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One at a Time - Zoom Lens, Part 1

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram
The Truth Network Radio
September 7, 2022 6:00 am

One at a Time - Zoom Lens, Part 1

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram

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September 7, 2022 6:00 am

Have you ever felt - deep down - your Christian life isn’t making much of a difference? Do you desire to do so much more for God, but you're not sure where to start? In this program, we begin a new series called “One at a Time” – taught by our friend and guest teacher Kyle Idleman. He’s gonna share how Jesus was a difference maker with His life, and how ordinary people like you and me can follow His example.

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Have you ever felt like down deep that you're really not doing enough for God?

Like your life really isn't making much of a difference? Well, we're going to start a brand new series today with my friend Kyle Adelman, and he's going to share how Jesus made a difference in a way that's available for ordinary people just like you and me. You don't want to miss it. Stay with me. Welcome to this Edition of Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. The mission of these daily programs is to intentionally disciple Christians through the Bible teaching of Chip Ingram.

I'm Dave Drouy. Thanks for joining us as we begin a new series called One at a Time, taught by our friend and guest teacher, Kyle Adelman. As society drifts further and further from the truth of God's Word, we realize it's vitally important to turn to biblically grounded voices like Kyle to share a different viewpoint for what we're experiencing. We believe that through his insight and the wisdom of our entire teaching team, we can better encourage and support Christians to really live like Christians. Now, for those who don't know, Kyle's a best-selling author, speaker, and lead pastor at Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky. We've invited Kyle back again to share this meaningful series, which is adapted from his popular book titled One at a Time. For the next several programs, he'll describe how we can genuinely engage and love people the way Jesus did.

I think you're really going to learn a lot. Okay, if you have a Bible, turn now to Luke chapter 15, as we begin by hearing Kyle's video introduction of this series at his church. I recently Googled the phrase, most impactful person in history. I guess I wasn't too surprised to find that Time Magazine has already put together a list, the top 100 most influential people to ever live. Start scrolling through the list, wondering where Jesus would be on it. And sure enough, right there at the top, number one, Jesus.

I'm not too surprised by that. I mean, even if you don't believe Jesus is the son of God, it's hard to deny the impact he's had on this world. Think about it this way. You can't even write down today's date without acknowledging that all of history is divided into the time leading up to his birth and the time since. You look back on it now, and his impact seems obvious. But when Jesus was born, it just didn't seem like he was put in a position to have that kind of impact. It didn't seem like things were in his favor to be a person with that kind of influence.

I mean, just think about it. Jesus was born the child of poor peasants. He grew up in this remote poe-dunk town, lived in obscurity for 30 years, did some work as a carpenter, never ventured more than a few hundred miles away from where he was born. He never went to college.

He was never voted into office, never had a title or a position that would have looked good on a resume. Jesus didn't have thousands of Facebook friends or millions of Instagram followers. He wasn't TikTok famous, didn't have a YouTube channel. He never tweeted.

I don't think he did. He never even had his own podcast. He was a homeless preacher. He spent a few years traveling around preaching.

He was arrested and he was sentenced to die a common criminal's death. And yet here we are, a couple of millennium later, and he is Time Magazine's most impactful person in the history of the world. And so the question for us is how did he do it?

And the conclusion I came to is one at a time, one at a time, like that's it. Jesus did life with a zoom lens. When someone stood in front of him, time stopped. Everything else in his life, all of his concerns and his agenda and his plans, his goals, his schedule for the day seemed to just be put on pause.

Everything seemed to just blur into the background. The only thing that mattered was the person standing in front of him. And Jesus changed the world one person at a time.

This is the way of the gospel. You've seen these before. This is a coin viewer. And it was created to help people focus in on something specific in the midst of a vast landscape.

They are built for the purpose of zooming in and staying focused on something that you wouldn't see if you're not looking through it. And I would just say one at a time living starts with a zoom lens. It starts with learning how to focus on the one. So this is the way that Jesus lived his life. Even when he was surrounded by crowds, he had a way of zooming in and seeing one person at a time. If you study the gospels, it's really quite surprising how many stories there are, just individual, seemingly random people that interact with Jesus.

Like a lot of the gospel real estate is committed to telling one at a time stories. I would argue that that should be true of our life as well. That if someone was going to tell our story, if someone was going to put together a biography of our lives, that we would want our lives to be marked by our one at a time opportunities, the one at a time moments that God gives us. And that begins with living life with this zoom lens, that we're able to focus in and see someone, like really see them. Maybe you've had a person do this for you in your life and you know the power of being seen, of being noticed, of being cared for at a certain time. But it's hard for us to live life with the zoom lens.

It's counterintuitive. We tend to live life with, maybe you might call it a selfie lens, that we focus on ourselves more than we focus on others. There's a psychologist, Martin Seligman, who is considered to be like the world's expert in happiness, which feels like a lot of pressure, but that's the field of study. That's what he spent his life studying is what makes us happy as humans. And he writes a lot about the happiness paradox or the irony of happiness, that we think what will make us happy is focusing on ourselves. Like intuitively, we just assume I'm not happy because I don't have enough of X. And if I just had more of that, like if I just had more, you fill in the blank, more money, more time, more chocolate, more pleasure, more whatever it is, if I just had more of this, then I'd be happy. That's how we tend to think of it. But he said it turns out that more is always a moving target.

We always think we'll be happy if we have more, but more is always like 10% away from whatever we have in the moment. And so the happiness paradox, as he explains it, is that it's not by putting ourselves at the center, it's not by focusing on ourselves that we find happiness, it's actually by focusing on other people. So he did this experiment where he had people in the study go out and do one selfish act, one thing they knew that would personally bring them pleasure. So I don't know what that would be for you, but maybe identify, like going to get ice cream at the store down the road, something like that.

Something simple, but something that would give you this momentary, temporary pleasure. And then he had the same people go out and do one purely altruistic act, something focused on other people. And then they did these tests and compared how those people responded after doing these two different things.

And here's what he writes, he says, the results were life-changing. The afterglow of the pleasurable or selfish activity, buying something at a store, ordering something online, watching a movie, eating a hot fudge sundae, whatever it was, paled in comparison with the effects of one selfless act for someone else. That's the happiness paradox. Most people would say, what's the purpose of life? They say, how to be happy. They think the way they're happy is by focusing on themselves.

But instead what we find is that it's a zoom lens. It's focusing on other people one at a time. It's not just counterintuitive to live this way, it's also countercultural, digital marketing experts say that we're exposed to like 5,000 ads a day. Not always aware of it, but about 5,000 ads. And every single ad begins with this assumption. The assumption is that you are missing something in your life and if you had it, you would be happier. That's what every ad focuses on. And so we have this idea in our consumer culture, and it's true of all of us, if I just keep clicking and scrolling, if I just keep ordering and subscribing, if I just keep dating, if I just keep at it, then I'm going to eventually find what will make me happy. But again, it's always consumption.

I need more. And our culture would tend to look at relationships as commodities. Like, I will do for you because I think you'll do for me. Like, I'm in this because I think I can get something out of it.

We tend to look at relationships that way. This isn't how Jesus lived his life. Instead, he had this way of seeing people one at a time, recognizing their need, having compassion on them and doing something about it. Turn to Luke chapter 15. Luke 15 records for us three different parables. The prodigal son is the last and the most well-known of the three. I want us to talk about the very first parable in Luke 15. It's known as the parable of the lost sheep. Now, all three parables have a rhythm to them.

They have this similar theme that Jesus sees, Jesus saves, and Jesus celebrates one at a time. That's who he is. That's who he's called us to be. That's the mission he's invited us to be a part of.

He sees, he saves, he celebrates. And so Luke 15, we begin with this parable of the lost sheep, but I want us to really focus in on who he's speaking it to. So let's look at the audience. Luke 15 says, now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathered around to hear Jesus. So this isn't your typical church crowd. Tax collectors and sinners would not even have been allowed in religious circles.

Like the typical rabbi wouldn't have accepted them into the audience. And yet what we find is that when Jesus is teaching, they're there. The tax collectors and sinners, here's what I want you to see. Jesus had a way of zooming in on the very people the religious community cropped out. Jesus had a way of zooming in on the very people the religious community would crop out. The tax collectors were the liars, the cheats. They had sold out their friends and family, worked for the Roman occupation, made money by stealing essentially from their own people.

So they were despised by the Jews in the first century. And then it says the sinners. Now, if you're thinking, well, isn't that everybody?

You're right. Like that's true. However, that's not how the religious community would categorize people. They would see sinners in a couple of different ways. People who sinned for a living, so like a prostitute as an example, or people who were known for a sin. Think in terms of the scarlet letter. Like their identity as a person was very much connected to something they did.

It's connected to the shame of their past. And so the religious community looks around and they see people that they categorize this way. Tax collectors and sinners. Verse 2 says, the Pharisees and teachers of the law, so these are the religious leaders, muttered, complained, whispered in critical tones amongst themselves, this man, Jesus, he welcomes sinners and he eats with them.

Yeah, he does. Like they meant this as a criticism, but this is why Jesus came. To seek and save that which was lost.

Jesus said, it's not the healthy who need a doctor, it's the sick. And so he does two things. He welcomes and he eats with them. Do you do that?

I really have to stop and ask myself, do I do that? I guess I could make a case for welcoming, but how often do I sit down and eat with them? By them, I mean people that the religious community would often not want to have anything to do with.

Because we're all sinners. The word welcome is an interesting word. It doesn't mean like a reluctant acceptance. It's an open-armed embrace. Really, the word would be used in a family context.

Is it like to welcome someone as family, as a close friend? And so these religious leaders watch as Jesus welcomes the tax collectors and the sinners like a father would welcome a son or a daughter coming back home. And they're not sure what to do with that. Now how did Jesus have that kind of vision for people? I think it's because he zoomed in and he saw them as a son and daughter, right? Like he doesn't just see a tax collector, he sees a son. And he knows the story of his son. And he knows that when he was a younger man, he just got off track and he didn't have much and he thought his life would be so much easier if he just had a little bit more money, if he just had some more stuff. And so in this moment that he wishes he could take back, he walked away, turned his back on his family and his friends and he went to work for the Romans as a tax collector.

Now that's who he is. He wishes he could do things differently, but he can't. Like there's no path back to the man that he knows God wants him to be. Until he sees Jesus. Jesus sees him. He doesn't just see a tax collector.

He zooms in and he sees a son. He doesn't just see a prostitute. He sees a daughter. And he knows. He knows that this isn't really what she chose. He knows about the abuse. He knows about the objectification. He knows the way that she's been treated. And he looks and he sees something in her that nobody else. He sees a daughter. Some of my favorite moments in the Gospels are when Jesus unexpectedly refers to someone as a son or a daughter.

As a father, I understand I'd do anything. I earlier this week dropped off my youngest daughter at the airport. She'd been home for the holidays, but she was flying to Brazil to do some mission work with an organization there for the next few months. And she flew into this city, one of the largest cities in the world. I didn't know exactly that, that she'd be in this huge city. And then on the way there, she's telling me that they're going to spend some time in the Amazon next month going to these different tribes and handing out Bibles.

And as a dad, I'm listening to this in my mind. And since then on paper, I'm collecting all the contacts I have in Brazil, right? Like putting them on speed dial. And I have insurance where if something goes wrong, the plane can go in and just pick her up. Like, I don't know about everybody else, but we're going to get her out. If something goes wrong, I'm going to get her home. And then, you know, I downloaded a Portuguese app so I could learn to say the phrase, you know, what I do have is a very special set of skills in Portuguese.

I want to be able to say that in Portuguese. So I'm working on that. The last thing I did before she got on, I made sure that her location services were on my phone so I can track her. And I slipped a little Apple tag into her backpack without telling her. So if she's going through the Amazon, I'm like, okay, I see you. And if you see me on my phone, you're like, why is he on his phone? What's he doing on his phone?

That's what I'm doing. I'm just seeing where she's at. She's 5,031 miles away from me right now, but I know where she is. And I know how I can get to her.

Why? Because she's my daughter, right? And this is how God sees you, that there are billions of people in the world, but he sees you as his son, as his daughter. St. Augustine says he loves each of us as if there were only one of us.

That's how he loves you. The religious leaders didn't understand it. Like, this isn't how they saw people. So Jesus wants them to better understand his perspective and how he sees people. On our Unleashed magazine is one of our long-time ministry partners.

His name is Loyal Thurman. And Loyal started a ministry, I think a couple of decades ago, where he reaches people who are part of the underground subculture. So atheists, agnostics, neo-pagans, witches, Satanists.

And in the article, I love what he said. He said, we go to groups who don't like Christians specifically. That's who they target. God opens doors for us to be good friends with these people. We live life with them. They are far from church and far from God, but he put a love in our hearts for them. They are our friends. And some people think they are unreachable.

That is not true. Nothing is lost. If God says it's not lost, he always goes after the one.

Wow. Those are really powerful words from my friend and teacher, Kyle Idleman. You know, I don't know about you, but there's people in my life that I've so longed to impact and I so often has felt like I need to do something great or, or know more or say more. That son or daughter that's wayward right now, that's not walking with the Lord, that, you know, they were raised in your home, maybe even sent them to a Christian school and, and now their behavior, their life, their attitude toward God, it just so breaks your heart. And you just think, you know, what did I do wrong?

Or what can I do now? You know, I was listening to this and I thought of a time when one of my kids went through a real season of rebellion. And I remember just crying in my car as one of my kids said, Dad, I just don't believe in your God. And I really like you as a dad.

I just wish you weren't a Christian. And I mean, it was like a knife in my heart. And what I realized was only God could move in the life of my son. But what he needed from me was someone that kept taking him out to breakfast.

What he needed was for me to not reject him, not try to convince him, not be pushy, but to stay in his life. And in this series, what I want to encourage you we're going to learn is how to address people one at a time. It's building real relationships. It's listening and encouraging and, and without compromising what we believe is true or right or moral, it's really getting under the skin of the people that we love and identifying with them, asking them questions, getting close to them, figuring out ways, regardless of what their response is right now, to keep the communication open. As I read Kyle's book and as I have listened to this series, it brought just a new dynamic in my mind and my heart about how to remove all the noise and just address the person in front of you in a way that lets them know that they matter.

If they don't know the Lord, God sees them as one He's made and one He loves and He wants us to treat them the way He feels about them. As we do that, little by little, we're going to learn together. God's at work and He can use us.

Great word, Chip. Well, I hope you'll join us for each message in this new series. And if you'd like more information about Kyle's book One at a Time, go to LivingOnTheEdge.org or call us at 888-333-6003. This resource will challenge you to better love people and reveal how God can use each and every one of us to change this world. Now to order your copy of One at a Time, call 888-333-6003 or go to LivingOnTheEdge.org.

Atlas Nurse taps special offers. Well, Chip, as you mentioned a minute ago, this series is focused on how we can engage people one on one, because that's really the best way to talk to them about Jesus. But the fact is, there's a lot of hostility out there against Christians and the Bible. So before we wrap up, give us some insight into how believers should respond to the aggression we're facing.

I'd be glad to, Dave. I think as Christians we see two responses, neither of which is going to bring about long-term positive change. And one is a combativeness, an anger, a sort of the culture is the enemy. And the other is what I call, instead of being combatant, we capitulate. And so go with the flow.

You know, who am I to judge? Let's just all be loving. And so the one has truth with no grace, and the other has grace with no truth. And so at Living on the Edge, we've spent the last 20 years developing resources, whether it's audio or books or teaching or CDs or my favorite, small group material, to help people live out truth and grace. And we've had very generous people partner with us to create all those resources, to pay for airtime, to hire staff. We are living in a day where if Christians do not live like Christians, we will see America go right down the tubes. And so there's never been a day when we need to do more, and we can't do more without the prayers and the financial support of our Living on the Edge partners.

And so if you've never given to Living on the Edge, let me tell you, now is a wonderful, wonderful time. We will be true to Scripture, and we will be true to equip people to live out both grace and truth and the power of the Holy Spirit. So thank you for those of you that support us. Please continue to do so. And for those of you that have not, I would highly encourage you, get on board today. We can make a difference together. Thanks, Chip. Well, as you prayerfully consider your role with this ministry, I want to remind you that every gift is significant.

When you partner with Living on the Edge, you multiply our efforts and resources in ways that only God can do. Make your donation at livingontheedge.org or through the Chip Ingram app. Or if it's easier, you can text the word donate to 741 41. That's donate to 741 41.

We appreciate your help. As we close, are you looking to get even more plugged in with Living on the Edge and our resources? Well, then let me encourage you to check out the Chip Ingram app. There you can listen to our most recent series, sign up for daily discipleship, and so much more. We want to help you grow in your walk with Jesus, and the Chip Ingram app is a great way to immerse yourself in Godly, enriching content. And join us again next time as our guest teacher, Kyle Eidelman, continues his series one at a time. Until then, this is Dave Druey saying thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-28 22:01:08 / 2023-02-28 22:10:36 / 9

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