How to Make a Difference in Someone’s Life

– Well, hey, friends. Welcome to Seacoast. My name is Josh. I’m one of the pastors here at the church. So glad that you are here
with us this weekend. I want to welcome you, if
you’re joining us online or at a campus, wherever you might be. We are excited that you chose to worship with us this weekend. For the last few weeks
we’ve been in a series called “Welcome Home,” where
we’re taking a closer look at who God has called us to
be, what He’s called us to do. In week one of this series,
Pastor Greg talked with us about our first and most important value, and that is we exist to
help people find God. Man, our heart is that you
would step into a relationship with God through Christ. In week two we talked
about growing our faith. We don’t just want you
to come to know Him, but we want faith to rise up in you, that you would walk with Him daily. Last week Pastor Lee talked with us about discovering our purpose. What has God created us
personally, individually to do? And this week we are gonna
talk about making a difference, but before we do that, I’m
curious, from Asheville to McClellanville and
everywhere in between, how many of you are hopeful and expectant to encounter God for
yourselves this weekend? Let me hear you. [audience cheering]
[audience applauding] All right. That was a little lame [laughing]. [audience laughing] Let’s try it one more time. How many of you want a
word from God this weekend? Let me hear you. [audience cheering] [clapping] Come on! That’s it! All right, so here’s what I want us to do. Come expectant and hungry. Just open up your hands before the Lord, and I just want to pray
that He would encounter us wherever we might be today. God, we thank You so much
for this time together as a church family here and
across all of our campuses and online, and we just come
before You with hands open, symbolic of a heart that
is open to encounter You. You tell us that Your
word does not return void, so I just pray, as we set
aside these next few minutes to get in it, that heaven
would intersect earth right here in our lives,
God, that You would show up and reveal Yourself to
us in a powerful way. We give You this time. In Jesus’ name, amen. – [Congregation] Amen. – So there’s a little girl
who is in fourth grade, elementary school, and her
class had just finished a study on oceanography. They studied the landscape
of the ocean floor, talked about waves and animals in the sea, and the teacher asked
every kid in the class to write a one-page paper. They could pick it on anything
that they had studied. So the little girl went
home, talked with her mom, looked through her notes, and decided, “I’m gonna write my paper on whales, “because then I could talk
about Jonah and the whale, “and I could tell my class about God.” So she writes her one-page paper, titles it “The Coolest Sleepover Ever,” [audience laughing] and she goes to talk with
her class about this guy named Jonah who got to spend
the night with the whale, actually in a whale, not one night, but two night, but three nights. She tells the story, and she finishes. The class is like
[clapping], “Whoo, good job!” She goes to sit down,
and the teacher says, “Well, sweetie, we never
actually talked about the anatomy “of the whale, but just to
speak to that for a minute, “a whale’s throat is actually
not large enough to swallow “a human being, so it’s very
unlikely that that happened, “but even if it did, the
toxins in the whale’s belly “would probably either kill a
person, or they would drown, “and so it’s probably not likely “that that story actually happened.” So the little girl said, “Well, when I get to heaven, I’ll ask him. “I’ll ask him, ‘Did
that actually happen?'” The teacher said, “Well, sweetie, “what if he’s not in heaven?” And then the little girl
turned to the teacher and said, “Well, then I’ll let you ask him.” [audience laughing] [laughing] Isn’t that good? [laughing] Nice little way to slide that
in there for the teacher, [laughing] so good. Now think for just a minute
about what just happened, okay? I told you a story, cheesy
little story with a punchline, and at about the same time, across all of our
campuses, we all responded. Something happened inside of us. Chances are you didn’t think consciously, “Should I laugh at this?” You didn’t make a choice. “You know what? “I’m gonna laugh now.” Almost involuntarily, it just came out, and something that happened inside of you, maybe that you weren’t even
aware of, became visible. It created a shared experience
that we all had together. That happens in times of laughter and joy. It can also happen in moments of sadness. Katie and I like watching
that show “This Is Us,” and without fail, every
single week, I don’t know when it’s gonna happen,
but they have the ability in telling a story to touch
your heart, and out of nowhere, my eyes start sweating a little bit, [audience laughing] and I’m trying to play it
cool, like I’m not crying at a TV show right now, but I am. It’s what happening, right? It can happen in moments of sadness, where something that’s
happening inside of you becomes visible by way
of tears and emotion. It’s something that we
all experienced last week across all of our campuses
during ocean baptism. People that made a
personal, a private decision made that public through baptism. In Acts chapter two, after
having received the good news about Jesus, thousands of people said, “What are we supposed to do with this?” And Peter’s response was to
“repent and be baptized.” The Bible tells us in Acts
2:41 that 3,000 people walked down to the lake that day. They didn’t have board shorts
or beach bags or towels. They were wearing cloaks and tunics. Men, women, and children
walked down to this lake, down into the waters, and
the picture that I can’t help but shake in my mind is them
coming up out of the water, walking on these dirt roads, right, where it might have been normative to see one or two people, three
people that were wet, but thousands of people drenched, women with long hair, soaking wet. These dirt roads eventually became muddy from so many wet people walking up them. Eventually, people had to say, “Man, what’s going on with all y’all? “What happened?” And slowly, people began to hear that this personal, private
decision to follow Jesus was made public through baptism. We got to celebrate that
last week with dozens of men and women and couples,
families that stepped down into the water together. Baptism introduced a process by which our faith became visible. Something that we believed in our hearts, a decision that we made
in our mind became public, that people would know what we believe by way of what we act, not just as they stepped out of the water. People didn’t come out
of the lake that day and step into heaven, but they returned to their village to walk
out II Corinthians 5:20. It says we, therefore,
are Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making
His appeal through us. As they stepped back into their lives, having made a decision to follow Jesus, they walked out their faith daily. This isn’t a concept that’s new to us. James 2:14-17, there on your
outline, says it this way: What good is it, my brothers,
if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food,
and anyone says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and
filled,” without giving them the things needed for the
body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it
does not have works, is dead. So faith, something that
we believe internally, if not accompanied by something
that’s visible, is dead. It’s saying that our works
would prove to be the evidence or the sincerity of our
faith, that what we believe inside of us would become
visible, that it would become a shared experience by
the way that we live. Well, the faith without works
is dead, it makes me think, well, what is the flip side of that coin? What would be the equation
that leads to life? Jesus tells us that “without faith, “it’s impossible to please God.” We know that Jesus did not
come to be served, but to serve and give His life as a ransom for many. Well, that equation makes me think that if we are men and women of faith, if we were to live our lives
in the same way that Jesus did, to pour ourselves out for others, then maybe that would be
the key for us experiencing the abundant life that
Christ came to offer. I think in some way we all
know this, but we also know that in many ways we don’t do this. We don’t walk that out,
and part of that is because of our sin, and part of it’s because of the world that we live in. There are forces at work
against us, waging against us, that we might not be Christ’s ambassadors, that we might not make the difference that He’s called us to make. What are a couple of those things? I put a few of them there on your outline, the first of which is your past. We know ourselves better than anyone else. We know the places that we’ve been, the things that we’ve done,
the sin that we struggle with, the labels that we’ve put on ourselves. We might have thoughts like, “Man, I want to make a
difference, but I’m a liar, “I’m a cheater, I’m an addict. “I’ve been divorced, I’ve stolen.” Whatever the list might
be, we disqualify ourselves because of our past. Instead of our past preparing
us or equipping us to go and minister to others or bless others, we’ll remove ourselves from the game before we ever get involved. Our past can keep us
from making a difference. Second thought there on
your outline is the crowd. Man, oftentimes, the pressure
or questions of others can keep us from making a difference. If your family, or if
you come to church once every four or five, six weeks,
and for whatever reason, God’s moving in your
heart, and you’re like, “Man, I want to go back the next week. “I want to go back the next week.” You come to church two
or three weeks in a row, and all of a sudden your
family, your friends are gonna start being like,
“Hey, bro, what’s up with that? “Why are you going to church so much, man? “You know we only do that once a month. “What’s the deal?” Or maybe you’ve got a
neighbor or a coworker that God’s stirring in your heart you want to pray for them or bless them. They’re in a touch spot financially, and you want to give
to them, but you think, “Man, as I go to do that,
what if they ask, ‘Why?’ “‘Why did you do that?'” You may not feel like you
know enough about God or Jesus or the Bible to give them an answer. “God led me,” what does that mean? So instead of getting involved,
the questions of the crowd can keep you from stepping out
to make a difference at all. Another example would be the unknown, number three, the unknown. It’s like, man, you want to step out, but you don’t want to fail, right? You don’t want to look like a bozo. Or you know that whoever
you’re stepping out to help, whoever’s life you want
to make a difference in, they didn’t get there
overnight, and chances are you’re not gonna help solve
the problem overnight. So what if you stepping out
to do something one time means that you’re gonna have
to do it 50 times, right? Man, the unknown can keep
us from making a difference. There’s probably a long
list of things there, but there’s three attributes,
three things that we can step into to help ensure
that we make the difference that Christ has for each
of us, and they’re found in Luke chapter 10, verses 30 through 35 there on your outline. I want to tee it up for
you just a little bit. An expert in the law
comes to Jesus one day, and he asks Jesus, “Good teacher, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” And so Jesus asks him, “Well,
how do you interpret the law? “What does the law say?” And he says, “Love the Lord
your God with all of your heart, “with all of your soul,
with all of your mind, “and with all of your strength, “and love your neighbor as yourself.” And Jesus says, “Hey, you’ve
interpreted the law correctly. “Do this, and you will live.” Well, to help kinda draw a box
around who his neighbor is, to help him understand
who he needs to love, and more importantly, who he
doesn’t have to love, right? He asks Jesus, “Well,
exactly who is my neighbor?” And instead of drawing the lines for him or helping him understand
exactly who that is, Jesus tells him a story
there on your outline, and it starts like this. “A Jewish man was traveling
from Jerusalem down to Jericho, “and he was attacked by bandits. “They stripped him of
his clothes, beat him up, “and left him half dead beside the road. “By chance, a priest came along. “But when he saw the man lying there, “he crossed to the other side
of the road and passed by him. “A temple assistant walked
over and looked at him “lying there, but he also
passed by on the other side. “Then a despised Samaritan came along.” And he was despised
because Jews and Samaritans did not associate with one another. Here now, two Jewish men have
passed by a brother in need, crossed to the other side of
the road and didn’t help him, but this despised Samaritan,
whom a Jew wouldn’t have associated with, he does. It says, “And when he saw the man, “he felt compassion for him.” Everybody say compassion. – [Congregation] Compassion. – He felt compassion. Something stirred up in
his heart, and it says: “Going over to him, the
Samaritan soothed his wounds “with olive oil and
wine and bandaged them. “Then he put the man on his own donkey “and took him to an inn,
where he took care of him. “The next day he handed the
innkeeper two silver coins, “telling him, ‘Take care of this man, “‘and if the bill runs higher than this, “‘I will pay you the next
time that I’m here.'” So three attributes of a difference maker. What can we learn from
this man to help ensure that we make a difference with our lives, the first of which is
there on your outline? We’ve got to have an open heart. We’ve got to have an open heart. Luke 10:35 said, “Then the
despised Samaritan came along. “When he saw the man, he
felt compassion for him.” Something happened in his heart
when he saw this stripped, beaten, left-for-dead man laying there on the side of the road. He felt compassion. He was moved, and his
compassion compelled him to step towards the pain. This is something we
see over and over again in the ministry of Jesus. Mark 1:41 says, moved with compassion, Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” He said. “Be healed.” A man with leprosy that
most people would have moved away from, Jesus stepped towards with compassion in His heart. Matthew 14:14: Jesus saw the
crowd, and as He stepped out from the boat, He had compassion on them, and He healed their sick. From the individual to the
masses, when He saw the hurting, compassion would well up in Him, and He would step towards
them in their pain. Now, with a crowd this
size, I know that there are some people here who
tend to feel everything. Maybe you open up Instagram or Facebook, or you’re talking with a
friend, and you hear a story about one of their friends,
and at the end of the day, the things that you’ve seen
and the stories that you heard, you feel like you carry everything. You pray for, and you’re burdened by all of the things that you see. It can move you to tears in a moment. In the same hand, I know
there’s also people here who would say that “man,
my life is so busy, “my kids are so crazy,
my husband is so wild,” [laughing] whatever you say about them, “that I hit the bed at night worn out. “I feel numb inside. “I don’t feel like I’ve got
the ability to feel a whole lot “of anything because I go, go, go, go.” There’s people on both
ends of those spectrums, and the question for me is how
do we take a step this week to live and love with an open heart, that compassion would rise up in us? And the principle that’s
interesting for me, of every passage that you see with Jesus, where He had compassion, and
He was moved to step towards people is that they always
had proximity to Him. He never got tagged on an
Instagram post of a problem or burden on the other side of the world that welled up compassion within Him. It was always somebody within arm’s reach. So my question for you is what pain is there around
you this weekend or this week that maybe God might be
inviting you to step towards, to have an open heart towards? And what would it look like for you to get involved in their pain? And if you’re struggling to
be motivated towards that in any way, one of my favorite stories that always compels me is
that of the prodigal son. It’s there on the back of your outline. It’s about this young man
who received his inheritance. He ran off and squandered
it, kinda came to the end of himself and the end of
his life, and he thought, “Man, I would be better off as
one of my father’s servants, “so I’m just gonna go
back home and apologize “and see if he’ll let me be a servant.” Well, from the day he left,
his father had his eyes fixed on the farthest horizon,
and Scripture tells us there in verse 20, it says: So he
returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and
compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. The Bible tells us that we love because Jesus first loved
us, and, man, that story of the prodigal is my
story, it’s your story. While I was still a long way
off, when I was far from God, while I was still a sinner, He sent His Son to die
on the cross for me. And when I did not have Him on my mind, He had His eyes on me. With love in His heart
and compassion for me, He ran after me. Why should you make it a priority to live with an open heart this week? Because that was God’s heart for you. He had incredible compassion,
incredible love for you in His heart, and if we’ll
start with those around us, with whom we have proximity to pain, one of my favorite verses is Acts 17:26. It says, for God created
each of us and birthed us in set times and exact places. That means the land that you
live on, your street address, was known by God before the
land was even developed. And if that’s true of you, it’s
also true for your neighbor, your coworker, your barista. You could have been anywhere in the world, any time in the world,
but He chose this place and this time, that you would
go and be difference makers, that you would be His hands and feet. So where is the pain around
you that you could step towards and allow compassion to rise up in you, that it would compel you to step towards it with an open heart? Number two there on the
back of your outline, second attribute, is that
we would have willing hands, have willing hands. Luke 10:34 says, “Going over
to him, the Samaritan soothed “his wounds with olive oil
and wine and bandaged them.” He soothed his wounds
with olive oil and wine. When was the last time you
bandaged somebody’s wounds? We went over a friend’s house recently who’s a dermatologist,
and he has what he calls Wart Night at his house, kinda
like a play off Fortnite, Wart Night, where kids
with warts can come over, and he freezes them, and so, our– [audience laughing] Isn’t that funny? A couple of our boys had
some, and so we go over there, and it was fun, we’d play,
and seeing older kids do it and tough through it kinda helps the little kids get through it. But, as we left, over
the days that followed, you would have thought my kids had shotgun wounds [laughing]. They’re going around the house like, “Oh, Daddy, will you make
me some toast and jelly?” [laughing] “That hand still works, bro. “Make your breakfast.” But there’s only one way
to bandage people’s wounds. For all the advances that
we have in healthcare, doctors can do surgeries
with amazing precision. We can transplant organs. We can treat and cure cancer. But when it comes to
bandaging someone’s wound, it still comes down to one
person, a doctor or a nurse, a mom or a dad, standing
over an open wound, pouring on the right kinds of
ointment, cleaning them up, and when I think about this story, they didn’t have any surgical gloves. That man probably wasn’t traveling up the road with any peroxide, right? He pulled out oil and wine
to bandage these wounds, a naked, beaten, half-bloody man. Whenever my kids run up to
me with scrapes and bruises, there’s been a couple times where our kids have gotten bad wounds. And whenever you scoop them up, you get their dirt and
sweat and blood on you. You look like you’re the
one that’s been injured, but it’s because you’ve got
willing hands, willing hands. One of my favorite examples of this in Scripture comes from Mark 6:34-37. It’s been a long day of
ministry for the disciples. They get into a boat and
push out from the shore, but people on both sides of
the lake are watching Jesus and the disciples move along,
and as their boat lands, all the people converge. And it tells us there at
the top of the outline that when Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, He had compassion on them because they were like
sheep without a shepherd. Here again, His heart was moved, and so He begins to teach the people, and the disciples, it’s been a long day. They’re like, “Jesus, these
people have traveled a long way. “It’s getting late. “They’re hungry. “We’ve gotta send them back home “so they can get something to eat.” And I love Jesus’ response to them. It was the portion of the
story that stood out to me. He says, “You feed them. “You feed them.” When He tells us to have willing hands, as the man did in the story, this is God the Father empowering us to go and do the ministry of Jesus. Jesus told us that we would do even greater things than He did. When you think about the
miracles and ministry of Jesus, what kind of things stand out to you? Giving sight to the blind,
opening up ears of the deaf, raising the dead to life, miraculously meeting the needs of people? These are the kind of
things that the Father has empowered us to do, and
when the disciples came to Jesus talking about, “They’re hungry,” and He said, “You feed them,” they were thinking about it
logically, in the sense of, “Man, if it costs this
much to feed five people, “I’ve got one, two, three, four. “It would take a year’s wages.” That was their response to Jesus. “It would take a year’s wages
to feed this many people. “You really want us to go
and spend that much money?” But Jesus’ question to them was, “Well, what do you have in your hands? “What do we have available to us?” So they looked around. They had a couple loaves
of bread and a few fishes. They brought those to Jesus. He prayed over them, blessed
them, and then broke them, and the food multiplied. And now the disciples, who were
thinking about willing hands meeting this need logically, were on the front row of a miracle. They got to experience the miraculous as they chose to get their hands dirty, as they got involved in the
feeding of these people. So my question for us today is what do you have in your hands? For some of us, as we begin
to live with an open heart, as we see the pain of those around us, you might encounter an
addict of some kind, and you would be quick to think like, “Man, I’ve never struggled
with substance abuse. “I don’t know that I’ve really
got anything to offer there.” You might see a marriage
that’s unraveling, a friend next door, and you’ve seen some of the tears in the driveway. You’ve overheard the fighting, but your marriage just
isn’t in that same place. You don’t know that you can relate. But He’s asking, “What do
you have in your hands?” And for some of you, maybe
you happen to have an hour. You’ve got a little bit
of margin this week, or you’ve got a little bit of extra cash. You’ve got a little
something in your hand, that if you would bring it to Him, “This is what I’ve got this week,” man, He would breathe on it
and bless it and multiply it, but we’ve got to be willing
to have willing hands, to get involved, to not just
hear about pain and problems, but to actively get
involved in their stories, to walk with them for a while. So what would it look like for you to have willing hands this week? Maybe for some of you it looks
like joining the dream team. Maybe you’ve been coming
to church for a while, but you’ve never taken that
next step to get involved to use your gifts and talents
to actively make a difference in the lives of others,
that you’re gonna serve in Kidscoast, to sit down with a child, to tell them how much God loves them, that He desires to have
a relationship with them. Maybe you’re gonna serve
in the parking lot, help park cars or drive
trolleys or brew coffee. How many of you would say
yes and amen to having coffee on the weekend, right? Somebody showed up and brewed that to serve and be a blessing. Maybe you’re gonna join the dream team. Maybe it’s with a coworker or
a neighbor or a family member, someone that you’ve seen
pain, and maybe compassion has rised up in you in some way,
and you’re gonna take a step. Willing hands would say, “All right, I’ve got a little bit of time. “I’m gonna go knock on their door. “I’m gonna give them a call. “I’m gonna invite them to lunch. “I’m gonna walk with them
for a while in some way, “that I would become
a part of their story. “God, would you use me here?” So, number one, we’ve
gotta have an open heart. Number two, we’ve gotta
have willing hands, and number three there on your
outline is shared resources. The third attribute of a difference maker is that we would share our resources. Luke 10:34-35 says it this way: “Then he put the man on his own donkey “and took him to an inn,
where he took care of him. “The next day he handed the
innkeeper two silver coins, “telling him, ‘Take care of
this man, and if the bill runs “‘higher than this, I will pay you “‘the next time that I’m here.'” Three different resources
we see this man provide. They’re there on your outline, and the first of which is his time. The beginning of this story we learned that he was on his own journey. There was somewhere that he was going, and traveling in biblical
times was not like today. We can get in our car and go
anywhere pretty much anytime and feel relatively safe. Well, in the Bible, just like
the man that had been beaten and left for dead on the side of the road, that wasn’t the case. You traveled based on sunup and sundown, typically traveling in groups
’cause bandits would hang out to do this very thing. So he had a timeline. He had a place that he was
going, but when he saw the man that had been beaten and left for dead, he deviated from his plan. He was willing to give of his time. Man, we’ve only got so
much of it every day. We’ve only got so much of it every week. Anytime we share our time, it’s
our most precious commodity, but it’s something that
we can give to others. We saw him give his time. Secondly, he gave his talents. I see this guy as a man of influence. What’s so interesting to
me in this story is that, put yourself in the innkeeper’s shoes. It’s like, “Hey, man, I’ve
got this naked guy here “who’s beaten bloody, and I need you “to help take care of
him,” and it’s like, “Bro! “I’m an inn, I carry people’s bags.” Or imagine walking in
Starbucks with those dude. “I found this guy outside. “I’ve got him some food,
I’ve cleaned him up, “I’ve bandaged him, but I
need to take care of him “until the end of the workday. “I’ve got to go to work. “I’ll come back.” It’s like, “Bro, I’m a
barista, man [laughing]. “I’m 15, bro. “I don’t know how to, what
do I do with this guy?” [audience laughing] But I see him as a man of influence. He leveraged his personal
influence, leveraged his resources to help make a difference
in this guy’s life. And lastly, our time, our
talents, and our treasures. He gave him two coins. He pulled out two bills, right, and said, “Hey, I’m gonna pay. “This is money for his needs today. “If you can make sure he’s fed, “get him anything else he needs. “If it runs higher than this,
I’ll give you some more money “the next time that I’m here.” But we can leverage our resources to actively make a difference
in somebody’s life. And there’s one way that you
could do that this weekend that I’m real excited about. Our Dream Center Clinic started in 2009 through Adopt-A-Block. Several medical professionals
that were a part of Adopt-A-Block noticed
the need and thought, “Man, we ought to do
something about this,” so they started a mobile clinic. Well, one year later
the demand was so high that they had to move it
inside the actual Dream Center and establish the Dream Center
Clinic as its own 501-C3, and as of today, there’s over
100 medical professionals that volunteer their time,
that leverage their talents to make a difference
in the lives of others. They offer free healthcare,
12 different kinds of service, dental and vision and
prescription and lab services, in addition to primary care. We just started our second Dream Center at our West Ashley campus,
providing primary care. And they’re operating budget
every year is $125,000, of which they are about
$15,000 short for this year. The rest of the money has come
in, so one thing you could do this weekend to share of your
resources is to text the word Clinic in any amount to
320320, and you can help close that gap and actively meet a need there in the lives of others by
sharing your resources, by giving of your time, your
talents, and your treasures. Proverbs 19:17 says it this way. Whoever is kind to the
poor lends to the Lord, and He will reward them
for what they have done. Essentially, when we give
to the poor, it’s saying it’s as if you’ve done it unto the Lord. They may never be able to
repay you, but it pleases God, and He will reward you
for what you’ve given. Hebrews 13:16 says it this way. Do not neglect to do good
and share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. So whatever God has blessed
you with, it’s pleasing to God when we sacrifice of what we
have to bless others with it. Deuteronomy 15:11: For
there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore, I command you,
you shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy,
and to the poor in your land. Now, we would expect the
Bible to say that of the poor and the needy, but what
I love of this passage is that it says don’t
neglect your brother, the person who’s sitting
in the row beside you, your brother or sister that
might look just like you, but is going through a tough time. Open wide your hand and
sacrifice for them as well. One of my favorite examples from this is a friend of mine named Deborah. In 2018, when Hurricane
Florence hit our Conway campus, man, she modeled for
us what it looked like to give of her time and
talents and treasures. We got to shoot some of their story. Check this out. [pensive music] – [Dean] We were told that
we’re not on a flood plain, so we said, “Okay, this is good,” ’cause we were gonna get
flood insurance there. The first year we did,
and then they kinda said, “Don’t worry about it.” So they started talking
about Florence coming in, and it was gonna be four feet higher, and we weren’t sure what
four feet higher meant. And I’m a ham radio operator,
so I was running a net. So just before the net, I looked,
and I noticed a little bit of water coming to the garage, and I quickly jumped, and I called Kay. I said, “We’re getting water.” – I don’t know what I was thinking. I don’t know what I was thinking. I’ve never been in a flood before. – But she thought we were in trouble, and I thought we were just
fine, and I was not right. – It got up to about 18 inches. Right after Dean came up,
and we were still thinking about what to do, I was
speaking to Deborah. She said, “Are you okay?” And I said, “No,” and I
start bawling my eyes out. [somber piano music] And she said, “Get out of there. “You need to get out of there.” And I’m telling her all the things that we were thinking maybe we could do. She says, “No, get out of there.” She says, “We care about you. “We’re worried about you. “You need to be safe. “Get out.” – The house is full of
water, so we had to trudge through the water, and the floor is float, laminate’s floating
around, and we were trying to save stuff, but then it got so high we couldn’t do that anymore,
and then some point, it kept rising, and the
National Guard was saying, “We’re about to the last heighth “before we can rescue anymore,
so if you don’t leave today, “you’re here until the water goes down.” And so we got in there, and
they rescued us out of there, but then once you leave,
they don’t let you back in. – [Kay] And Deborah was at
the other side of the water, waiting patiently for us.
– And she picked us up. – And she was the one, really, ugh, she’s the one that convinced
me to get out of there. [crying] And she and
Daniel, I’m sorry [gasping], she and Daniel took us in, our
whole family, even the dog, and they’re not a dog family. Maybe they are now, I don’t know, but– [Dean laughing]
[audience laughing] They took us all in, and
they kept us for a month. – We couldn’t go back
’til the water settled, and it’s kinda funny ’cause
it goes down pretty fast when it finally goes down, so I came here, and Denny and Sandy were
here from Christ in Action. I pulled up, and I just saw
the devastation at that point, and it smelled awful, and
there were dead fish everywhere on the ground, and everything
was just coated with this, this yucky, muddy kinda look. And saw my neighbors are
like zombies walking around, and I just melted, I
mean, I fell on my knees. He said, “We looked in your
car ’cause your one door “got pushed open by the water, “and your two cars in
the garage are totaled,” and my two kids both lost their cars. We lost three cars in the
process, and I didn’t go back in. I said to Denny, I said,
“I don’t know, Denny, “if I can stay out,” but he said, “Just for me, would you do that?” So I did, but I came
back and just came back, just hugged all the neighbors. We just cried together. – The first thing I
thought of when I realized what was really happening
was, okay, first of all, how are we gonna get this
fixed, and second of all, how are we gonna find
somebody that we can trust? ‘Cause you know there
are people that come out of the woodwork, and they
take advantage of people in this situation, and
I don’t know about Dean, but I had these visions of
just living in a disaster zone for however long it took us
to just come up with the money bit by bit to restore it,
which would be a long time. And, I mean, I can’t
even explain the feeling when Deborah called and said that Seacoast was gonna
fix the downstairs for us. – When she said it, I was like, “Okay, now what did you just really say?” – Yeah, yeah. – “What? Now, what do you mean?” And so I kept asking. He says, “Well, just call
Deborah,” so [laughing] “if you don’t believe it.” I said, “Well, I just
don’t understand specifics “’cause we are not used to
people doing this for us. “This is not our life.” And so the Christ for Action
people were wonderful. They came in, they just
chopped everything down, and they got rid of what
they had to get rid of. – [Kay] Just out of God’s love, of the goodness of their heart,
they’re doing what needed to be done to save our house. – [Dean] We really have
no family anywhere near, and so, the church kinda becomes
our family kind of thing, and that’s what it evolved into. But you never know where you
stand and all that kinda stuff, and but then you see
the outpour and just– – We were blown away by
it, absolutely blown away. All my life I’ve heard body
of Christ, the body of Christ. That’s the body of Christ. [gasping] Sorry. – It was amazing because we’ve
usually been in the position of trying to help somebody,
so there’s a problem, they need some money, we dig
in and see what we can do and donate money, and now we
change the rules of receiving, and it’s really kinda hard. – [Kay] It’s so humbling. – [Dean] And the church has just, well, I don’t know what we’d do without it. I really don’t know. – [Kay] I don’t know what
people without God’s love. I don’t know what they do. How do you survive? – [Dean] How do you not get
bitter ’cause this feels like you’re being picked on, and
there’s no purpose to it. – You could so easily go that way. – [Dean] Yeah. – But people say, “You can’t see God.” [sighing] Open your eyes
and look around here. Any of this, all of this
is God’s people in action. [audience applauding] – I love it. I love that picture of
Deborah giving up her time, standing on the other
side of those floodwaters, saying, “Get out of
there, get out of there.” She gave of her talent. She had some connections. Deborah’s family actually
started Christ in Action after 9/11, so she knew
some people that could help. She was part of a church that
she knew would want to help. She leveraged her time and
talents and her resources. She took them in for a month. I love that line of like, “And
they took us in, our dogs, “and they’re not even dog people.” [laughing]
[audience laughing] You know how that goes. And just makes me think I
would take any of you in, unless you had cats, and your cat’s gonna have
to stay at the house. [audience laughing] I just, I can’t do it [laughing]. If you were to sit down
with the man who was helped in the story of the good
Samaritan, if you were to sit down with that couple, both of
them would talk with you about a person who stepped towards them in their time of greatest
pain and brought about relief and blessing that helped
them in incredible ways, practically, in their life. But best of all and most of
all, they would have a story about the compassion of God,
[inspiring music] the love of God that so
transformed their life that today it compels them to love
deeper, to live different. When Jesus told us we would
do greater things than He did, man, we have got to have an open heart. We’ve gotta have willing hands. We’ve gotta be willing to get
involved, to share resources, and as we do, we’re gonna
help and bless people practically, absolutely, but
there will be no question that they will encounter
the love of God in a way that will forever transform their life. And our name, by God’s
grace, is gonna be able to be attached to it, right? That we were His ambassador,
that we were someone that He used to usher in life change, to make a difference in their lives. We’ve always been a church
that strived to do that through Dream Centers and local missions and global missions, but,
man, what would it look like if each and every one of us, individually, across all of our campuses,
took up that mandate, that I’ve been called by God,
I have been empowered by God? He’s saying, “You feed them. “You make the difference.” I’ve been empowered by
Him to make a difference in the world around me. Church, can you imagine the transformation that we would experience, the
miracles that we would see as we give the little bit
that we have in our hands, and we’d get to see God
multiply it and bless it? We would experience the miraculous, and we would see a people
blessed and transformed. Let’s pray. God, I thank You so much,
that You have called us, You have empowered us to make a difference in the world around us. I praise you, God, for
having compassion towards me, for seeing me, for seeing us while we were still a long way off, for sending Your Son to die
on the cross for our sin. God, may the compassion You had towards us cause compassion to rise up in us, that we would be difference
makers to the pain and problems and brokenness around us. God, may we have willing
hands to not just hear about the stories, or not
just fund them getting better, but to actively be a part of the solution, that we would get our hands dirty, that we would walk with people, that we would bandage their wounds, that we would care for them, God, that we would share the resources that You have blessed us with to bring about change
in the lives of others. May we be difference makers, and may we see you move
in miraculous ways. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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