Alright. How’s that? There we go. Like I said, I’m visiting. I’m new here.

Go easy on me. But it’s great to be here. I’m in Clemson now with my parents finishing up my PhD. As John said, they, of course, send their love. This Church means so much to them, to me, to my sister.

It’s been a challenging transition, moving up to Clemson. Different things going on, but they are doing well. They’ve persevered. My mom is working with Hope and Jacqueline, my sister, as some of you may know, is a city Commissioner in the city of Tallahassee. So she’s the accomplished Porter child.

But I just want to say thank you. So many of you have have prayed for me and my family for decades. And I think about Rob Fowler or hanging out with the teen guys when I was a teen and men like Phil Spadaro studying the Bible with me. And it was on August 23, 2006, that I was baptized right back here in this Church. And, you know, it’s changed a little bit since then.

I’d say it’s gotten cooler, which I thought John Porter and John Brush Circa 2008. How could you get cooler than that? But somehow and so it’s an honor to be here. Thank you to Tony for inviting me. We have a lot of our family, a lot of love and respect for him and Cassandra and so many people here.

Today we’re going to be talking about Jesus’s Kingdom, which is not of this world. In John 18, Jesus says my Kingdom is not of this world, and that’s a familiar thought. But it’s also kind of a strange thought when you think about it. And I’m excited to talk about that today. Turn to John 17.

I’m a little bit of an old fashioned preacher. I’ve got points. I’ve got two points this morning. The first is behind enemy lines, behind enemy lines. How does it make sense for Jesus to say that his Kingdom is not of this world?

I mean, he created this world. So why isn’t this world part of his Kingdom? And I gather that you all have been talking about the purpose of God’s people in the story that we’re a part of. And how does that story begin? In the beginning, God created the heavens and the Earth and what he created was very good.

But we rebelled. Adam sinned and the creation turned against the Creator and brought sin and death into the world. And so this is Satan’s world now. Jesus calls Satan the Prince of this world multiple times in the gospel of John. Paul calls Satan the God of this age in second Corinthians four. This world is not our home. We are living in occupied rebel territory. With that in mind, look at what Jesus says about his disciples here in John 17 versus 14 through 18. I’ve given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world, but that you protect them from the evil one.

They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth. Your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. I have sent them into the world.

So what are you talking about, jesus? They’re from Gallilee. They’re not from Mars, but Jesus says, no, no, you’re wrong, my disciples. They’re citizens of another Kingdom now. They are not of this world. And I am sending them into this world as aliens, foreigners and aliens to bring it back under the rule of its rightful King. God’ Kingdom, you know, we talk about God’s Kingdom.

We say we love the Kingdom. We mean the Church. The Church is great. The Church is just a tiny part of God’s Kingdom. God’s Kingdom is all of creation.

God’s Kingdom is all of creation. And we are the tiny part of that Kingdom that is temporarily behind enemy lines to try and win back the world to God. This world is enemy territory. But King Jesus is invading it, and he is sending us as the Vanguard, the forward part of his army to reclaim it. My family, we love the Brushes for many reasons.

One reason I love John Brush is that he introduced me to the HBO series Band of brothers. Some of you may remember about Easy Company in the 101st Airborne Division is a company of paratroopers in World War Two. You know, many of you have family members who fought in World War Two. My great uncle fought and actually died. My uncle Howard great uncle Howard died in France in World War Two.

And during that war, Germany had occupied France. And on D- day, tens of thousands of troops landed on the shores of Normandy to begin the allied liberation of France. But not everyone came by boat.

Some of the soldiers were paratroopers who were dropped behind enemy lines in parachutes, completely surrounded by Nazi occupied territory. You know, the paratroopers were in Nazi territory, but they were not of Nazi territory. They weren’t from Normandy. They were from places like Davy, Florida. They were not of that world.

But they had been sent there on a rescue mission. And that’s us. That’s the Church. We are not of this world. We are the paratroopers of the Kingdom of God.

We are the paratroopers of the Kingdom of God. You know, the paratroopers. They didn’t fit in in Normady, just a few words. And you could tell that they weren’t from around that part of the world. They didn’t speak the same language.

They had a different accent. What about us? What’s our spiritual accent? And I’ve tried to pick up a little bit of a Southern drawl while I’ve been in Clemson. But people can tell that I’m not from around there.

And when I got to Boston, they could tell that I wasn’t from around there either. What’s our spiritual accent? Can people tell that we’re not exactly from around here? It’s easy to pick up a Kingdom of Satan accent, isn’t it? Because we’re surrounded by it. It’s easy to go native here in occupied France because paratrooping that’s not the easiest job in the army.

It requires a little bit more than just Church attendance. It requires authentic spiritual maturity. That’s something that my family we’ve been talking about and wrestling with a lot these past few months and really years, because authentic spiritual maturity, that’s not just behavior modification. That’s not just give me the list of rules, and I will try my best to follow that list of rules.

And don’t get too angry at me, God, when I don’t perfectly follow the- authentic spiritual maturity comes from inside out transformation.

And so often we try to change ourselves from the outside in. And in paratrooping is just not the kind of thing that you can do just by behavior modification. You know, we are not of this world, but our flesh is. Right, and we don’t have the power to change ourselves on our own. I can’t do that. But God can do that. We can’t brute force ourselves to peace when we’re stressed or anxious.

We can’t brute force ourselves to forgiveness in our hearts. When someone has wronged us, you can’t just flip a switch and forgive someone right? You can’t brute force your way to joy when you’re grieving or just depressed, down. We can’t brute force our way to what God has called us to do. But that’s not just okay.

That is more than okay, because Christianity is not about brute force struggling on our own without God’s help. Christianity is about being changed by God. It is about working with God to be transformed so that we can be peaceful and joyful and faithful and everything else. I want to talk a little bit about some of the spiritual disciplines. I don’t know if that’s a familiar phrase.

Got my industrial water bottle here. Spiritual disciplines are just practices which foster spiritual transformation. And I believe that the spiritual disciplines are the only way for us to become the paratroopers of the Kingdom of God that God has called us to be. Now I want to talk a little bit about entertainment and I’d like to talk to the parents for a second. Although this applies to everyone. Parents, you do not realize how deeply entrenched your children are from day one in this world. Even if you’re home schooling or even if they’re not in school yet it’s different from when you were growing up.

It is different from when I was growing up. The technology it’s just on a different level and you can’t counter 24/7 immersion in Normandy with a couple hours on a Sunday morning. We have to figure out how to immerse our children in a Kingdom from another world. You know, many of you came to the United States from other countries, or your parents came to the United States from other countries. And you notice that the kids who grew up here, they end up being Americanized, right?

That’s just inevitable. And you’ll have parents, they have accents because they grew up somewhere else. And then the kids, they sound American because they grew up in the United States. That’s the kind of dynamic that we are trying to counteract. And it’s an uphill battle.

And how can we be not of this world when we are immersed in all of the exact same things that the world is immersed in? You know, I teared up watching Isabella recite Romans Twelve. That was just. I mean, it’s a beautiful little girl, but seeing her just recite scripture. And, you know, many of us know more about song lyrics or current events say, oh, I don’t have a good memory.

I can’t memorize scripture. But then you start talking about sports statistics or movies or whatever the case may be. And we actually, our memories are a little bit better than we maybe give ourselves credit for. We have to figure out how to immerse ourselves in a different Kingdom. You know, we might know Drake on a first name basis.

We might know Tua a first name basis, but we don’t know Jeremiah on a first name basis.

Here’s the challenge: memorize one verse a week. I think most of us can do that one verse a week. Get a flash card app or do physical flashcards. I do a flash card app on my phone.

Immerse yourself in things above, not an earthly things. Holiness. You know, that kind of stuff. It’s a spiritual discipline. There’s too much noise. This is how I feel when there’s too much noise coming in from work or school or sports or TV.

I just can’t focus on God in the same way. So I have to know myself. And I have to leave room for God to work in my heart. Prayer.

You know, I’ve been a disciple now for 15 years, and for most of that time, prayer has been something that was challenging for me. And I know I’m not the only one. For years, I felt just kind of numb and distant from God in lots of ways. For years, I wasn’t comfortable saying I loved him. And I had this thought.

Well, you know, I guess God just waiting for me to get perfect and kind of until then, he’s just going to keep drilling me like the drill Sergeant or something. And maybe I’m the only one. But I don’t think I am. And what I realized was that I was I was trying to retain. I was deceiving myself.

I thought I could maintain some control over my life. And, uh oh, and this is what we do, right? We think we can retain an illusion of control over our lives. And you can’t, right? You just can’t.

We have just so little control over our health, our work, our families, everything. And I was trying to follow Jesus on my own terms. And, you know, I’ve never been in the military, but I gather that that’s not how it works. You don’t say, well, I would prefer not to fight in that battle. So I’ll pray for you guys. Go with the Grace.

That’s not how it works. And that’s not how the Lords army works. That’s not how being a paratrooper works in the Kingdom of God. Jesus is my commander. And chief and he offers me everything.

And he also demands everything. It’s both. And I didn’t want to give him everything. But once I did, and I made some decisions, and he totally transformed my prayer life and broke down so many of the barriers that I thought, well, this is just the way I am. I don’t have the gift of faith.

These lies I told myself. I cry almost every day, praying. I don’t feel numb anymore. It’s been a blessing. And this isn’t about a quiet time.

This is about quality time. And we talk about that. I know the married couples talk about that or the parents get quality time with your kids. And I think I’ve started thinking about that. What does quality time with God look like?

That’s just not checking something off. I hope you don’t do that with your spouses. Check out the two. Well, I talked to my wife today.

Quality time with God. There’s so many regular fasting, confession, sacrifice. These things. They change our hearts. And the point again, it’s not about more rules.

It’s not about the guilt trip being not of this world. That’s not just a command. That is a blessing. Because when we talk about the fruits of the spirit that comes from another world, when we talk about love, joy, peace, goodness, gentleness, self control. Those are good things.

And they are not of this world. Look around. Let’s go to the grocery store. Do people seem loving and joyful? No people are so weighed down because they’re part of this world.

And we are called to be from a different world. We are not here to get used to Normandy. We are here to liberate it. We are here to liberate it. We’ve been sent behind enemy lines to usher in a different Kingdom with a different King.

We are the paratroopers of the Kingdom of God. That is the purpose of God’s people. Turn to John 13.

You know, in second Corinthians ten, Paul says that we do not fight with the weapons of this world. So here we are. We’re paratroopers. We’ve been sent to another Kingdom, another world. What weapons do we fight with?

What kind of pair troopers are we? And we’re not foot soldiers. But we are feet soldiers, feet soldiers. That’s point number two.

Going to read John 13:34 through 35. A new command I give you love one another as I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this, all men will know that you are my disciples.

If you love one another. And where is Jesus when he’s saying this? What’s the context here? Well, this is His last Supper with his disciples. And as most of you know, instead of just sitting back and kicking back and relaxing, this is the Last Supper.

You might have thought he’d earned it. He washes their feet. And he says, as I have loved you, so you must love one another. He says, by this, all men will know that you are my disciples, not by their miracles, by their love.

You know, feet aren’t the most appealing body part. I don’t get the sense maybe I’m wrong. I don’t get the sense that the disciples were the the most careful with their hygiene. But Jesus washed their feet. Well, foot washing, that’s for servants. You’re right. But the King of Kings did not come to be served, but to serve. Mark 1045, the son of man did not come to be served, but to serve. So he subordinates himself.

He gets down on his knees and he washes their feet. Their smelly dirty feet. He even washes Judas’s feet.

And that’s what Jesus is known for. Even today. Self sacrifice.

You know, Florida Floridians are known for a lot of things. One of the things Floridians are known for is the infamous Florida man. And you would think that people living in the state of Florida would know how to act around alligators. You would be wrong. I don’t know what it is.

There’s something about Florida. It just attracts a certain kind of individual. And I love Florida. I love you all. But there’s some interesting things that happen here.

Yesterday, I was on my morning prayer walk, and I saw a man just with a parrot on his shoulder just walking around pet parrot. And I thought, here it is, a Florida man in the wild. I got to see one in the flesh. And you know that’s one of the things Florida is known for, it’s Florida man.

What is this Church known for? What is Broward Church known for? And we can’t control that completely. You know, the world loves to unjustly slander Christians. But are we known for being Jesus’s feet soldiers?

Most churches are just known by their location, right? Oh, yeah. That’s the big Church on Flamingo Road, right. Well, that Church, they wash each other’s feet. They really love each other.

But that’s what some of you said. 20, 30, however, many years ago, when you first walked into this building or Cooper City High School or whatever it was some of you, I’ve heard your stories. I grew up with your stories about seeing a community that was different from any other group of people you’ve seen before. And you were blown away by how people loved each other. By the way, they served each other and took care of each other and washed each other’s feet.

And you thought, this is different from what I’m used to. What about now? What about now? You know, I know one thing that Broward Church is known for is the talent of the Broward Church, and we all just heard it and saw it. Some amazing, and isn’t it great by the way to see, it’s great for me to see Richard Ball playing the piano again. I remember he gave me a piano lesson or two at that piano, but we’re not called to be known by our talent. We are called to be known by our love for one another. And when people see true feet washing love, they can’t resist it. They can’t resist it for long, not because it’s impressive. In a worldly sense, it can be. It can also be weird.

And that’s how our lives should be. Impressive in the sense. Wow. Look at this, love, but not necessarily like normal and relatable, and it should be even a little, I think true feet washing love, when people see it, they can’t resist. It’s also a little intimidating, isn’t it?

And sometimes, you know, we want to be relatable. But really, and I do this myself, we’re just trying to be impressive, and we can’t proclaim a different Kingdom to this world if we’re trying to suck up to it. We can’t love the world by sucking up to it. The Allies didn’t liberate France by trying to impress the Nazis.

That’s not how they did it. But sometimes this is a generational thing. I think of Regina George’s mom from Mean Girls. She said, I’m not a regular mom. I’m a cool mom.

And we can say I’m not like those other Christians. I’m a cool Christian. Have you ever tried to be a cool Christian? No, you’re not. No, I’m not.

I’m not here because I’m cool. I’m not here because foot washing is cool. It’s not. I’m here because I love God. And I know even though it’s not always cool, even though maybe most of the time, it’s not cool.

If people see footwashing love, they’re so hungry for love, they can’t resist it. But our gospel is not ourselves. Our gospel is not how amazing we are. Our gospel is the King who loves us enough to wash our feet. And we proclaim that gospel not just in words, but most importantly in our willingness to get down on our knees and do the same to wash each other’s feet.

And it doesn’t come naturally at first. But once you get into the practice, I really believe this. There’s no greater joy and honor then washing the feet of those you love. This doesn’t have to be a burden.

Being a foot soldier doesn’t have to be the albatross around your neck. If we let God change us, it can be a great joy. That’s the way the spiritual disciplines work. Love, joy and peace. That’s the way transformation works if we let God in and he changes us, how do people know we’re foot soldiers?

How will they know? Will they know they will know we are Christians by our meetings. Is that the way it goes? By our T shirts? By our T shirt? Is that the way it goes?

By our tattoos, our cross necklaces? How will they know? Two quick things? Generosity. Here’s a statement.

There should not be a single follower of Jesus in material need anywhere on Earth, anywhere on Earth. Read acts two and four again. 2000 years ago, the Church eliminated poverty among followers of Jesus. And then they started eliminating poverty among everyone else.

2000 years ago, there were no needy persons among them. That’s what it says. Why not now? I’ll read 1 John 3:16. This is a familiar verse.

This is how we know what love is. Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. And what comes next? Verses 17 and 18. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on Him, how can the love of God be in Him?

Dear children let us not love with words or tongue, but with actions and in truth, do not store up treasures on Earth. That’s not just a metaphor, but it’s easy for many of us to be more invested here in Normandy.

We’re settling down here in Normandy instead of our true home in the Kingdom of God. Generosity. Second thing, mercy, which triumphs over judgment. What did Jesus say as he was being crucified? Father, forgive them as he’s being crucified.

And I know that’s not always my heart. You know, someone can be ten minutes late for a meeting and I’m not at the Father, forgive them point right? Whose feet are you unwilling to wash?

Jesus was willing to pray for anyone for forgiveness. For anyone. He was willing to wash anyone’s feet. But there’s so many people that we love only conditionally. Only in theory, are our love and our mercy bigger than our judgment, even just in this room among our brothers and sisters here locally. Christ-like love sees the gunk in people’s hearts.

We all have gunk in our hearts, don’t we? And it sees that gunk. And it’s not easy to deal with that gunk, is it? It’s not just well here, bro, just do the routine.

Check the boxes. Quiet time, and then you’re good to go. We’ve dealt with the gunk. It’s a little bit more complicated than that. And Christ-like love sees that and rolls up its sleeve and says, okay, let’s work through this gunk together.

Not not just by rebuking people, but by listening and loving and washing their feet. You know, God loves everyone. I also believe that God likes everyone because God created everyone. He sees the good in everyone. And that’s something I need to work on.

Do I see the good in everyone. I can figure out seeing the bad in people. I’ve got that one down. Do I see the good in people? And on my own it’s impossible to do that with everyone.

But again, with God’s help, it’s not impossible. In fact, it’s inevitable.

Become a love expert. There’s so many different ways to love people. There’s so many different people to love, and they all have different needs. Become a love expert. Do you love your family expertly, your friends and neighbors, your coworkers, the cashier at the store.

Do we love God expertly? What an exciting goal to become experts in love. Do we know how to love people who have a difficult past that’s very different from ours? You don’t just learn that’s a skill. Do we know how to love people who are suffering with challenges and their physical health or in their mental health?

People who are grieving, people who are struggling financially? People who don’t look like us? People who are much older or much younger than we are. Do we know how to love people who are LGBT? Do we know how to love people who are just annoying?

Do you know how to love people whose political opinions are slightly different from yours? Are you willing to wash their feet? It’s been a wild couple of years in the United States of America? I don’t know if it’s been wild here, actually, I do know it’s been wild here in Broward, too. It’s been wild everywhere and politically I look around at so many of the people I know and what I’m seeing in the world and I think, man, the Christians in this country are so not not of this world when it comes to this stuff on both the left and the right. And I have my opinion. I’m actually my PhD in political philosophy. So I have opinions on this stuff, but pretty much across the spectrum, we sound like everyone else.

We’ve lost our Kingdom accent. We repeat the same talking points. Aren’t we supposed to be from another Kingdom? Aren’t we supposed to be monarchists? That’s a little weird.

Shouldn’t our values and our priorities and the things that we’re talking about. Shouldn’t it just I’m not saying be more of this or shouldn’t it just be a little weirder, just weirder? Not of this world.

The Kingdom of God is the only place on Earth where people of all backgrounds, including all political backgrounds, can really come together as one in sort through all of the things that divide us. And I don’t remember exactly which year, but around 15 years ago, I went on a youth corps. Some of you recognize the two other gentlemen in that photograph, Matt Blair and Geo Ada Mendes. And, you know, I didn’t really know Matt and Geo before the Youth corps, we had somewhat different backgrounds, somewhat somewhat different interests.

Yeah, matt’s Jamaican. I don’t know if you can tell. I’m not Jamaican, and they were cool. I mean, they still are. Matt is tall and athletic and just an awesome guy.

And Geo has all these tattoos and he’s talented. And then me in high school, I was in musicals. That’s me back in my Broward days in Cats.

You’ll never find a picture of Matt Blair dressed up like that.

If you do, send it to me. And we went on this youth corps and we were different. But we became best friends on this youth corps. We were the three mooks. I don’t know what that somewhere Geo came up with, and we were, you know, it didn’t matter that we didn’t look like each other.

It didn’t matter that we didn’t listen to the same music. We were there serving together and so we could become close. I got to be a groomsman in Geo’s wedding. I was the token white groomsman. That’s a special honor.

But you know what’s harder in 2021, then interracial relationships, friendships? Inter political friendships. You know, it’s not nearly the big deal that it used to be for me to be friends with someone who doesn’t look like me now. But for me to be friends with someone who doesn’t have the same opinions that I do? That’s a different kind of challenge, isn’t it? Especially for the younger people. But I see Christians who are trying to become policy experts instead of love experts.

We’re called to be love experts. We can’t change the world if we’re not of the world. We can’t change the world if we’re caught up in local Normady politics. We can’t change the world if we’re being changed by it. And I know this stuff matters.

I’m not saying it doesn’t. What I’m saying is we have to think less about the things of this world, the sports and the politics and our work and the things. And we have to just not even Church. Think about God more. Meditate on God and who he is more. That’s how we become love experts. Everyone wants to save the world. Everyone wants to have an opinion. No one wants to wash the feet. Interrupt your routine, become a paratrooper.

Become a love expert. That’s what Jesus feet soldiers are called to be. You know, people say it’s not about the destination. It’s about the journey.

Tell that to a paratrooper. Paratrooping is 100% about the destination. It’s about being sent behind enemy lines to turn this into this. That’s the same exact road, same place, pretty powerful transformation. You know, people didn’t become paratroopers because they really loved skydiving.

They didn’t say, well, you know, I’ve heard that France is lovely in June and I’ve never been. The story of the paratroopers is that they were willing to leave everything behind to fight for something that mattered. And some of them, there was a draft, but some of them lied about their age because they wanted to go fight. They wanted to go serve. And the story of God’s people is the story of love conquering death.

It’s the story of creation rebelling, but then being redeemed and our purpose is to usher in that redemption. To be King Jesus’s feet soldiers to proclaim a different Kingdom from a different world, not just through our words but through our love. What’s your purpose? What are you fighting for?

What’s your role in the story? We all have a part to play. We all have a role. What’s yours? And most importantly, where is your home?

Imagine if the paratroopers had gotten so used to Normandy that they didn’t even want to go back home. Think about the fathers and mothers and everyone else back home waiting for these men to come back. Imagine if they said, I actually kind of like it here in Normandy. But I’ll send postcards. That would have been tragic.

What about us? Have we assimilated? Have we forgotten our true Father? Have we forgotten our true home? People think that Christianity is about dying and going to heaven.

It’s not. Read, and this is interesting. I won’t read it Colossians three verses one through four says it says you’ve already died and gone to heaven. Says you’ve already died. You’ve already been resurrected.

Your life is now hidden with Christ in God. This world is not our home.

Our life is hidden with Christ in God. We’re already not from here. And if you’re having trouble letting go of Normandy, my advice is don’t focus on changing your behavior. Focus on experiencing God’s love. Focus on healthy spiritual disciplines.

Focus on the beauty of our true home. Hebrews Twelve says we’re receiving a Kingdom that cannot be shaken. Right now, this world is occupied territory. But King Jesus is coming back to claim his own. And soon his Kingdom will fill the whole universe again, and every sad thing will come untrue.

And as we get ready to remember Jesus’s death and resurrection in our time of Communion, we can think about that good news. It’s the best news that’s ever been. That we have a God who’s not just willing to wash our feet, but to die for us. And the story doesn’t end there with death. It ends with new hope, with resurrection, with redemption, with a new home. Thank you so much.

Let’s pray now for the Communion.

Father, this world is not our home. You’ve prepared for us a home that is so much better than this world. And you want more than anything to change us, to transform us, to fill us with your spirit so that we can become your paratroopers. Become your feet soldiers here behind enemy lines and be filled with love and joy and peace and faith and hope, no matter what Satan throws at us in this life.

Father, thank you for Jesus. I love the way he wept over Lazarus, knowing that Lazarus was going to be raised in just a few moments. I love his perseverance. I love his love, even for Judas. Even for those who were crucifying him to be willing to pray for them and to forgive them.

And I love his victory over death. I love that the cross isn’t the end of the story that ushers in new lifernal, eternal life. Father, thank you for that gift.

Thank you for sending him to us. Thank you for giving us his spirit to dwell in us. Help us to experience your love more and more every day so that we can be more and more like him. It’s in his name we pray. Amen.