Summary: How well are we connecting, communing, growing, serving, and sharing as a Church family and as individuals? These 5 purposes (fellowship, worship, discipleship, service, and evangelism) must remain central for us to be and do who God has called us to be a
Living with Purpose at CLC
Intro: Have you ever wondered why you are here on planet Earth? Why did God make you you instead of somebody else? Granted, we may see a lot of things we would like to and perhaps need to change about ourselves, but it is helpful to remember that God made us who we are on purpose for a purpose.
-One psychology blog identifies 10 emotional needs that are common to all humans to one degree or another. We are all born with essential physical and emotional needs and the innate resources to help us fulfill them – known as human ‘givens’ – which need to be met in order to facilitate good mental health.
The 10 Essential Emotional Needs:
1) Security — safe territory and an environment which allows us to develop fully
2) Attention (to give and receive it) — a form of nutrition
3) Sense of autonomy and control — having volition (opportunity & strength of will) to make responsible choices
4) Being emotionally connected to others
5) Feeling part of a wider community
6) Friendship, intimacy — to know that at least one other person accepts us totally for who we are, “warts ‘n’ all”
7) Privacy — opportunity to reflect and consolidate experience
8) Sense of status within social groupings
9) Sense of competence and achievement
10) Having meaning and purpose — which comes from being stretched in what we do and think.
-Many of you are aware that we have identified 5 main purposes that we believe God wants us to focus on here at CLC. We try to keep them in the bulletin each week, but after you see them a time or two, it becomes easy to overlook them as something you already read. Well, one of my our own state leaders in our church network has said, “God only promises to bless what He has called you to do.” So, if we misappropriate our energies and resources doing things that are not central to the purposes God has us here for, then we cannot expect God’s blessing. That should tell us how important these things are.
-Our leadership team has spent hours in meetings and in prayer, trying to work out things like this to keep us on track and to help us be more intentional about doing what God is asking us to do. These things aren’t gimmicks, nor are they passing fads. We truly believe that these 5 purposes in some form represent God’s plan for us. By the way, we didn’t get them from psychology or textbooks. We found them right in our Bibles, where answers to the most important questions in life can be found.
-We have identified these purposes with various labels or titles. Here is one way to list them: God has called us 1) To worship Him, 2) To Fellowship together, 3) To Disciple One another, 4) To Evangelize or spread the Good News about Jesus, and 5) To use our gifts to serve God (Worship, Fellowship, Discipleship, Evangelism, and Service). If you look in your bulletin you can see them listed with a few different words: To Connect with one another relationally (fellowship/friendship), To Commune with God through prayer & praise (worship), To Grow in spiritual knowledge and grace (discipleship), To Discover, Develop, and Use our gifts for God (service), and To Share God’s love & truth with relevance & clarity (evangelism).
-I’d like to talk about these 5 important purposes briefly today. I will attempt to give a concise, but meaningful overview of each of the 5. As we think about these together, I would ask you to do a mental evaluation about each one. As we cover each one, I want you to ask yourself how we as a church are doing in each area. Secondly, I want you to ask yourself, “What am I doing to help us fulfill this purpose?” How engaged are you with God’s purposes for His church? Remember, You are the church! But not just when you are in this building. You are the church on Monday through Saturday, and we need to be about our Father’s business the rest of the week, as well as when we come together for worship.
-So let’s begin, and you can just use the outline from your bulletin. I believe we can find each of these purposes in action in the early Jewish church, and following as more and more Gentiles received the good news about Jesus. Acts 2:42-47 gives us a great snapshot of the early church. Let’s take a look at it.
Acts 2:42-47 42 They joined with the other believers and devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, sharing in the Lord's Supper and in prayer. 43 A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. 44 And all the believers met together constantly and shared everything they had. 45 They sold their possessions and shared the proceeds with those in need. 46 They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord's Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity-- 47 all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their group those who were being saved. (NLT)