Summary: Identify those I want to reach for Christ
Theme: Spring Life—evangelism
Purpose: Identify those I want to reach—and develop the “want to”
What do you tend to notice when you’re out and around? What kinds of things naturally catch your eye? Based on our gender, our likes/dislikes, our personalities, our natural inclinations, we all tend to notice particular things. I always see the new construction around town and I watch with interest as new buildings go up or the roads are rebuilt. It’s the same with cars for me. I always notice the new models that roll out, the new ones that hit the lot. If you drive around metro Detroit any, sometimes you will see a car with blacked out parts on it, sort of hiding the new styling that is coming out. These are the things I notice.
Most of us have had the experience of buying a new car (at least new to us) and all of a sudden we see the same car we just bought, everywhere! Before we bought it, we thought they were kind of rare, but afterwards, we see it constantly. It’s not necessarily that everyone bought the same car we did over night, it’s just that our perception is piqued. We weren’t looking for that kind of car, so we didn’t see it very often. Some of you ladies notice a new blouse or dress on one of your friends at 50 paces. You can tell a new hairstyle with radar. My wife will come home and I will say, I thought you were going to get your hair cut, and she’ll say, but I did! What we notice is different for each of us.
But when it comes to people who don’t yet know Christ, we are often like the Pharisee in the parable that Jesus told. The Pharisee, one who followed all the religious rules and regulations prayed expansively in the temple courts, “Lord, thank you that I am not a sinner like that tax collector over there.” The tax collector on the other hand, standing outside in the court of the Gentiles, prayed with humility for his sins. Jesus said, whose prayers do you suppose God really heard? The answer of course is the tax collector with a heart of repentance.
We do indeed notice lost people around us, but too often, we are unmoved by it. Often, we would rather curse the darkness than reach it. This month marks a new season in the history of our church. Your staff and leadership team, after spending time before the Lord, have heard the Spirit telling us that we must be a church that values prayer and obedience. We must value lost people and do what it takes to reach them. It is a fundamental shift in our thinking, planning, programming, our budgeting and all the rest. So we are going to spend this time before Easter talking about what it will mean to do a better job reaching the lost people around us, in our families, in our neighborhoods. We are going to give you some practical tools in Sunday School and talk about what it means to be believers who reproduce other believers.
And church, you need to realize that this is not just a one time program. Yes SpringLife posters will come down after a while, but the values of prayer, obedience and reaching lost people are ones that we want to become such an integral part of who we are, that outsiders who look at our church will say, oh I know North Lakeport Wesleyan. They are the ones who pray and reach lost people for Jesus. It is an exciting time to be a part of the body of Christ in our church. And it WILL stretch us, but I am confident and excited to see how God is leading us already.
This morning, our task is to see how God would have us recognize or identify who He wants US to reach with the hope of Jesus Christ. And I think the best and only way to begin, is to 1. PRAY. That is what this wall is behind me over here. Those of you who were in the SpringLife experience this morning, had a chance to pray that the Lord would reveal to you a name or two of people in your life that don’t know the hope you have in Jesus Christ. And by praying for that name, by placing it on the wall, you are saying to yourself and to God that 1. You will commit to praying for that name regularly and 2. That as God leads and opens the door, you will initiate contact, begin to develop that relationship more so that as the Holy Spirit gives you the green light, you will be able to share the difference Christ makes in your life.