Summary: You are a connector for God. He has called you to bring your worlds together in Christ. You are an evangelist.
Tonight we will be in the Gospel of John. And we will be in the Gospel of John potentially until we see Jesus again face to face. This could be a while. And what I’m gonna ask that you do tonight is something very simple and very practical that we begin with. The first thing I’m gonna give you is an assignment. Very simple. What I want you to do is somewhere on your notes – get a pen. There’s pencils in front of you in your pew. I want you to get your notes, and I want you to draw initially a circle, and I want you to put your name in it. And then around that, orbiting around that I want you to put names of other clusters of relationships and communities that you’re involved in. Any group that you are involved in that is ten or more people. So it could be your family. Maybe you hang out at a club all the time, you know a lot of people there. Maybe it’s a hobby group. Maybe it’s – maybe you’re part of a sports team, and you play in an athletic competition. Whatever it is. Anything.
It can be clusters of ten or more people that you have a relationship with in certain groups. And I want you to put those around yourself. And what we’re gonna build here is your relational universe. And initially this may not make a lot of sense. If I do a bad job, it won’t make any sense all night. But the goal is that by the end of this, this will come into some cohesion for you. And this will be just a very simple and a very practical message tonight. And so think through who do I know? What relationships am I involved in? What communities do I participate in? These can be acquaintances, friendships or family members. Any of those three categories of relationship are acceptable. So take a couple minutes and do that. Some of you are done, and so we’ll pray that you get friends and have people that you have relationships with (Laughter). How are you guys doing? You got a few down?
I did this the other night, and it was actually kind of amazing just to see how many people you really do know and how many places you really are potentially connected. How many of you have got more than five, five clusters? More than ten? Anybody more than ten? More than fifteen? I only gave you a couple minutes. I threw it together the other night. I had 20-something. Anywhere from like 4,000 or 5,000 down to a family of 20 or so people. What I want you to do is just kinda keep that thought in the back of your mind, and we’ll come back to it at the very end. What I want you to see is that we live in a relational universe where we’re connected to all kinds of different people. And where we’re coming tonight in the scriptures is in John Chapter 1. And what I’m gonna do for ya is I’m gonna overlay a lot of concepts and thinking on information and theory and how information is disseminated and how people come to learn things.
I’m gonna lay that over so that when you come into the scriptures with me tonight and you study the story at the end of John Chapter 1, some of these concepts will sort of take flight for you. You’ll see ‘em as they live and breathe in reality. And as you come to the scriptures, I’ve told you guys this upon occasion, that there’s really two primary kind of text that are in the scripture. Some are descripted that tell us a story. Others are prescripted, which tell us what we should or should not do. A prescriptive text says, “Love your neighbor. Don’t kill anybody. Don’t steal anything.” It prescribes conduct behavior. It tells you something. Other sections of scripture don’t really tell you specifically anything. They more describe how God was involved in peoples’ lives, and how people responded to God’s involvement in their life. And through the stories of peoples’ lives, we see how God acts, and we see some life lessons and some principles. Positive like Mary or John the Baptizer. Also negative like Herod and Judas. Positive and negative ways that people respond to God’s involvement in their life.
And so the story we come to tonight doesn’t tell you specifically to do or not do anything, but I want you to look at it and say, “Ah. That’s how God works in peoples’ lives. That’s how God works in the course of human history.” And when you start thinking about it, all of us are connected in relational frameworks and universes, and those tend to be in three different categories. There’s acquaintances, people that we know sort of secondhand. We sort of have a minimal amount of information about them. Maybe we see them upon occasion. We’re not really close with them, but we do know who they are. Okay? We also have family members that we are obligated to by blood. And whether or not we’re very close to them, we do sense sort of obligation to them. And then lastly, there are friends. There are people that we deeply care about and we willingfully commit ourselves to in relationship. And we live with these people and we journey with these people and we invest a lot of ourselves in relationships with those people.