Finding God’s Purpose for Our Church

Plattsville_Missionary_ChurchThere is an old Chinese proverb that says:

If your vision is for a year, plant wheat.

If your vision is for ten years, plant trees.

If your vision is for a lifetime, plant people.

I think it’s really true and quite deep. A vision that lasts a lifetime must be centred on people. That’s what we really ended up exploring on Sunday. How Jesus Christ changes people. How he changes lives, and how he invites us into doing the same thing.

On Sunday we talked about Jesus’ mission and vision for life found in Luke 4. Here he states and shares what he is here to do. He is absolutely clear he is here to free people, to provide healing, to provide restoration, and to set things right again. In short, he is here to change all of life, in the here and now. Jesus is about changing lives in the present. And he is still about doing that today. And he actually invites us into changing lives with him. Becoming like Jesus means participating with Jesus in what he is doing.

So on Sunday we discovered our foundation for the next series. Our deep desire and goal is this: to be changed by Jesus, and join Jesus in changing lives.

Our goal is to first have our lives absolutely transformed by Jesus Christ. You can’t share something you don’t have. So we first need to experience life, transformation, and change before we can ever begin to share that with others. Our deep desire is that anyone who joins with us will not remain the same. That through Jesus Christ being active in our church each person would experience lasting life change. They would find restoration, healing, hope, and new life.

But if that transformation just remains with us it will turn stagnant and bitter. As a church we are also equally called to share life with others. We are called to change lives with Jesus. That “with” is important because it recognizes that God is already active in our friends, family, and communities. We aren’t bringing Jesus with us into relationships. We are discovering where Jesus is already active in relationships and starting there. Through our commitment to serve, to bless, to give, we believe we will see change. We see change happen only when we are living life like Jesus Christ ~ with a posture of grace, openness, willingness to enter someone else’s world, and most of all humility.

That is our deep deep hope. I could care less about us being the biggest or best church in the area.  I care a lot about being the church to the area. We are not content to run nice services if those services don’’ send us out into the community seeing life change in our friends, family and neighbors.

So this is what we want to be doing, and in all honesty, it’s what we’ve been trying to do for a while. Now we simply want to become more intentional, because as I said in my last post: you don’t drift into making a difference. Making a difference starts with making a decision and that’s what we did on Sunday. Making a decision to be changed by Jesus, and to partner with him to change others.

So that’s our decision about where we are going. But maybe for you today it’d be worth making a decision of your own. Why not take a moment and ask him how today you can join in what he is doing. And then why not do this each and everyday. Because my guess is if we do that we will not only be changed by Jesus, but changing others with Jesus.

Sermon Notes

Big Idea: Being changed by Jesus, and changing lives with Jesus

Take Aways…

+       Where is your life headed?

+       If you don’t plan where you are going, you’ll end up going nowhere

+       Churches and Christians in general have a vague idea of what we are called to do.

+       That people who do great things, set out to do great things

+       You don’t drift into making a difference

+       Vague direction leads to a lack of action

+       New life isn’t coming it’s here because Jesus is here

+       If it’s not Good News for everyone, it’s not Good News for anyone

+       Jesus is here to change all of life

+       The Christian life isn’t a self-interested one

+       Being changed by Jesus, and changing lives with Jesus 

Adult / Group Discussion Questions

What direction is your life headed? If you were to answer the question, “Jesus is leading me (where)…” what would you say?  What has Jesus already changed in you? What freedom, restoration, and hope has he given in you? What do you think he wants to change in you? How might he do this, or what is he asking you to do?

How is your life having an impact and changing others? Are there those in your workplace, family, or neighborhood God is calling to leave an impact? Do you have any ideas how you might do that?

Are there people you can journey with over the next few weeks? How can you make that happen?

Who should you invite to church, or to journey with you discovering how Jesus wants to change us, and change lives through us?

Discussion Questions for Young Families            Talk with your kids about what Jesus is about: us being changed by Jesus, and changing lives with Jesus. Ask your kids how Jesus has changed them. Really listen to their answers. Ask them how they might help change the lives of their friends. And then help them do it. 

Challenge for this Week Commit to the Journey, Journey with Others, Invite Others on the Journey

 

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