I Thought He was with You
Mary and Joseph walk home from Jerusalem. One problem: They forget someone very important.
Morning. My name is David Sorn. I’m the Lead Pastor here at Renovation Church. Morning to you.
I grew up in Cambridge, MN, about 30 minutes north of here on Highway 65…
When I was 12 years old, and in 6th grade, we went on a field trip to go skiing at Trollhaugen, which is just into Wisconsin about 10 miles or so outside of Taylor’s Falls.
I don’t remember a whole lot about that day…I’m sure I was flying down Black Diamonds like nobody’s business (not true)…but I do remember what happened on the bus ride home.
We were about 10 minutes from home when someone shouted out, “Hey, where’s Pearla?!?”
Now, Pearla was a brand new student…whose family had just moved to town that year, so she didn’t know as many people.
I remember sitting in my seat and watching the non-verbals of the teachers…who I surmised by their faces were saying something like, “I thought she was with you?!”
“No, I thought she was with you!”
Now, this was 1994, so no one could just call up Trollhaugen on their cell phone.
And so those last 10 minutes home felt like forever.
A teacher went into the building, nervously called Trollhaugen, then probably more nervously called Perla’s parents, and then they sped back to Wisconsin to go pick her up.
This morning, as we are in our 2nd week in the Gospel of Luke, we’re going to look at another story of a lost 12 year old.
Except, this one probably wasn’t scared, well, because he was Jesus.
This is actually the only story we have in the Bible where Jesus isn’t a baby or a man.
It’s significant that Jesus is 12 in this upcoming story.
In ancient Jewish culture, that was the last year of being a child.
Once you turned 13, you were to bear your own responsibility for knowing God’s law and commandments.
This is why in Jewish tradition, a bar mitzvah takes place at age 13.
In those days, a father would look at his son at 13 and say, “You’re a man now, act like it”
Nowadays, in America, a father looks at this son…at 35, and says, “Get out of my basement”
Let’s take a look at this story of 12-year-old Jesus
(Luke 2:41-52) – NIV
41 Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. 42 When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom.43 After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. 44 Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. 45 When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48 When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”
49 “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” 50 But they did not understand what he was saying to them.
51 Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. 52 And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.
So Jesus and his family make the required pilgrimage from Nazareth (in the north) down to Jerusalem for the celebration of The Passover (which we studied back in Exodus)
But afterwards, 12-year-old Jesus decides he’s going to hang out for a while at the temple and stump the Teachers of the Law with his knowledge of God and His word.
That would’ve been a fascinating scene to watch, would it not?
THINKING JESUS WAS WITH THEIR FRIENDS & FAMILY
So Mary & Joseph…journey on home towards Nazareth…
Until, not 10 minutes, not an hour, but a FULL DAY into their journey, they realize Jesus isn’t with them!
This story makes no sense, culturally, to us as modern-day helicopter parents.
Even in 1994, when I was 12, on a summer day, I’d say to my parents in the morning, “Hey, I’m going to go hang out with my friends in the neighborhood.”
And they’d say, “See you at supper”
Now, just a generation later, kids say, “Hey, I’m going to….”
“And parents, say, “Do you have your “Find my Friends” app turned on?”
I call it the “Stalker app”
“Can your friends’ mom send me some pictures, so I can visual confirmation of your whereabouts
And so WE…can’t figure out what’s wrong with Mary & Joseph.
How do you possibly not notice your child is missing…for an entire day!!
We all had the same question watching Home Alone…back in the day.
How do you possibly forget McCauley Caulkin at home?
And why can’t the police just go in his house and find him?
And it’s not just…how do you lose your child?
It’s…how do you lose…JESUS??
How do you not think to keep track of, I don’t know, THE MESSIAH!!!
But of course, this is a different time, and a different culture.
Here’s how a pilgrimage journey would’ve worked in those days (because almost everyone went)
You would start off by leaving your hometown with just your immediate family.
You’d quickly join up with any other extended family members in your area
So even before Mary & Joseph left Galilee, they would have already been in a good-sized group of cousins, and aunts, and uncles.
Medium-sized groups would join with other medium-sized groups as the journey went on.
Often different friends would join your family group if they had a smaller group.
And typically, as people got nearer to Jerusalem, they would have been traveling in incredibly large groups at that point.
And, thus, they would have went home in the reverse order.
And so Mary & Joseph, for the first day, assume that their 12-year-old son Jesus, is just walking home on the other side of the larger group (with their family members…or perhaps some of their friends from Nazareth)
So they just keep walking…and walking.
Going towards their home as usual.
They just assume Jesus is with their friends or their family.
And I want to submit to you this morning that we make the same mistake.
As we journey on in life towards our home of heaven, we often just assume, Jesus is with our friends and family.
But unfortunately, for many, he is not!
But think of how this hits Mary & Joseph, for it should be similar for us
They had to have thought as the day wore on: “But is He really with them? Is Jesus really with our friends? Our family?”
They start to think: “I guess I don’t really have any evidence that Jesus is with them.”
I didn’t see them eating with Jesus
I don’t see them talking about Jesus
And so Mary & Joseph do what we need to do:
They swallow hard, and start asking, “Is Jesus with you? Is Jesus with you?”
Now, we probably all have people in our lives that we KNOW…Jesus isn’t with them.
Their lifestyle shows ZERO evidence that they’ve been with Jesus…or maybe they’re even opposed to being around Him.
That’s not what we’re talking about today.
We’re talking about the person who we’ve been ASSUMING has been with Jesus
That’s what Mary & Joseph were doing.
Do you know this type of person?
The Bible talks a lot about this type of person.
The person who is maybe open to God…they’re not an atheist…they’re slightly interested…or maybe they went to church as a kid…maybe even a decent person.
But if we were able to look into their heart, we would see, “They don’t yet have a personal relationship with Jesus”
And while a lot of us may know someone like that, most of us haven’t had the courage to swallow hard, and start asking, “Is Jesus with you?”
It reminds me of an article I read a few years ago about Adele Gaboury…
About 4 years prior to when this article was published, Adele’s neighbors hadn’t seen her in a while, so they called the police.
The police spoke with her brother, who wasn’t close to her, but said, “No, the reason they haven’t seen her, is, well, I’m pretty sure she’s in a nursing home”
The police then gave that reason to Adele Gaboury’s neighbors.
Satisfied with that casual answer, the neighbors began watching her property
Her neighbor Michael noticed her mail was overflowing, so he called the police to have it stopped
Her neighbor Eileen payed a boy $10 twice a month to mow Adele’s lawn
Another neighbor noticed her pipes had frozen and were spilling water, so they called the utility company and had her water shut off.
Well, things went on like this for 4 years…
While the house still looked great on the outside… the police decided to investigate the house as a health hazard
They came over, opened up the door, and were shocked to find Adele Gaboury…dead inside.
She had died…FOUR YEARS AGO…of natural causes.
See, all of her neighbors, never investigated any further than the basic externals they saw on the outside.
“And we do the same disservice to people like this in our lives.
And so this is the question the today’s text asks of us…for those people in our lives…
“Who is it that we’ve just been assuming that Jesus is with them?”
And what if He’s not?
What if they’re just “nice people” and not really “Godly people?”
What does John 3:16 say…
(John 3:16) – NIV – LEAVE UP FOR 30 seconds
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Now read it in the inverse
Whoever DOESN’T believe in Him…
Whoever DOESN’T accept his free gift of life…will perish…and not have enteral life (in heaven), but will be in hell for eternity.
When God let’s his own Son die in your place, and you say, “no thanks,” the consequences are enormous
And that’s true…no matter how nice you are or how good of a person you are.
But do we really believe that?
Think of it this way: If you have a family member who’s drinking themselves to death…or has gotten addicted to drugs…
It always seems a lot easier to start a conversation with that person about Jesus.
“Hey, you know and I know that life for you isn’t working, let me tell you about Jesus”
But what about the friend or family member who went to graduate school, just bought a new house, and has 3 beautiful kids?
Not to mention, they happen to be a decent, upstanding member of society.
What about them??
For some reason, most of us don’t treat those people with the same type of urgency.
We don’t seem to submit prayer requests for the co-worker who just got their 2nd promotion in a year, but isn’t following Jesus.
And yet, 9 times out of 10, that person is farther away from Jesus than the drug addict.
Because the drug addict at least is figuring out that they will never earn their way to heaven based on their own good deeds.
And that’s half the battle!
Listen, even if a person looks good on the outside, there’s a decent chance they are more like Adele Gadboury on the inside!
You don’t want to get to the judgment seat at the same time as one of your friends, and be thinking, “I THOUGHT…I THOUGHT HE WAS WITH YOU”
And there are people all over this city and beyond that are headed right now towards the pain of divorce, the depression of thinking life is all about money, the emptiness in thinking life is in success or in beauty, and towards an eternal separation from God
And they’re trapped. They don’t how how to find life!
It’s time to set some people free!
It’s time to RENOVATE this city!
I want to challenge you this morning, don’t be satisfied in just nonchalantly walking towards your spiritual home of heaven…each day, enjoying your nice personal devotion time with your cup of coffee and Bible app…
We need to have more of a sense of urgency to our faith.
We need to be looking around us…and making sure Jesus is with our friends & family
Our mission as a church is to be a people being changed by God to change the world.
To reach out into this city.
Because all around us people are perishing.
Because they don’t know…they don’t know that Jesus came to save them.
And we’re going to tell them.
We have an incredible opportunity in front of us over the next 6 or 7 days.
The Lord has used our Easter services and Egg Hunt Outreach mightily the last few years.
Last year, even though we were only about averaging about 350 people at the time, we saw 2,000 people come to our Easter services.
Many of those people were invited by the amazing people of Renovation Church.
Some of you in this room…met Jesus last Easter.
Some of you…your friends met Jesus, last Easter…and now they sit with you today…one year later. Amazing.
And today, there are another 100 people who attend this church than there were last year at this time…in part, because of what God did last year on Easter
And listen, God continues to answer our prayers.
We really, really believe in the power of prayer here.
That’s why we talk about it…it’s why we we’re having you pray for 8,000 minutes for Easter.
And let me tell you something: God is listening.
SO much SO, that our new family pre-registrations for Easter are pouring in at a rate that is significantly faster than even last year…when we had 2,000 people.
SO much SO that we’ve become worried that it might be difficult to fit everyone in here…especially on Saturday…so, we actually need to add a…SEVENTH SERVICE.
(put up Easter Service Times Slide)
It will be on Saturday at 11:30am
This is crazy.
I’m not sure if you realize how amazing this is or not, but we’re going to share about Jesus with over 2,000 people next weekend…
The VAST MAJORITY of which don’t know Him.
Churches don’t do that anymore.
This is the kind of stuff that’s happening in maybe 1 out of 5,000 churches right now.
This is like…the days of old…100 years ago…when churches used to hold camp meetings outside of town, and the whole town would come out for music…and to listen to someone share the Gospel.
It’s just an incredible opportunity.
But we NEED you…if we’re going to be able to share Jesus with that many people.
We’ve also successfully lobbied the School District to allow us to add yet another children’s classroom, so we’ll now have 7 children’s classrooms per service.
Which is really where our pressure point is with the crowds.
That will allow us to now have 49 children’s classrooms across the weekend (7 services times 7 classrooms)…compared to what would have been 36 classrooms (6 services times 6 classrooms)
However, to do that, we need more volunteers.
We need 24 more people to volunteer at that first egg hunt for the 11:30am Saturday service.
You can sign-up in the hallway…or through the Connect Tab of our app
We now need 51 more Renovation kids volunteer slots filled. 51!!
Listen, this is NOT…another hour of your weekend going away…this is WORLD-CHANGING stuff that you get to be a part of!
Plenty of people raise thousands of dollars and go away for weeks at a time to go overseas and see this many people reached for Christ.
But this time, they are all coming right here into our space!
The last 48 hours, as our staff has been putting in a ton of hours, and we’re asking you to…put in a good chunk of your weekend…
I keep thinking about the Apostle Paul…who twice in the New Testament says that his whole life is like an offering poured out for God.
That’s what we want said of our lives.
None of us need yet another weekend of “me time,” but we want to be a part of a movement that is absolutely penetrating into the darkness and renovating this city!
That’s what’s happening here!
But if God is truly going to do this amazing thing again and blow our minds…we have to be ready for it!
And so I want you…either to sign-up to help outside at the egg hunt (you can do that in the hallway or on our app)
If you’re a children’s volunteer, our Children’s Pastor Alissa Speck will be in the hallway after the services.
Stop by and tell her that you can fill one of those slots.
Either on Saturday morning, or an extra classroom slot at a different service
Our Greeting Leader, Sarah Hawkins, and Usher’s Leader Tim Solberg, are also in the hallway.
They want you to stop by and say, “I can do it.”
Rachel Cheney, who’s overseeing this whole event is out there too.
Stop by and tell her…I’ll do whatever you need J
We all play different keys on the piano when then the Gospel is presented.
Tell them you want to be a part of helping people meet Jesus.
We need to fill 91 slots this morning.
I believe God can do that.
He wouldn’t be doing this in our midst if he weren’t also doing something in our hearts.
And I know that He’s going to do something not just through your service…but through the sharing your faith this week.
Because it’s not just about serving here…we want to be a light to our friends and family, right?
Is Jesus walking with your friend or family member?
Do you know?
If you don’t…start asking.
If you’re nervous about how to get a spiritual conversation started…inviting someone to church is one of the easiest places to start.
And inviting someone to Easter (or an egg hunt) is the easiest time of the year to invite someone to church
So, it doesn’t get a whole lot easier than this.
And yet, it’s still hard…that’s why we pray!
And so here’s what I know…because I’ve been watching God do some pretty amazing things here on Easter the past few years…
Next weekend, there are going to be A LOT of people that cross the line of faith…that go from perishing…to saved.
They will push back their chair, stand up, the Holy Spirit will come in their lives, and they will be forever changed!!
Now, what I don’t know…is who that will be.
But…I can tell you who it won’t be:
It probably won’t be the person you don’t ask.
I can’t guarantee anyone will say yes to you, and I certainly can’t guarantee they’ll come back to church or respond to Jesus.
But no one will do anything unless you take a step out in faith.
It’s a risk, that’s why it’s called faith!
But can we trust our God?
He says in Isaiah, that whenever His Word goes out…it does not return empty.
He always accomplishes SOMETHING when we are faithful!
In fact, I want to give you some tangible ways to do this even right now.
We’ve been handing you invite cards every week for a while now, but if you don’t have any yet, be sure to take them from the greeter on the way out.
Boldly trust God and invite your co-worker…your neighbor…your sister…your dental hygienist…the receptionist at your chiropractor…whoever.
A face to face conversation is always best.
But some of you have already decided…I just can’t do that…too hard…too big of a first step
But your heart still wants to get started in this…because you know it’s what life is about.
There’s a way you can still get started in this.
In fact, I want everyone to get their phone out.
Would you consider texting someone an invite? Or using Facebook Messenger?
(Put up texting suggestion screen) - Leave up until end of message
If you’re not much or a wordsmith or don’t know how to start, on the screen right now, we’ve put a suggested text.
Who has God been putting on your heart to reach out to?
We’re going to leave that up for a few minutes.
Would you trust God…that his word always accomplishes SOMETHING when it goes out?
If you already are planning on talking to someone in person, just wait and do that…if not, start texting and trusting J
Also, I have to say this, because we hear this every year now.
Do NOT say, “I can’t invite someone because I’m volunteering. No one in here should say that.”
I’m pretty busy that weekend…I’m going to invite a bunch of people.
If necessary, volunteer a service and then attend a different service w/ your friend.
If they can only come when you’re serving, have someone else take your volunteer spot. Talk to your leader. Seriously.
You can volunteer any Sunday of the year, but your friend isn’t going to come any Sunday.
This is WAY more important.
Make THIS your priority.
I just believe that God is going to blow our minds next weekend.
But He’s not going to do that because we’re smart or organized or can run a good service or event.
He’s going to do that…because we’re going to PRAY!
And we have been praying…and we want to pray some more.
In fact, under your chair right now, there is a blank piece of cardstock paper (pick it up).
I want every person in here to write the name of one person (just one) that God is putting on your heart…that you could invite to hear about Jesus next weekend.
And then, any time during this last song, I want you to bring it up to the front…in place it in one of these baskets.
And here’s what we’re going to do.
Our prayer team is going to take all of the names you give us…and divide the names amongst themselves.
And every day, for the next 7 days, they’re going to pray over those names.
And we’re going to beg God to do the miraculous and to save lives.
THAT is how God is going to do this.
Where God gets the glory.
So I’m going to pray, our worship band is going to come back on stage, and at any time during this song, I want you to bring up a name, as if you’re offering them up to God…and we will pray for them.
Let me pray.
Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN
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