5% life. I hope you know what we’re talking about, at least if you’ve been here the last several weeks. Today is the fourth and final installment of that four-part sermon series called The 5% Life, where we’ve been talking about the way that spending time with God and God’s agenda for us can transform the rest of the 95% of our life. And so we’re trying to be intentional about that today. And so every week, Subsequently, since the beginning, we’ve talked about 1% of your day, 1% of your week, 1% of your month, and each of those labels on those percentage, uh, percentages started with a G. So today, here’s a little memory test for you. Just like when you go to the doctor and you’re a senior citizen and they’ve got your mini mental. Status test or whatever, and we all freak out about it. And you try and cheat, don’t you? You get notes from someone who’s just coming out. What were those five words I’m supposed to remember? So anyway, the first one was 1% of your day in what God time. Right? In devotional time spending dedicated, devoted same time of every day time with God in Bible and prayer. Then how about 1% of your week in. Yes, gather time about one and a half hours a week in gathering together to worship and praise God. It’s an indispensable part of our walk with Christ, to be together with God’s people and then 1% of your month in. Group time. If you’re not in a small group, find one, create one. Start one day or night your home, a coffee shop here at church group time where you can share life in a deeper way, and God comes to us in a real way. Well, the first three weeks we talked about 1%, 1%, 1%. Today we’re gonna talk about 2%, 2% of your year, about seven days in go time. It’s another g. Go time is what God calls us to do. You know that, that word go, simple word go, appears about 1,542 times in the Bible. Go. The word stay appears 62 times. You know that sitting on the premises isn’t the same as standing on the promises, and we wanna go with those promises out to the world that God has given us around us. And so what God is telling us in this go time, it means getting up from your lazy boy, walking away from your kitchen counter, or your work bench, your sewing machine, or your computer and doing something. Doing something, saying something, embody the life that God has given us to others around us. From the very first moment of Jesus’ ministry, he’s walking along the Sea of Galilee and he calls his first four disciples, two sets of brothers, Simon and Andrew, James and John, and he calls them to leave their nets and follow him and go with them into the world.
Pete, Greg writes about this calling. He says, four fishermen quietly plying their trade, minding their own business. But then Jesus shows up and he says, follow me and I will make you fishers of men. With those 10 simple words, follow me. I will make you fishers of men. He catapults these people from the shores of SA of Galilee to the ends of the earth, from places of anonymity and obscurity to Ima unimaginable influence. From to predictable stability in the lives of perpetual pilgrimage. Pilgrimage. We’re on a pilgrimage, my friend. We’re always moving towards something. We’re moving toward home. Our heavenly home and the arms of our father, the call to follow God has not changed from that first day there re God remains this great disruptor of our lives to trade what we know for the great unknown. I mean, there’s an adventure. We think sometimes at our ages, there’s much not much left to life than sitting in our La-Z-Boy or rocker, but God calls us to an adventure, and every day is an adventure. We’re called to trade for what we own for a greater cause of Christ. In other words, God wants you to go 2% of your year in go time Now. That’s the text that we heard from Ax a moment ago that Deb just read. And he gives us our marching orders. They’re sobering actually, when you read them, especially if you read those marching orders from Acts in the Greek, he says, you will be my witnesses. The Greek word there is Mar Martis. Marti, you will be my Marti. It means martyrs. Jesus knew when he called his disciples that they would be martyrs. In other words, even for us, there’s a price to pay. It might be some ostracism from our neighbors or our friends. You will receive power. He says, power from the Holy Spirit and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and Judea and all Samaria to the ends of the earth. In other words, their concentric circles that are moving out from where they are at the moment in Jerusalem, gathered in this holy huddle, sharing precious promises, and he says, get out. Get out and move out into the world around you. And then Paul gives us the content of that gospel message we’re to go with.
In our text from Second Corinthians that we’ll read in just a moment, in that little text he tells us about the word reconcile. It’s used five times in three verses reconcile. The Greek word is kaso kaso, and it means to set right to establish a relationship to conciliate, something anew, to restore union to friendship after estrangement. In other words, Paul says, God has made us write with himself through Jesus Christ. Have you ever reconciled your checkbook? You’re supposed to say yes. So what do you do when you reconcile it? You balance it. You make sure everything’s copacetic. You make sure that things line up the way they’re supposed to. God in Jesus Christ has reconciled us with himself, making him who knew no sin to be sin for our sake, it’s called the Great Exchange. God did it when he sent his only beloved son into the world that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. But there’s a second verse that’s maybe even more critical, especially for the world around us to hear it, because the world around the Christian Church thinks that the Christian Church is just always doing this, and I’m afraid that we’re guilty. Many times we sit in judgment, and so we need to hear this word from Jesus, not from the church, not from Christians, where he says, for God sent not His son into the world to condemn the world. But that the world through him might be saved. He didn’t send Jesus to condemn us. No. He came to release us, to free us, that we might be freed and saved through him. Timothy Keller says, Jesus came into the world. He didn’t bring judgment. He bore judgment. It’s true. Jesus didn’t come with a spear in his hand, but with one in his side. He came with nails in his head. Hands and thorns in his head. The one person who had the right to judge was being judged for us. The one who had the right to condemn was being condemned for you and me. He took our sentence. Judgment is the day when every sin will be accounted for, isn’t it? But do you know that in Jesus Christ, he’s already paid for your sin? It’s done. It’s over. We don’t need to fear a judgment day. The day we believe in Jesus. The moment we believe in ju uh Jesus, the verdict is passed, not guilty. And he looks at us and he says, like he said to his son, Jesus, this is my beloved child with whom I’m well pleased. It’s over. There’s nothing for us to fear.
Some people live life with this hope so attitude. You going to heaven. I hope so. I know so we can know. So my friends, not because of how good you are, heaven forbid, but because of Jesus’ righteousness and the fact that he reconciled us. Jesus took our sin and set us free in the grateful prayer of this 17th century theologian, John Flail. He talks about the great exchange, how we have received from God, what we deserved. He says, Lord, the condemnation was yours, that the justification might be mine. The agony was yours, that the victory might be mine. The pain was yours so that the ease might be mine. The stripes were yours and the healing balm issuing from them was mine. The vinegar and gall were yours, that the honey and sweet might be mine. The crown of thorns was yours, that the crown of glory. Might be mine. The death was yours, but the life purchased was mine. You paid the price that I might enjoy the inheritance. This is the message we have to proclaim my friends. It’s the message we’re to go with. Jesus says, go tell my story. Sing it, say it. Live it. It’s, it’s such a simple message to just go and say that God loves you, and we’re gonna talk a little bit more about that. But for the moment, let’s read our text from two Corinthians. Uh, chapter five, Paul is writing. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old is gone, the new is here. All this is from God who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation. That God was reconciling the world to himself and Christ not counting people’s sins against them, and he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. This is the word of the Lord. Thank you, your God. Will you join me in prayer? God, you’ve told us to go. Will you give us the get up and go, the courage, the faith, the trust in you that we can do that very thing. And rather than fear and trembling and trepidation, may we find joy in having a story to tell a God to declare, a salvation to proclaim. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen. Amen. Dear friends, in Christ, grace to you, in peace from God our Father, and from our Lord and our savior, Jesus Christ. Amen. Many of you know that I grew up in New York City where my father served a Lutheran church, Zion Lutheran Church. For many years, that congregation had sponsored a missionary family in South Africa. The missionary was a medical doctor. His name was Dr. Arthur Hall. Well, many, many years later, he would become my father-in-law, Dr. Arthur Hall, my wife’s father. And so Joanne and I met some of, you know, when we were four or five years old when they came home on furlough. And then we met another five or six years later when I was a gum smacking New York teenager. And she was this reserved, sweet little English girl. Uh, and then we met again a few years later, and then we met again at Bible school. But you know, I was so enamored with that missionary family when I was young. We prayed for that family. We, the women wrapped bandages and sent to the hospital in Africa, way out in the bush. And when Dr. Hall would come, I was just wide-eyed to watch and hear the stories of what he was doing in these grass huts and these near naked South African people sharing the gospel by doing surgery and healing and prescribing, and loving and teaching. And he showed these pictures at very graphic. Picture some turned their eyes. But there was this picture of this enormously pregnant woman in one slide, and the next one showed the 15 pound tumor that he’d removed from her, you know, and he told stories of brain surgery and having to do dental work and there was no power and there was no running water.
And, and so when my father asked me when I was eight years old, we were in the car. He said, where do you wanna be when you grow up? I said, I wanna be a missionary. My heart was captured probably partly with the intrigue of South Africa, but partly and hopefully more powerfully the, the sense of sharing good news with people that didn’t know it, that hadn’t ever heard it before. So little did I know, however, That I would not be a missionary to South Africa, that I might actually become a missionary to South Dakota instead of South Africa. Yeah. A good state. Yes. I have to be careful what I say. Can I move out of range? So South Dakota and Texas and Iowa and Los Angeles now, there was a mission field and even to Arizona. Little did I know that this mission work would look like it wasn’t among Grass Huts or out in the Bush Mission outposts. It would be in a congregation that’s a mission outpost, and it would be to congregations, small and large, full of people that lo and behold, they’re struggling with the very same things. I’m struggling with people that lo and behold, looked an awful lot like I did. People that lo and behold looked like me and struggled with things like me, things like Joanna and I struggled with in our marriage, like how to stay married in a world that’s so anti-marriage, get how to get a handle on balancing work and life. How to raise kids and pay the bills and balance the checkbook and clean the house and mow the lawn, and make the meals and paint the bedroom and remodel the kitchen and wallpaper the living room. Now there’s grounds for divorce. You’ve been there. Oh yeah. You have an air bubble? No, I don’t. It’ll go away. No, I wasn’t called to be a missionary to South Africa. I was called to be a missionary, an emissary, an ambassador to represent a kingdom that had come to earth and the person of Jesus Christ. I was called to minister to people that I already knew and loved, and to total strangers that I would meet. I was called to tell the old, old story of Jesus and his love to farmers and fishermen. Pharmacists and physicians to homemakers and handymen to teachers, to tellers, to everyday people. Not just to minister, but simply to talk to, relate to, to get acquainted with. I was called to go to my own neighborhood and networks, to my children, to my grandchildren, even to my grandchildren’s friends, and so are you my friends.
There’s a call on your life. It didn’t take this to give me a call to ministry. If you believe in Jesus Christ, he’s called you to go. It’s just that simple. That’s that goal, and it doesn’t take you to far and wide travels even to South Africa or to the Navajo Nation. You may be called to join the missions that you’re gonna learn about in our fellowship hall, fabulous things going on in the life of this congregation. You might be called to engage in, in, in worship on a weekend in some way, shape, or form, but far more likely you’re gonna be called to people that I will never meet, that will never set foot in this congregation. You’re gonna be called to thousands of people that we can never reach through this congregation or through a simple sermon on a Sunday morning. No, my friends. This is called Relationally Evangelism When you’re close to home. Many years ago I read this fascinating book on evangelism called Just Walk Across the Room. No Compliment Comp, complicated Methods and Technologies and Testimonies and all of that kind of thing. A simple act. Of walking across the room of being open to the leading of the Holy Spirit. When you’re in a party, a cocktail party, a neighborhood gathering, and you go, Hmm, there’s someone over there I don’t think I’ve met. Can you simply say, hi, my name is Steve. I don’t think we’ve met and extend a hand, an open countenance to engage somebody. Many years ago, that book told me that it’s not a very complicated thing, no methods or methodologies, but that simple act can have a life changing impact on someone’s forever just caring about them.
Genuinely, the stakes are high, the implications are eternal, and you may be only a conversation away from having an eternal impact on someone else’s life. Share your life story testimony. Mm-hmm. Don’t need to do any of that. You don’t need to know any Bible verses fancy religious words. You don’t need to pray. Simply strike up a conversation and say to the Lord, here I am Lord. Send me. In fact, that phrase is so critical to the way we live every day, that if we say that phrase, then every time we open the door of our house and go out, it becomes a mission trip. Do you get it? It becomes a mission trip when you open the door, when you get in your car, when you walk across the street, it’s a mission trip. And you say, here I am, Lord. Send me. In fact, so critical is that phrase that I want you to repeat it with me in a sing song response. Okay. I’m gonna say, here I am Lord. And you say, send me, we’ll try it again. Here I am Lord. Send me. Okay, we’re gonna repeat that occasionally. So pay attention. Do you ever go to the grocery store to fries or Safeway? Albertson Sprouts, bashes, any other grocery store? Next time you do, try saying As you’re walking in here I am Lord. Here I am Lord. Send me say it with a prayer in your heart. Lord, I wanna be open. Maybe there’s somebody down an aisle that drops something and I can pick it up and look them in the eye and say, glad to help. Um, just people that anytime you’re going to the clerk, when you’re checking out with your $9 eggs and you’re tempted to grouse at them, I can guarantee you that person at the checkout counter did not set the price of those eggs. But maybe you can simply say in your mind, Lord, is this the person? Look them in the eye and say, how are you doing today? I think you have a really hard job dealing with people like me all day long. It’s true, isn’t it? But you know, those people have struggles. They’ve left a home maybe with screaming kids or a husband or wife that they’re not getting along with. They’re struggling to make ends meet. You can just simply open your eyes and look at them. And and wonder if God doesn’t prompt you to just stop and listen to them. Same thing when you go to a restaurant, whether it’s fast food or a sit down restaurant. Nando’s, Applebee’s, olive Garden, McDonald’s, those poor people are earning minimum wage. Many of them are single parents. When you walk up to them, can you say before you go to the counter, here am I, Lord.
Send me. When you go to the doctor’s office the next time and they’re digging around in your vein to try and get some blood, maybe you can look at that lab tech and you can say to them, you know, how’s it going? And just take a moment and wait to listen. If you live and Leisure World, or Sunland Village, or Apache Wells or Alta Mesa, or Dreamland, Velda Rose, or any other neighborhood, you’ve got neighbors. Before you open your door on your next mission trip, say, here are my Lord. Send me anyone there in your neighborhood. Play golf or go to the clubhouse or tennis or pickleball or bridge or mahjong or walk a dog or ride a bike. You see these people? Jesus says, go and we’re called to respond. Here are my Lord. Send me. Ever go to your local watering hole where you know the bartender by name. You don’t wanna admit it, but you know them by name. You may think that that’s the last place on earth that God calls you to share. Dear, share your light. But I beg to differ my friends. That’s a place where people spill their guts, they share their life stories. That’s where the bartender often becomes the local therapist. Have you ever asked that person that you maybe know by name? To just say, how are things with you? Who do you ever get to talk to, who listens to you? Because God sends us to these nooks and crannies and neighborhoods that other people will never get to. You’ve got unique opportunities that nobody else has, and God calls you to do them. You know, a number of years ago, Joanne and I bought a home in Gold Canyon and we determined for whatever reason, to try and get to know our neighbors. It’s a long time since we’ve really gotten acquainted with neighbors. We’ve moved, uh, too frequently in the last numbers of years, and so we love to walk and I love to talk. In case you didn’t know, I’ll even talk to the dog. And so, um, when I talk to the dog, I’ll often stand up and I’ll talk to the dog owner as well and ask the dog’s name and how long they’ve had it and what breed might be. And if someone’s putting on a new roof, I might say, oh, did you have leaks? Or is it just time? You know? And, uh, because we’re getting ready to do the same thing. Don’t you hate to re spend all that kind of money and then it looks exactly as it did before you did it. 18 grand. And it’s gonna look just like it did the week before. Or four new tires on your car. It just feels and looks exactly as it did before. So you commiserate a little bit with your neighbor who’s replacing the roof. I see a gardener and I might comment about what a tough job you have in this kind of heat and wind and wave. I might see a chief’s flag and I’ll give a shout out to a fellow chiefs fan. Yay. Go Chiefs. When we see an out place out-of-state license plate, we may comment. A couple of years ago, we hosted a real co-hosted, a real informal potluck neighborhood gathering. People just brought whatever they wanted. We passed out invitations, door to door. We people brought their lawn chairs and something to eat. It wasn’t, there was no, nothing formal about it. No one prayed. No one didn’t tell anybody. I was a pastor. I was incognito. Okay. Yeah, I mean, talk about, uh, shutting down conversation. What do you do for, oh, I’m a pastor, right? I may tell people I’m in sales. It’s a little safer, you know? And then they say, well, can’t you do something about the weather? And I say, I’m in sales, not management.
So we hosted this, this potluck, um, neighborhood party and people helped themselves and compared their recipes. And for the five years we’ve been in our neighborhood, I think we can probably name 60 people. We’ve met them just casually. We don’t know anything about them. We really don’t. We don’t know their church background, their faith background. We may know a couple of things where they move from. A few of them we’ve gotten better acquainted with, but when we get home, Joanne made this little map on a post-it note. It looks like this. And that’s our map of our neighborhood. We’ve written down all these names and you know what God has laid on our heart, especially my wife. She’s the prayer. Sometimes when you go to bed at night, we can lie there and we can pray for 60 people by name. And when she or I might forget a name, we’ll go. I know it starts with a B, the Lord knows. ’cause you know we carry within us a light. Jesus said, you’re the light of the world. You’re the salt of the earth. You carry the fragrance of Christ with you. And we want people to know Jesus because without Jesus, there’s this godless, eternity without him of separation. And the stakes really are eternal. And Jesus has said, go. Don’t complicate it. People just love them. Speak to them. Look them in the eye. Stop and listen and watch and wait. And care and pray, and who knows, but one day a door might open for a more significant conversation and you can walk through that door. That’s what we’re called to do when we go. You can knock out your 2% go time in one week, one month, just walking around your neighborhood, hanging out at your watering hole, or going grocery shopping because every time you walk out, It’s a mission trip and we should just be always saying, here are my Lord. Send me fact of the matter is my friends that we live in, a world of hurt. People around us are lonely, they’re hurting, they’re grieving. Many of them are lost. They may not say that they’re lost, but they’re looking for a place to hang their hope, their security, their trust, a cure for their loneliness. A cure for the emptiness of their lives, and we carry that around us, around within us, and we can share it with them. Steve Green, a singer songwriter, wrote poignant words to a song called People Need the Lord and the lyrics go like this. Every day they pass me by. I can see it in their eyes, empty people. Uh, filled with care headed who knows where on they go through private pain, living fear to fear, laughter hides their silent cries. Only Jesus hears we are called to take his light to a world where wrong seems right. What could be too great a cost for sharing life with one who’s lost through his love? Our hearts can feel all the grief they bear. They must hear the words of life. Only we can share. And it concludes with this chorus.
People need the Lord. People need the Lord at the end of broken open dreams. He’s the open door. People need the Lord. People need the Lord. When will we realize that we must lives for? Will you join me in prayer? God, we open our eyes and our hearts to the world around us where people need the Lord. We open our hearts and our mouths so that we know that we have a message to share with them. A life changing message. One beggar telling another beggar Where to find food. Where to find living water. Where to find the bread of heaven. Where to find forgiveness and deliverance from shame and guilt. Where to find hope and security for our eternity when we breathe our last breath, God, may we be so overcome with that message that there’s this joy inside us that just bubbles over to all those around us. We prayed for the sake of Christ. Amen.