STRETCH:  Making Waves  1 Samuel 14:12-23

I’m pretty convinced you can divide humanity into two categories.  There’s really two types of people in this world.  There’s beach people and there’s mountain people.  There’s people who love to go to the mountains and are recharged by being in the grandeur of God’s creation.  There’s people who love sitting in the sand, in the warmth, in the sun, listening to the waves crash, or jumping in the ocean and going for a swim.  {So let’s just do a quick survey.}  I hesitate to admit this in a Colorado congregation, but I am a beach person.  I LOVE the beach!  I grew up in Southern California and grew up going to the beach.  Some of my favorite memories of my family are all of us loading into our orange Volkswagen van and driving down to the beach….with the brown vinyl seats you could sweep out after a day at the beach.  Some of my favorite memories of my mom are her taking us three kids to the beach and stopping at Taco Bell on the way there.  Going to the beach and sitting on my towel and eating Taco Bell.  If there is a better day out there, I don’t know what it is!

I love that feeling of catching a wave, where you’re not quite sure….until you’re out in front of it….if you’ve caught the wave or if the wave’s caught you.  I love the feeling of diving under waves and feeling their power just breaking over me.  There’s something about that that just stirs my soul.  It’s really fascinating if you were to look at it objectively.  That a wave is a collection of little drops, or molecules, of water.   If you were to isolate one of those molecules of water, you wouldn’t be able to see it with the naked eye.  And yet, you have a wave that forms.  In one cubic meter, you have one ton of water moving towards you!  In a wave that’s about twenty feet long and roughly ten feet high, you have 410 tons of water…..moving towards you!  Which is roughly 315 Volkswagen Bugs.  That’s a lot of water, is it not?  It’s impressive.  It’s interesting though, one molecule you could never even see, but a ton of them put together creates a mass, creates a movement, creates something you want to get out of the way of.   If you were to do the scientific analysis of what creates a wave, there’s only three things.  One is it’s wind that blows along the surface of the ocean, sometimes hundreds of miles away from where the wave actually breaks.  It’s the tides, the gravitational pull of the moon tugging at the water on the surface of the earth.  Sometimes it’s an earthquake that will rumble under the surface just a little bit and create these waves that start to crash into the shore.  One molecule of water you can’t even see, but a wave…you want to get out of the way of.

We see waves in our culture, too, don’t we?  We see things that start small and then they grow into movements. As a father of elementary school students, I’ve seen waves this year.  It’s fascinating to do social experiments in elementary schools, right?  Here’s the waves that I’ve seen break this year at Runyon Elementary School.  First wave was the tether ball wave.  Everybody was playing tether ball.  It started small.  Everybody has a tether ball pole in their backyard now.  If you have a second grader, you have a tether ball pole.  Or, you wish you did! Second wave that broke this year:  Pokémon cards.  I don’t get it.  They’re back.  Third wave:  pogo sticks.  My son had to have a pogo stick, so we got him one and he’s pretty remarkable.  Just yesterday he was helping to take groceries in from the car….on his pogo stick!!  No arms, just bouncing into the house!  The last one that’s sweeping across elementary schools now….any guesses?  Fidget spinners!!  Kids now spinning things on their fingers.  I don’t know.  I just know it’s a wave.  And it’ll break!

I think all of us, whether we follow the way of Jesus or not, have this longing to be part of a wave.  We know somewhere deep down inside that our lives were not meant to just be one little isolated molecule that you can’t see with the naked eye.  But that we were designed to be a part of something bigger.  Something a little bit more cosmic, something a little bit more vast, something that makes a difference in our world.  We’ve seen that happen in a number of different ways in our culture, in our time.  Just this last week, we celebrated the anniversary of Brown vs. the Board of Education, where Olivia Brown, a mother of a young girl, said to the school board in Topeka, Kansas, “We can’t have this…if we have one color skin we go to one school, and if we have another color skin we go to a different school.  Public education should involve everybody—every race, every skin color, every tribe…   Everybody should be able to go to their local school.”  So on May 17, 1954, Olivia Brown won her case against the Board of Education and segregation in schools was no longer constitutionally allowed.  A number of years later, August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. stood up…    This is really where the Civil Rights Movement started to gain it’s traction.  August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. stands up and delivers his speech “I Have a Dream.”  That dream started to created this wind that blew across the surface of the water and it started to create this wave, this really beautiful, really good wave.  That’s the way movements start.  A lot of times they don’t start with a plan, they start with a dream.  A lot of times they start with a pain of saying, “The world can’t continue to be like this.  We can’t continue to operate like this. There’s something bigger, there’s something better.”

I don’t know about you, but I want to be part of a wave.  I don’t just want to be a little molecule, independent. I want to be part of a wave.  I want to be a part of something bigger.  You know what’s really beautiful about that? {Will you look up at me for a moment?}  That’s wired into our veins as human beings.  It’s imprinted on our DNA.  To be a part of something bigger.  In the very beginning, in Genesis 12:1-3, God says to a man named Abram, “Abram, I’m going to bless you.  Through you, Abram, those who bless you, I will bless, those who curse you, I will curse.  But through you, every nation of the world will be blessed.”  Did you know that your God is into creating waves?!  Waves of goodness.  Waves of blessing that culminate into Jesus and then are carried by his church.  It’s deeply woven into who we are as human beings.  This story we’ve been studying and looking at the past few weeks, in 1 Samuel 14, is a story about waves.  It’s a story, not just about influence, one person on another, but it’s a story about movement.  A movement of a nation from one place to another.

If you’ve been with us over the last few weeks, this will be a review.  The nation of Israel’s on one side of a valley and the Philistines are on the other side of the valley.  The Philistines are the kings of iron in this time, ironworks and weaponry and swords.  The Israelites have two weapons to their name.   Saul has a sword. Jonathan has a sword.  Saul’s hiding out, away from the battle.  Jonathan gets this sense like, “We can’t just continue to sit here and hope.  We’ve got to step into the gap, into risk, into the unknown, and see what God will do.”  We said in Week 1 that Jonathan makes this choice to live, not just to exist, and he steps into this place of faith.  We defined the place of faith as confidence that God can, not certainty that God will.  That’s what faith is.  He steps into the battle and people start to join in.  It’s this influence that turns into a movement.

Turn to 1 Samuel 14:20 and listen to what the Scriptures say.  This is following right after Saul has gotten the Ark of God and he’s praying, but the time for praying comes to an end and the time for action is at hand.  Then Saul and all the people who were with him rallied and went into the battle.  And behold, every Philistine’s sword was against his fellow, and there was very great confusion.  Now the Hebrews who had been with the Philistines before that time and who had gone up with them into the camp, even they also turned to be with the Israelites who were with Saul and Jonathan.   {They’re saying that the Israelites that traded their Israelite army-gear into Philistine army-gear because they had way more gear, went back to the Israelite side.  We’re back on the side of ourcountry, our home, our hopes, our dreams.  The “Benedict Arnolds” of their army are gathering.  Verse 22.}  Likewise, when all the men of Israel who had hidden themselves in the hill country of Ephraim heard that the Philistines were fleeing, they too followed hard after them in the battle.  What starts with one person, one man, and a hope or a dream and a willingness to step in, but a question mark will God act?, grows into a nation on the move.

Notice this movement, this movement of Israel, this wave that God is gathering.  Here’s who it consists of — people who have left.  People who have said this isn’t my tribe anymore. People who have messed up.  Can you imagine seeing somebody come back to the frontline of battle who you saw go away and was fighting against you?  People who were cowering in fear.  People who had no hope, no faith, that God would move and that God would work.  These are the people that God uses to birth this movement.  You know why that’s beautiful? Because it’s not just a story of Israel, it’s the story of the gospel.  The gospel is the story of God taking people with guilt and shame in their past.  It’s the story of God taking people who are broken.  It’s a story of God taking people who don’t have it all together, they’re not the people that were on the front line who were saying, “Here I am, follow me.”  They’re people who are going, “God, we have no clue how you can show up and if we could switch to the other team, we would. (Or maybe we even did for a while.)”  It’s Him using those people to create a wave in His world that’s for His glory and His good.  Friends, this is the gospel!!!  Have you failed?  Join in! Are you running on empty?  Join in!  Do you have regrets, do you have guilt, do you have shame?  Come and sing along, because this wave includes you.  The movement of God is the way that He transforms His world.  Friends, living together—not isolated molecules that you can’t even see with the naked eye—in kingdom rhythms creates kingdom waves.  Creates waves of God’s goodness, his mercy, his glory, that extend far beyond the walls of any church, and go to the very ends of his great globe.

It’s interesting because Jesus told a parable, when he was teaching, that pointed to this reality.  This is Matthew 13:31-32.  He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field.  It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”   Notice what Jesus is saying.  It starts small, like one little molecule, one little seed.  It continues to grow and continues to flourish.  Certainly, the early church saw this happen.  It started with a few followers.  It turned into 120 in the Upper Room.  The Spirit descended and then from there it started to take on an energy of its own.  Three thousand people are added to the church, to the followers-of-Jesus number, in one day!  Then it says as they broke bread, as they prayed, as they sought the Lord, as they tried to be disciples and followed after Him, that the Lord added to their number daily, those who were being saved.  You know what’s interesting about this picture Jesus paints?  It starts small, it grows massive.  It’s like a wave.  But it’s a wave of good.  Any kingdom wave is a wave that benefits everybody around.  Notice that they’re not making the birds sign a Statement of Faith before they come and get in the tree branches.  This is a common good, the Kingdom of God.  Sure, it is unique, but it provides respite, it provides refuge for anybody that wants to come under its branches.  It’s for the good of everybody.  This is the movement, the wave, of the Kingdom.  I don’t know about you, but I want to be a part of THAT kind of wave!  Who’s with me?

It’s interesting the way that this passage of Scripture starts to draw out what’s fundamentally necessary for movements to become reality.  I want to point out three things that stand out to me in this passage about the way that God birthed this movement in Israel, and the way that He births movement in and through us.  Here’s the way it starts.  (1 Samuel 14:1, 6)  One day Jonathan the son of Saul said to the young man who carried his armor, “Come let us go over to the Philistine garrison on the other side.”  But he did not tell his father.   We’ve talked about the Philistines all throughout this series.  The Philistines were an absolutely brutal people.  If you were to do a study of the Philistine people throughout the Scriptures, here’s what you would become aware of really quickly.  They are defined by their idolatry.  They’re defined by their pagan worship, but specifically, the Philistines are defined, in the Scriptures, by the fact that they worship their deities by sacrificing their kids. Specifically, by way of fire.  So God, in his divine wisdom and through the nation of Israel, has them in conflict. The good of the nation of Israel is in conflict with this evil.  Any movement needs an enemy.  Any movement needs something to fight.  So the foundation of movement is first, an enemy to fight.

So if Israel’s enemy was the Philistines, my hope is you’re asking the question Who is our enemy?  That’s a really important question.  Here’s why.  If we fight the wrong battle, we may win the wrong war, but it won’t really matter.  The enemy we’re fighting determines the war that eventually we’ll either win or we’ll be defeated in. If we identify the wrong enemy, we will fight the wrong war.  I think we’ve been fighting the wrong war for too long.  The question I want to wrestle with is Who did the early church view as their enemy?  The Apostle Paul makes that pretty clear in Ephesians 6:10-12.   Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.  For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood… {..for we do not wrestle against flesh and blood.  For we DO NOT wrestle against flesh and blood!  For we do not wrestle against FLESH and BLOOD.  PEOPLE are NOT your enemy!  You’ve never laid eyes on a person who was your enemy.  Maybe they were wearing a different uniform, or maybe they had on a different sash….or hat….or…   But they weren’t your enemy.  Not according to the Apostle Paul.  He could have said, “Listen, who’s our enemy?  Rome is our enemy.”  They were crucifying people left and right. They take our teachers and they take followers of the way of Jesus and they pin them to crosses, just like they did to our leader.  He goes no, that’s not the battle.  The battle is…}  ..against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.   He goes, “THAT’S the battle.”  We don’t fight against people.  We don’t fight against people who believe differently than we do.  We don’t fight against people who have a different color skin or different dialect or fight for a different army.  THAT’S not the battle the church is called to fight.  We’ve got to think bigger than that.  If we fight the wrong battle, if we choose the wrong enemy, we’ll fight the wrong war.

Rulers, authorities, and powers of evil.  Here’s what the Apostle Paul’s NOT saying — We’ve got to choose to engage in spiritual warfare.  He’s saying that spiritual warfare is a reality.   This is the world that you live in. And our lack of recognition of that, especially in the West, where we’re so focused on the material things of the world that we see in front of us, I think has caused us to fight the wrong battle.  It’s so much easier to fight against people, that have a different ideology or different faith.  It’s a lot harder to say, “What’s the lie underneath and what’s the system underneath and what’s the evil underneath?  And how do we fight against THAT instead of against people?”

It’s fascinating that Paul, as he writes to the church at Ephesus, says that ‘the satan,’ or ‘ha satan,’ is the enemy or ‘the ruler of the air.’  He rules in this world.  In 1 John 5:19, he says:  We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.  This is the world that we live in.  Here’s what John’s NOT saying, just to clarify.  The world, as John talks about it, is not the place where our feet stand, but it’s the place where our heart gives allegiance.  It’s the place our heart bows.  THIS world that we live in….we have two rulers — One, his name is Jesus.  His kingdom is here, his kingdom is now.  AND the ruler of the kingdom of the world.  BOTH kingdoms are present right now.  So the question isn’t, “Which kingdom is here or which kingdom is now?”  The question is, “Which kingdom are you living in?!”  Which kingdom do you give allegiance to? The way of the Enemy or the way of Jesus?

It’s interesting if you look at the way that Jesus engaged this battle and the way that he fought this enemy.  It’s summarized, probably most succinctly and brilliantly, in Colossians 2:13-15.  Here’s what the Apostle Paul writes:  And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands.  This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.  He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.   Let’s zoom out a little bit.  The weapon of Jesus is….the cross.  His enemy is…..rulers and authorities that perpetuate and stimulate evil.  His victory entails the canceling of sin, the extermination of guilt and shame, that our debts have not just been crossed out, but they’ve literally been erased and done away with, and that the enemy has been disarmed.  But he’s not gone yet.  You know that and I know that.  His whispers have a tendency to catch a foothold in our heart, don’t they? But that’s the enemy.  Guilt.  Shame.  Evil.  And if we never identify the right enemy, we will never fight the right war.  Luckily, the words of Martin Luther are true: “And though this world with devils filled, should threaten to undo us; We will not fear, for God has willed, His truth to triumph through us.”  That’s great news.

In order for a movement to happen, an enemy has to be clear.  Our enemy is evil.  Our enemy is the present darkness that infiltrates God’s good world.  Second thing for a movement to take place…    1 Samuel 14:12 — And the men of the garrison hailed Jonathan and his armor-bearer and said, “Come up to us, and we will show you a thing.”  And Jonathan said to his armor-bearer, “Come up after me, for the Lord has given them into the hand of Israel.”   His armor-bearer said, “I’m with you heart and soul.”  Jonathan says, “Come after me.”  Any movement that starts to take place not only has an enemy to fight, but a leader to follow.  So Jonathan says, “Hey, follow me,” and people start coming out of hiding.  They start coming out of shame.  They start coming out of guilt.  And they join in!  So the Israelites….their leader in THIS war, THIS battle, was Jonathan.  Our leader is……Jesus.  Thank you for not saying ‘Ryan,’ or ‘the elders,’ or ‘our leaders’ because man, I can’t hold a candle to Jesus.  And luckily He is our corporate leader, he’s the head of this church.  He is who we ALL are seeking after, following after.  He’s the one who says, “Come! Follow me.  I’ll make you fishers of men.  I’ll teach you how to live in this world that I’ve created, that I know, that I’ve wired, that I’ve designed.”

The early church had this invitation that they spread out to everybody.  It was not ‘come and be part of the church.’  The invitation was come and follow Jesus.  Come and be a disciple, which literally meant ‘an apprentice’ or ‘a learner,’ somebody who took on the teachings and the way of Jesus.  Jesus wasn’t asking or calling people to agree with him.  He was inviting people to become like him.  He was inviting people to live in the same way that he lived, to do the same things that he did.  So the question we need to wrestle with is not just about what it means to believe in Jesus, but what does it look like to live a life that resembles Jesus?  It’s a lot easier to be a convert than it is to be a disciple.  Becoming a disciple is not about being religious.  It’s about becoming a student of the Jesus way of life.  Learning what to do in situations that would be the same thing Jesus would do if He were in the situation we were in.  What do we do when we become angry?  What do we do when we’re wronged?  What do we do when people don’t hold up their end of the bargain?  What do we do when somebody accidentally rear-ends us?  What do we do?  How do we live in the way of Jesus in our everyday life?

Here’s the thing — It’s different than going to church.  It’s not just checking in and attending….  Gathering together is a great thing, but when we talk about being a disciple, we are not talking about going to church.  In fact, did you know that if you were to read all the way through the Gospels, you would find one place where Jesus says the word church.  It’s in Matthew 16:18, where Jesus says to Peter…..I will build my church.  What’s really interesting is that that word wasn’t even translated as ‘church’ until 1382!  The very first time.  In 1382, roughly 1300-1400 years after Jesus, they started to take this word, ‘ekklesia’ in the Greek, and instead of translating is ‘assembly or congregation,’ they used a derivative of the German word ‘kirche,’ which meant the house of God.  They translated it to ‘church.’  For the New Testament church, they would never have thought of a place.  They would have thought of a people.  They would have said you can’t GO to church, you can only be a part of the church.  In fact, William Tyndale, when he did his English translation of the New Testament, changed five to seven key phrases, key words, key ideas, and this was one of them.  Instead of translating it ‘church,’ he translated it ‘congregation.’  Assembly.  Movement.  Eventually it got him killed.

The church moved away from this grass-roots movement to become a centralized location.  Nothing’s wrong with going to church.  I think we should gather together as the church, but we have to view it as bigger than checking a box.  It’s embracing a way of life.  Are we living in the way of Jesus?  To become a disciple is not to confirm that we agree with a statement of faith.  It’s not to sign our name, it’s to submit our life.  To say, “Jesus, I want to learn what it means to live in your way.”  Jesus, I want to learn what it looks like to imitate you.  The way that you used your money, the way that you used your time, and the things that you valued, and the way that you lived your life.

So let me just pause and say that in your journey of being a disciple, if you are, how are you doing?  Are you becoming more like Jesus?  Maybe we can think about it this way.  Let me give you four directions to think of discipleship in.  Upward — what does your life with God look like?  Your life in devotion, your life in Scripture, your life praising Jesus, getting to know Jesus.  Secondly, inward.  How’s the health of your soul?  Do you have built into the rhythm of your life—of your week, of your month—Sabbath, rest, silence, solitude, pause?  It’s one thing to hear me talk about the love of the Father, the overtures of the Father’s love toward you, it’s a whole other thing to hear them from God yourself.  How’s the health of your soul?  Upward.  Inward.  Together. Part of living in the rhythm of Jesus is embracing life that moves in community together.  When we have something like a church picnic, that might not be your thing.  I don’t care.  I just want to be with you.  I want us to be together.  And Dinners for Eight — You may be terrified!  If you’re terrified to go to dinner with eight people you don’t know, find somebody to go with you.  Embrace the awkwardness together.  But it’s more than just Dinners for Eight, it’s part of being a community together.  Linking arms and hearts together, that we would live life together.  That’s why Life Groups aren’t a program that we do, but a rhythm that we engage with.

Upward to Jesus.  Inward to our own souls.  Linked arms together.  Then together looking through—God, what would you do through our lives?  Maybe it’s an invitation for you to serve in a different way, to give in a different way.  What type of impact is God having on you, through you, for His glory in His world?  Upward. Inward. Together.  Through.  These are the rhythms of discipleship.  Gospel transformation.  Live-giving community.  Visible faith.  This is what we’re all about.  As Dallas Willard said: “We fail to see movement in the west today, because we are not adequately teaching people how to be and how to make disciples.”  We’re great at making converts, but teaching people how to live in the way of Jesus, with the heart of Jesus, in the rhythms of Jesus, so that their lives are actually changed, that’s a different thing.  Any movement has a leader and our leader is Jesus, and His invitation is not believe in me….follow me.  Do what I do in the way that I do it, with the heart that I have.

So the story (1 Samuel 14:20-22), at the end of this section, gets real weird.  You see Saul come out of hiding and engages in battle.  Jonathan steps into this battle and has a little victory, then the rest of the Israelite army joins in.  At that point, the Philistine army starts killing itself, which if you’re an Israelite, it’s really good news.  Because you have two swords.  Maybe some jiujitsu training I’m not aware of, but you have two swords to your name and you’re going against a pretty strong, valiant army.  I’ve just wrestled with this question this week — If Jonathan doesn’t step in, does God intervene?  If Jonathan doesn’t cross the valley, does God still win the victory?  If Jonathan sits and cowers in fear, what story do we read?  We don’t know.  We don’t have the answers to all those questions.  We simply know that when Jonathan moves, God moves with him.  That when Jonathan steps in, God shows up.  YOUR LIFE MATTERS.  When it comes to movement, your life matters.  But God’s part is essential.  Your life matters, but God’s part, God’s movement, is absolutely essential.  He cares and He’s with us, not only because we have an enemy to fight, which is evil.  We have a leader to follow, his name is Jesus. But we have also a mission to fulfill.

So we’re back to the question: How do we fight the battle?  We identified that the evil is our enemy—the systems or the powers of darkness that are very real in our world today, even though we can’t see them.  The question lingers though…How do we fight this battle?  How do we engage in this war?  I left that hang to come back to that to close our time with it.  There’s three ways that we fight this battle.  Number one is fighting by really believing the greatest commandment that Jesus ever gave.  Which is:  You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind… your neighbor as yourself. (Matthew 22:37-39)  That’s the way we fight!  Did you know that before the church ever had a building, before the church ever had a Bible, the church had a command?  Let that sink in.  Before buildings, before Bibles, the church had a command.  The command from Jesus was really, really clear — Love one another:  just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.  By this all people will know….   {Do you want to create a wave? Do you want your life to matter, do you want your life to impact, do you want your life to influence, do you want your life to change Littleton, Centennial, Denver, Colorado, to the ends of the earth?  Jesus tells us how.}  By this {when you love} all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:34-35)  Notice the synchronicity between the enemy that we fight, the enemy who is spiritual and evil, and the way that we fight.  We fight with the weapons of love, of goodness, that reflect our God.  That’s how Jesus builds his church/movement/congregation/gathering.  That’s how He does it!  So, how do we fight?  We love.

Number two — Jesus lays it out clearly before he ascends to heaven — Go therefore and make disciples… {People who live in the way of Jesus, with the heart of Jesus.}  …disciples of all nations, {We don’t get to choose who we love, we just get to choose how we love.  You know that, right?  You’ve never laid eyes on somebody that you were not called by God to love, and you never will.  You don’t get to choose who, you just get to choose how.  We don’t get to choose who we have a heart to make disciples of, we just get to choose where God would call us.}  …make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.  And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:19-20)   We invite people to become a part of His body, which is symbolized through baptism.  We teach people to obey His way and become followers of Jesus that forgive when wronged, when free ourselves of anger that become a light on a hill.  We invite people to trust in the power of our great God.

How do we fight the battle?  Love.  Disciple.  And we step into this reality that the story that God is telling from the beginning is a story of His goodness.  Of His goodness.  He is at work right now.  He is on mission and if you want to be a part of His wave, we’ve got to join HIS mission.  His mission is love.  His mission is teach people how to live in the way of Jesus.  His mission is restoration of ALL THINGS.  Through the blood of Jesus, through the mission of the church, God is actively working to renew His creation, to make all things new, because He’s that kind of God, because He loves humanity THAT much.  That is the metanarrative story of the entire Scriptures.

So His invitation is…..join in!  Where do I join in?  How do I join in?  It’s real interesting.  Our misreading of the Great Commission passage leads to the question.  But if we read this right, we never have the question, because the invitation of the Great Commission is to make disciples.  That’s the command of it — MAKE disciples.  The place is….going.  It’s actually a participle.  The imperative, or command, in the Greek is make disciples.  Going is a verb, it’s a participle.  So, as you go, wherever you go, whenever you go—-in the home, in your neighborhood, in your workplace—-live in the way of Jesus and teach people to do the same.  If you want to do that in a different country, praise be to God.  You’re called to do it WHEREVER you are.  And it looks like a tree that starts to form where birds find their home in its shade, in the beauty, in the goodness of his kingdom.

One of the things I love about pastoring this church is we’re making waves.  And it’s really good.  I think God wants to press on us though.  I think right now some of our waves are like the waves that you see at Chatfield Reservoir when a speed boat goes by.  If you’re at the right place, at the right spot, with the right boogie board, you might be able to catch it, but good luck.  I think He wants to start making more like Pacific Ocean type waves with our lives.  Here’s some of the waves I see right now that are so exciting and life to my soul.  I see 80 families over at the ELC, every single week, dropping kids off to be cared for by our church community.  By an ELC that we run and teachers who love those kids.  I’m starting to ask, “What would it look like for us as a church body to start to add value to the lives, not just of those kids, but of those families?  How could we care for those families in a way that points them to Jesus?”  We serve a few hundred cups of coffee every single day through our coffee shop, Solid Grounds. That’s awesome!  But what would it look like for that to grow into an even bigger wave that would crash into Littleton, Centennial, Highlands Ranch, Englewood, wherever?  What would it look like for it to continue to grow?  70-100 families every single week get food from our food bank. How might God use your lives, our lives, not just as a little molecule of water that we can’t see on its own, to make a greater, bigger impact for the glory of His name?  There’s people right now—18 of you—that have opened your homes to host Dinners for Eight, where you’ll have a real awkward gathering to the glory of God… Just kidding.  But you’re opening your homes.  Why?  Because you believe that we’re on mission together, that life together is better.  I’m hoping that some of you invite friends who aren’t a part of this community of faith so they can see that we’re really not all that weird.  (Just choose which house you go to really carefully, okay?)

I had a chance to meet with one of our congregant members, Kris Briggs, this week.  She shared with me about her ministry in prison fellowship.  A project she gave to these prisoners who are in school with her overflowed into the lives of the inmates.  Six inmates came to faith in Jesus in the last few months!  For the first time in a long time, they’re going to have a baptism celebration in the jails!  That’s awesome!!  Those are the waves that I’m seeing and I’m just asking, “Will you jump in?”  Will you be a part of it?  Would you pray and ask God how he might want to use your life for His glory?  I can tell you that you will never, ever regret it, because the mission of Jesus and the movement of Jesus is global—it’s happening on every corner of the globe.  His glory drenches his world.  It’s historic — We are part of something that has its roots in 2000 years of history, but even before that with the followers of Yahweh as the true God.  And we’re part of a wave that will never, ever end!  The church is bigger than this building!  We’re not inviting people just to come and worship with us.  We’re inviting people to be part of the kingdom rhythms of our good Creator.  Live a life that creates with us a wave that makes our city better, that makes our neighborhoods better, that makes our workplaces better, that makes this world a different place, because Jesus is that good!  And so we pray, “Our Father in heaven.  Give us today our daily bread, give us what we need.  Your kingdom come and your will be done on earth and in our lives as it is in heaven.”  My prayer for us is that our lives together would create kingdom waves that would impact people for the glory of His name, for their joy as they follow after Him, and for the good of our world.  Let’s pray.

Close your eyes and we’re going to sing one last chorus of a song, but before we go there, I just want you to have a chance to take a deep breath and to ask God to stir in you.  What does it look like for you to be a part of His movement?  An enemy to fight, a leader to follow, a mission to fulfill.  Jesus, we want to be more than just a little molecule of water that you can’t even see, but we want to be part of your wave, your kingdom wave. We believe you’re stirring one, and we believe the wind is blowing and gathering people, Lord, that we might move and that we might make an impact.  Not just on one life, but on many, for the glory of your name, by the power of your Spirit.  Would you make us a wave that would be for the good of the world that you love.  We pray in Jesus’s name.  Amen.