September 19, 2019
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“The Promise Only Jesus Could Make” with Katie Edwards


– Good morning, it is so great
to be with you this morning. If you’re watching online or
at one of our 18 campuses, it’s so great to be with you today. Woo, I just have to take a beat, because I am just truly so honored and privileged to be standing
in this space, in this spot, where so many people that I love so deeply and respect so much have stood before me. So it’s just such an honor
to be with you this morning. My name is Katie Edwards
and I’m excited to share, it feels super special to be up here because this church has
been pouring into me since I was 13 years old. So that’s when we started, that’s when my family
started coming to Saddleback, 1988, which feels like 100 years ago. I was 13 when we first came here. I met Jesus here at Saddleback, I was 14 in our high school ministry at high school summer camp. That’s where I met Jesus
for the very first time and learned about what
a relationship with him, how that would change my life. Throughout high school,
I heard Pastor Rick say, I think 600 times, that every member is a minister, and so my senior year of
high school when I was 17 is when I stepped in to
kind of my first serve, my first ministry experience, and I became a small group leader for our junior high
ministry when I was 17, and I’ve been serving in
that ministry since then. I met my husband here at Saddleback, actually 21 years ago this summer, we got married in this
very room at Lake Forest. Yes, I know, so cool. This is my husband, Ron. I just wanna show you
a little photo of him. So he is the one in the Rams
shirt if you are confused. (audience laughs) So just to clarify. These are his favorite things,
his three favorite things: Star Wars, Rams football, and me. (audience laughs) Stars Wars and Rams
football are one and two and I am clearly third
in that, and that’s okay. I knew what I was getting
into when we got married. So love him. He’s built like a linebacker but he’s an elementary school teacher, which is the best. I’m also a mom of three kids, so I have a little guy who’s eight, he’s going into third
grade, his name’s Cooper. He wakes up like this. He jumps out of his bed and into life, and then when he goes to bed at night, he jumps into his bed like this. So he is full of energy,
just pure joy, always sticky. He’s just the best, he’s the best. I’m also a mom to two
teenage girls, Ella and Abby. (audience laughs) Yeah. If you have teenagers,
this makes sense to you. This makes sense to you. My, the front one is Ella. She’s 16, she’s gonna
be a junior at Trabuco, and the back one is Abby, she’s 19, she’s gonna be a sophomore
at IVC this next year. This is the mood, you
know, we go back and forth between moodiness and happy-go-lucky. There’s not really anything in between, it’s just those two things, but. Trying to take pictures of my kids, we tried to take fancy
pictures a few weeks ago and this was the best one
that we got of them, so, but I just, I’m so grateful. We’ve been raising our
kids here at Saddleback, and I am so grateful. If you are a Saddleback Kids leader or a Student Ministries leader, let me just say, we are so grateful. Ron and I as parents, you know, the journey of parents can, journey of parenting can feel so lonely, but we are so grateful to every SK leader and every SSM leader that has come alongside of our kids. Thank you for showing up
for them every single week. We are truly grateful for your
ministry here, so grateful. (audience applauds) It’s the best, it’s the best. I believe that I have the
best job in the world. I know that I have the
best job in the church. I get to oversee our
Student Ministries here at the Lake Forest campus. I oversee college, high
school, and junior high, but on the daily, I get to
pastor our junior high students. This is a little snapshot of some of the junior highers here, which I think is the best. When I tell people that
I work with junior high, most of the time they respond with, “oh, bless your heart,” or “God bless you,” which is really just translation
for, “you’re so crazy,” but I really, I feel so
grateful for my role. I’ve been on staff here for 23 years in the student ministry, and there is something so special
about the junior high age. It’s moving from being a
little kid to adulthood, and we get to meet them right
in the middle of their crazy with Jesus and telling them
how much Jesus loves them. It’s the best, it’s the
best job ever, so I love it. I, this church truly,
you know, my whole life, has poured so much into me, and so I’m so honored to
share with you this morning, to pour back into you, and to share what God has put on my heart. So we’ve been in this series called The Amazing Promises of God, and what I love about this series is it feels so personal, ’cause every promise that
we have talked about, the promises of heaven, the
promises of the Holy Spirit, the promises around giving, everything feels so personal, ’cause these promises are for us. Today, what I want to talk about, I wanna take a look at just
one promise that Jesus made. Now, he made more than one
promise throughout scripture, but I really wanna take a
look at this one promise. For the last two weeks, I have been at junior high summer camp. Two weeks of junior high
summer camp, best weeks ever. In fact, that was the theme
of our camp: Best Week Ever. There was a statement that
I made to our students probably 200 times while we were at camp. It is what supports the
theme, Best Week Ever, and the statement is this: the best life ever is a life
lived with and for Jesus. The best life ever is a life
lived with and for Jesus. For our teenagers here in the church, I am desperate for them
to embrace that statement, that the best life ever is a
life lived with and for Jesus. As I thought about being here
with you and sharing with you, man, I feel that same
desperateness for us as adults, that we would embrace and be encouraged by the best life ever is a
life lived with and for Jesus. The promise that we’re
gonna rally around today and talk about is the
anchor of that statement, it’s the source of that statement. It’s found in John chapter 10, so that’s where we’re gonna
camp out for a little bit is John chapter 10. John chapter 10 starts
out with a conversation between Jesus and the pharisees. So the pharisees were the
spiritual leaders at the time. Jesus is in this conversation
and he is explaining to them who he is, why he came,
and who he came for. He’s telling them what he is all about and how everything that
they’ve known up to this point is over and it’s all about him. He’s using imagery of the
shepherd, us as the sheep, he’s using imagery of the
sheep pen with the gate and he represents the gate. So he’s explaining all
of this to the pharisees but they don’t get it, they’re confused. They don’t totally understand
what Jesus is describing. It’s kind of like when I sat down my kids and I told them that
they had to start doing their own laundry, right, which was, when you turn
10 in our household, you have to start doing your own laundry because if you can work an iPad, you can work a washing machine, right, so. (audience cheers) Right, yeah, okay. So you know, and you sit
them down and you explain how it’s gonna go. You gotta put the clothes in
and you gotta put the soap and, and the look on my kid’s
face, total confusion, like, “you want me to do what now? “And I’ve gotta bring my clothes down “from the floor of my room and, “you’re not gonna?” Okay, so right, that’s what you get. This is what’s happening between Jesus and these spiritual leaders. He’s explaining something
important to them, something that he wants them to get, and their response is confusion. They don’t understand. “You’re who now, you’re what now, “this is how, this is, what?” So, we pick up in verse seven, John chapter 10 verse
seven, and Jesus says, “therefore,” or “‘therefore’
Jesus said again, “‘very truly I tell you, I
am the gate for the sheep.'” So verse seven starts out with “‘therefore’ Jesus said again.” I wanna pause here for a minute, ’cause the word again is
really, really important. See, there’s some moments in scripture when Jesus makes statements and then he mic drops and walks away, and then there are moments
where he repeats himself, where he says something again. Now, you could have the impression that Jesus was rolling his eyes and, “okay, for those of you in the cheap seats “who didn’t get it, here
it is again,” right. That’s not my impression. My impression of this moment is, this is a you can’t miss this moment. You cannot miss what I
am about to tell you, because it is so important. He’s already explained
it, they didn’t get it, so let me tell you again, because this is important. So in this moment where it says, “again,” I think it’s always important to, whether it’s the narrator saying again or Jesus saying, “I say again,” it’s in these moments where
he’s repeating himself because it’s a don’t miss
this, it’s everything. So here we go, verse seven, “‘but therefore’ Jesus said again, “‘very truly I tell you, I
am the gate for the sheep. “‘All who have come before
me are thieves and robbers, “‘but the sheep have not listened to them. “‘I am the gate. “‘Whoever enters through me will be saved. “‘They will come in and
go out and find pasture. “‘The thief comes only to
steal and kill and destroy. “‘I have come that they may have life “‘and have it to the full.'” So here’s Jesus giving the
pharisees two clear pictures, and then he hits them with
that promise in the end. The two clear pictures, this is who I am, this is why I came, this is who I came for and the benefits of following my voice. Then he gives us the picture of the thief, the thief representing anything or anyone that wants to lead us astray
from the voice of Jesus, anything that wants to steal or rob or kill or destroy what Jesus came to do, and then that promise at the end. Verse 10: “I have come
that they may have life “and have it to the full.'” This is why he said it again. He repeated again, because
this is everything, this is the promise. “I have come that they may have life “and have it to the full.” In fact, write that down for me. Jesus promises life to the full. Jesus promises life to the full. It’s why he came. This promise is for
us, for you and for me. There’s other translations
that describe full life as the abundant life. “I may come, I have come “so that they may have abundant life,” “that they may have a
rich and satisfying life,” “that they would have
real and eternal life.” Jesus came so that you and
I could have abundant life with him in heaven forever
and ever in eternity, but also, he came so that here on earth, that we would have life to the full, that we would have life to the full. Let that soak in for a moment. This promise is to you and to me. He has come so that we
would have life to the full, here, now, and for eternity. Now, in the promise, he’s
not promising longer life, he’s not promising wealth and riches, even though one of the translations says, “rich and satisfying,” it’s
more like cheesecake rich, not like wealthy rich. He’s not promising a life where we get everything we want. He isn’t promising a life without pain, he’s not promising a life where
everything goes as planned or that we have perfect health, which, I know that you might be thinking, what the heck is a full life if it’s not any of those
cool things, right. Here’s what, let me give
you a little illustration of a full life. So a few years ago, I was
coming, I was in Chicago, and I wanted to get home
for a birthday party. So I was at a conference. I left the conference early
to catch the first flight out in the morning. So I got to the airport,
5:45 in the morning to catch that first flight out. If you’ve ever flown Chicago O’Hare, it is known for its delays, so it kind of, we went through a series of delays, delayed, delayed, delayed. By the afternoon, I realized, I’m not gonna make it home
for this birthday party. 15 hours later, at eight p.m., right, 5:45 to eight p.m., 15 hours later, I finally am getting on a
flight home to Santa Ana. I was in the airport all
day, exhausted, miserable, so bummed that I missed
this birthday party. I walked up to the gate
and the flight attendant, as I check in, a little piece
of paper pops up and she goes, “op, seat change,” and she hands it to me. Which in my heart, I’m like,
uh, it’s gonna be a B for sure. (audience laughs) I know it’s gonna be a B. So seat change, I look
at the ticket, it’s IA. I have been upgraded to first class. Yes, that’s how I felt. Oh, what, I had never flown
in first class before, and it was just an upgrade with my miles, so I get onto the plane, and I sit in the seat, and it’s nice, it’s very nice, it’s very comfortable. I pull up the blanket,
which, I think it’s cashmere, it’s just so, it feels so good. Snacks and a beverage
before we even take off. It was just, it was insane. I was like, this is a magical place, it’s just so amazing. So you know, I’m sitting
there in first class, and here’s what the crashing realization of this moment is. First of all, sitting in first class did not erased the fact that I had the worst day
sitting in the airport, it was just terrible. I still was missing this birthday party that I was so bummed
about, just so bummed. I also realized that the
first class seat in 1A arrives in Santa Ana at
the same time as 44B. They get there at the same time. It’s so funny how that
work, you know, works. The crazy thing about this is, all of my circumstances
could not be erased by the fact that I was
sitting in first class, but let me just say this. It was a lovelier ride, it was. It was a lovelier ride to Santa Ana. It didn’t take away that I was bummed, it didn’t take away just the crummy day that I had had, it didn’t take away, it didn’t get me home faster, but it was a lovelier ride to Santa Ana. Here’s the thing. In our relationship with Christ, there are ups and downs. He’s not promising a life
without ups and downs. He’s not promising a
life of perfect health or without pain. He’s not promising a life that erases all of the circumstances. But man, in the midst of all those things, a life with Jesus, it’s a lovelier ride. It is a lovelier ride. Because see, this life to the full that he promises you
and I is so much more, so much bigger than our
circumstances, than our stuff. This is hard to wrap our minds around, because we as humans have an impression, have an idea of what life to the full should look like, right. We think that, if I can just
get into a relationship, life will be full. If I can just get that
job, life will be full. If I can just make more money, my bank account will be
full, and so will life. If I can just get better
grades, life will be full. If my kid can just get into
college, life will be full. If we could just own our home instead of having to
rent, life would be full. If we could just, if we
could just, if we could just. If we could just this,
we as humans have an idea of what life to the full looks like, but Christ promises life to the full. The world makes a whole
lot of false promises, and we listen to a whole lot of things that are promised that can’t last. The only one who can promise
the full life is Jesus. This is a promise that only he can fill, that only he can keep. I know that that’s tricky for
us to wrap our minds around, but his picture of full,
and life to the full, that promise being kept in our lives, is more than we could imagine. I, the passage where he makes the promise, he actually starts out the
promise with the word I, with the word I. “I have come that they may have life “and have it to the full,” which means that the full
life that he’s promising is directly connected to
our relationship with him. It’s in deep connection with him that we experience this full
life that he has for us. In fact, that’s the next thing
I want you to write down. Life to the full is a result
of being connected to Jesus. Now, I’m not saying that
it’s bad to want things or to have goals or to
look forward to things. The thing that’s tough is when
we think that those things are going to fill us up in a more fulfilling way
than Christ fills us up. See, it’s in our connection to him that we really experience the full life. Every February, I get
an opportunity to take, to lead a trip of junior high and high school students to Rwanda, and when we head to Rwanda, our Student Ministry team
goes just a bit to the north of the capital of Kigali up into the hills of Rwanda. The space that we go
into is not westernized. It’s really no electricity,
no running water, no indoor plumbing. Most of the homes that we go into are one room, no concrete
floor, dirt floors. It is farm life, it is village life, and that’s where our team
spends a few weeks every year. One of the things that as we
interact with people in Rwanda that sticks out to every single
kid and strikes me as well, in fact, there is, I think in my mind, I can’t think of one kid who hasn’t made this statement
to me on a Rwanda trip. They always come up to
me at some point and say, “Katie, it’s amazing, it’s crazy “how everybody we meet and talk to, “they don’t have a whole lot, “but man, they are so
joyful, they’re so joyful.” It’s this really powerful observation that happens pretty quickly into our trip. In fact, we met this woman
named Vivian a few years ago. We partner with her church. Vivian wakes up every morning at 5:30 to go and cook lunch
for a group of orphans from six a.m. to noon. Monday through Friday she does that, and the orphans come to
the church and eat lunch. We got a chance to help
her cook, help her, she was awesome at it, we were not, we got a chance to help her
cook and prepare the food, and then she invited us back to her house. We walk into Vivian’s house. She’s one of these people
that just exudes joy and love and kindness, the type of people that you
just wanna stand next to all the time ’cause they make
you feel great, that’s Vivian. She invites us into her home. It’s about as big as a closet. It’s got four walls, dirt floor, there’s some benches, and it’s a family of five
that lives in this space, Vivian and her family. She invites us in with this giant smile. We all sit down, we start
sharing stories and talking and we said, “Vivian,
what can we do for you? “What can we bring you, what do you need?” She looked at me and
she looked at the kids and she had this big smile. She said, “I’m just so happy you’re here, “I don’t need anything.” We’re like, “no, no no. “Vivian, what do you need,
what can we bring you?” ‘Cause in our humanness, in all honesty, the kids and I are
looking around at the room and we’re like, “Vivian,
you need some stuff.” (audience laughs) Right? I mean that’s, that was our human, because we have this perception or this impression of
that, to have the full life you need to have the comforts and the conveniences and the stuff. It’s like, “Vivian, what do you need?” She says, “Jesus has
provided everything I need. “I am so grateful, I’m so
grateful for everything I have. “I’m so grateful for the food you brought. “I’m so grateful that I get
to sit with friends today. “Do you know how special it is “that I get to sit with you today? “I am so grateful. “Jesus has given me everything I need.” Still, the kids and I are looking around, and to wrap our minds around the fact that Vivian has, in our
perspective, nothing, but from her perspective,
she has everything. She has everything she needs, because everything comes from
her connection to Christ. She is living life to the full, and her connection with Jesus is what fulfills that promise in her life. From our perspective, it was lacking. From hers, life was full. That promise is for us. One of the most powerful places where you see this connection to Jesus and how important and powerful this can be in our lives
is in John chapter 15 verses four through six. Jesus gives us a great picture. Verse four starts out with, “remain in me as I also remain in you. “No branch can bear fruit by itself. “It must remain in the vine. “Neither can you bear fruit
unless you remain in me. “I am the vine,” this is Jesus talking, “you are the branches,” that’s us. “If you remain in me and I in you, “you will bear much fruit. “Apart from me you can do nothing. “If you do not remain in me, “you are like a branch that
is thrown away and withers. “Such branches are picked up, “thrown into the fire, and burned.” I love this really
physical, tangible example that Jesus gives us of the power of our connection to him. See, he is the vine, he is the trunk, and he calls us the branches. When the branch is attached to the vine, attached to the trunk, it gets everything that it needs. It gets nutrients, it grows, it thrives, it lives its best life
attached to the trunk. That connection is what
brings all of that. When the branch is detached, cut off, it loses everything
that the source gives it and it begins to wither and die. In our relationship with Jesus, it’s our connection to him
that fuels this promise of the full life. It’s in our connection
to him that we thrive. It’s in our connection to him that we grow in our love
and knowledge of him. It’s in our connection to him that we experience this
full life that he promises. Well, what does this look like, ’cause it’s easy for me to say, “hey, connect to Jesus
and life will be full.” What does that actually look like for us, to deepen our connection with him in order to experience this promise and this life that he has for us. A few things. The first is a connection to Jesus is experienced by believing and receiving. Connection to Jesus is experienced by believing and receiving. If you do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, you can begin to deepen
your connection with him by believing and receiving. The full life he promises comes
from being connected to him and being connected to Jesus begins by believing in who he says he is, and receiving the free gift of salvation and relationship that he offers. John 1:12 says, “yet to
all who did receive him, “to those who believed in his name, “he gave the right to
become children of God.” Jesus has his arms open to you. If you do not know him, if
you’re not connected to him, if you don’t have a relationship with him, he offers relationship
and salvation to you, and our connection begins
by believing and receiving. A few years ago, actually 2012, I got something in the
mail that was an invitation to one of the most exclusive
clubs on the planet. I received in the mail
my Starbucks Gold Card. (audience laughs) This is a big deal people, so when this came in the mail, I opened it up, I just started, “I’m wow, Starbucks has invited me, “their best customer, to be a part “of the Gold membership.” Now here’s the thing. Once I got over my initial
shock and excitement, I had to accept the invitation. I had to accept the
offer of this membership. How do you do that? Well you had to check
a little box that says, yes, I will be part of
your very exclusive club, and you had to load your Gold
Card with $50 and spend it, so that was the other part of joining the membership,
of becoming part of it. Then once you’ve joined the membership, you are a member for life,
which is so exciting, I think, I mean, I’m still a member, and when you’re a member, when you’re a Gold Card member, there are significant benefits to being a part of this membership. You get free drinks every once in a while, like every 12 weeks or so,
or what, you know, however. You get half price cake pops. So, if you haven’t had
a cake pop at Starbucks, you haven’t lived. Okay, so, there’s benefits that come to this Gold membership that once you accept the
invitation to be a part of it, then you get to benefit. Here’s what you need to understand. Christ is inviting you to be
in a relationship with him. He’s inviting you to be connected to him, to be a member of the family of God. All it takes in return is
for us to believe in him and receive that free gift of
salvation and relationship. The benefits to having a
relationship with Christ is life to the full. Actually, Christ talks about, Jesus talks about the
benefits of a relationship in John chapter 10, nine through 10, that end part of the passage. “I am the gate, whoever enters
through me will be saved.” Benefit, “they will come in
and go out and find pasture.” Pasture represents contentment and peace and unconditional love and hope, benefit. “The thief comes only to
steal and kill and destroy, “I have come that they may have life “and have it to the
full,” life to the full. It’s a benefit of our
relationship with Christ. In order to experience this promise, for this promised life to the full, to be real in our lives, it begins with a connection to Jesus. If you don’t know him,
he wants to know you. The invitation is there. When we believe and receive,
that relationship begins, and it’s in that connection to him that we begin to experience this promise. This promise becomes real in our lives. Another way that we deepen our connection, our connection to Jesus
is also experienced by trusting and obeying,
trusting and obeying. When we trust Jesus and we are obedient to what he asks of us, that deepens our connection with him, and it’s our deeper
connection with him, right, branches, vine, that we
experience life to the full. There’s a, John 10:3-4 says, “he calls his own sheep by
name and leads them out. “When he has brought out all his own, “he goes on ahead of them, “and his sheep follow him
because they know his voice.” He leads them out and his sheep follow. There is, in our connection with Christ, trust and obedience
deepens that connection. A few years ago, my, our oldest daughter, when she was in elementary school, she came to us and she said, “hey, I’m lonely, can you
guys have some more kids?” Yeah, and Ron and I were, well, you know, “you’re fun, we like you, “I’m not sure we wanna
add to that,” you know. So we started to pray
and we started to think, do, how, what do we wanna do, do we wanna grow our family? So we started to think about adoption, but I, we just kind of took our time, we just weren’t sure. A friend of ours came to us and said, “hey, you guys should think
about foster parenting “and foster parenting to adopt.” Our first response to
that was, “no thanks, “no, I don’t think that’s for us.” ‘Cause see, in our minds, foster, the foster system had this
stigma attached to it. It just felt broken and messy and we didn’t know a whole lot, and it just seemed like something that would kind of put a wrench in our comfortable life with our one kid. So we were like, “I don’t think so, “I don’t know if that’s for us.” She says, “oh, you guys
should just go to this class, “just go to this class
and just hear about it, “just get educated.” We went to this class and heard all about the
needs here in Orange County: how many kids are in the foster system, birth parents who are struggling and needed to be encouraged, social workers who are
fried and overworked. We got an education on what was happening just in our neighbor and our backyard. We got in the car after that class and we drove home in
silence, didn’t say a word. Got into the house and we just naturally kind of went to our separate corners to think and pray on our own, ’cause we were just overwhelmed. We came back together,
we looked at each other, and we just said, “we can’t not do this, “can’t not do this.” Jesus is so clearly telling
us to get in this thing, to get involved, to jump in. We didn’t know what that meant, but we felt it so strongly in our lives. Let me be really clear. We did not want to do this, we didn’t. We did not want to enter into something that had so many unknowns and so much, maybe mess and
brokenness attached to it. We didn’t wanna do that, but Jesus was so clear, so clear. “Trust me, just trust me, jump in. “I will take care of everything, “it will be okay, just trust me, trust me. “Trust me and do what I say, “trust me and do what I say.” So we did, we jumped in, and over the course of a few years, we fostered six kids longterm and our two youngest are adopted
out of the foster system, Ella and Cooper. Now, I don’t tell you this story to say, “oh, we’re heroes for jumping
into the foster system.” No, Ron and I are just
sheep, we’re just sheep. We’re sheep who were
led out by the shepherd and listened to his voice and followed him and did what he said. Now here’s the crazy part about this. Life to the full for Ron and I did not include Cooper and Ella. See, in our minds, our
full life was what we had. We had no idea that Jesus had a way better full life for us, something beyond what we could think or imagine for ourselves. When I look at the
picture of our family now, and I see the fullness
that Christ brought, this was not what we chose for ourselves. This was what Jesus chose for us, and by trusting and obeying, he led us to a full life that we could not have anticipated. Trust and obedience leads to a
deeper connection with Christ and it’s in that deeper
connection with him that we experience a full life that we might not even
be able to see right now. It’s in that deeper connection that this promise of a full
life that he makes to us becomes so real. Another way that we
experience through connection is by loving and serving. A connection to Jesus is
experienced by loving and serving. When we love and serve his people, that deepens our connection with him. I John 4:19 says, “We love “because he first loved us.” Pretty straightforward passage, not a lot to interpret here. We love because he first loved us. When we love and serve God’s people, that deepens our connection to him because it makes us look just like him, when we love and serve in his name. I asked a few of our Student
Ministry’s volunteers to share about their
relationship with Jesus and how it’s been strengthened through their ministry to students. Check this out. – My name is is Leela Kimball and I’m a senior at Trabuco. I have served in high school
ministry student leadership in junior high ministry, and I have served globally on a peace trip to Rwanda. My connection with Jesus
has begun to deepen as I have gone from, my faith has gone from an inward desire of fulfillment to an outward expression of love. My anxiety and stress has lessened as my prayers for students
have been answered in incredible ways that can only be explained by God. Through every single student that I have intended to serve, God has always been able to
serve me in return through them, and that’s what’s really
cool about ministry. – My name is Taylor Bird
and I’m 30 years old, and I serve with Junior High Ministry. When I was 23, I worked
with junior highers for the first time and God really showed me that I have gifts and a
calling to work with that age. Several years ago, I lost my confidence and I felt like God
couldn’t use me anymore to work with students or to help and love, serve people. But since moving back to
Orange County with my wife and jumping back into JHM, I’ve got a firsthand
look at what God is doing in the lives of students, but at the same time, he’s
given me a firsthand look into what he’s doing in my heart. When I watch students grow in their faith, it inspires me to grow in my own and to discover more about
Jesus than I ever had before, and I know that God has called
me to work with students and that he’s gonna
continue to call me to, and as I do that, my faith is
just gonna continue to grow for the rest of my life. – Hey, my name is Billy Henzo, and I lead an awesome group of senior guys in HSM right now. I’ve been their leader
through Bible studies and HSM camp and all that great stuff, but also I’ve been part
of this amazing community of other leaders that have all been leading alongside me, but we’re able to share
in each other’s burdens, celebrate each other’s big wins, and also small victories, and I’ve deepened my faith so much more in serving in this community than I ever would have if I’d just remained on an island and tried to do ministry by myself. So I’m so thankful for the SSM community, and I’m really excited to see what God does in the future. – My name is Stacy, and I currently serve as a life group leader
for 12th grade girls, and I’ve loved them since
they were in seventh grade. Serving in Student Ministries is honestly the greatest joy of my life. I would say it’s one of the biggest ways my relationship with Jesus
has grown consistently over the years. I feel like I get a front row seat to what God is doing in
the lives of teenagers, and that’s so inspiring. But even more than that, God has touched my own heart so personally through serving in Student Ministries, in the way that students ask questions, in their ability to be open
and honest and vulnerable, in their passion for life, in the way that they so
enthusiastically love me back. God has opened my eyes to
how deep his love is for me and has helped me grasp his truth in my day to day life. I want my own relationship
with Jesus to be passionate and honest and fun, too, and I’m so grateful for the way serving in Student
Ministries has shown me that. – When we love and serve his people, that deepens our connection with him and it’s in that love and service that we experience this promise of Christ’s idea of the full life for us. Now there’s all sorts of ways to serve. Obviously I’m just highlighting one. There are so many places in this church that people need to be loved and served. There’s people, there’s
places in our community that if we could step into loving and serving in our community, there are so many spaces
that we could do that, and around the globe, there are places that
people need to be loved and to be served. There are formal ways to do that, to sign up to be a part of things, and then there’s informal ways to do that. Every day when we leave, you know, wherever we go, God
puts people in our path, and to love them and to serve them deepens our connection with him. Who in your neighbor
needs a meal this week? Or is there someone that you know that needs you to pray over them? Is there someone in your life that needs an encouraging text
message right this second? Is there someone who just needs a hug? If you’re not a hugger, maybe some nice warm eye contact, you know, something like that. There are people that God
puts into our path informally. Every single day we interact with so many, and loving others and serving others deepens our connection with Christ. It makes us look just like him, and it’s when we’re like him that we truly experience life to the full. When I look at my life right now, the moments where life
has felt the fullest aren’t connected to things I have achieved or stuff that I’ve collected
or things that I have. They’re connected to these amazing moments that Christ has shown me this full life that I could not have
anticipated or chose for myself, but that he has chosen for me. This promise is for you and for me. The best life ever is a life
lived with and for Jesus. The best life ever is a life
lived with and for Jesus. That’s how I close out summer camp. I’m desperate for our kids to embrace that and I am desperate for
us to embrace that today. The best life ever is a life
lived with and for Jesus and he came for you. This promise of a full life is for you. Now today maybe that means, stepping into the full life means beginning a relationship with
Jesus for the first time, believing and receiving,
saying yes to this promise, saying yes to the benefit of full life by beginning a relationship with Jesus. For some of you, maybe
stepping into this fullness means trusting Jesus and following him and doing what he’s asking you to do in some area of your life. It’s entering into trust
like you never have before, but on the other side of obedience, knowing that Christ has fullness for you that maybe you can’t anticipate. Or maybe stepping into fullness just means loving and serving whoever comes in your path this week: the checkout person at Ralphs or the person at Target that you see or an affirmation for your kid when they’re having a tough kid or your neighbor who you
never really say hi to but you decide to. Maybe stepping in and loving
people fiercely this week is how you’re gonna
step into that fullness, deepen your connection with Christ so that you can experience this full life that he has for you, let’s pray. God, thank you so much for this opportunity to be
together together today. Thank you for this space that we get to be rallied
around by one another and by you. Thank you for loving us and
seeing us the way that you do, for this promise that you give us, this promise that only you can make and only you can keep, this promise of a full life. God, help us to lean into you, lean into our connection
with you this week so that we can be blown away by the fullness that you have for us. God, help us to let go
of our circumstances, help us to let go of things that might kill or destroy this promise that you have for us. Father, help us to let go of our pain, help us to let of our hurts, help us to let go of anything that would overshadow our eyes on you, our eyes on this fullness that you offer. Father, thank you, thank you thank you for loving us the way that you do. You love ordinary us in the
most extraordinary ways, some, we don’t deserve
it, but you do it anyways. We are so grateful for
the way that you love us. Pray these things in Jesus name, amen. (relaxing music) – Thanks for checking out
Saddleback’s message on YouTube. My name is Jay and I’m
Saddleback’s online campus pastor, and I’m here to help you take
your next step in your faith, because we all need to grow. I Samuel 2:26 says, “and the
boy Samuel continued to grow “in stature and in favor with
the Lord and with people.” Samuel was chosen at a young
age by God to be a prophet, but he didn’t remain a child. He grew in size and spiritually
by taking growth steps. “Jesus too grew in wisdom and in stature.” Christ didn’t remain a child. He matured over his short time on earth. One of the funniest but harshest verses is in Hebrews 5:12. It says, “you’ve been
believers so long now “that you ought to be teaching others. “Instead, you need
someone to teach you again “the basic things about God’s Word. “You are like babies who need milk “and cannot eat solid food.” The writer is saying to
these followers of Jesus that they need to grow up. They may be adults physically, but spiritually, they are babies. I don’t know about you, but I do not wanna be a baby. I wanna be a healthy adult, and that means I need to
be continually growing. So what does that mean for you? A couple options: first,
we would love to help you get plugged in to one of our
Saddleback Church campuses. We have many locations
in southern California and even internationally. Second, we could even help you
find the nearest local church if there isn’t a Saddleback
location near you. Lastly, you can get into
our online community by joining an online group
that meets on Zoom or Skype and start Class 101 to learn what it means to be engaged with our church family from a distance by launching a gathering in your house. But here’s the deal. We can only help you take a next step if you let us know you’re
watching right now. So take a moment and text 1-949-608-6637, or email [email protected]
that you want to grow. My team would love to answer any questions about our campuses, a local church nearby, or something about our online community. Looking forward to talking really soon, thanks for watching.

Otis Rodgers

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