Helping People Put The Pieces Together

Recognizing Jesus In Our Lives And The Lives Of Others

Ross Sawyers
Apr 18, 2021    51m
Like a puzzle, we sometimes have to put the pieces together so that we can begin recognizing who Jesus is in our lives. When we recognize who He is to us, we are then more equipped to share who He is with others. Video recorded at Grapevine, Texas.

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Ross Sawyers: 00:00 I don't know if you enjoy putting puzzles together or not. If you have children or grandchildren somewhere along the way, you've probably put some together. And our family of five we've recently, in the last two or three years, just rediscovered doing puzzles together. The most recent one we did is this thousand piece puzzle, it's a Springbok puzzle in kind of a cool Coca-Cola vibe, and it's got the blue sky, you know, the parts and puzzles that frustrates you to no end, because it's all the same color, and you're trying to figure out where those pieces go. But puzzles are they're fun to put together, they can also be really frustrating to try to put together, and then they create good time together around the table when you are putting the puzzle together. Sometimes if you're really good, you can knock it out and get it done quickly, other times like us, it may take weeks or even months that it stays out on the table, and you just work on it a little bit at a time.

Ross Sawyers: 01:06 And the thing we want to think about today, is how we can actually help someone put the pieces together when we think about Jesus Christ, in the same way that we work on a puzzle is the same way we can help people put the pieces together. When you came in, you should have received a puzzle piece. If you did not receive a piece of the puzzle as you came in, if you don't mind, if you just kind of lift your hand real quick and we'll bring you a piece of the puzzle, if you have it, then you're good. We got one back over here, I'll run this like an auction. We got one in the middle, and we got one in the back, my brother would be much better at this. And so you've got two that need them. If you're online and you're thinking I'm going to miss out because I don't have a puzzle piece today, or you're thinking, I'm glad I don't have that puzzle piece. Go to your closet, or go to your drawer where you keep your puzzles you haven't put together in years, grab a piece of a puzzle. And then that'll work when we come back and use these.

Ross Sawyers: 02:08 But I want us to think about how we really do put together, and help someone put the pieces together. We've been talking about real conversations with love and truth, but we in our culture really need to learn and continue to grow in how to have real conversations, and conversations that are marked with love, and that are actually loaded with truth as well, and I think we find ourselves in a day where that's difficult. So we've been trying to learn from Jesus in different encounters that he had, how to have these kinds of conversations. So today, and in the next couple of weeks, we'll do post-resurrection kinds of conversations that Jesus had. So we've just kind of followed the flow of dialogues he had pre-crucifixion, at his crucifixion, we took a look, and now look at conversations post his resurrection.

Ross Sawyers: 03:03 If you'll turning your Bibles to Luke chapter 24, and we'll be in verses 13 through 35 as we work our way through Luke 24, if you don't have a copy of the scriptures, the verses will be on the screen and you'll be able to track with us in that way. There's five pieces to this puzzle to be able to help someone put it together as I read this passage. There'd be a number of ways we could read it and think about it, but I think this'll be helpful for where we're headed today.

Ross Sawyers: 03:38 So if we're going to help someone put the pieces together, the first thing I would say, the first puzzle piece, is to ease into the conversation, ease into the conversation. In verse 13, it says, "And behold, two of them were going that very day to a village named Emmaus, which was about seven miles from Jerusalem." The context and the setting we find ourselves in Luke 24 in this part, the resurrection has occurred, it happened on that Sunday morning early, and this account is sometime that day. So these two guys, they had been a part of the Passover feast, we would assume, in Jerusalem. And they had seen the things that had gone on over the weekend, and now they're headed back home, there's really nothing else to do but to head back to their home. And it was about seven miles from Jerusalem where they lived in a Emmaus, "And they were talking with each other about all these things which had taken place."

Ross Sawyers: 04:40 Now, just thinking about this, it wouldn't be uncommon, here's a seven mile walk. They're headed from Jerusalem to their home, and they're reflecting on the weekend, they're talking about what's just occurred. They're looking at it and saying, okay, we thought that Jesus was the Messiah, we thought he was the savior, but then he was killed on Friday, but then they've heard reports that his body is missing and that he's been seen alive. And they might've been talking about that as part of their conversation, they might've been talking about the earthquake that happened on Friday when Jesus was crucified, or the earthquake that happened on Sunday morning, sometime around, it seems when the stone was rolled away, but they were just having a good conversation to kind of process what happened.

Ross Sawyers: 05:30 Now, I don't know how you are in the way you process conversations and process events. I can catch things somewhat fairly well in the moment, but I am way more, a 24 hour later processor or sometime in the middle of the night. So I had multiple conversations yesterday, and somewhere during the night, it struck me what really happened in conversation. Are any of you like that? I mean, it's like this conversation went really well I thought, and then later, the next day I start thinking about it, you know, it really didn't. Or I think, you know, they were really respectful to me in the way they said that, and then I think, no, actually they weren't, but it doesn't occur to me until later.

Ross Sawyers: 06:23 And so it's in some ways we think about this thing, okay, we've heard this story, many of us, so often it's hard to get ourselves in the shoes of someone that this just happened. This is a guy we were going to follow, and just three days ago he gets killed, and now we're hearing that he's alive. How do I even process that in those hours? That's where we find these two guys in verse 15, "While they were talking and discussing, Jesus Himself approached and began traveling with them." Now, it wouldn't be unusual in the culture of the day for people to travel together, down the roads throughout Israel, so that would not be odd. And probably a number of people were going home from the Passover events, so it wouldn't be unusual. And so Jesus comes up, and one thing we know about Jesus that I think is a good takeaway for us personally, is he's approachable. Like when he eases into a conversation, people want him in that conversation? There's a winsomeness about Jesus. If any of you have watched the Chosen, season one is completed, I think season two has just begun. I actually think in that particular set of stories about Jesus in it, and I think it's hard for people to recapture those well, I just really think they capture the winsomeness and approachability of Jesus really well in those episodes.

Ross Sawyers: 08:06 But he approaches in, he eases in to their conversation. It's probably the same idea that Paul writes in Colossians chapter 4 verses 5 and 6, he says, "Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. 6Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person." It's one of the reasons we looked at all these conversations Jesus has had, because we respond to people differently, there's not just one way we respond to someone. And there's a sensitivity to what God's doing in a moment, to know how to respond in any given moment, to any given person, to where they are so that they might actually hear what we're trying to say.

Ross Sawyers: 08:52 So we see Jesus easing into this. And one way, we can ease into conversations, is to actually understand what people are thinking. I personally thought last week, and if you are unable to hear it, this is one I would encourage you to podcast or webcast. But I thought Brandon Smeltzer, who is the Director of Worldview Studies at Faith Christian. I just thought that was one of the most fantastic talks about worldview, it was so practical, so tied to scripture, and able to be put into play. And I love how he broke down, this is how our culture thinks, and so everybody has a story. And when we think about our culture, the cultural story, the way we'll think is either in a self-centered way as he described, where we're just trying to find our true self. Or in a nature centered view, just about the earth, and making sure it's all taken care of. Or in a human centered mindset, it's a we, it's just the idea of we can all be unified, it's a movement towards that. And he did a great job of saying there's good things in each of those, but there's a Jesus centered way that those can actually are fulfilled in, not in those ways. And if I understand that someone thinks like that. And then he also taught from scripture about an Israel centered worldview, and that's where these two guys are coming from. Jesus is easing into this conversation, and he understands, they have an Israel centered worldview. They're expecting a Messiah, a savior, who will be a political savior. And it doesn't make sense that Jesus, who they thought was him, died, and now they're hearing he's risen. It doesn't make sense, but when we understand those views, then we can ease in and we ease in prayerfully.

Ross Sawyers: 10:50 Now, interestingly, verse 16, "Their eyes were prevented from recognizing Him." They had seen him hanging on the cross, they'd been with him no doubt, but they couldn't recognize him. The New Testament is primarily written in Greek, the original language, and this is called a divine passive. Meaning, the reason that they couldn't recognize him, they were prevented, and it was a prevention from the spiritual realm. Now we also know in Second Corinthians chapter 4 verse 4, "That Satan is the God of this world, and he blinds the minds of the unbelieving. But for whatever reason, that there's a supernatural prevention of these guys being able to recognize Jesus."

Ross Sawyers: 11:35 So he eases, in he's approachable, they don't even know who they're dealing with, but they start walking along together. And Jesus asks a question, and if we haven't seen anything about Jesus in these conversations in the scriptures, we do know he's great about asking questions, he's fantastic at asking questions, "He said to them, “What are these words that you are exchanging with one another as you are walking?” And they stood still, looking sad." When we have hope in something, and those hopes are dashed, I mean, sadness is a proper response to that. These guys had a hope, and then just like that, it was gone. So Jesus eases in to a couple of guys, confused, a bit dazed by the weekend, and just says, hey, what are you guys talking about? The question is easy enough. So if we think about helping someone put the pieces together, the first piece to the puzzle is to ease into conversations, not force our way, not unnaturally try to make something happen, but prayerfully, with gracious speech, asking questions, winsome, approachable, we ease into conversations with people. This is the first piece we see from Jesus.

Ross Sawyers: 13:10 The second piece that we see starts to unfold in verses 18 through 24, and here's where we understand what pieces are missing by listening. Jesus asks questions, with the intent to listen to the answer. And the way we can actually understand what pieces are missing in someone, is to listen to them. Now in our world today, it's important that if we're in a conversation, that we even ask somebody, what do they mean when they talk about God? Sometimes we just have in our mind that everyone understands God the way we do, so we just kind of get a conversation moving as if they understand it the same way that we do. People do not see God, and understand God, from a biblical perspective of who he is. And sometimes we can start talking about him as if the other person has the same background we do, and it actually makes no sense because of what their view of God is. So we ask questions, then we understand what pieces are missing by actually listening to them.

Ross Sawyers: 14:14 So verse 18, it say, "One of them, named Cleopas, answered and said to Him, “Are You the only one visiting Jerusalem and unaware of the things which have happened here in these days?” It would be like we're walking out of here today, and you're talking to someone and you realize it's like, they have no idea that there was a pandemic this last year. It's kind of like, where have you been this weekend? There've been earthquakes, people arisen from the dead, I mean, it's all broken loose. It darkened for three hours on Friday afternoon, there's an earthquake, there's an earthquake this morning, there's rumors that Jesus rose from the dead. Where have you been? The irony is, Jesus is the only one that actually understands what just took place that weekend. We asked the questions so we can understand what's missing in the way somebody is thinking.

Ross Sawyers: 15:18 So Jesus asks another question, an easy questions, "What things?" What things happened? He wants to hear their perspective. We know what we think, and one of the challenges for us as Christians to be careful of, it's just not quickly unload what we think on someone without understanding what they think. We're too eager because we think we have the answer, and we're too eager to pour it on, and that's overwhelming to people. And so we just want to know what do they think? "“What things?” And they said to Him, “The things about Jesus the Nazarene." And they actually understood quite a bit, so it's a cool unfolding, "He was a prophet mighty in deed and word in the sight of God and all the people, 20and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to the sentence of death, and crucified Him. “But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, it is the third day since these things happened. “But also some women among us amazed us. When they were at the tomb early in the morning, and did not find His body, they came, saying that they had also seen a vision of angels who said that He was alive. “Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just exactly as the women also had said; but Him they did not see.”.

Ross Sawyers: 16:43 Brandon, last week, spoke of people who have whispers of God in them, Timothy Keller calls it echoes of God, Depending on someone's background, there is an understanding of who God is, who Christ is, of what he did, the resurrection, there's these whispers of God. Have you ever tried, in a puzzle, that you've spent so much time trying to find this one piece, if you could just get this piece right, then it looks like it'll free up a whole lot of other pieces. And there's that piece that, it almost fit, you know that you can jam it on there and it works. But you know, in your heart of hearts, it doesn't, but still, you ask somebody that they're doing it with you, and say, do you think this works? You just hope, because you spent so much time on that one part, or it's just a little loose, you know, just a little, I mean, it's just about the same, it's a little loose, and you just want it to fit. Sometimes we can understand, they had a really good understanding of the facts, but it's like they're trying to shove it in, or it just doesn't quite fit the way they have it in their mind, and so they need some help to understand how it actually fits together.

Ross Sawyers: 18:13 A friend and I, we meet once a month on Wednesday mornings, the second Wednesday of the month, and we've eaten breakfast at the same place the last three months of Wednesdays, that the time we meet. And we've had the same waiter at least twice, I think we might've had him all three times, but at least twice. On a Wednesday morning when we were going there, I always pray that God will open up doors, if he's opening them, I don't want to force it. And so this guy, he's a 20 year old, really friendly. And I said, hey, I said, we, at our church last Sunday, a guy spoke, and he gave us these questions to ask to help understand how people think. I said, could I ask you a couple of those questions? And Brandon gave us five, but I just thought I'd try two. And he said, yeah. I said, okay. I said, where would you say we come from? Like, what are our origins? Because the way we think about beginnings determines a lot. And he said, well, I grew up in a Christian home, but that's not what I believe, I believe the science. And I believe that evolution is our origins, and that the first people came from the continent of Africa, and then when the continents spread, then that's when people spread all across the world. I said, okay. I said, the second question I said was, where do you believe we're going when it's all done, what's our destiny? And he said, man, these are really good questions, he said, I would say, it's either reincarnation or we're going to go into a blackness. And my friend asked him and said, is that blackness like a consciousness? He said, yeah, maybe, I'm not sure. I said, okay, so I pushed my luck. And I'm a preacher, and I felt like it was going okay, so I said, could I ask you a third question? And he said, yeah. I said, when we know what our origins are and know what our destiny is, that usually tells us what our purpose is, what our morals are, what our identity is, it frames that up, that's why those are great questions. I said, what would you say our purpose is? And he said, man, that's good one too. He said, to be happy and that everyone would be equal. Fair enough. And that's what we had time for, I'm just praying for opportunity to be able to ask more questions, see what God will open up next time we go.

Ross Sawyers: 21:03 But do you hear, what's just occurred there. I'm just asking what pieces are missing, just by listening to him. I didn't insert my thoughts about anything, we just kept asking questions. This is what I heard, I don't know what you heard. I heard someone who said science is where I put my trust to determine where we came from. Now, we can debate this all day long, but the facts are just not there for evolution, not at the level that it's talked about in our culture, the facts are not there, that is not correct science. That we can have that conversation, and I can connect you to people that can be a help there, but that's just not even factual science. Science for the beginning, Eastern religion for the end, there's not even a consistent worldview through there. It's science here, it's Eastern religion here. Purpose in life, not shaped by evolutionary thinking, which it would be fair that if someone thinks that's how it started, then you'd want to live a life that shaped by evolutionary thinking. And we can talk about that sometime, about the philosophy, and how that flows into the way life is lived. It's a lot of how our culture lives today and why there is s a lot of chaos today, it actually starts with the way people think about their origins. His purpose though is not shaped by science, it's not shaped by Eastern religion, it's shaped by the media.

Ross Sawyers: 22:53 Two years ago, I think that young man gives me a different answer. He started by telling us he grew up in a Christian home. I don't know what that was like, because that means different things to different people, but whatever it was, it wasn't compelling enough to shape the way he thinks about beginnings, endings, or the in-between. Now I've heard, I know what he's thinking, do you know what he told me a month ago, he was a Christian. This is why we don't just ask simple questions like, are you a Christian or not? What does that even mean to you? There is nothing in the way he described life that is Christian. There are things to build on, but apart from asking questions and listening, I don't actually know how he's thinking and what's missing, and now I do. I have a compassion for him, and I'm praying for him, and asking God to give us opportunity. And so that's the second piece of our puzzle, is to listen until we really understand where the other person is coming from, we want to know what pieces are missing.

Ross Sawyers: 24:14 The third piece to the puzzle is to put the pieces together from the scriptures, not from opinion, not from tradition, but I want to put the pieces together from the scriptures. Verse 25, now I don't recommend this all the time, and I don't even know when the right time is, you're going to have to trust God for this. But when we look at how Jesus did it, he said to them, "He said to them, “O foolish men and slow of heart." In English that would translate, you're clueless. "You're slow to believe in all that the prophets have spoken." You know what they've spoken, they've just described it. I don't personally recommend that be the starting point, it doesn't seem like for me, that would be effective, for Jesus, it is effective. And there may be some times actually that people are so hardheaded, maybe something like that needs to be said, just to open up the conversation. I don't know, trust God for how you lead in that. Let me know how it goes if you ever try this approach, I would be excited to hear how that rolls.

Ross Sawyers: 25:19 Verse 26, "Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?” He is saying, it's rhetorical, it was not necessary. So what you've just seen, this was necessary. And now love what Jesus did, he didn't just give the rebuke and walk off. They're walking and they've got some distance to go, "So beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures." I love that Jesus took the time to explain from the scriptures who the Christ is.

Ross Sawyers: 26:00 Maybe it went something like this. Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible, so if he started with Moses, maybe he said, you know what? In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth, everything's created by God, he created form and function, he made things such that he created the water and then he put the fish in it, he created the land and then he put the cattle on it, he created the sky and then he put the birds in it. He did that, and then on that six day, he created man in the image of God, he made him male and female, he created them. He designed six days of work, and one day of rest, a rhythm. He created Adam and he created a companion for Adam, and so there were the two of them, the deepest friendships are formed in that first part between God and between that first marriage.

Ross Sawyers: 26:53 And then I wonder as they were walking if he said, but you know what, there was a freedom for them, and they actually chose against God. And any chaos or brokenness you see it's because of that first sin, and that is what we all inherit. But do you know what, God is a God of hope and God is a God with a plan, and he raised up a man named Abraham. And in Abraham he made a promise, and he said that Abraham would be a nation, he'd be a great name, that he'd have a land, and that those who bless him would be blessed, those who curse him would be cursed. And then we just see the unfolding of the story of Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and then Jacob's 12 sons, and then Joseph gets second in command in the Egyptian political structure. And then there's just this people, the Hebrew people, just grow and grow and grow, but they're enslaved. He said, do you know what God did? He raised up a deliverer in Moses, and Moses came he rescued the people out, and God established a people for himself. And when he did, he also established a law so that they would know how to be the people of God, and in his mercy, he established a sacrificial system because he knew they would be unable to keep the law, he established priest to exercise that system.

Ross Sawyers: 28:17 Then he brought them to a land after a time of wandering and rebellion exactly what he promised, he brought them to this land and he established them as the nation of Israel. He raised up prophets and judges, those who would lead, and then the people wanted a King and he said, okay, you can have a King. And then through the second king, David, he said, I'm going to establish an everlasting kingdom through king David. There'll be more profits to come, a division of Israel. They would start pointing to who the Messiah was, because all the scripture points to the savior. And the prophets would give these messages of judgments coming if you don't repent, and then there was 400 years of silence. And I wonder if Jesus just paused for a minute there, and just let that sit for a minute, what he said?

Ross Sawyers: 29:21 But then emerging out of that 400 years of silence, out of the womb of a Virgin, is God himself, Emmanuel, God with us, Jesus Christ. It would be that Messiah then that would walk among the people that would forgive, and heal, and teach, that would challenge. That would say again and again, that the son of man, the son of God, the Messiah, would be delivered, crucified, and risen. He just walked him through the scripture, all the scripture points to Jesus.

Ross Sawyers: 30:07 I love that when we get a puzzle, I don't just get handed a bag with a thousand pieces, and I have to start figuring out how to put those pieces together, having no idea what the picture is. But some people probably feel like the Bible is like that, that there's no picture, and it's just a thousand plus pieces that I have no idea how they fit together, it's a bunch of random stories. But what Jesus did, what I just did, I just gave you the big picture of the Bible, you could just see it. And as you're reading, the pieces start to come together, and over a lifetime, they fit even better and better. Jesus made it clear to them from the scriptures, how to put the pieces together, that's the third piece to the puzzle. If we're going to help somebody else put the pieces together, that's the third piece. y'all can't see this, can you? I apologize, I'll show you, now you're caught up. For those who are 50 and older, this your Vanna White move right here. Maybe you're younger and watch Wheel of Fortune, I have no idea.

Ross Sawyers: 31:38 Fourth piece in this story as it unfolds, stay long as it takes for completion. Stay as long as it takes for completion. This puzzle, we spent some hours on it, and our sons and daughter-in-law, they were gone. They might pop in and work on it a little bit, Lisa and I work on it. My youngest son, he's the best at these, really meticulous. Sometimes he'll stay up long hours after we go to bed, just work on the puzzle, get up in the morning, and just massive piece of it's done. I think, wow, it's like Christmas or something, you wake up and it's kind of put together. But whatever it takes, and that's what it's like to walk with someone. Sometimes it's one conversation, and it's a quick putting it together for them, sometimes it's hours of answering questions, and then it's over weeks and months of answering more questions, and it just starts to come together. And sometimes we take a break and need to absorb, some of what's already been absorbed. That's exactly how we walk with people to help them put the pieces together.

Ross Sawyers: 32:44 In verse 28, "They approached the village where they were going, and He acted as though He were going farther. But they urged Him, saying, “Stay with us, for it is getting toward evening, and the day is now nearly over.” So He went in to stay with them." Hospitality was a big deal in this culture, Jesus would have kept going, he was headed towards Galilee, that's where he said he would meet his disciples. They wanted him to stay, and he had the margin to stay. Stay as long as it takes to complete, they urged him to stay.

Ross Sawyers: 33:17 Now, an interesting thing happens when he stays, only Jesus could probably pull this off, right? And certainly we can learn from him, but eases into the conversation, he questions, he listens, he actually rebukes them, then he explains. Now he's in their home, he's the guest, and he takes the lead. Imagine inviting people, a number of you love to do hospitality things, you're the ones that host, you're the ones that have it laid out of how you want things to happen. Imagine a guest coming in, and the guest you just met traveling down the road, and he just kind of takes over as the lead.

Ross Sawyers: 34:00 Verse 30, "He reclined at the table with them, He took the bread and blessed it, and breaking it, He began giving it to them." For those who had been at the feeding of the 5,000, maybe it reminded them of that, maybe they were there, but there was no doubt there was something different going on here. And one of the beauties of putting a puzzle together as you're around the table, and I've found, and I suspect you have too, that some of the best conversations happen around a meal, they happen at the table. I'll led a men's retreat this weekend, and most of the guys, most of the weekend, hung around a table talking with each other, it was just rich conversation that happened there.

Ross Sawyers: 34:49 So something happens at this table in verse 31, "Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him; and He vanished from their sight." The same thing that happened in verse 16, when their eyes were prevented from seeing him, now in a divine way, their eyes are opened to be able to see him, they were opened and they recognized him, it was a moment. They had listened to him, it was coming together now, he had stayed long enough so that he could explain more. They kind of observed him, and how he was, they heard him. Same way for us, people when they see our lives, and then when they hear our words, that those two things would match up, that seems to have happened here, and we see the fourth piece of the puzzle coming together. Four pieces so far to be able to help somebody put it together.

Ross Sawyers: 36:03 The fifth piece is, once it's come together, is to share the experience with others. If you're someone that does puzzles, a number of things happen along the way before you complete it. Some people don't complete it. you get so frustrated by it that you just kind of throw it in the box and you quit. A number of people do that, they're understanding things about Jesus, they understand the facts about Jesus, but they're not really seeing how this fits in their own life, and so they just get to a point and say, forget it, and they just throw the pieces in the box. Other people finish the puzzle, and we leave it out for a while. That's what we did for this one, it took so long to do it, you just kind of hate to throw it back in the box. I mean, you finished it and you just want people to see it. Like, look, look, look at what we did, it took hours, took months, but look at it. Sometimes, we were at Jermaine Arphul, he's our student minister, and his wife, were at their house one night. And I noticed on their wall in their game room their puzzle, they had glued it, whatever you do on the back to keep it together, and they had it on the wall. So sometimes it's just such a cool effort among everybody, you just kind of put it there for all to see in an ongoing basis. And then sometimes we just take pictures of it, and we share it, we just want people to know, look at this.

Ross Sawyers: 37:40 Verse 32, "They said to one another, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us? Does that ever happen with you? That when you're hearing the scriptures explain, it's not just fact, but there's just a burning in the heart. There's something different, it's coming alive, it's not just words, it's not just facts, it's not just history, there's something life-giving that starts to stir. And these guys realize that, they're with Jesus, they're hearing him speak, and they're looking back on it, reflecting now, and saying, man, our hearts were burning within us.

Ross Sawyers: 38:21 John Wesley, who was one of our great theologians in the past. He describes when he had that moment, and if we just think about the moment at a table with Jesus, and we recognize him, realize what he did on our behalf, and realize he really is the savior from our sin, he's the one that gives life. He said, his heart was strangely warm. What's that moment like for you where it just came together? Sometimes people say, I've just kind of always known this or whatever. We are all born sinful, there has to be sometime, somehow, some way, where we realize what Jesus did and respond to it. His heart is strangely warms, burning within him.

Ross Sawyers: 39:12 That's the fifth piece of the puzzle. Y'all, it's come together, the cross is not foolishness to them now, it's power, it makes sense. And they can't do anything but, verse 33, "They got up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found gathered together the eleven and those who were with them, saying, “The Lord has really risen and has appeared to Simon.” It's not just something we heard, it's not something we're shocked by, the Lord has really risen, he really has risen from the dead. And sometimes we need a different angle on the puzzle, so it's not just the empty cross, rather, it's the empty tomb, and when you look at it this way, we see the empty tomb. They understood the cross, and they understood that Jesus rose from that grave, puzzle complete. But only complete in a person, when in faith, we respond by repenting of believing anything other than this, putting our full trust in Jesus Christ, Christ crucified and Christ risen. "They began to relate their experiences on the road and how He was recognized by them in the breaking of the bread." They're just telling their story, and each of us has a story if you know God. You just tell your story, you can tell your own story of what God has done, how Jesus has intersected that story. There's a joy in them, a hope in them, a life in them in Jesus Christ.

Ross Sawyers: 41:36 A few weeks ago, I had lunch with a man in our church, and he brought me a gift. This was before Baylor made their run, before Baylor, I may not be smart enough to do this, give me a second to get dressed. Before Baylor made their run in the national championship for the men's basketball, he gave me this. And he said, if you're not going to wear it, he said, give it back, he said, I've got people who will, I'll be giving it back later this week. But I'll tell you what, for the last two weeks, and I take digs at Baylor my sons went to A&M, and I wore an A&M sweatshirt all weekend long just to prepare myself for these few moments. But I don't think I could be more proud of a coach and a team than I am, not that they need me to be, I just am, of Baylor basketball. If you know their story, it's probably one of the best redemption stories we'll ever be able to tell. They had tragic circumstances in the early 2000s, and Scott Drew came on as coach in 2003, he came into a program that had scholarships stripped from it, that would have a schedule that was cut in half the ensuing year. He'd go on campus, just looking for walk-ons, and he just started building a program, putting the pieces together from where they were, in a tragic spot, starting right there.

Ross Sawyers: 43:35 And over the years, he began to put together a really solid program. And he looks back and, even talking about, he just talks about those early guys, that were walk-ons, that came into a program that had been devastated. He was quoted in an article in 2017, he said, "We may not win another game this year, and I may be a horrible coach, but if any of these guys leave without knowing Christ, that would be the real loss." He's built the program with Jesus Christ being the center of the program. I would say today, it would be a real loss, if anyone left not knowing Jesus Christ. He had a mantra for his team to play fearlessness, and to honor Him, honor God. I think that's a mantra we adopt as Christians in our culture, to play fearless and to honor God, not on the defensive, but on the offense. When we need to play defense, we play defense. If you don't learn how to play defense, watch that national championship game, I don't think I've seen anything from wire to wire with that kind of defensive pressure that created the offensive opportunities.

Ross Sawyers: 45:11 Jared Butler, one of their star player, he's been giving honor to Jesus Christ, he's a Sunday school teacher. NCAA, division one, star athlete, national championship team, teaches second and third graders every week at his church in Waco, so they might know that Jesus Christ is the most important. Scott drew talks about a culture of joy, Jesus, others, yourself, it's the culture that he's bred. That's the culture Jesus is calling us into, that as a Christian, when the pieces come together and we receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, that we are a culture of joy, a winsome, approachable, people, that speak truth, but love gracefully. That say the hard things, and immerse them in the overflowing mercies of God, that joy is what floods our souls. Have you had that moment of recognition of who Jesus is, and that your heart is overwhelmed, strangely warmed, with joy. In the interviews I've seen with Scott Drew since that Monday night, his exuberance is certainly about what's happened with Baylor basketball, but you can just see it in him, there is a life-giving joy that comes only through Jesus Christ and Christ alone, that's it.

Ross Sawyers: 46:56 And what a privilege, when you and I, come to that moment, and then we get the moment to help someone else. Our culture today is not going to be rescued by political leaders, by educational leaders, business leaders, our culture will be rescued today when God opens their eyes to who he is, when hearts are transformed, that's when change happens. So many among us experience that, you're living that.

Ross Sawyers: 47:41 Could I ask you to take your puzzle piece, and we're going to have a little bit of silent time, and would you ask God to give you the name of just one person, someone that's in your family, someone that's a friend, someone you sit in the stands with during the week, someone that's in a cubicle in your office, someone that you Zoom with, a neighbor, who is it that God has put in your sphere of influence in your path? You could write their name down, and start asking God, how do you want me to ease in or continue in conversation with them? How will you help me to listen and understand what pieces are missing? They might even have all the facts, but not realize it personally. And then I'll stay with them, as long as God has me in there, until it's complete. Would you do that?

Ross Sawyers: 48:54 It could be the best thing you could do today, is write your own name on the puzzle piece because you
realize, I might know the facts, but somewhere I've missed Jesus in this. I don't know the joy, my heart has not been strangely warmed, I really don't recognize him in my life unless somebody just talks about it when I have to listen to it. Maybe you're just confused, kind of like these guys were. It's okay, God starts with us right where we are. Maybe it's your own name? If so, would you be game just to reach out to us so we can be a help, people want to help put the pieces together.

Ross Sawyers: 49:45 Father, thank you for, I just love your word, thank you for giving us something to anchor to, and be strengthened by. And God, thank you for showing us just the way Jesus did, that you did conversations. Will you help us to learn and to put into play what it is in the ways you did things. So Father, I pray among us, however someone is among us right now, if they've been put together for us, will you show us who to really pray for, and to get in walking down the road with them, to ease in and ask good questions and listen, and if they'll allow us to put it together with the scriptures. Father, I pray for any that are still trying to really figure this out, it's just not real clear. Will you give them the courage to just write that down, and to reach out, to get help. And help us be willing to stay as long as it takes.

Ross Sawyers: 50:56 So, we thank you today for the life we have in Jesus, thank you for teaching us, and father help us to go in the lead of your spirit, obediently in Jesus' name. So if we could, let's just be quiet, just briefly before the Lord, to give you a chance to consider what we've said, think about that puzzle piece. Keep that with you, and let's see what God does.

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