Are You Engaged? And How Does God Engage Us?

Sermon by Pastor Todd Boxley, Try Jesus

Good morning, everyone. Welcome to “Try Jesus!” If this is your first time joining us, it’s great to have you with us. I would like to thank all the new members for joining “Try Jesus.” Also welcome those in Texas, Hawaii, Indiana, Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee this week.

“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6 KJV). God loves to make his people new (2 Corinthians 5:17; Ezekiel 36:26,26; Revelation 21:5).

Did you know that God is in control of all world events throughout the nations, and yet he can still have that loving one on one relationship with you? Jesus can certainly take care of nations, walk into your life, take care of you, and chew gum at the same time, amen? He is an all-encompassing God! Why wouldn’t you want to know him? What an amazing God we serve!

Let’s pray, “Heavenly Father, we thank you for another glorious day that you have brought forth in your power. Thank you for gathering hearts and minds to your spiritual alter all over this vast cyberspace. Lord, let every stronghold of the enemy barricading the mind of every unsaved soul across this site from receiving the Lord be pulled down, in the name of Jesus. Holy Spirit, open our ears to hear and our hearts to receive your word today, in Jesus’ name, amen.”

a kid with multicolored hand paint
Children engage with their parents to receive love and praise. Photo by A. Grey on

Have you ever been amused by watching a child (without them knowing) maneuver and figure out a complex situation over and over again? Whether it’s trying to open something, turn on a toy, or button their shirt correctly, a child will stay engaged until they are completely frustrated.

Why does a child go to great lengths to achieve success in its daily task? Because children love hearing praise and adoration from their parents. How many times have you saw a child come up to their mom or dad and say, “look mommy, I zipped up my coat all by myself.”

And even though you see they zipped up half their shirt in the process, you give them a smile and a hug and tell them, “Great job!” Sometimes children will stay committed to something for hours, just to hear those affirming words, “Great job, I’m so proud of you!”

It can be also hilarious and funny to watch your loving pet try and figure out how to get out of their predicaments. Especially cats! Cats can get into the worst of situations, but they always seem to get it right, even if it’s wrong.

Our children and pets can be tenacious and endure situations with incredible staying power. Yes, frustration sets in and sometimes they give up. But their purpose and reasoning for doing so is to gain a reaction from those who take care of them.

Growing up, at times, I would try to gain words of “atta boy, or good job Todd!” from my dad. Those words were a whole lot better than hearing “Go to your room, or “Your grounded for a week!” But I realized if I stayed fully occupied in getting the job done, I could coax those words out of my dad.

I can still hear those affirming words from my basketball coach as I stay engaged in playing defense and getting a charge foul call against the opposition. Above the players, the fans at the game, I could hear the coach yell, “Way to go Todd, Great job!”

Did you know life is something important to be engaged in? Have you ever tried to engage in a meaningful discussion with someone who has both their ears distracted by something else?

Do you get frustrated when you want your spouse’s full attention concerning a serious matter, but they just seem disengaged about the issue? I’ve spoken to some couples who tell me, “I give up pastor, I can’t seem to get my husband enthusiastic about the missionary work our daughter is preparing for.”

How do you get someone absorbed in something that would benefit them and those around them? I ways tell them, “A little bit at a time.” Never force feed anyone anything. It’s like the answer to the question, “How do you eat an elephant? “One bite at a time.”

God treats us the same way. He doesn’t place anything on us that we are unable to bear (1 Corinthians 10:13; Isaiah 43:1-5; 2 Corinthians 12:9). When God prepares us, he will equip us with every spiritual tool we need to walk in victory (2 Corinthians 10:4,5).

Jesus approached his disciples with the same foresight. He taught and equipped his disciples for what they would face after his death. Jesus told his disciples this in
(Luke 19:10). “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

Jesus came to save his lost creation. The only way this could be done was for him to die in our place. Jesus is the only great shepherd on earth who can deliver the sin-sick-soul. He is the only way, truth, and life path to the Father (John 14:6; Mark 10:45; 1 Peter 1:18-20).

[Jesus paid a ransom for us because we could not pay it ourselves. His death released all who believe in him from the devastating consequences of all sin. He sets us free from slavery to addiction, self-hatred, and destructive beliefs.]

Jesus would often share powerful parables with his disciples. He would also tell them privately what the parables meant. The parable he shared with his disciples was a direct response to salvation that took place in the house of Zacchaeus.

The parable is simply about putting to good use what God has entrusted you with. Have you ever loaned someone an item to help them achieve a certain result, but when you went to pick your possession, it was in bad condition?

You were disappointed because you remember telling them these words, “Hope this helps you out, put it to good use.” I know family members who won’t loan their cars to certain siblings because they never return it the way it was given to them.

If you are a good steward over things you give to people, and they bring it back, maybe it better condition than they received it, would immediately cause you to loan more items to that individual.

I’ve always taken the approach that if someone loans me something (like a lawn mower), I will go above and beyond to return it in great condition. That is what this parable is all about.

And in the case of this parable (Luke 19:12-27), Jesus said something interesting right at the beginning of the parable that stood out. He spoke about his servants being faithful and productive during his absence.

He told them these words,
“And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come” (Luke 19:13 KJV). He gave in advance about 3 months’ salary to these individuals.

The word occupy is a very powerful word. The Greek word (pragmateuomai) means to busy oneself. To be occupied in something. Websters put it this way, it is to occupy or engage the interest of. To consume. To engage fully.

It means to have one’s attention and mind full of energy and engaged. When you are highly motivated about doing something, it tends to grab all your emotions to accomplish that work.

I remember Pastor Mitch (in my babe in Christ days) speaking about gifts and talents. He stated that if God has called you to do something, he will place this desire, burden, and drive to accomplish this on your heart.

He also spoke about people who always say their ready to jump in and do things regarding needs in the church, or evangelism outside the church, but you never find them when the help is needed.

Many times people will call the pastor and complain “Hey Pastor Mitch, how come you haven’t called me about joining the Hebrew and Greek study class?”

His answer was always straight to the heart of the topic. “Did you call anyone listed on the information guide posted in the foyer?” He would then tell others at meetings, “If God has called you to do something, and placed this desire in your heart, you don’t have to chase them all over town or call them twenty times a day, they’ll just show up.”

The Bible says,
“A man’s gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men.” (Proverbs 18:16 KJV). Paul, who was filled with the Holy Spirit said,

“For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!” (1 Corinthians 9:16 KJV).

[Paul’s gift and calling, and he said he couldn’t stop preaching even if he wanted to. Paul was driven by the desire to do what God wanted, using his gifts for God’s glory.]

grayscale photo of a man holding pair of dumbbells
Exercise the Gifts God Gave You. photo by DreamLens Production on

The best way to occupy and stay engaged is to exercise the gifts God has given you. Professional body builders know how to take each specific muscle and target that area to achieve maximum success in tournaments.

Jesus wants us to stay intrigued and immersed in the labor of love he has called us into. The Bible tells us to not grow weary in well doing (Galatians 6:9; 2 Thessalonians 3:13).

God certainly has enough for us to do because there are approximately seven billion souls on the planet. And most of them do not know the Lord. We should keep busy, stayed interested and engrossed

in the gospel message, to spread the good news to a lost society.

Like the disciples, Jesus knows we can’t bear all that God wants to accomplish through us all in one day. He told his disciples these words.

12} “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. 13} Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. 14} He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.” (John 16:12-14 KJV).

When we occupy all that God places before us, it’s to engage in his Kingdom business until he returns, not disengage in escapism biding our time. Some Christians get lackadaisical in their approach to sharing the gospel with others.

They would rather take their salvation and keep it unto themselves until they get to heaven. And yes, if truly born-again, they will be with Jesus, but they will lose rewards and crowns for not sharing words of truth and love to the lost.

There is no “I got mine, get yours!,” in the body of Christ. It should always be, “I got mine, may I please share it with you.” “freely ye have received, freely give.” (Matthew 10:8 KJV).

two boys sitting on bench wearing hats and long sleeved shirts
Sharing Jesus is staying engaged and giving life to others. Photo of Sharing by Victoria Rain on

When we stop working in the harvest field, we become less motivated and lethargic in doing the work until the Lord returns. The good news stays open 24 hours a day. In looking again at parable of the nobleman (Luke 19:12-27), the king was disappointed and hard on this man.

Why?  Because he didn’t share his master’s interest in his kingdom. He didn’t trust his master’s intentions. He cared how it might benefit himself. He didn’t put the money to work to gain a good interest.

The disciples of Jesus many times thought he was going to deliver them from Rome. But Jesus came for a much deeper reason. He came to deliver our hearts from sins control over us.

Before Covid came Christian were given the command to occupy until Jesus comes to restore all things unto himself. Even more so now, the labor of love must continue throughout this devastated harvest (Matthew 9:36-38).

What is happening in America, is a rejection of all things pertaining to God’s standard of morality and holiness. The prophet Joel pointed out the people’s physical and moral senses had been dulled, making them oblivious to their own sin. Joel called them to awaken from their complacency and urged them to admit their sins before it was too late.

When Christians see devastation around them, they should want to show the lost how they can receive new life by staying attached to the vine of Jesus gives us. (John 15:1-7). We remain securely under his powerful shadow of protection (Psalm 91:1-16).

The word of God tells us to “watch and pray.” Many times, Christians will pray, but are they watching what’s happening in their community? Does their heart break for our youth in America? Our youth and young adults need to be lovingly guided back to God.

The church must occupy themselves in the pain of what these children are experiencing. Children are being manipulated and indoctrinated to become idles of themselves.

The body of Christ should stay alert and remember the words Jesus spoke, “Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame” (Revelation 16:15 KJV).

Listen my dear friends, I know people have said Jesus is coming soon, but when you start to see unbelievers questioning and hating what’s happening to the community, you should stop and take notice to how bad things have become.

God’s people are still responsible for managing the property (his earth full of souls until the master (Jesus) returns. If Christians are to occupy as Jesus intended, we are to set up camp like a boy or girl scout jamboree. We come into our neighborhoods and embed ourselves among the people and take spiritual control of that area.

@ Christian occupation means establishing by force a government against an enemy or rebels within its own territory. We occupy in both the natural and spiritual realms, so taking ownership is a prerequisite to enforcement. @ (Author unknown).

Here’s the practical plan we should follow.

1) Like defensive assignments on a football field, Christians should take responsibility for what happens on their side of the spiritual field.

2) We should respond to the deterioration and sin in our community by exercising our God-given authority to spiritually pull down these strongholds. We then can approach all brokenness with wisdom and love to build up what Satan has destroyed. Seek the determination that Nehemiah had.

3) We should cry out to God in our quiet time with him and according as he may lead, too fast and cry out that the blood of Jesus would been the only source of cleansing for our communities.

4) We should declare and stand on the word of God and praying for the vision that leads to powerful demonstrations of deliverance in our nation. When this happens, God will open doors while locking demonic forces out. This should all be done in the power of God’s love.

Remember my beloved friends, we are his battle axes and weapons of war. (Ephesians 6:10-18; 2 Corinthians 10:3-6). It may not seem like it to the unbelieving society, but prayer is like lightening strokes from the sky during a storm. Jesus prayed with power. If prayer doesn’t work, then why is Jesus sitting in all power, splendor, and majesty on his throne? People have been saying, “Enough with praying!”

What they fail to realize is, Satan is losing the battle because even when there are only two or more gathered together in his name, God moves, and Satan is defeated (Matthew 18:20). God breaks in pieces demonic kingdoms through prayer. (Jeremiah 51:20-23).

[The “LORD of Heaven’s Armies” is one of the names God has given to himself. This name of God occurs hundreds of times in the Bible and is also translated “Lord of Hosts” and “Lord of Sabaoth,” meaning the Lord of all the heavenly beings. This is an army above all other armies, and this title conveys his all-surpassing power.]

We also are God’s army, because he has given us all the tools to win this spiritual war. Just as Israel did when God instructed them to take certain lands. Their occupation meant they had control over a territory and control of a foreign power that God had given them. Spiritually, Christians use their prayers, tears, and travails as a weapon against those spiritual forces of darkness.

Occupying in prayer means we make our presence known to the enemy. Picture yourself standing in your home wearing a uniform holding a sword. Your uniform represents the impenetrable presence of God, and your sword represents the word of Almighty God.

The body of Christ (true born-again believers) have been given excellent resources to build and expand God’s Kingdom. Jesus expects us to use these talents so that they multiply, and the Kingdom grows. He asks each of us to account for what we do with his gifts.


🗣📢 Last words: This is not the time for the Church to retreat or disengage! We are not those who shrink back in fear! Greater is he who is within us (the Holy Spirit) than he who is in the world (Satan). God has given you gifts to use for the benefit of his Kingdom. Do you want his Kingdom to grow? Do you trust him to govern it fairly? Are you as concerned for others’ welfare as you are for your own? Are you willing to use faithfully what God has entrusted to you?

Then move in and occupy the space God has entrusted you with! As the athletic analogy goes, if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it.

📕 Here’s some more spiritual ammunition to occupy your spiritual territory. (Philippians 1:6; 1 John 4:4; Joshua 5:13-15; 13:29,30; 14:8,9; Numbers 33:52,53; Amos 9:14,15).

🛐 Here’s a prayer you can pray standing on God’s promises. “Heavenly Father, thank you for today’s message of promise and victory. Lord, thank you for the blessing and provision of giving us victory over the enemy.

Thank you that you have given us authority to trample on every power of the enemy (Luke 10:19; Matthew 6:10; 16:19). Right now, in Jesus’ name, we take back our public schools, our land from crime, our institutions for righteousness and our land for the gospel of Jesus Christ.

We occupy all of this under the authority of Jesus Christ. The keys to this nation have been given to the body of Christ. Lord, please forgive us (starting with me) as a nation.

We renounce all ungodliness and all sinful activity that has ever taken place in this nation. We have turned our path towards all manner of Sodom and Gomorrah lifestyles.

Lord, cause us to have repented hearts. Holy Spirit. Come and fill every part of this land we occupy with the fullness of the kingdom of God, with your love, your peace, and your rest.

Help us to consecrate and dedicate this land called the United States to the rule of Jesus, the presence of the Holy Spirit, and the Kingdom of God. In Jesus’, all powerful name we pray, amen.”

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