Today we are wrapping up our series entitled Simple. Throughout this series, we’ve been talking about some of the same things we talked about in 2007 when we had this simple idea to start a church in South Tampa. Because the thing is with simple ideas is that as you move down the road, sometimes people forget why they began doing it in the first place.
And this evening as we talk a bit and begin to dream about what’s next for Logos Dei Church, I want you to think about this idea . . . if you understand your why, you’ll have more clarity in your way.
As we jump in, I want to re-read the opening statement from our very first ministry plan. We looked at this last week, but I want this to be our jumping off point again this week . . .
“Logos Dei Church is committed to being a missional church . . . stepping beyond the boundaries of tradition and engaging the culture with a message of justice, grace, hope, and reconciliation by finding where God was already at work and getting on board.”
It was out this commitment that we began meeting at the YMCA, it’s why we started the first ever MOPS program in a YMCA, worked in the yards and homes of the elderly, sponsored kids in the foster care system.
It’s why we built wells in Malawi, provided birthing kits and an ambulance in Ethiopia, provided bicycles to teachers in Africa, fed and clothed the homeless in Tampa, and why we’ve given away thousands of dollars to families who just needed a little help.
Our mission . . . our call . . . our passion is finding where God is already at work and engaging our culture in that place.
That is our why. And when you understand your why, you’ll have more clarity in your way.
There is a word I want you to think about today; legacy.
It’s a word that has a couple of definitions . . .
The first definition is about money and stuff. But when I think of legacy, I don’t think about money and stuff, I think about the second meaning of this word.
A legacy is something that outlives you. Something that is passed on from one person to another, from one generation to another.
My gaga, who is 103 years old, is in her last days . . . and when she leaves this earth to be in the presence of her heavenly father, she is going to leave behind a legacy.
It won’t be money. It won’t be her amazing career. It won’t be her ability to crush me in golf and tennis.
It will be the values of love, compassion, servanthood, humbleness, faithfulness, and a love for Jesus that has been passed on to her children, her grand-children, and her great grand-children.
The impact she has had on our lives and how we live them, is her legacy.
Everyone will leave a legacy, so leave one on purpose.
I think that most all of us want to leave a legacy. You want to invest in something that is bigger than you and that will outlive you. None of us just want to exist. We want to somehow change the world.
But some of us have traded the opportunity to leave a legacy for simply existing. And that is a dangerous place to be—putting life on autopilot, because before you know it, life is lived and the opportunity to make a difference is gone.
What I want to show you today is that 2,000 years ago the church was started by regular people who could have continued their regular lives but intentionally chose to leave a legacy that has made a lasting difference for people all over the world.
Let’s listen to our text: Luke 6:12-16
When Jesus came to this earth, He wanted to create a legacy, something that outlived Him. He wanted to start a movement that would change the world.
- His why was to restore the relationship between God and his people; something that only he could do.
- His strategy was to recruit 12 ordinary people to share His message of justice, grace, hope, and reconciliation after he was gone.
But before Jesus made this important decision about leaving a legacy, He prayed.
That’s nothing new, is it? I mean, we all pray, right? Maybe not all night like Jesus, but we all pray. We pray before we eat. We pray before we go to bed. We pray at church. We pray before something important; a test, a job, an interview. We pray for stuff that we want and for stuff we need. We pray.
But Jesus prayed all night because he wanted to be on the same page as His Heavenly Father. And at daybreak he called together all his disciples and chose twelve of them to be apostles.
He chose 12 people who would eventually change the world and turn it upside down.
Here are their names: Simon (whom he named Peter), Andrew (Peter’s brother), James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James (son of Alphaeus), Simon (who was called the zealot), Judas (son of James), and Judas Iscariot (who later betrayed him).
These guys literally planted hundreds of churches. They carried the news about Jesus to the ends of the earth, where the news is still spreading. If you grew up in churches, you know that we’re in awe of these guys. Let me give you an example.
Pic: St. Peter’s Big Toe, 1 & 2
Today in Rome there is a Basilica called the Basilica of St. Peter. It is almost the size of two football fields. It has a dome that is 433 feet tall—one of the biggest domes in the world.
Right in the middle is a bronze statue of Peter. For hundreds of years, pilgrims have lined up and waited for hours so they could pass by this bronze statue and touch or kiss his big toe. People have kissed this bronze statue of Peter so much that they have worn the bronze off his big toe!
In some ways, we have made these 12 disciples superhuman. We think that they were these amazing people who did these amazing things. But they weren’t amazing. They were normal people who met an extraordinary God and they understood that God was already at work in the world and they chose to join him in that work.
Let’s start with Peter. He is the leader of the disciples. He was an angry hothead who was always speaking before thinking. Before meeting Jesus, Peter was a fisherman. Andrew, Peter’s brother, was a fisherman as well.
James and John were brothers. Their nickname was Sons of Thunder. You didn’t get a nickname like that for being quiet, mamas boys. These guys were also fishermen, and they were hell raisers.
Philip was probably also a fisherman and came from the same hometown as Peter and Andrew.
So, five out of the twelve disciples were blue collar manual workers and probably cussed like sailors.
We know nothing about Bartholomew before he met Jesus.
Matthew was a traitor to his people and was a tax collector and a swindler and was hated by everyone.
We know almost nothing about Thomas except his nickname—Thomas the doubter. He had a problem believing Jesus and struggled with faith.
There is another guy names James who we know if the son of Alphaeus. That’s all we know.
Simon was a Zealot, which was a nice way to say he was a wanted terrorist. Zealots would carry these small daggers around and, if they had an opportunity, would kill Roman soldiers.
The last two guys in the list are both named Judas. We have Judas, son of James. His nickname was Judas Thaddaeus, and history says that he was a farmer. And then we have Judas Iscariot, who later betrayed Jesus.
This is not an all-star cast. Not a dream team. These are guys that you would probably pick out of a criminal line up—you wouldn’t pick these guys to change the world and leave a legacy. But Jesus did.
Jesus loves delighting in the ordinary. Jesus loves picking ordinary people and doing extraordinary things with them. And that is exactly what happened.
These men that Jesus picked left a lasting-legacy that to this day is still changing our world. Sure, they had humble beginnings and they were confused about what Jesus’ was doing and saying half the time.
But when they understood the why they got clarity in their way.
These guys went all in. They took ownership of Jesus’ mission, and they changed the world. They left a legacy.
Bartholomew preached the Gospel in Iraq, Iran, Turkey, and India where a majority of the people became followers of Jesus.
James the son of Alphaeus preached in Syria and was telling people about how Jesus changed his life.
Andrew preached in Russia, Scotland, Turkey, and Greece.
Peter preached in Jerusalem, Palestine, Syria, and Rome.
Thomas’ doubts were erased by touching Jesus’ wounds, he was fearless telling people about Jesus and starting churches. He preached in Iraq and established the first church in Iraq. He then went to Iran and travelled as far as China and India.
James, one of the sons of thunder planted churches in Spain were there was rapid growth of the Church.
Phillip planted churches in Greece, Syria and in Turkey.
Matthew started churches in Ethiopia.
Judas Thaddaeus started churches and told people about Jesus in Jordan, Libya, and Lebanon.
Simon the Zealot started churches in North Africa, and eventually travelled up to Britain to start churches.
Mark—wrote the book of Mark and shared the message of Jesus in Egypt.
Luke—who wrote the book of Luke and shared the message Jesus throughout the Roman Empire.
Barnabas started churches throughout Italy and Cyprus.
Each of these disciples . . . when they understood the why, had complete clarity in their way and were able to change the world with Jesus’ message of justice, grace, hope, and reconciliation by finding where God was already at work and getting on board.
And all of them lost their lives because of what compelled them.
The only disciple who wasn’t killed for his faith was John, but he was thrown into a vat of boiling oil but survived and suffered hideous scars and pain for the rest of his life. The Roman Emperor Dominitian decided to banish John to the island of Patmos outside of Greece, where he wrote the book of John, the letters of John, and Revelation.
Do you see how God used everyday people to leave a legacy of faith that is still going? It is like Jesus dropped a huge rock in a pond and the ripples just kept going and going and going.
These every day, average people did remarkable things for God because they understood that God was already at work in the world and were intentional about joining him in that work. And because they did, they left a legacy—a message that outlived them and was passed on from one person to another, from one generation to another.
Logos Dei Church was started a little over 10 years ago by a few normal people who wanted to leave a legacy. They had the opportunity to do something bigger than themselves—to make a lasting difference in people’s lives. And together, we’ve done some amazing things because we intentionally joined God in the work he was already doing around us.
Today, we honor their commitment by once again being intentional about looking for where God is already at work and joining him in that work. My challenge to all of us is to leave a legacy . . . because you are the hands and the feet of Christ in this world.
Everyone is going to leave a legacy . . . leave one on purpose.