The Gospel: The Local & Global Movement of God
Loved ones, my hope this post is to step back and show us a big-picture view,
from 30,000 feet, so to speak,
of what this local church is all about,
of the local and global Movement of God
that we participate in when we
- consistently attend here,
- faithfully serve here,
- passionately pray here,
- and sacrificially give finances here.
We have invested 44 posts to looking at this in particular, specifically, at the Google Street level;
this post we will invest our time to look at this from the Google Earth level.
Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses,
[brothers & sisters in Christ who ran before us—see Hebrews 11 for what their race looked like!]
let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.
[We need God’s wisdom to know what to stop doing & what to start doing in following Jesus]
And let us run
[not constantly sit in our couch-groove!]
[finishing well to the end! Not a sprint but a marathon!]
the race marked out for us,
[not the American rat-race but the race the Lord Jesus has marked for us in the Bible;
not just being busy busy busy like Martha but also sitting at Christ’s feet like Mary!]
2 fixing our eyes on Jesus,
[ungluing our eyes from Facebook and seeking His face in His Book!]
the pioneer [author] and perfecter of faith.
[He entered us in His race and He will make sure we finish;
Be brought us to the starting line & will bring us to the finish line!]
For the joy set before him he endured the cross,
scorning its shame,
[there is eternal joy AND earthly hardship in Jesus’ race for us!]
and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God
[The Lord Jesus finished what He started, He ran His race to the end!].
3 Consider him
[don’t quickly glance but quietly gaze at the Lord Jesus–stare at Him each day!]
who endured such opposition from sinners,
[His race was constantly difficult–ours will be too because we will also endure opposition running His race;
there is often no spiritual opposition when we merely run the 21st century suburban American Christian race,
but only when we run the 1st century Biblical race of Christ…]
so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
[become tired and discouraged and drop out of His race]
Oh loved ones, that is a portrait of what it means to be in the Body of Christ,
to be part of a local church family,
through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ…
Here’s another passage to give us that Google Earth view:
Acts 20:18-36 NIV:
“You know how I lived the whole time I was with you
[by God’s grace, my beliefs & words & actions lined up!],
from the first day I came into the province of Asia
[right away I dove in head & heart first following the Lord Jesus!].
19 I served the Lord
with great humility
[I was over my head and overwhelmed but that didn’t stop me!]
and with tears
[I often wept as I followed Jesus into difficult situations—I didn’t play it safe!]
and in the midst of severe testing by the plots of my Jewish opponents
[I faced MANY hard times following the Lord Jesus!].
20 You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you
but have taught you publicly and from house to house
[I also served the Lord Jesus with my words, not just actions!;
also, the hard times didn’t stop or distract me from the mission Jesus gave me;
I had plenty of other things that I could’ve done
but one main mission Jesus commanded me to do:
spread His grace & Truth through my words & actions!].
21 I have declared to both Jews and Greeks
[EVERYONE, even those who didn’t want to hear!]
that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus
[proclaiming the Gospel in words, not just actions,
declaring everyone’s need for repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus alone,
not just affirming that they are great the way they are!].
22 “And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there.
[but I’m still GOING, though I don’t know anything more than the next step;
I’m actively trusting His plan though He doesn’t give me all the details of His plan]
23 I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me
[what He has told me is that I will suffer as I follow Him,
and He will lead me into that suffering,
but the suffering will be for His glory;
God is going to make my life harder before it gets any easier! Praise the LORD!].
24 However, I consider my life worth nothing to me
[it’s not MY life!—it’s HIS!];
my only aim
[Jesus is not a hobby to Paul but his ONLY AIM/GOAL/BUCKET LIST;
Jesus is not one side dish among many in the buffet of life
but our only entree and meal and focus and goal!]
is to finish the race
[like Hebrews 12—not just start the race but FINISH! Break the tape–
sore, hurting, tired, sweaty–but FINISH!]
and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me
[specific mission not general/vague; His dreams not mine;
what He has said is the goal, not what I think the goal should be]—
the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace
[in actions & words proclaiming the Truth of the cross and empty tomb!].
27 For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God
[ALL of the Bible–even what you didn’t want to hear!].
28 Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers.
[We have a responsibility for each other AND for our beliefs, words, actions–
be accountable to each other in grace & Truth!]
Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.
[Don’t just share the same space with other Christians,
run the race with other Christians together & help each other finish
and stay on the narrow race path!]
29 I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock.
[The danger of false beliefs and sinful actions are all around--you will need each other
to encourage, warn AND discipline each other!]
30 Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them.
[What we believe matters; not everyone who believes in God is a Christian—
Oh Holy Spirit transform us from our own opinions to trusting in Your Truth!]
31 So be on your guard!
[Christianity is not a cruise ship but an aircraft carrier, not a vacation but a vocation,
not a holiday but a holy day to broadcast Jesus and rescue people from the fire!]
Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.
[Consistently elevating God and community, not sporadically/when I have time,
to the point that I wept!]
32 “Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace,
[though God gave me a role to play,
all of this is on HIS shoulders–He will build HIS church;
the grace of God through the Word of God is the only way we will make it!]
which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.
[A healthy Christian church is not a maintaining church
but one that is built up in faith and character and holiness!
We don’t just tread water we dive DEEP with Jesus for the pearls of His Kingdom!]
33 I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing. 34 You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. 35 In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”
[May God transform us to work hard to bless & serve each other, to give not to get]
36 When Paul had finished speaking, he knelt down with all of them and prayed.”
[Prayer will be one of the cornerstones of this local church—His house will be a house of prayer!]
These two passages sum up well what it means to
elevate God, elevate community with other Christians, and elevate others (non-Christians).
A friend of mine recently told me that people are often likely to support—to get behind—a movement, a cause, a mission that is bigger than themselves. People want to be part of a movement, a mission, not just hanging out or aimlessly chasing their tails. There is much wisdom in this!
- For example, it’s one thing to encourage people to physically exercise, and it’s one thing to try to encourage people to give money to provide clean water to people around the world (whom they are not likely to ever meet). If we hear of those two goals separately, it is easier to ignore them—we can give people a serious case of the “shoulds,” but that rash is easily ignored with the cream of distraction. Yet, if the two are combined (do something that blesses the LORD, others and yourself at the same time) some people are motivated to go to great lengths to invest time and money to accomplish the bigger goal (i.e. train for and run 26.2 miles and contact others to financially support their running so that others are blessed!). We saw this recently with the runners of Team World Vision. Many want to be part of a movement like that…
- For some, the movement is cleaning up the natural environment;
- For others, it is caring for living creatures;
- For some, it is defeating a sickness/illness/disease or other social problem;
- For others, it is the spread of a platform, belief, or idea;
- For some, it is the promotion of a particular person.
Loved ones, here at Elevate we are blessed to be part of THE Movement of God that involves ALL of these above elements, like many branches on one glorious tree, but w/an eternal perspective! By definition & identity, all Christians are part of this glorious Local & Global Movement of God—glorifying the Trinity by the spread of the Gospel, the Good News—grace & Truth!!!
Yet I must apologize, my friends, for not doing a better job of telling and reminding everyone of the bigger movement we all are involved in here at this local church. It is easy to forget the bigger cause when we by faith receive the Lord Jesus as our Savior and follow Him as our King, and which we all are implicitly volunteering for when we attend here, when we serve here, when we financially give here.
At Elevate, we partner with God as He cleans up the spiritual environment of our minds/hearts, houses, neighborhoods, and communities as we are His salt & light through our beliefs, words & actions! What He does in us spills over to others! The Holy Spirit literally gives off the “fragrance of Jesus Christ” through us in a world of decay and death and decomposition. Through us His people, the LORD pushes back the darkness of sin and falsehood as we shine His light & Truth! Through us His people, the LORD melts the icy hardness of the world as we are His salt, preserving life and slowing down the decay of society as we agree with and live out His Word!
- Matthew 5:13-16: 13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. 14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
- 2 Corinthians 4:1-6: Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. 2 Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. 3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For what we preach is not ourselves [or our “brand” of church—“come & attend this local church because (wink wink) we do church better than those churches”—oh Father forgive us for such arrogance, but let us be humble and seek to do church Your way for Your glory], but Jesus Christ as Lord [not as “genie in a bottle to fulfill our dreams!], and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake [we don’t only tell you about the Lord Jesus (though we do that!), we serve you like the Lord Jesus]. 6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ [so that His light in us will shine in our communities as we spread the specific grace & Truth of the Gospel].
Loved ones, that and nothing less is what happens as we gather here on Sunday mornings, are equipped through the Bible, and then are launched out of the Lord Jesus’ aircraft carrier Elevate to live out Monday—Saturday what we learned on Sunday; more than that, to follow personally the LORD Monday—Saturday, the LORD Who we met with personally on Sunday morning!
- Some people cynically say that they wish that all Christian local churches would disappear, would simply go away. What those people don’t realize is what would happen to a town, city, state, country and the world if that actually were to happen! If Christians were to disappear and stop turning the other cheek, stop sacrificially serving others, stop giving people the earthly good they don’t deserve because the Lord Jesus has given us the eternal Good that we don’t deserve, stop living out the Truth of Scripture and showing that doing life in God’s way leads to blessing for everyone, and stop verbally spreading the Good News that we can be made spiritually alive and forgiven by and adopted by and filled with and transformed by God Himself—oh what would happen if that DID disappear! For all local churches to disappear from society, it would be the spiritual equivalent of people driving on roads all winter with ZERO salt on the ground and ZERO light in the sky (either from the sun, street lights, or cars). It would be utter chaos! Many don’t believe that, but it would be—Jesus says that His people, the Church, we are the light of the world and the salt of the world—the physical world could never survive without literal salt and light, and spiritually the world cannot survive without salt and light as well. There are examples of this in history, societies/countries that had and have literally zero Christians and local churches in them, and it is staggering to see what life is like there.
At Elevate, we partner with God as we care for living creatures—not mammals but human beings made in the image of Almighty God! Instead of primarily focusing on caring for earthly animals that are on the endangered list (though that IS important!), we care for immortal humans made in the image of God who are in danger of eternal separation from God—a much more serious endangered list!
Like the Good Samaritan who bandaged the wounds and cared for the Jewish man beaten by robbers, we Christians lovingly, gently, and boldly point others to the Lord Jesus Who RECEIVED terrible wounds in order to offer forgiveness and new birth and adoption to humans robbed by sin of life and intimate friendship with God Himself!
- Matthew 4:18-20: 18 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 20 At once they left their nets and followed him.
Whether feeding a quarterly meal at the Salvation Army, providing socks & underwear to homeless teens, and being salt & light in our neighborhoods & schools & places of work, that and nothing less is what happens as we gather here on Sunday mornings, are equipped through the Bible, and then are launched out of the Lord Jesus’ aircraft carrier Elevate to live out Monday—Saturday what we learned on Sunday; more than that, to FOLLOW PERSONALLY the LORD Monday—Saturday, the LORD Who we MET WITH PERSONALLY on Sunday morning!
At Elevate, we partner with God as He has defeated and will finally defeat the ultimate social problem—sin and separation from God!
Oh loved ones, Jesus did not come to earth to make bad people good but to make dead people alive! He did not come to improve our manners but to make us entirely new men and women, not to teach us to make some new year’s resolutions but to submit to Him in a new life revolution! Forgiveness of sins and reconciliation with God, not just the improvement of mistakes! The world doesn’t know this! They may not agree but that’s not or job—they must know!
- Mark 10:35: “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
- Luke 5:31-32: “31 Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
- Luke 19:10: “10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
- 2 Corinthians 5:17-6:2: 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. As God’s co-workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. 2 For he says, “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.”
At Elevate, we partner with God not merely for the spread of a platform or idea or philosophy, but the spread of a Person!
- John 17:3: “Now this is eternal life: that they would know You, the One True God, and Jesus Christ, Whom You have sent.”
- 1 John 1:1-4: “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. 2 The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. 3 We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4 We write this to make our joy complete.”
- Acts 4:13: “When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.”
Here are a few of the practical ways this is lived out/seen in this local church building:
- N/A Groups: Three times each and every week within this building, as many as 30 people meet in Narcotics Anonymous groups in this building to encourage and support each other to stay off drugs. Many in these groups might never step foot in a local church anywhere, yet they leave each week practically seeing a local church that cares for them with the love of Jesus Christ by opening up space for them to meet. It is not easy for these groups to find spaces where they can meet, whether in another local church or public building. And through God’s grace and your financial support each week keeping the lights on, this building is a lighthouse for them on the stormy seas of life.
- Cru Bible Study: Each Sunday evening, various college students meet in this building to have Bible studies, to dig into the Bible so that they can be salt and light on the campus of MSU through the ministry of Cru. While there are many local churches in Mankato, it isn’t simple or easy for these students to find a space that will be available to them in a centralized location. Cru has also had numerous leadership retreats and Super Bowl parties over the years in this building. And through God’s grace and your financial support each week keeping the lights on, this building is a lighthouse for them on the stormy seas of life.
- InFaith Conference: Last September, a national ministry called InFaith had their regional conference in this building. The LORD makes a huge impact on the Mankato area through InFaith ministries like Gentle Shepherd and Broken Chains, where senior citizens and those in jail are served and given the opportunities to have Bible studies, to know the Savior Who created them, loves them, and offers them forgiveness and new life through the Cross and empty tomb. At this conference, InFaith volunteers from all over the Midwest gathered to worship the LORD and encourage each other as they are salt and light in Mankato and other Midwest cities. It was not easy for them to find a building in Mankato that would accommodate their needs for this conference, and the people there kept saying what a blessing it was to have their conference here. And through God’s grace and your financial support each week keeping the lights on, this building was a lighthouse for them on the stormy seas of life as they follow Jesus & walk on the waves.
- AHG: For the third year in a row, two Mondays each month, nearly 50 American Heritage Girls and their leaders meet in this building to become women of faith and integrity. They memorize Scripture, raised over $1,000 for the local Salvation Army and over $300 for JesusFood (to feed hungry children around the world), and learn how to organize and lead service projects, among many other things! Though there are many local churches in Mankato, it would not be easy for AHG to find a charter organization and building that would accommodate their needs and provide a centralized location. And through God’s grace and your financial support each week keeping the lights on, this building is a lighthouse and harbor for them on the stormy seas of life.
- Team World Vision: In October, Team World Vision Mankato, through whom God raised nearly $55,000 to provide clean water for life for 1,100 souls in Africa, Team World Vision Mankato had their pre-race dinner here in this building. Many runners were encouraged to continue running the race that Jesus has marked out for them, physically and spiritually! And through God’s grace and your financial support each week keeping the lights on here, this building was a lighthouse and harbor for them on the storms seas of life.
- Small Groups/Bible studies: There have been numerous Bible studies and small groups that have met in this building over the years—people haven’t just learned intellectual facts but transforming Truth from the Bible that grows them closer to the Lord Jesus and equips them for every good work in their spheres of influence at work and in their neighborhoods. And through God’s grace and your financial support each week keeping the lights on here, this building was a lighthouse and harbor for them on the storms seas of life.
- Worship Services: Every Sunday morning, God the Father blesses us to meet in this building to praise Him, to learn from His Word, and to encourage each other as the Body of Christ. Children are growing closer to the Lord Jesus through Sprouts & Upstreet, and once per month many of them are in this room during the Family Services learning to worship God with their parents & siblings. Through God’s grace & your financial support each week keeping the lights on, this building has been and is and will be a lighthouse and harbor for us all on the stormy seas of life.
My friends, hopefully we all know that the Church, the Body of Jesus Christ, is not a physical building of brick and stone and wood. WE His people are the Church, and He is our Head, our King, our Savior, our Shepherd, our Leader, our True Pastor!
But the local church building has a purpose, has a function, and this local church building is no different—it matters. God has blessed this local church building to be here—in what used to be a Moose Lodge and a restaurant/brewery—and to stay here for nearly five years as a Lighthouse of His grace & Truth in Mankato. And He has led each of us here to partner with Him in His Local and Global Movement—the spread of His Gospel, the Good News. That, and nothing less than that, is what happens as we make the choice each week to worship Him here, to learn from His Word here, to serve each other here, to financially invest here.
Loved ones, do you see that by the grace of God so much more is happening when we walk through these doors, when we serve coffee, when we program lights, when we type of lyrics on the screens, when we play music, when we show people to their seats, when we smile & greet people when they enter the building, when we introduce ourselves to someone we don’t know yet, when we change a diaper and help a child focus on the Bible lesson, when we answer questions and pass out donuts, when we listen to sermons and clean the toilets…my point in all this is that we don’t have to go LOOKING for a bigger movement—we are already, by grace through faith in the risen Jesus, part of the biggest movement in the history of history: proclaiming HIS Story…
- I think of the little boy with the five loaves of bread and the two fish. We don’t even know his name (but the Lord Jesus does!). The need was great, overwhelming—5,000 men plus women and children who were hungry. The disciples noticed the need and told the Lord Jesus what to do (wow even when we have good ideas we can still sin arrogantly!)—send them away to solve their problem in their own way. The Lord Jesus told the disciples to feed them. They laughed and said they couldn’t. The little boy stepped up—not with enough to feed everyone but he gave everything he had…but not to the people…that’s what humanism says—we don’t need God we just need each other, if we just work together we can solve our problems. Well that’s not what the Lord Jesus teaches, and that’s not what the little boy did—he gave what he had to Jesus personally, and the Lord Jesus took the boy’s faithful and humble and sacrificial gift and did with it what only the Lord Jesus could do—not just feed thousands of people, but glorify the LORD, spread His fame, His majesty, His power, His identity as not just a carpenter but as the Creator of carpenters and the Creator of the wood they use!
- The little boy wasn’t just participating in an earthly movement of humans (feed people); he was participating in the eternal movement of God (spreading His fame and saving souls). Because of the Lord Jesus’ miracle that day, many realized that He is God, He is the Messiah, He is the promised Savior Who can not only make empty stomachs full but Who can also make dead souls alive again. THAT is what the little boy was participating in with his sacrifice, and that is what WE are blessed by the Lord to participate in with our sacrifices of time, energy, skills and money. We must remember this, loved ones, we must or we will grow weary and lose heart (courage) and drop out of the race that Jesus has marked out for us—we must consider Him Who suffered for us so that we can honor Him and run His race…
Do we have much to learn, much to do to get healthier, much lower to be humbled by God, much self-confidence to lose and much Jesus-confidence to gain in order to truly be “all-in” and all hands on deck of the Lord Jesus’ aircraft carrier Elevate? You bet we do. That is why through Christmas we will be focusing on digging into the Bible to learn what it means to truly “Elevate community”: what is our responsibility to other local Christians? What does it mean to have Biblical fellowship and not just be a religious hang out club, occupying a space together once per week but not knowing each other deeply and being known, like a family that lives in the same house but only co-exists in their separate rooms, staying away from each other as much as possible? How do we have real community, like in the book of Acts, when today nearly all 300,000+ local churches in the United States struggle so much with this (despite our collective financial wealth and all the Christian strategy books)? We have so so much to learn from the Holy Spirit through the Bible…
And we also have so much to learn about Elevating others, what it means to truly love people in the highest way possible by using our words to tell them the Gospel, the Good News of Jesus’ death on the cross and return to life. Very few American Christians/church-attenders do this, this which is our specific mission from the Lord Jesus Himself, this which is quite possibly the scariest thing for most Christians to do, this which is infinitely more difficult than writing a check or sitting in a seat once per week. We have so much to learn to be a truly Biblical local church and not a cultural collection of consumers, to have hearts of cashmere and spines of steel as we consistently and strategically interact with non-Christians.
- Like a huddle in football—it is very important for communication and encouragement and instruction (and sometimes discipline!). The team gathers for a little bit before each play by looking inward towards each other and to the sideline for the play from the Coach. This is key.
- We must avoid the tendency to never huddle together (go deep in Bible reading and prayer together). We must be aware of our tendency to “just get busy” serving others without being equipped together by God’s Word to do those important good works! (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
- But the team must not stay forever in the huddle looking inward (if they do they actually get a penalty which moves them FARTHER from their goal of getting in the endzone!). They must eventually carry out the Coach’s play, working together and working out what they have learned from the playbook and in practice, they must go out in the face of much opposition to run the Coach’s specifically designed play.
We must avoid the extremes of only huddling and never huddling together.
I don’t have all this figured out myself, but by God’s grace I do know that
- our job as a team and family is to huddle together by digging into the Father’s Book and relying on the Holy Spirit in prayer together;
- then our job as a team and family is to go out together and run the Father’s plays in the spheres of influence where He has strategically placed us, the positions on His team, so to speak.
- We are then to do both of these things together again and again, rinse and repeat, until the Coach calls us into retirement in the permanent offseason of heaven, where the Victory/Championship celebration of our Quarterback and Captain Jesus never ends!
This is exactly what this local church is about, and this is what we will be focusing on specifically for the rest of 2016 and all of 2017—continuing to Elevate God and know Him deeply through the Bible and the Holy Spirit as we learn to Elevate real Christian community and Elevate non-Christians by telling them the Gospel through our words and actions of grace and Truth.
THAT is our movement, and boy oh boy do we need everyone here and others to play their roles, their positions, as assigned by the Coach Who has recruited all of us as walk-ons, not deserving a place on the team by performance but being offered a place on His team by grace…
Philippians 1:3-6 NIV:
3 I thank my God every time I remember you.
4 In all my prayers for all of you,
I always pray with joy
5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now,
6 being confident of this,
that he who began a good work in you
will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Christianity is a partnership—in the Gospel!—with the LORD and with each other,
a partnership, a team, a family, working together in different roles for a specific goal,
neither just good deeds in general or hanging out shallowly with like-minded people,
but spreading the fame of Christ and declaring His grace & Truth in particular,
a partnership that is meant to last to the end of our earthly lives and then on for eternity!
And that is the hope of this post:
A. That those who are committed & have been committed would continue that partnership;
- Consistent attending
- Faithful serving
- Sacrificial financial giving
- Passionate praying
B. That those who are not yet committed would do so, would move from attending to participating, would commit to partnering “all-in” with the Holy Spirit & the rest of us in what God is doing in and through this local church, partnering with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as He builds His Church so that not even the very gates of hell could overcome us.
C. That we would prayerfully invite others to be part of what God is doing here,
others whom God is preparing for our invitation (though they don’t realize it!).
That is what this local church is all about, the Gospel—the local & global movement of God:
- Glorifying the Trinity—spreading His fame;
- Telling others in gentleness, respect & boldness about the grace & Truth of Jesus Christ.