The Most Counter Cultural Command

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Thank you for coming to Alpine Bible Church. We’re glad to have everybody here this morning. If you’re a visitor with us for the first time, we’re really appreciate you coming and spending this Sunday morning with us. Uh, we love to have you. We want to make sure, if you haven’t already grabbed one on your way out, grab a green visitor bag. It’s got some goodies in there for you, but it’s also got an information card in there if you want to fill that out. We just want to keep in touch with you. We’re not going to hound you and and pester you. We just want to be able to to keep in touch with you and find out how your experience was. Um, also, if you’re new or if you’ve been a member of alpine for a while, we want to invite you to join a connection group as the church grows. Uh, we’re one of the things that you run into having the problem of is you kind of lose that, that connectivity, you lose touch with some of the people. And so we don’t want that to happen. We don’t want you to feel like you come to alpine and you get lost in the crowd. We want you to be able to find a place where you can plug in and be connected, and connection groups is a great opportunity for that. There’s an insert for that in your bulletin. We have groups that meet in Eagle Mountain, Lehigh and Highland at various nights.

So you can see on the on the insert in your bulletin there, there’s some information about those when they meet. Um, the whether there’s child care, some of them don’t have child care. Some of them welcome families with children. So you can find one that works for you and and get plugged in and get connected and really make alpine part of your home and part part of your life. I can tell you, being a part of a connection group this past year has been a huge blessing to me. This has probably been the the hardest year of my life this past year. Um, seven of the last 12 months, my wife’s been, um. She’s been on some. Uh. All right, here we go. Um, she’s been on some form of bedrest for the last, uh, seven of those the last 12 months, at varying times. Um, from complications from having our second child and then, um, complications during the pregnancy and then after. Um, still aren’t 100% sure what’s going on. Um, so, uh. It’s been tough. Um, but, uh, the other families in our connection group have been, uh. A huge help for me and our family and being able to get through that just physically with watching the girls or, um, doing this or that for us, but also, um, spiritually lifting us up in prayer. Um, encouraging us in those things.

Um, so that’s just a personal plug. Um, for how important it is. Who? Man. How important it is to get plugged in and connected. My voice hasn’t sounded like that since I was 12. So with that past year, I realized it’s been a while since I’ve actually been able to to share with you guys. For those of you who don’t know me, I realize a lot of you do, but some of you might not because we’ve had a lot of new people start attending since I’ve last preached. But my name is Richie Gibson. I’m the youth director here at ABC. I moved here from Ohio, uh, seven years ago. I was serving as the youth director at my dad’s church. He’s a pastor back east. I realized God was calling me. It was time to move on with my life and to to get out from under my dad’s shepherding. He’d been my pastor my entire life. So it was time for me to move on. And. And I had my sights set on South Florida. My brother lived there. Um. It’s awesome. There’s an ocean. You can fish. I mean, it’s pretty much all you need, right? So South Florida was where it was. I was that was where my mind was made up. I was sending resumes and job applications and and I was I was headed that way. And then, um, somebody told Nathaniel that I was looking to move. I’ve known Nathaniel since I was about 12 years old.

And somebody told Nathaniel I was looking for a new place to go. I was looking to move. And from that point on, for the next, I think, probably 18 months, I got some form of communication text message, phone call, email, Facebook, carrier pigeon, smoke signal from Nathaniel, um, saying, hey, I don’t know if you know this, but Utah has a really big need. You should check it out. So I came and visited for a week just to maybe try and get him off my back. But I was still going to go to South Florida. I just wanted him to, you know, slow down a little bit. I came and realized that this is probably definitely where God wants me, but I still fought it for another year. A year later, I came out on a one week mission trip to help ABC, and at the end of that week, when Nathaniel dropped me and the rest of the team off at the airport, I shook his hand and I said, I’ll see you in about a month. And a month and a half later, I loaded everything up in my car and drove across country and moved to Lehi. Uh, that was for a one year internship. And so for those of you doing the math, I’m still six years into that one year internship. Um, I haven’t asked Nathaniel when I actually am completed with that internship, but maybe I’m a slow learner, so it’s taken a little bit longer than we expected.

But moving here, I met met my wife and we have two beautiful daughters. Kaylee is two and Ashley is six months. So that’s just kind of who I am, where I’m from, how I got here. But I love I love teaching youth. I love investing in the lives of young people, um, mainly so I can help encourage them not to make the same mistakes that I made as a teenager. Um, and so, so I love to do that, but I also love to be able to, to share with you guys. It’s a little intimidating for me, though. I feel like teenagers, I can get them to think that I’m cool and they’ll listen to me. But adults, a lot of you guys are probably smarter than me, so I have to like, level up a little bit. So it’s a little intimidating. But I still love every opportunity to get to share with you guys. And and when Nathaniel asked me to preach, I usually kind of just go through what God’s been doing in my life and what he’s really been hammering home to me in the last couple of months. Um, is just this this one, um, one simple command in two verses found in Luke. But the command that he gives is the most countercultural command that I think you can find in all of the Bible today.

We live in a very narcissistic me first society. I mean, our phones now have cameras that face us because taking pictures of us would be more important than anything that’s on the other side of the phone. Right. Um, it’s it’s estimated surveys say that the average person sees nearly 500 advertisements a day. Um, and those advertisements all have one underlying theme, and that is you. It is all about you. It’s what you want, when you want it, how you want it. This will make your life better. You, you you buy this car because it’ll make you happy. Um, buy these clothes or shop at this store because then you’ll look good and you’ll look the part. Ladies, if you wear this makeup, then you’ll look beautiful. Guys, if you use these razors, then you’ll look like the ladies and or. Sorry, I may have missed the point of that. That advertisement. I don’t know, but it’s all about you. I’m just kidding about clean shaven men. There’s nothing wrong with that. I just finally can. So I wanted to. But even even if you look at the themes of advertisements when we get close. A sort of Christmas. The advertisements are still about you. If you buy her this necklace. Look, she’ll react this way for you and she’ll love you if you buy her this. Do this for this person and they’ll love you. It’s all about us. Me first.

And even. Even if you take advertising out of it. Just the convenience. We’re a microwave right now. Society, right? Mcdonald’s has two lanes because we can’t get our fast food fast enough. Right? It’s right. Now satisfy me when I want how I want. Quick show of hands. How many people were trying to download something this week? It took longer than 10s and you started to get mad. Why is this taking so long? Anybody? Yeah. Stupid phone. It’s like, really? This is a stupid phone. You’re walking around with all of the information that’s ever been attained in your pocket, and you’re mad at it, but it’s because we got to have what we want, when we want it now, and it even trickles in. I mean, websites like Ashley Madison exist for this reason. It’s easier to have an affair than it is to work on our marriage and to strive to fix what’s broken. We just throw it away and move on to the next thing, because it’s all about satisfying our needs when we want our needs met. And it has even crept into Christianity. And I use that word, Christianity lightly, because the message of the prosperity gospel is Follow Jesus because you’ll get what you want. He’ll bless you if you follow Jesus. That’s not Christianity. That’s not the gospel. But they’ve taken this idea that culture and society has, has promoted and they’ve forced it into Scripture and tried to make the Bible support it.

And it doesn’t work. And so Jesus comes along in Luke chapter nine. And he just he blows that whole notion of you first. Me, me, me. And he blows it out of the water. So go ahead and turn with me to Luke chapter nine, verses 23 through 24. And this is Jesus talking. It says, he said to all, if anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it. But whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. So Jesus shares two requirements to follow him. If you want to follow me, these are the two things that you need to do, both of which. Strike at the very heart of what we struggle with as people. Um, as an American society, as individuals. This is this cuts us right to the core. When you look at at your life, um, at least me personally, when you look back at when you’ve screwed up and you’ve sinned or you’ve fallen short or you’ve really messed up and you got in an argument with your wife, or you reacted to your kids a certain way that you shouldn’t have, or whatever that might be. It all boils down to because I didn’t get my way. And so Jesus cuts right to it and he says, if you’re going to follow me, it is not about you.

If we’re going to follow Christ, we can’t make it about us. This is what Paul talks about in Romans chapter 12 and verse one. He says, I appeal to you therefore, brothers, I beg you, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Some translations say your reasonable service of worship. I like the reasonable because to give God anything other than your entire self as a sacrifice, it’s just unreasonable in light of what he’s given you. And that’s where Paul’s coming from. In the first 11 chapters of Romans, he lays out the gospel. It’s a tremendous book to go through. Uh, he lays lays it out for us in 323. He tells us that all of us have sinned. There is none righteous. All of us fall short of what God has called us to in perfection. In 623 he tells us, as a result of that sin, that that we deserve death and eternal separation from God. And he’s expounding on this all throughout. And then in ten in verse nine, he says, he says that if you confess with your mouth and believe in your heart, Jesus is Lord, you will be saved. And he lays out the gospel through these 11 chapters. And he climaxes in chapter 12. And he says, in light of all of that, in light of realizing that you are a sinner, in light of realizing that there’s nothing that you can do to be saved, in light of realizing that the eternal God of the universe humbled himself and came and died for you, present your body as a sacrifice back to him.

The problem with the living sacrifice, though, is we have a tendency to crawl off the altar. God, I give you my life. It’s yours. Whatever you want. I’ll do whatever you want. God. I’ll go wherever you want me to go. I’ll say what you want me to say. Just whatever you want. God. I’m yours. And then a couple days later. God. Um, I know I just said you were in control, and I gave you the throne and everything, and you’re sitting up there. You look good, by the way. But have you heard these kids right now in the back seat while we’re trying to drive? This is too much. God, you need to get down so I can handle this situation because you’re not handling it right. And we push God out of the seat and we get back in control. And then. God, God, I’m sorry I screwed up again. I got in control and made it about me. Sorry. Let me get back down. You’re back. You’re back in control now. I blew up on the kids. I didn’t mean to do that. You got it. You’re in control. And then a couple days later. Oh, hey, I got a bonus check.

Hey. God, I know I said you were in control, and you had everything. Even my checkbook and all that. I just got this bonus check, and I got some plans, and I don’t think they’re going to match up with what you had planned for this bonus check. So why don’t you? You can go ahead and take a step down for a minute, and I’ll step back up in in that seat and we have this awkward dance of God, you’re in control. No, let me take it back. No! God, you’re in control. No. And we’re stepping on each other’s toes. And if you’ve been a Christian for any amount of time, you’re all too familiar with, with what I’m talking about, I think I know for me personally, it’s it’s a it’s a struggle daily. And that’s why Jesus said to deny yourself and take up your cross daily. This isn’t a one time thing where we where we decide, okay, God, I’m following you and we never struggle and never have a problem following him. Since it’s a daily reminder that we have to remind ourselves, it’s not about me, it’s not about me. And we have examples of this throughout scripture. If you look in the Old Testament at the prophet Isaiah, God calls him and he says, who will go for me? And Isaiah says, here am I. Send me. And then God says, okay, here’s how it’s going to work. I’m going to give you a message.

And you tell the people and they’re going to ignore you, and then I’ll give you a another message and you go tell the people and they’ll ignore you. And we’re just going to keep going over and over and over with that. And Isaiah is like, well, okay, well how long though until everyone’s captured and the nation’s burned to the ground. Then you’ll be done. And Isaiah is like okay. Like if there’s ever been a bad promo, like to join the service call, right? Like, come join the Navy and see the world. Except you’ll be stuck in the bottom of a submarine and the bottom of the ocean not actually see anything. Like they don’t tell you that. They tell you all the adventure and excitement. God doesn’t sugarcoat it with Isaiah. He tells them straight up, it is not going to be fun. It’s not going to be pretty, and it’s going to take a long time and you’re never going to win. And Isaiah steps back and he denies himself of what he would want. And he says, okay, if that’s what you want God that’s what’s going to happen. If it were us or me, I should say I would want God’s call to be a little different for me, and then I would be a little more apt to respond. Hey, Isaiah, I want you to go and you’re going to preach and the nation’s going to repent, and they’re going to turn and everybody’s going to think, you’re just awesome, and they’re going to love you.

And everywhere you go, they’re going to thank you and be so happy to see you. I’m on board with that. But this talking and nobody listening and nobody liking me and people chasing me out of town, that doesn’t sound too good. But then you look even in the New Testament, and you look at the Apostle Paul in Second Corinthians chapter 11 and verses 24 through 28, he lays it out for us. And, um, I don’t think any of us can quite measure up to what Paul’s talking about here. Um, but he says five times I received at the hands of the Jews, 40 lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked a night and a day. I was adrift at sea on frequent journeys. In danger from rivers, danger from robbers. Danger from my own people. Danger from the Gentiles. Danger in the city. Danger in the wilderness. Danger at sea. Danger from false brothers in toil and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. But listen to this. Apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches. I don’t know about you guys, but. If I even took one of those things and put it in my life, it would be enough for me to say, okay, I got to focus on me, get me right, got to protect me.

You know, we just got through a beating. I’m worried about me. Am I going to make it all these things? And Paul says, I’m not worried about me. I’ve gone through all of this stuff, but my anxiety is for the other churches. He tells us in Romans that he would trade his own salvation for the salvation of his countrymen. His earnest desire is that they might know him. Paul didn’t care about himself. He denied himself. Paul was sitting pretty in a lot of respects. He was he was on his way to become the next leader of of the Jewish people religiously. He he was set up. He didn’t have to worry about anything. He was respected. He was he was well trained. He had everything he needed. And then on the road to Damascus, on his way to imprison, torture and kill Christians, Christ meets him. And he gives all of that up, that easy set up lifestyle, and he follows Christ and he denies himself and he follows Christ. Look at look at Jesus’s disciples. All but one of them died a martyr’s death, and the one that didn’t die was boiled in oil and then exiled. You don’t go through those things. If you’re living for yourself. But the disciples and Paul and Isaiah and on and on and on and on we can go.

We’re willing to live outside of themselves and deny themselves and follow Christ. And today we need to kill this idea of of me first. And life is about me. And we need to live for something beyond ourselves. Galatians 220 says, I’ve been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh. I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. You see, it’s not me that lives. It’s Christ living in me and through me. Because I’ve died to self, I’ve crucified self and am living for him. And we’re bombarded with this idea that that is contradictory to that. And so the way that we can fight back and we can be willing to die is the same way, really, that the disciples did it, that Isaiah did it, that Paul did it. If you look back, all of them experienced God first hand. Isaiah sees God in all of his splendor and his throne room. And then he says, I will go and I’ll deny myself, and I’ll go on this impossible mission that you want me to go on. Paul encounters Christ on the road to Damascus, and he says, I’m going to deny myself my wants and desires, and I’m going to give it all up to follow you. The disciples are hiding in a room, not sure what to do because their leader has just been brutally murdered, and then they see a dead man raise from the dead and walk and talk and share with them.

And they change the world because they experienced God first hand, and they saw that there’s something bigger outside of themselves. There’s something bigger to live for, more than just me. One of the things that really pushed me to to move to Utah was John Piper’s book titled How um, Don’t Waste Your Life, and I was teaching through it with my youth group. Um, and really, it was, um, it was God teaching me and working in my heart because that was finally what what broke me down to the point where I realized Utah is where I needed to be, and this is where he was calling me. But John Piper says in that book, he says the really wonderful moments of joy in this world are not the moments of self satisfaction, but Self-forgetfulness standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon and contemplating your own greatness is pathological. It’s such moments. We are made for a magnificent joy that comes from outside ourselves. If we want to die to ourselves on a regular basis, we have to regularly remind ourselves that we’re not that big and we look at the universe that God has created. And one of the things I love about living in Utah is the mountains. Um, every day I drive from Eagle Mountain to Salt Lake for work, and every day when I come up over the hill in Eagle Mountain, I look out across the valley and I see the lights, and I see the mountains as the sun starting to come up behind them.

I’m just reminded, man, God is awesome. And I’m reminded that I’m not that big compared to these mountains in this grandeur that he’s created. So why would I make life about me? And I have to fight that notion to make life about me. Because I know once I get down that hill, I’m going to hit the first red light, and then I’m going to get mad because now it’s inconveniencing me. And I have to remind myself again when I get on the freeway and people cut me off and don’t know how to merge, even though the signs say that this lane is going to end, they should get over. They wait till the very end and it makes me mad and it inconveniences me and I get mad. I have to remind myself. It’s bigger than me. It’s not about me. The Apostle Paul again in Romans. If you back up from chapter 12 and chapter 11, after he he goes through the gospel and he he breaks out. And this is very uncharacteristic of Paul, if you are familiar with Paul’s writings, he’s he’s very logical, very laid out, very organized in his thought process. But as you read through Romans, all of a sudden you get to the end of chapter 11, and he kind of inserts this song out of seemingly out of nowhere.

That doesn’t necessarily match the way that Paul typically writes, but he says, oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God. How unsearchable are his judgments, how inscrutable his ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor, or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid? For from him and through him, and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever. Amen. Basically, Paul says. Who are you compared to God. You want to run your life. You want to be in charge, and you want to be in control. But. Who? Who gives God counsel, who can match his wisdom. Nobody can. So why do you think you can? I have a two year old. Um. And I love her to death. And she. She’s a very determined two year old. And unfortunately, I think she takes a little too much after her dad. And she she likes to have a back and forth. There’s no conversation that can just end. It has to be. Well, I can get the last word here. Let me, you know. And so she tries to argue with me and reason with me why she’s right and I’m wrong. And it’s like, I don’t think so. I don’t think you’re right in this one.

Sorry. Um, you know, Kaylee, you need to you need to eat your dinner. Um, actually, dad, I think I need chips. No, we’re not going to eat potato chips. Well, you see, actually, I think I need chips, dad. And that’s her favorite word is actually, um. And we go back and forth. Kaylee, you know, don’t stand on the edge of the couch like that. You’re going to fall, and then you’re going to get hurt. No, dad, I think I’m going to be fine. That’s really, really what she says. No, I’ll be fine. I’ll be fine. Okay? And then she falls and she gets hurt. Yeah. You got hurt, didn’t you? And the reason that she thinks she’s okay in those situations is because she’s too. Um, she doesn’t have a whole lot of life experience. And what life experience she does have, she doesn’t really remember. Um, now, I’m not that old. I’m 29. But that 27 year gap in age makes up for a lot of wisdom. So if in that 27 year gap, I have enough wisdom to be able to advise my two year old on what is and isn’t a good idea, you think maybe there’s a possibility that the infinite, eternal God of the universe has a little bit better idea how to run your life than you do? And that’s what Paul is saying to us in Romans 11. He’s saying. You think you’re smart and you have this all figured out.

You’re not smarter than God. Deny yourself this imagined right to the throne of your life that we’ve created, and let God take control and work through you. And the beauty of this command that Jesus gives us in Luke nine. It’s not something that he was unwilling to do himself. Look at his prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. God, I don’t want to do this. I know what’s coming. But not my will. But your will be done. Philippians three tells us to have the same mind in you, which is in Christ, who, though he was equal with God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped. But he humbled himself, and he came as a servant. And he was obedient to the point of death, even death on the cross. That’s the example that we have to follow, is Christ himself to have that same humble mindset that it’s not about me. It’s about other people. And it’s that second requirement that Jesus gives us to follow him. It’s not just denying yourself, but taking up your cross and following. And. This is this is one that that can be difficult for a lot of people. Um. Taking up your cross means that following Jesus isn’t going to be easy. There’s kind of this, this notion or idea that if you just trust in Jesus, it’ll be okay, and everything’s going to be fine. It’ll be roses and butterflies and rainbows and all this great stuff.

But really, Christ calls us and he doesn’t. Again, he doesn’t really sugarcoat it. He doesn’t try and hide it. He tells you, hey, if you’re going to follow me. It’s not going to be easy. Look, even just at the beginning of Luke chapter nine, and Jesus tells the disciples he’s sending him out for the first time to go and to teach in the villages. And he says, there’s going to be some cities that are going to reject you, and they’re going to deny you, and they’re not going to listen to you, and that’s going to happen. And before he tells him that, he tells him, don’t take anything extra with you, so don’t take any extra food. Don’t take any extra drink, don’t, don’t take an extra blanket or anything. And so you get to these cities and the cities reject you and don’t want to hear you. That means you’re sleeping out. Without an extra blanket. Probably didn’t get food that day because he didn’t bring any extra food with you, and they don’t want to give it to you because they don’t want to hear what you have to say. Jesus tells the disciples. It’s not going to be easy following me. They do it anyway. And they follow him. Look back at Second Corinthians, where Paul lists everything that he went through beatings, abandonment, starvation, shipwreck, snake bites, and yet still he writes in Philippians three that nothing else matters.

Everything is lost compared to knowing Christ. Everything that he went through, he was okay with the sacrifice, okay with the cost for knowing Christ and gaining him. If you look to the end of the chapter of Luke chapter nine, you’ll see. The, uh, Jesus and his disciples are traveling along and they come across a man and says in verse 57, it says, as they were going along the road, someone said to him, I will follow you wherever you go. And Jesus said to him, foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head. To another he said, follow me. But he said, Lord, let me first go and bury my father. And Jesus said to him, leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as you go, proclaim the kingdom of God. Yet another said, I will follow you, Lord. But let me first say farewell to those at my house. And Jesus said to him, no one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God. So this first guy says, you know, I’ll follow you anywhere. Jesus. Jesus says, are you sure? Because animals all have a place to go. But people are going to reject me and they’re going to reject you. Are you sure? Are you willing to be rejected for Jesus? Are you willing to follow him if it costs relationships? And so the second guy, Jesus, says, follow me.

And he says, first, let me go and bury my father. And this doesn’t necessarily translate as that isn’t you know, he’s not sitting there with a shovel in his hand digging the hole. And Jesus says, follow me. And he’s like, well, kind of in the middle of burying my dad. Can I finish this? And Jesus is like, no, you’ve got to follow me now. That’s not what he’s saying. He’s basically he’s saying, right now I work for my dad. Um, but once he dies, I’ll get the inheritance and I’ll own everything. So then I can have other people work it, and then I’ll be free, and then I’ll come follow you. Jesus says no. We don’t have time for that. Look back at verse 20 for whoever would save his life will lose it. But whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. Let the dead bury their own dead. Let people who are willing to lose to to try and save their life and are really going to lose it. Let them worry about being financially stable. If I’m calling you, I’m calling you now. Whether it makes sense or not. And then you get to the third guy and he says, I’ll follow you. Just let me go say goodbye to everyone at home. And again, this one doesn’t necessarily translate culturally to us, but really what he’s saying is, you know, let me let me make sure my 401 K set and my retirement secure.

And then and then, you know, my family will be taken care of and then I can follow you. And what Jesus says is, if you’re focused on being secure in this world and storing up security here, how are you going to follow me? Are you willing to follow Jesus, even if it means retirement plans might change, savings plans might change, career decisions might change. I’ve shared this. I’ve shared this before. But when I moved out here. Um. So I told you, I loaded up my car and drove out here. Um, and that’s pretty much what I had. I had a car, a tank of gas, everything in my car, and about 600 bucks. Uh, that’s $600. Was to pay for my food and gas to get here. Um, and then was going to pay for my first month’s rent and then was going to support me until I found a job. Um. Not suggesting that that’s what everybody has to do. Um, that’s what God called me to do. And the crazy thing is, now I look back at it and I’m like, what was I thinking? Like in an attempt to save money. This is in an attempt to save money. I knew I needed new tires on my car, but I was like, I got to wait as long as I possibly can.

So I drove like, I don’t know how many thousand miles it is from Ohio to here. Um, on like two good tires and two tires that were like, hey, maybe we’ll be all right. And expired license plates because I, I didn’t want to spend the money to get them. So my trip here wasn’t the most thought out on my part necessarily. But the crazy part is what blows my mind every time I think about it is I was okay with that. Like, I mean, I cried a lot, like all the way through Ohio and most of Indiana because I didn’t want to leave. But the situation itself, I was at peace with because I knew this is where God was calling me. And I’m not saying I’m the perfect example of denying yourself and following Christ, because believe me, I’m I’m far from that. I mean, you you can ask, ask my wife or kids that live with me all the time and they’ll tell you, yeah, sometimes. Sometimes daddy isn’t doesn’t deny himself. So I’m not trying to say, look at me, but I’m trying to tell you if God’s calling you to do something and fear is holding you back because it doesn’t make sense. It just doesn’t make sense to you, but to God. The picture is crystal clear, and what he’s calling you to makes all the sense in the world. Christ has called us. To deny ourselves and to take up our cross to follow him.

Denying ourselves can mean, um, giving up financially a little bit more than what we had planned. It can mean relocating. It can mean a lot of different things. But what matters is that you answer the call and you look at the bigger picture and realize, standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon, that you’re not that big. When Nathaniel went to Queen’s Park seven years ago, I think it was, and he prayed that God would help him and see a church planted in the city of Lehi. It didn’t make sense. There was no financial backing. There was no place to meet. Um, all of the church planting statistics said good luck. But he didn’t stop there and he denied himself and he followed. And he he’s obedient to God’s call. And the leadership team here at ABC, all of us sit back and we look at this valley, and we look across the valley, and we see what God’s doing, and we’re willing to make sacrifices to see it happen. Some big sacrifices, some little sacrifices. But we all want to see this valley come to know Christ and His love and mercy. And we step back and we realize it’s not about us. And what we want you to do as a church family is just join with us in this call. Not just on Sundays or when your small group meets your connection group, but as you go to work. As you go to school, whatever it might be. Deny yourself and follow Christ.

State of the Church