Our Vision 2019—Remove The Cloths
Ezekial 37:1-10 John 11:17-37
We are celebrating the 6 years that God has given to us and are looking forward to the new ways of loving and serving people that God has for us in the future. We can thank God for each of the testimonies that we have heard because it means that what you do here at New Life At Calvary for the cause of Christ matters in people’s lives.
You see, you not only touched these lives, your touched many others indirectly through their lives. From Cleveland to Nigeria, God has been using you to make a difference.
We want you to know that we are encouraged by the number of you who signed up during our Ministry Fair for different ministries in the church. Some of you were willing to move out of your comfort zone to try something new.
Some of you realized from your Spiritual Gift tests that God was calling you to do more than just showing up at church. Some of you realized with your Leadership Personality assessment, that God has equipped you with some leadership skills that are needed in the body of Christ.
If someone were to ask you, “why is that we are here as a church?”, would you have an answer ready to give to them? We might think we are here to have a place to worship. We might think we are here to hand out food. We might think we are here to encourage each other. We might think we are to do things for God. Those things are all good and we are thankful for them, but that’s not the big why behind we are here.
The real reason we are here goes back to the beginning and it can be found in John 3:16. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but shall have everlasting life. We serve a God who is compassionate. WE serve a God who is just. We serve a God who is loving, and we serve a God who cares about us.
Have you looked around us lately and seen what the world has become. We can’t turn on the tv without hearing about a mass shooting, or road rage incident in which someone’s life is brutally taken over a senseless argument of being cut off while driving.
We look at the world and find that Christians are the most persecuted group in the world today being jailed, killed, kidnapped, raped, having their limbs chopped off simply for refusing to deny Jesus Christ. It really seems as though the world has gone mad.
Yet God looks at the world and still chooses to love the people in it. Our vision for the future is that we can look at the world and begin to see potential children of God when we look at those who do not know God. Every sinner is a potential powerful child of God who doesn’t know it yet.
When God looks at the world, he doesn’t see the divisions of race, ethnic groups, or socio-economic classes. Our vision for the future includes being a church in which you can be sitting next to a person who goes out of these doors into a different place in society, yet they love the same Jesus that you love and that they would love each other.
We want everybody to leave the titles and the positions at the door and recognize we all have to come to the same feet of Jesus Christ in worship. It does not matter to us if you are dressed in a suit, or wearing your t shirt and jeans, your goal is to come and worship the Lord Jesus Christ.
At our Leadership Conference we started praying that God will give us fifty new people who are going to become actual covenant partners before this year is over. We will have a chart before us to keep us up to date on where we stand. We want those fifty to be from all different walks of life, races, ethnic groups and economic levels.
God so loved the world that He gave his one and only son Jesus Christ. God’s love cause him to give Jesus Christ.
Our love should cause us to want to give Jesus Christ. Our purpose in life is to honor and glorify God with our lives. That happens best when we are offering Jesus Christ to others in the way we live, in the things we do, and in the words we share.
Our vision for the future is that everyone of us recognize God is going to hold us accountable for what we do with Jesus.
Every organization in the church, is to do at least one thing yearly that’s geared to reaching people who don’t know Christ. If we can’t come up with one thing, then we need to shut down and go be a part of a group that is committed to Jesus’ command to go into all the world and make disciples of all people.
Every leadership team needs to answer the question, what are going to do to reach others for Christ or how can we help another group in what they are doing. The heart of what we are to be as believers is a witness, in how we live, how we act, and what we say.
God gave Jesus because there was an urgency taking place on the spiritual level. “That whoever believes in in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” God is dividing the world into two groups, those that perish and those that have eternal life. Believing in Jesus is the separation point.
Suppose for a moment, you were driving one day and as you were coming around a curve, you felt the Lord say to you slow down. You began to hit the brakes and as you came around the curve you saw a mudslide had washed the road away and you could see cars that had gone over the cliff.
How many of you would say thank you Lord for saving me from that disaster? How many of you would feel an obligation to go back to the other side of the curve and start waving your hands to try to get others to stop or at least slow down to avoid going over the cliff when they go around the curve? You recognize it does not matter who they are, what kind of a car they are driving, how old they, or what nationality they speak, if they don’t heed your warning, they are heading for disaster.
God sees that the world He loves is headed for disaster without Jesus Christ because God’s justice demands that we pay the penalty for our own sin and rebellion against God and that penalty is death and destruction. That curve that everybody is going around is called death. We are all going to face it, and some of us quite unexpectedly.
We want to be that church that lets people know, the spiritual world is real. All this stuff we see around us is simply stuff, that’s going to be left behind. We want to be that church that reminds people, “what does it profit a person to gain the whole world and lose their soul.”
Therefore we want to use everything we do as an opportunity to let others know that God sent Jesus Christ so that they can be saved. Every ministry outreach we do, should have Jesus Christ in it in the way we live, the way we act, and the way we speak.
The Hot Meals ministry need for you to bring the love of Christ into it, otherwise its just a momentary feeding. That smile you gave, the extra way you let them know they’re important people. That welcome sign that you will be holding in front of the church, is just the first step in the warning process of what is ahead.
Our new ministry of reaching out to those families who have lost loved ones to violence is going to be preaching the love of Christ through compassion. We’re not showing up saying you must get saved today. NO we are saying, because God cares we care and we are here for you when you need us.
We are seeking permission to move to the next level of sharing the message of Christ with them. Our new ministry of reaching out to pregnant women and men is likewise to be a ministry of compassion. I know its going to start out small, but I’m believing God for a five or six bedroom house where we can actually offer young women a place to come and live if they need it. God is big enough to do it.
If you want to see God do great things in the lives of others, you have to first believe that God wants to do great things in your own life. If you’ve become discouraged in your walk with Christ, of you’re feeling low because your family or your marriage is a disappointment, or you’ve lost your job or home, I want you to know that God has not forgotten you.
I want you to remember, that there was a guy who was following Jesus and he got sick and he died. They even laid him in a tomb, and buried him with all his hopes and dreams for the future now a thing of the past.
But then Jesus arrived on the scene. Everybody was sure that Jesus had arrived too late to do anything about the situation. But Jesus gave just two commands one with 4 words and the other with 3 and it changed a man and his family for the rest of their lives.
Those words were” take away the stone” and “Lazarus come out.” When he said Lazarus come out, a man who had been dead for four days, came out of the tomb. He wasn’t stinking, he wasn’t smelling, but he still had some grave clothes on. Jesus told the people to take the burial clothes off of him.
Our vision for the future is to be that church of hope. No matter how down and out you are, we want to be a place where the Holy Spirit will meet you where you are and when He calls you out, we can alongside and give you a helping hand.
Our new Life-Connect Groups are going to be about helping you to take off those burial clothes so that you can experience the life God has for you to experience. You have a choice of topics to choose from so that we can meet you where you need it the most. Our new way of ministry to our youth in Youth Worship And our Sunday Teen Bible Study are also about removing burial clothes from those youth who want to follow the Lord. As each organization and each group come up with their own strategy for doing something to reach others for Christ, the purpose is to help others unwrap those burial clothes that keep them from experiencing the life God wants them to have.
7 is the year of completion. We are starting that year of completion as we relaunch as a church. We believe that God is saying New Life At Calvary, come forth and as it does, each of us is responsible for removing the burial clothes from our church and allowing God to use us to impact the lives of others.
If you are here today and you have some burial clothes on your life that need to be removed, Jesus has already died for your sins. He has already paid the price to set you free. He has been calling forth your name. If you put your faith and your trust in him. You can be saved and your burial clothes set off to the side. Not only will God change your life here, God is changing the destination of where you will spend eternity.