Summary: An enthusiastic re-clarifying of our vision as a Biblical Church honoring Christ. Based on biblical principles for all assemblies of Christ-followers and thus applicable for all churches.
KICKIN’ UP OUR IDENTITY
Perth Bible Church, September 7, 2008 AM Rev. Todd G. Leupold
Many years ago there was an ad in the Available and Wanted section (of a Tucumcari, New Mexico paper): “Marriage minded man with one hundred fifty irrigated acres of farmland seeks marriage minded woman with John Deere tractor. When replying, send picture of the tractor.”
Friends, here is a man who knows what is important to him. But is it the right values? Will the brand, appearance or quality of his tractor really be the thing that has the most powerful and lasting impact in his life? The lives of those around him? Should it?
How well do you know and understand what is truly most important to you? Your family? Our church family?
Reggie McNeal suggests some of the following signals that may suggest a need for value clarification:
You have great ideas about what you want to accomplish in life and where you want to go, but the way you choose to live just doesn’t get you there.
You are bewildered because the people closest to you seem not to understand you very well.
You have a hard time prioritizing how you spend your time, money and energy.
You feel lost in the shuffle of life.
You struggle with major decisions because you don’t know what’s best for you.
You wonder to yourself who you really are (Get A Life, pp. 38-39).
This morning, as we ’Kick It Up’ to start a new ministry season, I would like us to re-consider how we not only clarify but also live out the Biblical values that God has called us as Perth Bible Church to embody for His glory. Living this out in the real world, fulfilling our purpose and living the abundant life, means loving God absolutely and loving others sacrificially not only in emotion but also in attitude and practice!
We talk often – sometimes loudly for all to hear, and sometimes quietly that only some may hear – about what kind of a people and what kind of a church we should be to . . . please the most people . . . or the right people . . . grow in numbers and prestige . . . increase our offerings . . . re-claim our past . . . position ourselves for the future . . . etc.
My concern is simply this: Who must we BE and what must we DO in order to fulfill our calling and show our community the love of Christ?
WHO ARE WE OR WHO SHOULD WE BE?
Perth Bible Church is a family of imperfect people who are unrelenting in our desires and efforts to be like Jesus in character and in action - loving God absolutely and loving others sacrificially. We are committed to this for the benefit of all (in and outside of the church) and, most of all, to the glory of God!
A. A Family Romans 8:15-16
15 For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, " Abba , Father!" 16 The Spirit Himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God’s children,
We need to live with, relate to one another as family – brothers and sisters. But not just any family.
Sadly, for many of us the word and concept of “family” brings with it a range of images and emotions, including negative experiences, regrets, disappointment, emotional wounds, and perhaps even abuse.
My family: one of the original latch-key child, abusive & non-supportive brother – still acts as if I don’t exist, divorced parents cousin-godchild kidnapped by mother and put in institution . . .
And then there’s my wife’s family . . . Better not go there.
Instead, consider: An old couple was sitting by the fireside. He looked over at her, had a romantic thought, and said, “After fifty years, I’ve found you tried and true.” The wife’s hearing wasn’t very good, so she said, “What?” He repeated, “After fifty years, I’ve found you tried and true.” “After fifty years, I’m tired of you too,” she replied.
Hear me clearly now: Perth Bible Church is God’s family, composed of those whom Christ has redeemed (saved from sin and our slavery to a sinful nature) and adopted into the Heavenly Father’s family by His grace and provision! When anyone, in or outside of this family, does an injustice to any of His children, they offend and disrespect God the Father!
Those who are parents, consider how you feel and the thoughts you have when someone treats one of your children unfairly, wrongfully or hurtfully. Even when the offender may be another one of your children? How much more God Father who birthed us not only through labor pains, but the most amazing of all sacrifices!