Sunday, May 17, 2015

A Vision for the Future

Now only two weeks away.
Grey misty morning, but no dampened spirits here as we gather to worship with the people of the Word. Brad smiles while tuning his guitar as he gets ready to welcome us. "Hey, good morning!" Then he reminds us that this is one of the last two services in this building as we prepare to move across the street.

Next week worship will be at 9:30 a.m.
In two weeks we will begin worshiping in our new facility. This is a transition period and we would benefit from those who can help carry things across the way to the new building.
Next week is the last week that we will be collecting shiny paper. We have successfully raised the $7500 needed to send our kids to CHIC.  
VBS is coming quickly and we still need volunteers to sign up for our various needs.

Brad stated he would be talking about the way forward today. Even though the candidates are already coming forward for the 2016 election, the purposes of God will not be advanced or thwarted by whoever is elected. God has a plan that transcends the plans and politics of man.

After leading us in a number of hymns and songs Brad led us in a time of prayer.

A Vision for the Future

Pastor Brad opened by asking how many of us remember the three words that make up our mission statement. This would be the object of our discussion today. The three words are: Connect, Grow and Become.

Community, not isolation. A community that is not just assenting to intellectual truth, We want to become the incarnation of Jesus here in this community.

Brad cited The Screwtape Letters (Great book, worth reading) about a demon and his underling in a dialogue on how to keep an individual from become a fully committed and growing Christian.

Jesus said, "I will build My church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." The second half of this, unspoken, is that hell may not prevail but it will certainly try to derail us.

The evil one will whisper in your ear many lies, primarily to get us to just accept our boundaries, our limitations and don't expect too much because it will just disappoint you.

The Bible is full of stories about people who walked with God, who experienced God's presence even when in Eqypt and the Wilderness. The idea of being connected to God is available to anyone and everyone. That is why His name is Emmanuel, "God with us."

Jesus said, "I am the vine and you are the branches." We're connected to Him. It's all about being connected to Him.

The evil one says, "You can't do that."

The biggest way the evil one gets to us is when we get used to living as if He isn't there, taking God for granted.

What God wants for us to experience are rivers of living water rushing through our souls. All too often we're content with a trickle. Yet Jesus says the Spirit of God is available to us without limit, without measure. Anyone can come to Jesus, can be connected to Jesus, and can experience those rivers of living water.

Isaiah 26:3 says "You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you." Another translation of this verse states, "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee."

This is the path to life, being connected to God, our thoughts reaching out to Him continually. Brad stated that more than anything he wants God to cleanse us and free us and give us this kind of life.

The second word is Grow. The enemy is out to trip us up on this one, too. "A little gossip never hurt anyone. Being judgmental is OK," the enemy says, "because they deserve it anyways and you can see that so clearly." Mercy is the ruling principle in the Kingdom of God.

What God aches for us is to do is to get beyond just being "fine" and unruffled, but to actually go deeper, get out of our comfort zones. Becoming who we're meant to be may include some messy moments. It's easy to play it safe, but Jesus didn't play it safe and he expects the same from His followers.

Becoming is not some kind of "strategy." If we walk with God and stay connected to God, we will experience His power and become what He wants us to become. Trying to change the world is not changed by our trying to change the world, but by we ourselves connecting to God and thereby discovering our supernatural influence. People who walk with God change the world.

"May Heaven bestow its best blessings on this house and all who inhabit it," is a prayer someone once hung in the White House.

And as Jesus taught: Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.

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