Awe and Wonder

Examining The Question, "Why Did God Perform Signs And Wonders?".

Ross Sawyers
Mar 27, 2022    47m
Have you ever wondered; why did God perform signs and wonders? This message explores this question and gives examples of how these signs and wonders can help lead people to the salvation found only in Jesus Christ. Video recorded at Grapevine, Texas.

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Ross Sawyers: [00:00:06] It was a fantastic weekend for our ladies, and I've loved hearing the initial things that God did over the course of the weekend, and what a good recap for us, just to get a picture. And I love retreat settings, and camps, those kinds of things, it really just gives us an opportunity to get in the rhythms that will allow us to best encounter God.

Ross Sawyers: [00:00:26] One of the things that our ladies did on Friday night, you saw in the video, is worship outside, under the stars. We've been talking about what it means to be outside in God's creation, and when we're out in it, it stirs us to wonder and to awe. And that's not just a theme for a retreat, it is the reality of our hearts when we see who God is. All of us, the reality is, that most of us are drawn to the outside. When we even think about our homes, everybody tries to push out, so that we can be outside. How do you get the patio set? How do you get the firepit out there? How do you get the pool out? How do you how do you get outside of your house, and into what God has created? We may not even know why it is we're pushing out, but it pushes us out towards God and where he is in what He's created, it helps us to see the magnificence of what it is that he's made.

Ross Sawyers: [00:01:22] And so what an incredible opportunity for our ladies, I love the different rhythms. When I say that, there was that gathering together in worship, and the power of that, over 200 ladies that were on retreat this weekend. There was solitude space, that time alone with God, I can't tell you how crucial that kind of time is in building a healthy relationship with God himself. And there were smaller group opportunities, and opportunities to learn what God's doing all over the world with the [inaudible] company. And I think the biggest surprise and wonder to me in the video, was seeing the virtual reality goggles on someone, I didn't see that coming, but what a what a great way to show what it is that God is doing across the world.

Ross Sawyers: [00:02:09] In the same way. Lisa and I were part of a team of eight people that were across the world, outside our comfort zone, and in God's creation. For security reasons, I can't say names, I'm not going to say countries. Some of you are sharp enough, you'll start putting some things together, but I want to be careful to preserve the work of those that are out from 121. We were able to spend time with this team of eight, with three young ladies who are serving overseas, and then Lisa and I spent a few more days in Central Asia with another family that we are a part of the mission that God is doing with them.

Ross Sawyers: [00:02:56] But while we were in the Middle East with the first part of the trip with the team of eight and the three ladies that are serving in that part of the world, we saw some incredible parts of God's creation. We were in the desert, in a rock formation, absolutely stunning. Here's a picture of the sun rising on that particular day, we had ridden camels out there and watched the sun rise. In a 12-hour period, I saw a part of God's creation I haven't seen unfold before. We were there in time to see the sun set, and then the full moon started to rise, we had a time of worship out in the middle of the desert, 11 of us, under the stars with just singing praises to God. And then in the morning we arose early, and I was able to watch the same moon that I saw rise, set, and the same sun that I saw set, rise. And just to see all of that in one period of time, it does stir in the heart of wonder for who God is and what it is that He's done in creation.

Ross Sawyers: [00:02:56] Now, there are other things God does that stirs us in wonder. This is something you're not going to see on your way home from church today, well, you won't see that because we're past that, there we go. A lot of things I expected, not a camel in the back of a little Nissan truck, that was not what I saw coming. But God is the God of camels and trucks, and the guy driving was so excited when we were gawking and taking pictures of his camel. And God is also the God of the cities, and in this picture, this is one city that we were a part of, in overlooking the city, that is just millions of people. And this is a nation that is the majority…And in a small percentage, Christian, less than 2%, if that many. And as I looked at this picture, there are things in God's creation that stir me to think about ways to pray. And when I look at this, and I've been reading in Exodus, and Numbers, Deuteronomy, and kind of hanging out in Leviticus, and in that part of God's word, his glory rested on them through a cloud. And my prayer is that this city, that they will have God's glory rest on them, that this just won't be a cloud and the rain that it brings. But it would be a picture of God's glory, and that that would rest. I pray that for all of us, that we would be under, and rest, under the cloud of God's glory. God is a God of wonder, and he's a God of many signs.

Ross Sawyers: [00:05:57] If you'll turn in your Bibles to Acts, we're in chapter 5 verses 12 through 16. If you're newer here, we'll catch you up, we've been traveling through the Book of Acts. We take seasons of time where we'll spend in certain parts of the Scripture, and we're taking a long time to hang out in the Book of Acts, we're doing it in chunks and doing things in between. And so we're in that second run of Acts that we began a few months ago, and in 12 through 16, we find ourselves with a summary statement. This is a summary statement of what is preceded and been written of in Acts.

Ross Sawyers: [00:06:34] There are three summaries so far. In Acts chapter 2, at the end of that chapter, there's a summary of what's gone on. God has established His church, he's brought 3000 people into the fold as followers of Jesus now, and then he sums it up by saying that they were devoted to the apostle's teaching, they were breaking bread together, they were in fellowship, they were praying together, they were meeting each other's needs, and they were gathering up daily and hanging out with gladness and sincerity of heart, and God was adding to their number day by day, those who were being saved, that summed up chapters 1 and 2.

Ross Sawyers: [00:07:14] And then we took our time working through a healing story and the effects of that healing in Acts 3 and 4. And a couple of weeks ago, Jermaine preached on verses 32 through 35, and in those verses it's the second summary in Acts. And what he spoke of, was the radical generosity, and the radical graciousness of God through his people. That when we're captured by God and the heart of God, that the generosity of God is the same generosity that then we pass on to others, there was nobody with the need among them, they were seeing the need and meeting the need, the second summary.

Ross Sawyers: [00:07:53] Last week you heard from Randall Bishop, we're partnering with him and his church plant in South Dallas. I thought he did a fantastic job handling Acts 5, it's a difficult passage of scripture, Ananias and Sapphira. Things are going well to this point in the early church, but Ananias and Sapphira, they felt the need to lie about their giving. Now. I think we need to be careful here, because a lot of times we try to give the impression that we're more generous than we really are. That if somebody really were to look at the books, if somebody really looked at the check, if somebody really to look, we may not be near the generous people that we like to portray ourselves as. But it was a pretty strong reminder to the early church that God wasn't messing around, and Ananias and Sapphira both died because they lied, not just to the people around them, but their lie was to God.

Ross Sawyers: [00:08:46] And we forget, and Randall reminded us of this, I think in our culture and in our day, we really love to talk about the love of God. We don't speak as often about the holiness of God, the perfect purity and holiness of who he is. We should be grateful today that God hasn't struck all of us down, like Ananias and Sapphira, it is only by the grace and mercy of God that we stand or sit or breathe. And so they were reminded not just of the power of God to save, but the power of God to bring justice when he's ready to bring justice.

Ross Sawyers: [00:09:32] So it's with that context that we come to this third summary in Acts chapter 5. What I'd like to do, if it's okay today, it's been a while since we've been able to travel internationally and to be with our global workers across the world, and so you haven't heard me speak very often from personal experience with them. And this is what I've done all through the years, when we get to hang out with those who are serving, we just want to weave in so you can get a picture of what we're all a part of at 121. God is a global God, he's a God with a global heart, he's interested in your heart and my heart, and he's a God who has a heart for the nations, he has a heart for peoples everywhere. And as Christians, then our heart matches up with God's heart so that we have that same heartbeat for the nations. If that's not where our heartbeats, we want to keep asking God, will you expand my heart, will you expand the vision of my heart to see, God, how you see and how you want me to be a part of what's going on all across the world, and God is doing amazing things in our world.

Ross Sawyers: [00:10:42] Let's begin in verse 12, and again, I'll weave a few stories in of what's happened in the last few weeks as we unpack this summary of what's been going on, "At the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were taking place among the people." So there were many signs and wonders, there were things that were pointing to God. There were miracles that were happening. There were healings that were happening. Peter and John were engaged in those, and now we see that the apostles, plural, were involved in that. There were multiple things going on in Jerusalem right now, and keep in mind, where we are in Acts, the message is not gone out of Jerusalem yet, it's still in Jerusalem. God is establishing his church, he's establishing who he is, and who He wants his people to be. The church's witness is strengthened by the signs and wonders that God does.

Ross Sawyers: [00:11:37] Well, those first several days where our team of eight hung out, we were in a Middle Eastern country, the nation is Muslim. And the worker that we were with, we were different workers. I'm going to share stories about a couple of them, the incredible work in all of them that's going on. But in this particular country, this worker is working with a group of people that are gypsies. And in the area where she's working, there are about 50,000 gypsies. It's a semi-nomadic people, many of them live in tents, some of them in houses, and they primarily beg for a living. And they are people that have been ignored, that no one has had an interest in, they're looked down on, and there haven’t been workers for the faith that have engaged with this people group. And it was such a gift and a privilege to be with the worker from here that has joined a team of four other adults, two other families, so there's five right now, and then there's two more that are coming on in a year, year and a half to be on their team. But how cool to think, that God has eyes for, and we sing that song the goodness of God quite a bit, that the goodness of God comes running after me. In Psalm 23:6 it says that his goodness follows us, that word follow, is pursue. God is a pursuer, he's not just a follower, it is a full-on pursuit of coming after us. And how cool, that God would put on the hearts of these five and then two more, to see these gypsies. They don't know that they're seen, they don't believe that they're seen, yet God has eyes on them.

Ross Sawyers: [00:13:37] And we talk about Bible translations, ladies that were on the retreat, if you did the virtual reality thing with Seed Company. I mean, we've been doing Bible translation for a while now here, for those people groups that don't have the Scripture in their heart language, so you got a glimpse of that. Man, we've got to be on the front lines with a team of people, with a people group, who don't have the Scriptures in their language, and they've had no Gospel, no people that would be there to share Jesus with them.

Ross Sawyers: [00:14:08] This is called here's your mission thought for the day, it may be interesting to you, but it may not. But the group they're working with is called an Unreached, Unengaged People Group. Unreached means there has been nobody there, there's no Scripture, there is nothing for them to hear about Jesus. Now we use the term unreached quite a bit in mission, there's no witness there. One of the blessings, and people make fun of, but I actually think it's a gift, there is a witness for Christ everywhere you turn in the area where we live, we are not unreached. Now there are people, all kinds of people, who don't know the message of Christ in our area, but there's access to it. So when we say unreached in missions, we're talking about there's not access to it, they wouldn't have a shot at any book, any podcast, any webcasts, any Bible, any Gideon's New Testament, nothing, that's what unreached means. Unengaged means there's nobody working with them, now there are five people working with them. These five have learned Arabic, and now they've learned the language of the Gypsies. And there's a Bible translator on their team, they've now created an alphabet in the language of the Gypsies who nobody sees, and they think by May that they'll actually have a couple of stories, their first couple of stories from the Scriptures, in the heart language of this Gypsy people group. Yes. So when we talk about Bible translation and we talk about reaching unreached peoples in the hardest of places, it's happening.

Ross Sawyers: [00:16:15] One of the things I said to one of our workers, I said, you know, I wish we could do more work with our different workers across the sea. He said, he caught me off guard, he said, it's good that you can't. I said, what do you mean? He goes, that means you're working with people in the hardest places, we can't send 25 people to go do a project in these places. It means we're in the darkest places, bringing light, is what that means. So what a gift, so when we think about signs and wonders, I just think that's a wonder that God would see this people that nobody sees, and then he would raise up five people from the US that would have a heart for this people group, and would do the tedious work of learning the language, learning the culture, then learning the heart language of these people, and then creating an alphabet to have the skill set to do that, and now starting to do the work of Bible translation. And God gave me the privilege of meeting the one known believer in this people group, and they're praying that through this man, that there'll just be a movement of the Gospel that'll sweep through the Gypsies.

Ross Sawyers: [00:17:32] They've started two Bible studies, the Discovery Bible Studies, it's what we've taught you, that's what they're teaching them. We've learned from our global workers how we can effectively study the Bible. So they have two studies going, and then they started a small business for women to help employ some of the women that are in this people group. Signs and wonders, they're seeing it, that's just an example of what God does.

Ross Sawyers: [00:18:06] In verse 12, it continues on, and it says that, "They were all with one accord in Solomon's portico." It was a covered walkway, and they were gathered up there and things were going on with them among the believers. But we see again and again in the first five chapters of Acts, the unity that is among those initial followers of Jesus. And that's something that we want to continue to strive and pray for, that we would maintain a unity. And now unity is not something we try to achieve, it's not something that we're trying to get, in the spirit of God, in Christ under the cross, we are unified. What our role is, is to maintain the unity that God has already established among us.

Ross Sawyers: [00:18:49] And when we think about our global workers, if this is okay today, and I think you can apply it to your own setting, the thing that does some of the most damage to our global work is internal conflict when they're not unified. And I think most of us can relate to that, that when we're in our work settings and there's internal conflict, there's not unity, that wreaks havoc on the work. And they were in one accord in the early days, and we want to continue to pray that God will keep all of our workers in one accord, they're in highly stressful situations.

Ross Sawyers: [00:19:22] A guy years ago told me, I was speaking to a group of global workers in their context, and I thought, I am so inept, I don't have anything to say to them, these are the front-line people. This is the elite of our faith, and what do I have to say to them? And the guy that was leading them said to me, he said, hold it, he said that they are same as you are, they have the same problems here as we have in the US. He said the difference is, in a cross-cultural setting where you've had to learn a language and everything's done totally different, it's like a gnat the problem is in the US, it's like a buffalo here, everything is magnified. And when everything's magnified, and that stress level is what it is, then that's a great opportunity for the enemy to bring disunity. So we want to pray, can I just encourage you to pray for unity for our workers? This group, the ones I was with, are doing well, by the way, I just want to keep praying for their unity, that Satan can't disrupt the work that God is doing.

Ross Sawyers: [00:20:34] In verse 13, he says, "But none of the rest dared to associate with them; however, the people held them in high esteem." This is interesting, so they're going on here in Jerusalem, there are believers, people are coming to faith in Christ, the apostles are preaching boldly. But there's a whole group of people that won't associate with the Christians, they don't want anything to do with them, but interestingly, they held them in high esteem. So it's kind of like, well, okay, I see what you're doing, and I can respect and value that, but I'm not going to dare to get in there on it. Why is it? Well, for them it might have been, they were watching how the Jewish leaders were throwing Peter and John in jail and thought, I like what you're saying, not interested in jail. It could be they got wind of what happened to Ananias and Sapphira and said, I like the whole mercy part of God, I'm not sure I like the judgment side of God, I think I'm going to stay over here a little bit. For whatever reason, though, they weren't interested.

Ross Sawyers: [00:21:38] Now, in the culture we're in today, there was a day in our country, where I think Christians were at least respected, those are core values for our nation, those have flipped on their head. So now as Christians, we're seen as hostile, and dangerous, and we're the ones that have the wrong values. I don't know that there's a high esteem out there for us at the moment. At the same time, I do think there is, I think people don't know what to do with people who have a character that is shaped like Christ, that have the willingness to serve humbly people that they don't even know, a radical generosity towards people that they don't know. I think when people see us in action, what we don't want is someone to sit back and say, I'm not interested in them because they're a bunch of hypocrites, they're judgmental, that's all they're doing is being judgmental, they're anti-this and they're anti-that. That's not what we're interested in, we're for something, we believe that Jesus is better, and that life is found in Him, ad that the love of Christ is worth motivating us for the way that we live. So if someone's not happy with us because of the way we are or what we do, we want it to be because we're living lives of grace, we're also not afraid of truth, but it's not because we're being critical of the person.

Ross Sawyers: [00:23:18] Could we step back in our culture, this is difficult, but could somebody just step back and say, I don't like what they're saying, but somehow, I can sense they still love me even though they don't agree with me. People oftentimes won't associate, but by God's grace, people are going to get exhausted by the upside-down morals and life they're choosing. We're already starting to see things now, I'm reading things now, where statistically people are starting to see this whole pathway that we're on, the sexual upside downness of what's happening, people are starting to see, uh oh, this doesn't work. And are we going to have been a people of such grace and love towards others, that when they're exhausted by the sin and see it doesn't fulfill what's been promised and delivered, that they'll come towards us and that we will move towards them? Well, they didn't want to associate, our hope would be that they would.

Ross Sawyers: [00:24:24] In verse 14, "All the more believers in the Lord, multitudes of men and women, were constantly added to their number." So in this summary, you've got a picture here of, there's those that don't want to associate, but then you've got all those who do. And so we've got those who look, and I think that happens in our church today, I think there are a lot of people here and online that you look at people here and you have a lot of respect for them, and you're not sure what they're totally about, but you like it, you're just not ready to get in yourself. And then you've got those who finally cross that bridge and they do come in towards Christ himself, so there are all the more believers, they just kept being added again and again and again to them and to what was happening in that place.

Ross Sawyers: [00:25:08] Now at our ladies retreat this weekend, Lorraine led in the teaching, and in one of the teachings on Ephesians 2:1-10. And in Ephesians 2:1-10, you see how you move from not being a part of the faith and then into the faith. And she shared her story with the ladies, and she spoke of how when she was in high school and in those years that she saw herself chasing after being accepted. Now, sometimes we might say that's what teenagers do, they want to be accepted, they'll do anything to be accepted, they'll get in the group that will allow them to be accepted. That's not just a teenage thing, that seems to be a human thing. And if we're not careful, we'll end up in a spot that's not the right spot. But what she couldn't see, is really her desperate need for Christ. You see, if we think we're good enough, because she thought she was good enough, if we think we're good enough, we won't see our need for a Savior. And at 16 years old, at a church camp, outside, under the stars, is when, for the first time, she recognized her desperate and deep need for Christ, and how gross her sin was, and only how Christ could make her dead heart alive again. So that's what Ephesians 2 says, it says, our hearts are dead in sin, but Christ makes us alive in him. He took on that sin so that we could be freed.

Ross Sawyers: [00:26:56] It's taken me a few days to recover from the pace of our trip. And so I don't know if this was out of delirium, a vision, a dream, it may be theologically off, I have no idea. But while I was laying around and I was thinking, okay, how did Jesus bear my sin? How did he really take that on himself? And the picture that God gave me, or that I hallucinated, and I don't even know if it's right. But I just thought about the nail going through his hand, and I thought, okay, the sins that I know that I struggle with, I just imagine those being on that nail, and that all of my sin he put on that nail and then it just drove into him so that he's burying it. And not only mine, just mine would be plenty to repulse someone, but yours are there too, and yours, and millions upon millions of others, I can't even wrap my head around that, but I'm grateful. And the only way we get freed up, is to be freed from our sin that way. And Lorraine Ross, who's dead, now alive.

Ross Sawyers: [00:28:31] Now, many of your following March Madness, you love this season of the year for college basketball. There are a few storylines that are fantastic, one is Saint Peter's, they play later today, number 15 seed advancing to the Elite 8, pretty cool story. But the other story, at least in my mind, that's prominent, is Duke. And Coach Krzyzewski, Coach K, he's 75 years old, a legend in the game, and has his team, and then last night they won so they'll advance to the final four. But he helped me with something this week in the way he's described it. He said the final four in college basketball is the Mecca of Final Four glory, and there's a bridge that links between the regional finals, and the national semifinals. And he said I've crossed that bridge 12 times in my career, I've been on the other side and in that Final Four glory, and he said, and I want my players to experience that glory, they have no idea what it's like to cross that bridge. Well, last night they won, so they've crossed the bridge into what Coach K calls the Mecca of Final Four glory.

Ross Sawyers: [00:30:06] The cross is our bridge into God's glory, and every person that's believed this message about Jesus has crossed into the final glory that's in Jesus Christ. And anybody that hasn't crossed it yet, by the way, you don't have to cross it 12 times, once you cross, you're in. And once you've crossed and you are in, would it not burn our hearts to desire for everybody else we know to cross in as well? Coach K's players, they have no idea, they'll know this weekend. But we know, because we've crossed it, and God actually brought us across. Oh, and that there would just be multitudes that would know that glory that comes only through the cross of Jesus Christ.

Ross Sawyers: [00:31:18] Lisa and I spent a few more days, the team returned last Saturday, and Lisa and I went to Central Asia and hung out with the family. And last Sunday morning we were in a worship gathering just like this, with about 70 people. And it was just so cool to listen to the global worker from our church, preach in the language of the people where he is. Ten years ago when they went on the field, they knew none of the language, none of the culture, today he is one of the elders leading a church in the language of the people. And we were able to experience a baptism, this is their baptismal, we couldn't show you the person, but it's rare that they are seeing people come to faith, and so we get to be a part of a baptism on that Sunday morning. We were a part of worship that was so vibrant in this in this small room of 70 or so people, which, by the way, a city of two and a half million people, five evangelical churches, most of those not healthy, we were in the largest one. They've been praying that there would be elders raised up that are locals, not the outside workers, there's a local elder there. They're praying that people raise up in leadership spots, they're raising up in those spots. Yesterday, they were at a festival, over 100,000 people at the festival. The fellowship set up a booth out there and they did henna tattoos, the ladies did on other ladies, painting Christian symbols and using that as a way to share the gospel. The guys were walking around stirring up a conversation in a nation that is Muslim and has less than half percent Christians. One of the things they were excited about is they didn't get in trouble, but over 200 people heard the gospel yesterday in this annual festival. But what a treat to be with people in the hope that multitudes will become part of these men and women that are added to the number in the faith.

Ross Sawyers: [00:33:36] When we were in the Middle East, I was overlooking the city. And one of the things I saw was this Colosseum, 6000 seats, 6000 people it holds. And we were doing a prayer walk at the top of the city, and I looked down at it, and one of the things that God gave me and looking at it was to just pray that there would be a day where there are 6000 worshipers of Jesus in an ancient amphitheater. Can we just ask God for things that are so much bigger than we can imagine that people would see the hope and the life and the joy in him and be worshipers of him? Sometimes people ask, well, why would we go somewhere where there are other faiths and so forth? I would argue this, if something means so much to someone, I would appreciate someone telling me. I don't care what faith it is, or what denomination it is, or what thing it is, if it's a value to you and I'm missing out, tell me, I want to know, and then I can go from there. But how cool if we just see that kind of thing happen.

Ross Sawyers: [00:34:52] Then in verses 15 and 16, "There was such an extent that they even carried the sick out into the streets and laid them on cots and pallets, so that when Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on any one of them." Peter had such a presence, that the people were just trying to get into his shadow. It reminds us of Jesus when the woman who was hemorrhaging for 12 years was in a crowd and she just thought, if I could just get in close to him, and so she got in and touched the hem of his garment. And Jesus said, who touched me? Peter, always the one not afraid to talk, said, Jesus, there is a big crowd here, we're all getting touched. He said, no, I felt power go out of me. And when he said that, the woman emerged, described her condition, and he said, daughter, your faith has made you well. She just wanted to get somewhere in the vicinity of Jesus, and then he called her daughter. They saw what Peter was doing, and they just wanted to somehow get in the mix.

Ross Sawyers: [00:36:14] It made me think about these young ladies that are global workers in this family, I felt like I was swept up into the presence of Christ just being with them. And that's what happens when people abide in Christ, that if you and I are abiding in Christ and the joy and the peace and the life of Christ is flowing in us, people just want to kind of be near it. They might not even know why, but I want to be in that, I want to be swept up in the joy of Christ, in the healing of Christ.

Ross Sawyers: [00:36:58] And then in verse 16, he says, "The people from the cities in the vicinity of Jerusalem were coming together, bringing people who were sick or afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all being healed." Now, keep in mind, at this part of Acts, they're still just in Jerusalem. The Gospel is not gone out of the city yet, it's still in Jerusalem, so they're bringing people, they're hearing about it, and they're bringing people to them and there's healing happening.

Ross Sawyers: [00:37:26] One thing we were able to participate in, in the Middle Eastern country, is a medical clinic. And for the Gypsies, they don't have access to medical care as well, and so several doctors volunteered their time and did a medical clinic, and just basic routine things we're done with these men and women by the doctors, and there will be things where there's healing. Healings don't have to be just these dramatic things; healings happen every day in small things. And healings don't have to be just something that happens out of the blue, it's an astounding and a wonder that God would give people minds that they could study medicine and be the kind of doctors that can identify things and then bring healing to people, that God does that through them. So they experience, they are experiencing that healing, and who knows what God will do with that because it's coming from people who are following Jesus.

Ross Sawyers: [00:38:26] Now, like I said, they've not gotten outside of Jerusalem yet. And we've been talking about how to get outside of our four walls, outside of our comfort zone, to be about the things that God would have us to be about. Somebody left me a comic strip the other day, has anybody heard of Grand Avenue? Perfect, it's legit, if ever you want to take a look at it. So far this morning, I've found no one that's heard of it, neither have I. But they left this for me, it's this lady and she's in a chair, in a big, comfortable chair. She said, I'm dressed in my comfy, baggy sweatpants. The second box, in my comfy robe and slippers. In the third box, I'm snuggled in my cozy chair with my coffee. She's having all these thoughts. And then the fourth one, she says, stepping outside your comfort zone is overrated. That sounds miserable to me, stepping outside our comfort zone is not overrated, it's the place where we have no choice but to lean on the Holy Spirit of God and it's the place where real change will happen in the lives of people. It would be much easier for these young global workers to have stayed here in a language that's familiar, in a culture that's familiar, than to leave their comfort zone, and to go to somewhere where, candidly, they're probably not even wanted.

Ross Sawyers: [00:40:12] God's not going to call everybody to do that, he's going to call some of us to support them, to pray for them, to cheer them on, he's going to call others out. But what he has done is he's placed you in this city where you are, we have multiple cities represented here. He's placed you in a city, in a neighborhood, for many of you in multiple schools, he's placed you in different leisure places, and he is calling you and me to get outside of our comfort zone for the sake of his name, at a minimum, in those places where we currently are. I love when I'm reading Acts, I see this happening at 121, I feel like I have a front-row seat to the work of God's Spirit in changing hearts and bringing about life change. And my prayer is that we'll just continue to go in the flow, so that we can have really cool summary statements like this, knowing that we're devoted to the apostles' teaching, prayerful, breaking bread together, serving together, giving radically, serving humbly, boldly sharing our faith, so that people at least have the opportunity to respond to the message of Jesus Christ, and those are beautiful feet that God sends out.

Ross Sawyers: [00:41:44] The last picture I wanted to show you is of feet, and take that in for a moment, that was the 11 of us and we added a 12th. The camel went crazy as soon as I took the picture, I don't think he was enjoying that we had his leg in there with us. But I wanted that picture just as a reminder, those were beautiful feet that we were serving with, these are taking the good news of Christ. And that's my prayer for 121, that we'd just be one giant circle of beautiful feet, that wherever our feet are, as my friend has told me, that we would be present where our feet are, and present with the message of Jesus Christ.

Ross Sawyers: [00:42:44] Well, we've been praying the scripture each week over people, and what I'd like to do today is pray over the ladies of our church, whether you're on the retreat or not on the retreat, I want to pray this passage of Scripture for you. And I'd like to ask you, if you don't mind, to stand if you're able to do so. You don't have to move from your seat, and it's all the ladies, so you're safe, no one's being...and just receive this prayer over you.

Ross Sawyers: [00:43:15] Well, God, we're grateful for the power of your word this morning, and I thank you for the work that you did in our ladies this weekend, I pray they'll continue just in awe and wonder of who you are and what it is that you're doing. And God, I pray that in this Scripture that the hands of the Apostles, many signs and wonders were taking place among the people, and Father, I pray and thank you that for so many of these ladies that they have experienced signs and wonders from you, that they've experienced a dead heart being made into a live heart, that they've experienced you in so many different ways, they've seen healings, they've seen things happen that only you can do. And so, God, I pray even today that the ladies in this room and online, God, that they would know and remember and reflect on your signs and wonders in their lives personally. And then God, would you work through them, just like you did the apostles, and do signs and wonders in the lives of their friends and in their families, and God, that you'd do remarkable work through them. I pray, God, that they would be with one accord, and they'd be in unity with each other. And then, God, I pray where people do not want to associate with them, they'd be fine with that, but God, that there'd be more and more people that hold them in high esteem because of their Christlike character, and because of their servant's hearts, and their boldness, and the way they do family, and the way they do their work, and their labor, and their fun. And God, I pray that people who don't understand that would just look and respect and value that, and that they would become more people who do associate and who want to be a part of what they're a part instead of those who are standing back. And God, I pray that you would add more and more believers today, and I don't know if these ladies who might not know you, but I pray, God, that they might know the power of the cross today, it would not be foolishness for them, but it would be a power for them, that they know your relief, and forgiveness, and the goodness that comes from you. That they would know they're seen today like the Gypsies are seen, that they're pursued today, and Jesus, you just want to call them daughter, just like you did the woman that you healed. And I pray, God, they'd be a part of the multitudes, and that they would be a part of those that are helping others be added. And God, I pray they would so abide in you, that people would want to be in their shadow just to be in the presence of Christ, God. And Lord, I pray wherever they are in their neighborhood, in their city, with their schools, with their work, with their leisure, their church, everywhere, God, that people would come to them and God that they would have the balm of Christ to offer, and that people would be healed, at least at a heart level.

Ross Sawyers: [00:45:55] So, Jesus, we thank you for your word today. Thank you for the women of 121, I pray they would thrive and flourish in Christ today. And it's in Jesus' name I pray.

Ross Sawyers: [00:46:07] I want us to just be quiet for a moment, and I don't know if God saying anything to you or not this morning, maybe just enjoy the time. But let's take a little bit of space to reflect and see if there's anything he wants to say to more directly impact your obedience to him.

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