I decided to take this catchy little phrase "Never Stop Exploring" and use it to talk about the Kingdom of Heaven. It took me days of searching through my bible before I was absolutely sure which scripture I was going to use. After much debate I finally ended up deciding on Matthew 13:44
44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.
I started off my first sermon by talking about what I look like trying to play golf. I went on to say that most of the time I step up to the tee box I drive the ball into the rough instead of the fairway, in fact sometimes I flat out lose my ball. Well in my sermon I do just that, the ball was completely lost. We are looking all over the place for my ball and actually find a few other golf balls in the process. I talked about how sometimes it is tempting to just claim one of those balls as my own to save myself the penalty stroke of having to drop and risk losing another ball. After searching for what seems like an eternity, the people behind us are starting to get restless and we decide to just give up on my ball and move on to the next hole. Just as we are pulling away in the cart, I catch a glimpse of something white and shiny in the tall grass across the way. We decide to check it out and sure enough it was the ball we had been looking for, it was my ball. I got out of the golf cart took my club out of my bag and took another swing at my ball, I knew all the while there was just as high a chance that I lose the ball again on this swing, but I swung anyway. See God called us to search for him and the kingdom of heaven here on earth. God doesn't want us to just find it but he wants us to become a part of it, to pick it up and to continue with it. I could have given into the distractions of the world, "the other balls" but there was only one true ball that I could play and sometimes you have to search for it before you can play it. Once I found it I couldn't just leave it there or pick it up and move on, I had to take the entire risk all over again, I had to take another swing. God is calling us to participate in this life with Him and in the lives of others. Once you find the kingdom of heaven, you absolutely must not stop there, but you must give up all the distractions and the things getting in the way so that you can experience the life that God has intended for you to live. I asked the students:
Is there anything blocking you from seeing the kingdom?
Are you willing to get rid of these distractions?
There was a second sermon that went along with this one based on the next scripture in Matthew
45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46 When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.
We talked about in the first sermon how we can spot the kingdom. In the second sermon we talked about discovering our role in this kingdom of God.
I had a whole bunch of fun doing these sermons this weekend. The trip was life changing for me and I know it was for our students too. 3 of our students accepted Jesus into their hearts this weekend. It was amazing to see the glow on their parents faces as they picked their students up on Monday afternoon having heard the news that their son or daughter was now a Christian. They were now a part of the kingdom. I can't wait to see them discover what their role will be in this kingdom!
I put together a little video to show some of the cool stuff that happened. I am not a great video editor so don't laugh at some of my bad transitions. The prayer at the end was by a high school student named Matt who felt called to pray as we concluded our worship service!