Aaron Brockett • modgniK • Isaiah 53:5-6
Message: King on a Cross
Pastor: Aaron Brockett
Hey, can we give it up across all of our campuses for all of our foster families? You are the true heroes. We love and appreciate you so, so much. Not everybody may be in the position to be a foster family, or maybe have had that particular calling on their life, but we can all help in some way. So, maybe you want to be a part of a care community, maybe your life group would come together and say, “Let’s be a care community,” and just keep these foster families encouraged by bringing them a meal, doing some yard work, running some errands, offering some babysitting. Let’s do this together. So if you go to Growth Track today at all of our campuses, you can sign up there. If you’ve already been to Growth Track you can go to the website and sign up there as well. Hey, next weekend we begin our brand-new series of messages. It’s our Christmas message series coming up. And we’re calling it The Way Back. And we’re going to talk about some really important things that touch all of our lives. We’re going to talk about the way back from fear, anxiety, chaos, and the way back to peace. And this is all going to be found right in the Christmas story that is found in the gospels. So I want to encourage you to be here next week. Invite somebody to come with you. Invite somebody to come with you to the 26 Christmas services that we are hosting across all of our campuses. I’m already carving up, alright, to get ready for all of that. Just think about somebody you want to invite to a service. Think about the services you want to serve at. You can go to TPCC.org/Christmas and get all of the service times, get the invite cards, let’s just lean in on this together.You know, Christmas is one of my favorite times around here because so many people will show up to a service on Christmas who may not show up during the rest of the year, Easter included. And, man, there are a lot of things in life that are over-rated, but hope isn’t one of them. And we want to give as many people hope as is possible. There are a whole bunch of people searching for it, hurting for it. So let’s lean in on this together and let’s see how many lives we can impact through just a simple invite. So, I’ll be praying for that as well.Today we are wrapping up a series of messages we’ve been in for several weeks now. If you’re just now joining us across all of our campuses or online, I’m really glad that you are here. We’re wrapping up this series today with a funny title I’ve called modgniK. And basically the whole idea of this series is modgniK is Kingdom spelled backwards. So we’ve been talking about this backward, upside-down, counter cultural, radically different Kingdom of God that Jesus just couldn’t stop talking about. It was his favorite subject. He brings it up 126 times just in regular conversation. It was the subject of so much of his teaching. And I think one of the common things that we misunderstand about the Kingdom of God—I’ve certainly done it too—is we think about it or talk about it as if the Kingdom of God is something or someplace that we will see and experience one day in the distant future, you know like after we die. But Jesus talked about it more present terms. Jesus talked about the Kingdom of God as if it is something that we could experience or at least begin to experience right here and now. In fact, in Mark, chapter 1, verse 15 Jesus put it this way: “The kingdom of God is near!”It’s not far off. It’s not in the distant future. It’s near. And one of the passages that we’ve read just about every week of this series comes out of Matthew, chapter 6 when Jesus is teaching us how to pray. He says this:God, “May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.”Another way of saying that is that Jesus was saying: God, would you bring a little bit of what’s going on up there, could you bring it down here? And the way in which God does that is he does that through us—those of us imperfect people, those of us who are flawed and messed up and broken, but we’ve reached out and we’ve received this gift of grace that God has given us through Jesus and we’ve begun to live out the values of that backward Kingdom of God right here on earth.Now, not in some sort of judgmental, pretentious, condescending way, but in a humble and gracious, and hopeful way. In other words God says: There is no such thing as a peanut gallery in the church if you’ve responded to Jesus and you’ve responded to the call and the mission of Jesus, I love how 2 Corinthians puts it—it says: “…we are Christ’s ambassadors.” And an ambassador is a representative in a foreign land. So if you’ve ever been overseas and you’ve driven down embassy road where all of these embassies from different countries are—this is the idea that we are residents of God’s Kingdom, if we’ve responded to grace by faith through Jesus alone, we’re residents of the Kingdom of God as we live here. So we are secondarily citizens of the country of our origin, we’re primary residents of God’s Kingdom and we are representing him here on earth. We are in the world, but not of it. And then it says there here is what I want you to do: “God is making his appeal through us.”That’s a mind-blowing statement. What is God’s appeal? Grace by faith through Jesus alone. That’s the appeal that he has been making for thousands of years. It’s the appeal he’ll continue to make until Jesus returns. And he says that he wants to make that appeal through you.And he’s not writing this to pastors and people who work in the church. He’s talking to just regular, ordinary people like us. And he says: I just want you to begin to live out your life, not in some perfect way, but in a way that testifies to the goodness and the grace that I’ve given to you.So, that’s what we’ve been looking at in this series. And I pray as we conclude this series, that this would not be the end of it. This would stay with us as a church. I hope that it will define us as a church, that we would begin to live out the values of this backward Kingdom of God.We’ve just been working our way through a letter at a time, modgniK, and we’ve learned that in the Kingdom of God: More is less. And less is more. And in the kingdoms of this world, that’s not how that works. In the kingdoms of this world more is more. And if you want to experience life at its very best, God just says: Hey, loosen your grip on this one. And if you want to be filled up, then empty yourself and serve other people. We’re learned that it’s an:Others first;kind of Kingdom. That, as people in God’s Kingdom, we honor others over ourselves. That we seek to outdo one another in showing honor. And the way to be truly great is to: Descend into greatness.And nobody does that better than Jesus, who came not to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.And we learned in this Kingdom that:Generosity flows.Nobody is stock piling or hording their stuff in this Kingdom. And we see that everything that we earn on this side of eternity is a good gift from a good Father. And as these resources flow into and out of our lives, what they do is that they shape our character that we will take with us into eternity.We’ve learned that it’s a: Not to us;kind of Kingdom. We’re not chasing after likes on social media, we’re not running after the applause of people, or trying to claim credit for ourselves. Jesus said: No, you’re the light of the world, so live is such a way that people will see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.Speaking of heaven, last week we learned that our Father wants heaven to be packed out. And we learned that the Kingdom of God is for everyone. It is an: Inclusive;kind of Kingdom. Unlike other kingdoms in this world where there are high walls and deep moats and drawbridges and muscle-bound bouncers behind velvet ropes designed to keep certain people out, God says: No, no, no. Not in this Kingdom. In this Kingdom the door is flung wide open to anyone and everyone because of this amazing thing that none of us deserve but all of us have access to through Jesus—this thing called grace. And grace is so amazing that it’s way too good to ever keep to ourselves. Well, today we’re wrapping up this series by looking at the thing that just really sets God’s Kingdom apart from every other kind of kingdom in this world. And that is that this Kingdom has a King. But it’s a King who came down off of his throne to go to a cross, a: King on a crossAnd there is no other King and no other kingdom in which that is true of. This King voluntarily laid down his life to give the rest of us access to his Kingdom. And I would imagine that today, regardless of who you are or what you do for a living or even how you’re sort of wired up personality wise, I would say that all of us have had this moment in our life when we aspire to something greater.Maybe that looks different in a variety of ways. Maybe we’re like, “One day, I can’t wait until I’m in charge.” Or, “One day, I can’t wait ‘til I’m on my own.” Or, “One day, I can’t wait ’til I’m the boss and then things will run so much better and things will be much more productive.”And what we’re really kind of saying is, and not in some sort of an arrogant way, we’re saying, “Well, one day, when I have the say, when I have the power and the pull and the platform and the prestige, that this is what I will do with it.”When we look at Jesus, we actually see that when he entered into the world 2,000 years ago, he lived in relative obscurity for most of his three decades that he walked this earth. Jesus was born in small little town, under somewhat scandalous circumstances, his mom and his dad weren’t quite married yet when Mary found out that she was pregnant. There was an age difference between the two of them. And Jesus was born in a barn. And then he grew up in Nazareth, and nothing good came from Nazareth. They didn’t even have a good football team. And Jesus sort of lived in relative obscurity. The Bible says that there was nothing about him, physically, that would have drawn our attention to him, meaning that he was not a great looking guy. He was just sort of average. And after he was born, we get one little episode when he was a kid where his mom and dad take him to town, and he wanders off from them for a while and they didn’t know where he was, and they freaked out. They sent out an Amber Alert. They were looking for Jesus. They eventually found him in the Temple and he was teaching to adults. He says: I’m about my Father’s business. Beyond that, we don’t really have any information from his high school years, his 20s, none of that. But then at the age of 30 all of that changes and God gives him the power and the platform and the prestige that maybe many of us are looking for. It actually happens on this mountain and the whole scene is called the Transfiguration. You should just read it for yourself sometime. It’s amazing. And Jesus goes with Peter up to the top of a mountain and God shows up. And there’s lightening and there’s thunder and there’s wind and Moses and Elijah from the Old Testament show up. And Jesus is talking to them. I love Peter’s perspective. The Bible tells us that Peter is standing there, and he doesn’t know what to say. So he just kind of interrupts and he’s like: Hey, guys. Good to be here. Want me to build some tents? And that’s when God speaks, and God simply says these words right here:“This is my Son, my Chosen One. Listen to him.” (Luke 9:35, NLT)That was the inauguration of Jesus’ earthly ministry. He was beginning what he had come to do. He came as the King, except here’s the deal. He didn’t look or act much like one. What other kingdom does the king come down off of his throne to actually give his life for someone else? And the answer to that is that there is no other kingdom. That’s why it shocked everybody 2,000 years ago when that’s what Jesus came to do. It wasn’t what they were expecting from a king.And it really shouldn’t have come as a surprise because when you read through the Old Testament you actually see that over and over and over and over again, everything was pointing toward this. In fact, the Old Testament can be somewhat confusing. The Old Testament can be somewhat brutal and harsh. Maybe you read the Old Testament and you’re like, “I don’t really understand what’s going on here.” It’s because it’s incomplete. Everything in the Old Testament is, here’s the word foreshadowing what was to come. It was making the dramatic point that none of us could be perfect until Jesus comes. So let me just give you a couple of examples of this foreshadowing. One time, God comes to a guy named Abraham and he and his wife Sarah we’re getting up there in years at this point and never had a child of their own. It was painful. And God shows up and he says to Abraham: Hey, you guys need to get ready because you’re going to have a kid. Buckle up. You guys have already downsized the house. I get that. But you need to call your real estate agent because you’re going to have more descendants than stars in the sky and you’re going to be a Dad. And you know what? Out of this child is going to come a great nation. And out of that nation is going to come a king—the Messiah, who is going to pay the price for everybody to be reconciled to me. And that nation was the nation of Israel. You fast forward a few years and the nation of Israel was taken into slavery by a super power called Egypt and so God raised up a little “d” deliverer named Moses, who is sort of a foreshadowing of Jesus to come. And Moses goes to the evil Pharaoh and he says: You need to let my people go. And Pharaoh is not convinced. And God sends 10 plagues through Moses and the 10th plague was the plague of death. So God tells the Israelites: Hey, if you take the blood of a lamb and smear the blood over the doorpost of your home, the angel of death will pass over you. That’s where we get the word Passover. And it was a foreshadowing of the Messiah to come. You just look through the Old Testament and there are all of these offerings: grain offerings, burnt offerings, and sin offerings. God required that the blood of a lamb would be sacrificed to cover the sins of the people. And all of this was foreshadowing the fact that you and I are incapable of doing anything about our sin problem. And sin is serious business to God. He takes it seriously because he knows what sin does in our lives. Sin destroys relationships. Sin dismantles marriages. Sin will attack your emotions. Sin will send your finances into disarray. God knows what sin does to us and he takes it very seriously. He says that the only way to deal with this sin problem is the shedding of the blood of lamb. But it was all merely a foreshadowing of the time when the sinless, spotless, blameless Lamb of God would come and die once for all, making all other sacrifices and offerings obsolete. The cross of Jesus Christ would become the final alter where our sins would be washed away, and our relationship would be restored for ever and ever. Here’s the story of the Bible in a nutshell: God longs for relationship with people like us. People like us broke that relationship through our rebellion and sin. So (maybe two of the most important words in the Bible) God moved. God moved. See, religion is you move. You move toward God. You figure it out. You get the right answers. You do enough good things. You say enough Hail Marys. The gospel says God moved. God moved throughout history to restore that broken relationship with people like us.And man, for centuries God’s prophets kept saying this over and over and over again. They were like: Hey, man. You better get ready. The Messiah is coming. And here’s what the Messiah is going to do. In fact, David one time writes this in Psalm, chapter 22, verses 16 through 18. He’s giving us a description of the crucifixion, what Jesus would do for us on a cross. It says: “They have pierced my hands and feet. I can count all my bones. My enemies stare at me and gloat. They divide my garments among themselves and throw dice for my clothing.”Now you and I read that and we’re like, “Okay. He’s talking about the crucifixion.” But here’s what makes this passage so amazing. Crucifixion hadn’t been invented yet. The Romans hadn’t thought of it yet. So when David writes this, this is a prophecy. And this is one of the 300 detailed prophecies about the coming of the Messiah, the Savior, Jesus who fulfilled every single one of them. And you thought getting a perfect bracket in March Madness was hard. I just ran a little bit of the math. The odds of fulfilling eight prophecies over thousands of years in one person, the odds of that are one in 10 to the 57th power. And I’m not very good at math but that’s one and 10 with 57 zeros behind it. And Jesus doesn’t just fulfill eight, he fulfills over 300. And Jesus knew all of this ahead of time. He knew that he was going to experience rejection and humiliation and torture and death—would you want to be that kind of a king? Honestly, would you be tempted to maybe try to figure out another way to do it? And if so, Jesus certainly was. Jesus was tempted his whole life to try to figure out how to reconcile the world back to God in any way other than the cross. Jesus was tempted in every single way that you and I are, but he was also tempted in a way that you and I will never be. He was tempted to try to figure out how to save the world other than the means of a cross and crucifixion. All the way up to the Garden of Gethsemane where he prayed: God, if there is any other way would you kind of let me in on it now? This is about to go down.You look at his whole life, and friends and family members and close followers, they were constantly discouraging and distracting him from his mission: Jesus, you don’t want to do that. Why don’t you do this? You don’t want to lay your life down. Why don’t you come over here and actually do this? In fact, after his baptism… His cousin, John the Baptist, baptized him and Jesus goes off into the wilderness to spend some time with his Father right before he begins his earthly ministry. And that’s when Satan shows up and hassles him for 40 days. There are three primary temptations that Satan gives to him. And maybe sometimes you’re like, “What is this all about?” Well, what Satan was doing was saying: Okay, Jesus. Let’s talk about this kingdom stuff. You’re clearly really hungry, so why don’t you just turn those stones into bread? What’s that going to hurt? And besides, Jesus, that’s actually the kind of king that the people are looking for. One who will fix their problems. One who will feed them when they are hungry. One who will bail them out. One who will fix the economy and make all of their problems go away. Jesus, they are looking for a political leader to overthrow the oppressive bad boys of Rome, that kind of king. Man, I’m telling you, you could be rich and powerful, you could be adored by thousands, you could rule all of the kingdoms of this earth. You could have it all, Jesus. Why go for the meek and mild, suffering Lamb of God thing? Come on, man. Ditch the plan. Let me be your agent and we could build your empire. You have the power, you have the charisma, you certainly have a way with words, you have the whole walking on the water thing—that’s amazing. Hold on to that one because you’re going to need it a little bit later on. You could be king of this world. He was tempted. See, throughout his whole life he would have to fight that temptation to be crowned an earthly king. But that’s not what he came for. In fact, he would often steal away from the crowds after he would teach or do miracles just to avoid them forcing him to become a king. Even his closest followers and friends just kept urging him to capitalize on his fame. The disciples just never got it. They were like: Jesus, come on man. Now is the perfect time for you to run for office. Now’s the time for you to put your political campaign together, Jesus. We’ll help you do it. We’ve got seats at the table. And he just kept refusing. In fact, honestly, I think that’s the reason why Judas sold him out. I think that Judas got to the place where he was fed up with all of this: I’m going to lay my life down talk. And he was like: Okay, fine, Jesus. If you’re not going to capitalize on your fame, I will. He sold him out for 30 pieces of silver. One time, Jesus was telling the disciples: Hey, guys. I’m getting ready to go into Jerusalem and this is what is going to happen to me there. And Peter gets so emotional that he stands up and he goes: No you won’t. We will not let that happen. And do any of you remember what Jesus said back to him? “Get behind me, Satan.” Ouch! A little harsh don’t you think, Jesus? My personal opinion—I don’t think Jesus was calling Peter Satan, I think that’s a little harsh. I think what he was doing is saying: Peter, you’re giving voice to the very temptation that Satan gave me in the desert. Satan has never had my Father’s perspective. He never will. And he’s trying to distract me from the plan. And you’re giving voice to that temptation, Peter. And I’m going to Jerusalem.One of my favorite descriptions of Jesus is found in Luke, chapter 9, verse 51. I love how the Living Bible puts it. It says, “As the time drew near for his return to heaven, he moved steadily onward toward Jerusalem,” which is where he would be crucified, “with an iron will.”I love that. It’s this idea that this was hard. Jesus had grit. He was like: No, I’m going to Jerusalem. There are a lot of things deterring me from this. There are a lot of things that are telling me to turn around, but I’m going with an iron will.What was the motivation there? I think Jesus looked down the corridors of time and he saw your face and he saw your life and he saw your problems and your issues and your fears and your anxieties and the junk that you are dealing with and he goes: Man, there is no other way that you’re going to get free from that if I don’t go. So he set his course with an iron will and he went. In John, chapter 10, Jesus said, “No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what my Father has commanded.” In the words of the great theologian, Kanye—Jesus is King, alright? He is. It’s a great album by the way if you haven’t listened to it. What kind of King? Well, Isaiah describes this kind of king in chapter 53. “He was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all.” I want you to notice this with crystal clarity:What took him to the cross was the sin of the world.What kept him on the cross was you.It wasn’t the nails, it wasn’t the threats of the Roman soldiers, it wasn’t guilt, it wasn’t a sense of task or duty, it was the thought of you. He was like: The only way that you’re going to overcome your fears and the only way that you’re going to have hope is if I lay down my life, if I pay the price—the price that you could never pay on your own. That’s the kind of King we serve.Now the Jews living in the first century world, man, this wouldn’t have made any sense to them because the cross was a symbol of weakness. It represented someone’s unwilling submission to Rome. So whenever the Jews would sort of rise up and rebel against Rome, Rome’s answer to that was go find their leaders and crucify them. And not only that, but actually place those crosses along the dusty roads of Palestine and leave those bodies up there for a while.We have billboards on our highways that advertise all kinds of things, but the billboards in the first century for Rome were crucifixions. And they basically said: We’re the ones in power and you are not. We’re the ones with strength and you’re the ones who are weak. The cross demonstrated Rome’s power and it reminded the Jews of their weakness and do as a result they despised the cross, because it represented humiliation. And whoever was crucified was humiliated. Rome knew how to… There were all kinds of methods at their disposal to take somebody’s life. Crucifixion was their favorite. Even though it was more costly, and it was more time consuming, it was their chosen method because it maximized the humiliation of the person being crucified. That’s what it was all about—maximize the pain and the humiliation. The cross also represented suffering. We could go into great detail to talk about how somebody suffered on a cross, but I’ll spare you of those details. If you’re interested, you can watch The Passion of the Christ or something. But let’s just say that Rome had become experts in pain. And they knew how much pain a human body could withstand and the knew the line of death. They would just bring it right up to the line of death and then they would maybe back off a little bit. Sometimes they went too far, because about six out of 10 people died from the scourging alone, they never even made it to the cross.The cross represented defeat. After the scourging, the Roman soldiers would take the horizontal beam of the cross, which weighed 120 pounds, by the way, and they placed it upon the exposed back of Jesus. If I get a little scrape or something on my arm, it hurts if I just rub up against something, but most of Jesus’ flesh on his back had been torn away by this moment and they placed a 120 pound beam on his back and then they marched him down this road that wound through Jerusalem called the Via Dolorosa.And the Via Dolorosa… If you were to Google Map how to get to Golgotha, the Via Dolorosa would not have been the shortest route, but it would have been the busiest route. And the reason why they did that is because they wanted to just march Jesus through town and get as many eyeballs on him as possible—think Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. And they were basically saying: This is what happens to you when you mess with us.So out of all of the ways that God could save—why did he choose this way? It doesn’t seem to make a whole lot of sense. But maybe that’s the whole point. See, God takes what from the world’s perspective is weak and despised, which represents humiliation and defeat, and he finds the one symbol that is the least likely to represent love and grace and hope and he goes: Yeah, watch me use that. Watch me redeem that. See the ultimate symbol of weakness became the ultimate demonstration of his strength and it is precisely because the cross represents such weakness that God chose it so that his strength could be seen. And that’s how God always works. Man, you look at God’s word and he never uses perfect people who have it all together. He only uses people like us who are broken and messed up and don’t have all of the answers. I mean, who else but God can take a cross that represents defeat and turn it into a symbol of victory for you? Who else but God can take something that represents guilt and turn it into a symbol of grace for you? Who else but God can take something that represents condemnation and turn it into a symbol that represents freedom for you? Who else but God can take a cross that represents pain and suffering and turn it into a symbol of hope and healing for you? Who else but God can take a cross that represents death and turn it into a symbol of life for you? No one else can do that, but God can.And here’s why this matters. Here’s why this message may be a little bit different in tone, here’s why I gave you all of that background in the Old Testament—because I think we hear and sing songs about the cross and we don’t even know what we are talking about. We don’t really remember all of the prophecies and we don’t know what exactly took place there, why God was doing this. But once you understand the depth of all of this and what the Scriptures are pointing to, it should fundamentally change the way in which you approach it. It makes all the difference for us—here’s why, because what God can do on a cross, he wants to do in your life right now, today. And maybe this is really the best prayer that you can pray today, “God, what you did on the cross 2,000 years ago when you displayed your power and your strength and your hope and your grace in the midst of such humiliation and defeat—God could you do that in my life today? Because, man, I really need it. “I’m feeling defeated right now, and I could use a little victory for once. Man, I feel guilty and I don’t know how to get rid of this guilt, I need your grace. God, I feel so condemned. Every time someone looks at me or talks to me, I feel condemned and I need some freedom.“God, I’m in some pain: emotional, physical, spiritual and I need some healing. I am overwhelmed with the feeling of death and I need the hope of life.”And the message of the cross says that God can make his strength perfect in your weakness. That’s what he does. He takes the weak and the broken of this world and he demonstrates his power. And you read through the Scriptures and you just see this narrative over and over again. He chooses weak and broken things so that his strength can shine through them.Abraham was old. Jacob was insecure. Leah was unattractive. Joseph was publicly betrayed and humiliated. Moses had a stutter. Gideon was poor. Samson was proud. Rahab was easy. David had an affair. Elijah was suicidal. Jeremiah was depressed. Jonah was stubborn. Naomi was a widow. John the Baptist was eccentric—I think it had something to do with the honey and locust diet. Peter was impulsive. Martha worried a lot. The Samaritan woman had several failed marriages. Zacchaeus was unpopular and unethical. Thomas had doubts. The list goes on and on and on right into my life and into yours. God says: If you’ll just get vulnerable… I’m not looking for perfection. I’m just simply looking for someone who is humble and available. See: The very things we feel disqualify us are the very things God can use to make His strength known.So several years ago I sat down one day and just to remind myself I wanted to remember who Jesus went to a cross for, so that I don’t ever slip into this whole mentality of, “Well, you know, I’m entitled or I’ve got it figured out.” I just kind of went with the alphabet from A to Z and I tried to write down as many different kinds of people Jesus went to the cross for. And I shared it with all of you a few years ago. But there are a whole bunch of you who weren’t here a few years ago, and the rest of us could probably use a reminder. So let me just start with A: Jesus went to the cross for airplane pilots, attorneys, ambulance drivers, artists, acrobats, astrologers, auditors, the Amish, Anglicans, adulterers, agnostics, atheists, addicts, the arrogant and the Oakland A’s.Jesus went to a cross for B: babies, Baptists, boy bands, blonds, brunettes, and old women with blue hair, bullies, and the bullied, brave, bossy, bitter, bummed out, broken, and burned out.Jesus went to a cross for C: Canadians, Cambodians, Cubans, and Mark Cuban, congressman, crooks, creeps, and card players, cheaters, criers, cutters, crystal meth junkies, and cat lovers (barely).He went to a cross for D: dads, democrats, dishwashers, dead-beats, drag racers, drag queens, drama queens, disc jockeys, and the dude sitting right next to you. He went to a cross for E: Elvis impersonators, environmental activists, evolutionists, e cigarette smokers, exaggerators, the emotional, and Eminem.F: He went to a cross for the faithful, faithless, fearful, fearless, and the forgetful. He went to a cross for Finland, France, and those who think the Philippines is spelled with an F. G: He went to a cross for gardeners, the good, grateful, generous, greedy, glamorous, gullible, gum chewers, grouchy, and the goofy.H: He went to a cross for hard workers, the hardly working, the homeless, homosexuals, the homophobic and all of the homo sapiens.I: He went to a cross for those from India and Indiana, introverts, the intense, the IRS and the ironic. He went to a cross for J: janitors, jugglers, and late-night jammers, late night talk show hosts with the name Jimmy Fallon or Kimmel. Pop singers Justin Timberlake or Bieber.He went to a cross for K: Khloe, Kourtney, Kim, Kendall, Kylie, and Kanye. He went to a cross for L: lazy, lousy, lethargic, librarians, landscapers, lawyers, and lunch ladies.M: He went to a cross for mimes, Mennonites, missionaries, moms, Moroccans, the meticulous, the mischievous, malicious, Miley, Madonna, and Marilyn Monroe.N: He went to a cross for Nicolas Cage, Nick Jonas, Nick Nolte, Nickie Minaj, the New York Nicks and those who love Nickelodeon.O: He went to a cross for orthodontists, obstetricians, OBGYNs, ophthalmologists, and every name you read in the obituary. He died for P: preachers, Pence, police officers, pornographers, prostitutes, pill poppers, and the prideful.He went to a cross for Q: The Queen of England, the band Queen, and Queen Latifah.R: He went to a cross for Russians, Rwandans, real estate agents, republicans, realists, the responsible and those filled with regret.He went to a cross for S: the sassy, the spunky, the sarcastic, those from South Africa, South Carolina, and the south side of Chicago, smokers, strippers, and serial killers.He went to a cross for T: telemarketers, television reporters, trainers, teleporters—that would be so cool—the transgenders, the timid and those who are a train-wreck.He went to a cross for U: The United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, the United States, the ungodly, the unjust, used car salesmen and movie theater ushers.V: He went to a cross for the victorious, the victims, the vegetarians, the people from Virginia.W: He went to a cross for Will Farrell, Will Smith, windshield washers, waitresses who work at Waffle House, the lady who weighs you in at weight watchers.X: He went to a cross for x-ray technicians, the X-Men, and those with the X Factor.Z: He went to a cross for zookeepers, and those who are preparing for the Zombie Apocalypse, we know who you are.And I saved Y for last. Not because I don’t know my ABCs but because he went to the cross for you. And the person sitting here today at any one of our campuses who feels unworthy and unloved and you’ve been told that you’re not good enough and you better get your act together and if you only knew enough—that’s part of the reason why you stay away from church because you just know you can’t, you’re tired of the guilt trip, he went to a cross for you.Young you, adolescent you, old you, you without makeup or muscles, you at your best and you at your worst, confused you, content you, timid you, silly you, self-conscious you, arrogant you, unemployed you, entitled you, fearful you, anxious you, lonely you, guilt ridden you, adorable you and unlovable you, single you, divorced you, separated you, widowed you, addicted you, angry you, sad you, bitter you, cynical you, cowardly you—God so loved you.If you’ve attended a church for years and you’ve never gotten that message, I’m so sorry because that’s all we’ve got and that’s all that will change you and me, because our King stepped down off of the throne that he was worthy of and went to a cross.So today, across all of our campuses, I’m going to just lead us in a time of communion, just for a few moments. So I want to invite those of you who have placed your trust in Jesus, you can take communion—hopefully you got it when you came in. If you didn’t, we have people in the aisles, just raise up a quick hand and we’ll get you a little cup.If you’re not a follower of Jesus, if you’re not tracking, man I’m so glad that you’re here. You can still participate with us in this prayer.Here’s what I want to ask you to do. I want to ask you to hold onto this. Don’t just open it up just yet. Hold onto it and we’re going to take it together in a moment. Jesus would one time get his disciples together in a small group in a room before his death and he led them in this time where they broke some bread and he poured some wine and he said: “This represents my body, broken for you.” And: “This represents the blood that I’m going to shed for you. As often as you do this” into the future, just do this, “in remembrance of me.” Just let this be a beeline back to the cross, that you never forget. So today what we’re going to do is take this together. So I just want to ask you to take a little bread that represents his body, hold onto it just for a moment and I just want to lead us in this time of guided prayer. So bow your head, close your eyes, do whatever is comfortable for you. But I just want you to focus. And here’s what I want to ask you to do across all of our campuses. I just want you to take a few seconds here and I just want to ask you to thank him. When was the last time that you just thanked him for what he did on the cross? We can begin to get a little callous about it, because we’ve heard the story so many times. But just take a few seconds and thank him. And now just take a few seconds and praise him, just love on him a little bit. Man, Jesus, thank you so much for what you’ve done, and I just want to worship you. You’re the only one worthy of it. And now, take a few seconds and ask him—what do you need from him? Where do you need some resurrection power in your life? What kind of miracle do you need? Just ask him. Go big! He likes those prayers. And take a couple of seconds and confide in him. Man, just get real. Drop the mask. Stop hiding things. Just come clean. Just confide in him. Grace is on the other side of that confession. Now take a couple of seconds and express your trust in him. Jesus, because you’re King and you went to the cross, I trust you even when it doesn’t make sense to me. And now finally, take a few moments and invite him—maybe you’re here today and you are ready to give your life to Jesus, invite him to be Lord and Savior. Maybe you’re here today and you have just been locking Jesus out of certain rooms of your life and you’ve said, “This is off limits to you. You can have the rest of it, but not this one,” and you just need to unlock that door and just invite him into every area of your life. And so now, together, across all of our campuses let’s just take the bread that represents his body, broken for us. And then let’s take the juice that represents his blood shed for us. King Jesus, thank you so much for who you are and what you’ve done. And forgive us when we take the cross for granted. Forgive us when it does not affect us the way that it once did. Thank you for laying your life down so that we can have life.I pray, God, if there are some here who have just never gotten that message that today maybe they would hear loud and clear and they would respond to it, that their lives would be changed—their lives wouldn’t be perfect, but changed and covered by your grace.And, God, I pray that as a church we would take the values of this modgniK Kingdom seriously. That they would completely transform the way that we worship, the way that we sing, the way that we serve, the way that we give, the way that we show up, because it’s a backward kind of Kingdom and you’ve called us to live as your representatives here on earth.So, God, meet us in this place right now. Do a work in our lives that’s custom made. Make the application of this message custom to whoever we may be right now, today, whatever we’re struggling with. Thank you so much for your goodness and grace. In Jesus’ name: Amen.I want to ask you just to spend a couple of more seconds in reflection. Then the team is going to come out, you can stand to your feet and we’re going to sing together. And let’s sing like people who have been changed. Alright, just spend a couple of seconds and we’ll sing together here in a moment.
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