Summary: Rev. Church Swindol often talked about two themes in the bible: "the way to God" and "our walk with God". This sermon is part of a series of the Ablaze an Evangelism six week home study to help people understand the need to reach the lost and to give the
In Jesus Holy Name September 24, 2006
Text: Acts 1:8, 42 Pentecost XVII, Redeemer
“Lost in America Part I”
Jesus did not say, “Come follow me, and I will make you … feel good.
Jesus did not say, “Come follow me, and I will make you … rich.
Jesus did not say, “Come follow me, and I will make you … successful
Jesus did say: “Come follow me and I will make you fishers of men and
God is active in our world. Jesus told us what we should be doing: “Go into
all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation.” He did not say “how” we should be doing it.
The “how” of ministry changes, the content of the ministry does not.
Whether we like it or not God has chosen us to live in an interesting time. Home computers were non-existent 15 years ago. Today your new car has more computational power to get you down the street than all the computers combined in the Apollo spacecraft that carried Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to the moon. Your new car has a back up camera, a chip that will automatically slow your speed if you are too close to the vehicle in front of you.
That pager that vibrates to inform you that your table is ready at Outback Steak House can tell you that your baby is crying in the nursery at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Burnsville, Minn. We are living in a world where it is faster and cheaper to send a signal over 20,000 miles up to a satellite and back again than it is to walk 50 feet to tell you that your child is crying or that your seat is ready.
We now have a stick the size of my little finger that can hold all the information on my computer when I back it up. The new rage at Christmas will not be Plasma TV’s but one that is so clear you’ll see a 3-D image.
The gospel message of God’s love and forgiveness through Jesus is like living water. Water fills any receptacle without changing its H2O reality. The container doesn’t matter. The content stays the same.
Here is the message we are to proclaim: “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23) In Jesus we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins…God’s grace given to us.” Ephesians 1:7 “God has brought us back to himself as friends, not as enemies, by the physical death and resurrection of Jesus in order to present you and me holy in God’s eyes without blemish, free accusation…if we continue in our faith.” (Col. 1:21-23 paraphrase)
“The how of ministry in our culture changes, the context of ministry does not.” Jesus said: “I was hungry and you gave me something to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger and you invited me in. I needed clothes and you clothed me.” (Matthew 25:35-36)
God has called our congregation to be something special, His great treasure in this place. He calls us to accept and care for one another; he has called us to imitate Jesus. That’s why, as a congregation we have been creating small Home Bible Study and Fellowship Groups. 40 Days of Purpose… helped us understand the need for balance in congregational life.
1. Worship – corporate on Sunday and private devotions – next week we begin our two worship times.
2. Fellowship – everything from a bowling team, softball team campout, coffee and refreshment time between services, golf tournaments dinner events… all are entry points for people seeking a connection to a place called “extended family”.
3. Ministry – Helping Hands, Hospital visitation, care, service on boards, mentor ministry, parent teen support group, Habitat for Humanity, etc.
4. Discipleship – bible study groups, personal spiritual growth, children’s ministry
5. Mission – canned food drives, not only providing food for people in need but a major public relations issue, as is the parking lot and landscape renewal, letting the neighborhood know we are here and we are proud to be active disciples of Jesus.
Today we are breaking ground for a new parking lot expansion and landscape
renewal. What an exciting moment in our congregational history. None of this would be
possible if God had not blessed our preparation, creating a new corporate personality that
reflects God’s love and acceptance for others. Jesus has promised that His Holy Spirit
will be the force that empowers us to be His witnesses in this post modern culture. The
apostles were told to be: “witnesses…” to tell the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection in
Jerusalem. Jerusalem was their city, their immediate neighborhood.