TRANSFORM LAUNCH TEAM SEND-OFF
(PUT TRANSFORM CHURCH SLIDE UP)
Today is a special day for us.
A hard and good day, all at the same time.
Earlier this summer, we introduced you to Mark Katzenberger, who is going to be our 5th church planter…and will be planting Transform Church.
I’d like to ask Mark to come up here for a moment.
If you didn’t see our Social Media Announcement earlier this week…they are going to be meeting at Oak View Middle School in Andover.
When Mark was here in May, we asked for people to join the Transform Church launch team, and 22 of you responded to go with!
In fact, I’d like to call those people from Renovation on stage right now.
We have the Harten’s, Hanson’s, Austin Rumsey, Barker’s, Wold’s, Chandler’s, and Freeby’s.
We also want to recognize that there are some others from the Transform Launch Team at our services today…
If you’re on that team, and here at this service, would you just stand for a second…so we can honor your boldness in this endeavor?
You know, we want to be a church that reaches as many people as possible for Christ.
And in that, our goal, is not to build the Kingdom of Renovation, but the Kingdom of God.
We wouldn’t be asking all of these people to leave our church, if we were just trying to build our own kingdom.
Sure, some of these people will be back in 9 months…but some will choose to stay on and do ministry there.
And this isn’t an easy thing.
We’ve sent out 43 people out of our church just in the last 12 months to help start new churches
We believe in this…even when it hurts.
You can’t accomplish much for Jesus…if you won’t sacrifice.
And this is a sacrifice for us.
It’s a sacrifice for you.
Many of you know these people well.
They’re in your house group
They’ve helped you grow closer to Jesus, they’ve challenged you, cried with you, and more.
And it’s a sacrifice for them.
They’re leaving a church they love, friends they love, some of them have been here a LONG time.
So WHY are we doing this??
We’re doing it because THIS IS HOW YOU CHANGE THE WORLD.
You can’t change the world just by gathering in people to one place
You introduce them to Jesus, you disciple them, and you send them out.
That’s how you start, not just a church, but a MOVEMENT.
And so today, is their last Sunday with us, as their launch team will start meeting on Sundays next week…all in preparation for their grand opening on October 6th.
And before they go, we want to pray for them as we send them out.
I’m going to ask you all to stand down in front of the stage (spread out wall-to-wall)
And if you’re a friend…family member…would you come forward…and lay a hand on them as we commission them and send them out?
Let me pray
Before we get into the message…let me give you one more update on our church.
Last week, in our prayer meetings before the service, we prayed for a miracle, and I believe God gave us one.
I mentioned last week that as we continue to grow, the need for more new volunteers grows.
We’re adding another children’s classroom and more.
And so we said we needed to fill 80 new volunteer slots.
Normally, when we mention something like that…we fill around 15, or 20…maybe 25.
Last Sunday, as we really bathed this in prayer…we saw 66 spots filled. Out of 80. In ONE MORNING!
Let’s just stop and praise God for that!
In fact, I’m going to pray and thank Him for that now!
Let’s finish this out today.
If you’ve had this on your mind…God’s nudging you on this.
We have a number of spots we still need filled in set-up, tear-down, and Renovation kids in particular.
And a few elsewhere as well.
But wow, God is good!
(LOST & FOUND SERIES)
All right, back at the end of May, Lindsey and I got away for a few days and went up the Iron Range in Northern Minnesota.
Exciting, I know.
But it was 3 days without the kids, so it was quiet.
There isn’t a whole lot to do up there, but we were able to do one of the things I’ve been wanting to do for quite some time, and that was to visit the Soudan Underground Mine.
It’s one of the old mines on the Iron Range…it actually closed in the early 60’s, but the state of MN took it over and turned it into a tourist destination.
And so you put on your hard hat, and ride the elevator a half mile down into the earth…and you can tour the mines.
They take you on a train ride to where they were last mining before it shut down in 1962.
And when you get there, they turn out the lights…and you’ve never seen darkness like this before (1/2 a mile under the earth).
You can’t see your hand in front of your face.
And this morning, as we get back into the Book of Luke in the Bible…Jesus is going to talk about light and darkness.
And the power and purpose of light…so we’re going to come back to this.
Light is one of the most common metaphors used in the Bible.
And Jesus uses it often.
And the light in today’s passage is Jesus. It’s His Word in you.
Let’s take a look.
(Luke 11:33-36) – NIV
33 “No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light. 34 Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are healthy, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are unhealthy, your body also is full of darkness. 35 See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness.36 Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be just as full of light as when a lamp shines its light on you.”
So Jesus starts by saying in verse 33 that: “You don’t take a lamp and put it under a bowl…”
The purpose of the lamp is to bring light to something.
If you hide the lamp…then darkness will win out.
And then in verse 34, Jesus explains what the lamp is.
Let’s look at verse 34 again…it’s really our key verse for today:
(Luke 11:34) – NIV
34 Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are healthy, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are unhealthy, your body also is full of darkness.
Okay, what does Jesus mean when He says, “Your eye is the lamp of your body” ?
In this case…eye is the lamp that gives light…not outward (outside of you), but inward to your body…your heart.
So the eye is like a conduit…
Through our eyes, we let in both light and darkness into our hearts.
The eye, therefore, is like the doorway to your heart.
Okay, so we know that the eye is a lamp to your body, to your heart.
But what is the light?
In Scripture, it’s Jesus and His Word...
We see this elsewhere in John
(John 8:12) – NIV
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
And our passage for today, first and foremost (look at verse 34 again), calls us to have healthy eyes…so that our body may be full of light.
And we have healthy eyes when we look to Jesus, the Light.
When we’re looking at Him, and His Word, the light shines through our eyes, into our hearts…
And we’re changed.
Is this happening in your life?
Every time that you open up the Bible…and you LOOK at God’s Word…the light is coming into your body.
Jesus is coming in…and He’s changing you.
Every time that you come to church…and you LOOK upon His Word again (screen)…and your eyes see the truth…
He’s dispelling the darkness within you.
Our sinful nature is being conquered…sanctified…by the power of Christ.
Every time you go to House Groups…and you LOOK upon other believers who are following after Christ…and they’re telling you of His love…and speaking of how God is changing them.
What’s happening is that light (Jesus is the light of the world) is coming in through the lamp of your body (THE EYE), and it’s changing you to become more like Christ.
Every time you read books about what the Lord has done
Every time you watch content about the Lord…
(And I’m amazed how much Christian content has been put out, onto streaming services and other places)
Every time you look upon Him…His light enters into you…and He changes you.
One of the things that the light does when it shines throughout your life…is it will reveal to you things you never saw before.
2 or 3 years ago, I read about a guy who had a carpet cleaning business.
And he wrote that they offered a special service for removing pet urine odors.
But to show potential customers their need for the service, they would darken the room and then turn on a powerful black light.
The black light would cause the urine crystals to glow brightly.
To the horror of the homeowner, every drop and dribble could be seen, not only on the carpet, but usually on walls, curtains, furniture, and even on lamp shades.
And once the customers saw what the light revealed, the carpet cleaners said 1 of 2 things would always happen.
They said most people would see it and say, “Wow…um, please clean that up right now. I don’t care how much it costs.”
But others…would beg for them to shut off the light as soon as possible.
They didn’t want to see it anymore.
They didn’t want to think of the truth…because then they’d have to do something about it.
And I find this is a challenge to Christian discipleship…to you and I maturing in our walk with Jesus.
19 years later, I’m still amazed by how much Jesus changed my life in the first year or so when I became a Christian
When I let his light into my life…it was unbelievable how many things he quickly convicted me of…
He convicted me of things that only months earlier I felt absolutely no remorse over. ZERO.
The way that I spoke, the things I viewed with my eyes, even how I treated people.
What happened was this:
As I fixed my eyes on the LIGHT of the WORLD, his light shining into my life showed me what my actions really looked like.
That they were not right…
And what I seemingly never even noticed before…now horrified me.
Just like those pet owners.
And so I began to let Him change my life.
So why is it that so many Christians seem to let Jesus change so many things right away…but then seem to stall out??
Well, one of the reasons is this: Jesus is going to shine the light on some things you don’t want to change.
Or, on some things that might feel too costly to change.
And when he does so…many of us hesitate.
The light causes us to hesitate regarding if we want to go further with Jesus or not.
I imagine that some people ask that carpet cleaner to shut the light off, because to fix that problem is going to be rather expensive, rather costly, so the faster they can pretend it’s not a problem, the better.
Interestingly, Jesus uses this particular metaphor (about the eye being the lamp of the body) in one other place in the Bible…in Matthew chapter 6
But in that context, Jesus applies the metaphor to money.
And it’s a great example, really.
Because when the light shines on really hard places…like our finances.
And Jesus starts saying to you, “You need to trust me with even your finances…”
And you read in Scripture that the Christian standard is at least 10% of your finances…
What do we do?
Some even turn down the light.
We don’t want to look that hard at that truth.
It’s too difficult.
Better to not think about it.
Let’s dim the lights on that part of our life.
And it’s an odd part of Christian discipleship.
This is where you’re going to need FAITH if you want to mature.
Faith to trust that Jesus’ way is better and right.
Many of us have surrendered the little things to God that the light showed us when we let Him in…but we haven’t yet surrendered the things that would be difficult for us.
Is that you?
What part of your life have you not surrendered to God yet…because it would difficult to surrender?
Listen, if you’re going to be a FOLLOWER of Jesus, surely that can’t mean that you’ll only follow Him when it’s easy.
Remember, as Jesus has been teaching us in Luke, there is no “neutral”
When we hesitate on letting the light in…
We choose darkness instead.
And sure there are those who willingly go out and choose the darkness instead.
But I think a lot of us in this room, the darkness is entering simply because we hesitated… we failed to let the light of Jesus keep going into the other compartments of our lives.
And so darkness came in instead…
Imagine you’re walking into a closet in your house that you haven’t looked at in years…maybe it’s a storage area under your stairs
And let’s say it’s a room that doesn’t even have a lightbulb in it
And as you let your flashlight explore more and more of the closet, you don’t like what you see.
To clean that up…what take a lot of time…and it would be dirty…and messy.
So you choose…to not even shine the light on the back parts of the closet.
But by not letting the light go further, you are, by definition, letting that area be in darkness instead.
And that’s exactly what so many of us do with our spiritual lives.
Every single one of us, myself included, have areas in our lives where we haven’t let the light of Jesus into yet.
And so, by definition, those areas are in darkness instead.
As Jesus says in John 3, we choose the darkness because our deeds are evil…and we don’t want the light to expose them.
For some of us, as soon as we leave this place…we resume choosing darkness over light.
We claim the name of Christ, but every night, when we get home from work…or when the kids are in bed…what do your eyes gaze upon?
For many, for most even, it’s darkness.
And I get it…it’s a challenging world to live.
If you lived in Blaine, MN 100 years ago.
You would have been a rural farmer.
And what would your eyes see? (Your eyes, the doorway to your heart, what would they have seen?)
They’d see you milking cows in the morning, tending to your crops during the day…
At night…you’d relax by the fire…maybe read a book.
Not that darkness wasn’t available, but there was simply less opportunity 100 years ago for people’s eyes to be immersed in darkness
But today…from the time we wake up, our eyes, the lamp of our body, can invite in darkness.
The first thing most people touch…is their phone.
A device capable of bringing in great light into your body and the blackest of darkness.
And we carry it around in our pocket.
It never leaves our side.
In the evenings, you have, at the touch of a remote, access to hundreds…maybe thousands of shows.
And for most people in this room there is no filter on our lamp.
We are not guarding, whatsoever, to the doorway to our heart.
And because we haven’t let the light of Jesus in, to that particular area of our lives, that area is in darkness.
Comedian and Writer David Frost once said:
“Television is an invention that permits you to be entertained in your living room by people you wouldn’t have in your house.” – David Frost
Sure, much of it is acting.
In a war movie, when someone is getting killed with a sword, you know they’re not actually getting killed, right? ☺
But think of the words we expose ourselves to every night.
The language, the hate, the revenge.
If those same people were literally in your living room…saying those same things…would you let them say it?
For the many of you with kids in your house…would you let them talk like that in your living room…or would you usher them out?
Many Christians now, to say nothing of the epidemic of pornography addiction, many Christians openly watch shows with nudity in it.
You know, when they’re naked…and doing all sorts of things with that other person on the screen…they ARE naked.
It’s not pretend.
Would you let them do that in your living room?
Your eye is the lamp of your body…it’s the doorway to your heart.
Are you guarding it?
What you see…what you expose your eyes to…is what seeps into your heart…and it’s what eventually comes out in your character.
Christians, I plead with you…we have to stop letting so much darkness into our lives through our eyes…just because it feels like hard work to choose the light instead.
Listen, I know to some of you in this room, I sound like some puritan…or some prude…or maybe I sound like your grandmother.
But as different as my words may sound to the rest of the culture, how do they sound compared to the Word of God?
In “To the Golden Shore”…
…the biography of Adoniram Judson (the first American missionary)…which is the best book I’ve read in years…
Judson explains how most of the people in Burma had a really hard time accepting Christianity, because it was really difficult for their culture to believe that a God would ever let his Son die on a cross.
Well, we hear that, and we think, “It doesn’t really matter what your ‘culture’ thinks, it’s the truth.”
But conversely, realize, that so many of our Christian brothers and sisters around the world (look at our culture) and say the exact same thing to us about our views regarding basically anything to do with sex. .
How we dress, what we watch, sex itself.
We are more than neck deep in this…it’s over our eyes…and we’re blind.
And ultimately, just like in Burma, it doesn’t matter what the culture around us thinks is right, or normal
What matters is God’s Word…the truth.
And the truth is this:
(Ephesians 5:3) – NIV
But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.
Or elsewhere, Jesus says:
(Matthew 5:28) – NIV
But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
For so, so many of us…there are too many areas of our lives that we haven’t let the light of Jesus touch.
We don’t know what we would do…if we didn’t watch that show…or cancelled our subscription.
Or let Jesus more fully into our marriage…or into our wallet…or into the workplace…or wherever it is.
And yet Jesus has told you in His Word this morning that “when your eyes are unhealthy (when they are filled with darkness), your body becomes dark too”
I assure you, that much of the spiritual apathy that many of you have felt lately…
Where you just feel “bleh” about your faith…
or you’ve lost your passion for Jesus…
I assure you that much of it is connected to your eyes.
You stopped the progress of Jesus’ light at the point in which it would have gotten difficult…
And probably, because of that, you’re now letting even less light in…and so instead, there is more darkness.
And so, deep within you, what you feel is apathy towards spiritual things.
And yet, you are here.
You still want Jesus in your life.
And let me tell you, He wants to be in your life.
That’s the amazing thing about Jesus.
We can run from his light and even pursue the darkness like we once did before…and He still calls out to you.
Because He wants to be in your life.
This is the God that gave his life for you!
But remember, we always apply his grace backwards, not forwards
Grace is there to forgive our past sins, not to enable our future sin.
The truth is that God doesn’t want the darkness in your life.
He cares so much for you.
Just like many of you don’t want darkness in your child’s life.
He wants to fill you with His light, His life.
If you turn hidden part of your life over to Him, I GUARANTEE you that you will be better off.
I didn’t say it will be easier, but it will be better.
If you’re here this morning, and you know that you need more of God’s light in your life…let Him in…
…or let Him BACK in…today.
Don’t underestimate the power of his light.
When I was in that underground mine…half a mile below the surface…and it was as dark as I had ever seen it…
All it took was for the guide to turn on his little light on his helmet…and the whole cavern lit up.
Because the light is always more powerful than the darkness.
The Good News of the Gospel is that Jesus isn’t telling you…
“Just start working harder…start exerting more effort to become a better person…!”
That’s not how you got saved.
You were saved by your faith that Jesus died for you on the cross.
You were saved by inviting Him in.
And so how do you let the light in?
In the same way.
You just open your eyes.
You simply need to open your eyes again and let Him in.
And the light will do the work.
The light will come in…and begin changing you.
Which part of your life have you not yet let Him into?
Where haven’t you granted Jesus access?
Let His light in.
It is way better.
Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN
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