Vision Sunday (Mark 6:30-44)
Jason White



The church is in the community to FOR the community. We do not exist for ourselves. The feeding of the 5,000 (Mark 6:30-44) shows us how Jesus has compassion for those in the community, will use us to meet needs, is the One who satisfies, and provides abundantly.







Sermon Audio Transcript
So a lot of you know that we took a family vacation to Broken Bow, Oklahoma this summer, many of you had been there, and we had heard you talking about it. And it was a great fun place for family to go and not really that far to get to. And so we went, we had a great time, and we were looking for suggestions and fun things to do. And some of you mentioned family kayaking, that was something you did while you were there. And so I looked into that and found a place that came highly recommended, and I called to, to make a reservation. And the first question was, would you like to do the eight mile kayaking trip or the five mile kayaking trip and I went, that's the only two options you got five or eight miles, that seems kind of long on a kayak ride. So I said, Sign us up for the five mile kayaking trip. Right. So I got that one. Right. But where I went wrong was on the next question that she asked me, she said, Would you like to tandem kayaks? Or would you like for individual kayaks? And I thought, well, you know, my kids are teenagers. Now. They're becoming much more independent. And so surely everyone would want their own kayak to paddle for the whole five mile trip that we were doing so put us down for for individual kayaks? Well, it did not take very long for us to figure out that that was the wrong choice. I mean, as soon as we hit the water, Eli took off like it was a race and like he was going to try to set the record for who could go that the fastest in the five miles and Natalie, not to be outdone by a challenge, accepted the challenge and began to race after him saying I'm not letting my teenage son win, right. And so I'm there watching them just head off, and I turn around and Ava is behind me. And she has this look on her face like seriously. Like you that you want me to paddle this thing for five straight miles? I don't think so. And she just sat there. Now, this is not good. Can we get the tandem kayak, but it was too late. By that time. I mean, we had to go somewhere, and then they drive you like five miles up the river and drop you off with only the kayaks that had been reserved for that day. So we're stuck. I mean, I'm doing my best to encourage and support. And, you know, I mean, I used to be a coach and motivate people, so I'm not doing my best and I kind of get her to do but we're moving turtle pace. I mean, we're going nowhere fast. And so finally I'm looking around, I'm going okay, we had to borrow a cooler from the owner because I didn't come very prepared. He got to some waters and ice and Izuku and there was a bungee cord wrapped around the cooler to keep it secure. And I'm like, you know, I bet that thing secure enough a pie to need that bungee cord. So I did the bungee cord and I hooked it to the back of my kayak and to the front of her kayak is like I'm just gonna paddle as both right. So I mean, I'm getting after it, you know, and I'm trying to catch up. I know they're long gone down the road now and the first couple of miles is fine. I mean, I other than the fact my forearms and shoulders and lats were burning like crazy, because I'm the only one paddling things were going okay, right. But then we get to this spot in the river where there was this curve, and there had been some rain the day before, and it was flowing a little bit more than it usually does, I think and then a tree had fallen over into the river right where this curve and you know, when things begin to curve, the river kind of speeds up anyway. And with the tree there and the water coming up and going around it. I mean, this current was flowing right here. And so I'm doing my best to get us over to the right side of the tree in my kayak is fine. I'm on the right side, but because we're attached in the current was so strong, it did like the slingshot thing where Eva went to the other side in landed against the tree. And then the bungee cord was caught right in the corner where am on the right side and the currents flowing really hard. And she stuck on the other side. And again, you know what the bungee and when that happens in its flow and there's kind of this jolt all of a sudden, so there's this jolt and it just flips me completely out of the kayak at this point. Now I'm floating down the river. I lost my paddle. I lost the guy's cooler that he let me borrow my flip flops come off. My hat goes off. Thank goodness, I didn't have my phone at all with me. And I'm sitting here thinking my daughter's back there and I'm floored. I'm full I would fast like down the river I'm doing what can I find I'm finally I'm grabbing a hold of whatever I can get and come to a complete stop. But now I gotta get back to her somehow, right? And so thank goodness, there's a shallow area and I'm able to kind of walk up in and then you couldn't really get to him the trees tall, I couldn't even see her. I didn't know what would happen where she was what was going on, it was loud. And so now I'm having to climb over the tree. And I mean, this is a big tree, and there's like sharp, pointy limbs and I'm going if I fall, and I cut myself open and like I'm gonna bleed to death, right? There's nobody else around. My daughter is counting on me right now. So I'm going really slow and having to watch every step that I take, and I finally am able to get high and to peek over and see her. And she's like, Oh, hey, Dad, where are you been? almost died over here, you know? So now I'm going okay, you're okay. Let me see if I can figure this out. And I'm thinking, okay, the best thing is for me to undo the bungee cord, and they won't be tied together. And that was the climb back over the tree. And now I'm trying to this thing is so tight. I mean, there's so much pressure, I can't get the bungee cord on done. And so this is not the option. I climb back over the tree. Now over there. Instead, Eva, I'm gonna have to push really hard and try to get you over onto the right side of the current and around this tree. But I mean, it's flowing so hard. And I mean, even as strong as I am. I mean, it was like, really? Why are you laughing about that? So I'm pushing, you know, and when there's current flow, and I mean, I didn't have much of a chance and she lost the ballots. And then she flips over. And now she's floating down the river. And she's bobbing up and actually a lifejacket on, thank goodness, but she turned around while she's floating on the river with this look on her face, like you are the worst dad ever. You know, and I felt like the worst dad ever in that moment. Thank goodness, she floated on the side that was shallow and she caught herself. They could stand up right there. And I was like, okay, just stay there. And I'm gonna get the kayaks on done and find the push them out. And now I'm floating, and I've got two kayaks, and I'm trying to hold on to them. And finally grab a hold of something, tie them up, get us situated and get by this time, Natalie, and they've been done for like an hour. I mean, they've been long gone, and done. And I mean, we're paddling for another hour or two. And finally get there. When we finally get there Natalie's got this look on her face, like oh my gosh, what happened to you? Like we almost died. That's what happened to us back there, right? So we will never, ever go family kayaking again. And I'm not so sure you should either. But here's the thing, guys, we started down this journey on the right path. We were doing the right things, doing them the right way. But then I made this minor adjustment, and began to use the kayaks in ways that they weren't really intended to work, which caused us to get a little bit off course. And then get stuck and put in this dangerous position. Did you know that churches can do the same thing? See, most churches start off their journey with a vision to reach their community with the good news of Jesus Christ. But somewhere along the journey, sometimes churches begin to make adjustments and start making it more about themselves, rather than the people that they're trying to reach. And it seems fine. At first on the journey. It even seems good because you like the people that you're around. But that wasn't really the way that God designed it to work. And somewhere along the journey down the river, there's a tree there's a curve. And because you've gotten slightly off course, the church slams into the tree and can get stuck. And then numbers begin to decline and things begin to deteriorate. But often when that happens, no one is really ever willing to get out of the boat and change directions or try anything new and the church just stays stuck behind the tree and keeps doing the same things over and over until it slowlydies. We celebrated our 45 year anniversary as a church last week and we talked last week briefly about how this church was launched. It was planted to try to reach the people who live in the south part of Tyler that they noticed 45 years ago that there was growth beginning to happen that people were beginning to move into the southern part of the area and there was this vision To be able to reach the people moving into the community with the gospel, right. So this church was launched with the Great Commission in mind where, of course, Jesus said to go to go and make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son, and the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And this is still our mission today, as a local church, Jesus put us in this community, in this part of the community, to be for this community. It's one of our core values, so that we don't forget that this is a key value of part of what it is that we are to be about, we are a church, for this community, not for ourselves. But for the community, we don't want to drift away from that we don't want to start to make it all about us. We don't want to create a holy little huddle and turn our backs on the community and those who are lost in hurting and in need of His grace. So as we remind ourselves this morning of God's vision for us being a church, in this community for this community, I want us to look at one of Jesus's miracles that we see in the gospels, all four gospels, the only miracle outside of the resurrection, that all four gospel writers include. And it shows us that Jesus was in the community, for the community, and that as the head of the church, he will continue to lead us in this way. So look at it with me, we're going to read all of the verses together, and then I'll come back and highlight some things that we see here. Mark, chapter six, beginning of verse 30, says, The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to Him all they had done and taught, then because so many people were coming and going, that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, Come with me, by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest. So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place, but when but many who saw them leaving, recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began to teach them many things. By this time, it was already late in the day. So his disciples came to him, this is a remote place, they said, and it's already late, send the people away so that they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat. But he answered, you give them something to eat. They said to Him, that would take more than a half years wages, are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat? How many loaves do you have, he asked to go and see, when they found out they said five into fish than Jesus directed them to have all the people sit in groups on the grass. So they sat down in groups of hundreds and 50s. And taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, He gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people. He also divided the two fish among all, and they all ate, and we're satisfied. And the disciples picked up 12 basketfuls, of broken pieces of bread and fish, the number of men who had eaten was 5000, Mark says. So I want to just highlight four things that we see in this passage that will help us continue to focus on being a church, in the community for the community. The first one is this, Jesus was moved by compassion for the last, and he will move us to have compassion for the last as well. Jesus and his disciples were told by Mark were tired. They were trying to get away. They were trying to get some rest. They were trying to relax and be alone for a little while. But Mark says that when Jesus saw the people, and he saw that they were in need, he was moved by compassion for them. He was concerned for them because they were lost and in need. And we see this all over the Gospels, or anytime that the writers were talking about Jesus showing up in a place it was like he was filled with compassion for them. So he taught them the truth about things or someone would ask for healing and they would say, well moved by compassion for them. He healed them. This is part of who Jesus is and because he is still moved by compassion for the lost in the needy today, and he's the head of the Church, which is us, than we can expect Him, to move us by compassion, and have that feel that same compassion for the lost and the broken and those who are in need in our community. But he's not just going to cause us to feel something for them, He's not just going to cause us to have an emotional type of compassion for them and not do anything about it. Which leads me to the second thing we see in this miracle, Jesus used the disciples to meet their need, and he will use us to do the same, to meet the needs of others in our own community. Remember, the disciples came to Jesus and told him to send them away so that they could be fed. I mean, they were concerned about them as well. But remember what Jesus said, You give them something to eat. Of course, we're told that they kind of, you know, instead of looking at Jesus, and reminding themselves of all that he was capable of doing, they took their eyes off of him, they looked at the size of the crowd, and they want to heal, right? You know, I mean, there's no way we can pull something off like that. And I wonder how many times you and I have done the exact same thing. I mentioned to you last week that I had been doing it in relation to the now's the time campaign, and all that we kind of had, and in all that we're trying to do, and all the things that we're trying to accomplish. And at some point, I just kind of took my eyes off of Jesus and all that he was capable of doing and went, Man, there's no way I don't know how we're going to do this, and began to feel worried and anxious. And all of those, those things. And, and remember, I mean, this now, this time campaign is something that we're doing, that's part of this vision for being in the community for the community. That's why we built it in the first place when we were talking about becoming a church 45 years ago, to have a place to gather and to invite the community to worship and to hear the gospel and minister to them and serve them. And God's been using this building in that way for the last 45 years. But now, as you know, he's telling us to, it's time to renovate it, it's time to do some things, to be able to continue to use it to reach the community and be a blessing and a benefit to them over the next 45 years. But it's so easy to take our eyes off Jesus, like the disciples did think there's no way how we're going to do this. One thing I love about this is that Jesus didn't look at them and scold them. He didn't say, you know, good, worthy, lousy disciples, ye of little faith, just, I'm gonna go get some new disciples, you know, he just took what they had. And he provided a miracle out of what they had. I think that's a key thing for us to notice and recognize and keep in mind as we walked, he took what they had, and used it to provide, he will take what we have as well. And he will do what it is that he does, to provide for the needs of those in the community. But I love what we see here because it wasn't like Jesus just just did it. And he could have just being who he was just here it is. And all of a sudden it was like in their laps or something. He used the disciples afterwards, he provided what was needed and said, Here, you guys go distribute it. So it was their feet, it was the disciples feet that walked to where the people were, it was the disciples hands that reached into the baskets and pulled out the food and handed it to the people so that they could eat and you and I have to remember that if we are going to be a church in the community for the community that Jesus is going to use us to reach them. It's going to come through us and our availability to be used it Jesus as the head of the church looks at us in the same way that he did the disciples and says, You give them something to eat, I'll provide you do it when Jesus will provide, but we get to participate in him or with him, and what it is that he's doing in us and through us to meet the needs of those in our community.The third thing that we see in this passage is that Jesus ultimately satisfies mark and all of the other gospel writers when telling us about this miracle that Jesus performed, tells us that the people didn't just like get a little bit of something to eat to kind of tie them over and until they could get a real meal, right. I mean, he says they ate Eat until they were satisfied. In other words, they ate until they were full, the same kind of fool that you and I get when we go to a Chinese buffet and go back like four or five times and then eventually just have to push back from the table and say, I can't do it any more, right? I mean, they ate until they were full. The thing that we wonder, okay, was it the food that satisfied them? Or was it Jesus? Maybe the answer is yes. Right. I mean, certainly it was food in their bellies that satisfied the need of hunger. But without Jesus, they wouldn't have had the food in the first place. He was their provider, he was the one who satisfied their need. And of course, we ultimately know that Jesus is our satisfaction and fulfillment. He even used the the food and the bread at one time declaring this truth. And John 635, I am, he says, the bread of life. So whoever comes to me, will never go hungry. Whoever comes to me, whoever believes in me will never be thirsty, only Jesus can satisfy the deepest longings of our hearts. And as we turn to Him, as his church, we will experience that satisfaction and that fulfillment in him, which will free us from having to try to find it out in the world somewhere. And guess what if we're free from having to expend all this energy to find fulfillment and satisfaction in the world, guess what we're free to do? Look for people's needs to meet and share the gospel with them. Because we're so full and satisfied in Jesus, that we can just be used by Him in His Kingdom work in the community. So this is what we do. We're in this community to be used by Jesus, to meet people's tangible needs, and of course, eternal needs, as we make ourselves available to him. Here's the final thing that we see in this passage. I think this is so big for us to in Jesus, there is abundance. We see that here. I mean, the thing is, is when thinking about how we're in this community, for this community, it can be so easy to sometimes have a scarcity mindset, to focus on our limited resources. We don't really have enough to make an impact. Who am I to really be able to help the people in this community? What what do I have? What resources do I really have to offer and contribute to these kinds of things? And even if we have resources, a scarcity mindset, a lot of times we'll say, Yeah, but look at our world today, look at our culture, look at the inflation, look at the economy. And all that's going on a scarcity mindset is focused on fear and how there might not be enough one day, so I need to hold on to whatever it is that I have. And I need to make sure I make it all more about me. We focus on what happened here in Mark six, though, you see that? What's wrong with that kind of mindset? Because not only does Jesus take two small fish and five loaves and turn it into enough food to feed 10 or 15,000 people until they were satisfied. Do you remember that the disciples were told, picked up 12 baskets of leftovers. In other words, there wasn't just enough food to feed every one there was excessively abundantly more than enough. And there always is with Jesus. Because he owns it all. It's all his and he has abundantly more than all we could ever need or ask for. We're even told by the apostle Paul in Ephesians three that Jesus will do that abundant work in us in through by us praise is beautiful prayer and Ephesians three favorite prayers in the Bible and at the very end of it, he closes it out by praying for them and saying Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine. What are you asking? In imagining for? It's probably not big enough. He's able to do immeasurably more than all We ask or imagine, according to his power that's at work were within us as the church. And so to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen. Paul says that Jesus can do immeasurably more, do you know why we aren't able to measure it? Because Jesus never runs out of it. His whale never runs dry. So it's not like he can just throw it out there and say, see how much I have. And you actually measure it. It's like it will never runs dry. There's so much of it, you can't ever measure. I think what we're seeing here at this miracle is that Jesus wants us to get rid of our scarcity mindset that we carry around a lot of times, he's saying, I've put you in the community for the community. And I'm able to do immeasurably more, I can take your two fish, I can take your five loads, and I can do immeasurably more with that I've got enough for your now is the time campaign. I've got enough spiritual gifts to pass out and be expressed through you to love and serve and encourage and support the community. I've got enough love and joy and peace and patience and kindness and goodness and faithfulness and gentleness and self control that I can express through you towards those in this community. And so my prayer for myself, and for us as a church is that we will get rid of this scarcity mindset and the fear that drives it sometimes, and have more of a mark six perspective, hear a feeding of the 5000 perspective and abundance perspective. It's always we remind ourselves of the vision and mission that Jesus has called us to as the church, again, to be a community in this community for this community, then let's do those four things that we highlighted. Let's allow him to stir compassion in us for the last in our community. Let's allow him to use us to meet tangible needs and eternal needs, let's allow him to be our own satisfaction, first and foremost. And then being freed from having to pursue it in the world, make ourselves available for how he wants to use this to point others to how they can find satisfaction in him. And then let's get away from the scarcity mindset and renew our minds to the truth of the abundance that we have in Jesus at the immeasurably more that he wants to do and can do in and through us. Remember, Jesus looked at his disciples in front of 10 to 15,000 people and said, You give them something to eat. And he says the same thing to you. And to me today, you you give the people in this community that I've put you in, something to eat. So what does that look like for you?Does that look like you going into your own neighborhood and serving your neighbors in some way? Does that look like you're going into the workplace with a mindset that at Jesus, I'm available to you to meet tangible needs and eternal needs? As you work in me and through me it is that look like you're going into your school and sharing that with those in your class or your teachers or those on the courts or the fields with you? Does it look like you contributing resources to now is the time campaign or continuing to ask even if he's led you down that road? Is this still the direction that you have me going? Or would you like for me to do more or even sooner? Is it the kind of thing that maybe Jesus is leading you to be involved with? Specifically, let's get real practical, right? The car show next week, there's an opportunity where the Lord says to go and make disciples and I put you in this community for the community. And guess what? He's gonna bring the community to us. They're gonna be right here on our campus. Have you signed up to volunteer? Have you signed up to help with that yet? Yeah, it's early. And a lot of you are used to be in here at the 11 o'clock time and it takes a lot more work if you got younger kids to get up and do it. But there is an abundance in Christ. He can do immeasurably more than all you ask or imagine. And there's this beautiful thing of us worshiping as one church. One family together, and then partnering together to serve and meet needs in our community and build relationships and invite them into what Jesus is doing here. Maybe again, to continue to talk really practically, it's the same kind of idea with upward soccer. We took this weekend off, we started last week, Jesus is going to bring over 1000 people for the next seven Saturdays, every Saturday 1000 people right here onto our campus who live in our community. And again, we have a window where you and your groups and Sunday school classes can sign up to be a part of what God is doing there. Or you can sign up as an individual and see John and Nancy out here. Maybe it's to be involved with the apartment life ministry that we highlighted earlier this summer. There's an event going on this Tuesday that you can be involved with that Don and Linda crites back here can share more about that maybe it's mentoring someone through the mentoring Alliance, who we partner with here any number of ways just okay, you and I are in this together. Right? This is we are the church. And so the response is Jesus, we're your church, you put us in this community for the community we're available, to be used by you to be moved by compassion for the lost in this community, and to be used by you to meet tangible needs and eternal needs. Because you can do immeasurably more than all we could ever ask or imagine. May that be true of each one of us and collectively, us as a church as we enter into this next kind of ministry year. Together. Let's pray