Summary: God has a mission for us.
Since it has been two weeks since we gathered together for worship, let me briefly remind us that we are in the closing weeks of our series on God’s vision for us. And what is his vision – that we be a fully following and faithfully functioning church.
For the past four weeks we have focused on the second half of this vision – faithfully functioning and I remind us that there are five main functions of the church – worship, outreach, fellowship, discipleship, and service. So far we have examined the first function – worship.
Today, we look at the second function by starting with a very familiar and tasty product -M and M’s. I love m & m’s! Don’t you?
I recently asked some of us via e-mail what your favorite M & M color was. And this is what you told me:
· Red (7)
· Purple (3)
· Green (2)
· Pink (2)
· What’s Inside
I checked the m & m website, www.mms.com, and found out a little more about m & m’s.
The concept for M & M’s began during wartime – the Spanish Civil War that is. Forrest Mars, Sr. of the Mars candy company, discovered on a trip to Spain that soldiers were eating “pellets of chocolate that were encased in a hard sugary coating to prevent them from melting.”
Inspired by the idea, Mars returned to his kitchen and invented his version of we now call M & M’s. They went public in 1941 and quickly became a part of the American GI’s rations and were packaged in cardboard tubes for them.
As time went on, more colors became available and the product line began to include my favorite – Peanut M & M’s, Crunchy M & M’s, peanut butter M & M’s, Almond M & M’s, and a whole host of other products.
One of the things about M & M’s over the years that generated a lot of interest has to do with the colors they come in. Just how many different colors do M & M’s come in? Well, from the website you can order 21 different colors of M & M’s on-line! Here are the colors
Black Dark Green
Dark Pink Yellow
Blue Dark Blue
Red Light Purple
Orange Aqua Green
Teal Green Brown
This means you can by your M & M’s in your favorite sports team colors, your company colors, your favorite racing team colors, or your favorite holiday colors! Or you can mix and match your colors! Among my favorite mixes would be Western Michigan Bronco Brown and Gold or Cincinnati Bengal orange and black!
And of course, now that the NASCAR season has begun, they also sponsor the #38 Ford Taurus driven by Eliot Sadler! And you can also order NASCAR #38 M and M’s on-line as well!
But, there is another kind of M & M that we must acknowledge this day. It is an M & M of a more important and eternal kind. Each of us who claim a personal relationship with Jesus Christ through the confession of our sins has this M & M.
· Our ministry to one another
· Our mission to the world
We will soon address the ministry to one another. This morning however we are addressing the second point – our mission to the world. What is our mission as Christians to the world? Our two texts that have already been read this morning give us a hint- it is an extension of Christ’s mission. It is the Great Commission – God’s call to us to “go and make” disciples who are mature and responsible believers.
But it starts with outreach. It starts with our intentional commitment to build a relationship with people who need God in their life and need someone to help them come to God. Let me use a familiar image to give us a starting point – home plate.
In baseball home plate is two things – the starting point of the game and the measure of progress. It has a dual purpose. Let me suggest that outreach also has a dual purpose – the starting point of faith and the measure of our progress in furthering the Great Commission. In other words the purpose of outreach is to help people come home to God! Why? Because until they do, they are lost! And speaking of lost, Jesus told three stories that comprise the entire 15th chapter of Luke’s gospel. These three stories say something about outreach.
The first story that Jesus told was the story or parable of the lost sheep. A few weeks ago I watched a cable TV news channel feature story in the Middle East, I can’t remember where, about residents of this one country who were looking for a sheep to sacrifice as part of an upcoming religious celebration.