Crossover 10/7/2020

THE BIG IDEA

We Can Grow Together

THE BIBLE

John 15:4

Click Here to Read the Full Message:

QUESTION: Have you ever been on a mission to accomplish something?

STORY: Share a time you were on a mission. (Uganda) (Dr Pepper Cream Soda)

 

Our entire church, from kids to adults, is working through a series together called commUnity. It is really about who we feel God has called us to be as a church and what we believe He has called us to do. That is called a vision statement.

 

QUESTION: Does anyone know the vision statement for our church?

To make fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ of all People

 

That is the reason our Church exists and everything we do aims towards that goal.

 

QUESTION: Does anyone know the vision statement for Crossover Youth?

To Crossover from death to life

 

We went over it last week. We believe that everyone is born in need of Jesus, and through faith in Him we can truly live.

 

Over the next four weeks we ill be discussing how to practically complete that mission:

  1. GROWING
  2. CONNECTING
  3. SERVING
  4. SHARING

 

Today we are talking about Growing close to Jesus.

 

QUESTION: What does it mean to Grow close to Jesus?

 

The Bible tells us over and over that Jesus wants us to know Him. A lot of times people think that means you must have a ton of Bible knowledge. We think if we just memorized enough scripture (Like John 5:24) we will be close to God.

Or if we know all the right answers, and can talk using big theological words, or if our prayers sound cool and official we are somehow closer to God.

Or we sometimes equate behaving well as being close to God. Or that its just something for pastors or super Christians.

 

While some of those are good things, you can do them all without really knowing Jesus.

 

What does it mean to really know someone? Let us work through a few analogies to figure it out.

 

Analogy 1:

Look at this picture: Shout out anyone you recognize.

 

So out of this sea of random faces, there are a few you see, and you know them. You can tell them from somebody else. But does that mean you know them?

Like Carll for example, he is in there, and yet none of us have ever met him or spoken to him. I got to talk to Andy once, and even his wife Lilly. But never Carll. I have watched him religiously (pun intended) for over year, these Crossover T-shirts (available for a $15 donation to STL) are made by him, and even got his devotional. But do I know him? I would say no.

 

Analogy 2:

Trivia Game

Let us play some trivia. Everybody stands up. You will see some questions come up, and there will be multiple answers. For question you get right you can keep standing. As soon as you get one wrong though, you must sit down.

Let us see how well you guys know me:

 

So out of everyone, you were able to answer the most questions about me. But even then, you didn’t know everything. Does being able to answer facts about someone mean you know them? That is part of it, but it takes more.

 

I found this definition online:

Knowing someone is about shared experiences, knowing their mannerisms and quirks. Being able to anticipate their reaction to things — to know what makes them angry and how they act when they are upset, what sparks their passion and what that passion looks like, and how they show love.

 

Knowing someone is almost indescribable. Its more then recognizing them and being able to say their favorite color. It’s not really something you can learn or force. It must happen naturally. It must GROW.

Think about your best friend, or your parents, or maybe your siblings or a cousin. Someone you feel close too. Why are you close? How did you get close? It may have had a starting point, but it did not happen in a day.

It was over a period, with multiple experiences, some good, some bad. You learned facts about them, and you learned what makes them happy or sad.

Sometimes you may even be able to tell what they are thinking.

 

Knowing other and being truly known and accepted for who we are is one of the deepest desires of every person. We want to be wanted, we want to be liked, we want to feel like we belong.

 

It is a process, but there are no instructions. Its natural, it must GROW.

 

And today what I really want to hit home is that it is the same way with God. Its no less natural, its no more a formula. We say all the time it’s not a religion it’s a relationship. This is what we mean. That we are not just learning a bunch of facts or trying to please an ancient dead Jewish man.

 

We believe God is active and alive, that He wants to know us and be known by us. That is why we must grow close to Jesus.

 

John 15:4 New American Standard Bible

4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.

Has anyone ever heard this verse before? Yeah, it’s a popular one.

 

Here is what it is talking about: Tree Picture

Jesus was using the example of a grape vine, but I think tree branches are more common for us. Jesus is saying he is the vine, he is the trunk, the main part of the tree. It is what gives life to the branches and leaves and fruit.

On the branch, which is us, there can grow fruit. In the analogy fruit is good works, nice things we do, when we show love, when we treat others better than our selves.

Jesus wants us to do those things, but we can’t on our own. Just like the branch can’t grow fruit without being connected to the tree, so we can’t truly love or fulfill our purpose in life unless we are connected to Jesus.

 

Let’s look at the whole passage this verse comes from in the NLT:

John 15 New Living Translation

15 “I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. 3 You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.

5 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. 6 Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. 7 But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! 8 When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.

 

Those things we listed before as ways to grow in God: Bible reading, praying, worship, serving, love, good deeds, godly behavior, they are all fruit.

 

Jesus didn’t say bear fruit so you can know me. He said know me so you can bear fruit.

 

When you look at a fruit tree, do you see the fruit or the roots? You only see the fruit. You can’t see the roots.

 

That’s how our lives are too. I can’t by looking at you, see how close you are to Jesus. And you can’t tell how close I am by looking at me.

 

We can see the fruit, we can see how people live their lives, how they spend their time and money, how they talk and treat others. And often, those things are a good indicator of how much someone knows Jesus. But they are a symptom, not the cause.

Good fruit is a sign of good roots, but roots will produce bad fruit.

 

Just an unseeable as the roots of a tree, describing what it means to know someone isn’t possible.

You can point to facts about them, you can pick them out of a crowd. But truly knowing someone isn’t something that can be put into words.

Truly know God and being known by Him is the greatest experience in this life. Yet there is no amount of words I can use to convince you. Its not something I can do for you, and its not something that can be forced. It’s joy and peace and love, its feeling free of the past, it is having a hop for the future. Its waking up wanting to be alive and being glad you are. It’s a feeling of purpose and self-worth and security. Its all that and more.

 

To Grow Close to Jesus We Need to:

  1. Want to.
  2. Do things.

 

That’s it. That’s all there is to it. It’s not complicated. Go home. Jk. I think sometimes we make it complicated. With lists of things to do and say and what not to.

 

How do you become friends with someone? Well first you must want to, and then you do stuff together.

 

You must want to grow close to God. I can’t make you, your parents can’t, no one can. It’s a decision you must make. Maybe right now you don’t feel like you want to. Maybe you want to want to, but you don’t. That’s okay.

 

None of us can do it with out the Holy Spirit anyway. Ask Him to help you to want to.

 

Then do things.

Relationships are built on shared experiences. There are multiple things we can do to experience God, and we will talk about some ideas in small group.

 

First, I want to ask you though: What makes you feel close to God?

 

What are times in your life that you felt close to God? What things have made you feel close to God?

 

I knew everyone’s relationship with God was different, but recently I learned about this book about the 8 different ways people experience God.

None of these are right or wrong, and we should all experience each of them. But there will probably be one that seems the most natural to you.

8 Ways to Grow Close to God

 

 

  1. VISION

Visionary people love God by dreaming a great dream. They are future oriented people who focus on what can be. Missions energize them, and they love to be a part of something bigger. Visionaries are not content to sit still – they prefer to gather others and point them in a better direction.

 

  1. RELATIONSHIPS

When you walk the pathway of relationships, you love God best by being around other people. These people struggle to pray on their own in quiet, and flourish in prayer with a group who shares their same spiritual journey. They are energized by the socialization that happens at a church gathering and feel closest to God when they are with others who love God, too.

 

  1. INTELLECTUAL THOUGHT

Intellectual path walkers seek God with their minds and delight in studying new ideas and models that bring them closer to God. Faith is something to be analyzed and understood as much as experienced. Books that bring a fresh understanding help these intellectual path-goers feel closest to God.

 

  1. SERVICE

These people love God by loving others. By meeting the needs of others, they become the most energized. You will often find people who walk the pathway of service busy helping others; the hungry, the ill, and the forgotten. These “caregivers” feel closest to God when they are helping those who need it most.

 

  1. CONTEMPLATION

Near and quiet are two words to describe those who walk the path of contemplation. These people are seeking ways to be close to God in a quiet pursuit. Contemplators listen to God through private meditation and prayers and rest in God’s presence. They are not wanting to explain God with intellectual concepts as much as they are seeking to be near Him.

 

  1. ACTIVISM

Activists feel closest to God when they are fighting for a cause. They are at war with injustice and feel comfortable with confrontation. Activists are often energized by tough situations as they take their stand against evil in the world. They resonate with Jesus when he cleansed the temple, and they aspire to change the world with heartfelt convictions.

 

  1. NATURE

Those who walk the pathway of nature feel closest to God when they are outdoors. These believers are moved by creation. A walk through the woods, hiking, or enjoying an open meadow spiritually inspire these naturalists. After all, naturalists see God best by surrounding themselves with His beautiful creation.

 

  1. WORSHIP

Are you inspired by joyful celebration? Then you likely walk the path of worship. Worshipers are enthusiastic supporters of God and show this by singing, dancing, clapping their hands and shouting “Amen!”

 

In a moment we are going to break into small groups and discuss how to grow close to God every day. But first I want us all to take a moment to reflect and think about what makes us feel close to God. If you never have, then I encourage you today to decide you want to. Tell God that and ask Him to help you.

Let’s Pray.

SUMMARY:

When you look at a fruit tree, do you see the fruit or the roots? You only see the fruit. You can’t see the roots.

 That’s how our lives are too. I can’t by looking at you, see how close you are to Jesus. And you can’t tell how close I am by looking at me.

 We can see the fruit, we can see how people live their lives, how they spend their time and money, how they talk and treat others. And often, those things are a good indicator of how much someone knows Jesus. But they are a symptom, not the cause.

Good fruit is a sign of good roots, but bad roots will produce bad fruit.

To Grow Close to Jesus We Need to:

  1. Want to.
  2. Do things.

How do you become friends with someone? Well first you must want to, and then you do stuff together. Relationships are built on shared experiences. 

 You must want to grow close to God. I can’t make you, your parents can’t, no one can. It’s a decision you must make.

 

TALKING POINTS:

  • Who knows you best?
  • Who would you like to know?
  • What makes you feel close to God?
    • Why?
  • What are some things we can do everyday to grow closer to God?
    • Help students think of practical answers they can do every day.
  • READ: Colossians 2:7 “Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.”
    • How do we build our lives on Jesus?
    • What does “strong faith” look like?
    • Why is thankfulness important?

WEEKLY CHALLENGE: This week, read at least one Bible chapter a day. If you do not know where to start, the gospel of John is a great choice. We will talk about what we read next week.

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