RSS

Category Archives: Community

Mobilize and Educate

The church has typically educated then attempted to mobilize often with poor results in the mobilizing aspect. The Bible teaches that we are to mobilize and while people are in motion on mission active in living out their faith. We are then to educate in the process. Education after all is not a destination at some point in the distance. It isn’t that on day we will be educated, mature, discipled believers but rather that discipleship, that Christian maturing, is a continual process.

It is much easier to steer a moving vehicle then one that isn’t moving.

Jesus said I send you out as sheep unto wolves then I will give you what to say. Matthew 10:16-19

We don’t have to know everything in order to be effective in evangelism or reaching this world. What we have to do is be authentic and love people just as Jesus did. To provide a safe place for people to share their lives. Accept people as people who are loved by God yet struggle with sin, just like us. Jesus didn’t wait to teach everything he had to teach to his disciples before he sent them out. Jesus apparently sent then out in the middle of them being his disciples.There is a story of Jesus sending his disciples out and them coming back with a man who had a son with a demon. The demon wouldn’t come out for the disciple but it did when Jesus called it out. The disciples tried first then brought the man to Jesus when they couldn’t.

This is why being in a mentoring, discipleship relationship is important. Not because we need one on one education but because we need one to one discipleship, we need to have someone we can ask questions to as things happen, in the midst of struggles. This is why Life Groups are so important at New Life. It is a group of people to share struggles and triumphs with. A group of people who celebrate and support us and that we in turn do likewise.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 13, 2015 in Church, Community, Encouragement, Life, Sermons

 

Getting Ready For Company

Our theme as a church in 2015 is “Getting Ready For Company”. This means that we are preparing ourselves and our church so that people can feel safe and at home with us. This is going to work out in three particular areas of our church: our Life Groups, our Facilities, and our Structures. I just want to take a moment and talk about some of the exciting ways that we are preparing this year so that we are ready as we continue to grow.

Structures

What I mean by structures is the way in which we do things at New Life. In established churches and especially small churches it is often hard for new people to feel welcomed, or sort of break into the social fabric of our community. So we are developing practices, and ways for New Life  to be as welcoming as possible and for people to get connected as quickly and easily as possible.

The first way we are doing that is with our Connector events. Connector events are times when we can get together to just connect, to get to know each other, to grow in relationships and build community. We currently have an on-going youth connector that happens the first Friday of each month, and a regular men’s connector is in the works. We have plans for other connectors both on-going and single events to make it as easy and enjoyable as we can for all of us to connect at New Life.

The second structure that is helping us get ready for company is our new volunteer orientation. We will be rolling it out in the next month or so. If we don’t have a clear way for people to get involved many people may never get involved, even if they want to. The volunteer orientation helps everyone know what to expect from the church, and what will be expected of them as a volunteer. It will be a great entry point to further connection.

Facilities

We will be making some major and not so major facilities updates and improvements in 2015. Our biggest project is water proofing our basement. This will be a major undertaking but will help to make our basement a much more usable space. Other projects like painting, carpeting, and decorations are already in the works. We will also finish work on the bathrooms.

Life Groups

This is really the most important feature of our preparations this year. Outside of our leadership team we only have two Life Groups now. Life Groups help New Life be much more connected and in a much deeper way. Life Groups are also our means for making disciples at New Life. The success of our church at accomplishing the vision God has given us ultimately will be won or lost in our Life Groups.

Our goal this year is to triple our Life Groups. Each Life Groups is full with about 10-12 people. So if we triple the number of Life Groups through New Life from 2 to 6 it  will give us enough room for 60 adults to be in Life Groups. That means 60 adults at least 30 families maturing in Christ, connecting with people and God. This isn’t enough to continue growth but as the numbers of Life Groups increase the speed at which they increase will also grow. In other words it will be quicker to go from 6 Life Groups to 12  than it will to go from 2 to 6.

What Can I Do?

The most important thing you can do is get in a Life Group and make sure you are growing in your walk with Christ.
Secondly, when we have volunteer orientation make it a point to be there.
Third, get involved. Pray and think about where you could serve. The Volunteer orientation will help with that.

Finally, Give! Givve your time, Give your prayers, Give your abilities and Yes, Give your money. Preachers don’t like to talk about it any more but it will cost money to do some of these things we need to do to make our church welcoming.

 

Ephesians 4:2

I hope you all are doing well with your reading plan and especially with your memorizing of scripture. This week’s and next week’s are particularly exciting memory verses because we are learning, with last week’s verse, a set of three verses found together. When we memorize a bit larger section of scripture we get all the benefits of memorizing scripture that we already spoke about (see Memorize It, for examples and tips on memorization), along with the added benefit of more depth of content and some additional context. This week’s verse is a great example of both of those points.

Last week we were urged to walk worthy of our calling, this truth is profound in and of itself. Yet, the verse this week speaks to that calling giving us a greater depth of insight. Some times when we think of that calling we are urged to think and act upon in verse 4:1 we get high minded thinking “I have been called to this great thing” or we get bold thinking “I have God on my side” or we get brash thinking nothing shall stop me nothing will hinder me” (p.s. we say words like “shall” and “hinder” when we get really noble).There is not a period at the end of verse 4:1 so we know that verse 4:2 relates to it in some way. Verse two warns us to walk worthy with humility and gentleness.  A worthy walk is not bold. brash, and high minded. Though the thoughts stated above, are true, I hope we see that there maybe an attitude issue there, so we are still urged to avoid that by seeking humility and gentleness.

A few translations have a semi-colon or a period after gentleness but most just have a comma. This indicates that the idea continues. The verse includes patience in how we are to walk and ends with acceptance and love. It is fairly clear that patience is directed toward accepting because that act often takes much patience. However, this section of patience, acceptance and love are all part of our urge toward calling. In other words we are to walk worth of our calling with a unique character, of humility, gentleness, and love,  all the while accepting others.

Inherent in this is that others will not be in the same place on the road to righteousness, that is walking toward a worthiness of ones calling, and some maybe on a completely different road. (Notice I said the road to righteousness not to God, there is only one road to God that is faith in Jesus). We tend to think that how we got to where we are spiritually is the same road others should walk, weather: Mission’s trips, bible studies, certain books, or youth camps. Know that we all are on our own journey we all end up in the same place but we started in different places with different struggles and issues to overcome. We also tend to forget where we came from and how far we have come. Don’t expect people to be right where you are, accept them in love with grace and humility as God does us. After all we are all much further up the road from him.

 

Response to the Unsaved

How do you view unsaved people? Do you look down on them as terrible people. Ridicule them in your mind. View them as something other than what you are, we aren’t all people, children loved by God, we are saved and they are unsaved (heathens). Here are a few ways people respond to the unsaved world around them.

1) Evade: Run away
We build our Christian sub-cultures where we go to a Christian book store, we have Christian friends, we only hire the Christian plumber to work on our house, we only do church social events… Etc. Many of you don’t have any Friends that are unsaved and the only unsaved people you know are at work or your neighbors. How are you going to be the light to the world if you never leave your house? Jesus went where the unsaved where. If you want to catch fish you go where the fish are.

I heard a preacher telling the story of some of the men in his church wanting to start a softball team. The preacher said sure that sounds great. The men responded that it would be really fun, they could join the local church league. To this the preacher responded no, they wouldn’t join the church league they would join the “beer” league the open league because if they were going to reach people for Christ they had to go where the people far from Christ were. The first game came and one of the players came up to the preacher and pointed to the other team saying “they are huge and I know some of those guys they cuss and drink and they do stuff you just shouldn’t do.” To make matters worse the name of the other team was the nasty boys. Well the church team beat the nasty boys, and they beat every other team in the league and won the championship. But that’s not the great part of the story. The great part is that three families from the nasty boys ended up coming to that church that very year and were saved and baptized.  If your going to be a witness of God you have to do so where someone can see you.

2) Pervade: Overpower them.
We weren’t sent into this world to make it conformed to a certain set of actions, behaviors or thoughts. We were sent into this world to be the servants, to be the slaves, to love people in such a way that they might  know the love of Christ, see our good works and glorify God in heaven because of it. Why is it that we get mad at lost people for acting lost.

3) Invade: This we do.
We Go where the world is. We Love how Jesus loved and we preach and live the gospel to every one we meet. We are intentional about witnessing in seeking someone else’s salvation. In the church if we do any witnessing, and evangelism, if we talk about the gospel at all it is often defensive. If someone where to come to you and ask how to be saved you would likely share your faith. If someone visits church or a church event we will talk about Jesus and the gospel. But we don’t need to wait for people to come to us we need to go to them. We must be offensive. WE are to storm the gates of hell. The gates of hail will not prevail we will. We will rescue people from eternal damnation. We will.

 

Furtick’s Haters

Steven Furtick is a hugely popular preacher. He is pastor of Elevation church in Charlotte NC, where he is lead pastor of a church of 8,000+ persons and has seen thousands come to faith in Christ over the churches short history. I believe largely because of his success in ministry and his youth Furtick has received many accusations in regards to his genuineness. I can’t say I know everything there is to know about pastor Furtick or elevation nor do I have a desire to. And I won’t say I endorse everything he says because their probably isn’t a person on this planet that I would endorse everything they say. However, what I will say is two things 1) I believe that Furtick is not a heretic and does preach the gospel. I believe that Furtick is a genuine Christian with a genuine love for scripture and people and desires to see the two connected. 2) I believe what Jesus said in Mark 9:40 ‘For he who is not against us is for us.” and that he was right.

With that being said watch this video from Furtick addressing those that have accused him:

Call me weird but I really do believe that we are all in this together, Christians that is. If one ministry or one church or one pastor or one person is successful it is not our job to point out how they aren’t perfect or how I would have done it differently. It is our job to celebrate some more people in the kingdom, or more orphans placed, or more hungry feed, or more Christians discipled  Why aren’t we celebrating and more importantly working with each other. I know that a large reason for this is denominations and I am no fan of denominations in a general sense. I believe they serve some good purposes but they also serve to bring much division. However, I believe that the Evangelical Free Church of America has it right on at least one point of their distinctives. They state that:

The Evangelical Free Church of America embraces a humble orthodoxy in partnership with others of like faith.

We believe in the spiritual unity of the Church though not necessarily in structural union. We join with other Christians and other denominations of like, precious faith in common goals and ministries to accomplish the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. But we believe that there is strength in diversity and that it is important to preserve our distinctives. We recognize that union in structure does not guarantee unity of spirit.  Our foremost concern is unity of spirit with our Lord, with each other and with other Christians. Check out there statement of faith to see just how humble their orthodoxy is. They are foundational and that is about it.

They are right and Furtick is right. It is time for us to stop “Hating” each other and start loving each other for the sack of the world. It is time to stop negatively pointing out how every other church isn’t like us and start celebrating the diversity of the work that God wants done. I would like to call on all those reading this blog. All those at New Life and around the world to be known by your love for other Christians. To be labeled as the church and the people who work with other Christians to see this world changed. Plenty of Churches say they would work with others if a situation came up and will if there is a big crusade or something. That is not what I mean. What I mean is we ought to start seeking out how we might partner with others. To deliberately search for opportunities to unite the body of Christ. I want to see more and more and more partnerships that don’t find differences but seek out similarities in the same missions to see people saved, lives changed, and the kingdom of God grown and strengthened.

We are in this together, lets start acting like it.

 

In God’s eyes

Anthony spoke on giving on Sunday, specifically about giving within the church.

My question is what do we give out of. Some give out of abundance, some give out of lack. Some give out of obligation others give out of guilt. God would have us give out of love. This is why God gives to us, because he loves us, so shouldn’t love be the reason, the motivation, and the inspiration for our giving to those that would have a need among us, LOVE?

Doesn’t John 13:35 tell us that love for other Christian’s is one of the greatest tools for spreading the gospel that the church has?

That being said Anthony addressed our giving from the stand point of stewardship. God has given us wealth, resources, possessions, abilities so that we can be good stewards of it. We might think that being a good steward means saving, or investing, and sometimes it does. But we once again must be reminded that the way we view somethings is not the same as how God would view the same thing and our thoughts on a subject are not the same as what God’s thoughts would be on the same subject. So what would God’s stewardship look like?

God would call us to put to use, save and invest in the things that he sees as important. The very purpose of our existence, the reason he established the church. God would have us build community, and relationship with other people. Rebecca and I have opened our home on Saturday to invite people over to have a time to glorify God. We are using our resources for God’s purposes. God would have us reach out and grow in our relationship with him. God has given us more than enough to work with the problem is, in God’s eyes, we are just wasting it on trivial things.

Adult discussion:

  1. What are you wasting your God given resources on?
  2. What do you think God’s view of your stewardship has been?
  3. When are you going to do something about your lack of obedience?
  4. What is a small step you can take to being a more Godly steward?

Family Discussion:

  1. What are somethings God has blessed us with?
  2. What are some of our resources, abilities, etc. as a family?
  3. How can we better use what we have to glorify God?
  4. What are some areas we are wasting some of what God has given us?
 

Un-Felt to Felt

In Acts 6 there is a telling illustration of the church providing for the needs of others. In fact this pursuit was such an important endeavor to the church that there was a structure established for seeing to it that those with needs have their needs meet and that this work would be done well.

The church doesn’t have another purpose or mission but rather an obligation to come together, pool our resources and see to it that those among us and as many others that we may touch are shown the love of Christ through having their needs meet. When God and his church work in this manner there is a collision between a persons felt needs and a persons primary need.

Perhaps first we should recognize what a felt need is. A felt need is anything that a person could verbalize to someone else that they need. That is to say it is something the person recognizes as a need they have. A person might say I need food or gas in my car, or they might say I need significance or a friend. The meeting of felt needs is a cornerstone in the work of the church in our community. This is especially true in the area of outreach. God has called us to have compassion on those hurting around us and because we have God we have the means to meet those needs.

On the other hand there is a much greater need than most people’s felt needs and that is their primary need. Every person’s primary need is for salvation. Many of you reading this blog have realized your need for a savior and received the one that can meet that need. However, there are many people who do not realize this need. In the work of the church we must realize that we practice humanitarian work because we love and have compassion on people, but we should never lose sight of the fact that a person’s greatest need is their need for a savior. In many ways evangelism is merely helping a person move their need for a savior from un-felt to felt.

 
 
 
%d bloggers like this: