Sunnyside Church of the Nazarene
Sunday, May 29
  • Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)
  • Graves Into Gardens
  • Good Good Father
  • Whom Shall I Fear
  • Turn to Mark 1 and Luke 9.
    Some of you have heard this before, but I feel compelled to share it again. In 1987 I accepted Jesus as my savior when I was 17. I wanted to be a radical Christian but soon found myself more like a roller coaster Christian when I joined the Army. In 1993, I was stationed at Lowry AFB in Denver, CO. I was a miserable Christian. I was trying to live in two different worlds under two different systems (Christian and Heathen). I was trying to “follow” Jesus while at the same time trying to follow self and my own desires and my own wants.
    One night alone in my room I cried out to Jesus to forgive me of my sins, which I had done many times. And as I knelt with my face on the floor, I literally felt the presence of Jesus walk into the room. The shame of my sin and guilt was almost too much to bear and I dare not open my eyes because I knew I would see Jesus and His holiness …. And Jesus said to me, “Chad, quit playing games. Either get in or get out.” I don’t think He was talking about salvation as much as He was about being a disciple, and how I lived my life and how represented Him. So, I surrendered my life – all of it to Jesus.
    There is a vast difference between being saved and being surrendered.
    Which one are you?
    Let’s keep going. 1994, in southern CA, my father-in-law invites me to share the gospel in jail. I began to feel this desire to reach teenagers before they end up in prison. I wanted to do the full 20 years in the Army, but in 1995 I left the Army, moved to Ohio and became a youth leader at juvenile rehab center in Troy, OH. 1996, I began volunteering with Young Life and in 1997, God called me into fulltime ministry.
    Now, who did God call into ministry? A sinless perfect young man? I was a sinner – immoral – clueless about life and my own identity. But God called. When Jesus first called me to serve as a youth pastor, what were my qualifications? I had never been a youth pastor before. I didn't know anything about running a ministry. I didn’t grow up going to church camp and VBS. Yet, He called me. Fast forward to 2014 - when God called me to serve as a senior pastor, do you think I'd been a senior pastor before?
    Our calling often precedes our qualification.
    First, what’s a calling?
    A calling is an invitation from God to participate in His plan to redeem a very sinful, lost, and broken world.
    Do you have a calling? If you are a Christian, then yes. Again, the calling often precedes qualification.
    Mark 1:16–20 ESV
    Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him. And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets. And immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed him.
    When Jesus said follow me, were they already disciples who were following Him? No. Were they already fishing for people? No.
    But Jesus said, “Follow me, and I will make you – equip you – qualify you - to become what I’m calling you to become.”
    Our calling often precedes our qualification.
    I don’t know what God is calling you to … but chances are you’ve never done it before and that is not a valid reason to say no.
    Notice something about the calling. What did Jesus leave out? He said, “Follow me.” That's it. “Follow me.” He also said that to Matthew, Philip, and probably all the disciples. What did He leave out? No plan, no itinerary, no outline of the ministry, no 401-K, no sign on bonuses, no guarantee of safety, popularity …. Nothing but two words – “Follow me.” If God is calling you and you’re waiting for God to give you a plan, you’ll probably be waiting for a very long time.
    When Jesus says, “Follow me,” He means, “Follow me, now.”
    It’s interesting how many excuses we can use to not follow. Usually, it’s because we think this perfect All-Knowing God made mistake and we need to correct Him. “God, I know you’re perfect and all, but this time you kind of missed. So, let me help You. You’ve got the wrong person. I’m too sinful. I’m too messy. I’m too busy. I’m not qualified.” And God says, “Shut up. I didn’t know that about you. Really? And I thought you were perfect. I was about to make a mistake - I was about to call the wrong person. Thanks.”
    Name one thing that stops God from calling people. Not because of sin or because we’re messy or broken – if that’s the case God wouldn’t call anyone.
    Peter tried the “sin excuse” with Jesus. In Luke 5 Peter is onto Jesus. He doesn’t confess that Jesus is the Messiah, but I think it’s in his head because he says,
    Luke 5:8 ESV
    But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.”
    But how did Jesus respond?
    Luke 5:10–11 ESV
    and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him.
    Peter’s excuse was his sinfulness. What’s yours? Listen,
    When God calls, anything other than “yes” is an excuse that has no merit.
    Think about it – if anything should disqualify a person from answering God’s call, sin would be the number one disqualifier – but it’s not.
    There is no disqualifier when Jesus calls.
    So, you sense that Jesus is calling you to something. What happens? We allow questions and worries to disqualify us before we even begin. “What if this; what if that? What about my family? What about my career? What about my finances? What about my past? What about my present – I’m a mess! I got to get my life in order before I can follow Jesus!” What!
    If Jesus is calling and you’re trying to get your life all figured out and in order before you follow – you’ll be waiting a long time because you’ll never get your life in order and figured out first. Never.
    A calling to salvation, a calling to surrender, a calling to follow is a calling to trust God with all your unanswered questions and concerns.
    Luke 9:23 ESV
    And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
    Luke 14:26–27 ESV
    “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.
    Luke 14:33 ESV
    So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.
    Our cross = the sacrifices we make to follow Jesus, to make Him the priority (when we do that, everything else in alignment). Including our “What ifs” and “What abouts.”
    Jesus isn’t saying you can’t be saved, just means you’re not following – if you’re not following then you’re not a disciple.
    We don’t have time to play games with God. Will you say yes to surrender, to the call – will you say yes to follow Jesus?
    Before we close – let’s review.
    There is a vast difference between being saved and being surrendered.
    Our calling often precedes our qualification.
    There is no disqualifier when Jesus calls.
    Our calling to follow Jesus is a calling to trust.
    Daily prayer from DS Brett Rickey:
    “O LORD,
    Help me to let go of former graces.
    Help me to lean into smaller spaces.
    Help me show love in harder places.
    Help me bring life to hurting faces.”
      • Mark 1:16–20NIV2011

      • Luke 5:8NIV2011

      • Luke 5:10–11NIV2011

      • Luke 9:23NIV2011

      • Luke 14:26–27NIV2011

      • Luke 14:33NIV2011

  • O Come To The Altar

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