1.Where have you put up fences in your life? Where and why are you hesitant to let others in?
2. What, do you think, has been the product of the fences you have put up in life?
3. Is there a practical way for you to “create a gate” in your life this week? Who will you invite to Easter service? Or over for dinner? Is there a phone call you need to make? An apology to offer?
Good morning Hope City! My name is Pastor Peter, I’m honored to be here with
you guys this morning. I’m fired up to be here today. We are 1 week away from
EASTER! On this Palm Sunday our goal is to prepare for what Christians have
commonly called “the Holy Week”. This morning I hope to help you prepare for
one of the most exciting days on the Christian Calendar, EASTER.
Easter takes place 3 days after Jesus was executed on a Roman Cross and it is
the day when Jesus’ came back to life. Jesus defeated death, He defeated sin,
and because of that you and I have been forever changed! We make a big deal
out of Easter here at Hope City. Some may say it’s even a bit UnOrdinary.
But hey, we’re in a series called The Art Of Being UnOrdinary, and so it makes it
sense for us to be a bit UnOrdinary around here. As followers of Jesus, we know
that we are called to be UnOrdinary, or to break the mold. This week I was
thinking about that mold that society has made, and I thought of our need to be
independent, to do it on our own… We want to keep people out, and away. In
fact, let me ask you a question… What makes good neighbors? Fill in the
blank… FENCES make good neighbors, right?
We love to put up fences right? Maybe they aren’t a
physical fence like this, but it’s something relational, right? At Work you avoid
people, and avoid conversations. NOPE…. NOT TODAY PAL! Or your kid or
grandkids sports team… I don’t want to know anyone… and you sit up in the
bleachers or off to the side. (NEIGHBORHOOD) Or anyone ever see anyone
walking their dog at night in the cover of darkness? Yeah, they don’t want to talk
to you. They’re slinking through the night hiding in the cover of darkness.
Living in community is challenging, especially if you
know that you’re going to have to get involved. You start to learn about people in
your neighborhood and then what happens, you will get involved. So in order to
not get involved, in order to stay out of it, it is ORDINARY to ISOLATE &
INSULATE. We isolate ourselves, by staying away from community, by staying
away from people, and we insulate ourselves by convincing ourselves that we do
not need anyone else. We can do this life on our own. After all, FENCES make
great neighbors, right?
Remember my Honey-Do list from 3 weeks ago? Remember how I was painting
our lanai floor? Well, it was so dirty and bad, that I needed to power wash it. I
arranged to borrow a power washer, and the one that I borrowed didn’t work. I
got it all hooked up and I went to pull the cord, and nothing happened. So there
goes that idea. But I still had a deck to paint. What was I going to do?
Then I remembered that my neighbor did power washing as a side job. I thought
about asking him to borrow his power washer. He’s sort of new to the
neighborhood, and I haven’t talked with him a lot, so I worked up my nerve to go
over there and ring the doorbell. And wouldn’t you know it, his sister comes to
the door and she says He’s taking a nap, let me go wake him up. I’m LIKE NO!!!!
Not the way you want to start asking for a favor. Sure enough 5 minutes later he
comes downstairs, I’ve been standing there awkwardly… having inserted myself
into their day… Hey man, any chance I could borrow a powerwasher.
He goes, aw man, I’d love to help you. I’ll help you. Let me see the job. Now
I’ve interrupted this guy’s nap, and I find myself walking over to my lanai so we
can look at MY HONEY DO LIST. He says, I’ll be back in 15 minutes to help you
out. He comes over and he’s got the full setup… the commercial wand, the
pressure washer on a trailer… you know the setup. And He starts pressure
washing my lanai. In my head, I’m like, how does one help another person
pressure wash. Are we going to each hold the sprayer? So I just walked around
behind him holding the hose. He was probably like, what’s the deal with this
30 minutes later, He was done. And I thought to myself, Oh man… now I’m
going to owe him. I knew that I was no longer isolated or insulated. Have you
ever felt that way? We just bumped our relationship up a few notches. What a
good dude he is. I tried to pay him; he wouldn’t take a dime.
Living in community can be challenging. There is a popular growing opinion in
the church lately that says, “I can choose who I’m going to love.” Of course
we don’t say this out loud, but we say things like, You’ve got to look like me,
you’ve got to vote like me, you’ve got to believe like me, and you’ve got to be
able to spend money like me in order for me to love you. We’re going to see
today that we need to break the mold of the Ordinary and Practice the Art of
Let’s jump in today to the end of Romans chapter 12. That’s page 775 on the
Bibles around you. Paul concludes his thoughts on what it means to live an
extraordinary life, the kind of life that makes you UnOrdinary.
Look what Paul says, here in verse 9.
9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one
another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. 1
Do you notice the first thing here… LOVE MUST BE FLAKY… LOVE MUST BE
FLEETING, or CONVENIENT. NO! Paul says, Love must be sincere. You can’t
fake love. Love is something so much a part of you as a follower of Christ, it is
just like the way that OXYGEN is a part of you as a human being. Without
oxygen, you would be dead. Without Love, are you really a Christ follower?
What does Jesus say about this? He says, in John 13:34
34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love
one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one
Loving one another is a top priority as a follower of Jesus! This is why one of the
first steps in being UnOrdinary is to DETERMINE TO LOVE. We’re going to
make a determination, a decision to love people. To love those around us. Paul
says in Romans 12 that we are to be devoted to one another in brotherly love.
Some of us are more devoted to our sports teams than we are to the idea of
loving other people! You need to DETERMINE TO LOVE.
But wait, Peter, doesn’t Paul say that we should hate evil? Look back with me at
9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one
another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. 3
Love first, and hate what is evil second. Notice it doesn’t say hate the evil
person… It says, strain out the evil, hate that, but love the person that is left
behind. It’s okay to hate evil/hurtful actions like Abortion, Racism, Alcoholism,
and Pornography, but where have we gotten the idea that it is okay to hate the
person? That’s not even what Scripture says!
Too often we hate before we love. And our hate leaves no room for love. Can
you leave some room for love? We hear people say, “We got pregnant before
we were married.” Walls go up. “Oh, I’m in recovery.” Fences go up all
around your Holy Self. “I’ve been clicking through some sites” More fences.
Too many people hide in their sin, and don’t confess what’s going on in their
world because they are afraid of being judged and pushed to the outside of
community. Not enough people are loving sincerely first. We’ll never help
people take steps away from their sinful habits and hangups if we just keep
telling them how wrong they are. We’ve got to determine to love. Quit waiting
for them to know the secret password before you let them in and love them. Let
me tell you what the password is, it’s JESUS. Jesus healed you, Jesus forgave
you, Jesus has a plan for you no matter what you’ve done, where you’ve been, or
what you may be addicted to. Here at Hope City, we’re all about Jesus, and
we’re all about loving you sincerely. Jesus loves you the way that you are, and
so do we. But Jesus also loves you ENOUGH not to leave you the way you are.
Not to leave you in your mess, in your hurt, in your brokenness. This is why Paul
urges us on in these next few verses…
11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in
hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with God’s people who are in need.
Practice hospitality. 4
If we’re going to love people well, if we’re going to love our neighbors, co-
workers, and those people who are around us, Paul says that we need to Move
From Isolation to Investment. Why? Because this is how we serve the Lord.
This isn’t just a good idea, this is a God idea. This isn’t just something that we
ought to think about, this is something that we should do to SERVE GOD.
I have some friends who came to me early on when we launched the church and
they said, Is there a group of people like us here at this church? People that we
can be friends with? And I challenged them to be those types of people. To be
the ones that are what they are looking for. So, I’ve asked how that’s going from
time to time, and I’m so proud of them, because do you know what they’re doing?
They are practicing hospitality(Pic). They are living out Paul’s instructions. They
regularly have a night on their calendar to have people over to their house for
dinner, to hang out. This is what it means to practice hospitality… They moved
from feeling isolated to investing in others.
And Paul shows us three practical steps(Building slide) ways to help us get out of
our isolation and start making investments in people.
Look what he says in verse 12: be Joyful in Hope!
1. Be Joyful in Hope. Some of us need more joy in our lives. We’ve just
gotten so serious. You talk to people about your faith and they’re like yeah
tell me about that… And you rattle off a list of all of the things that you
won’t do because of your faith. NO! BE JOYFUL! Pastor, I’m so happy to
be here at church. Well tell your face that! Get excited, be joyful here at
church! Do you know what, when we’re singing to the Lord, it’s okay to be
happy! I’m up here clapping, and raising my hands, because I am so filled
with Joy to be here in our church in God’s presence. Did you know that
the teens have a nickname for me? They call me Thunderclaps. I clap…
Because I can’t contain my joy! Out clap me, I dare you!
2. Be Patient. When you start investing in others, when you start moving
form isolation into relationship, you have to be patient. When you’re
inviting people to church, you’re going to hear a bunch of No’s. That’s
okay. Be patient. Don’t be so quick to give up on people. If you have
found a good thing, if you’ve found something that has changed your life
and the way that you live life, why wouldn’t you want other people to know
3. Faithful in Prayer. What do you do when you want something? It gnaws
at you. It keeps coming for you. It’s always there. This is why target
marketing works…. Ever look something up on Amazon and then every
web page you ever go to has in the sidebar that exact object with a link to
go buy it? Marketers know that if they are faithful enough in showing you
what you want that you will buy it! Don’t stop praying! When you want
something for someone, when you are asking God to open a relationship
with someone…. Don’t stop praying. Be faithful in prayer.
Okay, so far, all of this sets us a part as being a bit different, but what makes you
truly UnOrdinary is who you do this for. Who you determine to love, and who you
Invest in, sets you apart as UnOrdinary. Look at Paul’s instruction:
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who
rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be
proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of
everybody. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
19 Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written:
“It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. 5
Do you know who this describes? EVERYONE! Paul doesn’t leave anyone off
the list. He says, Bless people. Make sure that the place where your life and
theirs intersects is a good one. How do you bless people? Work for their good
and their benefit.
Rejoice with people who are rejoicing
Mourn with people who are mourning.
Laugh with people who are laughing.
Get involved with one another. There is no room for discriminating anyone. Oh
I’m too good for them. No, you’re not, not according to Paul! Be okay with
associating with people of low positions. This list doesn’t exclude our enemies in
fact Paul says feed your enemy’s, give them something to drink… Take care of
them. The list doesn’t exclude our annoying neighbors. Come on, we’ve all got
them. It doesn’t exclude our cocky co-workers.
Do you want to know how to be UnOrdinary? Be For The One. Be for the one
that you like. Be for the one that you don’t like. Be for the one that doesn’t like
you. Be for the one that you work with. Be for the one that you work out next to.
Be for the one that you run into. Be for the one that your kids like. Be FOR THE
Do you know what this is going to mean? This is going to mean that you’re going
to have to turn some fences into gates. You’re going to have to cut some holes
in the fences and let people come in. Because FENCES DON’T MAKE GOOD
NEIGHBORS, PEOPLE DO.
This is why we are doing an Egg Drop on Easter. It’s not because we like
helicopters. It’s because we will do whatever it takes to get kids and students in
front of Jesus! Every weekend we see an average of 95 students and kids in
Hope City Family. We are #FORtheNextGeneration. We believe in them, we
believe that God wants to have a relationship with them and that He has a
purpose for their life. We’ve made it our goal to serve families and students. Let
me ask you, What is the faith of the next generation worth? I’d say
EVERYTHING! Which is why we will do ANYTHING to reach them for
SO let me ask you, every one of you had an Easter Egg on your chair when you
walked in. Grab that egg, crack it open. Inside you’re going to find 3 slips of
paper. Here’s what I want you to do. I want you to think about three people that
you’re going to be inviting to join you for Easter at Hope City. Invite everyone
you know! We did… we sent everyone within a 2-mile radius a postcard inviting
them to join us.
Here’s the deal, we’re going to live an UnOrdinary life so that way our life can
impact the lives of our city for Jesus. Would you take a step of faith, maybe it is
going to take some courage, but would you step out and invest in the
relationships around you by inviting them to Easter?
And Here’s our promise to you. Go ahead and fill out the names of those friends
and neighbors on those slips of paper, and I want to invite you to drop them in
these buckets down front today. Our staff and I are going to be praying for each
one of these names specifically this week as you invite them. Who should you
invite? EVERYONE. ANYONE. Paul is clear, that we are to be #FORtheONE.
The One right in front of you. And together we will work to reach our city for
1 The Holy Bible: New International Version. (1984). (Ro 12:9–10). Grand Rapids, MI:
2 The Holy Bible: New International Version. (1984). (Jn 13:34–35). Grand Rapids, MI:
3 The Holy Bible: New International Version. (1984). (Ro 12:9–10). Grand Rapids, MI:
4 The Holy Bible: New International Version. (1984). (Ro 12:11–13). Grand Rapids, MI:
5 The Holy Bible: New International Version. (1984). (Ro 12:14–21). Grand Rapids, MI: