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One at a Time - Proximity Principle, Part 2

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram
The Truth Network Radio
September 14, 2022 6:00 am

One at a Time - Proximity Principle, Part 2

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram

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September 14, 2022 6:00 am

It’s estimated that nearly four billion people – over half the world’s population – uses social media regularly. And yet, experts tell us the world’s number one social disease is loneliness. In this program, guest teacher Kyle Idleman reveals God’s ‘antidote’ for this societal problem… and how you and I can be a part of His solution.

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According to recent reports, four billion people use social media regularly. Four billion.

That's over half the world's population. And yet experts tell us the world's number one social disease is loneliness. Today, we'll learn how Jesus solves the loneliness problem and how we can be a part.

Stay with me. Thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. The mission of these daily programs is to motivate Christians to really live like Christians. I'm Dave Druey, and as most of you know, Chip's our regular Bible teacher for this international discipleship ministry. But for this series, he's turned the mic over to a close friend, Kyle Eidelman, who's been our guest here on Living on the Edge before.

Kyle is the lead pastor at Southeast Christian Church and a popular author and speaker. In just a minute, he'll pick up where he left off last time in a series, One at a Time, by talking about the idea of closeness and how just being there for someone could dramatically impact their life. But before we begin, let me encourage you to use our message notes while you listen. They'll really help you get the most out of what you're about to hear. Download them under the broadcasts tab at

App listeners tap fill in notes. Let's join Kyle now for the second half of his talk. There's something about proximity, about being close. If there's ever a time where we need to be reminded of that, I suppose this is the time because we've become more and more comfortable with isolation and doing life from a distance and more and more uncomfortable with people being too close to us and more and more aware when someone gets in our personal space.

And yet there's something about us that we have been made to live life in close proximity with others. I was reading a New York Times article about a guy named Hal who had 700 friends on social media. I can't remember if it was Facebook or Instagram, but he had like 700 friends and he was pretty proud of that. He thought, you know what would be really cool? He's kind of doing it for the story.

He's a writer. Be really cool to get all 700 friends together. He writes, and on the evening in question, I took a shower, I shaved, put on new pants and a favorite shirt. Brimming with optimism, I headed over to the neighborhood watering hole and waited and waited and waited. And eventually one person showed up. And one woman who showed up to meet Hal, he didn't know her. She was a friend of a friend. They talked for a few moments. She left. He waited till midnight.

No one else came. He ordered a beer and salt, and he concludes his article with these words, 700 friends, but I'm drinking alone. And that captures where a lot of people are at in our world.

I was reading earlier this year where Elon Musk, the world's richest human, I think his net worth is like $280 billion, he was selling all of his homes. And he talked a bit about why the material possessions were kind of a distraction from what he really wanted to focus on. But then he did this interview where he talked a little bit more.

And here's what he said. He said, being in a huge, empty house when there are no footsteps echoing through the hallways, how do you make yourself happy in a situation like that? Here's someone who's worth $280 billion, but there's within him this awareness that if you're living alone, if you're missing out on proximity, that it's hard to find joy. And so if you look at Jesus, he seemed to know this. And sometimes it was someone who was wealthy like Zacchaeus, where Jesus just knew, he just needs to spend some time with me.

Zacchaeus, I'm gonna go to your house today for lunch. And sometimes it was someone who was more of an outcast, like the woman at the well. Jesus sits down, has a conversation with her.

But ministry flowed from proximity. And so I want us to look for a few minutes at a parable found in Luke 14. Let's look at this quickly, but it's a parable called the Great Banquet. And so for context, Jesus tells this story while he's having dinner at the house of one of these religious leaders.

And so he looks around, I think there were probably quite a few people invited, but he looks around and he recognizes that everybody there is a part of a certain social club. They all have a certain status, religious status about them. Like it's exclusive. And most of us are really drawn to anything that's exclusive. Like if somebody's advertising membership, it's an exclusive. It's not for everyone. It's exclusive. Exclusive sees the world through this us and them category.

And we always want to make sure we're in the us category. And Jesus looks around and he sees that this is how these religious leaders are doing things. Like it's us, but there's no them. And so he decides he's gonna confront the situation.

And he says in verse 12, I wish I could have been there. Then he turned to the host, the guy who's throwing the party. When you put on a luncheon or a banquet, and this isn't a hypothetical. This is a luncheon, right?

Like this is what's happening. He said, don't invite your friends, brothers, relatives, and rich neighbors. Now I wasn't there, but I think what's happening is if you had been there, you would have looked around and it would have been like, oh look, there's his friends, his brothers, his relatives, and his rich neighbors. So he says to the guy who's throwing a party and invited all these people, when you throw a party, don't invite all these people.

And it's awkward. And there's part of us that, I mean, that's how we try to structure our lives. We want to spend as much time as possible with people who look like us and talk like us and live like us and believe what we believe and people who are comfortable with us and we're comfortable with them.

People who can do for us, so we're not just doing for them. And Jesus says very directly, don't do that, for they will invite you back. And that will be your only reward. Now here's what Jesus is doing, really interesting. Listen, he is connecting your reward in heaven with the people you spend time with here on earth. I'm not making that connection, he's making that connection.

I'm not saying, he's saying that. He's connecting your reward in heaven with the people you love here on earth. And so it gets really awkward in that moment. Jesus says, instead, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame and the blind. Then at the resurrection of the righteous in heaven, God will reward you for inviting those who could not repay you. Hey, bro, you need to invite a bunch of people who are not here. Stop inviting all these people.

Invite some people who don't usually get invited. And it's just tense, but there's this guy who's at that table and he's one of these people who doesn't like conflict. You have somebody like this in your life. There's some people who like conflict. You're like, get some popcorn, this is gonna be good.

There's other people who when conflict arises, they just feel the need to immediately make everything okay. That's this guy, verse 15. Hearing this, a man sitting at the table with Jesus exclaimed, what a blessing it will be to attend a banquet in the kingdom of God.

Let's talk about this instead. And Jesus decides, let's keep going. I wanna push in a little bit more, and so Jesus tells a story.

He gives this parable. A man prepared a great feast and sent out many invitations. When the banquet was ready, he sent his servant to tell the guests, come, the banquet is ready, but they all began making excuses.

So all these people who had expected to be invited, got invited, but they start making excuses. One said, I've just bought a field and I must inspect it. Please excuse me. Another said, I've just bought five pair of oxen and I wanna try them out.

Got taken for a test drive. Please excuse me. Another said, I just got married. I can't come. My wife won't let me go. It's not my fault. It's her fault. So they each kind of give these excuses. Each of the excuses are not rude. They're not hostile. Like they're polite. It's not a good time right now. Every excuse is a priority excuse. Every excuse says, it's not that I don't want to, it's just that this is more important to me right now. I think that when it comes to responding to the invitation to do life in proximity with God and other people, it tends to be the same. Like we may not talk about the five oxen, but it's a priority thing. And Jesus in verse 21 continues with this story. The servant returned and told his master what they had said.

And his master was furious and said, go quickly into the streets and alleys of the town. Go to these places you don't usually go and invite some people that you don't usually invite. Invite the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame. This isn't going to be exclusive.

This is going to be inclusive. Go everywhere and invite everyone. This is the one at a time approach to proximity. A couple of things I would just draw your attention to is that if we're going to live this one at a time way, living in proximity means being fully present. It means being fully present, that you're going to be engaged where you are. The disciples struggled with this.

Like they could have a hard time seeing opportunities in front of them because they were focused on all these other demands and pressures. And that's something I struggle with. My wife will sometimes say to me, sometimes sweetly, not always, but sometimes she'll say, I feel like you're here, but you're not present.

Or something like that. She was in the last service, so it's fine. And she's right. I don't do it on purpose, but I just have this within me where I'm always thinking about something. I'm distracted with something.

Something that needs my attention over here. And so I'm around people that I love and love me. I'm around people where I have opportunities to encourage them and influence them and impact them. But I'm not really present. I'm not really there listening.

I'm not really engaged. I'm not thinking, what would it be like to be them today? I'm not putting myself in their shoes or thinking about the context of their life and what's happening in their situation where I might be able to encourage them, point them to Jesus a little bit. I'm kind of in my own world, distracted. And Jesus just had a way of being fully present. So proximity means being fully present.

Today, you're going to have a chance to do that. There's going to be someone in your life that needs you to be fully present. And when you show up that way, you're showing up like Jesus. That's how he lived.

That's how he loved. The second thing I would say that we see in this is that proximity means loving uninvited and overlooked people. This is tough because it means caring for, reaching out to people that you might normally do your best to avoid. And some of us live very careful lives to make sure we're never around anyone like this. Anyone that might drain us, anyone that we're always doing for them, but they never do for us. We avoid places like this.

We do our best to just keep those walls in place. Jesus talks about poor people here and he's speaking in financial terms, but the word is interesting because it's literally translated as people without value. Invite those people. And so who is this for you? Maybe it's someone at work that you just quickly walk past. Maybe it's someone at school, usually sits by themselves at lunch and you avoid eye contact with them, worried about what it might do to your reputation. Maybe it's someone in your neighborhood that you just think it's probably better to not have a conversation with. Maybe it's a relative who's just always needing something and it seems like they just always are going out of their way to make a mess out of things. There's something powerful when we show up in proximity with people who can do nothing for us in return.

You might not get anything for that here, but there is a reward one day when you love the way that Jesus loved. Beth Moore tells a story of being at the airport and she was at her gate kind of getting settled and there was an elderly man who was in a wheelchair and he looked kind of dirty, unkempt. His hair was long and kind of matted and she just had this instinct within her to kind of give him some space, just distance herself from him. And she was preparing for her next talk, next speaking engagement, and she just felt this impression from God that she was supposed to go talk to him. And she's like, oh, this isn't a good time. And she thought maybe she was supposed to go witness to him, but then she had this impression from God that she was supposed to go brush his hair. And she says, that seems really weird to you, it seems really weird to me.

That's never been something I've felt the Holy Spirit ask me to do before or since. But in that moment, there it was. And she quickly dismisses it. I mean, she didn't even have a hairbrush and yet she couldn't escape it and so she went over to him and she said, as quietly as she could, didn't want to draw much attention, sir, may I have the pleasure of brushing your hair? And this elderly man said, what did you say? And she said, may I have the pleasure of brushing your hair? And he said, little lady, if you expect me to hear you, you're gonna have to talk louder than that.

And everybody's looking. Sir, may I have the pleasure of brushing your hair? And he was kind of caught off guard by the question, but said, if you really want to. And she didn't really want to. But she said, I'd be glad to, I just don't have a hairbrush. She said, I have one in my bag. And so she got on her hands and knees behind his wheelchair and she unzipped this stranger's bag and she found a hairbrush and she started brushing his hair. She says, and she tells the story, there's not a lot of things that I do well, but I've raised two girls and I know a lot about brushing out tangled hair. And she said, I know this sounds strange, but I never have felt that kind of love for someone I didn't know in my entire life.

Do you know what that's like? I think if you're a Christ follower, you know exactly what she's talking about. Where God just decides to put someone in your path and you love them and care about them and you don't really know why. She brushed out his hair and tell it was nice and smooth. And she thought, okay, this is the part where I need to talk to him about Jesus.

I mean, surely this is where it's all going. And so she said, sir, do you know my Jesus? And he said, yes, I do. She was surprised by that. Like she thought the purpose was gonna be to introduce him to Jesus. But the man said, I've known Jesus ever since I married my bride. She wouldn't let me get to know her until I got to know him. And this elderly man said, but the problem is I haven't seen my bride in months. I had to have open heart surgery out of town and she's been too ill to come see me.

I was sitting here thinking to myself, I'm gonna look like such a mess when I see my bride today. And immediately Beth knew, okay, this is what God wanted. And she was happy to help, but she still thought it was unusual because she thought that the idea was probably to help somebody meet Jesus. And a few minutes later, she was boarding the plane when the airline hostess approached her with tears in her eyes and said, I saw what you did for that man.

Do you mind me asking, why did you do that? And she said, do you know my Jesus? And she explained, now this is the way that Jesus has loved me so I know that I'm supposed to love other people that way. And Jesus says, by this, the world will know that you're my followers, by this. Our story in Luke 14 ends with the servant going out and giving invitations to people who had not been invited.

But here's what happens next as we wrap this up. After the servant had done this, he reported there's still room for more. Still room for more. I've invited all these people, but there's still room for more. His master said, go out into the country lanes and behind the hedges and urge anyone you find to come so that the house will be full.

I want a full house. Go find anyone you can. And so living in proximity means loving uninvited and overlooked people, but it also means going to unfamiliar and uncomfortable places. This is my challenge for you this week, to mix it up, to mix up your proximity. You usually go over here for coffee, go somewhere else for coffee. You don't have to go to that place for the rest of your, just for this week.

You usually go to this grocery store or go to a different grocery store. And as you go, I want you to pray this prayer. God, help me to find myself in proximity with somebody that needs to be seen and that needs to be loved, needs to be cared for. God, help me, give me that opportunity. And when you go to unfamiliar and uncomfortable places, you'll probably be surprised at some of the one at a time opportunities that begin to come up. I think if you don't do that, if you just kind of stay in your bubble and you just kind of come here and you sit at your office and you go home and you just, you're around the same people and it's harder to have those stories. But when you change up your proximity, it's amazing some of the one at a time opportunities that begin to flow. You're listening to Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram.

Kyle Eidelman has been our guest teacher for this program, Proximity Principle, which is from his series, One at a Time. Chip will join us in just a minute to share his application for this message. 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 Eidelman 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, the Chip Ingram map, or call us at 888-333-6003. Well, Chip's still with me in studio, and Chip, you know there's a belief circulating in Christian circles nowadays that the practice of making disciples revolves around us and our abilities. Could you take a minute to dispel that belief and give us a more accurate picture of how we can engage those who are lost? Well, Dave, I think there really is sort of this idea that you have to be a super Christian. I think discipleship actually has really been sort of warped into it's all these other Christians that I meet and how many studies that I do and how many Bible studies and my theology. And don't get me wrong, those things are really, really important. But two things happen.

One is that you never quite learn enough. You sort of get filled with all this information, but we don't have any real relationships with unbelievers. And the Pharisees basically got that one down. And what Jesus showed them and is showing us through Kyle's book, One at a Time, is that discipleship certainly is about study and meeting in a group.

I mean, we believe that with all of our heart. But it's really about Christ living in us moment by moment and allowing him to do what he wants to do as the Spirit guides us, as we connect with people that are far from God, people that we don't have anything in common with, people that look different, talk different, they're a different color, they're a different political party, they're not from our side of town. And Jesus constantly was intersecting with those people, taking an interest in them one at a time, building a relationship, pulling down stereotypes. And then what you find is they came to know him and they came to grow in him.

And I look back and I have to tell you, I'm so glad someone did that for me. And what Kyle's book has done for me, it has reminded me you don't have to have it all together. It's just one relationship at a time. It's one meal. It's one conversation. It's one meeting. It's one small invitation to go to coffee, go to breakfast, have lunch, play golf, with someone far from God, and then just be yourself and watch what God does.

Thanks, Chip. Well, to order your copy of One at a Time by Kyle Eidelman, go to 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 or call 888-333-6003.

App listeners, tap Special Offers. Now here's Chip with some final thoughts on this message. As we close today's program, I was especially challenged by what Kyle said in terms of create proximity. He said for one week, go someplace different. In other words, if you normally stop every morning and get coffee, or if you sit at a certain place, you know, or take a certain path when you go to work, or if you go to one grocery store, go to a different one this week, but for seven days, change your schedule, change your rhythm, and get proximity to people that you're normally not around. Now here's the deal.

We often hear things like that when we hear a teacher or a speaker and we nod and we say, well, that's interesting, okay? I don't want it to be interesting. I want you to do it, okay? If you do it, I'll do it. I mean, starting today, I'm going to do it. I'm a pretty rhythmic person, if you will.

I get coffee at the same place, and I even tend to sit at the same seat, and I tend to drive the same pattern, and, you know, I go to one grocery store way more than any of the others. So are you ready? You and me for the next seven days.

Let's do this. And then I want you to walk in, and since you don't know where everything's at at this grocery store, I want you to meander. And then I want you to make eye contact when you check out. I want you to look for people that look like they might be hurting or lost or discouraged, and nothing big, we're not going to get weird, but just, you know, maybe ask them for directions or how are you doing or how long have you been coming here? I often say to people, well, how long have you worked here?

I do that a lot, and they tell me, I say, well, how did you find this job? All I want you to do this week is to start seeing people one person at a time. And what happens when we're in our ruts, if you will, we just say hi to the same people.

We just keep sitting in the same places, and our eyes glaze over. But what I'm asking you to do is get close to some people that are different and just observe and silently pray to God for them and introduce yourself or ask a question that causes you to see them as a real person. And you just might be shocked that when you and I do what Jesus did, eye contact, a genuine question, genuine concern, the Lord may open doors like never before.

Would you do it? Let's do it together. Great word, Chip. Well, as we wrap up this program, just a quick but important thought, Living on the Edge depends on listeners just like you to help us continue to encourage Christians to live like Christians. So would you consider partnering with us on a monthly basis so others can benefit from the ministry of Living on the Edge? Now, you can set up a recurring donation by going to, the Chip Ingram app, or by texting the word DONATE to 74141. That's the word DONATE to 74141. Thanks for doing whatever the Lord leads you to do. Well, join us 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 / 2023-02-25 22:00:27 / 2023-02-25 22:11:19 / 11

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