Summary: In part 2 of a message on Mark 1:16-18 Pastor Jonathan talks about the mission statement of Thomas Road Baptist Church, specifically the fourth value: connection with community.
Lord, today we thank you that you are all we need. We thank you that in the midst of our brokenness and heartache, in the midst of the challenges we all face, we stand here humbled by your grace and your love and your mercy. We don’t deserve it, God, but you give it, and you give it freely and continually and no matter what. We thank you for that.
I pray as we open your Word that you would speak into all of our lives and all of our hearts, because all of us are broken, even this pastor who stands before this crowd today. Lord, I’m broken, and there are hurts and pains that I experience just like everyone else in this room. God, I pray that you will speak to us. Speak your peace, your joy, your love, your comfort, your encouragement to every one of us today so that we will be truly changed, truly transformed, and truly living out and believing that you are all that we need. God, do that in our lives today. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.
Last week we looked in Mark 1, verses 16 and following, and we found a pretty important passage about what it means to be a follower of Christ. As you know, this last couple of weeks have been kind of back to school for many of us. People are going back, getting back into the fall/school mode and all of the class work and assignments and sleeping in class and late homework and all those things that go along with school, so I thought that last week and today and maybe next week we, as a church, could go back to school to revisit, to be reminded, to rehearse what it means to be a follower of Christ, and in Mark 1 we get probably the clearest picture of what that means in all of Scripture.
In Mark 1, as Jesus walked by the shore that day, He looked at Simon and Andrew and said, “Follow me,” as they were about to go out and do what they did every single day. He said, “Follow me,” and immediately they dropped it all, they turned their backs on everything they’d known before, and they followed after, they ran after Christ. And we talked last week about our mission statement here at Thomas Road that goes right along with that passage. Our mission statement says, “To change our world by developing Christ-followers who love God and who love people.”
Whether you are a part of your church or not, those are great statements that you can apply in your lives. In fact, that mission statement is not something that I came up with on my own or got together with our team to figure out what our mission statement ought to be. Those words come directly from the words of Christ. You remember in the Gospels Jesus said, “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel,” that’s to change the world. He told us to make disciples or Christ-followers of all the nations. He also said, when asked what’s the most important thing that you can do, the most important commandment, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and to love your neighbors as yourself.” That mission statement comes directly from the heart of God to each and every one of us.
Can you imagine what would happen if people who claim the name of Christ, not only in this church but literally around the world, would adopt that mission statement into their own lives? That in everything they did, in the way they treated other people and the way they acted toward others and the way they did their work and the way they showed up at the workplace and the way that they responded to their neighbors or to people in need in their communities, if in everything they did, they went about it with a passion to change the world by being Christ-followers who just love God with all of our hearts and love everybody else as we love ourselves? It would change the world. I know it would change this church if that is what we would all do.
So last week we talked about what it means to follow Christ. We pointed out some statements in that passage that really apply and help us to understand what it means to follow Christ. Now here at Thomas Road, what we do is we take that statement and we, through six values that we hold dear at this church, it’s how we carry it out; it’s how we live it out each and every day. And I just want to share those six values with you today because they can also be applied in your life, whether you are part of this church or not.