Archive | April 2012

C.O.R.E.–O is For Outreach: It’s All About Them

Core-Values_edited-1

The C.O.R.E. of Who we Are

(This is Part II in the series of messages based on the CORE Values of LWCC)

What is “The C.O.R.E.?”  Simply put: this is what I believe to be some of the non-negotiable make-up of the church and the life of a Christ-Follower.  There are far too many churches and people who have allowed a variety of things to rip them from the basics of the faith and today they find themselves confused about their identity and purpose.  It’s my prayer and hope that by sharing this series of messages we’ll be clear on who we are and what we’re to be focused on.  Through that understanding we will not be swayed by other good things to forsake the best thing in following Jesus Christ.

The Core Values of Living Waters Community Church:

  • C – Christ: It’s All About Him
  • O – Outreach: It’s All About Them
  • R – Relationships: It’s All About Us
  • E – Equipping: It’s All About Me

Over the next few weeks we’ll be unpacking this in greater detail to discover what it means for our church fellowship and what it means for each individual believer.  Today we continue by taking a look at the clear assignment given to us by the Lord Jesus, to Go and reach the world..

O IS FOR OUTREACH: IT’S ALL ABOUT THEM

Matthew 28:16-20

16 The 11 disciples traveled to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had directed them. 17 When they saw Him, they worshiped, but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.

19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
20 teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

For our purposes today we have three critical things to consider:

First: let’s consider this an ASSIGNMENT.

  • · What is an assignment?
  • · When do we normally hear that term?
  • · What is expected when an assignment is given?
    • o That it will get done.
    • o That it will get done according to instructions.

Now, Consider how Israel had BLOWN their ASSIGNMENT.

Genesis 12:3 (HCSB)
3 I will bless those who bless you, I will curse those who treat you with contempt, and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you.

Psalm 67:1-2 (HCSB)
1 May God be gracious to us and bless us; look on us with favor Selah
2 so that Your way may be known on earth, Your salvation among all nations.

Psalm 96:1-1-3, 10
1 Sing a new song to the Lord; sing to the Lord, all the earth.
2 Sing to the Lord, praise His name; proclaim His salvation from day to day.
3 Declare His glory among the nations, His wonderful works among all peoples.
10 Say among the nations: “The Lord reigns. The world is firmly established; it cannot be shaken. He judges the peoples fairly.”

Isaiah 49:6 (HCSB)
6 He says, “It is not enough for you to be My servant raising up the tribes of Jacob and restoring the protected ones of Israel. I will also make you a light for the nations, to be My salvation to the ends of the earth.

We can see from these Old Testament passages that God’s intention has always been to be revealed to the world through His people.  In the beginning He desired that the Hebrew people would live and proclaim Him to the people around them…unfortunately they failed in this assignment.  In fact, by the time of Jesus’ birth, we see instead that the world around them influenced and infiltrated them.

So, now this assignment is given by the Lord Jesus to the Church—His people.  More specifically, His Body.  We cannot afford to fail at this, and it requires that each person grasp and understand the assignment and be engaged in it.  So, let’s pick it apart a little today.

I. THE WEIGHT OF THE ASSIGNMENT (Authority)

Remember: It’s All about Him:

  • · SAVIOR: What He Did for us who have believed. [Review Propitiation]
  • · LORD: Who He Is to us and what we do in obedience.
    • · Notice He doesn’t Say:
      • o If you feel like going…
      • o If it’s convenient to go…
      • o If it’s in your comfort zone, go…
      • o If…anything
    • · He simply says…GO…The Lord has the right to expect obedience

II. THE WORK OF THE ASSIGNMENT (Activity)

“Make Disciples.” – Turn people who don’t know Jesus into people who do.

  • · Why? Does is matter if we do this?
  • · Who was it that did this for me?
  • · Who can we think of right now to “Go” with?
  • What Keeps us From Going AND Making Disciples?
    • · Fear
    • · Comfort
    • · Uncertainty

III. THE WORLD OF THE ASSIGNMENT (Scope)

“Every Nation”

Every nation, the world, begins at the end of your big toe.  From that point forward everything is the world to which Christ has called you to go.  So, what’s at the end of your big toe today?

IV. THE WAY OF THE ASSIGNMENT (Parts)

Teachers use a device called a RUBRIC to define for students what is expected in particular assignments.  It lets the student know what the teacher is looking for and how the assignment will be assessed.  The Great Commission gives us a similar breakdown of what is expected:

  • Going
    • Gotta Get Up and Get Out
  • Baptizing
    • It’s really about introducing people to YOUR Lord and Savior
  • Teaching
    • Once Reached they Must be Teached (Taught)
  • Empowered by His Presence (v. 20 and Acts 1.8)
    • “I am with you always…even to the end of the age.”  (v.20)
    • “But you will receive POWER when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be My WITNESSES in JERUSALEM, in all JUDEA and SAMARIA, and TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH.”  (Acts 1.8)

So…

Your mission should you choose to accept it… (and remember that if Jesus is Lord of your life then obedience to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords compels you to accept this assignment.)

Go to the World…and the world starts right where your big toe ends.

Share the Truth…who Jesus is and what He means to you and how He can make a difference for them.

Teach the Reached…Help believers grow and develop as engaged members in the body of Christ.

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C.O.R.E.–C is For Christ: It’s All About Him

Core-Values_edited-1

The C.O.R.E. of Who we Are

  What is “The C.O.R.E.?”  Simply put: this is what I believe to be some of the non-negotiable make-up of the church and the life of a Christ-Follower.  There are far too many churches and people who have allowed a variety of things to rip them from the basics of the faith and today they find themselves confused about their identity and purpose.  It’s my prayer and hope that by sharing this series of messages we’ll be clear on who we are and what we’re to be focused on.  Through that understanding we will not be swayed by other good things to forsake the best thing in following Jesus Christ.

The Core Values of Living Waters Community Church:

C – Christ: It’s All About Him

O – Outreach: It’s All About Them

R – Relationships: It’s All About Us

E – Equipping: It’s All About Me

Over the next few weeks we’ll be unpacking this in greater detail to discover what it means for our church fellowship and what it means for each individual believer.  We start with the central focus of everything for the believer and the church, Jesus Christ.

C – Christ: It’s All About Him

Matthew 28:16-20
16 The 11 disciples traveled to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had directed them. 17 When they saw Him, they worshiped, but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came near and said to them, “ALL AUTHORITY HAS BEEN GIVEN TO ME IN HEAVEN AND ON EARTH. 19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

…All Authority – Why we need to Listen to the Lord

Jesus Christ…The Basics

  • · The Eternity of Christ (John 1.1-14)
  • · The Humanity of Christ (Hebrews 4.14-16)
  • · The Deity of Christ (Philippians 2.5-11)
  • · The Narrative of Christ (Various)
    • Birth
    • Death
    • Resurrection

Jesus Christ…Who is He To You and Me?

  • · Savior
    • Sacrificial Death
    • Intercession
    • The PROPITIATION…Whatever the Heck that is (1 John 2.2)
      • Picture yourself in the path of a speeding locomotive with your foot stuck in the rail-road tracks and no chance of escape.  You see the train coming, here the horn blowing, feel the vibration as it approaches.  You have no hope—there’s no way you can survive this.  suddenly someone appears and steps between you and the train.  The train doesn’t stop, the full force and fury of the locomotive is absorbed by this stranger.  He is destroyed, but through that act of sacrifice you are spared. 
      • This is what it means to say that Jesus is the “propitiation” for us.  He stood in between humanity and God’s full wrath against sin and absorbed all the force and fury of that wrath on Himself.  Why do I say that it’s all about Him?  Because without Him I would have nothing.  No hope…no life…no joy…nothing.  For me, and for those who are followers of Christ, Jesus is the Central Core of who we are and what we do.

 

  • · Lord
    • Master
    • Majesty

Jesus Christ…What will it Mean Tomorrow?

If you recognize that the Lord Jesus Christ is the central focus for your life, it will change how you live.  Perhaps for some the change will be subtle, but there will be a change regardless, because you begin living with Him in the center of everything about you.  Where you go, what you say, and what you feel.  In addition, there are things that are found in Christ that can be found no where else:

  • · Hope
  • · Strength
  • · Future
  • · Life

Invitation

  • You Need Jesus to be Saved
  • You Need Jesus for Daily Living
  • You Need Jesus in Your Connections

Can’t Wait to See and Hear What He Has to Say to Me

Can’t Wait to See What He Has to Say: Cultivating Expectancy, Anticipation, and Eagerness toward God’s Word.

Recently one of our friends commented on a time when she had signed up with a Christian dating site on the internet. Soon she had developed a connection with one of the men on the site. She shared of the excitement that she had and the anticipation every morning of looking forward to seeing his picture pop up on her screen and reading what he had written to her. First thing in the morning and last thing at night she would check the site to see if there was a message from him.

She came to realize through that time and experience that her excitement and anticipation should be the same—or more so—for seeing the Lord every morning and reading His message to her.

Psalm 119:97
97 How I love Your teaching! It is my meditation all day long.

How do you cultivate and continue in that sort of passion for God’s Word? How do you keep a passion that causes you to long for His presence and to be eager to read His message. It is something that you have to focus on and put your mind and body to do every day. It’s something that can become a good habit, much like plugging in your cell phone to the charger. You know that you need to do that on a regular basis or it won’t be charged when you need it. Without spending time with God in His Word regularly you won’t have what you need when the time comes.

So do it. Look forward to it. Come with anticipation and expectation to the Word of God. Long to see and hear from Him each day, and discover a whole new level of life and love in your world.

The Lesson of the Toy Box

THE LESSON OF THE TOY BOX

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We got to spend this past weekend with my granddaughter, Amaria (AKA Twink). She’s a lot of fun, even though she decided that she should not let her papa sleep on the Saturday night before Easter Sunday church. Admittedly, that part was a challenge, but that wasn’t the worst part. Let me tell you what really bothered me.

Amaria is one now, and as with most children her age she is into everything. By the time it was time for her to go home with her parents she had practically turned our living room upside down. Toys were strewn everywhere and there was barely a bare spot on the floor to put my foot on. So, as it was getting near time for her to depart I said, “Amaria, clean up this mess.” Amazingly she didn’t even seem to pay attention to me, so I repeated myself a little louder. At least that time she looked at me for a moment, but went right on playing and messing things up. So, a third time I repeated myself, only this time with great sternness. She stopped and looked at me puzzled as though waiting for something else to be said or done. Then, believe it or not, she went right on playing and making even more of a mess as if I weren’t even there.

She didn’t clean up. She didn’t even try to clean up. In fact after she left I was the one stuck cleaning up her mess. Fact is, at one year old she doesn’t have any idea what clean up time means, nor is she able to do it herself. I had the toy box ready, I had modeled the process for her, but whatever I put in the box she immediately removed. She is incredibly effective at making a mess, but totally incapable of cleaning.

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In all honesty, I didn’t expect her to, and I really didn’t speak sternly to her—that would have been pointless and pretty silly.  Plus, I’d never be able to keep a straight face anyway.

This experience does, however, lend itself to a teachable moment for those of us who are older than the toddlers. I think that “The Lesson of the Toy Box” is the lesson of the cross. Humanity has made an awful mess of things. We have strewn our sin and our lives all over the place. As God looks down at the chaos sin has created I picture Him seeing it as I did my living room—a big mess. This time, however, it’s not plastic toys and wooden blocks, but lives and relationships that are shattered in the rubble of bad choices dumped from the “toy boxes” of our existence.

God could stand as a stern parent and demand that we pick up and clean up the mess we have made. After all, it’s not His mess, it’s ours. It certainly wasn’t fair that I had to pick up Twink’s mess, she is the one who destroyed the room. Anyone feeling sympathetic for me yet? Perhaps this will help you feel a little more sorry for me:

  1. It was painful for me to get down on the floor and clean that up because I’ve had some knee trouble for several weeks.
  2. It was difficult because she had made a really big mess.
  3. I had other things I would have rather been doing…like getting to bed because I was exhausted.
  4. And I—like Ralph from the Honeymooners—I am, after all, the king of this castle and I shouldn’t have to be picking up toys.

Guess what, however. This is the story behind the cross. A big mess that God knew we could not clean up on our own. Instead of demanding in futility that we straighten it up He did something unthinkable, and far more profound then my kneeling down to pick up those toys. He took the totality of the mess of humanity and put it on like a filthy soiled garment and with it was nailed to the cross at Calvary.

  • · Because of our choices a crown of thorns was shoved on his head.
  • · Because of our mess nails were driven into His hands and feet.
  • · Because of our rebellion and sin Jesus Christ died on the cross.

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Read about how the prophet Isaiah described this centuries before the event at Calvary:

Isaiah 53.3-8
3 He was despised and rejected by men, a man of suffering who knew what sickness was. He was like one people turned away from; He was despised, and we didn’t value Him. 4 Yet He Himself bore our sicknesses, and He carried our pains; but we in turn regarded Him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted. 5 But He was pierced because of our transgressions, crushed because of our iniquities; punishment for our peace was on Him, and we are healed by His wounds.

6 We all went astray like sheep; we all have turned to our own way; and the Lord has punished Him for the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth. Like a lamb led to the slaughter and like a sheep silent before her shearers, He did not open His mouth.
8 He was taken away because of oppression and judgment; and who considered His fate? For He was cut off from the land of the living; He was struck because of My people’s rebellion.

Twink’s mess seems a whole lot less significant to me all of the sudden. Now I am vividly aware of my own mess and the price that Jesus Christ paid for me. There is no comparison…not even close.

  • · I spent a few minutes cleaning up some toys.
    • · Jesus was crushed for hours beneath the weight of my sin.
  • · I put the lid on the toy box and went to bed
    • · Jesus was pierced and laid in a tomb.

Oh, and one more thing that I need to point out:

  • · My wife really appreciated that I cleaned up the mess
    • · Most people ignore or reject the sacrifice Jesus made for them

I know it’s just a messy floor and a simple toy box to some, but thinking about it has drawn my heart and attention once more to that cross on a hill where I am reminded that…[my paraphrase of Romans 5.8].

  • God demonstrated His love for me
  • In that while I was still making a mess of things
  • Jesus Christ was willing to die
  • so that my mess could be cleaned up

Question: Why not bring your mess, whatever it is, to Him?