Summary: The sermon challenges our church, to be more dynamic, where dyanmic is defined as being fluid enough to adjust to the climate and environment that our church is a part.
As we enter November we take the opportunity to reflect and to remember the saints of Mount Bethel that has gone on to be with the Lord. We as a church are surround by a great cloud of witnesses, brothers and sisters that fought the good fight, kept the faith and ran the course that God ordained for their lives. So we remember and we are grateful for their efforts and work in ministry while God gave them a season. While it is significant that we remember their contributions to the history of our church we are further reminded that this is our season. This is our season, our season to be effectively engaged with our communities, our cities, our state, nation and world. In an ever shrinking world, via technology, the possibility of linking ourselves with people of lack faith in places where our feet may never walk is a reality. This is our season and the question is what impact did the church have on us, and of greater importance what impact have we had on the church. How will history record our time here, and most important what will God say about us and our work in ministry? It is not that difficult to see the shifts that have taken place in our nation and in our world in the last five years. How long does it take for emphasis to shift and to adapt to the changing community? Consider some of the major changes that we have witnessed and are presently experiencing, the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the largest slump in the economic markets in most of our lifetimes, rising violence among our youth, the impact of HIV/AIDS, natural disasters in the American Somas as well as other places, the shift in the nuclear family model. It doesn’t matter how you expand on any of those concepts or ones not mentioned that reality is we live in an ever dynamic time. Things that may seem as a bedrock to our culture and has been consistent for years very well may change in the blink of an eye. The only thing that we know we can depend on to be true today as it was yesterday and as it will be tomorrow is the theos of God which is comprised of, the word or God, the love of God, and the omnis of God. It is because we live in such a dynamic climate that we are at a minimum challenged to assess and evaluate if we are fluid enough to respond in this dynamic climate. Ask yourself this, can we still hold on to some of our fundamental works and yet be engaged in a way to make God real to a desperate community. Can we still do ministry the way we have always done ministry hoping that by being consistent we meet the needs of the dynamic community or are we obligated to operate out of a dynamic shift? How does our church look to a dynamic desperate community, and more importantly how can our church look to that same group of on lookers. That is our challenge and the question we will seek God about as we enter into the month of November.
1. Keep it real vs 19 The dynamic church is a church that puts itself on the line for the sake of bringing persons to Christ. Dirk P. Elliott’s work “Healthy Church Resources” clarifies his perception of a health church structure. He says that a Healthy Church is a church with a healthy characteristic of functional structures utilizes a church structure that is more free-flowing and permission-giving. A church with healthy functional structures will be risk-taking, willing to try new ideas and equally willing to cancel their implementation if they are not effective. The old paradigm of church structure called for the laity to manage the church with an attitude that if we try a new idea and it doesn’t work, we failed. The new paradigm approaches the idea with an eagerness to learn, and if it fails, then we learn from our mistakes and try again. A healthy church organizes structures around ministry and being faithful to the church’s mission and purpose. Many healthy churches have established a policy of asking three questions of any new ministry or program that someone wants to initiate. (1) Does it further the mission, vision, or purpose of the church? (2) Does it make new disciples or help people grow in their faith? (3) Is there or can there be a team to work in accomplishing this ministry? This takes on the concept of a dynamic church, a church that is willing to adjust and move toward the goal of empowering people through the word and work of ministry In our text Paul and Barnabas is at the end of their evangelistic outing when they are forced into Lystra. While they may have been driven there because of threats in opposition the power of God was made manifest in that place. The text tells us that while in Lystra they meet a man who was born crippled in both feet. The text says that after he had listened to Paul, Paul watched him intently discerned that he had the faith to be healed. It is in the aftermath of the healing that chaos broke out. When God healed the man the citizens of the town wanted to make sacrifices to Paul and Barnabas. It is not difficult to identify with the desperate community in our text. A community that wanted so much for something good to happen to them. A community that so desperately wanted to believe in something because what they were doing had not created any positive change. A community that so wanted to believe something that they would make gods of anyone that could deliver. You may think that this is the superstition of a first century culture and that in this day and age it just wouldn’t happen. Don’t fool yourself, there are those that are so desperate for a change, so desperate for good news, so desperate for a better tomorrow that they will say anything that will do anything hoping that change will take place. The challenge is to keep it real, when we are engaging culture it is not about us it is about Christ.