Summary: The thought and desire to be a difference-maker is hardwired into us by our Creator. God wants us to make a difference wherever we are. That’s why, when we do, there is such a huge payoff.
Hey, have you ever just kind of stopped and thought or had the thought go through your mind...I wonder if my life really makes a difference? I wonder if what I do really matters. You know, usually it’s on a birthday that we have those thoughts, isn’t it? Like when you turn the big 3-0, or 4-0, or 5-0, or just add one to anything with a 9, you know. And you’re basically the same as you were yesterday, but you take time to reflect and think, and you wonder...Did I really or have I really made a different? Or do I make a difference?
Here is what I’m going to suggest. I’m going to suggest that thought and that desire to be a difference maker is hardwired into us by our Creator. God wants us to make a difference wherever we are. That’s why, when we do, there is such a huge payoff.
I mean, I’ve seen it in the eyes recently of medical professionals when they did a dental access clinic or maybe when they come home from a medical mission trip, and you can see it in their eyes. You can hear it in their voice when they said, "You know what? What we do everyday makes a difference, but we made a major difference in somebody’s life who couldn’t help themselves."
Or maybe it’s an everyday person who tutors less fortunate kids who maybe don’t have as great a chance as your kids do or other kids do. In fact, recently, I was talking to somebody who was tutoring someone in our North Charleston campus who was failing at school and now they’re taking college prep courses, and you could just see it in their eyes...I’m making a difference.
Or it might not be something as large as providing medical care or tutoring a child, maybe it’s just an everyday kind of random act of kindness, and you do something, and it makes a difference for somebody. Maybe they don’t even know it, and something inside of you says, That’s right. That’s what I was created to do.
See Jesus was the original Difference Maker...began with Him. He came 2,000 years ago and He made a difference. He changed the world. Why did He do that? Why did He come and live and teach and die and rise again? Because the world was broken. Because it was wrong. The world wasn’t what God created it to be. Jesus came and He willing gave Himself, the Bible says, and He became a difference maker, and then He established the church.
I’m so excited about this series. We’re starting the book of Acts, and we’re going to study the church because it began with Jesus...just one. Then it began with just a ragtag group of people, you know...kind of like those guys on Fort Moultrie, and they literally changed their world. We’re going to study that over the next few years. Few years...kind of like the Luke series. Did I say few weeks?
Then it goes on to you...to you. Because here is God’s plan. I’m going to tell you upfront what my desire is...what my desire is. These days there are about 12,000 of us who gather on the weekend here and at the various campuses. What if we could mobilize every one of us? What if we all would go wherever God has called us to...in the place we live in the towns and the workplaces and the schools, whatever? What if Jesus could live through us, and we could be difference makers, and He could change the world through us?
See I’m just radical enough to believe that if you’re a Christian, if you’re a Christ follower, then your family should be better off because of it. If you’re a Christ follower, the school you go to should be better off because you’re in it. If you’re a Christ follower, the place where you work should be a better environment to work because Jesus is living through you by the power of the Holy Spirit. If you’re a Christ follower, your neighbors should be glad you live there because you mow your lawn all the time and you put your trash bin away right after the trash guys come. Jesus is just living through you, okay? Alright? Can I get an, "Amen," there at all? Okay, alright.
In your city, the city ought to be glad that this church is in the city because the church makes a difference in the lives of those who matter to God...which is everybody. See that’s the vision and that’s what happened in Acts, chapter 1.
So here is what I want to do. We’re going to go through a study. Hopefully it won’t take years, but we’re going to start today. I don’t know how else to start but just to start, okay? What we’re going to do...let me read it. The book of Acts... Guess who wrote the book of Acts? Luke...a few of you said Luke. Did you know we just finished Luke? But Luke is not finished yet. In fact, if you have an outline sheet or if you have a Bible or you know a PDA, whatever you use to read your Bible, would you take that out right now? Let’s just read the first few verses, and then we’ll kind of dive into this study.