Summary: 5th in series of 6 on the 237 church. Based on Acts 2:47. The Internally Strong - Externally Focused Church
Transforming the Present Future
47 They praised God and were liked by all the people. Every day the Lord added those who were being saved to the group of believers.
Last Spring I read a book by Reggie McNeal called "The Present Future". The title caught my eye. As I read the book I found myself connecting with the author and thinking that he is articulating ideas and concepts about the church that I’ve struggled to put into word and practice.
One of the concepts was the importance of preparation.
We’ve been trained to think in terms of planning. This is a world of calendars, agendas, Palm Pilots, 5-year strategic studies, and detailed checklists. Now there is nothing wrong with planning! I’m constantly working and thinking 3-6 months ahead on my sermons and lesson writing. At our staff meeting this week we spent a several hours thinking and outlining the plan for our Open House this November 7th. (Now would be a great time to start praying for those you would like to invite!)
Planning is fine - if you know what will happen and when it will happen - which rarely happens! What we need to do instead is to work on getting ready for the future - in the present. Right now.
If you were to observe some surfer dudes on the west coast you’d see a group of people that live, breath, think, and eat surfing. Their surfboards are freshly waxed whenever they have a spare moment. They go to work with a board sticking out the window. They check the weather reports at every opportunity. They talk to their friends about where the next big set of waves is likely to arrive. In short - they consider all of their regular lives as preparation for the best part - surfing!
Let me lead you this morning to a new perspective on your Christian walk
It’s not a matter of planning what and how you want to live – some day. It’s a matter of preparing how you want to live – for the rest of your life. It is about being prepared for the opportunities God gives you serve him by serving others.
I don’t want to dress this up as some sort of a spiritual revelation that I have discovered. It’s more like God has brought some new perspectives to me and I have begun to embrace them – but only after having been drug kicking and screaming to a place where I can see them.
What got this started for me was 20 acres of farmland on Willoughby Road that Alaiedon Township refused to let us use for offices, ministry and worship. It was this blocked path that has pushed me – unwillingly and uncomfortably into – a reexamination of how we do church at Meridian Christian Church.
The result has been a new perspective – a different paradigm. What is this new paradigm? Well, this morning I’m going to outline one critical piece of what is happening at MCC. I hope you get as excited as I am about the present future of Meridian Christian Church.
Transforming the Present Future
God has lead the Meridian Christian Church into a special place of ministry to our community where we can be salt, light, and leaven
Instead of becoming an Inwardly oriented private clubhouse we can become an inwardly strong but externally focused church
Instead of developing an attitude of protect isolation and a fortress mentality – “It’s us against the evil dark world” – we can become an enveloping movement of love and acceptance.
Instead of putting ALL of our resources into being a weekly assembly of sanctified saints – an hour a week of glory to God piety and holiness – we are becoming a the 247 family of God – connected, worshiping, working, and serving 24/7.
Instead of putting hours of time and buckets of energy into the formulation of strategic 5 year plans we are focusing on being prepared for opportunities to SHOW AND TELL everyone we have contact with about Jesus Christ.
At Meridian Christian Church we are weaving good deeds and the good news into a single message of hope and life in Jesus Christ.
Internally Strong – Externally Focused
The Internally Strong – Externally Focused Church takes care of the people in the family of God
It’s a way of living your whole life instead of how you spend a couple of hours a week.
It’s the difference between being on a diet – where every day is one of self-denial and unbelievable sacrifice – and changing the way you eat and live.
What I’m talking about is challenging and demanding. It’s not easy – but nothing that is life transforming has ever been easy!
Let’s look at this today as those who have been called out of the secular world view of life into the changed and focused followers of Jesus – the church!