1. Is there an area in your life that you feel is too “insignificant” to bring to Jesus? The disciples felt he was too busy & too important to be interrupted by children – what aspect of your life do you feel like is a “bother” to him?
2. We all know that every moment matters. Are there ways throughout the day that you can take a few seconds to refocus yourself on what is important? What things do you do that bring your thoughts and attitude back towards a life centered on Jesus?
3. What have you been waiting to do or change that you need to do or change today? Is there something you need to start where you could use some accountability?
Good morning everyone! We’re so glad you’re here today. My name is Pastor Peter, and I want to welcome you to a historic day here at Hope City Church. Today is Youth Sunday, as we are celebrating the launch of our Student Ministry next weekend, and dreaming about what God could do through our church here in Sarasota.
We need to say Hi to a few people… First off, If you’re new here at Hope City, whether today’s your first Sunday, or your fourth with us, we are so honored that you would join us. I hope you’ll find Hope City to be a place that you can call home! And the second group of people we want to welcome this morning is Hope City Youth! We’re glad that you guys are in here with us this morning. Last weekend, our Youth met up at Sky Zone on Sunday night and bounced, flipped, and dodged their way through the evening…. I love seeing your energy, and passion for life. Typically, our Middle School students join us in here for worship, and then head off to their environment behind us where they hear from Pastor Justin, and have discussion on what they’ve been learning.
Here’s something for every single one of us to think about in this room. Teenagers, don’t check out on me. Adults, it may be Youth Sunday, but this is for all of us! Have you ever felt like you didn’t matter?
This past week I stopped in to a store to purchase a new power cable for my computer. The old one stopped working, and the battery wasn’t going to make it much longer, so I did what had to be done. I got in the car and braved the mall… I got in the store, and when I walked around a bit, I couldn’t find the specific power cable that I needed. So I switched from looking for the cable to looking for help. And it was amazing… When I started looking for help it was as if no one wanted that role. I watched as 3 employees stood there laughing together, I watched several other employees unwilling to leave their section of the store. I thought, don’t make it hard for me to give you my money! Right? That’s the purpose of stores… to sell stuff! But it’s hard to sell stuff if the customers don’t feel like you know they’re there! Did I even matter to them?
Have you ever felt that way? Maybe you’ve attended YOUR FIRST PTO MEETING, and you have seen all the other Rock Star moms PTO’ing it and you feel on the outside of that group. Unsure of yourself, and what your role is there at the school.
Or maybe you’ve started a NEW JOB, and you don’t know anyone there in the office, everyone else knows where the good coffee is hiding, and how to make the copier actually work right.
Or maybe you’re a student, and you’re BACK TO SCHOOL IN A NEW GRADE, a new school, and you’re wondering where your place is, where do you fit in? Who is going to be your friend, and what will you be all about.
It seems that no matter what age we are, we can find ourselves in circumstances where we wonder do I really matter? Would we matter more if we had a little more, a little more strength, a little more power, a little more notoriety, a few more Instagram followers! If we just had a little more.
In Mark chapter 10, there is an incredible scene that we are going to take a look at today to see what happens when a group of people are told that they don’t matter yet! Turn with me to Mark 10, that’s page 690 in the Bibles around you.
We find this same story in 3 of the 4 gospels, which should tell us that there is a significance to this story. Matthew, Mark, and Luke included this story of Jesus interaction with a group of people who were often marginalized and left out.
Look with me at Mark 10 starting in verse 13.
13 People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them… Mark 10:13
So, here’s this group of parents who are probably at the end of summer and their like, what are we going to do with these kids? UGH! Let’s bring them to Jesus and maybe he’ll exercise the demons out of them. I’m just kidding teens. We love you, but sometimes you guys are crazy! No, these parents are far more honorable than that. They were bringing their kids to Jesus so that what? He could touch them. They could share a moment together. There would be a connection between their kids and Christ.
Look what happens next.
13 People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. Mark 10:13
The disciples step in and they say… Right this way please, let me get you to the front of the line. I know Jesus… I know He’d want to meet you.
NO! The disciples start rebuking the parents of these children… Take these kids home! Get that snotty nose brat out of here! They don’t belong here. They should be back home playing Fortnite. NO! They don’t say that either. But what they are saying is “They’re not wanted here. They need to go.”
Thankfully, the story doesn’t stop there, Jesus overhears what’s going on and He steps in, look at this.
14 When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.
And with a quick correction Jesus shoots the disciples a side eye… An indignant glare… that look like, uh oh. Now we did it, WHAT ARE WE MISSING NOW? You can almost hear Peter blaming John… see I told you that wasn’t a good idea.
Jesus in only the way that Jesus can do, corrected faulty thinking. The disciples were concerned that Jesus was too busy for students. That Jesus was too important for Students.
I joke with my friends that when they get to be a big and famous pastor, will they still remember me, still take my phone call?
Jesus said, Let the students come to me! Why? Because Jesus is trying to reveal to His disciples and to us, that 1. EVERY ONE MATTERS. Students matter, children matter, social outcasts matter, the poor matter, the disenfranchised matter. In fact, you can see time and time again that the people who society often disregarded as unimportant or unworthy of time and attention often received the most of Jesus time and attention. BECAUSE EVERY ONE MATTERS. EVERY ONE.
It didn’t matter to Jesus if you had a massive following, or if you were a single individual. It wasn’t about your power, your prestige or your social platform. Jesus was FOR THE ONE. He was FOR EVERY ONE person, every ONE individual. Which is why here at Hope City, we do everything FOR THE ONE! It doesn’t matter if there are 45 students here today, or even just one, we believe that the life of every student matters to God. And our heart beats for the ONE! In fact, we’ve made it our goal to impact the One!
Let me tell you about this goal. We want to see Hope City Family, that’s birth through 12th grade serve 1% of Sarasota County School Students. This is our God sized dream! Let me tell you what that means… Did you know that 43,000 students call Sarasota County home. What if we just served 1% of them? Can you imagine the difference? Can you imagine what could happen in our schools, in our families, in our communities if 1% of those students were connected to a life-giving, Bible-believing student ministry? Last week we had our highest record attendance on a regular Sunday. We had 94 students. This means we are serving just over .002% of our county. What if we could serve 1%?
One of the ways that we are going to serve our county, immediately, is by partnering with the TWIG… The TWIG is a non-profit organization that resources Foster Care children with new clothes and, you’ll remember this past Easter we collected Socks and Underwear for the TWIG to make sure that EVERY ONE, every boy and girl that went to the twig left with new socks and underwear. Well today we are once again bringing out our BAGS OF HOPE! Only this time, we are asking you to fill them with books. New books, Board books, chapter books, youth bibles, devotionals, and journals – for birth through teens… But one of the things that the TWIG is specifically asking for is THE ACTION BIBLE. This is a beautiful bible that communicates Biblical truth clearly, with attention holding illustrations. We have ordered 2 cases of these Bibles to bring down there, but we want to provide more! Would you take one of these BAGS OF HOPE home today and bring it back next week with books for our friends at the TWIG to put in the hands of some of our county’s most overlooked students? WE WILL DO WHATEVER IT TAKES FOR THE ONE, because EVERY ONE MATTERS!
If they mattered to Jesus, they matter to us!
Jesus didn’t miss a beat when he said this about children…
15 I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”
Jesus goes on to explain, that the kingdom of God belongs to people just like children. Before we start throwing shade at the disciples, you need to understand children were viewed very differently in their society. Children were not celebrated the way that we celebrate kids today. Children were unable to make decisions for themselves… And they were radically dependent on their parents, especially their father to see if they would even be accepted into the family. Children belonged to their father and remained subject to his authority even as adults. SO when Jesus says that we are to receive the kingdom of God like a child, he is referring to that radical dependence of the child on the Father for any status, inheritance, or in extreme cases, even life itself!
The Kingdom of God, the place where God’s will rule’s and reign’s forever is found when you submit yourself like a child. You can’t do anything to earn it, you can’t do anything to deserve it, you just simply have to depend completely and totally on Jesus to experience it.
This summer I had a moment where I had to completely and utterly depend on someone other than me. Tiffany and I spent a week in Canada with Rich and Christine Birch at Camp Mini Yo We, the Christian Summer Camp that he runs. Rich is one of the overseers here at Hope City. This past year, they built a new zip line, and he said, you guys have to go try this out. We waited our turn, and got the appropriate head gear on, put the harness on, and climbed the tower to the top of the zip line and clipped into the safety line, and then ultimately to the line we would be zipping down in just a few moments.
There was a weird moment when my legs went from being stable and certain to shaky and nervous… The moment right before your feet leave the platform, which by the way was the whole reason we were on that platform, was to leave it. But anyway, right before we let our feet leave the platform there was the moment when you had to put your full weight on the harness and let it do the work of carrying you to safety as you zipped through the air.
There is an interesting transfer that happens, both with your weight and also with your mind. You know what needs to happen, and yet there is a natural hesitation to allow yourself to be held by that harness.
Jesus knows that this is true of our faith as well. We don’t earn it, we don’t deserve it, it is by God’s GRACE that we experience that. And in those moments, we experience God’s goodness and we live lives filled with JOY and PURPOSE.
We learn here that 2. EVERY MOMENT MATTERS. People knew this… This is why they brought their students to Jesus… Because they wanted them to have a moment with Him! Look again,
13 People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them… Mark 10:13
What’s going on here? This is the first recorded STUDENT MINISTRY! Here’s the goal…. Get these kids to Jesus. Why? Because every moment matters! If they could just get these students to Jesus, the parents were trusting that even just a moment with Jesus would change their world.
This is why here at Hope City we are launching HCY YOUTH NIGHTS every Sunday night for students grades 6th-12. Because we will do whatever it takes to get students to have a moment with Jesus. Our students are going to be meeting over at the Music Compound on Cattleman road, and we can’t wait for them to gather every week to EXPLORE THEIR FAITH AND MAKE IT THEIR OWN.
My Youth Leaders: Dave Hough, Butch Koechig….
I was given room to be me, but at the same time be given an opportunity to explore my faith.
It was late after youth group one night and Dave asked me, Peter what do you think you want to do with your life? What is God calling you to do?
That was the very first moment that I felt God calling me to be a pastor. I wanted to influence the world around me for Jesus. It is safe to say that my youth leader was one of the primary people who pushed me into ministry.
What we will be doing on Sunday nights matters. In fact, EVERY MOMENT MATTERS, and collection of moments make a up a week. Every week adds up and it builds collective momentum in the lives of students. The best way to shape a teenager’s character and faith is through small consistent deposits. Just like an investor, we are going to make small deposits over the course of time and pray that it grows and its impact is multiplied! Every moment matters!
Do you know that for our students who are (Chart of age and weeks) 13 we have an average of 312 weeks left to invest in their life? A 15 year old has 156 weeks, and a 17 year old we have just 52 weeks before they graduate into adulthood. WEEKS MATTER. WHEN WE COUNT THE WEEKS, WE WILL TEND TO MAKE THE WEEKS COUNT! See in order to influence a students future, we HAVE TO GET INVOLVED TODAY!
You know this is why Jesus was so frustrated with the disciples, they are preventing others from experiencing Him! The disciple’s job was to encourage access to Jesus, not stand in the way of Jesus. We’ve got to understand something… Let me remind you of something church. You need to understand why the church exists! We don’t exist to be a little club that is for members only. The church is not for church people, but for all people. The church is for every person who needs to know that their moment matters, that they matter, and that God is utterly convinced of this, so much so that He would send Jesus to a cross to die in our place so that we can be forgiven of our sins, and our relationship with God restored.
This matters! What we do with the moments we have matters!
I love what Jesus does next…
16 And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them. 
Do you know what Jesus is doing here? He is getting personal, he’s getting human. This is a moment when divinity and humanity meet. God in the flesh is embracing His creation. Jesus is hugging children, high fiving kids, putting his hands on their shoulders, and then Jesus does the exact opposite of the disciples, Instead of rebuking them, Jesus blesses them. This is what can happen in a moment.
- Moments Make History. Can you imagine this moment as a disciple? You’ve got to figure they feel like they blew it. And yet, they learned from it. These same disciples will be the ones later on in the book of Acts are found serving widows their lunch. These same disciples will be the ones that go through all kinds of hell in order to see the gospel of Jesus spread throughout the middle east and the Mediterranean rim. History was made in a moment.
In a moment these student’s lives were changed. They high fived, and hugged Jesus. They sat on his lap, leaned against his shoulders and were blessed by Christ. They grew up saying, remember the time we were with Jesus? History was made in a moment.
In a moment, these parents who brought the students to Jesus, their hearts were encouraged, their lives were forever changed. They said, see, I knew it. I knew that Jesus cared about even the least of our family. I knew that EVERY 1 Matters! And History was made in a moment.
What moments are we presently living in that have the potential to change someone else’s history? Our goal here at Hope City, is to see an entire generation introduced to Jesus and follow Him. TODAY’S MOMENTS WILL BE TOMORROW’S HISTORY. So we are going to give everything we have to make the moments matter.
We are believing that today is a HISTORY MAKING MOMENT. I want to invite two people to join me on stage today… Justin Lanham, and Mark Cain.
COMMISSIONING JUSTIN LANHAM
Many of you know Mark, and have had the honor of sitting under his teaching here at Hope City… Mark is a good friend, a Godly man, and a person I greatly look up to.
I’ve invited Justin on stage this morning because we believe that today’s moments will be tomorrow’s history. This morning we want to come before God and each of you here as our church family and commission Justin to the work of the Pastor.
The role of Pastor is one that is not to be taken lightly. This isn’t a title that we give out casually here at Hope City. God anoints an individual with a passion and a desire to pastor people, and then God plants that pastor in a community. The pastor’s role is to be like a community gardener. There are times when the gardener needs to water the plants, and quench their thirst. There are times when the gardener needs to fertilize those plants and give them food to grow. The gardener needs to pull weeds from around the plant that threaten it and could potentially choke out any future growth of that plant.
The Role of the pastor has the potential to make history. It’s the work of the pastor in people’s lives that makes history, not the pastor himself being something worthy of being historically known. A pastor is not simply someone who gets things done, but someone who pays attention to what is going on right now between one another and God.
Paul lays out a tight list of guidelines for Pastors in Titus chapter 1.
6 An elder must be blameless, the husband of but one wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. 7 Since an overseer is entrusted with God’s work, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. 8 Rather he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. 9 He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it. 
We are commissioning you, as a Licensed Pastor here at Hope City Church. Justin, you are joining the ranks of an ancient vocation, a timeless list of individuals who have dedicated their lives to the pursuit of God’s kingdom here on earth and in the lives of others. We are praying that every moment would matter, and that everyone would know that they matter to God, and that student’s history’s would forever be changed because of your pastoral influence in their lives.
PRAYER FOR JUSTIN
We will do everything we can in order to reach 1% of the students here in Sarasota County. 1% is just the beginning!
We can’t do this on our own! There are three ways that you can help us be FOR THE ONE. The first is PRAY. On the chair back in front of you, is a magnet. It is for you. Every person here today gets a Hope City Youth Magnet. We want this on your refrigerator. We want this on your tool box, we want this someplace where you are going to see it and be reminded to Pray. One of the first things that you can do is PRAY! This Wednesday night we are gathering for Mid-Week prayer, and I would ask you to make it a priority to join us this week to pray for our student ministry. We’re going to have specific things for you to pray for as we launch our student ministry next Sunday night.
We also need people to GIVE. Maybe your life was changed by a youth pastor. Maybe you wish your life was changed by a student ministry… One of the ways that you can make this happen is by giving above and beyond your normal tithes and give an offering. An offering that will help us reach the ONE. Maybe God has blessed you financially and you want to honor God and invest in His kingdom. If God is stirring in your heart to give today you can give online, or there is a bucket in the back on your way out.
Today, you’ll have the opportunity to purchase some Hope City Youth Swag, grab some gear and support this ministry. Rumor has it that a couple students got together with Brenda and baked some homemade cookies to help raise money for their student ministry. Everyone can contribute in some way.
The last thing you can do is GO. Maybe you feel God tugging on your heart to impact the life of a teenager. To invest in the next generation. You need to Go on Sunday nights. Talk to Pastor Justin, get involved as a leader in the Student Ministry. We would love to have you on the team.
We want to help students explore their faith and make it their own. And we are praying that God would give us incredible favor FOR THE ONE.