In November 2019, we launched HOME. HOME is our initiative to provide a down payment on the purchase of Epic’s future property in San Francisco.
Even though we’ve been here for 10 years, we’re already seeing the strength that comes from having a long-term view in a city that’s so transient. Securing our own property will allow us to really anchor Epic Church in the city for decades to come.
Today, I want to give you an update for where we are in the process. Commitment Day for HOME was November 17, 2019. On this day, hundreds of us brought a one-time gift and a commitment for the next 3 years, over and above our regular giving.
It was pretty incredible to see our church make a total commitment of $6.8 million.
As of September 5, we have given $4,299,761, which is a little over 63%.
How has the pandemic changed our vision for HOME? It’s only deepened our long-term commitment in San Francisco. We think our mission matters more now than ever and that this new space is part of it.
We also have held the location open before God. And I want to tell you that so far, God has not moved our hearts or our vision away from SoMa. Our church has always been a faithful presence in the SoMa neighborhood and we believe this is still the vision. We realize things could change on that, but we don’t sense something different as of now.
Imagine seeing thousands of people from all walks of life put their faith in Jesus over the coming decades. Think about how crucial this space will be for the hundreds of kids and students who will find God and live out His purposes for their lives. As we get rooted even more deeply in this city, think about the long-term impact we will be able to make with our local partners like Because Justice Matters, Bessie Carmichael School, Mobilize Love, Foster the City, and Open Door Legal. I see us opening up a school of leadership in this space where people get trained to lead in the church, in business, in areas of justice/mercy and whatever other vocations they are being called into. Think about the worship culture growing and imagine the songs that will flow into and out of this sacred place.
How can you play your part to make this vision a reality?
If you made a commitment to HOME, I want to encourage you to keep giving towards it. Shauna and I made the largest commitment of our lives and I’m so grateful that we’ve fulfilled 86% of that commitment so far.
If you weren’t part of the church when we launched the HOME Initiative, jump in and join us. Can you imagine getting to be part of the group that secured a long-term church property in the city of San Francisco?
Pray for this property. We’re asking God to unlock the right property in the right location at the right time at the right price. We’re asking for provision. We’re asking for it to be a space of great impact for the decades to come. We believe it’s going to take divine intervention to see this HOME vision become a reality. We’re going to do our first HOME prayer walk this coming Saturday, September 25, from 10am - Noon. We’ll meet as a group at 1st/Howard - in front of the Chipotle. From there, we’ll break into smaller groups and cover the entire SoMa neighborhood.
We long to see more people in this city find Jesus and orient their entire lives around Him.
Have you ever been invited into something and you thought, “How did I get invited into this?” It’s so special. You’re so humbled. You’re full of gratitude. You soak in every moment of the dinner or the conference or the event. But you know what happens when these kinds of invitations become a habit in your life? You almost can’t help but take them for granted. And you didn’t mean to but you start to become entitled. And you lose the wonder.
As we keep moving through Mark’s gospel today, I want us to gain or regain the wonder of the most amazing invitation ever and I’m calling this message “Invited In”.
Mark 1:14-20 After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”
As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fisherman. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him. When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.
John the Baptist gets put in prison for rebuking King Herod. Jesus goes into Galilee to proclaim the good news. We said last week that the reality of Jesus is the best news the world will ever know. What is the good news from Jesus? The time has come! What time has come?
The word time can be one of two words in the Greek language that the New Testament was written in.
chronos – refers simply to the passing of time
Kairos – refers to the right time; the opportunity for some event or action; an appointed time
Mark uses “Kairos” here, referring to the appointed time that God would fulfill His promises. The prophecies were going to be fulfilled in Jesus. Most Jews thought that the kingdom of God was simply some far off, future reality. But Jesus was saying, “It is appearing right now in me.” It is here.
Most people understood the term “kingdom” to refer to the reign of a political power. Jesus used “kingdom” to refer to His spiritual reign over all people. Jesus is the King in this kingdom…it’s why we orient our entire lives around Him. How do you enter the kingdom of God? Repent and believe the good news.
repent – a change of mind that results in regret and a change in conduct
And believe the good news. The point Jesus is making here is that we must be decisive about our faith in Him. We aren’t merely saying we believe in his existence. We are putting our trust in Him as Lord and King.
Have you decisively put your faith in Jesus as Lord and King?
Now that we know what’s required to enter the kingdom of God, we should ask this question: Who’s invited into the kingdom of God? What kinds of people get to enter into a life of following Jesus?
He comes to Simon (Peter) and his brother Andrew and just says, “Come, follow me, and I will send you out to fish for people.” He then sees James and John and calls them. Here at Epic we’re always seeking to gain clarity on what is our part and what is God’s part. Jesus is saying to each of us today – “Your part is to follow me. If you do that, it’ll pretty much take care of everything else.” We have made this so complicated.
Mark tells us some more about how Jesus calls his disciples in Mark 3:13-19.
Mark 3:13-19 Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. He appointed twelve that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons. These are the twelve he appointed: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter), James son of Zebedee and his brother John (to them he gave the name Boanerges, which means “sons of thunder”), Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.
Jesus wants us.
Did you hear me? Jesus called those he wanted. He is still calling those he wants. Jesus wants us. Jesus wants you.
The company might not want you anymore. Your ex-husband might have abandoned you. Your parents might want nothing to do with you. I know all of those things hurt. But listen to me: Jesus wants you!!!
Psalm 27:10 Though my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will receive me.
These disciples are fishing because no one else had chosen them to do something else. Aren’t you so glad we don’t see Jesus only calling the elite or the accomplished or the educated or the super spiritual?
To be a disciple of Jesus means we live with Him and we do whatever He tells us to do, in His power.
He called these twelve that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons.
Are you living your life with Jesus?
Are you obeying what Jesus has told you to do?
Are you living your life with His power or just in your own strength?
What does it mean to have Jesus give us his authority? I was listening to the Rebuilders podcast with Mark Sayers and he was interviewing Rob Reimer on the topic of spiritual authority and Reimer gave a great definition for authority in general:
authority – the right to use someone else’s power
So spiritual authority is the right to use Jesus’s power. He also said it’s the capacity to touch heaven and to change outcomes on this earth.
Jesus invites people to follow Him who are just like you and people who are nothing like you.
No one would have ever put these 12 guys together. Some of these guys are extroverted and some are introverted. One was a tax collector. One was a skeptic. One was hotheaded. One was a Zealot – someone who was anti-Rome and part of a revolution. One was a traitor.
We must make space for all kinds of people because Jesus invites all kinds of people. In this way, the good news of Jesus is so inclusive. And yet for all people, this movement is incredibly exclusive because it’s only for people who will follow Jesus as Lord…and make Him the center of their lives.
One other thing I see in Jesus calling us to be his disciples:
To fully follow Jesus, you will have to leave something that’s familiar to you.
These guys left their boats and their fishing careers. Luke says it this way:
Luke 5:11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left EVERYTHING and followed him.
I believe today some of you are being challenged to once and for all, put your faith in Jesus in a decisive way. Here’s the response for you: Repent and believe. Change your mind about living your own way and put your trust in Jesus and His way. Grab that card in front of you and communicate this with us today.
Reflect on the wonder of being wanted by Jesus. This is for a number of you. You are wanted by the King. What does that lead you to feel and to do?
Where do you need to give more focus in your life: Being with Jesus? Doing what He’s told you to do? Living in His power and not merely in your own strength?
What is something familiar that you must you walk away from so that you can fully follow Jesus?