Vision Series: How People Change

Matthew 11:25-30 CSB | Trey VanCamp | July 31, 2022

OVERVIEW

Rather than allowing ourselves to be formed by the world, the flesh, and the devil, Jesus offers us a better way to live. When we allow ourselves to be formed by Jesus, we slowly become steadfast people who are able to love others the way that God loves us. In order to do this, we must position ourselves to be formed by Jesus’ love, life, and leadership. Leaving out any one or two of these elements makes us stuck, stubborn, or stingy.

NOTES

You can take interactive notes here. At the end of the message, you can email the notes to yourself.

TRANSCRIPT

So, how do people change is the primary question we’ve wrestled with in developing a framework for discipleship at passion Creek, church will S store. He wrote this bestseller called the status game. I honestly wouldn’t or tell you to read it. There’s like a great point. And then the rest of it, he just says things.

So don’t read this book, but he has a great thesis. And it’s this idea that the go-to method throughout history for change is to get people to strive for status. That’s how you change. People make them want to gain status. His basic premise is for humans and I would disagree with this, but also it makes sense how all of us are drawn into it.

His basic premise is this: more than connection, we need status to give us purpose. And so we need to know we are better than people around us. We enter into these games and say, okay, where am I on this ladder? And how can I climb it? He mentions, we literally get. If our chances for status begin to wane, this controls a lot of our lives.

This is what causes people to change their behaviors in order to get a higher rank in status in the book he mentions. There’s three ways you gain status.

  • One is through the dominant status. So what it means here, I’m gonna be quick because we got scripture to look to tonight. But in the dominant status, this is a lot like the mafia or the military. They use force or fear to get people to do things
  • Then the success status. This is in the world like corporations always needing to grow or in the world of sports, you gain status. By achieving a skill at the highest level. So you dedicate your life to be a success story. Others you’re not really interested in the dominant status and success status, maybe not.
  • So, but especially in the church world, a lot of us fall into what he calls the virtue status. This is in religions and institutions. And so you gain your status by being visibly in public dutiful, you are moralistic, you are one of the good ones. And so what encourages you, what inspires you to change is this idea that other people look at you and see you as virtuous.

What happens? This is as all an outside world. It’s the game of comparison. It’s a game of seeing, okay, how am I better than my next door neighbor? You’ll notice marketers use this to get you to buy things. Dominant status by this and you’ll kill the competition. Success. You’ll go from zero to hero. If you get this product virtue, this is the best school.

This, these people are the best. The, this political party. We are the holier ones. They use this all the time. There’s just one problem in using this status game. You’re not actually changing when you go home, your character’s the same. You still hate everybody, right? You’re still super impatient. Right. So he, he mentions this quote in the book.

“We’re wired to love being above. We continually seek to rearrange the world, such that our game is on top. All the while telling self-serving stories about the immaculate virtue of our behavior.”

Does that make sense saying we try to be better than everybody else. And we come up with these stories to convince ourselves that we are the good ones, even though we haven’t actually changed.

And so he goes on in the book and the way I would summarize it is we have become experts at rationalizing our sin. We have are good at rearranging our situation to make us look like we have higher status than those around us. The problem. Is that you can still be selfish and not sacrificial. The problem in playing the status game is you’re still hateful and not loving.

There’s still war. War is the reason so much the, the status game produces so much war and envy and violence. Instead of peace. What status looks for is a public staged life and it completely ignores a private life, a holy life. What you’ll actually notice is churches fall into this status game as well.

It’s in the way that we convince people to come to our church, come to our church because we dominate the competition. We are better than every other church in the city come to our church. We’re the most successful. We’re the fastest growing come to our church. It’s in fact how we talk about salvation, just come to Jesus and you’ll have the status of being saved.

And it kind of turned into a game where come to church, not really to change. But at least you’re saved and you know where you’re going when you die. And so this status game, the more you look at it, it is prevalent in our culture and we’ve given up hope for change, and we’ve just settled for status. And another thing that makes status so difficult.

So, so disintegrating, so destructive. Status finds joy only at the expense of another. It’s only that if I am better than them, then I feel better about my life. Now, surely there is a better way to grow and change, and that was Jesus’s chief complaint against the religious rulers of his day. So as we look at Matthew 11, Jesus was waring against a culture of obsessed with status.

He opens up his famous sermon on the mountain. Does anybody know how to opens? Right? The Beattitudes blessed are the poor, the meek. Humble. And a lot of us kind of look at it as descriptions. Here’s what Christians are like. We need to make sure that we’re poor in spirit and this and that. But actually I think a better reading of that text is for him to say, look, this kingdom that I’m offering is for the broken it’s for those that you think would not enter the kingdom.

The kingdom of God doesn’t play the status game. The kingdom doesn’t look and see, okay, who’s higher rank who has more money? Who seems to be put more together. Jesus opens his sermon by saying, see the poor in spirit. See those people way back there. See the people weeping and mourning those people who are not on any status board.

They are invited into the kingdom. And we see a similar point here in verse 25. Look with me the context. Matthew 11, starting in verse 25, says this at that time, Jesus said, I praise you father, if you actually know the context too, right before verse 25, he, he casts a curse on cities because those cities refuse to believe in Jesus.

So at that time, Jesus said, I praise you father, Lord of heaven and earth because you have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent. Those people of status who play all those status games who are empty inside. Jesus says all throughout Matthew, you are whitewashed tombs. You’re so concerned about everybody thinking you’re great, but you are dead inside.

He’s saying thank you. You’ve hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and revealed them to infants the lowest of the low yes, father, because this was your good pleasure. He’s such a good father. He doesn’t play the status game. He is here for. Verse 27. All things have been entrusted to be to me by my father.

No one knows the son that’s Jesus, except the father. And no one knows the father except the son and anyone to whom the son desires to reveal to him. Okay. So there’s some context here, but what I wanna really lean in on is 28 through. what I think the next three verses they’re like my life verse and they are what is really controlling, how we are organizing our plan of discipleship at our church today.

Starting today, it’s gonna be very clear. It’s a roadmap for change and abundance. Let’s look at verse 28. Come to me. Jesus says all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Come to me. He’s saying anybody, because he says all of. Not just particular in the status game, you pick and choose who can.

Jesus being a faithful, good rabbi says everybody’s invited. And he says to the weary and burden last night, me and my daughter were in the backyard and I was quoting the scripture to her, trying to memorize it myself and trying to get her to memorize it. But then we would go line by line and kind of word by word.

And I’d ask her what these words mean. so I loved it. So I said all of who are weary. And burden. So she said weary, is that like weird? Like weirdy, it’s like, no, that’s okay though. But I love this one. I said, oh, what about burden? She’s like, it kind of sounds like bird. So let me think through how could a bird I’m like, okay, this is not working, but how are we are weary and burdened?

And she really connected when I said like, you know, the burden of being the oldest sister, she’s like, yes, that is such a burden. And as a middle child, I’m like, you don’t know the middle’s the worst, but whatever. So all of you who are weary and. He’s actually extending this invitation to those who are sick of the status game, been striving and striving to get favor from others, to try to climb the ladder.

It is exhausting and still being the same kind of person. When you go home, he says, I’m gonna give you rest. (this word rest doesn’t imply laziness. Instead it’s purpose.) We’re gonna see in the next verse. Jesus actually says to take on a yolk, which means like, no, no, no, listen, I’m gonna give you rest. But that doesn’t mean you’re not gonna work.

The fact is you’re gonna work from a place of rest from a place of purpose. Verse 29, take up my yolk. Yolk, this is Arian culture. And so this is like a, a piece of wood that would connect to oxen together. And it’s what would keep them in line to help gather the harvest. And so when Jesus says, take my yolk, he’s saying I am walking a certain direction.

I am living a certain way of life. I am working to bring in the kingdom. I am offering you to come alongside of me and walk the way that I walk. Talk the way that I talk live, the way that I live. So he says, take my yolk. This is implying Hebrew. The Hebrew word is TA me or Taal Meine, which is disciple. He says, become my Tal Meine and, and learn from me.

This is like a rabbi saying, learn from my teachings because this is what’s fascinating. Here’s his pitch. Follow Jesus. Why I am lowly and humble in heart. This word, lowly and humble. Lowly says I don’t play the status game. I’m not here to act like I’m better than others. In fact, I take the lowest position and I serve at the center of his being.

He’s describing who he is at the center of his being. He is tender. Jesus’ welcoming. What I love so much and is humble, lowly heart. He is understanding. And what I want to make sure is clear tonight is Jesus is patient with you. He’s saying, come walk with me, work with. But I’m going to walk slowly with you as you need it.

And you will find rest for your souls. He is talking to a Jewish audience. This phrase, you will find rest for your souls. It’s actually hearkening back to Jeremiah six 16 through 20. In this the context, the Lord is warning Jerusalem saying, look, walk in the good way of the Lord and you will find rest for your souls, but they reply what they say.

We will not walk in your ways. And so then he says, okay, you will have destruction. So Jesus wants us to remember that phrase. And he’s saying, I am that good way. Walk, live, breathe in my way. And you will find rest. Don’t do my way in what you will find destruction. What you see the rest of Jeremiah destruction does come and they don’t learn their lesson.

And I love how he ends it for my yolk is easy. And my burden is light. Seems like a paradox. It’s still a burden. But at least the burden is light. Jesus is here implying. This is like the crescendo for us in understanding how we do discipleship at our church. No matter what you will to be human is to have a yolk and to be human is to have a burden.

Jesus is saying either pick the world’s yolk or pick mine. This is what we’re trying to do as a church. How can we be faithful to taking Jesus’ yo that is easy and his burden that’s light. Write this down. This is fundamental to the understanding of the vision of our church.

You are either intentionally formed by Jesus or unintentionally formed by the enemy.

This idea is formation. It’s just who you are becoming you. Don’t your, your context changes you into something, right? What you listen to. Everything you are being formed day by day into someone. That might not be so loving, right? That is maybe divisive and not full of peace, all sorts of issues. But every day you are making a decision.

You can never just be stagnant. You are either going towards the image of Christ or towards the image of the enemy, the enemy, and the scriptures is referred to as the devil, the world and the flesh. There’s a lot here, but stick with me. I wanna show you a little bit of a chart by the way we have. So if you go to passion, creek.church hit the top, right.

Icon, and then it’ll say message notes, clicks that, click that, and then this will all be available to you. Here is what unintentional formation looks like. Okay. I’m gonna walk through this process together with you, and then we’re gonna look at what intentional formation looks like. So the devil we don’t like ’em right.

Okay. So the devil, what does he do?

The devil uses status to shape your sense of acceptance. We see this all throughout the Bible, Genesis three. Why did Adam and Eve partake in the fruit? What did he say? Oh, don’t you want to become like, God don’t you want better status? And so they partake of the one tree.

God says not to partake. Right. He makes you doubt God’s identity that he’s given to you. He, he makes you see, okay. The only way I can be happy is to be better than those around me. Matthew four, GE uh, devil does this to Jesus. If you are the son of God, do this. If this is your status, do that. And Jesus doesn’t fall for his games.

We’re gonna look at this throughout the next week. We’re gonna each week, we’re gonna look at one, uh, each element, but to be brief, the devil uses status. He uses condemn. Right. Those people are so much better than you. I can’t believe you say you’re a Christian. He uses comparison. He uses comparison to me all the time at comparing where I’m at, when my walk versus people around me.

Right. He uses temptation. He makes you focus on status at the expense of another. Then you have the flesh. The flesh is what we would call habits. The flesh. This is your sinful desires in your body, right? Your body itself isn’t evil, but the flesh is the part of your body that partakes in evil.

The flesh uses habits to shape your desires.

Okay. Now stick with me. This is how we are formed. This is how we become who we are today. So when we give into the flesh, it’s when we partake in bodily actions that the world tells us to. What’s really hard. And we talk about this a lot at our church is our habits. A lot of it are formed by Silicon valley and by the media, right?

Silicon valley, the, the iPhone, they, they make you check with notifications. They just, they run your whole day. It’s called the attention economy. Your phone is literally designed to grab your attention every moment of every day. Cuz that means more dollars. and your flesh, the body was designed to look at the Lord and to praise him and to do things that would honor the Lord.

But the flesh does the exact opposite, does things that are selfish, partake in these desires that ruin us. And the problem is as a result because we don’t really look at our habits. We don’t think about our actions. What happens is it makes us rushed. You and I are anxious every day. We’re lone. Because we’re allowing the world to kind of, and the flesh and the devil churn us into these beings that we are today.

And the problem is without an understanding of discipleship in the human soul, we don’t change our habits. We just keep thinking, okay. If I just think better, everything will get better, but no, your habits make a huge difference. That’s the very thing. That’s poisoning you is your habits, but then you have the world.

The world is narratives. Okay.

The world uses narratives to shape your reality. So reality today is just how we make sense of the story of life. When we encounter suffering success, all of these things, we try to put it into a story to make us understand why is this happening and where are we going? And so sadly, without intentionality, without us gathering together around the scriptures unintentionally, we will just buy wholesale the narratives of the.

You hear this slowly, but surely through songs, through movies, through the news, through social media. And if we don’t have the truth to combat it, we will just begin to believe things because it’s just what the culture has said to believe case in point things like, just follow your truth. Sounds nice, but it’s super destructive.

But if we don’t recognize what’s happening, these truths will begin to think. Yeah, that makes sense. And we just buy these lies wholesale and the end result is we have pride fear indulgence, and the list goes on, right? We are spiraling. We are creating, creating an image of ourselves that God did not design us to live and to walk.

And so this is what’s happening. If you are not intentional with your day, your week, your month and your year, you will fall into pride, fear and indulgence without even realizing it, your status will always be something you’re striving for. Your habits will take over and there’s narratives that you are believing.

Now here’s the thing. Following Jesus may sound difficult. May sound like, okay, I have to learn so much. I have to do so much. But what Jesus is saying is, look, you’re already doing all these things. It’s just unintentionally happening to you. What if you take the invitation of Jesus to intentionally shape all of these parts of your life, Dallas Willard, it’s not a sermon on.

Discipleship. If I don’t quote Dallas Willard, Dallas Willard has this in the Great Omission. It’s so good. He calls this non discipleship. So if we just let the world, the flesh, the devil form us, this is called non discipleship,

“Nondiscipleship costs abiding peace, a life penetrated throughout by love, faith that sees everything in the light of God’s overriding governance for good, hopefulness that stands firm in the most discouraging of circumstances, power to do what is right and withstand the forces of evil. In short, nondiscipleship costs you exactly that abundance of life Jesus said he came to bring (John 10:10). The cross-shaped yoke of Christ is after all an instrument of liberation and power to those who live in it with him and learn the meekness and lowliness of heart that brings rest to the soul.” Dallas Willard

Do you see this in. Discipleship is hard. Hear me. We’re gonna mention starting tonight and throughout, what does it look like to become a disciple?

What’s this step process, but it’s, because it’s intentional. It seems difficult, but unintentional, it is even worse, right? It’s more difficult and it leads to a path of destruction. And so what I want us to look at. Is to counter this destruction, man, I have to hurry.

Jesus uses this rabbi disciple model that was prevalent in the time of Jesus.

Jesus is actually not the one who invented disciple. A lot of us are kind of shocked by that. This was actually happening a couple hundred years before, uh, Jesus even came onto the scene and, and bodily form. The Hebrew word again is Toma. Which means disciple or student here at our church. We like the word apprentice because disciple, we just kind of throw that phrase around and don’t even know what it means.

So what it means is you follow a rabbi and it’s essentially like today’s university. Everything you’ll learn is from this one, rabbi, this is the highest mark of education. Not everybody would follow a rabbi. Not everybody would become an apprentice, but your dignity was determined by who you followed your name, carried weight because of who your rabbi.

Was, but here’s the thing about this kind of education that is nothing like today’s education is you did everything with your rabbi. You live with your rabbi, you mimicked your rabbi, you talked liked him. You did everything. He did. In fact, this is a little bit gross, but I read this week. A lot of them would literally, when they began to follow their rabbi would watch their rabbi go to the bathroom.

So they knew how to do it the way they did it. Right. This was to the tee. Everything. Please just stay with me. I know your mind’s now gone. All right, come on back. Everything that this rabbi would do this disciple would do it. And the Jews and the Greeks knew this context. So when Jesus enters the scene and says, come to me, he says, I am a rabbi.

Live my life, follow me, do everything that I do when he gives that invitation. Not only. To his disciples during that day, but also to you and to me, so more context, if you were to follow a rabbi in the first century, you, your life revolved around three goals. And this is our goals here at our church now as well.

Number one, you, your life was formed by your rabbi’s love. Everything in life was about, okay. You, the love your rabbi has for you. In fact, the rabbi will become more of a father to you than your biological dad, your existence. If you were to have a rabbi, your existence was predicated on your rabbi’s approval.

Here’s the good news of Jesus. He already approves you in Christ. Jesus. Amen. We don’t have to earn his love. He died on the cross to give it freely. Right. But to be, to follow rabbi, you were formed by his love.

Secondly, you were formed by his life. Meaning your behaviors and routines were literally carbon copies of how he did life.

You talked like him, you walked like him. You loved like.

And the third was you would be formed by your rabbi’s leadership. Your understanding of reality was shaped by his understanding. You would do everything. He said, even if it did not make sense, cuz this is your rabbi, his ways are better than your ways you do whatever he tells you to do.

And so Jesus and Matthew 11 and all throughout. Gives this invitation saying I am a rabbi, become my Tal Meine or in the Greek math taste or in the English disciple student apprentice. And in Matthew 1128 through 30, he gives those three invitations come to me, be formed by his love. Well, take up my yolk be formed by his life will learn from me.

Be formed by his leadership. So as a church, we are gathering around these three goals, both individually and as a church family, a quick word on each. So here is the intentional life of a Jesus follower.

So disciples are intentionally formed by the love of Jesus.

So instead of striving for status, Jesus reminds you of your identity.

It every morning, this is what I’ve learned. Number one thing for me to do. In fact, yesterday I went and bought a rocking chair to sit outside and rock. And what I’m now gonna do, this is so new and fresh. I shouldn’t share, but I go outside first thing in the morning, even when it’s 190 degrees and I rock and I’m gonna do for 10 minutes, all I’m gonna do.

I’m not even gonna read my Bible yet. I’m just gonna be reminding myself of who I am in Christ that he loves. Today, I’m already approved. I don’t have to earn his love. I don’t have to better. I don’t have to earn anybody. Else’s love. I am approved. I am righteous in Christ. I have all these things. And so I’m just gonna rock with God, right?

And begin. And remember, this is huge who my identity is because I am fully human. When I live from his love. I’m not trying to earn, I’m not trying to manipulate. I am who I am. He has already given me my validation, but I am sin. I’m fragmented. I am stressed when I try to live to get love. This is status instead of identity.

So we are, so let me show this man. I have to hurry. So the love of Jesus here is our identity. Now I’m gonna go through the life and the leadership, but let me just point this out. Some of us, we grew up in a church where all you talked about was love, which is. my temptation is actually to only talk about the leadership that was kind of the, the church context I grew up in.

But here’s what happens when we don’t do all three negative things begin to happen with our character. We’re not fully formed into what God has created us to be. So if you in your discipleship right now, you love the leadership of Jesus. You love the life of Jesus, but you ignore his love. What you will become is a stingy.

You’ll notice this in your life. If you forget, if you don’t know that you are loved by God and he loves you just as you are, and he loves you so much, he’s gotta change you into something even better. You’re gonna be stingy with your money. With your time with your understanding of God’s abundance for you, with your prayer life, asking God to do something great in somebody else.

If you don’t have a better grasp of his love, you’re not gonna be asking for incredible things because you’re gonna doubt God’s generosity, right? So we’ll stay stingy in our relationships. If we don’t dwell on God’s love for us, we’ll stay stingy with our resources. If we aren’t sure that God will care for us.

So huge part of discipleship is remember. Jesus loves. Second life of Jesus. So this is to counter again. So we counter the devil and the status game with the love of Jesus.

We counter the flesh and it’s negative habits with the life of Jesus. And if you’ve been around our church, you hear this a lot. We say the word practices.

So habits are unintentional. It’s just what you’re always doing. Practices are intentional. They become habits, right? But it’s intentional. This is what I’m gonna do because Jesus has called me to do it. This. Uh, we are so passionate about this part of discipleship about following Jesus as our rabbi, because here’s what it is today.

A lot of us think we are just brains on a stick. All that matters is what we think is what a lot of people say. The problem is when we just think it’s about your thought life, you don’t notice your habits with your body. Does that make sense? And so we become victim to whatever the world tells us to do with our bodies and our actions.

What we have to do is to practice the word, to begin to do the things that Jesus would do. If he were you, Jesus says this everywhere. Uh, Matthew 1250, he says, whoever does the will of my father is my family. James 1 22, be doers of the word, not hearers, only deceiving yourselves. I am convinced the biggest deception of discipleship today is thinking the lifestyle of Jesus.

Doesn’t require any effort, friends, look, the practices are hard. They’re going to take a lot of sacrifice. We’re gonna talk about this in, in a couple weeks. So this is next week. This is the week after. So we encourage you do the practices that are fun. So for me, feasting, that’s a practice. Jesus was hospitable.

That’s my favorite one. I’ll do it right? Oh girl. I’ll serve the Lord. I’ll practice, hospitality and eat, but fasting or Lord why me? But what it does is it makes me more and more like him. Again. I have to keep moving, but this is a huge part of discipleship. This is hugely missed in American context today because we’re so scared that if we follow his lifestyle, we are somehow earning our salvation friends.

It’s not about earning, but it is about effort. It takes some work to be a Christian. Amen. Why? Because unintentionally the world is telling you what to do. So by the power of God and the scriptures, we have to tell ourselves what to do instead of that, it takes a lot of work, but there’s grace, every step of the way you mess up tomorrow, there’s grace.

You forget to do something there’s grace, right? But man, there is so much freedom and liberation. When we take up his yolk and walk like he walked now here’s huge. This is huge. If we’re not intentional about our practices, what happens, you’ll find in your discipleship. You’re often. This is my story. I grew, I think this was me love and leadership.

I thought all of life was about those two and that gets you pretty far, but I was stuck in certain areas of my character. I was stuck in frustration, right. These anger, how come I can’t get over my anger problem? Well, I never thought that I should practice silence. If you try to be silent for 24 hours, you’d be amazed how it just changes your perspective and it, and it releases the selfishness.

There are so many people, you are still stuck. You’ve done so much in your discipleship, but you are still addicted and stuck to lust because you haven’t gone through the practice of fasting. This is real. Some of us were stuck in our rage because we haven’t practiced silence. We’re stuck. You have hit a wall and I’m here to tell you friends, if you have come into this church and you’re trying to follow Jesus, you’re just so upset.

There’s certain things that you just can’t start there. There’s just blocks. There’s just areas in your life. You can’t have victory, man. I bet you. It starts with the practices. And I’d love to walk through with the, with you. What does that look like today? Okay. Last one. So not only are we formed by the love of Jesus intentionally and the life of Jesus, we have to be formed intentionally by the leadership of Jesus.

So the world gives us narratives every day through the radio who listens to the radio through Spotify, through, you know, those things, TV, all those things. In fact, I actually do listen to the radio. Don’t judge me. My wife has me liking country music. Again, I don’t know who I. Stop it all right. So the leadership of she was so proud and she would catch me sing and I’d hurry up and turn off the radio.

I wasn’t singing that song. Hey, it’s Carolina tales. That’s a good one. Okay. So leadership of Jesus, right? So we are intentionally formed by the leadership of Jesus. So instead of narratives, we look to the scriptures to teach us what reality is. That’s why Jesus says in the scriptures, you have heard it said, but I say to.

Amen. You have heard the culture say, but the scriptures say to you to be a student of Jesus is to constantly give him full reign over our minds and perceptions of reality. You’ll hear this all the time at our church. When we pick and choose what to follow, we have a faith that’s fake and hollow. We have to follow the parts of scripture we love and friends hear me.

We have to follow the parts of scripture that we disagree with. Because it’s scripture and his ways are higher than our ways. We have to believe Jesus was not only a beautiful savior, but he was a brilliant teacher. In fact, he was the smartest person to have ever lived on this earth, the smartest scientist, the smartest professor, the smartest, anything.

And so his perception of reality is now going to be ours, but here’s, here’s what happens if maybe in a church context, you’re all about the love and about his life and ignore his leadership. You will find you’re constantly stubborn. Ah, you’re constantly hitting up against the scriptures and ignoring certain things.

And you’re frustrated because you see God’s design for relationships, but you don’t want it that way. And so you say, this is how I’m gonna do it, but you’re stubborn. And what happens is it stunts your life? You’re not living the full life that he’s called you to live. We stay stuck. We stay stubborn in our disobedience because we’re not submitting to the scriptures.

We’re stubborn. And we actually sit in our pain because we don’t admit that our truth. Isn’t always the truth. Here’s the reality. That’s hard for me. If God always agrees with me, then I’m not following the God of the Bible. Sometimes he says things that rub me the wrong way. Why? Because I have been bathing myself in narratives and I don’t even know it.

So this process of discipleship, friends hear me. I want you to process in together group this week. Which one am I? Right? Who do I have? Like a, a soft spot one where man, I, I am stuck cuz I’m not doing the practices or I’m stubborn cuz I’m just not submitting to his leadership or I’m stingy. Because I just, I haven’t reminded my soul.

The love that God has for me, this is the process of discipleship we want to take you on. And there is grace and this will never be achieved in one. Unless you die, then it’s all done and taken care of your glorified praise. Oh Lord. You’re done. But here’s my thing. I don’t wanna wait till I die. I wanna look like Jesus.

I wanna be his Talmidim today. That’s right. And that’s what I want our church to be. And guess what? Spoiler alert, ask my wife.

I‘m stubborn, stingy and stuck in a lot of areas of my life. But what I love is that I have grace and I have a roadmap on how to actually work this out for years, I’ve had things in my life where I was stuck.

One thing again is my anger, my, my frustration, and trying to solve this by just looking at his love and his leadership, I would come up with the right theology. Why I shouldn’t be angry. I try to remind myself, Jesus loves me, even though I got angry. What I needed to do was to not talk for 24 hours. I needed to Sabbath every week.

I need to set my soul into the rhythm of what Jesus had for me. That was my light bulb moment. And if you’ve been here since the start, you’ve noticed, my whole life kind of changed three years ago, cuz I stumbled into this view of reality. And I so desperately want to remind you that you can have this invitation of transformation.

It’s not overnight, but at this church we celebrate every little baby. And so I’m convinced like this new chapter for passion Creek church is gonna be an exciting one. I think it’s gonna bless your soul, your character, who you are when nobody’s looking. I pray that it blesses your family, this community.

and what’s super cool. What God is doing coinciding with this vision. I’ve been kind of wrestling with this thinking when to release it. And I realize the start of school will be a good time coinciding with this. We began to pray for a building asking, God, God. Okay. Like what I’m so confident about is like, wow, I really like this framework.

Can you give us a place to just use this even. And so I wanna introduce to you no, nothing’s official at all, but I need us to pray. And I want you to hear about it where we’re kind of doing this building campaign called here for good what’s happened is we’ve kind of had a unique opportunity to possibly have our own place.

We started in 2016 in a movie theater. We were the church who had popcorn that was pleasing aroma to the father, right? The butter to. It was amazing. Um, but then after that COVID hit, have you heard of that? It was a big deal, right? And so we moved here Sunday night, praise the Lord for heart cry. It’s so hospitable has been helping us get on our feet and what’s incredible.

I talked to pastors and they’re like, so how many did you lose? I was like, what do you mean? Like you moved to Sunday night and in another church building, like how many people did you lose? And I’m like, honestly, like nobody, like it’s been pretty it’s stink and amazing. They’re like what a gift. And then six months ago when I said I was leaving and then I was here again the next week, they’re like, how many did you lose?

I was like, none. I don’t think. Right. You guys have been so gracious and so incredible and so loving. And I just wanna say thank you. And I think it speaks volumes of the type of leaders you guys are. And thank you so much, but what God seems to be doing now. And I love this kind of new chapter in our church.

We’ve kind of went through a death, uh, of having to come to Sunday nights of, of me possibly leaving. And I, and I think it’s because it’s this resurrection, this new opportunity. And so ever since we started our church, I have been convinced we were supposed to be down. Like, I’ve just always thought passion Creek in downtown queen Creek let’s do it.

Right. And so we’ve been praying and asking for places and, and we always get these shut doors. Long story short, we reached out to an agent and said, okay, we want a building. And we just said, go anywhere. We went like a warehouse to lease. So we could just get going somewhere right away. and, um, eventually it came to this spot it’s downtown.

So like, this is literally the queue. Have you guys seen that on Elsworth and a Cillo? It’s right up here. Just the, just that corner. And, and we think possibly this could be a place for us. Um, it’s gonna take some money for us to get, but it can be 150 seat, uh, sanctuary with kids’ classrooms and it’s already got a parking lot and all sorts of things.

I’m being careful here. I’m not trying to like show the building and what it could look like, cuz we’re still in the prelim. Steps, but I want to tell you about it, cuz I want you to pray about it. I want you to think, man, it’s God calling me to be on board with this vision framework and also to see us just be a, a place for good.

And we’re calling it here for good. For two reasons. One, we wanna be here forever, right? Like church plants. They don’t survive often because they don’t have a place of their own. And so we wanna communicate to the city. We’re not going anywhere. We’re here for good. We got bricks and mortar. And the other thing though, even more important is we’re here for the good of the city.

Cuz we follow our rabbi. Jesus who sought the good of everybody he encountered. And he, he sought to change cities and kingdoms for the kingdom of God. And when the kingdom begins to saturate a city, everything changes, we are here for the good of queen Creek. We wanna be here for good. And so this has been a unique opportunity and I’m thrilled about an opportunity for a building, but I promise you even more than that, I am thrilled about the potential of what you and I can become by following our rabbi Jesus every week, reminding ourselves to be formed by his love, his life and his leadership, a community of tine.

We don’t. Talk, the talk, we walk the walk. Amen. And we have grace every step of the way. Some of us are just starting others of us. We’re like Christian Yoda, you know, like, but man, God has such a great plan for your life. And I think it’s just so bathed in the scriptures. And so next week we’re gonna begin to look at what does it mean to be formed by his love and then his life and then his leadership.

And then we’re gonna talk about what are together groups, how do they operate? What does that happen? And so I invite you these next, now nine weeks to really make a point to come. And, and every week we want to be doers of the word. So every week we’re gonna try to end with a practice in like, okay, do this thing this week.

Why? Because the rabbi would say, Rabbi. Jesus. Doesn’t just say here’s concepts on life. He says, come and do this with me. And so here’s the practice I want you to pray through and do join and attend a together group. Now we’re calling it together. Groups used to be called growth groups. I know you’re thinking pastors, you have too much time on your hands.

I know together group is because that’s what we want you to emphasize the most. Just being together. Life is hard and unintentionally you and. We are formed in isolation. And so intentionally we’re gonna say, no, we’re gonna do life together. We’re gonna make space in our schedule to live life together.

And so this week is the very first week to join a together group. Again, it’s available all week. We understand you have situations, but I pray that you don’t really put it off that you join a group. I’m just so grateful for the different groups that we have to offer and the leaders and hosts we have, we’re gonna pray over them at the end of this service, but even the way we’re organizing our groups, the way we’re organizing time together is going to be centered on his love, his life and his leadership.

Gonna be centered on being doers of the word. And I just want you to pray through and think through, is this an invitation God is giving to you? Are you tired of being stuck asking forgiveness for the same thing over. And over and over for decades at a time, are you tired of being stingy where your first inclination is to take a step back stingy towards yourself and your own self worth stingy towards those you love and your understanding of God’s love for you?

Maybe you’re just so tired of being stubborn. You know, your first step is to think, no, I’m not gonna do that. No, my way’s better. I just pray that God enters your heart, that you take the invitation of Jesus. He’s. In he’s humble. He’s tender. He’s gentle he’s patient, but that you begin to recognize, oh Jesus, you have what’s best for me, even though it doesn’t make sense to me.

I’m following you. Cuz you’re the rabbi. You have life and life in abundance. Imagine what we could do at our church. If we began to take intentional formation, seriously, please. It’s gonna take sacrifice. It’s gonna take a whole lot of intentionality, but man, how great if we become a group of steadfast believers, love the Lord and love our neighbor.

Not just because we fake it, but because we actually do. Let’s pray.

Group Guide

Meal & Conversation

Open the night with a quick prayer over your time together. As your Group shares a meal together, use some of these question as a way to check in with everyone:

 

What’s something you feel anxious about this next week? What’s something you’re excited about? 

 

Overview of Teaching

In week one of our vision series, we learned about what it means to be formed by Jesus. Rather than allowing ourselves to be formed by the world, the flesh, and the devil, Jesus offers us a better way to live. When we allow ourselves to be formed by Jesus, we slowly become steadfast people who are able to love others the way that God loves us. In order to do this, we must position ourselves to be formed by Jesus’ love, life, and leadership. Leaving out any one or two of these elements makes us stuck, stubborn, or stingy. 

 

Discussion

  1. Read Matthew 11:25-27. What strikes you about Jesus’ prayer to the Father? Why do you think it’s significant that God has hidden truth from the wise and intelligent and instead revealed it to infants? 

 

Now read verses 28-30. Would you describe your current relationship with God as restful, easy, and light? Why or why not? 

 

  1. Looking at the following diagrams, where do you see yourself most represented on each? Do you tend to lean most into Jesus’ love, life, or leadership? Do you struggle most with the world, the flesh, or the devil?

Practice 

Each week, your Group will engage in a practice together to end the night. The goal is to learn how to practice the way of Jesus as a community so that you can participate in the practices on our own throughout the week. Living in community is hard and requires both intentionality and accountability, so this week you will commit to a few Group practices together. These serve as commitments you are making to one another in order to allow your Group to grow closer to each other and with God.

 

What are two or three practices your Group can agree on and commit to that will be most beneficial for your time together? 

 

Some examples:

  • We commit to sitting together during our Sunday gathering. No Group member should be left sitting on their own. 
  • We commit to having a “No Phone” policy in order to limit our distractions and direct our complete attention to each other. 
  • We commit to living life outside of Group by having dinner before or after Sunday gathering, celebrating birthdays and big events together, or by checking in and sharing prayer requests throughout the week. 

 

Pray

As you end your night, spend some time praying for and encouraging one another. You could take prayer requests, do a “popcorn” prayer, ask for a few volunteers, or have each person pray for someone else. Additionally, have someone pray specifically for God to provide a building for our church to call home.