Resolved To Follow God's Heart

Graduation Is A Time To Renew Your Resolve to Follow God's Heart.

Ross Sawyers
May 15, 2022    54m
As you graduate, it is a critical time to renew your resolve to follow God's heart as you move into the next stages of your life. As you move out of your comfort zone, you will need to have a willing heart full of courage to continue to live for Christ in a culture that is increasingly opposed to His message. Video recorded at Grapevine, Texas.

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This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

Ross Sawyers: [00:00:14] It's always exciting this time of year for our graduates, at really, all levels, there are a number of people graduating, not just in our high schools. And I'm so excited about what's going on, what God has in store, and the way he's equipped and prepared for whatever is next.

Ross Sawyers: [00:00:30] One of the things that we just want to focus on this morning, and in the 11:00 service, our high school seniors will all be in here, the bulk of them. But I want to speak this morning to them, but something that I learned a long time ago in preaching that was helpful to me on days like this is that if we speak to a particular group of people, no matter what area of life you're in, you'll end up applying it for yourself. You'll either take yourself back into something with gratitude, or something will strike you about where you are now. And so as we think about our high school graduates today, and think that specifically, I trust that God will do a work within each of us as well. And just a reminder that when we come to worship, we're not necessarily coming so that we can figure out and get something, we're coming to worship God, to love Him with all of our heart and soul and mind, and to end it on him, and then things will overflow out of that. But in our teaching, in our singing, our praying, and everything, we want to give to God this morning the glory that He deserves.

Ross Sawyers: [00:01:50] One of the things that we're seeing all across our country are students that are wholeheartedly resolved to following after Christ. We're seeing it on every campus. we're seeing it all across the land. I've mentioned multiple times we were with 60,000 18 to 25-year-olds that gathered in Atlanta, Georgia, a few months ago to worship God. They didn't just drift there, they didn't just walk by somewhere in Atlanta and say, hey, I think I'll go check that out, they, on purpose, went to be with 60,000 of their friends to worship God. And that is happening, maybe not 60,000 at a time, but there are gatherings of students all over the country today that are worshiping him.

Ross Sawyers: [00:02:36] One of those is Bethany Tyree. She was one that came through our student ministry at 121, and probably years before that, she was part of our kids as well, and what God was doing here in her. She's at [inaudible] university in California, and a year ago, after her first year at school, she served in summer missions. She gave her summer away to serve other people in the name of Christ. This coming summer, she's doing the same thing, she's going to North Africa here shortly. And in North Africa, she'll be working with a team of six college students with an unreached people group where they'll be doing sports ministry, teaching English, helping refugee kids, and bringing the gospel to bear in all of those different activities for her summer. In her newsletter, as she just kind of gave us things to pray for her as she moved into this summer, she reflected back on this last year. And as she reflected on the last year, she was involved in various ministries, and different kinds of opportunities to serve God. The very thing we're talking about being gifted and using those gifts to build up the body of Christ for the glory of God, and then to serve other people and serve the common good of the body.

Ross Sawyers: [00:03:54] And as she was doing that just before a missions’ conference she wrote, she got sick and it shut her down for a little bit, and she realized that why she got sick is because she's been going at such a fast pace, even in ministry, even in trying to serve God. And she said she discovered the Sabbath this semester. The Sabbath is a ceasing from normal activity, and in Scripture, we would understand the Sabbath to be a 24-hour period of time where we cease from all of our normal work. Whatever normal activity is, there's a ceasing for a 24-hour period of time. She said, the Sabbath, now, this is a sophomore in college, and the Sabbath has now become her favorite day of the week. And she wrote at the end of it, she said, I've discovered that rest is actually worship. Calvin Miller wrote years ago in a book called The Table of Inwardness, "That in retreat there's advancement." Sometimes we think, even in Christian ministry, that to never break is actually a good thing, the reality is we advance when we rest. I love what God is doing in this student as she prepares to go out to North Africa to serve Jesus Christ with the gifts that God has given her.

Ross Sawyers: [00:05:24] If you'd turn in your Bibles to Exodus chapter 35, will be in verse 20 and following into Chapter 36, in looking at a few ideas here to encourage our students, and candidly, for us to be encouraged today. As you're turning to Exodus, it's in the very front part of your Bible. If you're new to this whole thing, it'd be the very front, if you have a Bible with you. We'll also have the Scripture on the screen and just a few minutes to track along as well. We want to always tether ourselves to God's word and anchor ourselves to Him in the way He's made himself known to us, and today, that's where we'll find ourselves.

Ross Sawyers: [00:06:01] As you're doing that, a quick reminder as we think about 2022, the word that God has given us for the year is the word outside. And by that, we're challenging ourselves before God to ask him, what would He have us to do that's outside of our comfort zone, something that would cause us to lean on the Spirit of God, something we can't do on our own. And it's been exciting to hear different people stepping out in ways that are outside their comfort zone, using your gifts that God has given you, discovering that gift to use in the Body of Christ might be the way that you step outside in this season. It could be that this coming week at Main Street Days, where we have the opportunity to serve in downtown Grapevine, that it would be outside your comfort zone to serve in a place with thousands of people milling around in the streets. If you have any interest in serving that way, please let us know, and we'd love for you to be able to.

Ross Sawyers: [00:06:56] And then not only are we thinking outside our comfort zone, but we're also thinking 121 Outdoors. What would it look like if we had small groups of people do the thing that we love to do outdoors with a group of people, some who don't know Christ, some who are stagnant, some who know Christ? And to do that thing we love to do, and then carve out intentional ways that we encounter God in that space. We have two trips coming up if you have an interest, a guy's trip down the Buffalo River in Arkansas, a canoe trip in early June. If you have an interest in that, Eric Estes is leading it. And then we have another family that's leading a family camping trip in a couple of weeks, so if you have an interest in that, we've had multiple people jump on with that one. It's a great way to meet new people, a great way to be encountered by God himself.

Ross Sawyers: [00:07:51] So when we think about the outside, outside our comfort zones, I think for a lot of us, just actually using our gifts would get us outside of our comfort zone. It would get us inside of what God's design is, but it might take us outside our own comfort zone a little bit. In First Corinthians 12, we've looked at the Body of Christ, it's a metaphor that Paul gives us to think about the church. And he talks about us as a body, and he defines different ways that the body is healthy and unhealthy. And we're healthy when we weep together and when we rejoice together, today's a day to rejoice, and we want to rejoice together today. A healthy body of believers rejoices at those things that we can celebrate, and then we weep where there's grief and where there's hurt and where there are challenges, that's a healthy body.

Ross Sawyers: [00:08:39] A healthy body also uses the gifts it's been given, and we've looked at a number of those gifts so far. And one of the things I'm so proud of our students and the way that our ministries function at 121, is that we don't wait till we're adults to start using our giftings, our children are using their giftings right now in 121 kids. We have teenagers that have been using teaching gifts to teach preschoolers and children over the years. We have teenagers that have used gifts of hospitality, gifts of leadership, and gifts of encouragement. We have teenagers that have been using gifts to serve and to help, all kinds of gifts in the body, and we use them now, we don't wait till later, all of us using our giftings. And as we use those giftings, God is honored in the way that we utilize them, God is glorified.

Ross Sawyers: [00:09:46] With our graduates today, there will be a number of challenges moving ahead and loads of opportunities for them to thrive and to flourish. A friend of mine sent me a text this week with Philippians chapter 2, and I read it and I thought, oh, what a good word for today. In Philippians 2, Paul writes, and he says, "Don't complain, but rather shine bright in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation." See, we're not the first ones to live in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, Paul was writing to believers who were living in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation. And his words were not to complain about it, but instead, shine bright in the midst of it. And I love that our students are shining bright in the midst of a challenging generation that is chasing after things other than God himself.

Ross Sawyers: [00:10:55] I want to thank you this morning, on their behalf, for so many who have surrounded them and loved them over the years. For many of our graduates today, they'll have been here since they were preschoolers. It's a lot of fun being in a church the age that we are because now we're seeing people that have come all the way through. And so this isn't just about Jermaine and Courtney's work over the last few years, it's about Pam and all the life group leaders that were serving in Creation Land and formidably shaping the minds of our kids and helping our parents in that way. It's about 121 Kids and Diana and all the life group leaders in there, and the camps, and the mission opportunities, and the word being taught and those leading them on stage and creatively telling the stories from Scripture. It's about every life group leader, and every person that served a meal to our students, and hosted them in a home, and it's about Jermaine and Courtney and the leadership they've given to our students. They've been surrounded and have been stewarded at Breakaway and Texas A&M said several years ago by a ring of counselors. Parents, live group leaders, people on our staff, coaches in their schools, teachers, administrators in their schools, other parents, and people that have mentored, there are so many different adults that have poured into the lives of our kids. And our hope is that over time that they latch on to two or three of those that have really impacted, and they stay in touch with and have them to lean on as they continue on into this next season of time.

Ross Sawyers: [00:12:39] And so I want us to think this morning out of Exodus for our kids, and a renewal maybe in our own hearts today, that we would be resolved to follow after God's heart, resolved to follow after God's heart. Jonathan Edwards, one of the brightest minds in the Christian faith over the centuries, when he was a young man, set out several resolutions, He said, I'm resolved to do this, I mean, it's a pretty strong list. But what I love about what he did, he said, I'm resolved to this. And my challenge for our students today, as they've been challenged throughout and for us as a whole, is that we would be resolved to follow God's heart.

Ross Sawyers: [00:13:23] Now, there are a number of phrases that sound really nice that are in our culture, and candidly, the Christian culture starts picking up on those phrases and they're secular phrases, they have nothing to do with God. And there's a number of those sitting out there, be your best self, that will be one of those that's not a good one to latch on to. I personally don't want to be my best self, if I was my best self, it's still awful. What I want to be is the best design of God that he wants me to be. And God is the one who's shaping me, I want Him to shape me into who He wants me to be, I don't want to be my best self, the best version of myself, those are very secular phrases that we latch on to. Work-life balance is another one of those that we've grabbed on to, we love the idea of work-life balance, it's not a Christian idea, it's a Jesus-centeredness we want to be about. And that will bring about a centeredness, and then we just go with how he leads us. And by the way, work-life balance means how can I work less today, when the scripture says we work six days, take one off, I'm not sure how we put those two things together.

Ross Sawyers: [00:14:35] And so we think about those kinds of phrases, and then we think about phrases like this, just follow your heart, that's a bad idea, a bad idea. So I want us to think about today, to be resolved to follow God's heart, to follow God's heart. That's where the greatest joy is, that's where the greatest pleasure is, is following God's heart. So let's look at that in three parts.

Ross Sawyers: [00:15:08] The first is to have a willing heart. Just give a little context here in Exodus in chapter 35, prior to this, God has rescued his people, Israel, out of slavery from Egypt, and he's brought them to a place where he's establishing them now as his people. When he does this, he establishes a covenant with them, he establishes commandments for them to follow, and ordinances and laws to obey. From there, we have the Ten Commandments, which most of us are familiar with. He then establishes the tabernacle in the place where they are to gather to worship him.

Ross Sawyers: [00:15:52] And after establishing all this, we find ourselves in Exodus 35, he's explained how it's going to play out, and now it's time to act, it's time to get it done. And he begins in Chapter 35, interestingly, with a re-emphasis on the Sabbath. Just what Bethany discovered a few months ago. Throughout the Scriptures, there's an ongoing emphasis of the Sabbath. So he starts by saying they need to honor the Sabbath, honor the Sabbath, then he talks about the work that they have to do. So it's setting aside this day to honor him, and then it's the work established. In verses 20-22 of chapter 35 it says, "Then all the congregation of the sons of Israel departed from Moses’ presence. 21Everyone whose heart stirred him and everyone whose spirit moved him came and brought the LORD’S contribution for the work of the tent of meeting and for all its service and for the holy garments. 22Then all whose hearts moved them, both men and women, came and brought brooches and earrings and signet rings and bracelets, all articles of gold; so did every man who presented an offering of gold to the LORD." And so what we have here is God has set His design, here's the plan, here's the tabernacle that we've built. And then he's placing it on the hearts of the people, to have a willing heart, a stirred heart to bring what's necessary to build the tabernacle. And as he does that, I think it's notable that he said that those with a willing heart, those who are stirred. I don't see God here forcing anything to happen, forcing anyone to participate, it's everyone whose heart is stirred and everyone whose heart is moved and who has a willing heart. Those are the ones who will bring what's necessary to build the tabernacle. In 35 verse 5, "Take from among you a contribution to the LORD; whoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it as the LORD’S contribution: gold, silver, and bronze." So in two parts of Chapter 35, it's a stirred heart, it's a willing heart, it's a moved heart that brings what's necessary, that it's radically giving.

Ross Sawyers: [00:18:35] Now, how does this play out? Well, we see it play out in chapter 36, verse 7, "For the material they had was sufficient and more than enough for all the work, to perform it." There was more than enough, they had so much coming, that Moses actually had to tell them to quit giving. Now wouldn't you love it if you showed up one Sunday and we just said, hey, we don't need anymore, stop giving, that's not today, maybe in the future? But in this moment, for the Tabernacle, there's more than enough. There were more than enough willing hearts that were stirred to give.

Ross Sawyers: [00:19:21] I think there are interesting principles that flow out of this for us, they had just been enslaved, just delivered, what did they even have to offer? They had to offer the plunder that they took from the Egyptians when they fled Egypt, it wasn't even theirs. Now, are you willing to give what's not even yours? I've been reminded the last couple of weeks that our house is not ours. I think it belongs to Atmos Energy or the electric company or the water, they've put flags all in our yard, they've painted our street, they've painted our yard. Nobody asked, nobody told us what they were doing, they were just doing it. I'm thinking, who owns the house, me, or you? Apparently not me. God writes in Psalm 24:1 to us, "The earth is the LORD’S, and all it contains, the world, and those who dwell in it." See, everything is God's, we really don't own a thing. And when our hearts are stirred, we're just willingly giving back what's been given to us. And the ones who receive the greatest joy in this were those who gave.

Ross Sawyers: [00:20:52] Now, what's our motivation today for a willing heart? If we go to Second Corinthians chapters 8 and 9, we find a few things there that are helpful. In chapter 8:9 it says, "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich." See, our motivator today to have a willing heart to give radically, will be what Christ did by giving up everything so that we could have everything, and all we have is his. In Second Corinthians 9:7 then, "Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." See a heart that's willing, then becomes a cheerful heart. They were willingly giving, they were stirred, they were cheerful in their giving.

Ross Sawyers: [00:21:53] But to even get to a place of being a radical giver and being radically generous and having a heart that wants to give, Paul writes in Second Corinthians 8:5 and said, "First they gave themselves to the Lord.", and then they gave. See, until our hearts have been captured by Christ and given over to him, there won't be a willing heart to be radically generous without which God has given us. But once we receive the generosity of Christ's salvation, then our hearts become willing for others. It's a good way for us to put a check on our spirit, if we're not generous givers, really, what we need to go back and ask is, have we really given our hearts over to the Lord? That's the logical root question because a heart that's been taken over by Christ becomes a real willing and generous heart.

Ross Sawyers: [00:22:51] Now, the challenge with the human heart, in Jeremiah 17:9, is that it's deceitful and desperately sick. Who can understand it? The challenge is we deceive ourselves, we're drifters, Hebrews writes. Be careful that we don't drift. Be careful when the writer of Hebrew says that your heart doesn't become hardened. John Calvin describes it this way, he says, "Our heart is in idle making factory." We so easily make idols, we don't even know we've done it sometimes, we make idols, usually of good things. We can make idols of our kids, where they become the center. When the reality is, first God is the center, if you're married, secondly, your spouse, then the kids. We make idols out of good things, and we can be deceived easily.

Ross Sawyers: [00:24:02] But there's good news, though, so that we don't have to live in deception. In Ezekiel chapter 36 verses 26 and 27 it says, “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27“I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances." There will be a new heart, and that new heart is made possible through the work of Jesus Christ and what He did on the cross on our behalf. He died for us, he took our sins when he was crucified, our sins were crucified. I've been reflecting on that this week, just thinking about in the very core and depth, the very worst of my sin, the blood of Christ has covered it, his grace is way more than sufficient. God was satisfied with what happened on the cross, and he raised him from the dead. We too can be risen from dead hearts to alive hearts.

Ross Sawyers: [00:25:08] This is absolutely crucial that we receive and have a genuine relationship with Jesus. I had a youth Ministry professor that asked years ago about what determines those who follow Christ well through college and beyond. And one of the things he said is that they have a real relationship with Jesus. See, we could grow up inside of Pam's ministry, and inside of Diana's ministry, and inside of Jermaine and Courtney's ministry, we could be in a private Christian school, we could be homeschooled, we could be in public school, and have influential Christian people in our lives in the public school, we can have all of that, we can go to the camps, we can do the mission trips, we can show up every Wednesday, we can be in the small groups, and somehow still miss Jesus. And if you think what a bummer for our students, we can do the same. We can show up every week. We can mindlessly come in here. We can do the thing we're supposed to do. We can serve because we're supposed to serve. We can be in a small group because they say we're supposed to be in a small group and we can miss Jesus. What's absolutely crucial is knowing Jesus, that's our prayer is that we know Jesus.

Ross Sawyers: [00:26:31] Joseph is a young man that is a senior from San Antonio at the college where he goes, he's a leader in his campus ministry. And when he showed up on that campus as a freshman four years ago, he did not know Jesus in the way we just described. As a freshman, he encountered Christ, and God changed his life. We so often hear about how kids go off the rails at college, I want to tell you about kids who come to Christ at college. And Joseph, this young man, came to Christ, and over the last three years, he's had the opportunity, God's allowed him to be a part of five other students coming to Christ. The last one is an Indian student that the university put him with as a roommate, and they started studying the Bible together, and through this ministry and through that Bible study, this Sikh, Indian trusted Jesus just recently. See, people are coming to Christ all over our college campuses.

Ross Sawyers: [00:27:29] We have friends that lead an organization called Sumo, and it's a really cool discipline organization. This last semester at Texas State University, they saw 11 students, just by being relational, hanging out with them, spending time with them, talking about the Gospel with them, and saw 11 students come to Christ. One of them was a young lady who was reluctant, she had an overwhelming freshman year, and she was just trying to sort through all that happened to her in her freshman year of college as they discipled her, and she was reluctant to surrender and give herself to Jesus. Finally, she wrote down for herself the things that she was afraid of, she didn't want to give up some things. So she wrote out the things that she was afraid she was going to lose and that she wrote out the benefits of what it meant to be a follower of Jesus. And when she wrote that out and she saw it, she was willing to give up everything and go 100% in on Jesus. See, I think what she's doing is what a lot of people do, I think we're afraid that we have to give up something we really like to follow Jesus. And as I was reminded the other day, there's no middle ground with the Gospel, Jesus is looking for all in, he's not looking for partial in, and then I want to kind of do my thing for a while. Jesus is looking for us to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow him, that's what Jesus is after. And I love that on our college campuses that we're seeing students coming to faith again and again.

Ross Sawyers: [00:29:10] How do we maintain that ongoing relationship with Jesus? There are a few things I would encourage our students on that they're already doing, and I would encourage us on. In Proverbs 4:23 it says, "Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life." Watch over your heart, in your heart you have Christ, now watch over it, be resolved, guard your heart, guard your heart that you're not a drifter, that it doesn't grow hard, that it's not deceived. How do we do that? We do that by maintaining an ongoing, intimate relationship with Jesus, it's carving out space to be alone with him and enjoy him and delight in him and his word in prayer. It's Proverbs 13:20, "He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm." It's being with community, with other people who are following Jesus. Who's the foolish person, the scripture says? It's the one who says there is no God. And I would add to that, the foolish person is the one who says they're a follower of Jesus, but they're not really following him. So we pray that our students will actively pursue community as soon as they move to whatever's next for them, that they'll find peers, that they'll actively seek mentors, that they'll get involved in ministries, that they'll find a church. On almost every campus I know, there are churches that are excelling at working with college students, it's just a matter of doing it. Can we cheer on our students?

Ross Sawyers: [00:30:44] Can we also think about, and I think it's cool for us to think about our own work, what if our students had such a God mindset in their textbooks that they're looking for God there, not just in our Bibles, but look for him in our textbooks. What if I'm in my biology or chemistry class and as I read, I am in awe of God that he could do this kind of detail. What if I was stunned every time, I read History and watched how God has orchestrated and sovereignly moved through history? What if every time I read my sociology book or my psychology book and thought, wow, that's unbelievable how God made the mind? And that's incredible the cultures that God has made and the differences in the cultures and the beauty of it, and that one day he's going to gather up every tribe tongue and nation as one before him. What if I saw God in my textbooks and on my computer screen? And what if I saw God through the people that I see, and my heart breaks for some and rejoices with others? We just cheer them on to have an ongoing relationship with Jesus.

Ross Sawyers: [00:31:58] Our identity is in Christ, we're rooted in Christ, when we have a willing heart, a changed heart, then we have a willing service that we do. We're talking about being gifted, it comes with being rooted in Christ first. Now we understand we've been given gifts, so we're radically generous, and we're radical servants. How did that play out in the building of the Tabernacle in chapter 35 verse 10, "Let every skillful man among you come, and make all that the LORD has commanded." So there's skills that God has given to people to build and to do craftsmanship. In verse 20, he goes on in chapter 35, I'm sorry, verse 30, it says, "Then Moses said to the sons of Israel, “See, the LORD has called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah." I appreciate Mercedes's courage in reading this passage of Scripture, this is not a simple passage. I want you to lock on not to all the after things of Bezalel, but Bezalel. I want you to hear Bezalel and Oholiab, Bezalel, and Oholiab. And this is what God did with these two guys, he filled him with the Spirit of God, in verse 31, in wisdom and understanding and in knowledge and in all craftsmanship." He took these two guys, they're not teachers, they're not hospitality people, they're not preschool people, they're not any of the other kind of giftings we've talked about, they're skilled in craftsmanship. And God filled them with the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit wasn't on every believer at that time, God would bring the Spirit on people for particular tasks at particular times. It's only after Christ, and the Spirit came, that we received the Spirit.

Ross Sawyers: [00:33:46] The Spirit came on them for craftsmanship and for skill and gave them wisdom and understanding to do that, which he wanted to do. "To make designs." in verse 32. "And in the cutting of stones.", in verse 33. "The carving of wood, so as to perform in every inventive work.", verse 34. "He also has put in his heart to teach, both he and Oholiab." Bezalel and Oholiab. Now, here are craftsmen that he also put it in their hearts to teach, to pass on their craft, to pass on what they're good at, to pass on what the Spirit of God is empowering. And I love this because I just see that's how God works, he's designed us to pass on our giftedness for the benefit of other people, and he does that with craftsmanship and with skill.

Ross Sawyers: [00:34:40] In Ezra chapter 7 verse 10, it says that Ezra set his heart, that means that he was resolved, he set his heart to study God's word, to practice it, and then to teach it. On one of our campuses in Texas, a junior college, there are young ladies named Jamil, Maddie, Cara, and Liz. Maddie and Kira had a desire to be discipled and disciple others, but they had no idea how to do it, so they found Jamil. Jamil taught them how to lead others to follow Jesus, Maddie then took Cara and continued to teach Cara. And then Maddi encouraged Cara to get Liz and to teach her. In less than two years on a two-year campus, four generations of discipleship, just passing on what's been given to me. Now we do that in our teaching, we also do that in our craftsmanship and whatever our gifts are, we pass it on, so they're passing this on.

Ross Sawyers: [00:35:57] In our church, Evan Rafferty leads so much of the creative work and building that goes on, Rusty Rigor works with him, those guys are phenomenal. Jack Condon's in my notes, not just because he's sitting in front of me, Jack does so much work around here that you see in this cross, and there are multiple things they do. Joe Yielda, he leans out in multiple...You're in my notes, also, it's not just because I see you. Joe does things in our community and leads a team of people, there are a number of brothers that do that. Randy Winn in our church, he's done things all over the world, using his craftsmanship and that kind of ability to build for people. Erin Burnett in our church has just led an incredible design of our missionary house for when our missionaries come. Amy Latham in our church is phenomenal at design. So many people that are craftsmen, work with wood, designers, inventive, creative, and God leads by His spirit on what that looks like so that those things are used to glorify him. So there are all kinds of ways for us to use our giftings in the body of Christ.

Ross Sawyers: [00:37:08] In Chapter 36, everybody did it, and everyone whose heart stirred him to come to work to perform it, they did it, they did the work. So whether it's some kind of craftsman, woodwork, or design, there's a willing servant to use it for God's glory and the building up of the body. See, God has gifted people for every aspect of what he wants done. We don't have to do everything; do the thing he's gifted us to do that builds up the body. There is another young lady in our church, and she is at a campus in Alabama God has given her a heart for those who are being trafficked. And on her campus, she's helped start a ministry and raising funds, she's engaged the president of the university to get involved with it and to give it more support and backing. There are so many things going on on our campus today where students are doing that thing where God has skilled them to do it. There are big college serve days, and many of you might have participated in those. Those are ways to use these kinds of skills on those big college serve days in the communities and in ongoing ways. There is a willing heart and a willing service.

Ross Sawyers: [00:38:31] But in our culture today, I think there's a third thing we need to talk about so that we actually live out that resolve to follow God's heart. And that resolve will require willing courage, this will not happen, a life of following Jesus with no middle ground, just I'm in on Jesus or I'm not, that will require courage. To serve and use our gifts for the sake of God's glory and the building up of other people, that will require courage.

Ross Sawyers: [00:39:20] I was looking at sports the other day and I saw this picture of Will Levi. He's a quarterback at Penn State for a little bit, and then I think he's at Western Kentucky now. One is bicep is to be admired, I mean, it’s impressive weight room work right there, and he's going to need to maintain that for a lifetime. That's the risk people are taking with these tattoos because that thing isn't going to fit on a smaller bicep, it's going to need, so that's great motivation for him for a lifetime to work out. But Second Chronicles 15:7 is what he tattooed on the inside of his bicep, and I didn't know that verse, he didn't go with the common ones that we see people do a lot of times. So I looked that up, and I found it encouraging for what we're thinking about right now. It says, “But you, be strong and do not lose courage, for there is reward for your work.” A willing heart, he's a willing servant, and it requires a willing courage to live that out.

Ross Sawyers: [00:40:30] Don't lose courage. We're told multiple times in Scripture to be courageous, to not lose heart, because our tendency would be to lose heart. Someone gave me a book a couple of weeks ago called Faithfully Different by Natasha Crane. I'm just getting started in it, it's a book on Worldview and kind of describing what's going on around us. I think some things are obvious, sometimes it's helpful to have little insight underneath it. But at the beginning, she talks about a secular worldview and a biblical worldview, and she cited four different studies to figure out what the percentage of people are that have a biblical worldview today. And I actually think the bar by which they did the survey, it's good, but I don't even think it's that high of a bar for a biblical worldview for the survey's sake. And part of what a biblical worldview is, based on this survey, is that you believe the Bible is true, that it's inerrant, and that you believe in absolute moral truth, I guess those really are big deals in our day, that you believe that Jesus lived a sinful life, that you believe that God is powerful, and he created all that, is that you believe that Satan is a real being. And there's a sixth one that keeps slipping me, but these are basically the thoughts on if you have a biblical worldview or not. If you believe this, for this survey's sake, then you have a biblical worldview. Their most optimistic estimate is that 29% of people in churches, not our culture, not America as a whole, in our churches, us right now, at best, 29% hold a biblical worldview. And they actually believe it's more around 9 or 10%, that that's actually the more reliable thought. I would like to believe because we teach out of the Bible and you're here, that our percentage here is much higher than that. I really don't know because I haven't sat down with every one of you and asked you, Connor do you believe the Bible's inerrant, the absolute moral truth. We haven't walked through that, let's talk about that for a few minutes, that is not just yes or no questions. And what she says is, I'm making this point so that you know that you're clearly the minority today with a biblical worldview. Now, I think we practically have figured that out. But she says, I'm not talking about you're a minority in the culture, you're a minority in the church if you have a biblical worldview. Now that could be discouraging in the midst of all the cultural chaos to think that even in my church, I'm a minority if I believe the things about God that I say I believe. Which, by the way, is a biblical worldview question, I won't go there, that could be discouraging, that could cause us to remove the tattoo, but we don't want to, we can take courage.

Ross Sawyers: [00:44:27] In my time with the Lord this week, I was reading about David and Goliath in First Samuel, and it's a familiar story to many of us, for some it may not be. But David was not yet the second king of Israel, he was a young man, somewhere probably between 15 and 19 years old, like our high school graduates. And he was not on the front lines of the battle, there was this giant Philistine named Goliath that was taunting the Israelite army, they were all afraid, nobody was willing to fight him, and David's dad sends him to take some things to the front line to his brother's. And this says something about David's character, it said he ran, he ran to the battle line. He didn't check it out, he didn't sheepishly stand back, he wasn't assessing it, he ran to the battle line, and he saw what was going on. And he listened to this guy defying and taunting his God, and he didn't like it, and he came back, and he asked, are we going to let this happen? Are we really going to let this guy taunt God, is this what we're going to do? You're young, so just keep it down, you don't understand, he's too big. He'll wipe us out, no chance, we're out. We need something to happen here and it ain't going to be us.

Ross Sawyers: [00:46:23] And David said I'll do it, I'll take him. You can't do that, you're just a youth. Well, I killed the lions and the bears when they tried to get the sheep, the same way God delivered me from them, he'll deliver me from him. He'll take care of this for me. Okay, let's put on some big armor on you to make sure you're okay out there, stuff that doesn't fit. He couldn't really move in that, he said, I'm out on this, he took off the armor. Instead, I'll take five stones and a sling, that actually fits me for this battle. He didn't need five. He runs to the battle line, Goliath is like, really, this is all you've got? But at the outset of this story and First Samuel 16:7, says God's not looking at the outward appearance, he's looking at the heart, and he knows the heart of David. And David slings that stone and takes out the Philistine, and Goliath goes down. He goes and stands over, this is a great kid's story, he goes and stands over him and cuts his head off. That's really not the part of the story I want you to grab, none of what I just said. One young man had the courage to not allow his god to be defied.

Ross Sawyers: [00:48:07] Do you know what happened next? This is what I want us to focus on, the Philistine army fled. Guess who all of a sudden got excited and got in the battle? The Israelites, the ones who were cowering in fear, now stand up and shout and start running down the enemy. And what struck me as I read that this week was, it just took one to have courage, and when one had courage, then the masses followed. And there will be times for our students and times for us where we're just the one, and will we stand in courage when it's one? It's much easier when we have a group, we watch that out in settings, right? When people are in a group, they're really bold. But peel them off by themselves, and is there that same boldness and that same courage? And if we're going to follow Christ in the day and time in which we live, then we need to have a lot of ones that will not shrink back, that will not waver, that will have courage, that will hear First Timothy 4:12, Let no one look down on your youth, but rather in your speech, your conduct, your faith, your love, your purity, show yourself to be an example to all who believe, lead us, be the one. In the meantime, let's do the same, lead with courage, from a heart that's been captivated by Christ. And that will serve, radically, generously, no matter how menial the task, we serve like Jesus with a willing heart, a willing service and a willing courage to resolve today to follow God's heart.

Ross Sawyers: [00:50:25] Let's pray together. Father, thank you for just the power and strength of your word today. I love, God, the picture of what you did in the building of your tabernacle, the establishing of your people, that you stirred hearts, willing hearts, and God, that you gave people skills and you brought people along with them. And Father, I thank you that in the same way in our church body, that there are so many that have willing hearts to follow after you, to serve you, to love you. And God, I thank you that you've captivated us by what you've done on the cross and the power of the resurrection. And God, that you've stirred our hearts for a love for you, God. And Father, I pray that just as Paul wrote to the Corinthians, that our hearts would be first given to you. And then God, when you totally have hold of our hearts, I pray God to that we might follow you wholeheartedly, devotedly, that we'd be the one, that we'd be the Davids with courage, that we'd be the Esther's with courage, that we'd be the Ruth's with courage, that we would be the people of God who love you and who will serve you and follow you no matter what.

Ross Sawyers: [00:51:37] Whether I have anybody around me on my campus or not on my campus, whether anybody in my work or not in my work today, I'm going to follow you and nobody's going to taunt you, nobody's going to defy you, you're the God of the armies of Israel, you're the God of all creation, everything is yours. And we're going to worship you, we're going to follow you, you can do whatever you want to us, but we're not going to bow down to anything else, our heart is yours, God, I pray that you put a fresh resolve in us today to follow you wholeheartedly, and apart from you stirring our hearts, God, we're not even capable of that. So I pray would you stir our hearts afresh? Would you stir our thinking? Would you stir our emotions? Would you stir our actions? Everything, God, for you today. And I pray, Lord, that we'll not be middle ground, that we'll be all in, 100%, like that Texas state student that looked at it and said, I'm in, I'm willing to give up everything that I think is a benefit over here to follow you, Jesus. And God, I pray that you'd use her to lead so many others. And thank you, God, for so many like Bethany, that are going overseas this summer and serving in missions, and have done so in past summers, or have given their lives away on their campuses for the sake of other people and the glory of your name, God.

Ross Sawyers: [00:53:01] And I pray all across our land that you continue to gather up your own on our campuses. And that there be ones that have no idea when they enter that campus this fall that they're about to be encountered by you. I pray, God, that our students would be wide open to be the ones who are bringing about those encounters with a boldness and a courage. Thank you for the way they've been equipped, and I pray, God, you'll help us to know how to continue to walk with them. And Lord, we're just grateful today for your goodness towards us that we even get to gather here and be a part of the lives of these that you have meticulously woven and worked to this point and that you'll do moving on. So thank you for letting us be a part of what you're doing, and I pray, God, all across the land that we'd be woven together as a beautiful picture of Jesus, the bride of Christ. And Father, I pray your name will be honored through all of us.

Ross Sawyers: [00:53:57] As we sing this morning, Father, I pray that with all of our emotions, and our minds, that we would fixate on you today and that our worship would end on you, and then however you want to flow it through us, please do so as we go. And I pray that in Jesus' name.

Recorded in Grapevine, Texas.
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121 Community Church
2701 Ira E Woods Ave.
Grapevine, Texas 76051