I preached this past Sunday (January 8th, 2012) from Proverbs 29:18 and shared 6 things that I believe we need to have this year in order to truly be the church that God has created us to be. I invite each one who reads this to prayerfully consider how they can make these hallmarks a part of their life this year. (These ideas are good for any church :) )
A) Fervent Prayer – Our ministry & our daily Christian life must begin and end in prayer. Fervent is focused, urgent, important, prioritized. In addition to the people on our prayer list, are you praying for the ministry of your church? Are you praying for the leaders of your church? Are you praying for your pastor?If we solely rely upon our own talents, we will surely fail. We must seek the power, presence and wisdom of God through regular and focused prayer.
– Did you know we have a church prayer room? It is now located downstairs in the Brides room. This room is available for prayer for you at any time. You are also welcome to come and pray in the sanctuary
– How about joining the PIT crew – the Pastors Intercessory Team is a new initiative where our pastor shares specific concerns related to the ministry of our church & to his ministry as well. Updates are sent out twice per week. E-mail Roger at firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up today.
B) Passionate Worship – We are called to worship God with our heart, soul, mind and strength. Too often, however, many of us only worship God with our mind and leave our heart, soul and strength out of it. When you are passionate about something, people can tell. You talk about it all the time. You act differently when you talk about it. You are more animated. What will it take for you and I to become more passionate about worshipping God. Do we approach worship with anticipation and expectation about meeting God? When we are moved in worship, it stays with us a long while. You feel it the whole week, it lifts you up and carries you forward. I believe that if those who worship in the pews and those who lead in worship both focus on making that hour the best hour of the week. If we prepare our hearts and minds through prayer for that hour, it will be an hour that is worth being passionate about.
C) Dedicated Discipleship – Are we committed to growing as Christians? As a church, how well do we do in helping our people grow in maturity as Christian disciples? Dedication is needed to make certain that we are not hopping from mountain top to mountain top. True growth comes from dedicated, ongoing, step by step, commitment to becoming more and more like Christ. It begins with our commitment to getting into the Word of God, the Bible. Are you reading the Bible? Are you studying and meditating on what you read? Are you involved with a group of other Christians who are studying the Bible? There are all sorts of wonderful resources available for diving into God’s Word. I’ve listed a couple of ways below to get you started. There is a lot more available out there for you – let me know and I will be glad to point you in the right direction
– Daily reading of the New Testament from Acts to Revelation between now and Easter Sunday, April 8th. Join with others as we read God’s Word together. There is a link in my daily e-mail or you can go to chatsworthumc.wordpress.com each day for the reading. There are also lists of the daily readings available in the side narthex at the church.
– 40 Days in the Word is a new church wide campaign that will spend six weeks exploring different ways of studying God’s Word. There will be a sermon each week centered around the Bible and each Sunday night (beginning Sunday, January 29th) at 5pm we will gather in the sanctuary to watch a video teaching segment and then divide into small groups to discuss what we learned. We will finish by all gathering back together in the Fincher Family Life Center for snacks and fellowship.
D) Glad and Generous Giving – We worship a giving God who gives each of us more than we can ever say thank you for. We do not worship a God of scarcity! We are blessed beyond words and it is a privilege to be able to give back to God’s church out of the gratitude that is in our hearts. Everything that we have belongs to God and we are stewards of these resources. How we use these things – our time, our talent, our treasure – is a big part of our gift back to God. The question to consider is what will you do this year with what God has given you?
How will you use your time to honor God? Where are you serving now? Where would you like to serve? did you know that there are plenty of opportunities to serve within and through your church. Without each member and friend of our church giving of their time, there is no way that we can be the church that God wants us to be. Contact me if you are looking for a place to serve.
How will you use your talents this year to honor God? Think about your skills, your interests, the things that you do well. How can you use these things to honor God and to build up your church? I want to challenge every one reading this article to spend some time in prayer listening to how God wants you to serve this year.
How will you honor God through the giving of your treasure this year? The ministry of your church is possible because you and others are obedient to the call of God with your tithes and offerings. Are you giving what God wants you to give? Are you giving with glad and generous hearts? Human nature is to focus on meeting the budget and reducing the debt. If each of us are obedient and give what we are led to give, we will not have to worry about the budget and the debt will be paid off sooner than we can dare dream about. I pray that this will happen in 2012.
E) Steadfast Witness – A witness is someone who shares what they have seen, heard or experienced. To be a witness for God is to live our lives in such a way that people will see and hear and experience the love of Christ through our everyday words and actions. We worship a God who is steadfast and true in His love for us. Let us be steadfast in our living for him.
In 2012, will you pray that God will use you to share His love with those you come into contact with. Will you be willing to listening for that still, small voice of God nudging you to speak up about your faith and will you be willing to obey that nudging when it occurs? I believe if each of us does these things lives will be changed and our church will grow like it has never grown before. Why? because there are thousands of people around us who are dying because they do not know the truth that we know.
F) Selfless Service – What are you doing for others? What do we expect in return when we do serve? Are you willing to serve God and others in ways that will focus on their needs first before your own needs? When a need is brought up do you ask “God, how do you want me to respond?” or do you look for ways why you can’t respond? Selfless service is the love of Christ put into action. It is the Good News of the Gospel proclaimed through actions that are louder than words. Selfless service will clear the way for people to not only see the Gospel in action but also hear the Word proclaimed for their life.
I want to invite each of you to prayerfully consider these ideas and what they will look like in your own life? Also, will you join me in praying that they will become the hallmarks of our congregation in 2012 and beyond and that God will use our church to impact our community!
Your pastor, Roger Vest
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