Thursday, December 19, 2013

Four Essential Ingredients: Mission


We continue to look at the four essential ingredients for a thriving Christian life represented in Acts 2. This is where we see the very first church focused on the four ingredients necessary to grow together – nurture, worship, community, and mission. In order to grow as vibrant Christians, we need to make sure we place these as a priority in our faith journeys.

In Acts 2:42-47, it says, “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.”

Have you ever heard of Christmas caroling after Christmas? That is what a particular small group did one time. Since the retail stores are jumping the gun by getting ready for Christmas shopping in October, a small group decided to extend the message of the Christ child a few days after Christmas. Their witness sparked curiosity and they were able to share the love of Christ. Another small group adopted a missionary together. They took turns writing notes of encouragement and sending small gifts on special days. The people in these small groups took serious the fourth component of a thriving Christian life — they were involved in mission together. Everyone doesn’t have to do the same thing in order to be involved in missions. It is probably impossible for that to take place since we have different spheres of influence.

All through the book of Acts we see where groups came together to serve and minister to the needs of people around them. It looks like sometimes it was the whole church and then other times it was a smaller group of people. The point is, we all need to be serving. Let’s look in Acts at different examples where this took place.

Acts 1 – Having been promised the Holy Spirit and commanded to be Christ’s witnesses locally and worldwide, the Twelve gathered with several women and Jesus’ brothers to pray. After they prayed they began to preach. An incredible revival broke out and 3,000 were added to their number.

Acts 4 – As the believers began to mature, they became one in heart and soul, and all they possessed belonged to each other. There was no one who had need. The Apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and grace was upon them all. They began to experience authentic community and all the material needs of each other were met. The word spread and God was glorified.

Acts 6 – A group of people started complaining because a small group of widows were being overlooked. People were extended so the Twelve decided to create a small group of seven to help with the issue. It was a simple task but it met a big need and oversight. This let them focus of the most important task – prayer and the ministry of the word.

You can continue to see this thread of mission throughout the book of Acts (Acts 13, 15, 16-17, 24).

Mission is sharing the good news of Christ’s love in word and deed. We must individually and together, reach beyond ourselves. Starting this January, we are going to give people an opportunity to be a part of a group that will mature together in the faith and minister in word and deed. Are you a part of a group that is mission oriented for Christ’s sake?

In order to follow the first Church's example, we are going to encourage people to be a part of a Discipleship Class and then breaking it down smaller into a Disciple Group. Each class could have several Disciple Groups in them. This will allow our classes to get larger while still keeping the smaller feel. It is going to be amazing to see these groups ignite with the passion of Christ.

This past Sunday was tremendous as we saw the church choir sing in the service. Unfortunately there were several who were not able to come because of the snow storm. This Sunday will be a great day. It is our Christmas Sunday Celebration. A special quartet will open up the service. You may remember this quartet from last year. Come and see the new song they will perform. Also, I keep forgetting to mention that I have done a tradition for 26 years in each church I have been in. All the men are encouraged to wear red socks. I will be wearing mine so join me as we bring in the Christmas Sunday with our red socks.

Come out tonight and enjoy a Christmas Concert at 7:00 p.m. It has become part of our celebration each year.

Joy in Jesus!

Pastor Mike

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