Here is the text of the message I shared first at Olathe and then at the Gardner campus of Indian Creek Community Church on February 3 and 10. I encourage you to let it inspire and inform you as your seek after the unique role God would have you play in the next season of ministry. Gary Kendall
Changed to Bring Change
Vision Cast Message Series,
February 3, 2013
Changed to Bring Change
Vision Cast Message Series,
February 3, 2013
I’ll never forget the day. When I drove into Kansas City for the first time, in 1979, with my car packed full of all my earthly possessions, I clearly remember when the cityscape first came into focus off just off to my right. Maybe you’ve seen the scene if you’ve driven east on I-70 just past the 435 loop on the west side of town. You can see the whole city at once. At that moment it hit my heart that this was the place to which I should give my life. The thought powerfully came into my mind that I should give my life HERE. I felt God was calling me to Kansas City.
It was powerful. It was surreal. It was one of those times when you are self aware enough to wonder if you are making it up but you suspect you aren't. I've since learned you can't create or choose a moment like that. It chooses you. It was already a prayer on my heart that I could give God 50 years of faithful ministry. I'd prayed that prayer multiple times. In that moment I remember thinking, this could be the place. Maybe I'm supposed to do my whole run here. I can’t explain it but I can’t explain it away either. I wasn’t sure but I was willing.
That memory and that feeling is still powerful and fresh today 34 years later. I'm open to whatever God wants us to do but I often think about that call and the prayer of surrender I prayed right after it. I prayed in my spirit, God, I want whatever You want for my life. If KC is going to be home then I want to give You everything I have the whole time. I'm not going to hold back or play it safe. I'm all yours and I'm all in.
On that trip I was moving to Kansas City to be an Associate Pastor. I had no idea that 7 years later Belinda and I would join with 25 others from the First Church of God to plant a church in Olathe. I said yes to God and Indian Creek Community Church was born in 1985. I kept saying yes and here we are today 27 years later.
This is what I want for you, I want you to catch a vision from God for your life that is clear and compelling—one to which you can give you life. I want you to pray the I surrender all prayer and have the all in feeling. You’ll love it! There is nothing like it! And if you don’t know where to start then start from where you are at today. Give it your all until God leads you differently. Until God gives you new directions faithfully carry out the last one He gave you.
I want US to realize the privilege God is giving us to partner with Him in doing life together at Indian Creek. I believe God is calling you, inviting you and inviting me into His vision. It includes life at the Creek but it is not just for us—it is also for the other lives God would have us reach. He has a vision for us that reaches greater KC and impacts the world.
Do you have a vision?
Do you have a vision for your life? What kind of legacy will you leave? One day someone is going to talk about you in a memorial service. We don’t like to think about that but what is it they will say? What is the theme of your life? Do you think people will be checking their watches or will they be inspired? Will you leave a legacy? You will one way or another but what will it be?
You need direction and you need a purpose or you will likely settle for the things in life that seem urgent. If you don't have a plan for your life someone else will have one for you.
In these next two weeks we will be talking about the Indian Creek vision for the next 2-5 years. I pray the next five years will be the best five years ever for Indian Creek.
I will talk globally today, and by that I mean that our focus will be on the big picture, the 10,000 foot level vision for both campuses. Steve Southards, Olathe campus pastor, will be talking next week about the campus specific vision. The two go hand in hand and I hope you'll make every effort to come next week to hear more of the "how."
Today I'll share direction. I’ll use concepts more than details and stories more than charts but don’t worry we have a very specific two year plan. I hope to paint some word pictures for us because a vision is a compelling picture of the future. Next week Steve will flesh out more of what it will look like here on the Olathe campus while I go to Gardner campus to share with that campus what you hear here today.
Proverbs 29:18 in the King James Version says, “The people without a vision perish.” Or as the NIV says, “they cast off restraint,’ in other words they do whatever they want. A God-given vision gives focus and energy so you can persevere to the end.
Where there is no revelation, people cast off restraint. NLT
Prayer Partners pass out Bibles
A true vision from God is bigger than what you can accomplish but as such it calls forth your very best. At the same time it keeps you humbly dependent on God. It is energizing and motivating.
As a person and a pastor, I've tried to live up to that vision. It is fresh and compelling. Belinda and I are as motivated after 34 years of ministry in this city and 27 years at Indian Creek as we have ever been. We look a little bit different today.
Picture of Gary and Belinda from 1982.
Experience God’s Faithfulness
I want you to experience what we've experienced concerning God's faithfulness. We want you to know the joys of answered prayers. We want you to know that God loves you and calls you His own. You are His treasured son or daughter and He wants you to know He has a plan for You and that He will always be there for you. We want you to find God's best. Open your heart to God and see what He says about where to give your best effort. I hope it is at the Creek.
I’ve been noodling a lot lately.
Do you ever noodle? I’ve been noodling and no it is not because I love Chinese food although Asian food may well be my favorite. You won’t find this in Webster’s but when I think about something over and over I call that “noodling.”
I’ve been noodling on the potential of reaching a particular point where everything changes. Sometimes people in business use the term “tipping point” but I want to lean into the same concept with a different illustration to share what I think could happen for us at Indian Creek this coming year.
Imagine with me that you are warming water on the stove. First it bubbles and then rolls. Then it boils and at the boiling point steam is released. A transformation has taken place. The parts of matter are the same but different (noodle on that). It is still H2O but what was a liquid became a gas.
What would it take?
What would it take to bring transformation to those of us who attend Indian Creek? The catalyst for transitioning H2O from liquid to gas is heat. You might be thinking I’m going to ask how do we turn up the heat at the Creek? I don’t think that is the answer. Heat is simply the catalyst—water is created by God for this transformation. 212o is where that change takes place (at sea level).
What is your 212o?
My noodling leads me to believe that the catalyst we are looking for is that which will lead us to complete trust and reliance on God learned through personal experience.
The catalyst is allowing ourselves to be stretched beyond our comfort zone. Change happens in us when we allow God to lead us into a place where we have to completely depend on Him. When we are outside of our ability to provide for our own needs everything changes and we allow God to take over.
When we accept our inadequacy in our own strength and humbly rely on Him with total trust we experience the power of the Holy Spirit working through us. That’s when heaven touches earth and the kingdom of God is alive in us. This is the secret to success in the life of a Christ follower.
Imagine with me what it would be like for every Creeker to be transformed—changed into a Holy Spirit filled and led Christ follower! Imagine the personal peace and joy! Noodle on how that would affect families, marriages, friendships and the communities in which we participate. Wow! The impact would be far reaching! It would reach around the corner and touch every part of our world. In truth the ripple effect would start local but go global in this interconnected world in which we live.
Let God Stretch You
Will you let God stretch you outside your comfort zone? Will you trust and obey? What will be your catalyst? What is your 212o? I have an idea. Let me explain through a second story.
Have you met Jason and Chelsea Reiswig? Their son, Maddox, is rock star by the way even at 6 months old.
Show pic of Jason and Chelsea here.
If you need an introduction, Jason has been a part of Indian Creek for 3+ years. Several years before coming to us Jason and Chelsea took a mission trip to Peru and saw the big needs there. The Spirit of God stirred inside them and they felt led to stretch and begin a ministry there. Jason was preparing for medical school at the time but he is an entrepreneur at heart. He had more energy than resources but the vision was from God and clear in their minds. They gave what they had and Missions to the Amazon was born.
Missions to the Amazon logo
Their commitment was to mobilize individuals and churches to bring sustainable resources to villages in Peru to accomplish community transformation. They would do it through the church so that it set the church up as the provider. At the same time the ministry supported the local churches and pastors with training and resources so they could grow and plant new churches. The Good News would spread and communities would be changed. What is happening there is so positive we’ve recently added the Missions to the Amazon as a global mission partner.
When we met the Reiswigs they chose Indian Creek because of our heart for mission. We were attractive because there are so many young couples their age. Olathe Campus Pastor, Steve Southards, quickly saw their potential and included them in ministry. They became active volunteers and community group leaders. A little less than two years ago, Jason felt a call to ministry and made a career changing decision to join Indian Creek in the position of a Resident leading local live-out. A quick look at the growth and progress on the Olathe campus would confirm the job was a fit but only the beginning of his vision.
Here is where noodling and the Reiswig’s stories intersect—Jason often leads with the desire to help people “find your Peru.”
By that he means, he wants everyone to find a life-calling that is so captivating that it gives purpose and meaning to their everyday life while at the same time is bringing transformation to others.
You may not feel called to go to Peru (although he’d like to take you) but every one of us needs this kind of a catalyst to help us fully depend on God. In the survey we did last year you told us that 70% of Creeks had not found your own place of ministry. I believe this could be the catalyst for many of us.
When you find the place where your gifts, your talents, your passions merge we call that serving out of your sweet spot. Living from that place might be your catalyst. When you stretch outside your comfort zone and trust at this level you reach the boiling point and you are changed.
Changed to bring Change
Ultimately we are changed to bring change. God works to create real life in Jesus in us so that we can be His son or daughter, working with our Father, to bring this change to others. If this happens our friends come to a saving faith in Jesus. Families are transformed by love and purpose. Marriages are united in mutual passion. Community groups are energized by stories of amazing grace. They grow and new groups emerge with new leaders. The Good News spreads to other communities. New services, new missional communities, new venues, campuses and churches are born. The ripple effect reaches greater KC and beyond. This is how it happened with the first church in the book of Acts. They were changed and they brought change to the world until it eventually reached you.
Don’t be the end of the Good News chain.
Now it is your turn to noodle? How will you let God stretch you outside your comfort zone? Have you found your spiritual gifts and are you using them? We can help you find your Peru. Have you found a place of ministry so you are a missionary to your world serving inside Indian Creek Community Church and/or outside of it?
A Mission Trip
A mission trip might be the catalyst for you. I’d like to see 75 Creekers (about 10% of our average adult Sunday attendance) participate in a cross cultural mission trip in the next year and I’d like the rest of us to help send them. (split these slides)
I’m not worried that we could get 75 to go. We will have hand-outs for you when you leave today that show you the trips we have planned with our partners. And if one of those doesn’t fit we have a partnership with The Sending Project. There are 37 churches we have a direct relationship with and we work together on missions.
There is a lot you can do to share the Good News cross-culturally even if you don’t go. I want to see 100% involved. You can send, you can pray, you can serve here, you can give, you can go next year.
If we would send 75 a year for the next five years half of us would have had a catalytic stretch-you-out-of-your-comfort-zone experience. It would change you and change us at the Creek in more positive ways than you can imagine! You might look back one day and think it was the catalyst you needed. This might become our boiling point.
You may not realize the strategic timely-ness of this. Yes, it would be good for us at Indian Creek but it is also a part of fulfilling the Great Commission. This is not just about what would happen in us but also about what would happen through us. We serve a sending God who wants all of His children to come to know Him.
In our generation we are nearing the first time in human history where we can say that the gospel will have reached every tribe, language and tongue.
14And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations[a]will hear it; and then the end will come.
Never before in history could this be said. Followers of Jesus have prayed, sweated, bleed and died for 2,000 years to reach this climactic point in history and we are here. We are the generation. Will the end come immediately? We don't know--we've never fulfilled this condition before but even conservative efforts say it will be 14 years or less at the rate we are going. I've seen the book where every unreached people group is documented and with that is the detail that tells where they are and what level of engagement is taking place presently.
Why are you alive at this moment in time?
So why are we here? Why are you here? You could have been born anytime it was in the will of God. You could have been born in the American revolution, the civil war or civil rights. But no, you are on the stage of life for such a time as this. Why? What does God uniquely want from you? What if we have 14 years before there is a trigger that begins a new biblical era?
Will you be a part of what God is up to? In the interconnected world in which we live we can be a part of fulfilling the Great Commission both around the corner and around the world. When you are a follower of Jesus in 2013 you can be on mission locally and you can be a part of sharing the Good News globally too.
Real life in Jesus
Let’s talk local again for a few minutes. At Indian Creek we have always been about helping people find real life in Jesus although we've said that different ways over the years. The scripture I used continually in the beginning was Jn 10:10, I have come that you might have life and find it more abundantly.
10The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.
We update the language from time to time and the way we implement it but the heart is the same. We want EVERYONE to find real life in Jesus. We want that for our friends, our neighbors, our family members--by the way, did you hear that Belinda's 73 yr old mother accepted Christ two weeks ago! Belinda got to baptize her last week in KY. It is never too late for your friends or family.
Show pic of Belinda baptizing her mom
Don't think any prayer is wasted. Take the opportunities God gives you to share real life in Jesus.
Changed to bring change
We are changed by Jesus to bring change. Let's embrace that idea. We understand that change is normal and we embrace the truth that God is doing a work in us. It will be a transforming work. It will bring a metamorphosis in us that will leave us forever different but better. And we have the privilege of being used of God to bring change to others and transformation to our city.
One of my favorite change stories is the story of Mike and Candi Zimmers. I like it because they weren't people you would look at and go--they need change.
Show a pic of Mike and Candi here
They were your average Johnson Co Joe and Jane--Ken and Barbie, if you will when we met them at Indian Creek about five years ago. Mike held down a good job at Acro Fireguard and Candi was in med school getting her doctorate for Physical Therapy. They weren't getting wasted every weekend but they were living what you might call cultural Christianity. They were living for themselves by their own admission. Their version of following Jesus was lukewarm at best.
I heard Mike and Candi share this story at a Starting Point this last year so I’m saying anything they haven’t said. Mike tells the story of being in the hot tub with a few of his buddies and trying to tell them the importance of following God and being in church. He realized that night he couldn’t answer their questions and his own life didn’t even match up with his message. Mike and Candi decided they needed to find a church.
They found Indian Creek. And then they found the Southards’ community group. Later Mike became a group leader and then the leader of Groups at Indian Creek. They’ve added to their family while they were here with two beautiful children, a boy, Ethan and a little girl, Maysen. It is a huge part of their life’s motivation to help others find real life in Jesus. They’ve been changed and they are out to be a change-agents for God. They have a heart love for God and they want to help others out of a “cultural Christianity”. They want to help people not just know “about” Jesus but truly experience Him.
If you are here today and that is your experience then I encourage you to get into a community group. This Sunday is the last Sunday to sign up if you want to be in a group by week one.
We’ve been talking today about our theme for the next two years: Changed to bring change. I want you to imagine with me what could happen if God brings this catalytic change we discussed in our lives IF we allow God to use us to bring change to others.
Next week we are going to launch into a 40 day prayer exercise where we are asking every Creeker to pray one big prayer for 40 days. It could be a dream you have that you want to see become a reality. It could be that you need a miracle. It might be something you’ve waited for a long time and you sense that now is the time. It might be you are praying for a prodigal friend, son or daughter.
Imagine if your one prayer was answered and then you became a change agent to reach other’s life.
Ray—you may want to use a mobile camera to help the congregation see this.
I will pour skittles on the table and talk about what could happen if our “one prayer” was answered so powerfully we became an agent of change in our world.
60—Journey Student ministry
900+ Average Sunday
1500—who aren’t here
If each one reached one there would be another 2,500
Do you realize the powerful potential we have to impact eternity if each one of us just reaches one?
Will you be one that reaches one?
Before we close today I want to read a scripture that I believe has application to where we are today at Indian Creek and where God is taking us.
I believe He is leading us into a new day, a new chapter might be a better way to say it, where some of the promises we’ve trusted Him for years are fulfilled in new ways and more complete ways.
6“Be strong and courageous, for you are the one who will lead these people to possess all the land I swore to their ancestors I would give them.7Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do.8Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.9This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For theLordyour God is with you wherever you go.”
There is a promised land out there for you. There is one for Indian Creek. If we will be courageous and obedient, if we will be people of the word, if we will not get timid or discouraged, God will faithfully lead us there. He’s leading now. Let’s follow Him.
I’ll say at the end what I said at the beginning, I believe these next five years at Indian Creek could well be the best five years ever. If we work together with God’s Holy Spirit we can reach our promised land—as individuals, families and as a church.