Summary: First in a series of four messages on our church’s vision statement; this deals with our vision to "develop authentic, passionate Christians"; using Luke 10:38-42 and John 12:1-8, passages about Mary, I draw lessons from her passion to know Christ and wor
Our Vision: Choosing the Best
The story of the basset hound appeared in Tacoma, Washington newspaper. The dog’s name was Tattoo. The reporter wrote, “Tattoo didn’t plan on going for a run that evening, but when his owner accidentally shut the poor dog’s leash in the car door and drove away from home, Tattoo had little choice.” Now, thankfully when he started driving, a policeman saw the poor dog’s dilemma and pulled the car over. The cop had one interesting observation -- he said, “That basset hound was picking up his feet and putting them down [just] as fast as he could.” Amazingly, his short legs got him up to 25 miles an hour in spite of being rolled several times!
When you think about life as a Christian, you may feel like Tattoo -- like something’s got hold of your leash and you’ll never get free. You might even think that to be a “good Christian” is really just a thing of “run or get run over”.
When you hear a word like “passion” those thoughts may really flow -- the word might make you make you think of the “super saints“ like the apostle Paul or John Wesley…Moody or Billy Graham, or some godly missionary you met once. We certainly hear words like passion used that way! They remind us of something we ought to be, could be, but it’ll probably never happen.
I want to encourage you. The last thing God wants in your life is that out of guilt, you will try to look and smell like some ancient Bible or modern spiritual hero. I say that because the NT describes people who were passionate about Jesus Christ but didn’t fit into a specific mold and certainly weren’t perfect saints. So stay tuned!
We’re going to spend four Sundays thinking about our church’s vision. Most of you know, Trinity leadership gave the last two years to seek God before coming to the brief statement you see on your bulletin every week. We prayed and spent time in the New Testament. We read and re-read Christ’s plan and purpose for His Church. We looked at Trinity’s history -- at what the founders and people since believed was God’s call on them for this part of Lincoln. We studied the community where God has put us. That sentence on your bulletin is a greatly summarized version of all God gave us as we prayed and studied, discussed and thought together. But it is our vision to grow a body of authentic, passionate Christians intent on loving and impacting Lincoln with Christ’s gospel.
Think about that statement for a while and you‘ll conclude there‘s nothing simple in it. Three ministry areas stand behind the vision statement -- and those three will get much prayer and time and action over the next few years. The first is what we’re considering today and next time: spiritual passion -- it’s to “develop a Christ-centered dynamic“. The second is “building reproductive leaders“. The third has to do with trusting God to send us through the open doors He’s preparing for us out in our community.
So, “Develop authentic, passionate Christians“. Can we grow into authentic, passionate Christians? Is it biblical to develop as spiritually passionate people? Today and next week, I want to answer that question in the affirmative. We’ll think about two individuals in the NT who are portraits of passion. They’re sharply different from each other. Today we look at Mary, the sister of Lazarus and Martha. Next time we’ll look at Christ’s work in Peter, the big fisherman who was one of His first followers.
These two are good to look at for a significant reason: they’re ordinary people. They don’t resemble the “super saints” that come to mind when someone says the word passion. And of course, we need to lay that issue to rest -- because we often labor under the misconception that passion is for special people -- mystics, monks -- the “special forces” kind of Christians! And, the rest of us ordinary people just live out a second class Christianity!
I pray God’s Word will expose that notion for what it is here and in the adult SS class on passion. That’s because God’s love, God’s grace and His Spirit’s Presence are provided to every child of His without limit!
See, God intends for every last one of us believers to be filled and empowered with an urgency, and desire and -- yes -- even a deep love for Christ and His purposes. That’s what passion is -- Webster defines it like this: Passion is a strong, extravagant fondness, enthusiasm or desire for something or someone. Then in the NT, it seems to me Passion for Jesus Christ: is much the same. It is a desire, love and enthusiasm for Him which rearranges the rest of your life.