer other people on as they fight giants so that you have the faith to move your own mountains, to walk on water, and fight giants. And so — so here’s the deal. This is not one of those “You should have been here when” kind of churches. This is a “I am so glad you are here now. Let’s go write the next chapter together kind of church.”
You see, every one of us is right here. This is our base camp. All of this has been summited. All of this has led us up to here, so we’re all equal. If today is your first day or you’ve been here forever, we’re all equal. We start right here at the same place together. And if this is your history, thank you. Thanks for giving, and serving, and praying, and leading because your history is now an incredible inheritance for us. And we stand right here, and the glory days of Valley Creek aren’t back here. They’re out here. The best has yet to come. And so we are going to take what God has entrusted us with and we’re going to move forward together and write a new story as we steward the inheritance that God has given to us in a fresh and new way. You with me on that? So you want to know what’s next for Valley Creek? You got to come back next week.
Because I’m way overtime and we had to talk about what God has done to acknowledge that we need to steward that in order to take this. So Jesus, thank you so much for who you are in our lives. Thank you for today building our faith, reminding us of your goodness and your grace. Thank you that we all have been given an incredible inheritance from you and may we now use it to write a new history with you. Today we line up at base camp and we say the best of our lives, the best of Valley Creek is yet to come. Would you lead us into the future with courage and strength? We love you Jesus. In your name we pray, amen.