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Cycle of Grace: Significance


[Music] good morning everybody I'm Ben Fleming I'm the generations pastor here at Westside Church so I oversee birth through young adult and I get to finish up our series on the unhurried Soul right now with you this morning so if you want to turn to Matthew chapter three we're gonna get going in Matthew 3 verse 13 if you didn't bring your Bible that's all right we'll put it on the board for you okay and yes I agree with milia happy Super Bowl Sunday how many of you are cheering for the Rams yes sir with right how many gets here for the Patriots so you guys huh yeah a lot of dirty looks right there do you see that yeah you know where they are now and how many you're cheering for the the buffalo wings yeah the guacamole we got some guacamole fans out there today just gonna it's a beautiful beautiful American holiday isn't it want to say hello to everybody online that's watching one of the things that I do mostly with generations is I spend a lot of time with young adults so the 18 to 30 ish and so what I did this last weekend was I took them all to San Francisco to do missions trip on the on the city streets the Tenderloin district in San Francisco and reach out to homeless and a lot of that stuff the other thing that I did is I left them there last night and they are currently watching right now in the van on the way back and I'm here and once they realize that they're actually gonna be home a little too late for the game I think there's gonna be some tears so sorry about that but that's one of the things that's going on in generations ministry we also had winter camp just a couple of weeks ago we had 400 people at Washington family ranch and all these students students got saved lives impacted things turned around and an incredible thing always happens at winter camp and it did again God did an incredible thing thank you for volunteering helping out with that the great thing is is that we're planning on expansion we actually restricted attendance this last year but we got to have some conversations with the camp to figure out how we can expand and we might have as many as 200 more this next year attending winter camp and then of course man our children's ministry can I just brag on our kids ministry real quick and how awesome they are you guys if you don't have a kid and you don't spend any time in that hallway or this wing sometime go and find one of the workers and just encourage them tell them thank you so much for all that they're doing I mean they got to take care of my kids which is tough in and of itself but seriously we believe that the backbone of West Side Church is West Side kids and west side using Knicks next generation not because you know old people stink and we're trying to get them out as fast as possible that's not the case but but hey I said that's not the case but uh any healthy movement always has to consider the future and then you have to consider it again and again and again and again all of us will move into an area of our life where we're not maybe as relevant or as active as we used to be and eventually we're all going to move on we're all gonna die and then my my hope is that West Side church because of days like today we'll be continuing to grow and move and gain influence the church was not meant for you and me it was meant for us it was meant for all of us and so to continue that on we just need to always be praying for that always thinking about that next generation and considering what we can do it so if you as especially as our kids ministry grows you guys we have seen so much a huge increase of attendance especially at this service on weekends in West Side kids which is a huge win which means we always need more help so if you've thought man I maybe I'd like to do that or I like to get involved some way I am Telling You as a parent there's nothing more beautiful that you can do for the body of Christ then show a kid who Jesus is and so if you have the opportunity to do that come talk to me talk to somebody in the hallway we really want the help we need the help we want to continuing we want to continue growing West Side Church amen so if that is the central piece of West Side Church and I think of a good healthy Church always going forward is that we continue to grow the next generation I want to talk to you about what I think is the essential piece of this series the unhurried soul we've spent three weeks so far talking about how we eliminate the hurry and anxiety from our lives and how do we ultimately eliminate those things from our soul and so I'm gonna speak to you from the topic of significance today significance and so you're in Matthew chapter 3 verse 13 here we go says then Jesus went from galilee to the jordan river to be baptized by John but John tried to talk him out of it imagine trying to talk Jesus out of something that sounds hard how many times Jesus went oh no no don't you you're right you're right no I'm just I'm just God John tried to talk him out of it I'm the one who needs to be baptized by you he said so why are you coming to me Jesus said it should be done we must carry out all that God requires so John agreed to baptize him and after his baptism as Jesus came up out of the water the heavens were open he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him and a voice from heaven said this is my dearly loved son who brings me great joy this is the beginning of Jesus's formal type of ministry in this life now I don't know if you're anything like me I kind of like I'm tempted when I jump into a story I usually control myself but I am tempted to read the beginning of books and then read the end of books because if you're a writer or author anything like that you know the beginning is really really important the end is really really important and a lot of writers would like to say well you know but the actual stuff happens in the middle and the rest of us are like yeah but if I read the front in the back I kind of understand and get the gist and what happens at the back of Jesus's ministry so he dies on the cross he rises again from the grave he he sees his disciples and then he says I will leave with you my Holy Spirit so that I will be with you always even to the end of the age it is terribly important for you to know today because Jesus made it the priority at the end of his existence here in this practical way on earth it's very important for you to know that God is with you today and that's not based on your feelings and that's not always based on exactly your experience or what you are walking through I know at times we feel distant from God we feel as though he is not there and while I I want to acknowledge your feelings I also want to acknowledge that the greatness of God is that he has never left us or forsaken us and so if you feel alone or like you don't belong or abandon I want you to know that while you may have been Bandon in this world while you may have been left alone and left behind God has never done those things and I want to tell you it's more important for you to have God by your side than it is to have me by your side and so we can press into that today and be confident in that so we also could go back to the beginning what we just read so Jesus starts his ministry and what happens God affirms in front of everybody this is my son creating this identity for who he is he gets to the soul and the core of the matter right off the top now my son is four years old he's uh he's doing swim lessons at the Juniper Swim and fitness center and he any employees from the from the Swim Center here we got one all right yes and I promise it's gonna be a positive conversation okay but he's taken swim lessons he's in journey one and and I was watching them the thief flunked it the first time so we got to go back a second time and actually I'm pretty sure he didn't past yesterday either self or unroll and we show up and my son was telling me before we went he's like here's the deal dad I said you're gonna do so unless he said that's great I know how to swim and I was like you've never been in water and but he's confident that he knows the idea the steps right oh yeah we get out there and you kind of do the thing and then you stay up and and I like that mentality in a lot of ways I want him to start where Michael Phelps is and then maybe work his way back a little bit but we get there and what do we do he doesn't go in chest deep in the water he doesn't go in neck deep he doesn't he doesn't go into the deep end of the pool instead they sit on the stairs with their shins in the water and the teacher come gets all these cups or different you know things that they could just put a little bit of water and he gives one to each kid and he encourages them to get a little bit of water and put it on your shoulders okay now get a little bit of water and put on your other shoulder and then on your back and then get a little bit of water put it a little bit on your face and on your head eventually they're kind of doing it to each other you know cuz it's fun they do it to the instructor and all this stuff and and I I asked him why they do the things the way that they do and I promise in a healthy non helicopter parent way I was genuinely curious and he said here's the thing this is like a 19 year old kid preaching my sermon to me it was fantastic and I he said here's the thing all of these kids can swim at the very least all of them can float which is if you can float on your front and on your back for a certain amount of time you pass journey one and then you can move on in the next section of things he said all these kids when they walk into the door they can float because their bodies say that they can their anatomy the fact that they are human beings and not roxrite means that they can float right now so we spend so much time in journey one not necessarily teaching them these skills and you got a paddle like this and you got to use your feet in this way and then when you're facing in the water you turn to breathe like this and he said instead so much of journey one is simply about getting them past the fear and into the understanding that they are what their anatomy says that they are they can float and they have that ability and so with our soul so much of this conversation is not about simply practical things and ways and mechanisms that you can walk through life with eliminating hurry instead what God does for Jesus right at the beginning of his ministry and what I believe God wants to do for you and your soul today is get to the core of the issue and that is who you are and who you are created to be in Christ because God bringing this message to the world and him anointing Jesus in front of everyone led to this identity for Jesus here's a few ways that Jesus identified he said I am the way no one comes to the Father except through me because I am the son of God in whom my father is well pleased I am the way we come to the Father through Jesus he says secondly I am the bread of life I am your sustenance you need to regularly come and take from me so that you can continue to move and operate in my will he says I am the vine everything grows and begins for me and then finally at the end of that he says I am The Good Shepherd because of who God said Jesus was that makes all of these other things true and so because Jesus is who he says he is that means we get to come around to some real basic understanding of our own identity and now I love Lindsey referenced during worship today we were singing all these songs about love right and and I've spent enough time in church where I get tired of worship music all the time and that's not a holy thing to say I just do it you know oh look oh look it's good good father this is fun I've never sung this one he's a good so he is perfect in all of the ways you know and and be a little nice with me every one time you hear it I heard five okay but the thing about that is the thing that is wrong with my soul in the middle of all that is so often we actually get tired of the basic truths that Jesus has given not to satisfy our minds all the time but to satisfy our souls there is some basic identity that God has given to each one of us that is for every one of us that we shouldn't run away from sometimes in church we want like the deep thing when we don't even do the basic thing very well I just spent eight hours in a van down to San Francisco with a group of young adults in all they wanted were the deep conversations and I'm here for that I love talking about theology I love talking about the will of God and we covered it we talked about every single last bit of it we talked about homosexuality and what that means for the church we went down every single road that we could go down and the fact of the matter is is that every conversation we had you know what it came back around to the fact that Jesus came and he died on the cross for our sin he rose again for the grave and while he was here his main tagline was love God and love people maybe we shouldn't grow weary in doing good maybe we shouldn't grow weary or tired of the greatness of a love of God but instead we should allow it to wash over us like the waves of the ocean every single day and every single hour because I tell you this that God is not tired of pouring out his love on us even though we might be tired of the basics of Christianity or the genius that Jesus is maybe if we make a decision to say this is the thing and it's not just the starting point to something else then we discover our identity and our souls become unhurried so what is some of the identity that Jesus gives us he calls it and these are for everybody all right no matter what personality type you are no matter what your Enneagram says no matter what I don't know your Enneagram 17 and I don't even know how many numbers there are okay this is for all of us we are to be the light of the world which means that when we see darkness we don't stand in our own group of light and simply speak of the darkness that means we run to it for what is the point of a light if not to illuminate the dark we cannot be a church and we cannot be a people that would look at the darkness of the world and then when we would stand there with our mouths open wondering why they would ever make the decisions that they do maybe it's our job instead to run into those places and here's the big kicker maybe it's not always our responsibility to discover why and how people got to where they are you know Jesus didn't say and then this is how you're gonna do it disciples you're gonna go to places and you're gonna do a you're gonna do some surveys you're gonna make some discoveries and then you come back to me and we're gonna strategize about how this thing goes and said he goes here's the deal I'm leaving you my Holy Spirit and so now you are to go into Jerusalem Judea Samaria and even to the other most parts of the earth and you are to preach the gospel baptize them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit well I need to think about that first maybe some of us need to pray a little bit less now let me explain myself there are some things in life that God has made really clear you go and do this and we go well God do you really want me to do that and God's going yes God should I love that person I'm gonna fast about it no eat the food and then love the person stop wondering about it stop contemplating instead let us embrace this simple basic peace of our identity is that we are supposed to run into darkness and be the light that illuminates it secondly we are to be the salt of the earth I heard one biblical scholar say this means we as the church are called to be the people that help make life worth living we bring the flavour to the world I want to ask you this question are you making life worth living for somebody because it's part of your job as a Christ follower to do that and then finally and this isn't certainly the only things but these are some of the basic things God calls us to be a city on a hill now I think somewhere along the way church culture has created this city on a hill thing to be okay we are separated and even scripture says right we are we are set apart for other things but Jesus when he this language does not mean okay we're a city on a hill which means that we look at everybody else who exists in that darkness that exists down the hill and we say okay climb up faster you bleh-bleh oh yeah I think that's what they say I'm not an outdoors person yeah I like books and television a lot but we are not to call the look to look down the hill and to say man if you can just make this thing and because we are set apart and we are different and so you got to kind of earn your way up here instead the whole city on a hill idea that Jesus is communicating is that it should be clear to the people that don't currently exist within this community it should be clear to the city of Bend and in the area of Central Oregon that they can look and they can see the people of West Side and they can see the place of West Side and they could say oh there's Refuge I see it there's water there's food there's encouragement there's welcoming there it is we need to be easy to see in such a light not difficult to get to so these are for all of us now a lot of times this isn't where again we all want to really stop we don't want to say okay so we're all out of the world we're all salt to the earth we're all sitting on the hill this is fantastic it's great it's wonderful but what about me first of all let me tell you a couple things about the will of God I went over in the last service so I'm gonna try to do this efficiently all right let me tell you a couple of things about the will of God God is very it is not very often that God is concerned about exactly which house you live in in exactly which city and exactly which job you have that's gonna set somebody free in here tonight what if I don't find the one for me well then you're gonna marry the wrong one and that's gonna ruin romance for the world then they married the wrong one and they married the wrong we're all having spiritually illegitimate children running around everywhere because you blew it you know that did not go over well in my van down to San Francisco and um hey God is so he's so not that concerned with that gosh we want it right we want the win and we want the where can you tell me when it's gonna happen can you tell me where it's gonna be the job the money the relationships where I'm gonna live and I think so often we come to God and we're like look all these things the city on a hill thing the light of the world that's fine but I really need to know which great I'm supposed to teach this here I'm really caught between 3rd and 5th grade and I think God would look at us in so many of the situations where we would wonder about his will in those specific ways and this is gonna frustrate some of you you're gonna hate me right now it's okay my emails s mikkel at Westside Church said oh are everybody's laughing except Steve and I think God would look at you and you asked a lot of these questions and God will go I don't care you pick Oh No look if God wants you in a specific place he's gonna get you there I promise you you won't miss it you know the whole story of Jonah thing he's like look do you take a boat take a fish I don't care you're calling in a buck I'll see you there God can hook up that ride he'll send an uber you'll be ok you know and God's but look I don't care God is so worried he's so not worried about your when and your what he is infinitely worried about your how and your why why are you doing it how are you doing it and it always comes back around to the how is we are to be the light of the world we are to be the salt of the earth we are to love God and we are to love people don't get tired of the greatest how and why ever this is the goal this is the will of God and so a few things to help you along your way because I do believe that that you do have a personalized set of skills I do believe that you do need to be somebody that God works through in a very specific way and he has equipped you to work through it in that way so here I want to give you a couple little practical points I'm gonna give you two things to stop doing and one thing to start doing all right first thing to stop doing stop being well-rounded stop it there's a new book out by Marcus Buckingham who's a wonderful business thinker and leader and writer and he wrote this book that indicates a lot of the lies that we tell ourselves that even people that are trying to be successful businesses will tell themselves and one of the greatest lives that we believe is that we must all be well-rounded and it is not the truth he said we do these surveys he said you know the average American if they got a report card that had two A's in in literature and Social Sciences and had a C in algebra and an F in physics wouldn't have zero interest in whatever classes were the the kids got A's in all of the focus would be on the F no well maybe they're good at this or maybe they like this or they enjoy this or they're built for this instead they would throw those things immediately out of their mind and they would focus completely on the field GRA we don't need to be well-rounded we all need to live in some of these basic forms of our identity because our significance is found in these things that don't change that Jesus is who he says he is that God sent him that he was God with skin and he died on the cross for our sin rose again from the grave we are called to be salt of the earth we are called to be a city on the hill those things we should attach our souls to because those things don't move but so often we want to attach ourselves to people or our business ideas or thoughts about what our future will look like and those things change on the daily and so why do our souls change all the time it's because of this and so much of it is because we feel consumed by this obligation to check all these boxes we as employers will look at our employees and say regardless of who you are I need these boxes to be checked off when maybe we can get something more out of them when we don't need them to fit every box instead we create a world where they can be the most effective we don't need to be well-rounded how many you guys remember when American Idol started it was a long time ago in a galaxy far far away in yeah and I remember watching some of the first season to me like oh it's kind of cool like a talent show thing and all these people really good and they get real money at the end is awesome and then I saw the second season I was like this sounds a lot like the third season or the first season and then I saw the third season I was like this is the same thing as the first and second see the same kind of singers you know they you know is that the pop is the same the same people every single stinking year I can't handle it I don't know how they made it for 25 years 26 whatever it is I don't know how they did it because I watch that and I go look this person is good obviously this person is talented Simon and Garfunkel have no shot in American Idol can you imagine Bob Dylan going in front of Simon Cowell and singing the beauty of music is not can you fit this one thing and do this well over and over again to be music is the mosaic that is created that shows us different cultures and backgrounds and people and writers and rhythms and I gotta tell you the church should be the same way I'm just gonna set myself free real quick right in front of all you guys I have no interest in being bow Stern zero I love bow sir I respect her more than most any human that could walk in a room I want to learn from her and I want to glean from her and I Rob Westside Church if I try to become her because I believe that you need me and my perspective and I need you and your perspective and if we are we are all called to learn and to continue to grow and move and be shaped together but if we begin to think that we must be carbon copies of the person next to us then the church will completely lose its influence because people that only you can reach are at stake here and people that only I can reach are at stake here and when we become the same person we miss out on great God's great calling of the mosaic and the tapestry of the church which is the simple way of me saying look if you don't like this come back next time you'll get what you want I don't care stop comparing yourself to other people for those of you who are playing preacher bingo right now you know social media references on the way and you're right if you are comparing yourself and a lot of this comes from the social media age you need to begin to not just say gosh I shouldn't let this stuff make me compare myself to other people maybe we should throw it in the garbage maybe if social media is a problem for you you shouldn't have it anymore well you know I mean I got to connect with my business and my friend well give them a phone call if this thing is creating hurry in your soul and it's allowing your significance to be attached to something other than the basic foundation of what Christ is you do not need it I have young adults to be like I'm struggling pornography and I say that's great I want to help you get rid of your technology now I can't do anything for you until you get rid of your technology well I mean that's fine like no delete Instagram but you know I kind of need my Maps app all my emails if we're serious that this is your soul that you're it's at stake and in many cases it's your family that's at stake and it's your longevity and it's your life and your love of Jesus that's a sake you don't need any other technology I talked to a guy in the first service who said he has three degrees he was the CEO of some companies he's done all this stuff and then he felt like his soul was becoming in a hurry and he saw a listing at Sparrow bakery in Northwest crossing for a dishwasher and he applied and he's been ever he's been so much happier ever since he became the dishwasher his barrel he said I got so caught up in half twos well I have this degree I have to go do this I had this experience I have to go do this and he said finally I looked and I said no stop let have to do anything I Got News for You Church those degrees are for you you are not for them this social media that's for you it is you are not for it and the moment these things begin to attach itself to our significance that should be found in Christ we must make the decision to stop and say I don't care that this is the social norm I don't care that this is the direction everybody says I should go in or that I always thought I should go in instead my soul being unhurried and finding significance in the right places must be paramount in my life stop comparing yourself to other people they can't do what you can do and I Got News for you too you probably can't do what they can do and this is a good thing again going back to the reason that I don't want to be bow Stern why she's already on my team I don't need to be her I'll be the offensive lineman she can be the quarterback but we need each other so stop comparing each other and then finally this last one I'm going to share with you a little story it kind of relates back to football I feel like I was supposed to do the really cheesy pastor thing and relate all my stories to first downs and stuff but I'm just can't do it yeah somebody's like are you gonna wear your football jersey and I was like people think I'm a sports dork enough I just don't need that in my life here's the last thing I and I did I love I still love sports deeply oh this is a lot of sports talk radio I just love the idea of team and all that stuff and when I was growing up and there was a huge part of my life I played football baseball basketball ended up playing baseball in college and like making it to the state championship was like the thing on my mind between the ages of four and 18 and I remember walking into the high school basketball gym being like I'm gonna fill this thing up someday with how great my team is and whatever I think we won a total of like 12 games in four years it was really bad we stopped and I met this friend when I was in fourth grade his name is Daniel Daniel had a speech impediment and he wasn't very athletic he had a hard time seeing his arse and I'm not saying this is a good thing we made fun of him all time for it we would try to make him say names that had ours and we were not always nice to Daniel and Daniel stuck around Daniel would play baseball in Little League and I remember this one time and practice he was trying to fill the five ball I hit him in the head and rolled all the way to the dugout and by the time we remained friends by the time we had reached high school the football coach liked to Danny said Daniel I cannot let you play football I'm really afraid you're gonna get hurt and I can't in good conscience let you play and Daniel took it really hard because he loves sports and he loved the guys and we had become really really really good friends and so what Daniel did he took a job that's usually reserved for coaches sons that are in the ages of six to ten and he became the ball boy and the water guy and the towel kid he became the servant of the football team and then he did the same thing during basketball season while we were all running around shooting he did the same thing and became the batboy in baseball season and I was like this guy he was like radar from mash you never ever watched mash you know radar knew he could sense he could hear something that was coming five minutes before anybody else could hear and that was Daniel he was just there man he was the servant he would pump up your helmet he had the basketballs ready he had the Gatorade all mixed up and all the stuff Daniel was amazing and um when he graduated he was a year in front of me he was a year older than me he graduate he's living in Medford Oregon and glendale's about 55 miles north of Medford my senior night was coming up which is a big deal then I look back at myself and I'm like you're such a dork and it was a big deal back then I went into school that morning to get ready for the game and I saw Daniel in the parking lot drenched head-to-toe and I said what are you doing why are you so wet he said I walked from Medford here I said I want to miss the game and I said god bless you we got cars man and phones call me and he said I don't want to bother anybody and so he walked in one of the biggest snow biggest rainstorms of the entire year 55 60 miles the saddest part was he said his discman ran out of batteries about a mile down the road and his couldn't listen to the Star Wars soundtrack yeah anyway and Daniel was the water boy 19 year old graduated Daniel wanted to be water boy one more time that night eventually Daniel went into the service he was deployed to Iraq and he was killed a year later in action and it was awful I cried harder and so much more than I ever could have possibly imagined and here's the crazy thing that happened so me I was the athlete I was the captain of every team I played college sports did all these things accomplished so much so many things that Daniel would have loved to do and remember when sixth grade me or fourth grade me went into that gym I said I'm gonna fill this thing up I never did there were 4,000 people in that gym for Daniel's funeral after he there were our four hundred people in Glendale Oregon and there were 4,000 people at his funeral and I thought look the waterboy filling up the gym that's right Daniel stopped allowing his significance to be found in his ability to shoot a rubber ball through an iron hoop and while so many of us were caught up in those things and obviously I love sports I'm not saying it's a bad thing Daniel found his significance way faster than any of the rest of us did and because he accepted it and he moved in it and he became passionate for his life of service he made the ultimate sacrifice and hundreds of people at his memorial service got saved I'm telling you 4,000 people are gonna be at my memorial service all this stuff that happened because of Daniel who couldn't speak correctly according to the rest of us who couldn't feel the fly ball but all of a sudden said look I believe that God is intending me for something else and so I make the decision my significance is not found in my ability to run a 40-yard dash instead my significance will be to be wherever whenever I can to love the people around me which leads us to the last point I'm so not interested in you reaching the world I want you to reach your world you don't know Daniel that story is as great as it is and it could maybe even spark up an emotion you're gonna forget about it and you're not gonna care in the long term Daniel may have not changed your life but my god he changed mine and I will never be the same stop being concerned with I have this idea and it's gonna change this massive thing so often we want to look at Africa and we want to neglect the neighbor right next to us your significance it can be found and maybe you will do this big movement but I'm telling you your significance just like Jesus told the disciples Jerusalem hello home Judea a little bit farther out Samaria a little bit farther out to even to the uttermost parts of the earth it always starts our significance in our calling that exists in only Jesus Christ as we operate through these gifts and functions that he has given us and the basics of all that he is it must start not with my world not with that world not with the world but with your world that is where your courage is needed and necessary for the church to change the world let's pray father God we thank you for this morning well we thank you for everything that you're doing in this house and in this place let us be a people that want to change our world let us be a people that don't want a carbon copy each other let us be a people that would use what you have made us to be to reach the people and be the people that would not try to strive for all this hurry and busyness instead that we would be a people that would be an unhurried soul because we're confident in all that you are in Jesus name Amen hey I love you guys yeah again no service tonight we do have first Wednesday coming up here this next week so if you could join us for that that would be great if you want prayer encouragement find somebody with a blue light near this prayer wall we would love to pray for and encourage you you are now free to roam about the cabin

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