Where Does God Want His Church to Go?

The task that Christ gave all of us to do was to make disciples. Matthew 28:19 says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Acts 1:8 says, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.

I believe that Jesus wanted His disciples to bridge the gap between the church and the community. Jesus did not expect His disciples to stay inside the four walls of the church building. He wanted them to build relationships, go into the marketplace, and make friends with unbelievers.

The biggest way to do that today is YOU! You is what will help us bridge the gap. On your job, in your neighborhood, at the grocery store, at a restaurant and so on. Don’t wait for people to come to you and ask about the Gospel. You go to them and be the church. Show people the love that Christ shown.

So, how do we do that? It’s actually quite simple. You could pay for a person’s meal behind you in line at the drive through. We hear about people doing this all the time. You could buy someone’s groceries that is in line ahead of you at the grocery store. Get a group together and give out bottles of water at a park. Here is something that might be new to some of you, be friendly.

When driving down the road, don’t cut people off. Some day when you have extra money in the budget, take out $20 in quarter and go to a laundry mat and hand out quarters to the people there washing their clothes. Just Be the church and bridge the gap.

That is what Christ meant by Going into the world. Build a bridge from the church to the community so that people can cross that bridge. It starts with YOU!

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I Can Make a Difference Part 1: What a Difference a Day Can Make

Sunday, I began a new series called I Can Make a Difference. Right now, where you are at in front of God and everybody I want you to say at the top of your lungs, “I can make a difference.” Come on I’ll say it with you. Let’s say “I Can Make a Difference.” Here we go.

“I Can Make a Difference!”

Don’t that feel good to get it off your chest.

Do you really believe that? Do you really believe that you can make a difference? If we really believe that we can make a difference then what are you doing with your life to make a difference?

I want to look at the thought “What a Difference a Day can Make.”

Every day you get the chance to make a difference in someone else’s life. Every day you get the chance to make a difference in your own life. You have to make the choice; you have to choose to make a difference.

In Colossians 4:2-6 Paul gives us some sound advice in making a difference. Let’s turn in our Bibles to Colossians 4:2-6.

  1. Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving;
  2. meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains,
  3. that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.
  4. Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time.
  5. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.

I like how the Message paraphrases this passage. Let’s look at it together.

2-4) Pray diligently. Stay alert, with your eyes wide open in gratitude. Don’t forget to pray for us, that God will open doors for telling the mystery of Christ, even while I’m locked up in this jail. Pray that every time I open my mouth I’ll be able to make Christ plain as day to them.

5-6) Use your heads as you live and work among outsiders. Don’t miss a trick. Make the most of every opportunity. Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down, not cut them out.

Paul is in prison and he is asking the people to pray that he gets an opportunity to share Christ. Notice he’s not asking them to praying that he gets out, he’s not asking them to pray that he would be found innocent, but he is asking them to pray that he gets an opportunity to share Christ.

Paul also gives the outsiders, as he calls them, good advice. He says, “make the most of every opportunity.” He also says, “the goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down, not cut them out.”

Are we, as Christians, making the most of every day for the one that saved us? Every day belongs to God. What are we going to do in a day that will change the world?

I jotted down what a few people in the Bible and what they did in a day.

Look at what Jesus did in a day. He fed the five thousand. He turned water into wine at the wedding feast at Cana. He healed the sick, made blind eyes see, and raised the dead; remember the story of Lazarus. He also walked on water.

Moses parted the Red Sea. He met with God and received the Ten Commandments. How about Joshua? He saw the walls of Jericho fall. Sure he marched around them for six days before that but he was being obedient to what God was telling him to do. David killed the giant in one day. He went from shepherd boy to king in one day.

If they accomplished all these things in a day, what can you do to make a difference in a day? Here are three things that I believe anybody can do to make a difference in a day. I believe that if you will do these things then you can bring change to this world.

  1. Reach Someone for Christ.

I believe that you can use every day to reach someone for Christ.

What are you doing to share your faith? You don’t always have to talk in order to share your faith. Sometimes you just have to love someone.

Jesus saved you from your sins. He pulled you out of the destruction that you were in and planted your feet on a firm foundation. Because of what He did for us we can share it everyone.

I love how Paul puts his Christian life in perspective. Philippians 1:21-24 says, “21) For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22) But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. 23) For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. 24) Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you.”

Here Paul is battling between staying on earth and going to Heaven. He knows that going to Heaven is far better than staying but he so wants to stay on earth and tell more people about Jesus.

Do you struggle with this? Do you get to the point in your Christian walk that you love God so much that you don’t want to meet Him because you want to tell others about Him? We are to share our faith not out of obligation to Christ, but because we want others to experience the same fulfillment in Christ that we have felt.

Maybe you’re a skeptic here today. Maybe you think how is telling someone else about Jesus going to help me make a difference? It’s actually quite simple. When you tell someone about Jesus and the relationship that you have with Jesus you are bringing hope.

People in this world are looking for hope and we can help because we have the answer to hope and if you share that answer you are making a difference.

  1. A Chance to Serve

You can make a difference by using every day as a chance to serve.

1 Peter 4:10 says, “As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”

Galatians 5:13 says, “For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”

We know that Jesus was a good servant. Here the Son of God came from heaven and humbled himself and walked amongst us as someone that was here to serve the people.

He tells us something about Himself in John 13:13-15. “13) You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. 14) If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15) For I have given you an example that you should do as I have done to you.”

Jesus lived an example of a servant here on earth. He shows us how to serve. We live in a selfish world. People are consumed with themselves and their needs. We can look at people and see how their lives end up and we can know what happened. When people end up in bad situations it is the result of them or someone close to them that wanted their own selfish desires and it was because of that selfish desire that led to said person’s downfall.

A drug addict’s life or their family’s life is affected by their drug problem. An alcoholic’s life or their family’s life is affected by their alcohol problem. A porn addict’s life or their family’s life is affect by their pornography problem. A gambling addict’s life or their family’s life is affected by their gambling problem. When you allow those selfish desires to consume your life it is not only affecting your life, but it is affecting the life of those around you.

Jesus talked about serving others and Luke shared a statement that Paul said in Acts 20:35 when Jesus is quoted as saying, “it is more blessed to give than to receive.”

This statement brings me to my next point…

  1. A Chance to Give

You can use every day as a chance to give.

Robert Morris wrote a fantastic book on giving called The Blessed Life. You should read this book. He makes it very clear on how and why you should give according to God’s word.

I believe that none of us would argue the fact that we should all give money but you should also give of your time and you should give of your talents. It is important that we take on the mindset of giving. God’s desire is for us to become a group of giving people.

The first step to giving is submitting to God. James 4:7 says, “Therefore submit to God…” But it doesn’t end there the rest of that verse is “… Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”

When we learn to submit to God we are in turn giving our self to God and telling God that we no longer want our wants and dreams but we want His wants and dreams for our life.

Proverbs 3:5, 6 says, “5) Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; 6) In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.”

When we learn to give of ourselves and submit to God and put all our trust in Him, think about the difference we can make. We are no longer thinking the way our flesh thinks but we are now thinking the way God wants us to think.

Luke gives us great insight into giving. Let’s look at Luke 6:37-38. It says, “37) “Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38) Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”

All these things: not judging, not condemning, forgiving, and giving; if we do these then they will be given back to us.

The more we give of ourselves then the more God will give us. The more we give of money, the more God will give back to us. The more we give of our time, the more God will give back to us. The more we give of our talents, the more God will give back to us.

Can God trust us with what He has given us?

My thought for you today was What a difference a day can make. How will you spend today making a difference for the kingdom of God?

Think about this for a moment…

U.S. News and World Report did a survey of 6000 people in 1988 on time and this is the results of the survey. I am sure that some of this has changed but think about this.

In a lifetime the average American will spend: six months sitting at stoplights, eight months opening junk mail, one year looking for misplaced objects, two years unsuccessfully returning phone calls, four years doing housework, five years waiting in line, and six years eating.

What could we be doing during those times to make a difference? What difference can we make in a day? It is time that we stop wasting our days and start using them for God.

Carl Sandburg said, “Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.”

As I close let me encourage you with this thought, Every day, Everywhere. The idea is to utilize a powerful concept that inspires you to see every day as an important ingredient in reaching people for Christ. Each day look for opportunities to serve others in their jobs, schools, home and work.

Every day Jesus made a difference in someone’s life and it is time that we slow and think of how we can make a difference in someone’s life in one day.

Church Shutdown

Yesterday marked the 16th day of the government shutdown and they finally came to an agreement. Think of all the grief and trouble this shutdown has caused people. People weren’t getting paid, resources were depleted and National Parks were closed. People noticed the government shutdown.

Several years ago, the church was the center of a town or community. All the activities of the town were centered around the activities of the church. Sports practices weren’t held on Wednesday nights because of church services. The church was the focal point of the town. The church was a place that civic meetings were held. It was the polling place for the city. I could go on and on about the role the church played in a community. Today that has changed.

My question today to you is, if your church were to shut down, would the town miss it and the role it plays for your community? How important is your church to your community?

We as the church have to make ourselves relevant again. A church is more than a building that is used for worship services. The church is its people. The church is the relationships that it brings. The church is the place that you find opportunities to seek God and to further the abilities that God has given you. The church is the place that you can grow in life and in your spiritual walk with God.

The community needs the church. Are you giving your town a reason to need you? If you didn’t exist would the town or community you are in miss you? If you can’t answer yes, then you need to fix something. Find out what that something is and fix it.

Acts 2:42-47 gives us a picture of what the church should look like today. It says, “42) And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43) Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. 44) Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, 45) and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. 46) So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, 47) praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.