Summary: Learn what it means to be a partner, not a party pooper!
Good morning, and thank you for worshipping God with me. For those new here, we’re involved in a really awesome emphasis right now – how we are better together! And let me tell you that some really cool things are happening!
• Surprise attacks on many people this past week (like John and Jeff!).
• A lady called her small group friend and took her shopping.
• Two of our small groups are almost ready to birth new ones…WOW!
• A new couple called and said, “We’re coming.” They went!
• A couple reads together while driving to work.
• A carpooling group in CA watches the video in transit…you may need to do that as I-235 is still under construction.
In other words, we’re involved in a LOVE REVOLUTION! (Easy now, all you who remember the 60’s…) Truth is, that’s exactly what we’re learning to do: Love one another! And as we learn to do that and live out what matters most, we find that our arms are open, not closed. In fact, do this with me --
(Todd has people open arms and reach out…)
…doesn’t that feel good!?! This is a great symbol for what we do as a church: REACH OUT!
Today I want to ask you to look at the idea of reaching out together, and to do that I want us to look at a specific passage in Philippians. Would you turn to Phil 1 and let’s read verses 12-18. Be sure to take out your teaching tool and a pen so you can take some good notes as God’s Spirit teaches us about reaching out together.
[Read Text and explain context, words, background, then make this point:]
“The Gospel is more productive when I’m a partner, not a party pooper, with the people and circumstances around me.”
So endure the things that aren’t pleasant, see through the surface to what God is doing, look behind the curtains at what is really happening inside someone’s life, don’t criticize others who are doing the right things simply in a different way. WHY? Because reaching out – and reaching out more – is one of the best ways we show love to people and represent the heart of God to the world. And the more it happens, the better off we are!
Reaching out is such a fundamental issue at FFC that we made sure it was in our DNA from the very beginning. In fact, take your worship folder and locate our mission statement on the back…do you see how much of it involves the idea of reaching out?!
We’re not alone in this thinking. Dr. John Jackson, a pastor in NV and author of Pastorpreneur, says this when he writes...[BOOK QUOTE].
And Gary McIntosh and Glen Martin, authors of Finding Them, Keeping Them, echo the same thingw hen they write [BOOK QUOTE].
The bottom line is this: Churches that reach out beyond themselves, individually and collectively, overflow with life, energy and enthusiasm.
This past week I was part of an all-week conference on church planting, and I picked up a simple comparison of living churches and dead churches…let me share with you. It may explain why God has been so favorable to FFC and help you be more patient with our own set of frustrations and irritations.
[LIVING CHURCHES vs. DEAD CHURCHES CHART]
Aren’t you glad something fresh, alive and exciting is happening at First Family? What if we had the other set of frustrations? No thanks!
There’s a man in our church who called me two weeks ago and said this very thing. He said, “I don’t know if you see it, but there’s something alive at First Family.” Do you remember saying that Brad?
[intro Brad Russman … interview hima nd let him share his story]
Thanks, Brad. Now Brad was brought to a place of recognition through the efforts of many people, people just like you and the others in your LH. They were partners who simply did what they were asked to do. And God did what he said he would do!
This is not the only way or the only case of partnering going on right now. In case you didn’t know, we’re asking all of our LHs to get involved together in something that reaches out to our community. Why? So that more and more people can hear about the Gospel – so that the cause of Christ can be furthered. So that together w can reach out better!
For instance…(various mission projects by FFC LHs)
• Clothing Drive by the Zea/Kullish LH
• Friendship Center staffing by one of our LH
• Operation Christmas Child by Local Fire LH
• Reverse Trick or Treating by Lamb LH
• Project 318 and Angel Tree (just wait!)
And why do we do these things? Because people matter and the Gospel is the answer!