I'd like you to stop right now and think of that one person that you love so much but they're not walking with the Lord. And every attempt that you've made so far is just futile.
It's not working. Now stay with me because we're going to learn today how you can be used by God to get under that person's skin, touch their heart, and see God begin to work in them. You don't want to miss today's message. Welcome to this Edition of Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. Chip's our Bible teacher for this daily discipleship program, Motivating Christians to Live Like Christians. I'm Dave Druey, and we're in the middle of a new series called One at a Time, taught by our guest teacher, Kyle Eidelman. So if you've missed any part of this series up to this point, you can catch up any time at livingontheedge.org or by listening on the Chip Ingram app. For those who don't know, Kyle's a best-selling author, speaker, and lead pastor at Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky.
Today, he's in Mark Chapter 4. So if you have a Bible handy, turn there now as we join Kyle for his message in Then Through. I really believe that deep down, we all want to live significant lives. I don't think anybody would say, hey, I just want to be a time waster, space taker, game player, binge watcher, church attender, book reader. I want to do more than that. I want to be a difference maker, but we're not sure how to do it. Maybe you've tried in some ways and it really hasn't worked out how you thought it would. Maybe you're in a relationship with someone and you're trying to impact them, maybe a friendship, maybe as a parent, maybe in your marriage. You're trying to lead them, trying to love them in a way that would bring out some good things. But it doesn't seem to be working very well and you're not sure what to do about it and maybe you're a little bit discouraged.
So where do you start? How is it that God uses us to change the world? Well, there's this in, then through rhythm that we see consistently in Scripture.
It's the way of the kingdom. It's in and then through. That God does work in us and then as he does work in us, he begins to accomplish some things through us.
If you're like me, you kind of want to skip the in part and go straight to the through part. Like God used me today in some significant way. I want to make a difference today. And God says, well, there's some things I need to do in you first. And I don't always have the patience for that.
Don't always have the desire for that. I want to be used by God. God, what do you want to do through me? And God keeps coming back and saying, here's some things I want to do in you. And yet what I have discovered oftentimes the hard way is that what God does in me, he will do through me.
And I think that's true for you. I think it's true for us as a church that there's some things God wants to do in us. And as some things happen in us, we start to see him do his work through us. So for some of you listening to this, like your greatest desire, maybe as a parent is to spiritually impact your kids, but you're trying to lead them in a place where you yourself are not going and it's not going to work. Like it's got to be in you and then it'll be through you.
And so I want us to talk about that for a little while. This one at a time way that God works through us, but it starts in us. I'll just start by being honest with you that I have long wanted God to do things through me, but one of the ways I've resisted his work in me is when it comes to loving people one at a time. I mean, now people are my favorite part of being a pastor. I love getting a front row seat to see how God works in someone's life. Now I love it when someone I don't know stops me and tells me their God story, their testimony of how God has redeemed, how God has healed, how God has brought back hope into their lives.
I love that, but I haven't always loved it. In fact, when I first came here as a pastor more than 20 years ago, it was something I really struggled with. I came from a new church in Southern California that I had planted. And in that new church, I could stand up to preach and look out and I pretty much knew everyone.
Like I could tell you their name and tell you their story. I knew them, they knew me. But then I came here and it wasn't really that way. Like there were a lot of people at first it was exciting, but then it became overwhelming because everywhere I went, like there you were. And I didn't process it very well. It felt a little overwhelming to me. And so I found myself starting to avoid people, which isn't great if you're a pastor. Anytime as a pastor you think, I would love the church if it wasn't for all those people, like there's a problem.
And so I found myself, again, 20 years ago, so I don't mind sharing it, but I found myself at first avoiding people. And so I remember going to Kroger. By the way, it's Kroger. It's not Kroger's. Stop saying Kroger's. And if you're going to more, look, if you're going to go to more than one Kroger, that's fine. You can say Kroger's.
But unless you're going to multiple Kroger stores, it's just Kroger. Like you're probably the same people who want me to preach out of Revelations. There's no such book as Revelations.
It's Revelation. Stop adding S's to things that are not plural. You're probably the same people who eat a burrito from the middle.
Like it's not how you do it. So anyway, sometimes I get annoyed with people. And I was at Kroger. I was at Kroger. I was walking through the aisle and I thought I might run into one of you all there. You knew me, but I didn't know you.
And that made me feel anxious. And so I got on my phone, real phone, but had a pretend phone call the whole time I was in there. The whole time I'm walking through Kroger, I'm like, hey, yeah, hey, babe. Yeah, I'm at Kroger.
Yeah, what can I get for you while I'm here? I'm just talking to no one, trying to avoid people. That's not healthy. And then I went from avoiding people to being annoyed by people. Not great if you're a pastor. And so I was asked to go visit a small group here in the church.
They had some questions about a study they were going through and I'd went, but mostly because it was part of the job, not because my heart was in it. And so I showed up at the small group and we finished kind of watching the clock. Finally, I'm done. The person in charge of the small group says, hey, we want to circle up for prayer. And I think I've made an audible noise like, ugh. Not what you want to hear from the pastor when you say let's pray.
But again, just being honest 20 years ago. And so we stood in the circle for prayer and we held hands with one another. I was holding hands with this guy who during the prayer would squeeze my hand during the parts of the prayer that he really agreed with. Like that's how he amened it. Every time somebody prayed something that he liked or thought was true, like, amen, amen, amen. And then his hands started sweating and he kept squeezing.
So now I'm standing next to the sweaty squeezer and just getting more and more angry in my soul. And I knew something had to change. Like this isn't what God has called me to do. I knew he wanted to do something through me.
I felt called to be a pastor and I knew God wanted to use me in some ways but I recognized in that moment there's some things that God needed to do in me because I didn't see people the way that Jesus saw people. And so I began to pray a prayer that I've prayed for over 20 years. Jesus, give me your eyes for the one. Help me to see people the way that you see people. And I discovered that the secret of Jesus when he was surrounded by crowds and always with people who had these needs and expectations is he would focus in on the one.
Unapologetically, he would focus in on the one. And I began to pray, Jesus, would you help me to see people the way you do? Would you disciple me to love people the way that you love people? And one of the things I would tell you is part of being a disciple of Christ, part of growing in spiritual maturity is how you love others. Like sometimes we think of discipleship as gaining information and behavior modification. We tend to define discipleship that way, maybe subconsciously, but gaining information I know more things theologically, biblically than I did before and behavior modification.
I've stopped doing these things, I've started doing these other things, but I would say that maybe the greatest test of discipleship is how you love others. It's how you love others. And Jesus wants to disciple us to love people the way that he loved people. And you see this throughout the New Testament when it came to the disciples.
They had to grow in this. They were irritated, frustrated, annoyed by people again and again and again and again. Jesus says, no, this is how you see people.
This is how you love people. So I jotted down a few examples in the gospels. Matthew 14, Jesus is teaching a crowd of thousands. The disciples realize that the people are hungry. Their solution is to suggest to Jesus, hey, the people are hungry, send these people away so that they can get something to eat.
It's not our problem. So send them away, let them get some food. And Jesus says that Jesus had compassion on the crowd and he fed them, cared for each one of their needs. And then you go to Matthew chapter 15 and a Canaanite woman cries out to the Lord, have mercy on me, my daughter is suffering.
And verse 22 says, then his disciples urged Jesus to send her away. Tell her to go away. She's bothering us with all of her begging. Do you hear what's happened in their hearts?
That they have spent a lot of time around a lot of people with a lot of needs and they're just done. Would you just tell her to be quiet? She's bothering us with her begging. And Jesus stops and he loves her like a daughter. He cares for her.
He heals her daughter. Matthew 19, little children are brought to Jesus so he could pray for them and bless them. The disciples are annoyed.
It's a busy day. They've got a lot on the calendar, things they need to do, appointments they need to keep and they tell the children, not today, doesn't have time today. They rebuke the children and Jesus rebukes them.
No, no, no, no. Let the children come to me. And again and again, you just see this in scripture where the disciples have to be discipled to love people the way Jesus did. That there were some things that need to happen in them so that God could accomplish his great work through them. And what happened to the disciples needs to happen for us as disciples today. That there's some things that need to happen in us so that we can have the eyes of Jesus for the people in our lives. This is the end and through way of the gospel. And so a passage that I want us to look at here in just a moment is Mark chapter 4.
You can go ahead and turn there. A lot of the parables that Jesus told kind of help us with this one-at-a-time way of living. But I want to start, before we jump into this parable, I want to start by just asking you to think about how you would finish this sentence. Or a prayer. God, more than anything else, I want you to use me too. So what is your prayer there? God more than anything else, I want you to use me too. How would you finish that sentence? It's a good prayer to pray. Do you have a way to end that? Maybe there's something specific, maybe a name or a face that comes to mind. I asked some of my social media friends to finish that sentence.
Here are some of the answers I got. More than anything else, I want God to use me to introduce my family to Jesus. Show my cancer doctors the difference that Jesus makes. Give his love to the foster children in my home. Help addicts overcome their addiction the way my sponsor helped me.
Care for women who are trying to get out of the adult entertainment industry. Introduce my neighbor to Jesus. Let the people I wait on as a server see that there's something different in me. Use me as a single mom to raise my boys to be world changers. Start new churches in Eastern Europe. Share the gospel with prison inmates. Disciple my grandchildren. Reach out to everyone in my neighborhood. Show my husband that Jesus has changed my life. On and on it goes. How would you finish that sentence? More than anything else, I pray God that you would use me too.
And understand that for him to answer that prayer, there's some things that need to happen in you. And so this in and through way helps us love people one at a time. And you know, it's not about the best practices or people skills. It's not about social aptitude or relational IQ.
It's not about whether you're an introvert, an extrovert, a sanguine, or a melancholy, an enneagram two or an enneagram seven. Like that's not it. It's about the work that God is wanting to do in you. So Mark chapter four.
Jesus is in a boat, teaching from the Sea of Galilee to a large crowd. Listen, he says, a farmer went out to sow his seed and as he was scattering the seed, some fell among the path and birds came and ate it up. So place number one, some fell along the path. Verse five, some, secondly, fell on rocky places where it didn't have much soil. It sprang up quickly because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched and they withered because there was no root. Verse seven, number three, other seed fell among the thorns or weeds which grew up and choked the plants so that they did not bear grain.
And finally, some seed fell on good soil and it came up and grew and produced a crop, some multiplying 30, some 60, some 100 times. I love this parable. Because this is one of the few parables where Jesus unpacks it. Like he always was teaching in metaphors. There's something powerful about a metaphor in that it allows you to meditate on it and think about it.
That you look at it and it means one thing to you one day and you look at it another day and you discover something new. And Jesus was always teaching in parables with metaphors. But this is a strange parable in that later the disciples ask him, what's it mean? And he says, oh, here's what it means.
Doesn't usually give you that. But he does with this parable. He ends it by telling about the farmer who threw seed on good soil that that multiplied. Something happened in the ground and it broke through and there's a harvest, which is ultimately what we want.
Like that's how we want to live our lives. That God does work in us and he does his work through us. And so there is something that happens when a seed is in the soil. But here's the thing. You can't see it when it's happening. A seed gets planted in the dirt and in the dirt it's maturing, it's growing, it's getting ready to break through, but nobody knows it.
So what happens in the dirt doesn't get much attention. And when the seed is in the dirt it's easy to get a little discouraged because you wonder, is anything ever going to happen? And it's hard to keep taking care of the seed when you can't see anything happening. I mean, once you see it, then you're a little more motivated. But when you don't see it, then it becomes more difficult. And one of the things I really want you to see is the Word of God has been planted in some of your hearts.
And something is happening in the ground and you haven't seen some fruit yet, but it's coming. So don't be discouraged. The Bible says in Galatians that we don't grow weary and doing good at the right time we'll reap a harvest if we don't give up. So some of you have started some new things. You started this year by praying, by studying God's Word, by maybe journaling. You started this year by being more intentional maybe in listening to some worship music and in leveraging your commute time. Maybe you've started some new things and the way you go to bed at night isn't the way you went to bed at night last year.
You're not just scrolling through social media, but you're spending some time in prayer and you're meditating on some things. And maybe no one seems to notice yet. Maybe nothing has broke through the ground yet and I'm telling you don't grow weary. Keep cultivating the seed that there there's something that's happening in this soil and it will break through. You keep taking care of it. It'll break through. It just takes time. And some of you need to hear that because God's wanting to do something powerful through you this year.
First there's some things he needs to do in you and you just have to be patient with that work. I had a gift that was given to me a few years ago by a lady in the church. She gave me a couple of packets of seeds. If I remember right, they were seeds for pumpkins and watermelons. This is fun.
Our kids were younger at the time. I'm sure she thought when she gave me those seeds, this will be great. This family can plant these seeds in the ground and then they'll have pumpkins and watermelons at just the right time. But I am not a farmer and if I want a watermelon I'll go to the store and buy one. And if I want a pumpkin I'll pick one up in pumpkin season.
Like I love the idea of planting a seed and cultivating it and growing it but it just takes so much time and effort and work. And so I stuck those packets of seeds in the junk drawer in my kitchen where everything goes to die. And I left them there. I forgot about them.
Didn't really think much about them. But occasionally there would be a time where I would think, man, you know what sounds good right now is a watermelon. And I would remember the watermelon seeds. But that didn't do me any good at the time because they needed to be planted I don't even know how long ago because I never actually read the back of the packet. Anybody in here know how long it takes to grow a watermelon?
I didn't think so. Don't judge me. And then and then there were times like around Halloween I'm like it'd be great to have a pumpkin. And I'd remember the pumpkin seeds. But I needed a pumpkin then and I didn't want to do it. Earlier, however long it takes to grow a pumpkin.
I don't know how long that takes. I just know it takes a long time and it requires effort and intentionality and but there's a moment where you wish you had it. This is the end and through challenge and I think most of us if you're a parent you've certainly experienced it. Where you've needed something within you spiritually or emotionally at a certain moment but you realize in that moment you don't have it and if you were going to have it you needed to start a long time ago trying to get it.
Right? Or maybe in marriage you reach this place in your marriage where you recognize there's a certain way God wants you to respond and that's how you want to respond. But if you're going to respond that way you needed to start a long time ago learning to respond that way. And this is the end and through way of the seed. That today is the day that that seed gets planted and cultivated and begins to grow. Today is the day. You've been listening to the first part of our guest teacher Kyle Edelman's message in then through from his message one at a time.
Chip will join us here in studio with some additional thoughts about today's program in just a minute. Have you ever considered the remarkable impact Jesus has had on history? Well think about it. He lived over 2,000 years ago and only had a small group of followers. Yet fast forward to today Christianity is the leading world religion. So what was Jesus secret? In this series Kyle Edelman reveals the unexpected simple practice Jesus used to change our world. Don't miss how you and I can continue the work he started. One interaction. One conversation. One life at a time.
To learn more about the series or Kyle's best-selling book go to livingontheedge.org, The Chip Ingram Map, or call us at 888-333-6003. Well Chip's with me in studio now and Chip in this series Kyle's been teaching us how to really connect and build relationships with people, especially those who are far from God. Now why is that such a struggle for 21st century Christians?
Well Dave I think there's a number of reasons and and one circumstantial one is this pandemic that occurred and people wearing masks and we've not been rubbing up against one another. I think the other thing is is that the the longer a person is a Christian statistically the fewer and fewer non-Christian friends they have. I mean it's crazy after two years the average Christian has zero non-Christian friends.
Less than two percent of most Christians have ever led another person to Christ and part of this is the lies that you need to be able to you know answer every question and sort of be a biblical encyclopedia etc etc. I think what Kyle has done for us is teaching us how one person at a time in our sphere of influence just being who we are we can build a connection take an interest not start a debate but love people in a way that allows us to connect so that Jesus can share with them what he shared with us the forgiveness and the salvation of our souls and a brand new life. I just cannot encourage people enough to get this book one at a time. It's had a huge impact on me and I think it'll have a huge impact on those who get it and read it.
Thanks Chip. Well to order your copy of One at a Time by Kyle Eidelman go to livingontheedge.org or call us at 888-333-6003. Our prayer is that this tool will help you find simple ways to share the profound hope we have in Jesus with those who so desperately need to hear it. Again to get your hands on this book from Kyle visit livingontheedge.org or call 888-333-6003.
App listeners tap special offers. Well Chip today Kyle shared his struggle to really connect with his congregation when he first became a pastor and how that struggle turned into a little bit of disdain for his own church. Now many of us aren't pastors but we're still called to love people. How could we be better at that? Well first Kyle's a friend and what I love about him and what I want people to know is what he shared like that is when we're hanging around drinking coffee or I was out at his farm where he lives and we just sat around for two or three hours and that's just who he is and I just think it's so helpful for all of us to recognize that just because people are pastors they've got all the same struggles believe me and what I loved about that story and I think the application for us Dave is this we have to be honest with our own emotions and our own feelings and realize that sometimes our own insecurities and our own worldview is keeping us as the barrier between those and the people that we love and you know he saw this big group of people and it felt intimidating and he just felt demand demand demand and I think we can feel that way like all the people at work right or all the people in our neighborhood and all the people out there and then what Kyle modeled for us is what he learned from Jesus you know he just introduced himself to one person he asked some questions of one person he got involved with one person and what he realized there isn't a them out there there's not just your neighbors there's not all those democrats or all those republicans or all those millennials or all those baby boomers in other words we had these categories and then we become judgmental and we find ourselves boxed in by the lies that we believe in our own insecurities and what I would say is what I've learned the most personally is to look at one person at a time I travel a lot still and I find myself in airports and and I look at people that seem to be left out or because of something about the way they're dressed or what's going on in their life or the job that they're doing they look marginalized like nobody cares and I've just made it a habit it's a discipline with me to go to those people and introduce myself and you know thank you for clearing up all this here or thanks for cleaning out the bathroom or you know there's people when you travel that you look at their body language and you know I don't know if they lost their last friend or what just to walk up and say hey I'm waiting on the same plane where are you headed you know and how are things going today and sometimes you get like a who are you stranger but more often than not what I find is I meet a person and I think that's the key it's one at a time we just meet one person find someone today that looks like they could use a a lift ask some questions take an interest in them see what god does challenging reminder chip thanks well as we wrap up I want to thank those of you who make this program possible through your generous financial support your gifts help us create programs purchase airtime and develop additional resources to help Christians live like Christians now if you've been blessed by the ministry of Living on the Edge would you consider sending a gift today you can do that when you visit Living on the Edge dot org or the chip and gram app and now you can text the word donate to 741 41 that's the word donate to 741 41 and we want you to know how much we appreciate your support well until next time this is Dave Drewey saying thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge
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