Press Start: Core Value – WELL 2017-09-09T18:38:45+00:00

Press Start

Core Value: WELL

WELCOME

We are so glad you are with us to celebrate the launch of a new church.  It’s an exciting and historic day.  Never again will we have a first service.

We are honored that you are here, whether you are someone from our sending church New Life Springfield, a friend, family member, or someone from the community that is coming to see what we are about.

My prayer is that all of you today will be built up and walk out of here inspired to what God is doing in your life.  My prayer is that you will consider making New Life Republic your home.

Join with me as I pray over our church.

– PRAYER –

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NFL SEASON

— PLAY VIDEO —

The NFL season is upon us and as a fan, one of the most fun things to watch is a fight between two teams that hate each other.  Tonight the Cowboys play the Giants, so we are sure to see something happen right?  

The reality is that there isn’t much love loss between these teams.  They don’t care for each other a whole lot.  

  • Cowboys vs Giants

  • 49ers vs Seahawks

  • Steelers vs Ravens

  • Chiefs vs Raiders

As intense as these altercations get, they pale in comparison to the real-life hatred shared between two groups of people during Jesus’ time.  

  • These people are the Jews and the Samaritans

    • They didn’t just dislike each other.  They hated each other.

    • Their relationship was often violent.

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SERIES SETUP

It’s important for us to investigate and see why this is as we start our new series called “Press Start.”

Press Start is a look at the core values and mission of New Life Republic.  We will examine each of these items in the next four weeks and the Scripture that supports each one.  This is going to help us all understand the heart and purpose of this church.  The calling that God has given to us.

Today, our focus will be on our first core value.  We call this core value: WELL.

  • More specifically put… our core value of well means:

    • We commit as a church to go to people and not expect them to come to us.

We see this beautifully demonstrated by Jesus in John 4 when he takes the least traveled path to fulfill a divine appointment with the Samaritan woman.  The most unlikely of people that Jesus would be expected to be talking to, much less hanging out with.

In this text, Jesus shows us that no ethnic, religious, social, or economic background should keep us from helping a broken and tortured soul.  The truth is… some of us in this room our broken and tortured souls, or at least we once were.

To get us off on the right foot, we need a brief history lesson to understand why a Jew like Jesus and a Samaritan woman would be a highly unlikely pair to be having a conversation at the well.

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WELL
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HISTORY LESSON

In the area that we now know as the Holy Lands, a strip of land about 130 miles in length that runs along the Mediterranean Sea, looked like this in 721 B.C.

  • The roots of the animosity between the Jews and Samaritans extend all the way back to 721 B.C.

    • In the 8th century B.C. the northern kingdom of Israel fell to the Assyrians (MAP)

      The majority of the population was carried into exile.

    • Some remnants of Israelites were left behind on purpose.

    • To repopulate the area, the Assyrians brought peoples from their empire, and they ended up intermarrying with the remenants of Israelites that were not exiled.

    • They created an intermixing of ethnicities, cultures, and they soon began worshipping each other’s gods

    • This was done on purpose to rid the world of the identity of the original host

    • This resulted in the people group known as Samaritans

    • They were a very spiritual and religious group of people, but they did not worship the One True God

  • In 6th century B.C. in the year 587 B.C. the southern area of Judah was overrun by the Babylonians (TIMELINE)

    • Most of the people living in Judah were exiled into Babylon

    • 70 years later, the Babylonian empire would fall to the Persians

    • The King of Persia would decide to allow those that were exiled to move back into the territory.

    • This resulted in the people group known as the Jews.

  • When the Jews returned to Judah they immediately began rebuilding the temple for the One True God and the Jerusalem walls in 538 B.C.

    • The Samaritans offered to assist the Jews in the rebuilding of the temple.

      • Team work makes the dream work – not so much

      • They were bringing their pegan gods into the mix

      • The Jews were very strict on ethnic purity and disregarded the Samaritans as ethnically, societally, and religiously corrupted.

    • Their offer was rejected, so the Samaritans began building their own rival temple for their own god.  Distain begins.

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PEOPLE DIDN'T LIKE EACH OTHER

These people didn’t like each other.  

  • They violently hated each other. 

  • You weren’t caught dead talking to the other one.

Times don’t change much do they?  The enemy still uses the same tricks to deceive and divide people.  He cultivates misunderstanding, hate and violence surrounding the narrative of our differences.

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So fast forward a few hundred years and this is what the Holy Lands looked like during Jesus’ life.

  • Here is Judea and Galilee, and smack dab in the middle is Samaria.

  • Why is this important to our conversation today?

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John 4:3-4 NIV

3 So he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee.  4 Now he had to go through Samaria.

  • There were three possible routes that could have been taken by Jesus as he traveled from Judea to Galilee

  • Jews always took one of the two paths on the outside here.

    • They were intentional about going AROUND Samaria, and not through it

    • As you can see, the fastest path was through Samaria, so they would intentionally take the longer path to not having to walk through Samaria

      • We are not talking about going around the block a couple of times — this added 2-3 DAYS to their journey.

      • That’s a couple of oil changes in the ole camel.

There is a lot to verse 4!  

  • Jesus went through Samaria.

  • He took the path that all the others Jews avoided.

    • He ran head strong into the group of people that everyone avoided.

    • Why did he do this?  Why did it say that he “had to” go through Samaria?

Jesus took the path least traveled because He had a divine appointment with a Samaritan woman who had a hurting and lost soul.

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John 4:5-6  NIV (Emphasis Added)

5 So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 

6 Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.

Jesus extremely tired in the hottest part of the day could have cashed in his chips and checked out.

  • Maybe pulled out his phone and finish his round of Candy Crush.

  • Check in on Peter’s Facebook for occasional cussing.. I don’t know.

But that’s not what he did.

Have you ever noticed that it seems like your biggest moment’s and opportunities often come when you are the most tired?

  • When you’re at your weakest, God is at his strongest.

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John 4:7 NIV

7 When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, …

Uh oh.  First of all, as a Jew, you were not supposed to associate with women in public.

  • Some devout Jews wouldn’t even talk to their wife in public for fear it would look like they were sinning.

    • Now… you decide if it was because of Jewish culture, or they just didn’t want to.

Not only that but… what in the world is this woman doing going to the well in the hottest part of the day by herself?!

  • High noon was likely about 100-110 degrees in the middle east.

    • No one went to the well to carry a heavy pale of water at the hottest part of the day.  Not even the ignorant people.

    • Not only that but the well was the water cooler of the town.

      • This is where you caught up on the latest Samaritan gossip.

        • “Did you see the pattern on Shelly’s new tunic.  It was lit!”

  • Why in the world would she be coming by herself in the hottest part of the day?

    • Because she had a reputation that she was ashamed of.

    • And there were probably some bullies that came to the well that knew her name.

What was this woman’s reputation?

  • Let’s fast forward a few verses so we know who we are dealing with.

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John 4:16-19 NIV

16 He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”

17 “I have no husband,” she replied. (partial confession)

Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. 18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”

19 “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet.

 

This woman is looking for love in all the wrong places.  (Sounds like an Alan Jackson song)

  • She obviously has a deep need to be loved and she is chasing after worthless men that don’t truly love her back.

  • They marry her, use her, and then throw her away.

  • This is in a culture that you just didn’t get a divorce.

  • I heard someone once ask… well what if the husbands all died?

    • If she was married to five dudes and they all died, we have a bigger problem.

      • The guy she’s with is an idiot, and she’s a murderer.  (Or a bad cook.)

How awful of an existence this woman must have had.

  • She had been thrown away by 5 husbands.

  • She had no friends as she’s going to the water cooler by herself.

  • She’s fetching water for a guy now that doesn’t love her enough to put a ring on it.

  • He lives with her and has sex with her, but doesn’t give up any legal rights to his property or name.

  • He’s reaping the benefits she offers and doing nothing for her reputation, while she hauls a heavy bucket of water from the well in the hottest part of the day for his lazy excuse of a human being.

She’s a hurting and lost soul.  She’s aching to be loved, and she doesn’t know what real love is.

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John 4:7 NIV

7 When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?”

😮

Jesus now officially breaks every level of protocol:

  • He goes through Samaria instead of around it

  • He pauses in Samaria

  • He sits down and associates with a Samaritan

  • He speaks to a woman in public

  • This woman just so happens to have a promiscuous reputation

  • And now he asks for a drink

  • She’s probably thinking, “Great.  Another guy that wants to use me.”

What Jesus has just done is completely shredded his reputation.

  • We live in a world that carries far too much about reputation and far too less about doing the right thing.

  • Jesus is more concerned with this woman’s soul than how people perceive him

  • Who is this single guy sitting at the water cooler talking in public with a Samaritan woman that has a reputation?

    • Well… that’s God.

    • The God that came all the way down from Heaven, put on skin, was tempted in every way that man is yet was without sin, took the least traveled path to the cross, died a murderer’s death, and rose again in 3 days because this woman needed to be loved.

    • HE CAME DOWN FROM HIS THRONE SO HE COULD PURSUE HER, AND HE CAME DOWN FROM THIS THRONE SO HE COULD PURSUE US.

    • She didn’t need to be “loved” by another toolbag.  She needed to be loved by her Savior.

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John 4:8 NIV

8 (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)

Interesting that Jesus sends his disciples into town to buy food.

  • If there is anyway to get time by yourself it’s to send 12 guys to the grocery store at once.

  • Men in a grocery store are like a group of dizzy kids in a complex corn maze.

  • Send one guy is bad enough, but sending multiple is really bad.

    • We will come back with all the wrong things and take 6x longer than we should.

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John 4:9-13 NIV

9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)

10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”

13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 

Everytime you try to seek out love in something and someone else, you will come up dry… just like your 5 husbands and the joker you’re with now.

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John 4:9-14 NIV

14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

What I offer fulfills you forever.

  • I offer the kind of love you’ve been looking for your entire life.

  • I offer the love that caused me to leave Heaven and pursue you.

  • That is a love that you will never find anywhere else.

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WE ARE THE SAMARITAN WOMAN

Don’t you see?!

  • We aren’t just talking about a woman that lived 2000 years ago.

  • We are talking about us.

  • We are the Samaritan woman.

    • We seek to be loved by people and things that can never quench our thirst for true love.

    • We have reputations and stories that proceed us.

    • Jesus didn’t care about any of that.

    • He still singled us out and pursued us.

    • He took the last traveled path to find you.

    • Whether you have responded by taking of the living water or not, He remains in pursuit of you.

  • What He offers us is different and far more significant than what we think we need.

    • God values us and pursues us despite our bankrupt lives.

WE PURSUE AS JESUS DID

Just as Christ pursues us, he has called us to pursue others.  He uses us as agents to reach out to people like the Samaritan woman, to people like us.

As a church, our core value of WELL means this:

  • We will not sit by idly and expect people to come to us.

  • Too many churches get comfortable and start thinking inwardly.

  • We will NOT.

    • As difficult as it can be, we will turn our hearts outward.

    • We commit to going to people, by taking the least traveled path if necessary, and not expect them to just come to us

There are far too many people in our lives that are broken and need healed.

OPEN YOUR HEARTS

As Christians we have a choice to make:  Take the easy path or take the hard path.

  • Take the easy path… the path of least resistance… the path that everyone takes and cultivate a small heart that doesn’t take risks.

  • A small heart that is well protected because it didn’t open up to love others.

  • A small heart that cultivates deafness to people’s needs and blindness to real hurt.

  • Sure, it’s less risky, but your heart will be small.

  • Sure, it won’t see the ugliness of the world, but it will also never see the beauty of God’s victory when he overcomes darkness in people’s lives.

Take the hard path… the path least traveled… that path that no one takes and cultivate a big heart that takes risks.

  • A big heart opens itself to the hurting world around you, and increases it’s potential for pain.

  • A big heart is susceptible to a gauntlet of sorrow and obstacles, things that a small heart knows nothing about.

  • A big heart may risk more, but it also feels more, sees more, and experiences the love of Christ more.

Will you serve Christ and others, or just yourself?

  • Little hearts contribute nothing.

  • Large hearts leave an imprint on this world and eternity.

Will you link arms with us and commit to going to people, opening your hearts, rather than sitting back safely while we wait for them to maybe come here?

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NL REPUBLIC OPENING OUR HEARTS

Here is how this fleshes out for us.

  • Because we abelieve in going to the well, we…adopt a local elementary school and commit to serving them with all we have and to honoring and regularly praying for their staff and faculty.

  • Because we believe in going to the well, we…give out 1500 free water bottles on 90º nights at the Fall Festival so we can start conversations.

  • Because we believe in going to the well, we…run the inflatables at Have-A-Blast so we can engage families in a community where there are a growing number of broken homes.

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CLOSING

You never know what can happen when you reach out to someone.  Read the response from the Samaritan woman.

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John 4:39 NIV

39 Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony,

What’s a testimony?  It’s a story.

  • Her story was: She was lost, looking for love and worshipping people.

  • She kept going back to the well because nothing in life could ever fulfill her.

  • Until she met the man at the well that told her everything she had ever done.

  • He gave her living water, and now she will never thirst or long for anything other than God’s love again.

Final

What about you?

  • What will your story be as it relates to New Life Republic?

  • What would it look like if it was YOU that verse 39 talks about?

  • Will there be people – many people – in Republic that believe in Jesus because of your story?

Final

John 4:39 NIV (Modified)

39 Many of the citizens from that town Republic believed in Jesus because of the Josh’s story,