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Category Archives: Purpose

The Person God Wants You To Be


In my sermon Sunday (available on Podcast Here) I tried to hammer home that we use tools such as values, purpose statements, strategies, systems, processes, technology, etc. to help us be the church that God has called us to be today in order that we might reach the people God has called us to reach. I stated that the message of the Gospel does not and will not change nor do the principals and teaching of the Bible. However, the way which we communicate that message and apply that teaching will change as the culture, and lives of the people we are called to reach changes.

We as a church must use what ever God honoring tools are available to us so that we can be as effective and faithful to the vision and mission God has given us. But if that is true of the church how much more true is it for our personal lives? Are you being the person God has called you to be so that you can do what God has called you to do? Are you leveraging all the God honoring tools at your disposal to be as effective and faithful as you can to the mission God has for your life? Are we as followers of Christ doing what Paul talks about in Phil. 3:13-14:

“But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.”

God has gifted and blessed you in such a way to serve him in a unique and wonderful manner. DO NOT let your Christian life be set aside to a ho hum existence. You are on a mission from the God of the universe there is nothing more exciting than that. It is time we start living like it.

 
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Posted by on January 13, 2015 in Purpose, Sermons

 

Ephesians 4:1

 

“Therefore I, the prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk worthy of the calling you have received.”

This is a great verse to start our study of Ephesians because in it is found two over arching themes of the book of Ephesians. One is that you have something to do, the other is that something is found in the will of God.

Here we find the bible urging us to do something. If we are urged then we have the option weather to do it or not. Furthermore, we find the word walk. Walk is a verb thus it implies doing something. God has called us, as this verse states, to do something which we have the option to do or not to do. Throughout Ephesians we find a call to action to serve the Lord, to walk in unity with other believers. These are actions we must decide to take then under go the often hard work of seeing those actions through. Walking worthy is not something that happens in a one time decision. It isn’t something that happens a few times a year. It isn’t something that happens once a week in a worship gathering. Walking worthy is a decision we make every morning, every evening, and every moment of our day. But deciding isn’t enough we must also walk. We decide to walk then we do the actual walking. That is a continual living out our faith through the Love of God and the truth of the Gospel.

As Christians we must be careful. We tend to fall into one of two ditches on either side of the road of our thinking. One ditch is the overly spiritual. Everything comes back to prayer, waiting on the Lord, and the work of the Holy Spirit. This sounds really good and spiritual. We are supposed to precede, and follow through everything with prayer. And we are supposed to seek the Lords direction on things. But to often this mentality results in an idea that we can’t do anything on our own. In some sense this is true. But God has called us to go, to walk, to be, to do, to make, to serve, and he has given us the power to do so. We have the Holy Spirit, we are called to do, don’t defeat yourself and what God wants to do in and through you before you every begin.

The other ditch is just as bad. This ditch is overly pragmatic. This ditch is all about plans, procedures, techniques, and methods. If I could just get a good plan I could do this, or if the church just had the right programs it would grow. This is completely taking God out of the equations. He has called us to do things but he hasn’t called us to do it alone. Our calling comes from God and so does our power.

I urge you to realize where your call, confidence, and help comes from. We can rely on God but we must also be obedient and do our part. Stay out of the ditches and I look forward to seeing you at our worship gathering.

 

 

 
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Posted by on May 24, 2014 in Bible, Prayer, Purpose, Sermons

 

Give Up NOW!!

 

In Antony’s sermon on Sunday he gave us a fantastic introduction to the book of Ephesians and really to the Ephesian church. There was a point in Acts where the work in Ephesus by the church made such a profound impact upon the community around those of the church that major changes were seen. I just want to focus a bit more on of these instances.

There is a story of some people that practiced magic. When these people came to Christ they burned all of their books on magic. These books would have been education on what was a false religion and thus idolatry. Now, I know that the church has gotten a bit worked up over this idea of magic and calling everything from Harry Potter and Magic cards, to the teletubbies “of the devil”. I have no intention of elaborating on this fact other than to say we should be wise in what we expose our selves and families to because the devil is real and he does work in this world. I would also say that some times Christians go to far, and demonize things and people. There is a point of being wise and avoiding what you might see as being bad but in doing so we should be careful that we aren’t being unloving to people associated with those things. Don’t forget that loving others is just as much (and I would argue more so) a part of your sanctification as fleeing from evil is, so do both wisely.

So now that I’m sure I have everyone mad I digress. The magicians burned their spell books. Anthony did the math for us on what kind of value these books had. In really rough numbers these books were worth some 6 Million dollars in today’s money. There are two points that I find interesting about this. First is that they burned them. I have no doubt that there were those in Paul’s day, and would be today, that would suggest we sell the books and use the money for the kingdom. Judas did this with Jesus in a very similar situation. The issue here is two fold. First, God doesn’t need our resources he calls us to be good handlers of the resources we have. Secondly, if these books were sold then they would continue to lead people away from God. This goes back to loving others. If we didn’t love others we would care more about the money then we would care how it might effect others. If we cared more about people then we would give up the money for someone else’s benefit.

The second point I find particularly significant about this even is that these people made a great sacrifice to follow Christ. There is a good chance that magic was all these people knew and these books were the source of their income, and their possession of greatest value. But they gave that all up to follow Christ. To often we think that we can come to Christ and make minor adjustments in our life. But truly following Christ is a life of great sacrifice, suffering, and self denial for the sake of the kingdom. Jesus didn’t say “just add me to your life” he said “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.” (Matt. 16:24).

The Christian life is a self denying life of sacrifice. That isn’t to say that it is supposed to all be hard and miserable but it isn’t going to be easy and super all the time either. What are you sacrificing? What should you sacrifice? What have you been unwilling to give up for the cause of Christ?

 

 

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?
 

To 2013 and Beyond

I hope We are all Excited about the possibilities that 2013 holds for New Life. We have the opportunity the ability and command to reach our community for Christ the only question is do we have the motivation.

I truly pray that we will be a church that does: see those that have been turned off to God and hurt by the church included in to an active, equipping, biblical church community.

New Life needs your help. We are all in this together. We are all part of the body of Christ and even if only a small portion of the body isn’t working it impedes the whole thing. We all have gifts and abilities that God has given us to bring him glory, to impact the kingdom, and empower the body of Christ. We all have a circle of influence that God has given us to make a difference, and be a representative of Christ.

As we move ahead it is the desire of myself and the elders that we see 100% involvement in ministry. We can all do a small part in connecting people to people and people to God. We might can be a greeter, or a children’s church worker. Maybe you can lead a small group, or teach a class for spiritual growth. There is much to be done and much that can be done to bring the most glory to God. But it is not our desire at New Life just to see church involvement rise but rather to see ministry involvement rise. We desire church to happen whether it’s as individuals or as a group. We are all called to be God’s representatives. We are all called to discipleship, community, outreach, and worship in our own lives. The church is called to equip the body to do these purposes together, and as individuals.

As we look ahead to 2013 I would like to challenge you for two things.
First how can you get involved in New Life. There are many things you could do. See any of the elders or Daniel for some ideas.

The second is how can you represent Christ more or better in the coming year.

 
 
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