Sunday, September 1, 2013
Everyone has a story, but not everyone can make history. Join us to find out how you can make an everlasting mark in this city. The time is now to make history.
Jesus and the Woman of Samaria
4:1 Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John 2 (although Jesus himself did not baptize, but only his disciples), 3 he left Judea and departed again for Galilee. 4 And he had to pass through Samaria. 5 So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob's well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour. 
7 A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.”8 (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) 9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) 10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.”11 The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” 13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again,14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again.  The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.”
16 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.”17 The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’;18 for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.”19 The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” 21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father.22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews.23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”
27 Just then his disciples came back. They marveled that he was talking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you seek?” or, “Why are you talking with her?” 28 So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” 30 They went out of the town and were coming to him.
31 Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” 32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.”33 So the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought him something to eat?” 34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.35 Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.36 Alreadythe one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together.37 For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’38 I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.”
39 Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. 41 And many more believed because of his word. 42 They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.”
43 After the two days he departed for Galilee. 44 (For Jesus himself had testified that a prophet has no honor in his own hometown.) 45 So when he came to Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, having seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the feast. For they too had gone to the feast.
Jesus Heals an Official's Son
46 So he came again to Cana in Galilee, where he had made the water wine. And at Capernaum there was an official whose son was ill. 47 When this man heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went to him and asked him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. 48 So Jesus said to him, “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.”49 The official said to him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” 50 Jesus said to him, “Go; your son will live.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went on his way. 51 As he was going down, his servants  met him and told him that his son was recovering. 52 So he asked them the hour when he began to get better, and they said to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour  the fever left him.” 53 The father knew that was the hour when Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” And he himself believed, and all his household. 54 This was now the second sign that Jesus did when he had come from Judea to Galilee. (ESV)
My name is Rick and I serve as the Lead Pastor of Christ Fellowship. We are so glad and honored that you have joined with us today. I want to just sort of bring you up to date as to where we are. We launched a brand new series last week called “Make History”. We began that last week and it is going to be a four-part series that you probably know by now that it is going to consummate on September 15 with all of our campuses all across Dade County coming together for a great day of worship, celebration, announcements, great things that God is doing at Christ Fellowship at the Bank United Center on the campus of the University of Miami. So we are excited about that day and that time as it approaches.
But today I want to invite you to open your Bibles to John, chapter four. While you are turning there, I want to welcome all of our campuses across Dade County, as well as those who are joining us online. I want you to just kind of lean into what we are going to talk about today and stay tapped into this: John, chapter four. By the way, I mentioned last week that beginning in January we are going to start a two-year study through the gospel of John, sort of walking in the footsteps of Jesus for two years. That is going to be an amazing journey through John’s gospel.
Before I get started today, let me take a drink of water. Pardon me while I do this. Folks, I don’t have to tell you that our bodies demand water. It is because this little cocktail of two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen supplies life to the cells in our body. In fact, deprive ourselves of this chemical compound H2O and our cells will die and our bodies will literally shrivel up, we will shrivel up and die if you deprive us of water. The good news is that here in America we have an ample supply of this. In fact, water is pretty much everywhere you go. It is very accessible, and because of that water, we are blessed as a nation. Water empowers us to thrive as a people and water enables us to stay alive as a people.
But check this out. There are places in this world, some as close as Haiti, where people struggle daily just to find drinkable water. In fact, I was doing some research this week and I discovered that over three quarters of a billion people live every day right at the doorstep, right at the brink of death either because they don’t have water or because the water that they have is contaminated. By the way, I also found out that every day the number of children, just the children, who die from the lack of drinkable water would be the equivalent of six jumbo jets all filled with children, crashing, six of them, every day. Today six would crash loaded with children, tomorrow six would crash loaded with children, three hundred and sixty-five days a year, that is the number of children that die because of a lack of drinkable water.
Now, when I say information like that, for some people, they are just not bothered by that. They sort of just blow it off as “Well, that’s just the way life is.” Or, “That’s not my problem.” But then there are other people who are bothered. They hear information like that and they think “That’s horrible. That breaks my heart. That makes me want to cry when I hear that”, but at the end of the day, they don’t do anything to resolve the problem. And then you have others who are bothered by it and they try to do something to get drinkable water to thirsty people, but because they don’t have a strategy, a workable strategy, they fail at being able to connect drinkable water to thirsty people.
Christ Fellowship, what I love is that there are organizations like “Living Waters International”, where there are people who do care about this situation and who are moved to action to do something about this. What I really, really love is that they have a strategy, and it is a strategy to be sure that drinkable water and thirsty people get connected together. In fact, here is the simple strategy of Living Waters International. Here is what they do. Number one, they raise money. By the way, you have given big time to this organization. Those are your wells. You are looking at wells that you gave money that now provide people with drinkable water. What they do is they raise money and then they take that money and they dig wells in places where there is no drinkable water. Here is my favorite part, folks: Then they invite thirsty people to come to the well and drink. They invite people who are thirsty to come and drink freely of the waters that are drinkable, that that can sustain life. You see Christ Fellowship, when you combine compassion with action, and then you combine action with a strategy, wells get dug, thirsty people get invited to the well, and lives are saved. It’s that simple a strategy.
Now, let me turn a corner and bring that over into the spiritual dimension that we are going to talk about in John 4 today, because just as the human body demands physical water or we die physically, just like that, the human soul, your soul, my soul, demands spiritual water, or we die eternally. We die on an everlasting scale. We must have spiritual water. By spiritual water, the Bible is simply talking about, the Bible uses that analogy, talking about the spirit of Christ who comes to live within us and then fills our soul with His love, fills our soul with His mercy, nourishes our soul with His compassion, nourishes our soul with His forgiveness, and supplies our soul with His life that is everlasting life.
Mind you: Souls without Christ go through this world parched and they die a death at the end of this life. That is eternal. That is death on an everlasting scale. Let me bring that over to where we live, and I’m talking about Dade County. Every day in this county, thousands of people die, and many of them, if not most of them, die a death that is everlasting; that is on an eternal scale. They live their life in this world parched, their souls parched for God’s love, of Christ’s mercy, of Christ’s forgiveness, of Christ’s compassion. They live parched for that, and then if that is not bad enough, they die this death on an everlasting scale in a place that I don’t even like to talk about, and I shudder to talk about that place called hell. These are the hard facts. That’s just the way it is. The Bible tells us that.
Folks, here is my point. We are called by God to bring spiritually thirsty people, people to the living water. Let me say that again. We have been called by God to bring spiritually thirsty people - people whose souls are thirsty - we are called to bring them to the living water. In fact, I want you to listen to Jesus’ final words in Revelation 22:17. These are the final words in the Bible. God is closing out the Bible and I want you to watch what He says here. Listen to this: “The Spirit and the bride say” What are the Spirit and the bride saying? They are saying, “Come”. Folks, I love that because that is an invitation; that is an invite. God closes out His Word by saying that the Holy Spirit is always saying to thirsty people, “Come”, come to the waters. Listen, not only is the Holy Spirit inviting people to come to Christ, but we are supposed to be doing the same thing. By the way: We followers of Christ, we are called the bride of Christ; and the bride is supposed to be saying “Come” as well.
Listen to verse 17. Listen to what it says. It says, “The Spirit”, that is the Holy Spirit, “and the bride”, that’s us, are to be saying, “Come”. Christ Fellowship, our calling as the bride of Christ is to be saying to thirsty people who are lost and far away from God, to come. What are we inviting them to? Look at verse 17: “The Spirit and the bride say come.” There is the invite, “Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes”, - that is you, if you are lost, and you are separated from God, and you wish to be close to Him; you wish to have the water of life, “Whoever wishes,let him take the free gift of the water of life.”
Christ Fellowship, that is our assignment. Our assignment, given to us by God, is to invite people to the water of life. In fact, as I said last time: Really, this is the only purpose you have for being left in this world. Let me say that again. This is the only purpose that you have as a follower of Christ for being left in this world. You remember, Jesus said to His followers, that’s us, He said, “This world is not your home.” You want to say, “Okay Jesus, if this world is not my home, why in the world have you left me in this world?” There is only one reason that the followers of Christ have been left in this world, and that is this: We are here to be a witness. Everything else in your life: your job, your career, your money, your family, your children, your education, I don’t care what it is; everything else in your life modifies that one purpose. To put it in the vernacular: You have been left here for one mission, and that is to bring people whose souls are thirsty: You have been left here to bring them to the living water, who is Christ.
But folks, here is the rub. The rub is that for many Christians, and for whole churches for that matter, when a pastor talks to them about these kind of things, about lost people whose souls are separated from God, who are thirsty for God, for a lot of churches they sort of just blow that off as, “That’s somebody else’s problem. That’s not my problem that people are lost.” They just sort of hang out by the well where Jesus is, if you will, and drink Him in, and they basically say, “I don’t give a rip about the rest of the world, just as long as I’m saved.” You have that crowd, then you have other churches who would say, “No, we care. We do care about people who need the living water, but we don’t know how to get them there. We don’t have a strategy to get thirsty people connected to the living water.
Well, here is my proposition. Listen to this: Christ Fellowship, we care about the people of our city. We care about the souls of the people in our city, and God has put that in our heart. But not only that, we have a strategy. We are not going at this blindly. We have a strategy to connect thirsty souls to the living water, Jesus Christ. You say, “Well, Rick, what is our strategy? How do we get people who are thirsty for God to Him? How do we do that?”Well, if you have been here for awhile you know that we have different angles, different strategies, that we use. But today, I want to give you a sort of a simple strategy to get thirsty souls to the living water. So, if you have your Bibles, open them to John 4. Here is the strategy we are going to look at. Let me give you the big picture and then we are going to come back. I’m going to tell you, and then I’m going to tell you. Okay? But what we are going to look at today is this girl, a Samaritan girl who came to this well and received the water of life from Christ. After she did that, watch this, she goes away from that well and she gets other people and she brings them back to the well where Jesus is so that they can receive the living water too. So, that is the strategy.
Now, I’ve already told you where I’m going and we are going to watch it unfold in this narrative. Let me tell you this: two things before we jump in. Number one: Today is going to come across a lot like preaching, and sometimes I’ll say more like teaching. Well, this is not going to come off even like teaching. Today is not going to come off like preaching or teaching. Today is going to come across more like coaching. My job is going to be to coach you to show you how to do something and then to get you to do that, because the souls of people in this city depend on it.
One more note: If you are here today and maybe you are not a believer. Maybe you are thinking, “Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Wait a minute. They are talking about me. They’re talking about getting me, this person who is not saved, to the living water.” Listen: You may think, “I feel awkward.” I’m with you on that. I’m tracking with you. Man, I’ve got to tell you, it’s difficult for me to talk about messages like this, but I want it known that you may be here feeling that. But let me say this: The reason we are talking about this, the reason we want to get you to the living water is because we care about you. We just care. We are not trying to force a religion down your throat, or make you do something you don’t want to do. We’re just trying to introduce you to a relationship; not a religion, but a relationship with your Creator. So, I hope if this feels awkward that you will just bear with me as I talk about these things. I want to talk to you a little bit more later.
With all of that said, I want to give you three thoughts. We are going to look at this girl’s strategy to get people to the living water. Number one: The Samaritan woman figured out a strategy to bring people to Christ. Folks, here is what I love. I love this narrative because this girl’s strategy is a strategy that all of us can use. It is so simple. I mean, if you are here and you are a believer and you think, Rick, I’ve tried to talk to people about Christ, I’ve tried it before and it is always awkward, and it never comes across right. I always offend people.” Listen, we are going to look at this girl’s strategy, and you are going to go: “I can do that. That’s not that hard. That’s not that difficult.”
Let’s look at her strategy to get people to the living water. Look at the narrative, beginning with verse four. “Now he, that is Jesus, had to go through Samaria. He’s on a journey and he has got to pass through Samaria. “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, being tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well.” Stop right there for a moment. Jesus is tired from the journey, not because He has driven in His car thirty miles. He is tired from the journey because He has walked across what is pretty much like a desert. He is very tired, so He plunks down by this well just to catch a little R&R. You can almost see Jesus fold His hands, lean His head back against the well. Maybe He starts to nod off. But His rest is about to get interrupted, by the sound of sandals slapping the hard trail, because here comes this Samaritan woman.
Listen to verse 7: “When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her: Will you give me to drink. A little footnote in verse 8: His disciples had gone into town to buy food, so it is just Jesus and the Samaritan girl; just the two of them there at the well. Watch what happens. “The Samaritan woman said to him: You are a Jew and I’m a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink when Jews don’t even associate with Samaritans?” Now, some history here: A Samaritan was half Jew and half Gentile. So you had Jewish people who had intermarried with Gentiles, and the Jewish people basically despised Samaritans. They didn’t like them because they intermarried with the Gentiles. So what you had here was this racial tension between Jews and Samaritans, and as this woman walks up to Jesus thinking he is a Jew, she is feeling the tension. She says, “You are a Jew. You don’t even talk to us Samaritans. What are you talking to me for?” Watch how Jesus responds.
(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.” Listen to verse 13: Jesus answered. “Everyone who drinks of this water (the water of the well) will be thirsty again.” In other words, this water from this well will not satisfy your thirst permanently. (14) But (here comes the contrast) whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to everlasting life.” (15) The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water.” Give me that stuff! I love it, because she knew intuitively that Jesus was talking about a kind of water that satisfies the soul; a kind of spiritual water that the test says, “is placed within us” and that spiritual water fills us from within and it fills us with Christ’s love. It fills us with Christ’s mercy. It fills us with His goodness. It nourishes our soul with His forgiveness and it satisfies our life with His life again which is everlasting life. And, what is this living water that Jesus was talking about? It’s not a what, is it? It’s a who! It is Christ Himself.
A little theology here: Everybody put their thinking caps on. By the way, let me say this to you if you are not a believer, because this has already happened to all of us who are believers. But if you are here today and you are not a believer, and you are not a follower of Christ; if you will simply invite Christ into your life; if you will call on Him to be your Savior; if you will acknowledge that you are a sinner and that you cannot save yourself; if you will invite Him into your life, listen, that is exactly what He does. You invite Him into your life, that is exactly what the scripture says. He will come into your body and take up His residence at the level of your soul. He will take up His life. He will take up His abode at the level of your soul, and He will fill you with a love that will satisfy the thirst of your soul for a lifetime.
So this girl says, “Give me that water.” To make a long story short, she asked Christ: “Give me that water”, and instantly He just came in; filled her from the inside out at the level of her soul, with His love, His mercy, His kindness, His hope, and with His compassion. What He does, when you invite Christ in, He can satisfy the thirst of your soul like no one else can. That is what happened to this girl.
Folks, what I love, love, love about this girl, about this Samaritan girl, is that the love of Christ that was in her was so hot within her, that this water of life began to boil, and as it began to boil inside of her, it became uncontainable. It became like she couldn’t keep it inside. She couldn’t hold it back and she just had to go and get other people and tell them about what had happened to her. She had to bring others to Christ. I love the song we sing that says “a flame within us burning”. Remember that song, “A fire within us; a burning flame within us!” Folks, that is what she had, and that is what I hope happens to all of you, and to me, that we just fall more and more in love with our Savior to the point that the love gets so hot that it just begins to boil within us and you can’t keep it down; you can’t contain it. You have got to tell other people. You just have to invite them to Christ. That is my hope for us.
But you see, the question in her heart, and maybe the question in your heart, is how do I get them to Christ? How do I get these thirsty people to the living water? What I love is that this girl came up with a strategy that can work for us. It worked for her and it could work for you and it could work for me. Here is her strategy. She met Christ at the well. In other words, she received the living water at the well and the well is where Jesus was. He was relaxing there. So here was her strategy. Her strategy was to get people to the well where Jesus was. Pretty simple stuff, isn’t it!
Listen to verse 28: “Then leaving her jar.” She didn’t just sit there and say, “I’m just going to take Jesus in for myself here at the well.” No, she leaves the jar, she leaves the well, and watch this: “and the woman went back to the town to the people”. What did she say? What is the first word in verse 29? “Come.” And she invited people to come back to the well. You see, her thinking was: “Jesus is at that well. If I can just get them to come back to the well, Jesus is at the well, and they can meet Him at the well.” That is exactly what she does. Look what she says in verse 29. She says to everybody in the town, “Come see a man who told me everything I did.”
We are going to look at this in a few months from now in depth. But if you know anything about this girl, she lived a pretty sketchy life, somewhat of a prostitute. What she said is “I want you guys to come and meet this Messiah who knew everything about me, who knows everything I ever did. He knew all the good stuff about me, the good and the bad, and still He loves me. I want you to come and meet this guy. She was sort of sharing her testimony. Watch what happens in verse 30:
“They came out of the town and made their way toward Him.” She got them to the well where Jesus was, and watch what happens. Verse 39: “Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him.” She got them to the well where Jesus was, and they got saved. In fact, listen to what they say to her in verse 42. “They said to the woman, ‘We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know this man really is the Savior of the world.” Her simple strategy, “I met Jesus at this well. He is at the well, and if I can just go and get people and invite them back to the well, Jesus is there and they will meet Him; if I can just get them to this well.
Folks, with that in mind, here is our strategy. Here is where I am going. Christ Fellowship is a kind of well. Christ Fellowship is a kind of well where people can meet Jesus. In fact, all of our campuses are like wells. Think of it: Homestead is a well. Redland is a well. Palmetto Bay is a well. West Kendall is a well where people can meet Jesus. Coral Gables is a well. Downtown is a well. Our newest campus, Miami Springs is a well. And even as our new FIU campus. Can you imagine the people there. Here is what we are saying: If you will invite people, this is what we are trying to get you to do, our strategy is to plant wells all over this county where there is no living water, where there is not churches that are putting out the living water. We want to plant wells, and so we are going to plant more campuses. Not only that, but we are going to plant fifteen churches all over Dade County that won’t bear our name, that won’t be Christ Fellowship. We are going to plant them anyway. We are going to reach for other wells that are kind of run dry. We are going to help them, and resource them. Folks, our strategy is to dig wells.
This is not unlike Living Waters International that digs wells. The challenge is for you to invite people, like that woman at the well, because if you do, if you will invite people to one of the wells, we will be sure they meet Christ. She said “Come see a man” and she invited them to the well. Listen, if you get people to a well, our commitment is to be poised and ready to awaken their souls to Christ, to give them the living water that can satisfy their thirst. Our plan, our strategy is if you invite them, we will show them the love of God from the time they park their car at one of the wells. We will see that they are greeted as they walk to the well. We will see that their children are cared for and taught the Word of God. We will see that their soul is awakened during the worship, and see to it that they hear the Word of God, and hear the gospel of Jesus Christ. That is our strategy. So again, our strategy is to plant as many wells, to dig, if you will, as many wells in this county, and for you then, and me, to invite people to the wells.
Now, one of the best tools, onf of my favorite tools, effective tools to help you invite people to Christ is our invite card. We are going to be talking a lot from now on to invite, invite, invite. But I love these cards. I can’t tell you how effective they are. I love what the card says right on the front. It says “You’re invited!” I can’t tell you how warm that is to somebody. Maybe you are out to lunch and your waitress is serving you. You just pull out a card after she is done and say, “Hey, I’m inviting you.” Whoever it is that God brings you in contact with, invite them to our church. When you open it up, all of our campuses are listed there. It sort of helps you to start the conversation. “I want to invite you to our church.”
I do this all the time, and as long as I’ve been doing it, I’ve never had anybody be rude to me. I’m not saying it might not happen tomorrow. I’ve had people just it and lay it down. I want you to look at these invite cards. It is a tool. Use it as a seed, a seed that you can plant. Jesus said this: The woman brought the people to the well. Jesus said this in verse 37: “Thus the saying, ‘One sows - she invited – another reaps.”Jesus brought her to Himself. You sow the seed and you invite people here and we can see people’s lives changed. Folks, I can’t tell you how powerful these things can be. Let me tell you a couple of stories.
I’ve been looking to buy a condo downtown. I think we are going to move down there. In fact, we are almost there. But a while back I was down there looking for a condo. I had valet parked, and I came out of this condo and was waiting for my car. There were all of these people standing around. It was crowded and there was this young girl standing over to my right, and I said “What is all this crowd about?” She said, “Oh, they are doing a film here. It’s a reality program, one of those reality TV shows. She said “We have all been renting one of these places around here”. She said it was something like “Bad Girls of Miami”, and she was one of those. She said, “We’re down here and they are filming us.” I forget where she was from. She is telling me all of that and I reached into my wallet and pulled out one of these invite cards. I was not trying to be rude or sarcastic, but I said to her, “These are from my church, Christ Fellowship, and we have a campus right over here.” Immediately tears came down this little girl’s cheeks. She started telling me how she actually hated this. She was telling me how far away she had gone from God. She was getting into a car and leaving, and I said to her.”God has a plan for your life. He loves you.” You know what? She wept but she showed up at church one time. I preached and she came up to me and said, “Rick, I’m going home and I’m getting my life back on track.” Her little heart was ready. You never know whose heart is ready, when you say, “Can I invite you to my church?
Just a few weeks back, Rhonda and I were at a Coral Gables area. We were walking down Miracle Mile. Go Coral Gables Christ Fellowship! We were down there and we had eaten and I said “Let’s walk down toward where the Coral Gables campus is at the Miracle Mile theatre. So we were walking down through there and as we were walking, this girl comes over and says, “Could I borrow some change, can you make change for a dollar so I can put it in one of these machines?” I said, “Well, you know what, I’ve got some change but I’m not going to take your dollar. You just take this.” She said, “Thank you.” I said, “Let me invite you to Christ Fellowship. We have a campus right down there at the theatre.” Again, that little girl’s heart was ready, and she began to tell me how she had been searching for God.
Folks, let me tell you. This invite card can be a seed planted in somebody’s heart, and you never know how that might change their lives, and how we can change this city. Think of this: I don’t know the exact numbers but there is at least ten thousand people who attend Christ Fellowship. Probably more like twelve or fourteen thousand that call Christ Fellowship home, and maybe even more than that. But let’s take ten as our logo. If ten thousand people picked up ten of these invite cards every week, and this is what I am going to challenge you to do. I said this was going to be more like coaching. As you go out of your campus, whether you are at Redland, Homestead, Coral Gables, it doesn’t matter where you are. We are going to have these invite cards in baskets, and by the way, we are going to put them in a well in the future so that when you are going out we can say, “Go to the well and get your invite cards.” Oh yeah! We know about the well. It was in that message. Go to the well. I only encourage you to get ten of them. Make a commitment: God help me to give out ten of these this week, so that you can come back next week and go back to the well and get ten more. Think about it: If ten thousand people hand out ten of these every week, a hundred thousand will be invited in one week. I’m telling you folks, if we do that, if we will commit all to do that – that’s too easy, isn’t it. That’s easy but not too easy. It’s so easy we can all do it. We can transform this city. These are like seed.
I was talking while ago, and my daughter was sitting on the front row, and I was looking at her and I remembered this. When she was a little girl, she was about six and came home from first grade. They had given her some pumpkin seeds. We lived in the Carolinas back then. We actually lived on a farm, a farm area. Rhonda took Natalie and they went way out into this field and they planted these little pumpkin seeds around in this field. Then they kind of forgot about them. One day I came home and Rhonda said, “Rick, come with me. You are not going to believe this.” We start walking out to that field and I see these big, fat, orange pumpkins all over this field that we had kind of forgotten about. That is what can happen. When we start sowing seed, God can bring a great harvest. A lot of people in this city can come to Christ.
Number three: This is how we transform our city. This is how we are going to transform our city. Listen to verse 39: “Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in Him.” I love that. This one girl rocked this town called Sychar, and it was changed as all of these men got saved. I’m telling you, if we will all commit to the strategy – remember I said “You combine compassion with action and action with a strategy. This is where most churches drop the ball. You’ve got to have a strategy. If we embrace this strategy, I’m telling you, we can reach this city and we can win this battle for this city. We can win the battle for the next generation. We’ve all got to be hands in. If you’ve got a better strategy, I’ll take it.
Next week I’m going to talk about how to share your faith. That is next week. This week is when we all make it happen. We are all hands in. Sometimes I’ll ask you, “Are we all hand in?” We all put our hands out and say we are all in. Here is what I am going to ask you to do. If you are all hands in, go ahead and put your hands out, all over at all of our campuses. Then like a football team, I’m going to count to three. Our strategy is called invite. I want us to have a culture of inviting, inviting, inviting. So on the count of three, everybody say “Invite.” Like a football team. All hands in: INVITE.
I love you Christ Fellowship. God bless you!
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