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How to Make 2020 Your Best Year Yet
Developing Daily Desperate Dependence Upon the Lord
FW Building Update Q&A
Fort Worth Campus Update
How to Not Waste Your Life
The Church Matters
How We Think About Being Externally Focused
Evening with the Elders
Reflection Sunday: The Goodness of God and the Futility of the Wicked
Easter and Its Relationship with a Photoshopped Hell
Good Friday 2019
A Relentless Activity
The Motivation to Forgive
Love Precedes Life Change
There have been times over the last few years that I've watched other people teach on that last Sunday of December or that first Sunday in January, and I've been a little jealous, because I'm like, "Man, I want a shot at that time of year." It's a great time to look back and evaluate, especially this year, because we get to look back at 2019 and do some evaluation and maybe make some commitments for 2020, but we also get to look back and take stock of the last 10 years. We're at the end of a decade.
So, I'm getting a chance to look back and think through these last 10 years of my life, and it has been really fun for all of us as we look back at 2019. There have been, I would assume, some really good things that have happened and some hard things that have happened. In the Kaigler family, we lost a dog that had been part of our family for 13 years. I never considered myself a real animal guy. I loved our dog, but it was really hard.
I was like, "Wow! I am kind of a dog guy. I am kind of an animal guy." That was the hard part, and then the other thing that's going on right now… If you know me, you know I have a wife of 30 years and three daughters, and for all this time, I have had the throne at the Kaigler household. I have been the male priority at the Kaigler household.
Well, there is another boy that has entered the picture at the Kaigler household. We like him. He's a great guy, walking with Jesus, taking great care of my daughter, but I'm kind of wrestling with "Hey, I don't know what to do with this. What do I do with this? Do I share this? Do I not? Does he have to do everything I say?" That won't go well for you, I promise. Just kind of wrestling through that.
So, today we're going to be a little bit reflective about the things we can do to make our 2020 great but also how we can make 2020s great and, more importantly, how we can make your eternity great. That's what we're going to talk about today. Let me pray for us. Let's ask the Lord to do a great work in our hearts, and also, I hope it will be a great day in the history of our church because we apply what God's Word says and it changes the trajectory of our church. Let's pray together.
Father, thank you for the privilege to be together with my friends and my family. It is a gift to be able to take a Sunday for the next 40 minutes or so and just look at your Word and understand how we can apply it in a way that will keep us on mission and make our eternity great. I pray, Lord, that it would transform our church, that my friends, our family here, would become ministers of the gospel, Father, in Collin County, that we would disciple the people you bring to us, that you would draw people to Christ through us and that we would be changed and our community and our county would be changed because of your Word and our application of it. We pray that in Jesus' name, amen.
I don't know if you've been paying attention to the news or not. Over the course of the last year, there have been a couple of guys I kind of looked up to (some people would call them celebrity pastors), one in particular who really helped us when we were starting Watermark 20 years ago, but in the last year, these two guys I've looked up to have basically blown it. They have disqualified themselves from ministry. Some things that were going on in their lives in the past got exposed, and they lost their platform for ministry.
So, I've watched that happen this year, and then, unfortunately, I've had some really good friends on our Watermark staff who got their priorities out of order. They had been faithfully serving. They'd been manning their station on the battleship for a long time and kind of lost their way and basically have had to leave our staff because they blew out or burned out or bugged out or whatever you want to say.
That has happened to a couple of friends. Then I have another friend who I've lived life with for a long time, not on staff, who has played a significant role in my life, in the lives of my daughters especially, discipling them, coaching them. This year, she said, "I'm going to check out on the things I've prioritized in my life for the last 15, 20, 25 years."
So I'm looking around, and I'm trying to be a good observer of our culture and what's happening. As I've done that, I want to give you three things that happen whenever somebody is in a position of leadership… Just so you know, today's message is not just for pastors and church staff; it's for everybody. There's nothing magical about the fact that I have "Pastor" next to my name. We are all Christ followers wanting to grow in our Christlikeness.
There were three things I noticed. First, those folks were all saying, "That will never happen to me." "That will not happen to me" is one of the common things with those folks I'm talking about. The second and maybe even more important… This is important for all of us…staff, non-staff, just Christian. They had made decisions in their lives that caused the weight of their lives to be heavier than their souls could support.
One of the questions I want you to ask yourself today is, "Is the weight of my life heavier than my soul can support?" That leads to really bad things in our lives. The third thing I've noticed about these folks is that they hide what's going on in their lives. They come to the realization, "Hey, there's something going on in my life that's not healthy, but I can't tell anybody because I'll lose my image" or "I'll lose my job" or "I'll lose this or that," and they hide.
What happens is that the cover-up becomes worse than the actual crime or the hiding becomes worse than the sin, and the hiding becomes the problem. So, as we think about this today, as we reflect back on 2019 and maybe longer, I have this vision for our church. That vision is that every single one of us who calls Watermark Plano home would live in a daily desperate dependence on the Lord. I want to flesh that out today.
What does it mean to live daily desperately dependent upon the Lord? Just think about that. Think about if everybody in our church who comes here on Sundays, who is part of our family, every morning or every evening, whatever their time is, was crying out, "Lord, would you transform me? Would you transform my friends? Would you help me to spend my money differently? Would you help me to do my calendar differently? Would you help me to be on mission differently?"
I hope every one of us is asking that question here at the end of 2019. "God, what would you have me do to be fully devoted and living a daily desperate life?" There's an illustration here that I've used a lot of times, and it's really helpful. You're going to recognize the pictures I'm about to put up. You're going to see sinkholes. A sinkhole basically happens in an area where there's a limestone bedrock, and then on top of that there's a thin layer of topsoil.
Everything on the surface looks great, but what happens is that the rain and the runoff comes across that topsoil and starts seeping into that limestone, and over the course of time, it erodes everything that's under that layer of topsoil, and this is what happens. Just think about that. It looked great five minutes before this happened. Everything was totally fine, and then look at the destruction.
There's another picture we'll show you. Obviously, a community lives right there. I don't know how deep that thing is, but it does all kinds of damage and all kinds of destruction, even though it looks really, really good on the top layer. What I want to do today is I want to give you three points that are going to help us not develop sinkholes in our own lives and keep us living in a way that we are daily desperately dependent upon the Lord. I want to go to God's Word and dive in, and I would love to do that with you.
So, we're going to look at a listening life. How do we develop, cultivate a life where we're listening to the Lord? How do we cultivate a life where we examine our own life, and then how do we live a missional life? I will just tell you, these disciplines have been part of my life for the last 20 or 25 years, and you need to know I have issues in my life. I have habitual sin I'm fighting in my life. I have all kinds of things, but I'm telling you, I love my life with Christ.
I love the mission he has me on. I love the way we're fleshing that out together as a church. I love what's going on with my wife and my kids. It is a blast to walk not perfectly with the Lord but to walk passionately with Jesus. I want to invite every single one of you to jump in and just see how you're doing today. Do a check. "How am I doing at listening to the Lord and examining my life and then being on mission?"
Let's jump into the first one. You're going to notice, as we jump in to how to cultivate a listening life, that the Scripture has a lot to say about this one. In Proverbs 4:23, it says, "Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life." It's saying, "Pay attention to your heart above everything else because it determines the direction you're going."
In Psalm 27:4, King David says, "One thing I have asked from the Lord , that I shall seek …" Catch it? One thing. King David is telling us, "One thing I have asked from the Lord , that I shall seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life…" Look at what he's doing. What's the one thing? "…to behold the beauty of the Lord …"
He's saying, "I'm going to be in the presence of God, and I'm going to meditate on the attributes of God…his character, justice, mercy, all-powerful, all-knowing, all-present, all of those attributes. I'm going to behold those things. I'm going to inquire of those things." Then it goes on. "…to behold the beauty of the Lord and to meditate in His temple." Another translation says inquire.
You get the sense that David is in the presence of God, and he has his feet up and has his cup of coffee, and he's sitting there and saying, "God, who are you? Show me who you are." What if Watermark Plano, on a regular basis, started practicing Psalm 27:4, where we were spending time beholding the beauty of the Lord and inquiring in his temple? There's another passage, Luke 10:38-42. Many of you are familiar with it.
"Now as they were traveling along, [Jesus] entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord's feet, listening to His word. But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, 'Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.'
But the Lord answered and said to her, 'Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.'" King David is telling us, "Above all else, one thing." Jesus is telling us, "One thing really matters." Here's one more place. Matthew 6:31-33 in the NLT:
"So don't worry about these things, saying, 'What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?' These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need."
God is saying to us through David, through Jesus, through the story of Mary and Martha that we need to prioritize "kingdom of God" stuff first. Let me tell you how that happens. We are all busy. I get all the time… People will walk up to me and say, "Hey, Kyle, I know you're busy," and I'm like, "Stop. We're all busy. Everybody is busy."
One of my applications, one of the suggestions today is as you're doing your calendar for 2020, before you start scheduling a ton of things, schedule this: "I'm going to spend time with the Father during these times for this week and the next week." For me, I have to do a fairly regular time every day or I don't get back to it. One of the things that will help us, as a church, as we want to be on mission is that every single one of us is spending time with the Lord and meditating in his temple.
I just want you to know, when I don't do these things, when I don't prioritize the Lord, things don't go well for me. I had a chance a couple of years ago to do re:gen, and it was one of the greatest things I've ever done in my life. My statement in the re:gen group I was in was, "Hi, I'm Kyle. I have a new life in Christ, and I am a recovering people-pleasing pace-aholic because of insecurity that comes from respect-seeking, comfort-seeking, and a dad-wounded life."
You need to know that your campus pastor here is a mess. I have to seek a daily desperate dependence on the Lord to not be the guy who has the sinkhole life going on, and one of the ways I do that is by listening to the Lord. One of the things that's helpful for me as I do this, as I think about those friends of mine who blew out and disqualified themselves from leading…
I said at the beginning that they thought that would never happen to them. One of the things you can do as you move forward in your growth in Christ is not say that, because it can happen to you. I am one bad decision tonight from losing everything I have, from losing the ministry I have, from losing the family I have, from losing the close friends I have.
I could go home tonight, and after everybody is in bed, I could flip on the TV and watch something I shouldn't watch, and then it plants a seed, and then tomorrow night I do the same thing, and I do it for a little longer, and then the next night I do the same thing. I look up in two weeks and it's a habit, and then it's an addiction, and then a month goes by, and then two months. I say, "Oh, I can't afford to tell anybody that because I'll lose my job" or "I can't afford to tell anybody that because people won't think I'm worthy of being a pastor."
I keep going and I keep going and I keep going, and all of a sudden, when it comes out, I'm disqualified from ministry and my family is a mess. We are all one bad decision away. It's the top of the slide. We make that decision that starts us down the slide. All I'm telling you is don't live in fear; live with a healthy respect that the Devil wants to eat you. He wants to devour you, it says in 1 Peter 5:8.
There are a couple of quotes that have helped me in this process. I would even tell you, this year, February through July, I looked up and kind of caught myself. That whole pace-aholic thing kind of bit me again. I said yes to helping with The Porch North, and Dallas had asked me to do some stuff with the Watermark East folks who are thinking about putting a campus out there, and I had the Plano stuff.
Then all of a sudden, in the middle of nowhere, I found out I had to have two eye surgeries, which meant over the course of three months, I had 15 doctor's appointments, and all kinds of other things. I had a season where I couldn't drive, or at least my wife told me I couldn't drive. She made me do a driving test in order to be able to drive again, all kinds of stuff.
So I just looked up this summer and said, "Hey, this has not been healthy. I have not sought first the kingdom of God. I haven't made those things a priority," and I paid the price from a ministry standpoint and relationally. I was more short. I was stressed. There were all kinds of things. Thankfully, I had people in my life who said, "Hey, Kaigler, this is not good and healthy for you. You need to get back on the path, back on the journey."
Probably the most profound quote that has impacted my life is by a guy named E.M. Bounds. It says, "The men who have most fully illustrated Christ in their character, and have most powerfully affected the world for him, have been men who spend so much time with God as to make it a notable feature in their lives. To be little with God is to be little for God."
I can't quite give you 100 percent if you spend time with God that you're going to grow, but I can give you about 98 percent that the way you grow is by spending time with him. There are a couple of reasons you might not. I've known some people in the past who have done everything I've asked them to do as we've been in a discipleship relationship, and they're just struggling. They're not growing.
I always ask a couple of questions when that's the case. One is, "Is there any hidden sin in your life?" because that will stunt your growth. The other one is, "Is there any abuse in your background?" because we have found over the course of time that that can stunt growth as well, and if you haven't talked about that, it can hinder what God is trying to do in your life. We have ministries like Shelter from the Storm for the women and MENd for the men. If that's part of your story and it's going to help you start to grow and live daily dependent upon the Lord, would you raise your hand? Tell somebody, and let us come alongside and walk with you.
Let me ask you a couple of applicational questions. How often are you spending focused time with the Lord listening to his Word? I don't mean just pull out and read your chapter of the Bible. I want our church to be great at having an intimate relationship with God. John 17:3 says, "This is eternal life, that they know you, the one true God, and your Son Jesus Christ whom you have sent."
To know him is equal to eternal life. Let's be good at that so we can be on mission and we can hear from the Lord. The second one is…What change can you make in your schedule to create time with the Lord? I would just tell you again, you can't try to fit it in. You have to put that down first and then build around it. That is the practical application for that passage. So, let's grow in our listening life.
Secondly, let's grow in how we examine our lives. I find out that a lot of Christ followers I get a chance to walk with do pretty well at understanding they need to pray and spend time with the Lord and do those kinds of things, but that time is not spent taking a hard look and reflecting and examining their lives. The Scripture would tell you that this is really important.
In Psalm 51:6 it says, "Behold [God] , You desire truth in the innermost being, and in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom." God is saying to us, "In the inner part of your life, in the underground that people don't see, I need you to be honest with me. I need you to have integrity and authenticity." It's why we talk about that so much around this place.
Psalm 139:23-24 says, "Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way." The psalmist is saying, "God, here I am. Search my heart. Pry into my life. Show me what you want me to know about my life." But being aware of your sin is not enough. We examine our lives so that it moves us to confession and repentance.
James 5:16 says, "Therefore, confess sins to one another that you may be healed." Proverbs 28:13 says, "Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy." I know there are people in this room right now who are on the verge of a sinkhole moment. There are friends in this place right now whose sinkhole moments I've been a part of, who have said, "Hey, Kyle, we have something we need to confess to you."
Can I tell you my response when people come and do that? I'm like, "Thank you for telling me, and I'm so glad that you're free, that there's freedom because you've confessed things." We have this picture that everybody is going to hate us, but it says you're going to find compassion. It's what you get from our staff. It's what you're going to get from your Community Group leaders. You're going to find compassion.
I just sit there and say, "I love that you found freedom. Now how are we going to help you be restored gently?" as Galatians 6:1 says. That may mean we have to pull somebody off the front lines for a season. It's totally fine, but our heart is to restore that person gently. So if you're here and you have hidden sin, I would tell you, before it implodes on you, you implode it. What I mean by that is you may be sitting here saying, "Hey, I can't confess that because of all the damage that'll happen to my family. I have to protect them from all that."
Don't do that. That's a bad idea. Implode it yourself. We'll put cones around it, and then we'll walk with you to restore you gently. This examined life leads to confession and repentance, and we want to be a part of that with you. Let me tell you how that plays out daily in my life. Almost daily, I will open my journal, which is on my computer, and I will write down first thing… I call this pre-Bible, before I open God's Word.
I just put, "Speak, Lord, your servant is listening" or I will say, "Hey, God, I realize this morning that you're in charge and I'm not" or something like that that reminds me of my relationship to the Lord, because when I get to God's Word, I want to be dependent. I want to be desperate. I want God's Word to give me life as I go in there. So I do that, and then I write down prayers and things that are on my heart.
I'll just really quickly bullet-point, "Here are the things that are on my heart today. My daughter is looking for a job. I'll pray for that. Hey, here are the places yesterday I didn't do well" or "Man, I do not want to have that conversation later today." I'll just dump those things out, kind of a heart dump in my journal, and then I'll get to God's Word. Just before that, there are four words… Some of the guys who are in Summit have heard me teach this before.
I have four words that guide me as I practice daily confession and repentance. Just so you know, Billy Graham, one of the greatest evangelists of all time… Somebody asked him one time, "How do you not get arrogant and prideful because of the impact you've had on the world for Christ?" He just said, "I practice confession and repentance every day." I logged that nugget away about 25 years ago, and I'm trying to do that. I don't do it every day, but I want that so badly to be part of my life.
So I use four words: hooked, cold, scared, and proud. I'll say to the Lord, feet up on the table with my cup of coffee, "Lord, where did my heart and soul get hooked in the last 24 hours?" A lot of times, for me, that's food. Food had control over me. A lot of times, that's I'm sitting down watching too many sports on TV and not serving the way I ought to be serving, and other times it's just straight lazy. I'm seeking comfort above all else and not the kingdom above all else.
Then there's another word I use: cold. Cold is "Where did my heart grow cold in the last 24 hours?" What I mean by that is "Where did I miss a divine appointment God had set up for me?" Where did I blow past an opportunity to love and care for somebody or pray for somebody, if that's my family or whatever? Where did I just blow past that? Where did I miss an opportunity to engage somebody in a spiritual conversation? Because that's coldheartedness. That person potentially is lost and doesn't know Jesus, and I'm coldhearted toward the fact that they're not going to spend eternity with Christ.
Scared is the third word. Where was I fearful today? What hard conversation did I need to have with either a staff person or a family member or a member at Watermark, or whoever else, and I just shied away because I was afraid? The last one is proud. Where did I take credit for what God has done? I love to do that. I like to take credit for the things God is doing when Jesus has said very clearly I can do nothing apart from him. It's in John 15.
Those things help me create a daily dependence so that when I come to the Scripture I'm like, "Okay, God. I need you. Speak to me. Tell me what you need me to do to stay tight with you." So, a couple of things that may be helpful to you. I hope they are. Once a year, I get together with four or five of my buddies. We've been doing this for about 20 years. The goal is we spend 48 hours together to just kind of evaluate.
We'll do it at the first of February, and we'll evaluate 2019. "How was it? How did you do with your ministry? How did you do with family? How did you do with your job?" All of those kinds of things. We know each other really well. One of the things we do… We don't do it every year, but every few years, we will send out a survey to our spouse and our kids. I'll read you some questions in just a second.
"Hey, how did Dad do?" To my wife, "How did I do this year?" Let me tell you about the Kaigler household. I love my wife. She loves me. I feel respected, loved, cared for by her, but she is a truth-teller. If any of y'all know my wife, you know she's a truth-teller. So when I send that out to her, when I give that to her, there's a little bit of fear and trembling about what's coming back.
Wives, if you do this for your husbands… Send it out. Here are a couple of questions. We particularly wrote them so we'd start off a little easy and kind of ease ourselves in. "What were the best memories we made together this year as a couple?" Secondly, "If someone were to ask you to describe your current marriage relationship, what would you say and why?" Then another one: "If you could change anything about our marriage, what would it be and why?"
You don't need those questions. You can think of your own questions, but do you really want to grow? Ask the people closest to you where you're missing the mark. They know. I promise they will tell you what's happening. So send that. We send one to our kids as well. In the early days, it was like, "Hey, what don't you like that Dad does?" "I don't like that Dad spanks me." It's that kind of a deal, but as they got older, their feedback was really helpful.
Here are some of the questions we ask them: "What have been the best times you've had with your dad this past year? If you had to give me some advice about being a better dad, what would that be and why?" This was a gold question: "What are some topics you would like to talk about and discuss with your dad?" I walk away from this time with my guys, and I got five or six things from every single one of my kids. "All right. We have topics. We're going to go talk through these things."
Then, "What are your fears that you would love for your dad to pray for?" Ask them. As you examine your life, ask the people close to you. It's okay for people to get downwind of you and tell you you stink. God already knows it. Invite them in to be a part of that. Another thing you might do, and I would really encourage you to do this… These next few days, at the end of 2019, I would love for you to write a letter from God to you. That's a little weird.
I'm writing a letter from God to me. It is so helpful. Again, you have to be careful. You don't want to put nonbiblical things on there, but do you know what God says to you? "I love you. I died for you. You're awesome. I have a plan and a purpose for your life." Those are the things that ought to be in your letter from God. Let me just read you from 2009 or 2010. For this decade, I wrote these couple of sentences.
It says, "Dear Kyle, you are on the precipice of the greatest decade of your life with your kids, your wife, and your ministry. With your kids, you are entering the discerning years where they will need your loving counsel, your strong encouragement, and your firm hand. They will likely live poorly or well with Christ all their lives based on these next 10 years. This is not a word to put pressure on you but to encourage you that your life mission will never be more evident to them than in these years."
Those were the years when my girls were entering junior high and high school, and they were going to start making decisions about friends they hung out with and how they were going to spend their time and how they were going to spend their money. I can tell you, and this is all glory to God, but because we did these things…we examined our lives, we had conversations together…all three of my daughters are walking deeply with Jesus. It's by God's grace.
I know there are some parents out here who have prodigal kids who have been just as diligent as I have with my kids, and I know how painful that is. I don't know what to tell you about that other than God has got you, God has got your kid, and he's in control and he's good. That's what I can tell you. So continue to let people give you feedback.
Here are a couple of things I would tell you. The reason I talk about these things… We talk about listening to God. That's the first step today. We want to grow in our ability to listen. What happens is we grow in our knowledge of God's attributes and who he is. The second part is the examination, and we start to realize just how depraved we are, how fallen we are. That's what the examination does. That's what the confession and repentance does. It helps us understand our fallenness.
Watch what happens on this chart. As you grow in this, the knowledge of who God is and how he operates in the universe, and then you grow in your understanding of your sinfulness and your depravity, look at what happens to the cross. It gets bigger and bigger and bigger, and your ministry gets more effective and more effective and more effective, and your knowledge and your wisdom that comes from the Spirit of God gets more and more.
If you're faithful in little, God says he'll put you in charge of much, and that's what happens. As you do these things, your ministry gets better and better. So, a couple of application questions for you on this. Are there any areas of disobedience in your life right now? Is there anything you're hiding that's going to be a sinkhole in the next week, month, year? Please bring it into the light. Let us walk with you. Let us help you.
Secondly…Is confession and repentance part of your daily rhythm? If it's not, I would tell you that there's some room for you to take ground in understanding that you don't have it all together. Neither does your campus pastor. We are desperate for God, and it's why we need him every day.
The third thing is we want to live a missional life. We want to be on mission. John 4:34-36 says, "Jesus said to them, 'My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.'" Man, I wish I could say that. ** "Do you not say, 'There are yet four months, and then comes the harvest'?"**
This is the first application point in this passage: "Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields…" Jesus is saying, "Pay attention to what's going on around you in the world." " [Those fields] are white for harvest. Already he who reaps is receiving wages and is gathering fruit for life eternal; so that he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together."
So, a couple of things. First, the harvest is plentiful. Jesus is saying, "Look up. The fields are white for harvest." The harvesttime is brief. We don't know how much time we have to be in the harvesting business. The harvesting time is now, and it's always going to be there for us. The point of this is that Jesus is telling us that we have to live on mission, 24/7.
There are times when we need to rest. It's biblical. It's called sabbath, when we need to take healthy rest, we need to take time away, but even that is missional and being on mission. There's a difference between healthy rest and sabbath rest. There's a difference between leisure and sabbath. So you ought to think about those things. "Hey, am I too much here?" It's one of the questions I have to ask myself. "Am I being lazy?" Too much comfort, too much seeking exactly what I want. We need to be on mission all the time.
You may be here, and I've talked about this, and some of this is kind of flying over your head. Let me just tell you how to start. You may be here, first of all, and you may not even know if you have a relationship with Christ. I would just tell you, today is your day. If you don't have a relationship with Christ, we would like nothing more than to help you understand what that is.
We're not going to manipulate that or force that. We love you asking questions. You can ask whatever question you want. We love it. We love the journey with you. If you don't have a relationship with Christ, we would love to walk through that with you.
The second thing is you need to confess. If you haven't been on mission, if you've just kind of coasted through your Christian walk or coasted through 2019 or this last month, just confess. Confession seems like this big, huge word. Just confess. Just say, "Hey, God, I've missed it here. Help me get back on track." The great news is God has forgiven you when you say that. Let's just get right back on track.
So, you confess, and then you pray for opportunities. Pray for opportunities to be on mission. That may be you out in the community, and you're talking to people, and things like that, in an evangelism-type way. I promise that's a really good word, not a bad word. Engaging people in spiritual conversations.
The last couple of months, by God's grace, I've had a chance to pray the prayer of salvation with a couple of folks who put a stake in the ground and said, "Hey, I recognize that I've lived a sinful life, and now I want to live life with Christ." Whenever people say to me, "Hey, I led that person to Christ," it drives me crazy.
I know what they mean, but the couple of folks in the last month or six weeks, or whatever, that I've had a chance to be here at the right time to pray that prayer with them, do you know how many hundreds of people have been a part of God's mosaic in their lives? Hundreds have had conversations, have loved them, have cared for them, have corrected them. Finally, the Lord brings them to a place of saying, "Okay. This God thing is real, and I need this." Way to go.
That passage we just looked at says reaping and sowing are of equal value. There are so many of you who are out sharing your faith, and we all need to be sharing our faith. There are also a bunch of you who, as you share your faith in the community, are serving in our children's and student ministries.
Do you know how much sowing is happening in our children's ministry and our student ministry? It's unbelievable. That's just as valuable as the folks who are reaping and harvesting. Way to go. Don't grow weary in doing good. Keep sowing wherever God has you. If you don't know where God has you, let us help you. We have to be on mission, because it helps us in that desperate daily dependence.
I had a conversation a couple of weeks ago. "Do you have a faith?" A guy asked me a question, and I kind of fell all over myself. I went back and said, "O God, I missed it. I'm so sorry. Give me another chance or bring somebody else into that guy's life." Being on mission keeps you desperate and daily dependent. We have to live missionally.
Let me give you a couple of application questions for this one. Do you have the perspective that you are always on mission? Secondly…Are you consistently looking for opportunities to share the gospel and serve others? I'm scared too, but I get that little voice, that little prompting. "Hey, this is an opportunity." I'm looking for them. "God, give me the courage to do that."
The greatest piece of advice I ever got (my staff knows this like crazy) on evangelism… Whenever there's an opportunity and you felt God prompt you to have a conversation… You hear, "I don't know what I would say" or "I'm not trained" or "It's weird or awkward," or whatever.
Here's the greatest piece of teaching I ever got: just say something. Give the Lord an opportunity to work. Do you know how many times you make somebody angry? It's very rare. Now, people may be disinterested, not care, but most of the time, people want to engage in that conversation. Can we grow in that, Watermark Plano? Can we be people who are engaging left and right?
I want to close with this. I told you at the beginning that the reason I wanted to do this is because I have this picture of Watermark Plano living desperate daily dependent. We're praying and we're seeking God's best for our lives and for our church and for our mission, and that is true. But there's another reason I wanted to teach this today. It's in 1 Corinthians 3:11-15.
"For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man's work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man's work. If any man's work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man's work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire."
Let me tell you what that means. If you're a Christ follower, you have laid a foundation that is going to guarantee that you're going to live eternity with Christ. That last statement says for those people who have a relationship with Christ but don't build the right things on that foundation are going to get in, but they're going to smell like smoke.
The reason I wanted to teach this message today is because I want your eternity to be great. I'm probably going to beat all of y'all there. I don't know when that's going to happen, but whenever we are judged (and Christ followers are judged based on their works), I hope I'm there, and I hope I'm cheering, and I hope your foundation is stacked as high as the Empire State Building. I care about that. I want your eternity to be great.
I've prayed that for my girls all of these years. I've just said, "God, it may be hard things for them now, but would you do whatever it takes to make their eternity great?" Do you think hard things have shaped my daughters? Absolutely. Disease, broken bones…you pick it…have shaped our family, but you know what? I trust that it's going to be great for my daughters in what's going to happen in their kingdom.
I don't know how many of y'all are here who are close to a sinkhole. We want to help you. We want to serve you. There are a lot of people here I know, I have a relationship with, who I know are living desperately daily dependent, and it blesses me. I love being on mission with you, doing this with you. Let's keep going. Let's pray together.
Father, thank you for the privilege to open your Word, to reflect back, to examine our hearts. Father, we just tell you, as broken men, women, and kids, that we want to live desperately. We want to build our trust in your goodness and in your power. We want to trust your goodness even in the midst of really hard things.
Father, I pray that as we leave today the Scripture would come alive, that we would take time in these next few days before the new year starts. It's just a good time to reflect. That we would kick our feet up and say, "God, speak to me. Show me how I can change so I'm more like you and I'm more involved in advancing your kingdom." Lord, we're grateful for how you lead us, love us, care for us, and, Father, we want to sing in response. In Jesus' name we pray, amen.