God’s spiritual house 1 Peter 2:1-10 WBC 27/6/4am
Thought you might appreciate some clips from church service sheets & notice boards:
1. Bertha Belch, a missionary from Africa, will be speaking tonight at Calvary Methodist. Come hear Bertha Belch all the way from Africa.
3. The sermon this morning: "Jesus Walks on the Water." The sermon tonight: "Searching for Jesus."
5. "Ladies, don’t forget the rummage sale. It’s a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Don’t forget your husbands."
7. Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our community.
8. Smile at someone who is hard to love. Say "hell" to someone who doesn’t care much about you.
9. Don’t let worry kill you off - let the Church help.
10. Miss Charlene Mason sang "I will not pass this way again," giving obvious pleasure to the congregation.
11. For those of you who have children and don’t know it, we have a nursery downstairs.
12. Next Thursday there will be tryouts for the choir. They need all the help they can get.
15. Irving Benson and Jessie Carter were married on October 24 in the church. So ends a friendship that began in their school days.
23. Potluck supper Sunday at 5:00 PM- prayer and medication to follow.
24. The ladies of the Church have cast off clothing of every kind. They may be seen in the basement on Friday afternoon.
28. Low Self Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 PM. Please use the back door.
13. Barbara remains in the hospital and needs blood donors for more transfusions She is also having trouble sleeping and requests tapes of Pastor Jack’s sermons.
16. At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be "What is Hell?" Come early and listen to our choir practice. .
IT’S ALIVE- LIVING STONES
It’s a marvellous thing watching the reality of what church is dawn on people.
As it so often does in Alpha, for example.
- brainstorming of ‘perceptions of church’
- before Alpha: Sunday suits. Stuffy. No fun. Guilt. Well meaning but powerless. At times irrelevant. Smelly. Cold. Hymns
- halfway through the course: (as I read the summary, stunned at how often power & people came through) welcome. Power of prayer. Power of unity. Warmth. Colour. Friends. Belonging. Atmosphere. God’s presence. Family fun. Place to be yourself. Support. Growth. Enthusiasm. Change. Sharing. Power. JESUS
Their summary was: the church is the People, not the building.
This is a living thing… made up of living stones
- and so it’s something that changes and adapts
o as the people who make it up, do
WE are the genes of a living entity. As we change- the church changes, too
o as the Lord leads us on to new things. As we ‘keep in step with the Spirit’ (Gal 5:25), are led by the Spirit through God’s people… and as God does new things among us
ISA 43:19 See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the desert
and streams in the wasteland.
In fact- change… listen to where God wants to take us… WE MUST. Or we’ll die, today
- by this I’m not saying what we’re doing is always new and innovative… trendy
o often God has us re-visiting previous priorities and values that have just got a bit neglected!
1 Jn: I’m writing you a new command, but it’s not a new one: love one another!”
o no! We never lose these key principles and priorities: in fact they never change
just the way we express it in and to our culture does
the Edge is an example of this
And so- God leads His spiritual living house on to new things.
- can’t advance on all fronts at once… but He leads us
o Special needs people. children and youth. Stable now.
Not surprised that almost 3 years ago- God starts saying to us about reaching ‘older folk’
• A window of opportunity (that we hadn’t seen). Feel like the breath of God has caught us
In a few years… when that’s stabilised- He’ll say “behold I do a new thing”
- doesn’t mean what was built is knocked down! It’s built ONTO!
Friends: listen. Where do you want to go back to?
- I want to go back to 1987-92! Or you may want to go back to Canada. Or the early 70s with the Fisherfolk. Or 10 years ago with church planting
- There IS NO going back. There is only going forward
o Into God’s blessing TODAY. (it’s never found in yesterday or tomorrow. Now is the day of God’s favour)
Keeps you flexible, eh?
Do be! Don’t get set in stone. Keep in step with the Spirit. You are the living stones of this living building. As God leads you forward- we’ll go forward. We ‘are being built into…’
In fact- I think we’ll be completely different in 5 years time. Really.
- I have this picture of a ‘church without walls’
- In 5 years: regular short term trips to our missionaries. Many more gong to serve socially and spiritually. Many more coming in.
I have no idea how- but we need to start building a pipeline/structure/vessel that can contain and channel God’s blessing!
YOU’VE A PLACE- LIVING STONES
Look at this picture, here! A whole load of living stones all being built in together!
- look at the diversity! All different shapes and sizes.
- This is for EVERYONE. To use another picture: this is a fat a glorious bride
I believe in the diversity of the church. I believe in the heterogeneous unit. The mix. The body- made up of many parts. The church being as diverse as the culture in which it lives and thrives
- we’ve got some groups to draw in, eh? 18s-30s and older folks
I believe you often REACH through the homogenous unit (like reaching like, PLU’s) and then you TEACH that we should be a diverse family. You build and mature
Evangelist James Robinson tells interviewing members of a group He was impressed by their creed. He says, “Do you know what they kept holding up as their great supreme virtue? They kept saying: `We’re e a family. We’re together. We live together, fight together, die together. We stick together.’”
The group was the local Hell’s Angels.
Oi! If they can do it- we can… and better! And wider!
I believe in this incredible picture. Folks drawn in… built up… sent out
(it’s the picture of ‘without walls’, again)
And THIS (what we do here) is a major powerpoint for that
- our purpose on Sunday is to encourage you. Fill you up! Empower you! Send you out
- Yes- we want to be real, and deep, and engage with the agonies of life- but heavens above, life and being a Christian is tough- so people have a right to being blessed on a Sunday!
- Illustr: My MA. I think they’ve missed some of this (eek!). It’s all about vision plans and strategies and structures- but it all starts with loving and building the saints. The living stones.
o The rest goes on FROM THERE. But the starting point is ‘love the Lord, love one another, get built up in JESUS’
Listen to Rick Warren:
"Quality produces quantity. A church full of genuinely changed people attracts others. If you study healthy churches you’ll discover that when God finds a church that is doing a quality job of winning, nurturing, equipping and sending out believers, He sends that church plenty of raw material. On the other hand, why would God send a lot of prospects to a church that doesn’t know what to do with them?"
Rick Warren in the Purpose Driven Church
And this picture of many stones tells me that ALL have a place in this fluid structure, and a PART to play
- = like 1 Cor 12 (topic next term!). the church IS a body. All are needed. No one is irrelevant
- each person HAS a gift… gifts.
- Each person IS a gift.
o To the body. For it’s overall purpose
o And if each person doesn’t play their part- it’s not just that person who doesn’t benefit. The whole body misses out.
o Do you see- you weren’t just saved for yourself! You were saved for service. Made to minister. Saved for the BODY!
"For the sake of the nail the shoe was lost, for the sake of the horseshoe a horse was lost. For the sake of a horse a general was lost, for the sake of a General a battle was lost- for the sake of a General the war was lost."
And so it’s key for you to know THAT you fit and WHERE you fit (as a living stone). It’s important you know your shape and find your area of service/ministry
- as it’s what you were made for
Listen: we’re way behind on helping you discover your gifts. Help us! Help us by finding a whole that roughly fits your shape and getting stuck in! Seeing if you fit! Seeing if it brings a blessing!
Here’s what this passage says- you are the priesthood of God. It ends with saying you are a Kingdom of priests
- lots behind this that I can only skim over
- After the Exodus (say, Ex 19) there is Moses and his brother Aaron who minister as priests. Then- just before the 10C’s God makes an offer to the Jews
Ex 19:5 Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, 6 you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites."
But during God’s theophany (appearing) the Israelites say this:
EX 20:18 When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance 19 and said to Moses, "Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die."
And then they start hanky-pankying around with that Calf
And man theologians think that at that point the Jewish nation turned down what god wanted- a who nation of priests
Well- God got His way! And YOU are it!
Illustr; remember hearing of a conference on this. At the end one person turned to their neighbour and asked the usual question: “what do you do?!” Answer- “I’m an ordained plumber!”
This is true! We are all priests. Made to minister
- and the truth is- you can only be fulfilled when you’re doing it. Finding what god has for you
- cannot find fulfilment in –seeking God, going for blessing, having competitions to see how little we can do/give of ourselves
- only in serving in the right way
o and you often have to step out and do it before you feel fully equipped or sure
You can never get much of anything done unless you go ahead and do it before you are ready
The power is with the people…not the pulpit/pastor. When God’s people are motivated, empowered and released THEN we’ll see growth
- exponential growth
Are you aware what we see at best is ADDITION growth.
- We add ministries
o (we have one more person/resource here- so we can add one more ministry)
- the Biblical picture is – multiplication of ministries! Cell division
o one ministry spawns 3, each of which spawn 3- and in 3 generations you have 121 ministries (of which 81 are brand new!)
That’s what’s happen when the living stones start LIVING. That’s what happens to the spiritual house they comprise.
This is what will happen when you
- see yourself as a LIVING stone
- know… find… your place and your shape
- start living as a priest