Obedience to loving God, loving people & making disciples is our focus.
Larissa’s story is one of redemptive grace, love and faithfulness. Her past was rough. Her life was hard. Her stories were down right unfair and difficult to digest, even.
Last Sunday we got a glimpse of Larissa’s story. Her story was sad and exciting all at the same time. I know that is a dichotomy, however, God is what makes this story so. She went from being lost and without hope, to being found by God and given hope beyond her imagination.
Larissa came to the warehouse and had a great experience with God, however, that’s just the beginning. What transformed her heart was not one event, it was her desire to be discipled. Her desire to grow in love so she may operate in love and grace.
Now she is in charge of our Hope Dealers ministry. Evangelizing our streets and telling people about the love and hope that is in Jesus! Since she is being discipled, she can go and make disciples.
Church, I want to be a ministry filled with people who are discipled so they can go and make disciples. This is why our final value in our church is: Obedience to loving God, loving people and making disciples is our focus.
Why is this our focus? Because we can’t:
Have Compassion be our heart if we aren’t loving God, loving people and making disciples.
Have Audacious spirit (or faith) we aren’t loving God, loving people and making disciples.
Have Relevance be our approach we aren’t loving God, loving people and making disciples.
Have Excellence be our aim we aren’t loving God, loving people and making disciples.
Have Service be our distinctiveness if we aren’t loving God, loving people and making disciples.
Have Generosity be our privilege if we aren’t loving God, loving people and making disciples.
All of our values in our church mean nothing, our church will mean nothing to our city, our attempts will mean nothing, if we can’t love God, love people, and make disciples of Jesus Christ.
And we can’t make disciples if we are not being discipled.
Friends, we have to have a fire over this value, nothing else will ever matter more than this. I’m as flawed as there is as a leader and even a Christian. But that is why I need to be discipled. Because I’m flawed, I need to serve God and serve people… I need life groups… I need to grow spiritually… I need prayer… I need to read the Bible… I need generous… I need to be around people even if I disagree with them… I need accountability in every area of my life.
Why?! Because it will change my life. If you don’t believe me, ask Larissa. Her story will let us see that discipleship is never in vain. Let’s go! Gather, Grow, Give, and Go!
In His Grace and Love,
These past couple weeks, we’ve been focusing on values and it has been such an eye opener! Our values matter. They tell the story of what is of most importance in our discipleship journey. So far, we’ve focused on key values we have at UPC such as Compassion & Audacity.
We simply operate in Compassion because to Love God is to love people. Love is nothing unless compassion drives us to be involved in the human experience of life.
We live in a Social Media driven society that puts our compassion or lack of it on display for the world.
SM has many positives and can be used as a platform to encourage, share and reach others for Jesus. However, in light of all that can be good, there’s also a downside…
The downside of it is the deterioration of values, empathy and compassion. It can cause people to focus on self, the overwhelming exposure to suffering can desensitize us to peoples hurt and the lack of interaction can cause us to care less about people.
Jesus’ compassion towards us was life saving. He was moved to the point he went to the cross. Compassion is love in action… To say you love, but not act on it is to not love at all.
We need to let our lives be interrupted and react with God’s love and compassion and most importantly...ACT! When you are moved by compassion, you see the power of God more than you see the need.
Though the word hope is in the definition of faith, sitting around hoping for God to do something is not what God is calling us to do. This is why Audacity is another value of ours. Audacity is our spirit, and this audacity helps us view faith with a drive that places action before the blessing that we trust God for. And we see the result through the expectation that God is going to honor the work that was put into it. That means taking risks at times.
The reason why we must have audacity as our spirit is because there an ambivalence to faith. It’s not clearly defined.
There are very little times in the Bible that a big risk wasn’t met with a big miracle. God did something big and bold for His people. God loves an audacious spirit, because without faith, the Bible says, it is impossible to please God. This is the reason why we want to keep focusing, as a church, to take bold risks. That audacity becomes our spirit... Why? Because people of faith aren’t supposed to play it safe.
Where there are miracles, there is a process. Where there is no risk, there is no reward.
We have to ask ourselves, what kind of risk are we willing to take for Christ?
God will always ask us to give him what we have, in order for him to give us what we need.
He cannot deposit in our life that which we aren’t willing to work (or dig) for.
You want to find God? Dig deeper.
We can’t just come to church. We need to come to church expecting to have an encounter with God.
Spend the week digging ditches. Dig ditches of Fellowship, Worship, prayer, and Word. Come to church with your hands dirty and with a shovel, ready to go deeper.
We look forward to going deeper with you this Sunday so grab your shovel and join us at 10:15 am as we get into the next value. See you soon!
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