Morning. David Sorn. Lead Pastor here at Renovation Church.
Thank to Bryan, Stacy, Doug, and Rachel for filling in for Zach today. Zach and some of the guys from our worship team are actually in Germany right now.
They are leading worship at a huge outreach event there that gathers a lot of unbelievers through secular music etc, and Zach and some of our guys are leading worship for the event.
Pretty awesome. They will be back next week.
We are starting a brand new series this morning called, “Call of Duty”
We want to teach you how to live out the calling God has for you.
We want to really challenge you to boldly live for God’s mission.
And we’re going to talk about that A LOT this month.
Our messages at the Link on Wednesday nights are revolving around this topic…last week, if you weren’t here…Mike Howard came in and gave an awesome talk on boldly trusting in God (if you weren’t here, seriously, watch the video on our website)
But seriously, if you don’t feel challenged to start boldly living out your mission for God at the end of this month…I don’t know what happened. Perhaps you should get your ears checked…
And we’re not going to mince words in this series. That’s not what we do here.
I had a pastor tell me this week….you really let your guest speakers challenge people. That’s bold of them.
To which I replied, “What else would I have them do? The Gospel…the Good News of Jesus…is not safe. It’s anything but. It’s challenging.”
And my goal today is to make you feel a little uncomfortable. That’s what the Gospel does. Because we don’t actually move until we feel uncomfortable first.”
WE WANT TO BE HEROES
How many people in the room like first person shooter games (raise your hand) Games like Call of Duty? How many like Action movies? How many of you played War as a kid? How many of you played games where you rescued people?
Why do we love war so much? Why do we love heros so much?
Think about how many war movies there are? Or books? OR what about comic book movies about heroes?
Seriously…They’re running out of comic book heroes to use in movies, but they just keep making them!
Did you know they are coming out with a new Spider-Man movie next summer with all different actors? THEY JUST made a Spider-Man movie! 3 of them!
Because at some level….every one of us wants to be a hero
I’m no different. When I was a kid, I invented this game for all the neighborhood kids (& I can’t believe I’m telling you this) called “Underground Spies.”
We all had different ranks and roles in the Underground Spies…in which I obviously appointed myself as the leader…and we had a secret lair where we would come out of and go attack imaginary bad guys
It may or may not have also had a theme song we made J
No. We did. In fact, I found the old tape recording of it when I was moving last month.
And I’m so secure in my masculinity, that I’m going to play you a cut for your enjoyment…
PLAY UNDERGROUND SPIES SONG
EVERYONE wants to be a hero
Sometimes people think…well…this is more of guy thing.
No it’s not.
Ever see a woman when someone threatens her kids?
I can remember when I was in the hospital as a kid and the doctors were ignoring me when I was really sick.
I thought my mom was potentially going wound them and put them in the hospital bed next to me.
She was ready to be my hero
God wired you to be a hero
When Jesus talked about church for the first time, he said this:
(Matthew 16:18) – NLT
Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.
He didn’t say…. “ The Church will be a nice place to come on Sundays to be followed by potlucks and church softball teams! Yea!”
No…it’s a force. And forceful men lay hold of it Jesus says elsewhere.
The apostle Paul writes….
(Ephesians 6:11-12) – NLT
11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. 12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
We are engaged in a real-life battle of good and evil.
But most Christians either don’t know this or conveniently choose to forget it.
And decide to just focus on other things….get stuck on , “Let’s have a 10 week Bible Study on whether or not when Jesus fed the 5,000 if the bread kept replicating from the same bread or if he was pulling it out of thin air”
Churches spend their time arguing about what color the carpet should be, should they play hymns or start playing contemporary music from the 80’s, should they have 2 knitting clubs or 3?
All the while…the world goes to hell around them.
The church is the only hope of stopping the forces of hell.
And when we decide to play games. People die. People go to hell.
We’re currently in one of the least churched cities in the entire metro. Full of people that as of right now…aren’t going to heaven. They’ve said no to Jesus’ offer of forgiveness or they just don’t understand it yet.
And our hope is to turn Blaine from the easiest city to get lost in, to the easiest city to get found in.
That’s what the “Call of Duty” series is all about.
We Have a Call. In fact, it’s our duty.
To spread the good news of Jesus Christ. Let people know about forgiveness. That…is being a hero.
A real hero is not saving someone from death on earth…a REAL hero is saving someone from eternal death. THAT’s a hero!
We are going to take a look at a passage in the Old Testament today about some of God’s heroes.
It’s a passage about 3 of King David’s Mighty Men from 1,000 BC
Their names were Jashobeam, Eleazar, and Shammah…
And I think they each possessed heroic qualities…of what it means to be a hero…in God’s eyes. Let’s take a look
(2 Samuel 23:8) – NLT
8 These are the names of David’s mightiest warriors. The first was Jashobeam the Hacmonite, who was leader of the Three—the three mightiest warriors among David’s men. He once used his spear to kill 800 enemy warriors in a single battle.
Okay, so let’s start with Jashobeam.
What I love about Jashobeam is his unshakeable optimism.
This guy is Rambo on steroids. And then some more.
You’re out in battle…and you’re defending your people…trying to protect your wife at home…your kids…your people against your enemy…and you keep fighting…
But you’d think…ugh my luck’s gonna run out after the 20 fights I just had…I just walk away and call it a day. Can’t believe I just won 20 battles. Nope. Keeps going. And doesn’t stop.
Not after 100, or 200, or 500. Not till 800.
Heroes are people that never think something is impossible. They get rid of the word impossible.
See…heroes aren’t bothered by odds.
While the rest of the world lives in fear…counting numbers and running the risk analysis…heroes change the world. Heroes change the world while the rest of us sit on our computers.
Jesus said, “All things are possible for the one who BELIEVES”
And not like our media tells you today to believe in yourself… But all things are possible for those who TRUST IN JESUS.”
“If God is for me, then who can be against me?!?”
If you’re marriage is struggling, a hero has unshakeable optimism…NOT IN THEMSELVES…but in the God they serve to move.
But too often we just lower our heads…
It’s never gonna get better..My marriage is falling apart…OR my job is terrible…or I’m stuck in this addiction….
Who do you serve? God???
How big is your God?
It’s like God says to Moses in the book of Numbers, “What, is my arm too short?”
And this applies to evangelism (which is just a fancy word for talking to people about God) as well.
Too often we say, “This person is never going to change.”
I’m glad people didn’t say that about me.
You might think, “Oh David…you’re a nice Christian.” But most of you didn’t know me before I knew Jesus.
My friend Angie Hibma told me a few months that she ran into to someone who knew me in high school, and when she heard the woman was from Cambridge, she said, “Oh, do you know David and Lindsey Sorn?”
And the girl said, “Yeah.”
And Angie said, “Oh, David’s the pastor of my church.”
And the woman said, “He’s the what?!?”
Hell is not greater than your savior.
In fact, stop for a moment, and think right now about the person you know that is farthest from God.
Someone that is just light years away from accepting Christ….probably not gonna change…probably not gonna ever be in a church…
WAIT STOP.. Heroes don’t think that way.
Heroes think, “It’s just a matter of time. I TRUST God will move!”
The next one of David’s Three Mightiest Men is Eleazar
(2 Samuel 23:9-10) – NLT
9 Next in rank among the Three was Eleazar son of Dodai, a descendant of Ahoah. Once Eleazar and David stood together against the Philistines when the entire Israelite army had fled.10 He killed Philistines until his hand was too tired to lift his sword, and the Lord gave him a great victory that day. The rest of the army did not return until it was time to collect the plunder!
The Bible says Eleazar killed the Philistines until his hand was too tired to lift a sword!
When was the last time you worked so hard for someone to meet Jesus or fought so hard for justice…for what’s right in this world…that you couldn’t even lift your hand at the end of the day?
But that’s not often how Christian people think…
We too often prefer to just safely consume…
Or even just church hop until we find a message that applies to our life a music that we prefer. All while the world is going to hell.
Some of you younger people in your twenties in this room wasted 5-10 years of your life in college and beyond just church hopping….while our friends were going to hell.
And as Christians, we tend to just stand around…and then when God moves, just like in the passage, we rush in to collect the plunder.
That’s why we’ve been saying all summer here…DON’T just watch the movement here at Renovation Church, be a part of it.
Three weeks from today (on September 11th), we are taking a giant leap forward and going to 2 services (9:30 & 11:00)
But honestly, we’re not quite ready for it yet.
We need more people to be available on our prayer team….more to set up and tear down…more to greet…more to usher…more to serve in our café…more to work w/ our A/V…
Most of these teams have to DOUBLE if we’re going to do this.
We still need a HOUSE for our Youth Group to meet in on Wed nights
If you can help or want to help w/ any of these things…just write it on your connection card later…or stop by the volunteer table in the hallway
And we want every single one of you that currently volunteers to come to Starting Line next Sunday.
I want to let you in on some behind the scenes stuff on our vision…We want to inspire you to serve here. Not just fill holes.
Seriously. Starting Line is going to be awesome. DO NOT MISS it if you are a volunteer here.
And if you’re a regular attender here, and you’re not serving w/ Renovation in some capacity.
Be a hero. Not a gatherer of plunder.
Listen…if everyone sits back, enjoys the plunder, and says…”Wow…look at what God is doing here at Renovation. It’s fun to watch…”
Then the movement ends now.
But if we all get together…and serve together…then we REALLY start reaching this city…and beyond.
Heroes work until the victory comes.
Nothing ever changes w/o hard work.
It’s not enough to just believe…we have to work. We work w/ God
Church people all the time…do a great job of believing (or saying they believe)…but nobody does anything.
If you really believe…you’ll act it out.
For example. Let’s say I believe I could fly… If I just went around telling everyone I could fly but never jumped off a building to test it out… I don’t believe. I’m a liar.
People say, “Oh yeah. I totally believe God could change my friend’s heart and have them follow Jesus. Totally believe.”
Ok. Well, then why don’t you start talking to them about God? Or, at minimum, why don’t you invite them to church?
Cuz if we really believe God can change their heart…then start talking to them and let God change their heart through your Words.
If we totally believed He could, I would think that we would then ACT.
Belief = action. Belief w/ no action is usually just fake belief.
“I really believe I’m gonna financially be okay. I’m gonna get free of addiction.”
For one…if we really believe…we act
And two…this is why both qualities are important…We need unbridled optimism…but it has to be combined with hard work.
I heard my friend Pastor Erik Dykstra say the other day: “Christians should enter the Kingdom of Heaven tired…”
You should enter the kingdom of Heaven like Eleazar… Dragging your sword.
My fear is too many Christians are going to enter an eternity of rest…already rested.
Listen…you can rest for eternity…. 1,000 years, 10,0000 years, a trillion years. You have eternity to relax!!
But now…for this blink of an eye… we fight. We work.
NOW is your opportunity to be a hero in the kingdom of heaven. Not later.
COURAGE TO STAND ALONE
The third of the mightiest three men is Shammah
(2 Samuel 23:11-12) – NLT
11 Next in rank was Shammah son of Agee from Harar. One time the Philistines gathered at Lehi and attacked the Israelites in a field full of lentils. The Israelite army fled, 12 but Shammah held his ground in the middle of the field and beat back the Philistines. So the Lord brought about a great victory.
Here’s the difference between heroes and wimps: When the pressure comes, wimps say, “Oh…is everyone else running away? I’ll guess I’ll run too.”
And HEROES say, “Fine. Everybody can run. But this is my call of duty. I will fight.”
Listen, Jesus said in John 15, “If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also
But all too often…when others run…we just join the crowd and run.
Sometimes that’s w/ a moral issue.
Maybe you’re just caught up w/ the wrong crowd right now. Some old friends from your past. And you’re just lacking courage to stand alone…and say…no…I’m not gonna do that
You know, often where we lack the most courage to stand alone for our call of duty is in evangelism. We’re unable to face fear in order to save others.
I don’t know if you’ve ever heard this story from history or not…but it’s a good example.
On May 4, 1897, duchess Sophie-Charlotte Alencon was presiding over a charity ball in Paris when the hall caught fire. Flames spread to the paper decorations and flimsy walls, and in seconds the place was an inferno. In the hideous panic that followed, many women and children were trampled as they rushed for the exits, while workmen from a nearby site rushed into the blaze to carry out the trapped women. Some rescuers reached the duchess, who had remained calmly seated behind her booth. When they told her to run out with them, she said,
“Because of my title, I was the first to enter here. I shall be the last to go out,” She stayed and was burned to death along with more than 120 others.
But too often, we just run out w/ the crowd. We have to make sure to save ourselves….heaven forbid we suffer for our call of duty.
So we run… We think, “Oh....but …the people at work will look at me funny if I talk to them about my church…if I ask them questions about God. If I talk about God.”
I could even get in trouble at work if I talk about it.
Someone please explain to me why the masses of Christians are afraid of getting fired for talking about Jesus but nobody’s afraid of facing Jesus and saying they were more afraid of being disobedient to their boss than to the King of Kings?
Never got that.
We CAN NOT live in fear. Be a hero.
Look at what the passage says again. In verse 12 after Shammah shows great courage…, SO…SO the Lord brought about a great victory. When you have the courage to stand alone…God moves in you.
This is all about partnering w/ God.
Please don’t hear me wrong.
None of this is…if you just put your mind to it…if you just try hard enough…if you just work really hard….if you just believe in yourself.
If you just put your mind to it and believe in yourself…you’re going to get nowhere because you’re not that impressive…
But if you trust God for the impossible….if you work your butt off serving the Lord…and you have the courage to keep serving and trusting IN HIM no matter what…
Heroes are those who have the unshakable courage to live dangerously for an unseen God.
That’s a hero
But here’s the other thing about heroes… They have a cause. A reason for their heroic action.
And often…and this is even true even in the movies…often it’s for love of another person.
Check out the final part of this passage about 3 of David’s mighty men
(2 Samuel 23:13-17) – NLT
13 Once during the harvest, when David was at the cave of Adullam, the Philistine army was camped in the valley of Rephaim. The Three (who were among the Thirty—an elite group among David’s fighting men) went down to meet him there. 14 David was staying in the stronghold at the time, and a Philistine detachment had occupied the town of Bethlehem. 15 David remarked longingly to his men, “Oh, how I would love some of that good water from the well by the gate in Bethlehem.” 16 So the Three broke through the Philistine lines, drew some water from the well by the gate in Bethlehem, and brought it back to David. But he refused to drink it. Instead, he poured it out as an offering to the Lord. 17 “The Lord forbid that I should drink this!” he exclaimed. “This water is as precious as the blood of these men who risked their lives to bring it to me.” So David did not drink it. These are examples of the exploits of the Three.
So David just throws out in passing that he would like some water from Bethlehem, and out of respect and honor and love for their leader, the mighty men break through enemy lines to get him water!!!
But here’s the cool part. The NT tells us that our calling as heroes is quite similar
In John chapter 4, Jesus tells a woman at a well that whoever drinks the water He gives them, will never thirst again.
Because Jesus offers water for our souls…Complete forgiveness…you won’t be thirsty again…change. Salvation.
And our calling. Our call of duty is to get spiritual water to the people we love.
Doesn’t everyone you know want that water deep down inside? Whether they know it or not?
To get rid of their guilt. To get free. To get changed.
That’s the vision of our church: To be a people being changed by God to CHANGE THE WORLD!
But the only way they’re gonna get the water…is if people start acting like heroes. Start living a life of courage. Of bold faith. Not in themselves. IN God.
Faith that he can bring them through enemy lines…through the impossible…to bring their friends water.
Do you love people enough to do anything to get them living water?
Heroes do. They are able to brush aside any difficulty that might come their way because they believe so strongly in their call of duty. Their call of duty to bring living water.
Our goal is to always be bold in this area. But I believe YOU, as a part of this church, have a unique opportunity coming your way.
I want to challenge you to begin praying now…seriously praying…about your friends and family members that don’t know Jesus coming with you in 3 weeks on September 11th.
When we switch to 2 services that day, we’ll be doing a series called disCONNECTED and we’re gonna help people get reconnected to God and meet Jesus!!!
And I want to ask you…what would Renovation Church look like if this room was full of heroes? GODLY heroes?
How different could we be as a church?
Finally a church that isn’t so consumed w/ itself but is consumed with reaching people who aren’t yet here.
So what if you took a risk in 3 weeks?
What if you invited all your facebook friends to Renovation Church on September 11th?
What if you invited 800 people to Renovation Church on September 11th? Jashobeam struck down 800 people to save his people from their attack… You don’t even need to pick up a sword, just point click and invite.
What if you invited 300 or 100?
What if you sent out a postcard we’re gonna give you next week?
Or gave an invite card we’re gonna give you to every single person at your workplace?
What if you finally took your friend you’ve been praying for forever out to lunch and starting talking to them about your belief in Jesus?
Seems a little crazy huH??!?
But we do whatever it takes to save the people we love. It’s our call.
WE DO whatever it takes. God killed his son for love. What will you do?
Hell is real. And it’s time the American church stop pretending it isn’t. The American church is slowly dying…and honestly…this is potentially reason #1
When we pretend like evil doesn’t exist, we erase the opportunity for heroes….and w/o heroes….the world becomes a dark place.
And people are losing hope. Depression is skyrocketing…suicide’s on the rise…families are falling apart, and worst of all…far too many people are on a path to destruction…of the eternal kind.
The Kingdom of Heaven needs heroes. Will you be one?
Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN
You may use this material all you like! We only ask that you do not charge a fee and that you quote the source and not say it is your own.