In the book of Genesis God said to a man named Abram, "I will bless you...and you will be a blessing". Words like this had never been spoken by a god in all of human history! But this wasn't just any god! These words were spoken by the One True God! The Creator of Heaven and Earth! And this God, right from the beginning, had plans to bless us so that we would be a blessing to others! WOW!
We hope you will join us beginning Sunday, November 3rd at 10:00 a.m. as we celebrate the blessing of God and the opportunity we have to be a blessing!
As we start moving forward toward a new sermon series for September I find myself reflecting on the various series from the past year and wonder if anyone else ever stops to think about how they connect. I personally like to have a mental picture from the words. As I reflect about where we've been in the past year and all the things that God is doing in our congregation I can't help, but want to connect the dots. There is just something fascinating about seeing the picture that begins to form when you step back from the moment you are in.
We started the year with a series titled If Only... We looked at the different regrets we have that might hold us back from becoming the people that God intended us to be. We then moved on to our Revealed in Red series where we looked at what God told us through Scripture. We explored the history book He has given us and were able to see where over centuries He spoke through prophets telling of a future that we actually get to see unfold with the death of his Son in the Gospels. We then moved on to our Mission and Vision series Greater where we looked at what it is Jesus instructed us to do. We explored our Mission - 2MD - To Multiply Disciples and our Vision - 2LV - To Love God Completely and Others Authentically. We learned about being the X Factor and we discovered what it takes to become Greater. We moved on to our Covenant - The Pursuit of God series where we took a look at what our history book - The Bible shows us about our relationship with God under the Old Covenant and how it changed with the coming of Christ and a New Covenant was established. We saw how the story and connection between the two was a love story of God pursuing us. We then took the Summer and talked about what it looks like to be Fearless. What it looks like as we start to overcome the fears that hold us back from being the people that God intended us to be. Which brings us to Margin: Time & Space for Real Life.
So if you've been around since the first of the year you might be wondering why exactly is there a need to recap. Well.... the thought comes to mind that you can't know where you're going if you don't know where you've been. As I look at these series a story starts to emerge. The If Only and Fearless series serve to remind us of the things that hold us back from pursuing the life that God wants to give us. Whether it's fears or regrets if we dwell on them they keep us in a corner. When we face them we allow ourselves to move forward to the life God wants to give us. Revealed in Red and Covenant serve to remind us from a historical and scriptural perspective that God has taken great effort to design a plan for us and that He actively pursues us wanting to give us the best life possible. Greater is to bring to our attention the simpleness of his plan. He doesn't expect us to memorize a list of rules, only take so many steps on Sunday or even sacrifice a lamb every so often. He simply wants us to learn to live in genuine, authentic relationship with Him and others. He wants us to get out of ourselves and have relationship and multiply disciples. He wants us to move past being content that we have a lukewarm relationship with Him and a casual relationship with others and wants us to become Greater than we've allowed ourselves to think was possible. Rather than keep it to ourselves He wants us to share what he's doing so that others can experience a full, meaningful life with Him. And then we are left with Margin. Margin helps us figure out how in the busyness of our everyday life we can purposefully use our resources so that we aren't just adding more things to the "to-do" list and exhausting ourselves. Margin helps us learn when to be selective "yes" people so that we are using our time, energy and resources wisely to help us fulfill our Mission and Vision in the way God intends for us to as individuals.
It's amazing when you stop and realize that God just doesn't randomly throw things at us. Everything is a building block or reminder that we are called to be Greater both as individuals and as a congregation. God reminds us of the things we allow to hold us back, continues to pursue us and has the play book ready and waiting if we are willing to jump into the game. So going forward I encourage us all to think about where we've been this year and look with fresh eyes going forward to where God is leading us!
In Acts 2:42-47 we find very descriptive words about the Church soon after it's birth...
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. (Acts 2:42-47 NIV)
So much could be said about the early Church based on these verses! One word that is prominent (it is used 3 times in this passage) is the word TOGETHER. And that word is a key to much of the early churches effectiveness!
We know they had the power of the Holy Spirit...
We know they lived sacrificial lives...
We know they were devoted to God and each other...
We know they valued prayer, God's Word and serving...
But much of what God did through them came from the powerful fact that they did these things TOGETHER! They were an irresistible environment! People wanted to be a part of what was happening among these fledgling followers of Jesus! And so we see that "...the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved." WOW!
MARGIN: An amount available beyond what is actually needed; extra resources; the space between our current performance and our limits.
By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. (Genesis 2:2-3)
God rested? Why? Isn't He all-powerful? Isn't He infinite? Isn't He...God?
The answer to those questions is yes! God is all of those things, but God also CHOSE to rest! Not because He had to, but because He wanted to. And also because He was communicating a powerful truth to us: WE NEED TIME, SPACE, REST, MARGIN
Join us as we look at how we create and sustain healthy margin in our lives! It's vital for our spiritual, emotional, relational and physical health!
God intentionally created margin for Himself! You can too!