ROB WEGNER: Well, we’re about the halfway
point in this series “Messy Church.” And why the title “Messy Church”? Because we are the
Church — we are the people of God, saved by the power of God, for the purpose of God
— and we’re also a mess. We are a bundle of contradictions. You know, I love humility,
but man, I sure think I’m awesome. CONGREGATION: (Laughter.)
ROB WEGNER: Right? We love the truth, but it’s nice on occasion to shade it a little
bit; right? You know what I’m talking about. We love generosity, but man I got to make
sure I get what I need out of this thing, and we’re all this bundle of contradictions.
And here’s what’s beautiful. Jesus does not stand far off. He plunges himself right into
the middle of our messiness. And write this down. Here’s the big idea for the series.
The world is a messy place, and God uses our messes to help us become like Jesus. In other
words, he takes our messes, and he turns it into a classroom to teach us. He takes our
messes, and he turns it into an OR to do surgery on us and to get out the cancer. He takes
our messes, and he turns it into this cocoon where we literally get transformed and we
become a new version of ourselves that looks a lot more like Jesus. And we’ve talked about
— so far about how it’s going to get dirty, and then we’ve talked about how it’s going
to get emotional, and last week about how it’s going to get wild, and this week we’re
going to talk about it’s going to get weird. And what a surprise I got that weekend; right?
It’s going to get weird. And just to be clear, there’s different types
of weird. Right? Do you have that person you know who is weird in a sort of awkward, uncomfortable
way? You know what I’m talking about? Are you sitting next to that person right now?
CONGREGATION: (Laughter.) ROB WEGNER: And we’re not going to talk about
that kind of weird. Don’t be mean. Come on. There is also another kind of weird that’s
kind of cool. Do you have a friend who is kind of quirky and maybe artsy or they have
kind of this really different — they’re a little eccentric and it’s kind of cool? I’m
not talking about that kind of weird. We’re going to talk about a God kind of weird. And
write this down. Here’s the big idea for today. Those who truly follow Jesus will be weird.
Tell your neighbor, “He’s talking to you, weirdo.” Tell ’em.
And see, following Jesus, why will it be — why will it be weird? It’s going to lead us to
weird places and weird priorities. And we have this little catchphrase in our house.
It goes like this. Better weird than dead. Better weird than dead. And I have to explain
where it came from. There is — get ready for obscure cultural reference number one.
Are you ready? All right. There was this show that was on in the early ’90s that probably
nobody in this room has seen, but I loved it. It was only on one season, and it was
called Eerie, Indiana. And it was about this young guy — he’s maybe 14 — named Marshall,
and his family moved from New Jersey to this town in Eerie, Indiana.
All right? It’s called Eerie, Indiana. And it was this sort of akin to Twilight Zone.
It was this kind of campy, quirky twist where here is this 14-year-old. He goes to Eerie,
Indiana, and it’s this portal to all this sort of otherworldly activity, except none
of the adults are aware of it, of course. Because they’re all sort of mesmerized pursuing
normal in suburbia. So they miss everything that’s going on underneath the surface. So
Marshall and his best friend, they’re kind of sleuthing out all these mysteries of this
weird stuff that’s going on underneath the surface. And of course everybody else in Eerie,
Indiana, thinks who is weird? Marshall. But he’s actually the one who knows what’s going
on. And one of Marshall’s catchphrases was this: “Better weird than dead.” People might
think I’m weird, but better weird than dead. And there was sort of a double meaning to
it. Because what the show is actually about, why I liked it so much, it’s one of the primary
themes that you’ll find throughout literature. Thoreau said it this way, you know, that masses
of humanity live quiet lives of hidden desperation. Pursuing what? Normal. And a lot of people
feel like The Walking Dead in the pursuit of normal.
Let me ask you: How is normal working in America right now? How is normal working for us? What’s
normal in terms of scheduling? Overcommitted, rushed, busy, no time. We’re so preoccupied
with the urgent that we have no time for the important. How is that working? Maybe better
weird than dead, huh? Maybe we need to look at how we use our time differently. How is
financial normal in America working? Up to our debt — up to our eyeballs in debt? Right?
No financial margin. Most of the fights orbit around what? Money. Is normal working?
Maybe better weird than dead. How is normal in relationships in America? Think about it.
A lot of families feel swallowed up by what? Disconnection, dysfunction. How is normal
working for us? Maybe it’s time for weird. Maybe it actually is better weird than dead.
Because in Jesus weird means fully alive. Extraordinarily loving, joyful, peaceful,
even when circumstances are crazy. That’s weird, and I want more of that. And that’s
why we’re doing the series. How do we find that in the middle of the mess? Wouldn’t that
be weird? And we’re going to see that over and over again in the life of Paul. We’ve
already been seeing it. And to pick up where we’re at in the story
— again, we left off last week, Paul was in Ephesus, and he actually spent three years
in Ephesus, which is a long time, because Paul is very entrepreneurial. Usually he’s
just traveling from town to town. He’s starting up these new faith communities and then he
moves on. But he goes really deep at Ephesus. And there’s this really rich community. And
the church is beginning to transform a whole town. We read about that last week. And then
this odd thing happens. He’s got this prompting, this leading from Jesus to do something really
weird, to go to Jerusalem. And he describes it this way in Acts 20, okay, verses 22 and
23. He says, “And now I am bound by the Spirit.” He’s like, I am bound. The imagery there is
literally like chains. I am chained by the spirit to go where? Jerusalem. I don’t know
what awaits me except that the Holy Spirit tells me in city after city that jail and
suffering lie ahead. Now, this is odd. If you remember, Paul is being chased by this
violent paparazzi. They’re trying to kill him. Do you remember where their headquarters
would be? Jerusalem. So it’s literally like the cat saying, “You know what? I think I
am going to go ahead and go down to the dog park. That’s just going to be a great time.”
CONGREGATION: (Laughter.) ROB WEGNER: Like this is — it’s weird. I
mean, people would perceive it as suicidal. And he says, “Jesus is telling me to go to
Jerusalem. So I’m going to go to Jerusalem.” And so he leaves Ephesus. And that’s where
we’re going to pick up right now. It’s Acts Chapter 21. It’s in your notes. If you have
your Bible with you, you can turn there. Acts Chapter 21. Let’s start with verse 1. And
we’re going to learn all about weird places and weird priorities. Verse 1 — I want you
to pay close attention. Get ready to underline some things. Okay? “After we tore ourselves
away from them” — he’s talking about their friends in Ephesus — “we put out to sea”
— so there’s a road trip or a sea trip starting — “and sailing a straight course, we came
to Kos.” Underline that. On the next day to Rhodes. Underline that. “From there to Patara.”
Says like an awesome ’80s metal band: Patara. Underline that. “We found a ship crossing
over to Phoenicia.” Underline that. “We went aboard and put out to sea. After we sighted
Cypress” — underline that — “and left it behind on our portside, we sailed onto Syria”
— underline Syria — “and put it at Tyre, because the ship was to unload its cargo there.”
Now, there is a momentum that Luke wants us to feel in this passage. How many places did
he list in just those couple sentences? Count them up. And someone yell it out when you
know it. CONGREGATION: Seven.
ROB WEGNER: Seven. Wow. Ding, ding, ding. Very quick. And what was the last one?
CONGREGATION: Tyre. ROB WEGNER: Tyre; right? Because you’d be
tired too after all those stops. CONGREGATION: (Laughter.)
ROB WEGNER: I’ll be here all week. Thank you very much.
CONGREGATION: (Laughter.) ROB WEGNER: Just flew in. My arms are tired.
Here’s what I want you to get. Write this down. What Luke is using here is a journey
motif. In other words, he wants you to feel, yes, there’s all these twists and turns. There’s
all the stops. It’s a world tour. It’s a road trip. But behind it and underneath it, there
is this momentum, like we are an unstoppable force and, yeah, we’re going ding, ding, ding,
ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, but we are on the move. We are sent. You know what it reminds
me of? This is what I think Luke would want you to see in your head. You remember the
Raiders of the Lost Ark movies and when Indy would get in a plane and he would start going
somewhere like a man on a mission, there would be that red line — remember? — that would
go across the globe and it would stop at certain points and then the red line would keep going?
That’s what he wants you to have in your head. They’re on a journey, but they are unstoppable.
And you know where they’re leaving? They’re leaving normal, and they’re going to weird.
They’re leaving comfortable, and they’re going to unknown. And when you follow Jesus, let
me tell you something. If you want same, lame, tame, don’t follow him. You want boring and
predictable? Don’t follow Jesus. If you want him to just help you get more comfortable
in your La-Z-Boy, don’t follow Jesus. Because he’s going to lead you to weird places, dangerous
places, unexpected places. Write this down: “If I’m available, Jesus will lead me to unexpected
destinations I never planned on going.” I think about my life with Jesus. I’ve been
trying to follow him in the most surrendered way I can since I was about 14 years old,
and I think of the places I’ve ended up. It’s pretty weird. It’s pretty crazy. I’ve been
to villages in India where there’s never been a white man before. I walked in; the children
started crying. CONGREGATION: (Laughter.)
ROB WEGNER: Yeah. I remember being in a garbage dump in Guatemala watching children try to
pick out their meal for the next day. I met Jesus there, actually, to the church that
was caring for those kids. I remember in Guatemala, like in that same trip, going up to this high
location where there’s actually three volcanoes in this lake, and there were tribes around
it that were still worshiping Mayan gods, and I saw Jesus there. There’s men and women
that are nameless that you and I would never know. They lay their lives down there to go
to these tribal groups to — so they can know the good news. They don’t have to live in
fear of some sort of fickle God who is going to strike down their children or their crops
if they don’t appease them. They get to hear about amazing grace.
I’ve been in the middle of a drug deal gone wrong in the middle of inner-city Chicago.
And I wasn’t buying. Don’t worry. I was there with a team of teenagers. Imagine that, parents.
And we followed Jesus there. I mean, I’ve been to weird places. One time my wife and
I had lunch with a former president and the first wife. We had barbecue. And the whole
time I’m like, “I hope I don’t get any on me.” And you know what we talked about most
of the time? Jesus. And you know what? I got to those places not because I’m extraordinary
or I have an awesome travel agent. I just tried to stay on the heel of Jesus. And there’s
no better place to be. You want to be fully alive? You want unexpected? Stay with Jesus.
Go where he goes. And it’s one of the things I love about this church. There’s more and
more people who are saying, “I want to leave normal. I want to leave comfortable.” Like,
we have teams literally that are — travel all over the globe to serve the widow and
the orphan and the foreigner. We just had a team that just got back from Thailand. And
you know what? They got to be a part of the church planting movement there. They got to
help baptize some brand-new followers of Jesus. And you know what? In Thailand it’s illegal.
You can go to jail. That’s pretty weird. Our people were there.
We’ve got a team that’s leaving today to go to South Africa to serve HIV orphans. How
beautiful is that? If you’re ready to go to a weird place, you know we have another team
that’s leaving for India later on this summer. And I love the heart of this church that says
we’re going to leave normal; we’re going to leave suburbia; we’re going to leave comfort;
we’re going to follow Jesus wherever it leads, even if it’s halfway around the globe.
And it’s not just around the world. It’s right here in our backyard. There’s hundreds of
people in this family that week in and week out they go to places in Kansas City that
a lot of normal people try to avoid. Isn’t that cool? They go to under-resourced, marginalized
communities that a lot of people are literally afraid to go to. And we go straight in. Because
we’re weird. Because we want to be with Jesus. And we want to be a part of bringing love
and life and light, and we know when we go to serve the poor that we discover guess who
else is poor? We are. Jesus said blessed are the poor in spirit because they get the kingdom
of God. And Jesus will lead you to weird places, my friends. When you think about the weird
places Jesus went, the barriers he crossed — it’s there in your notes. Look at the list.
I want you to underline this. Okay. Jesus crossed geographic barriers. Underline that.
Jesus crossed socioeconomic barriers. Underline that. Jesus crossed ethnic or racial barriers.
Underline that. Jesus crossed religious barriers. Underline that. Jesus crossed political barriers.
In Jesus, we serve a God who left comfort to go to a weird, unexpected destination.
You know where it is? Right here. Planet Earth. Jesus, from eternity past, on a throne at
the center of all that exists, surrounded by the riches of heaven, that are beyond our
wildest imagings, and he left those riches, he left that throne, and he was born into
a feeding trough in Bethlehem. And you know where he grew up? In a little town called
Nazareth. And it’s not actually a town. It’s been excavated. It’s more like a wide spot
in the road. It’s not a hamlet. I mean, it — it was a hovel. In fact, you know what?
They’ve excavated the bones of the residents of Nazareth at the time of Jesus. And you
know what they discover over and over again? Malnutrition. Chronic malnutrition. That’s
the town that God went to live in. Is that weird or what? Working by the sweat of his
brow in obscurity for 30 years. And then he started his public ministry.
You know what’s weird about that? You know what Jesus was for three years? A homeless
man on a road trip. Going to unexpected place after another after another. He crossed all
the barriers. He crossed over to the lepers who were untouchable, and he embraced them.
He crossed over to the bad people, to the tax collectors and the prostitutes. He said,
“You’re my friend. You want to have a meal together?” That’s our Jesus. You know what?
And no one could tie him down. He was like, “I don’t owe my allegiance to a temple or
to Rome or to some king or country or flag. I am my father’s, and I am loyal to his kingdom.”
And it was that kind of weirdness that actually got him killed. And you know what else is
weird? He went from Earth to the most unexpected destination: Hell. Does it get any weirder
than that? And you know why he went there? Because of a weird love for you. And God,
save us from normal. God, make us weird. Take us to unexpected destinations. And here’s
the question I want to ask you. What is my unexpected destination? What is my unexpected
destination? I want you to think about that. What is it that Jesus is asking you to leave
to go to? An unexpected place. And let me give you a few suggestions. Write
these down real quick. Let me tell you how you can cross out of normal into the weird
zone. Okay? Consider practicing weirdness by crossing these barriers: Cross your fence,
cross your street, or cross a social, political, or ethnic barrier. I want to ask you to consider
doing that this week as an exercise in weirdness. Pick one of those and cross it.
You know, if you’re going to cross a social, political, or ethnic barrier, I want you to
know we’ve created lots of pathways to help us get out of comfortable into unexpected
places. So there’s lots of teams that are serving week in and week out. If you’re — if
you’re maybe in a life group or you have some friends and you’re ready to just, like, go
out on sort of an expedition here locally, just go to WestsideFamilyChurch.com, hit the
“Serve” button, and then it will say, “Serve now.” I don’t know if you know this even exists
on our website. You hit “Serve now,” and it is being populated every day with realtime
needs from our partners all over Kansas City with stuff that you can just go do instantly,
and it gets updated regularly. So it’s like an in-realtime opportunity for you to leave
comfortable and to jump in and go to an unexpected destination. Check that out this week. And
you know what else? You don’t even have to leave your neighborhood to leave normal. You
know what normal is in a lot of neighborhoods now? It’s like this: We’re neighbors, but
the closest we ever get is what? Courtesy wave (indicating); right? Courtesy wave. I’m
coming in. Courtesy wave. Right? CONGREGATION: (Laughter.)
ROB WEGNER: And we live in neighborhoods where if you get behind the front door, there’s
unbelievable amounts of pain. But it’s really easy just to stay disconnected, to see my
house as sort of like, you know, it’s my cave where I go in. And I want to encourage you.
Cross a fence, cross a street. Leave normal right in your own neighborhood. What a great
place to start. We had a new neighbor who moved in last fall
across the street. And her name is Arlene. I came — I came to find out that she had
actually owned the house, but prior to that she had been living in a retirement home.
So we asked her, you know, “Why did you leave the retirement home to come back to your house?”
And she said, “The food was horrible.” CONGREGATION: (Laughter.)
ROB WEGNER: I mean, I love what she said next: “Life is too short for bad food.”
I was like, “Right on, Sister,” fist bump, you know. A woman after my own heart.
And she said, “It’s so bland. I like spicy food.”
I’m like, “Hey, we’re going to get along great,” you know, and we had Arlene and her son over
for dinner one night and get to know each other. And then the winter hit. You know how
winter is. Everybody hibernates; right? You go down below.
And when it started to snow, I just got this prompting, you know, not just — not just
to clear our driveway but to clear hers. And then on garbage day to make sure the next
morning that her cans got up to the garage so she wouldn’t have to drag them down. Not
a big deal. But I just did that through the winter.
And come spring, when everyone comes back out, the first time I saw Arlene, she came
up, and she was smiling, and she said, “Are you my angel?”
And I said, “Arlene, ask my wife and kids.” CONGREGATION: (Laughter.)
ROB WEGNER: I’m not your angel, you know. And I hesitate actually to share that story
because I don’t want it to seem like it’s heroic. It’s really not. In fact, for the
people of God, that’s normal. You know what normal is? How do I become an angel for the
widow? How do I become an angel for the orphan? How do I become an angel for the stranger?
Right in my own neighborhood, that’s where it starts. And we’re the ones that get to
show the world the weirdness of the kingdom of God. A weird love, a weird joy, a weird
inclusion. And I want to ask you to ask Jesus, “What is my unexpected destination?”
And that leads us to this next idea. Not just weird places, but weird priorities. Write
it down: “If I’m available, Jesus will lead me to unexpected decisions that I never planned
on making.” In fact, it was actually weird priorities that led to Paul’s weird place.
You know, it wasn’t just like, “Hey, you know what? Jerusalem sounds like a great place
to go on vacation.” No. He had weird priorities that led to an
unexpected decision to go to Jerusalem. And I want you to see how Paul — how human Paul
is, how he has to wrestle emotionally with this decision. Look at what it says here.
We’ll start with verse 4, Chapter 21. So they get to Tyre; right? And it says, “After
we located the disciples there” — so there’s this whole underground movement of churches,
and they find the faith community in that town. It says this: “We stayed there seven
days.” And look at what it says they said to Paul. They repeatedly told Paul through
the spirit not to set foot where? Jerusalem. Is that confusing or what? Do you see how
messy that is? Paul is saying the spirit is telling him to go where? Jerusalem. The church
in Tyre all week long is telling him God is telling them to tell him what?
CONGREGATION: Don’t go. ROB WEGNER: Don’t go to Jerusalem. Have you
ever had someone else know God’s will for your life? Have you? That’s the situation
he’s in. These folks are saying, “Hey, you’re saying God told you to go to Jerusalem. We’re
telling you God is telling you not to go to Jerusalem.” Wow.
Look what happens next. Let’s go down. Verse 12. “So when we heard this” — now I want
you to start circling all the times you see the word “we.” Okay? “So when we heard this,
both we and the local people begged him” — that’s Paul — “not to go up to Jerusalem. Than Paul
replied” — now, feel the depth of his emotion here. “What are you doing weeping and breaking
my heart? For I am ready not only to be tied up but even to die in Jerusalem for the name
of the Lord Jesus. And because he could not be persuaded, we said no more except, ‘The
Lord’s will be done.'” Now, write this down. You know what Luke is
doing here? Luke repeatedly uses the first person plural. Now, Luke is the narrator,
but there’s a shift here in this chapter where he sort of pushes himself up into the storyline.
And what is he doing? Do you notice? What is he doing? He’s arguing with who? Paul.
So Paul now is not just looking at these new friends in Tyre. He’s actually looking at
maybe his best friend. And his best friend is begging him, “Don’t do this. Don’t do this.
Don’t do this.” Do you see how intense this is? I mean, this
would be like me saying, “Okay. You know, I have this very clear prompting about something
Jesus has called me to do,” and my wife and Dan and Brian all going toe to toe with me
and saying, “We think you’re wrong.” That’s where Paul is at. Write this down: We practice
weirdness by choosing obedience to Jesus over the opinions of others.
Paul here is saying, “Listen. I love you, I respect you, but I live for an audience
of one. You’re not the boss of me.” Tell your neighbor, “You’re not the boss of
me.” Right? He’s saying, “Jesus is the boss of me. Jesus
is Lord.” Now, listen. I want you to pay close attention
to me. The overall counsel of the Scriptures when you make major life decisions like this,
you need to get the counsel of wise people. So I’m not justifying a persecution complex.
All right? And there’s people who say God told them to do the craziest stuff. You remember
the televangelist who said a 100-foot Jesus appeared to him, and if we didn’t give him
a million dollars, Jesus was going to strike him dead? And I was like that’s fine with
me, man, you know. CONGREGATION: (Laughter.)
ROB WEGNER: I’m not justifying that kind of weird odd for God stuff. But what I’m saying
is this. There are going to come moments where you’re going to have to decide. And it’s literally
going to be will I follow Jesus at any cost, even the opinions of the people I respect
the most. This is a different level. See, Paul is like there’s Jesus and there is no
close second. It’s not like there’s Jesus, but my mom’s voice in my head is pretty close.
CONGREGATION: (Laughter.) ROB WEGNER: No. It’s like Jesus and there
is no close second. And I can’t help but wonder if Paul later on, if he’s not reflecting on
this very moment and when he wrote this to the church in Galatia. Look at his words:
“Am I now trying to gain the approval of people or of God? Or am I trying to please people?
If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a slave of Christ.” Underline
that, “Slave of Christ.” That is offensive language in our culture, and it ought to be.
I mean, one of the deepest scars on the soul of this nation is the horrific racism in the
trafficking of human beings that was normal operating procedure for a large part of our
country’s history. It’s horrible. It’s heinous. And so it should be offensive.
But we have to step back to the first century context, and when Paul says a slave for Christ,
he’s not actually talking about like I’m being bought and traded like property. It’s actually
— the phrase is doulos in the Greek. Doulos. And you know what? It’s also translated as
bondservant. And, you know, in that culture, it was about employment actually. It was a
free choice that a free person made where they would look at an individual and say,
“You are worthy of my followership. I am a bondservant.” In other words, you know, like,
Alfred in Batman? It’s like come hell or high water, he’s going with Bruce. Right? That’s
what Paul is saying: Listen, I am bonding myself to Jesus, and he is worthy of my life.
A bondservant is when you chose a master freely and said, “I’m with you. Come hell or high
water, I’m with you. Your vision for life, your vision for your family, your estate,
your kingdom is my vision. I want it. And I’m giving it freely.” Not because of some
weird psychosis, but because I think you are — you are worthy of my followership. And
Paul said, “I am a bondservant to Christ. I am a slave of Christ.”
And one of the faith heros of the last generation was a guy named Bill Bright. And Bill Bright
started a ministry called Campus Crusade for Christ, and it’s in a couple hundred nations.
It’s led millions of college students into the way of Jesus. He was the catalyst for
this film. It’s called the Jesus movie. It’s been shown to over a billion people. Think
about that. A billion people. Upwards of 200 million people have come into a personal relationship
with Jesus through the viewing of Jesus through the gospel put into film. It started literally
hundreds of churches all over the world. And Michelle and I had the privilege of hearing
him at a conference shortly before he died. And it was this interview format. And one
of the questions they were asked is, “What do you credit for the extraordinary sort of
viral impact of your life?” And he said, “My wife and I, Vonette, shortly
after we were married, we wrote out a contract. It was a pretty simple contract. At the bottom,
it said, ‘From this day forward, Bill and Vonette Bright are the slaves of Jesus Christ,'”
and they signed it. And I want to ask you, have you signed that
contract? Or are you still kind of swimming around in the shallows of churchianity? Jesus
is worth it. He’s the only one who is worth it. Living for the opinion of others is a
brutal trap. It is a horrible treadmill, and it will crush you. There is only one who every
time he speaks, it’s the right thing to do and it leads to life, and his name is Jesus.
And it’s weird. It’s weird to have that kind of loyalty nowadays. It’s weird to have that
kind of surrender. Paul describes that “I’m a slave of Christ.”
And I want to read you something that for me it sort of embodies this weirdness, and
it’s something that has been — it’s helped me stay weird for over two decades. It’s called
the Fellowship of the Unashamed. And this was written actually by an African young man
from Rwanda. And he was being confronted by his tribe, and they were demanding that he
renounce his faith in Jesus. And he refused. And they executed him. He was martyred for
his faith. This is in 1980. And after he was martyred, his family found something that
he had written the day before he was martyred. It’s called the Fellowship of the Unashamed.
It goes like this: “I am a part of the Fellowship of the Unashamed. I have Holy Spirit power.
The dye has been cast. I stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I am a disciple
of his. I won’t look back, let up, or back away. My past is redeemed. My present makes
sense. My future is secure. I am finished and done with low living, sight walking, small
planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tame visions, mundane talking, chintzy giving,
and dwarf goals. I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits,
or popularity. I don’t have to be right, first, tops, recognized, praised, regarded, or rewarded.
I now live by the presence, lean by faith, love by patience, live by prayer, and labor
by power. My face is set. My gait is fast. My goal is heaven. My road is narrow. My way
is rough, my companions few, but my guide is reliable. My mission is clear. I cannot
be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded, or delayed. I will not
flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of adversity, negotiate at
the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.
I won’t give up, shut up, let up, burn up until I’ve preached up, prayed up, paid up,
and stored up, and stayed up for the cause of Christ. I am a disciple of Jesus. And when
he comes to get his own, he will have no problem recognizing me because my colors will be clear.”
And that’s weird. And that’s fully alive. And you know what? There are moments of surrender
and then there’s the practice of surrender. And a moment of surrender in my book is a
defining moment where you sign the contract, where you say, “You know, I’m done negotiating.
Jesus, you are Lord, and I’m bonding myself to you. Take me to unexpected destinations.
Lead me into unexpected decisions.” A moment of surrender. And for some of you, today is
that day. You know right now you’re being invited by Jesus Christ, the living God, to
surrender, to stop playing church and surrender and be a disciple of his.
And after that moment of surrender, there is what you could call the practice of surrender.
And you know what Paul says? That we should — we should present our lives as living sacrifices.
All right? So kind of using the image of an altar and we’re a living sacrifice. The problem
with a living sacrifice is you can crawl off the altar. Right? And we do that.
So after the moment of surrender, there is a practice of surrender or sometimes a dozen
times or two dozen times in a day, I have to say again, “Jesus, you’re Lord. Jesus,
you’re calling the shots. Jesus, obedience to you, and there’s no close second.” And
maybe you’re at a time where you need to practice surrender again.
And you can see at the bottom of your notes there’s a place where you could sign your
name. So I’m going to pray a prayer, and, again, we don’t want anyone to feel forced.
Don’t do this because of guilt. Do this because of love. But if it’s in your heart today,
surrender again. Put that down. If today is your defining moment, you can sign your name
today. And let’s bow our heads and pray together.
Lord, Jesus, you left heaven to come to an unexpected destination, here to Earth, to
save us. And, Lord Jesus, you went to Jerusalem to make an unexpected decision to choose losing
over winning, to die so we could live. And, Lord, today we want to give up on normal.
Normal isn’t working anyway. Today we choose to follow you into unexpected destinations
and decisions. Today we choose to surrender because you are worthy. And, Lord, as a symbol
today that we are bonding our lives to you, chaining our lives to you, as a sign of surrender,
we sign our name again with Paul and say that we are slaves of Christ.
You can sign your name if you want to. And as we do, we say to you, “Let your will
be done, Lord.” And we pray in the mighty, strong name of Jesus. Amen.
Better weird than dead. Better weird than dead. A couple things before you go: We’ll
have members from the prayer team. They would love to pray with you. If you have an unexpected
decision or an unexpected place God’s calling you to and you want to partner with someone
in prayer, they would love to pray with you. And then secondly I want you to know this:
Today at 12:30 we have an experience called Get Connected. And if you’re new here or maybe
you’ve been hanging around for a while, but today you’re ready to take another step, we’ve
put Get Connected together to help you discover different ways that you can here as a part
of this church family learn to live, surrender to Jesus, connected to him, fully alive in
him. So we want to invite you. 12:30. There will be free lunch that’s offered. We’ll walk
through the different opportunities to take a next step into a full life in Jesus. You’re
all invited to that. With that said, let’s stand to our feet, and let me give you this
blessing as you go: May you this week follow Jesus Christ to weird places and into weird
priorities. May he lead you into unexpected destinations and unexpected decisions where
you will become weird and fully alive, by the grace and the power of God. And all God’s
people said amen. CONGREGATION: Amen.
ROB WEGNER: Thanks for coming, friends. See you soon.