Summary: What is the food that our soul craves? That will reward, feed and satify us? It is ’doing the Father’s will’. It is seeing others find faith in Jesus.
"I have food that you know nothing about"
You know- the Gracious Father loves us, accepts us, wants us
- and one thing is necessary: that we let this in and have it
But His love doesn’t end there. Neither does His plan. It goes beyoned that… us… is greater than that. Is world-encompassing
- it extends to OTHERS as well.
- And understanding this is key…. food
I’m doing this MA at the moment -
- much of it is superb
- occasionally you get this: "The problem must be the church. If we can get the church structure right… press the right button… we will arrest the decline in our nation"
I fear it’s far more complex than that. The problem is FAR deeper in our culture and churches. It’s not primarily ’model’ dependent
- there are parts of the world where ANY model works!
I think the problem is in our CULTURE- in that people might be hungry for spiritual experiences
- but it doesn’t enter their MINDS that Jesus might be the answer to that hunger… the bread of life
o and in Him spiritual experiences, life and reality are found
" * we want to show them where The Food is.
And the problem is in CHRISTIANS, too
- we’ve forgotten where the Food is.
- We’ve forgotten what our call is… our raison d’etre… what God has made us to be and do… what will satisfy US
o And so, many Christians are, basically, quite frustrated
Jesus said "I have food that you know nothing about"
- uh!? What? Could somebody have brought Him food?
- In one sense we can be as misguided as someone unregenerate- the Samaritan woman: "give me some of this so I won’t keep getting thirsty… and have to keep coming here"
- WE can miss the truth of what will satisfy… feed US
And so we become restless. Seeking more blessing. Seeking this healing. That revival.
- we become frustrated: because when it doesn’t happen… somebody must have done something wrong. Particularly the pastor/minister
The truth is: he/she hasn’t done anything wrong. Church structure/tradition is not the answer
- church emphasis is!
- You/we just need to know where real food is to be found. The real food for your souls.
Jesus said "My food is to do the will of Him who sent me… and to finish His work"
- His food was to see people coming through to faith in Him
That’s our food!
I am convinced that the only thing that satisfies and keeps Christians ’high’ for the LONG haul: is seeing lives changed and people saved
- it’s the ONLY thing
- and it’s not surprising as it’s our call… genetic code:
- "Go, and make disciples of people groups and surely I AM with you…" Mt 28:19
o when you don’t live up to your call, genetic code- you’re not going to feel ’fed’- as churches, individuals
o and maybe, in Mt 28:19, is this promise; "GO… and I will be with you"
" so- if you want more of God’s presence- maybe you have to step out and ’go’ in this area
Christianity and church just doesn’t work in maintenance mode:
- it was made for Mission!
It wasn’t made for the sofa… or the church even… but for the LOST!
- and our lives and churches will change when the stories of the newly saved are told in them. It will transform them and you
- until then, it just becomes increasingly about ’me’, my needs, insular, incestuous almost
It was made for living and sharing. We’re like the dead sea (all plugged up) rather than the sea of Galilee with fresh inlet and outlet
To quote one of my heroes: "the meat is on the street"
The challenge for the church now is to stop thinking merely about methods to reverse decline but to reconsider the basic purpose and call of the church. To return to mission as the core raison d’etre of the church will inevitably mean that the shape of the church will change.
Invading secular space. Martin Robinson and Dwight Smith, p56
"But I’m not an evangelist", you say
- you don’t have to be. Each person just has to play THEIR role
o we can all be ’witnesses’ - not necc evangelists
o And I want to say- the fruit comes from those who witness through life and relationship!
o and one person sows, another reaps… and together we win the lost and change the church (and ourselves!)
I’ll tell you who does evangelism in our church!
- it’s those who cook on for Alpha. Go upstairs and pray while we gas
- those who look after the kids so parents can come.