Summary: From the moment this church came to be, the people were fired up. They were exhibiting the critical characteristics of a healthy church. They were doing church the way Christ intended it to be done. The church was alive.
Church The Way It Ought To Be
Preached By Pastor Tony Miano
Pico Canyon Community Church
October 22, 2000
Grand Opening Service
Introduction: This truly is a day for celebration. Those of us who make up the Pico Canyon team has been looking forward to this day for two years. The thought of planting a church in the Stevenson Ranch/Valencia area goes back as far as November of 1997. That’s when I met Pastor Dave DeVries of Lake Hills Community Church.
I met with Dave one afternoon in November of that year to find out more information about his church. Like many of you who are here today, my family and I were looking for a new church home. By the time our conversation was over, I was convinced that we would probably end up calling Lake Hills home. But it wasn’t until I was about half way home that I realized that Dave had me seriously considering leaving my career in law enforcement and planting a church in this area.
It wasn’t be long before I learned that before you share an idea with Dave DeVries, you better be sure you’re willing and able to carry it out, because by the time the conversation is over, you will find yourself on a mission of some kind. Have you ever found yourself resenting someone for pushing you into doing something? The neat thing about working with Dave is that you usually find yourself thanking him for pushing you into doing something. I know that has been the case for me.
Well, I’m not going to spend all morning telling you about how we got here, how this new church came together. If you want more of those details, you’re just going to have to hang out with us for more than a Sunday and spend some time getting to know us.
There are so many people to thank--so many people who have been instrumental in helping us get to this point in the life of our church. If I were to take the time this morning to recognize the people who have helped us in the planting of this church, there would be no time for anything else, and we still wouldn’t have the time to thank everyone during one service.
So if you’re here this morning and you have helped us in any way--thank you very much. I’ve put together a list of people I want to thank and you’ll find it in your worship folder. If you’re here this morning and you’ve participated with us and you don’t see your name in the worship folder, please excuse the oversight. Come up to me after church and I will make sure to thank you personally.
Not only do we want to thank those who have helped us plant the church, but we also want to thank each of you who are with us today that we’ve yet to meet. Some of you may be in church for the first time in years, or ever, for that matter. We hope that some of you fit into those categories. Whether you’re long-time friends, who are here to celebrate with us, or you’re looking for a church home, or you’re just curious about a church that would meet in a clubhouse; I’m glad you’re here.
Now, although this is our grand opening Sunday, we’ve been meeting here for church for the last three weeks. We called it our preview phase. It was an opportunity for us to get together for worship and see what church was going to look like. It gave us an opportunity to find out how long it would take to set up the church, whether or not the sound system works, if we had enough supplies for the children’s ministry, and the list goes on.
During the last three weeks, we looked at a small church plant from two thousand years ago--a church that was planted by the apostle Paul in the Greek city of Thessalonica. This small church served as an example then, and still does today, for what a healthy church looks like.
This being the first Sunday in which our doors are open to the entire community, I thought it would be appropriate for us to spend some time looking at the characteristics of the first Christian church. Like the church in Thessalonica, this first church was also a healthy church. It served as a model to other churches then, and it continues to serve as a positive role model for churches in the twenty-first century. And we find the story of this early church in the New Testament Book of Acts.
One of the things we want to bring to the community is the simple fact that God’s Word, the Bible, is very practical and relevant--even in today’s constantly changing society. To us, the Bible is more than just an interesting book from antiquity. It is a living and active document. It is reliable and trustworthy. It’s not meant to be thumped. It’s not meant to be misquoted for personal gain.