Join us Sunday, 01-17-10, at 9:00 a.m. or 11:00 a.m. for
Outward Focused “The Great Suggestion” Believers Statesboro
In Mark 3, we learned from the Fanatical Four that love makes you do radical, fanatical things. Jesus came for outsiders. He came for the lost, broken, hurting, disenfranchised, alone, overlooked, and poor. Jesus came for those whom religion rejected. Many churches unwittingly focus inward and forget those who are the very purpose for Jesus’ coming, the very purpose for our being here on earth.
A church like that is like:
- A hospital that no longer accepts patients.
- A soup kitchen that no longer feeds the hungry.
- A hotel that no longer takes reservations. It just wouldn’t make sense.
Many well-meaning, bible-believing, churches and people, even pastors, simply get caught up in themselves with little or no concern for the lost.
Mark 12:28-34 “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
This is a good question because there are a lot of commandments and a lot of things we should do. So, what is the most important? That would be good to know.
“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind
and with all your strength.’ If you don’t know God and love God nothing else really matters.
Ok what’s number two? “The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (I John 4:7-8)
Mark 12:32 “Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him.
33 To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
Love is more important than burnt offerings and sacrifices, which are acts of religion to try to please God. Today, we still try to offer sacrifices to please God. (1 Corinthians 13:3)
Mark 12:34 When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions. (NIV)
This man was getting it! He was starting to understand what the Kingdom of God is all about.
- Understanding that the most important thing is to love God and then your neighbor, having an outward focus is a result of being born into or adopted into the Kingdom of God.
- It comes natural for a Kingdom person.
Who do you love?
If you love God, you love people. If you don’t love people, you don’t love God.
You might love what God does for you, but you don’t love God.
It is not just the easy love, loving people who we like and are like us.
But, we also have to love those who aren’t like us.
Love makes you do fanatical things. Those whom you are doing fanatical things for are the ones whom you love.
Love makes us do crazy things. Who do you love? Do you love people who don’t know Christ?
Do you love your neighbor? “Of course I love my neighbor.”
- Remember: love makes you do radical, fanatical things, or at least unusual, unselfish things.
What caused the Shepherd to leave the ninety-nine to pursue the lost one? Love.
What made the father stand on the edge of town, praying and looking for his lost son? Love.
What drove our heavenly Father from heaven to earth? Love.
John 3:16-17 “…he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world … to save the world through him.” (NIV)
Jesus was “Sent” by God. You and I are “Sent” by God. (Romans 10:15)
Do you love the lost? Then, you will go to them. Then, you will be sent.
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me…BECAUSE… (Luke 4:18) HE HAS SENT YOU ALSO.
THE GREAT COMMISSION, NOT THE GREAT SUGGESTION.
Right before Jesus left this world, He left us with a very good, no, a really great suggestion.
- Sweet suggestion because it would probably be a good idea if we would continue with Jesus’
mission here on this earth.
- Great suggestion because Jesus loves the lost, and we should probably love the lost too.
- No, this is not a great suggestion. It is a command!
Being Vs Doing
Are we doing church or are we the church? If we are just doing church, we are going through the motions:
- It will take life out of being the church 24/7. We will lose our passion.
- We will lose the heartbeat of God – God’s heart beats for the lost and dying world.
- We could easily slip into a passion deficiency syndrome.
- Passion – Do what you want to do. Obligation – Have to do it.
Paul said in 2 Cor 5:14 For Christ’s love compels us, …(NIV)
God is love… no, God is obsessed with the lost, and we should be too!
For This Cause
John 18:37 Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?” Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” (NKJ)
- For this cause Jesus was born, and for this cause we are born of the Spirit.
- For this cause Jesus came into this world, and for this cause we are left in this world.
What cause? That Jesus should bear witness to the truth. Jesus’ life bore witness to the truth.
Ask yourself this question:
Does my life bear witness to the truth? Do I live a life of Christian Authenticity?
Non-Christians know how Christians should act. They know if our lives bear witness to the truth.
(John 17:14-15) Don’t confuse holiness with separating yourself from the kind of people you are trying to reach. We are to be in the world but not of the world.
IN BUT NOT OF. / But too often we are of the world, but not in it.
Fishers of Men
Matt 4:18-20 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him. (NIV)
If you are not a fisher of men…Who are you following? An inward focused church just becomes a keeper of an aquarium. Everyone happy! An outward focused church is made up of fishers of men.
YOU ARE PERSONALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE EVANGELIZATION OF THE PLANET BEFORE THE RETURN OF JESUS CHRIST! Christine Cain
We believe that “Jesus is the only way to heaven.” But consider this. What if I told you there were two billion ways to Jesus? (Ways for people to discover the only way.) You and I are a way. Here at Believers Church, there are about 500 ways to Christ Jesus. Of course, that depends on how much you love. Love will make you do some radical things.
January 13th, 2010
Tonight is the night!
One Hour On Wednesday starts back tonight at 7:00. We will review Romans 1-8 to catch everybody up and answer the pressing question in Romans 9
“If God has said that none can be condemned whom He has justified, and that none in Him can be separated, then why have the Israelites, who were sovereignty chosen and given unconditional promises, completely failed and been rejected?”
January 7th, 2010
Join us this Sunday, 01-10-10, 9:00 a.m. or 11:00 for
"Outward Focused Life Groups" Believers Statesboro
17 One day as he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law, who had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem, were sitting there. And the power of the Lord was present for him to heal the sick.
18 Some men came carrying a paralytic on a mat (Mark 2:3 Some men came, bringing to him a paralytic, carried by four of them.) and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. (The Fanatical Four)
19 When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus.
20 When Jesus saw their faith, he said, "Friend, your sins are forgiven."(NIV)
Sometimes, it takes something that radical to lead someone to Jesus!
Sometimes, it just takes the caring, consistent love of a small group of Christians.
Everyone needs friends, especially friends that will lead you to Christ Jesus.
Free Market Life Groups
Life Groups truly are Life Giving and Life Groups perfectly express what the Bible is all about: loving God and loving others.
Life Groups Help Us Focus on Others
Romans 15:2 “Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification.”
Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
Focusing on others takes the attention off of ourselves. That’s what the four friends were doing in
How Are Relationships Built in Life Groups?
- People join a group primarily because of similar interests or felt needs.
- Good ministry starts where you are.
- People connect most naturally with others who are like them.
- Common interests, ideas, studies, practices, hardships… these make the best framework for relational connectivity.
“Communion is strength; solitude is weakness. The sheep of Jesus flock together. The social element is the genius of Christianity.” Charles Spurgeon We flock together!
INWARD FOCUSED WARNING: Life Groups may cause people to become INWARD
FOCUSED when not used according to instructions.
In our new Outward Focused Climate we must be very careful not to let out Life Group become self centered “bless me clubs”, shun new people, and become a clique.
How is Discipleship Done In Life Groups?
Just as Jesus did, and Paul did, and Peter did, and John did: By knowing people and walking them through life with God’s wisdom and understanding.
People Have a Need to Belong.
We need to understand that everyone wants and needs to BELONG and that they want to be a part of a community. And that they have a basic human need to know and be known. It would seem that church would be the perfect solution to their needs. Everyone wants to BELONG somewhere.
But the unwritten message that the traditional church model has implied to people is:
Behave – Believe – Belong If you behave yourself and you believe like I believe, then I may let you belong to my group.
Life groups reach out to all people on the basis of “felt need” or “common interest”, and they say:
Belong – Believe – Behave Belong first, and when you belong, you will probably start to believe. As a result of believing, you will behave.
Life Groups offer us the opportunity and those who are outside of the family of God to BELONG, not just to BELONG to other people, but BELONG to Christ Jesus.
Like the paralytic man in Luke 5, everyone needs friends that not only take care of us, but friends that will take us to Jesus as well.
“The Two Fold Ministry”
Acts 2:46-47 / Acts 5:42 “They met day after day in the Temple courts and from house to house.”
Getting into someone’s home is getting into where they live.
- What they are interested in.
- What they are dealing with from day to day.
If you can touch them at their common interest and felt need you will have a lifelong friend.
Relational Discipleship- Discipleship via relationship + intentionality.
The challenge of discipleship is that we are dealing with so many people at different stages in their spiritual journeys. Some are ready to receive Christ; others are disinterested.
(Engle Scale of Conversion Stages, or The Spiritual-Decision Process by James Engel)
-8 Awareness of a Supreme Being, but no effective knowledge of the Gospel
-7 Initial awareness of the Gospel
-6 Awareness of the fundamentals of the Gospel
-5 Grasp of the implications of the Gospel
-4 Positive attitude toward the Gospel
-3 Personal problem recognition
-2 Decision to act
-1 Repentance and faith in Christ
0 The person is born again, and becomes a new creation in Christ
+1 Post decision evaluation
+2 Incorporation into a local body of Christ
+3 A lifetime of conceptual and behavioral growth in Christ
As we disciple others our goal is to move them up the scale to continued growth in Christ Jesus.
Each small group’s goal will be to move those in their group up one number on the Engle’s scale each semester.
How to Have an Outward Focused Life Group?
- Because of the variety of the groups and the short-term time commitment, members of the group are encouraged to invite an unbelieving friend to a group that will appeal to them.
- Develop service type Life Groups that perform Outward Focused actions.
- With a few other believers host a life group that targets the un-churched.
HP (High Potency) + CP (Close Proximity) + CC (Clear Communication) = MI (Maximum Impact)
Where two or three are gathered in my name I am with them. I will show up!
Matt 18:19-20 "Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them." (NIV)
When a group of people gather together on official Jesus business, He will show up.
And hopefully you will get to see and experience what the Fanatical Four were able to see and experience when Jesus says to your friend… "Friend, your sins are forgiven." Luke 5:20 (NIV)
January 4th, 2010
Ladies join us for an Italian Dinner Tuesday Night, January 5th, 6:30 p.m., in the Believers Church Pavilion.
We will continue with the Flavour theme that we were introduced to at our Ladies Flavour Retreat this past November.
Come and see how God has uniquely designed you to Flavour your world for Christ Jesus!
Bring a friend and if you would like to bring a Spaghetti dish, salad, or bread please let us know as soon as possible by replying to this email or calling the church office at 681-1440.
It’s going to be good!
January 1st, 2010
Join us this Sunday at Believers Church of Statesboro for the start of a New Year and the start of a New Sermon Series called Outward Focused. This week, 01-03-10, we will talk about "The Fanatical Four".
It’s also prayer card Sunday and "Rally Week". So come prepared to sign up for one of the 15 Life Groups offered to you.
Mike Oglesby will also begin "Fresh Start" this Sunday at 9:00 a.m. in the Merge room. This is a six week course designed for those who are new in Christ or those who just feel like they need a fresh start in their walk with Christ Jesus.
Portions of this sermon are adapted from the book “It” by Craig Groeschel.
The Fanatical Four
1 A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home.
2 So many gathered that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them.
Everyone wanted to see him. Some sincerely wanted to hear and learn. Others might have been skeptical and want wanted to expose him as a fake. Others may have been hoping of a show, a display of miracles that would entertain and amuse them. But four guys came to see Jesus that day that really got it. Mark 2:3 Some men came, bringing to him a paralytic, carried by four of them.
These fanatical four had a friend who was paralyzed and desperately needed Jesus. Jesus was the only hope for him,
For the crowd the meeting was about them. Some were there saying, “What can I get out of this? What can Jesus do for me? The Fanatical Four were there for their friend.
If we are not careful we can become inward focused and centered on ourselves. Even in our relationship with Christ Jesus, it can become, “Jesus, what can you do for me.”
Churches are filled with well meaning Christians with similar attitudes of many of those who crowed in that room that day to see Jesus. They not admit it but you can hear it in their self-centered words:
· We love this church because it is convenient for us.
· We go to this church because our kids love the day care.
· We go to this church because a lot of my children’s school friends go here.
· This church makes me feel better about myself.
“We’re church shopping,” they might say. We know what they mean, but their words imply that they’re consumers looking for a church to meet their needs.
When they find it they will join it and when it no longer meets their needs they will leave with no sense of loyalty of commitment.
“They leave singing the national anthem of consoumeristic church hoppers: “We’re just not getting fed. We’re not getting fed. We’re going to leave every church in town and won’t stop until we’re dead.” Craig Groeschel
A leading church consultant, Win Arn, surveyed nearly a thousand churches asking the question, “Why does the church exist?” The results?
89 percent said, “The church’s purpose is to take care of my families and my needs.” For many the role of the pastor is simply to keep the sheep who are already in the “pen” happy and not lose too many of them. Only 11 percent said, “The purpose of the church is to win the world to Jesus Christ.”
“When have we forgotten that the church doesn’t exist for us? We are the church and we exist for the world.” Erwin McManus
Churches that are not Outward Focused only minister to the already convinced. They don’t see a lot of conversions, baptism are few, and membership classes are small. You don’t see a lot of great works of the Holy Spirit. People are coming but not staying. Members aren’t growing, and even thought things may be stable, they are stagnant and not moving forward.
I don’t want to become a church like that! I refuse for us to be a church like that!
That’s why this year out theme is going to be “Outward Focused”. We will still take care of business here at home but we won’t forget about our friends and people who are paralyzed by sin that still need someone to bring them to Jesus.
Are You Outward Focused
Do you care about those who are without Christ?
· When is the last time you’ve had a lost person in your home? (Not repairman)
· How many meaningful conversations did you have with non=Christians this week?
· Who are the nonbelievers you prayed for today?
If you can’t answer those questions with several names, chances are you’re on the road to not carrying.
Ask God to increase your heart for those without Christ in 2010.
Lessons from Four Home-Wreckers
The Four Realized Their Friend Needed Jesus
Too many believers forget that the lost really need Jesus. Everything else is secondary!
He is their only hope! We want to believe that people we love never go to hell and it lessens our urgency to reach them for Christ Jesus.
It Took Four Different People to Get This One Man to Jesus
Winning the world for Jesus is a team effort that requires everyone to do their part. It is everyone’s job. I can’t do it alone. You can’t do it alone. It takes all of us.
“You are personally responsible for the evangelizing if the entire planet!” Christine Caine
But thank God we have each other to help us accomplish this overwhelming task.
You do your part. Let others do their part. Watch God do His part!
God has laid it on my heart and the heart of the pastoral staff and leadership that he is calling us in 2010 to be “Outward Focused”. I am going to encourage you to set a goal to share and lead one person to Christ Jesus in 2010, One in Ten. Focusing on leading one person will help you develop an Outward Focused towards others.
The Four Got Fanatical
The four guys were determined to do everything necessary to get their crippled friend to Jesus.
Mark 2:4 Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus and, after digging through it, lowered the mat the paralyzed man was lying on.
Picture that in your mind! These four guys were willing to burst through any barrier to get their friend to Jesus! Roof in the way? Nothing stood in their way and nothing will stand in our way.
The Fanatical Four Had Faith
Mark 2:5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven."
The first thing Jesus did was heal the man’s greatest injury. Jesus forgave his sins.
Mark 2:6-11 Vs 5 – “When Jesus saw their faith.” Whose faith? The faith of the Fanatical Four – then Jesus forgave and healed their friend.
What does it take to bring people to Christ Jesus?
1. People who don’t know Christ
2. A clear explanation of the gospel story
3. Genuine faith
“If your gospel isn’t touching others, it hasn’t touched you.” Curry R. Blake
The Results of Being Outward Focused
Mark 2:12 He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, "We have never seen anything like this!"(NIV)
If you truly allow the Lord to help you be Outward Focused in 2010 you will see miracles occurring in the lives of your family and friends. Then people will be amazed at what they are seeing.
And the testimony about what God is doing at Believers Church and in the lives of the people of Believer Church will be, "We have never seen anything like this!"