A Community Resourced to Grow
Today we are continuing with our theme of the Community God intends us to be- This time looking at A COMMUNITY RESOURCED TO GROW
All that has been shared so far has arisen from how the eldership team visualised they would like the church to become over the next five years.
Last weekend, those of us that attended ‘Inspired’ were reminded that God was a dreamer. That He had imagination as to what he wanted to create before He spoke the word that brought this world, and us, into being.
We are made in God’s image. Accordingly God has given us the ability to ‘dream’ too. To visualise what our desires might be before taking any steps to try and bring that dream into reality.
So what’s your dream for the Church? How do you visualise it might be? Does that dream differ from where we are at right now? Take a minute to consider, if you had the ability to speak the word (just as God did) to change Living Word Community Church, what would you change?
One fundamental difference between God and us is He only had to speak the word…..whereas we have to apply ourselves to the task of implementing change.
So today I am looking at what changes do we need to consider, and what part is God calling me to play in the process, if we are to be a people that is resourced to ‘serve and grow’
So our dream is a plea for your support in its realisation
Dig for Victory
By way of illustration, let me take you back a few years.
In WW2 days there was a poster that many of you will have seen, particularly in museums covering that period of history.
In fact there were a series of posters on the same theme. They started within one month of the outbreak of war, when the population was encouraged to dig up their ornamental gardens and turn every bit of usable green area over to vegetable production to supplement the inevitable food shortages that were imminent.
If you visualised eating better, and if you wanted to improve your meagre diet you had to do something about it. You had to turn your vision into a reality. You had to dig deep; you had to be prepared to sacrifice the superficial for the essential.
What the government was advising, you had to adopt to benefit. You had to do something about it! You had to do the digging!
In the same way, that’s what I believe God is calling us to do now.
He wants us dig deep once more and turn some of the non essentials in our lives over to that which we’ll call ‘victorious Christian living’
Dig for victory!
The wartime posters pressed for more and more effort as the need increased.
Dig for victory! ……. Dig for victory now!...... Dig on for victory! ……was the progression
Its the same sense of urgency that we find in the bible
’Be filled with the Spirit’ (Eph 5v18)
written in the present continuous tense Likewise, when you run a long distance race, there is a need to pace yourself, but ultimately to,
‘press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called us heavenwards in Christ Jesus.’ (Phil 3:14)
You might say, “it’s all very well telling us to dig deeper, give us some specifics that we can consider, that we can grasp hold of. What resources are you talking about?”
Well, after God himself, His biggest resource is you! He has made you the church! You are Christ’s representatives!
Let me give you a list of five specifics that I feel we need to consider,
1.Commitment and Priority
God does give us many important and valid responsibilities that fall outside of church activity. We have a duty to our employers to serve them as ‘unto the Lord’. We have a responsibility to care for and nurture our children and properly support our family.
But we likewise have a duty to serve God. In fact He rightfully has first call on our lives.
‘you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's. (1 Cor 6:19-20)
Accordingly, whatever little we have available to us, it’s a wise investment to pour it into whatever gives us the best yield. And you cannot better your investment than to store up your treasure in heaven!
It’s a question of what do you want to prioritise. It could be sitting relaxing in front of the television watching an interesting programme rather than making the effort to participate in home group.
Maybe group isn’t as interesting as you consider it could be! So maybe your input and contribution can alter that impression and enable someone else to really be blessed. Their blessing is your investment, and what’s more you can feel good about it!
Mark 9:41 I tell you the truth, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward.
Think about what investment gives the greatest reward
Do you realise that we can greatly undervalue the power of prayer. Whilst Jesus was teaching he taught we should
‘pray and not give up’ (Luke 18 v1)
Jesus spent time alone with his Father regularly, and we should follow his example. Yet if I’m honest, it’s often the time that I can push into the background because of other demands. I’m sure it’s no different for you too!
But in so doing we miss out!
Matt 6:31-33 So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
I really can’t understand why so few attend our monthly prayer meeting when all group commitments have been cancelled to avoid too many time demands occurring together!
We must invest in our children. They are the Church of the future.
Not one of us want to see our kids drift away and get totally captivated by what the world offers them, in packages that they find so attractive!
I’m really grateful for the faithfulness of all those that work and minister amongst our children. Yet there are difficulties in maintaining support and help in children’s’ work and ‘Little Angels’
Is this an area where you could serve?
As most of you know, we made the move to Wat Tyler primarily to provide better facilities for the children’s ministry, whilst at the same time having the conviction that God was repositioning the church for spiritual and numerical growth.
We knew that the move would increase our financial burden for hall hire and are sure that you will continue to support us in that decision.
At the same time we are anxious to maintain, and where possible, increase our support for mission. Currently our mission giving, which includes tithing our tithes to Lifelink, amounts to approximately one third of our income.
I’m glad that we have been able to this, and as Treasurer for the church,
I want to thank all of you who have given so faithfully over the years.
Can I take the liberty, to ask you to take a look at your finance to see if you can dig a little deeper to help us continue to help those who regularly experience poverty (poverty, that we can’t even imagine in the country where we are privileged to live)
Can I also ask those of you that don’t tithe your income to look at the scriptures, and to seek from the Lord how you can respond in this area.
As parents we seek to bring up our kids to adopt the same values and ideals that we have as they move into adulthood.
There’s not one parent amongst us who wouldn’t want their child/children to exceed what they themselves have achieved. We want them to develop more educationally, to form good solid faithful relationships, to be fulfilled and successful in their jobs, and yes, to surpass every achievement of our own!
It’s no different in leadership. Our task is to pass on to you Godly values and ideals. We want you to surpass us in every way you can. We want you to pick up the baton that passed on to each succeeding generation and to run with it as hard as you can.
You are the church for this age. As an individual you are unique. There’s no one else that God has in mind, who can do what God requires of you alone.
Let me give you a quote from yesterday’s Word for Today. It was made by Churchill. He said,
‘The price of leadership is responsibility to stay positive whether you feel like it or not’.
Do you always try and look at what you do within the church through positive eyes? Even when you don’t feel like it?
I always enjoy being with positive people because they always encourage, always see the best in people, and are always willing. What a fantastic attitude! It’s how I want to be, but please be patient I’m still a work in progress!
In the same thoughts from yesterday’s Word for Today, was another quote,
“Each of us has the potential to be great…..not famous, but great, because greatness comes by serving!
Consider your dream for yourself, for your children, for your family, for your church family. Are they worth making an extra effort for?
I encourage you to dig deep for the victory that is yours to gain. God doesn’t have any other resource in mind to carry this vision forward.