It’s Superbowl Sunday…
I want to get a few things out of the way. Some of you have been asking for a special prayer and blessing for the Bengals. I just want you to know this…
It’s gonna be that kind of day today…
A couple of weeks ago, we had one of our Super Bowls. Did you know your church has different super bowls? Three weekends throughout the year where it’s “all hands on deck” and we’re hyper-focused and aligned... Christmas, Easter, and The Big Chill!
(I want to bring up our Yth Movement Leader, The Big Lebowski of Student Ministry, Fairfield’s favorite son…REED SAPP (student story and personal take away)
So proud of what God is doing through our YTH team and all the students involved.
God’s up to something…
Last week was a big week… our RSVP weekend. I’m overwhelmed by the number of people that said, “I’m IN”…
You’ll be hearing from me soon. You’ll get the inside track of what’s coming up and where we’re going.
Some fun comments were left on the RSVP cards. One card said “I’m IN… Not today Satan.” This one said, “Wooohooo… Let’s Gooooo Team Jesus!” Another one said, “I’m so proud to call this my church.” One of my favorites, they said, “I’m IN… I’m a misfit.”
If you weren’t here or if you haven’t yet filled out your RSVP card yet… please do so today!
You can use this QR code, and if you’re watching online, you can click on the link in the comments right now.
God is up to something. I can’t wait to see what God is gonna keep doing in and through us. He’s up to something.
Today, we are embarking on a new series called “FOR EveryONE.”
The heart of this series is to point us to the mission of Jesus. So, first question…
Who was Jesus FOR?
The Bengals or the Rams? What are the odds… did you take them… what’s your bookie have to say… who’s he for?
I don’t know if Jesus is for the Bengals or the Rams, but I know he’s FOR the bookie!
He’s for the broken. He’s for the misfit. He’s for the least, lost, lonely, and less-thans.
At some point in time, we’ve all identified with one, if not ALL, of those categories. Some of us just hide it better than others, but we’ve all been there and some of you ARE there. I want you to know that Jesus is for you.
“I have come to bring good news to the poor, to set the captives free, to make the blind see, and to bring freedom to the oppressed.” Luke 4:18
“I have come to save the world, not condemn it.” John 3:17
“I have come to seek and save the lost.” Luke 19:10
There is nothing that can separate you from the love of Jesus. (Romans 8:39)
I’m baffled by the lengths he goes to, to redeem us… the lengths he ALREADY went to redeem and restore you and me.
You… me… people. WE are the point… we are his mission.
So, if we want to be a church of misfits that is following Jesus then we’ve got to go where he went and love who he loved and be FOR who he was FOR. His mission and his ways have to become our mission and our ways. If his mission was people, then our mission is people. And who was his mission for… who was he for? EVERYONE.
In the book of Acts, a book dedicated to the actions and acts of the early church, we read about Jesus giving his final instructions to Team Jesus.
ACTS 1:8 - "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere-in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
These are our marching orders. This is our mission.
Jesus tells us, it starts with Jerusalem.
Now, the Bible is not telling you to pack your bags and go be a missionary to Jerusalem. The holy spirit might, but that’s not what this text is saying.
When Jesus says it starts with Jerusalem, he’s speaking to 1st-century disciples who, for the most part, have oriented their personal lives around Jerusalem.
So, what is Jesus saying to us?
Well, it starts with you. Do you know that Jesus is FOR YOU? I’ll come back to this…
It starts with you and your Jerusalem. You and the place you live. The circle around you. The places and people you orient your life around.
Be a witness right where you are.
Be for the people that are right in your sphere of influence. Show them mercy, forgiveness, love, compassion, grace, and goodness.
That is being a good witness. That is sharing the good news.
But, it doesn’t stop there, right? We’re supposed to be witnesses beyond our comfort zone, right??
How do I know this? Because Jesus didn’t just say be a witness in Jerusalem (PERIOD). End of sentence, end of chapter, and scene. NO! He goes on to say… "Tell people about me everywhere-in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
Throughout Judea… (this is next week). For us, this means being a witness in the community around us.
In Samaria… (two weeks from now). This means being a witness in nearby places and cities filled with people that ARE NOT LIKE YOU.
"Jesus, are you telling me you want me to share the good news and be a witness to people that aren’t like me that I don’t necessarily like, let alone love?" YES!!!!!! HE DIED FOR THEM….
Then Jesus says don’t stop there… be my witnesses around the world… to the ends of the earth… (three weeks from now).
How will we use all that we have at our disposal to intentionally witness around the world?
These are our marching orders as a community of faith.
I’m sure a lot of you have seen this pic of Money Mac (Evan McPherson)…
I love how he is using his platform to be a witness, to stir a conversation, to point people back to Jesus.
Today, I’m focusing on our Jerusalem.
What does it mean for us to be for THE ONE?
In John chapter 4, Jesus shows us what it means to be for the ONE. We read that Jesus is on his way to Galilea, but he decides to go out of his way to Samaria. This is not a normal place for a Jew to go, there’s serious history and racial tension between Jews and Samaritans. Jews would go out of their way to make sure they never had to go through Samaria.
After years of battling and wars between these two regions, the population of Samaria was made up of a mixed-race of people that were part Assyrian and part Jewish. This mixed-race was despised by pure Jews.
So why would a good Jewish rabbi go somewhere that no rabbi would go?
In John 4:4 it says, "He had to go through Samaria on the way."
He had to go. Why? Why did he have to go to Samaria? For THE ONE.
Jesus goes to Samaria, sits down at a well, and waits for a woman.
Verse 6-9: "Jesus, tired from the long walk, sat wearily beside the well about noontime. Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Please give me a drink.” He was alone at the time because his disciples had gone into the village to buy some food. The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?”
Now, let me tell you something about this woman. First, we don’t know her name, so let’s call her Samantha from Samaria.
So, Samantha's coming out in the middle of the day. “Noontime."
The only reason you would go to the well in the middle of the day in a hot climate is so nobody else would be there, because you're ashamed to be seen in public.
So, she's going out in the middle of the day to get some water at a time when she doesn't think anybody else will see her... because she's thirsty.
She's not just thirsty for water. She's thirsty. Thirsty in the Urban Dictionary kind of way, ya know.
She’s been a little too eager to get some things… relationships, intimacy, compliments, attention, validation, success, status. Thirsty.
Jesus sits by this well, goes where no good rabbi should go, by himself, because his boys went to LaRosa’s without him. And he’s waiting for a woman, because this woman is THE ONE.
He’s going to use this moment at THIS well with THIS woman to show all of us what being for THE ONE looks like.
Jesus goes to this well to change this woman’s life and to invite her into His Kingdom mission, even though she’s lived a life that religious people condemn.
Isn’t it GOOD NEWS that our purpose and potential aren’t based on the perfection of our past??
Listen… Your RIGHT NOW does not define your NOT YET.
Jesus sees Samantha at the well, knows how he’s about to turn her life upside down, so he keeps it big chill and he says, "Hey, girl… can I have a drink?”
She didn't know what to do with that approach, so she got really deep and starts to deflect, because that’s what we do when God starts to speak to a place in our life that we haven’t let him into yet, right? We deflect…
So, Samantha’s all like, "Hey, how is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman from Samaria?" In other words, "I know you’re not talking to me!"
We do this too sometimes, right?
Some of y'all listen to me preach and get all worked up, and you think “Man, I hope my wife is hearing this.”
I'm talking to you, bro. Are you hearing this? With your thirsty self…
Everybody, online and in the room… 4 years from now watching this from our archives on YouTube… everyone is thirsty.
Some of y'all thirsty for success...
Thirsty for sex...Thirsty for attention, validation, compliments… every single one of us is thirsty.
Thirsty for religion...
Thirsty for attention, validation, compliments... every single one of us is thirsty.
It's not a sin to be thirsty. But, where you go to get your fill determines whether or not your soul will be satisfied.
Where do you go for validation and acceptance? Don’t you dare give me your ‘Sunday churchy answer’…
What well are you going to, to get your fill?
The gym? “If I just look a certain way, then… (I’ll be attractive enough for someone to want to be with me).”
Tik Tok? “If I just post the perfect video, then… (I’ll feel the love and attention that I crave…).”
The office? “If I just get that promotion, then… (I’ll finally prove to my dad that I’m not a failure).”
The neighbor? “If I gossip just enough with them, then… (I won’t feel so bad about how I’m doing…).”
What is your WELL?
We all dip our buckets somewhere… don’t act like you don’t. You made the mistake of asking me to be your friend on Facebook. You’ve given your pastor a peek into where you’re dipping your bucket. You do know other people can see what you post, right?!?
It breaks my heart to see how thirsty and hurting our community is. So desperate for others to validate our opinions on whatever the most recent political or social issue is… thinking that… what? If enough people like my post or join me in my opinion, this will somehow validate my existence?!
How is that bringing about unity in the body let alone going after THE ONE?!? It’s not… it’s just thirsty. You’re thirsty because your well’s run dry.
Chances are, you’ve been taking your bucket to one of three wells that over promise and under deliver. People, Politics, Porn.
They’re like snickers and Gatorade. They don’t satisfy or quench your thirst. They’re just sugary and sweet. They taste and feel good for a moment, but they only leave you thirsty, needing more. You’re going to the wrong well. Broken wells only leave us broken.
The only one who can make things different... who can actually change things, who can actually satisfy the desires of your heart...the only one who can actually deliver is JESUS. The author and perfecter of our faith. The only one who offers us living water that will help us never thirst again.
So Jesus says to Samantha, “I need a drink...” she’s all like “why are you talking to me?” Verse 10-11…
Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.” “But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket,” she said, “and this well is very deep. Where would you get this living water?"
Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.” “Please, sir,” the woman said, “give me this water! Then I’ll never be thirsty again, and I won’t have to come here to get water.”
The woman said, "Sir, if there's some kind of water, if there's some bottomless well with free refills, give me this water so I won't have to keep coming back here."
So I won’t have to keep making this walk of shame to the well...
So I won't have to keep killing myself at the office...
So I won't have to keep sexting that boy...
So I won’t have to keep looking to others for my value and validation…
So I won't have to keep being so thirsty...
Jesus is like, ok, I can help, but first….
Verse 16 - "Go and get your husband."
And Samantha says, “See… what had happened was…”
Verse 17 - “I don’t have a husband,” the woman replied."
Which is true, but it's not the total truth. You know how you do?
Verse 18 - Jesus said, “You’re right! You don’t have a husband—for you have had five husbands, and you aren’t even married to the man you’re living with now. You certainly spoke the truth!”
Jesus is trying to tell her…
Before we can move forward, we’ve got to be honest with where we’ve been.
See, we have to invite Jesus into the honest dark places of our lives so he can shine a light on them. So he can break the chains that are holding you back from becoming who He created you to be. You’ve got to invite Jesus and his people into the real you. The messy you. The seriously messed up you.
Stop hiding. Stop putting up a façade like you’ve got it all together.
Stop thinking if you just hide it no one will find out. If I just take my bucket to this well, no one will know. If I just take my bucket over here, they’ll think everything’s ok.
Stop bringing your empty bucket to empty wells.
Samantha’s whole life is turned upside down and transformed because Jesus showed up for HER… the REAL her, and invited her into something new.
Verse 28 - The woman left her water jar beside the well and ran back to the village, telling everyone…
Jesus went to THE ONE, Samantha… the one nobody wanted anything to do with and now look at her, she’s living out Acts 1:8 being a witness, telling everyone about HIM everywhere.
Verse 28 says she left her bucket and ran…
She used to walk with shame, now she runs with a Savior.
When you follow Jesus… THINGS CAN CHANGE!
Samantha came to a well, thirsty, with a bucket, but after meeting Jesus, she left her bucket and ran to tell everyone she could. She didn’t need a bucket anymore, because she was the bucket.
Why does this matter? Before we can be sent out to go after THE ONE, we gotta make sure we’re going to the right well. Otherwise, we’re just pouring out our brokenness into someone else’s bucket.
Are you going to the right well? Are you taking the living water to THE ONE?
Jesus showed up in Samantha’s life and he invited her into a new life… a kingdom life.
Who is the ONE person that you could show up for… and invite in? If we are FOR everyone who is that ONE for you?
Will you show up in their life, will you go to the places they go, and hang out with them where they hang out? Will you invite them into your life? Your REAL life? Will you invite them into a relationship that will change everything?