That was today’s sermon.
Our pastor started off by introducing himself.
He’s been gone for the last couple of weeks on vacation, which was part of the introduction. It was funny. 🙂
Anyway, today was about going, and the main text was from Matthew 10.
Also Matthew 28:19, which was one of the last things Jesus said to His disciples before His ascension.
The sermon started off with how we place a lot of emphasis on coming to church, but not as much about going out as the church.
We invite people to come to church, but we don’t go.
We showed a quick video, and there was one (okay, there were actually three) question(s) in particular that stuck out to me: What if we closed the doors to our church? Would anyone know? Would they care?
1. A FOLLOWER OF JESUS GOES OUT.
Matthew 10:5 (He sent out)
We have words to describe going.
If it’s close to home we call it evangelism.
If it’s further away, we call it missions.
On verse 5: the Greek for sent out is apostello, which also means to send out with a commission. Jesus sends us out with authority. If He calls us to it, he empowers us to do it.
But it’s not going to be a walk in the park. When we step out into the world, we enter into a battle of spiritual warfare.
It’s not where you go, or far you go, or what you’re doing. It’s who you are. A plane trip does not make you a missionary; having a relationship with Christ does.
You are either a missionary or a mission field.
2. A FOLLOWER OF JESUS KEEPS THE MESSAGE SIMPLE.
Our message should not be complicated, or about our denominations or morals. We are to take it aggressively.
Each of us should have short version of our faith story so that we can share it.
3. A FOLLOWER OF JESUS MAKES COMPASSION CENTRAL.
Matthew 10:8 (freely give)
John 1:14 (We used the Message version, which is really awesome.)
People have to know that we care before they care about what we know.
Our pastor asked how many of us think we have an extra pound of body fat. He said that to maintain that extra pound costs $1.50 each month. That’s less than what 90% of Christians gave (per month) to their churches last year. Ninety percent of Christians gave less than $2 to their churches per month last year. (I have no clue where this stat comes from, but apparently he found it somewhere.)
Then he said (in a way that indicated he was pretending to be a congregant), “Oh, great. here comes the money plug.”
No. Because people tend to just throw money in the offering plate because they feel obligated to. It should come from your heart, not your guilt.
(That wasn’t what he said exactly, but it was the basic idea. And it reminded of the lyric, “I throw a twenty in the plate but I never give ’til it hurts.”)
He brought up how when he was young, his family lived next to field. One day, a dog wandered through the field to their house. It was obvious the dog had been dropped off on the side of a road somewhere. Pastor and his siblings started playing with the dog, because you know. It’s a dog, and they thought it might be fun to have a dog.
When they asked Dad, however, he was not thrilled.
Pastor’s sister, though, told him that she’d been praying for a dog, and that God had given them the dog.
Now, Dad was a pastor, so what could he say to that?
“We’ll see if the dog sticks around.”
The kids bathed, fed, and played with the dog. Of course the dog stuck around.
But why did they put so much time and effort into the dog?
Because she wandered into their backyard.
Starting Wednesday, a group of about 30 from our church (and two from another church) are going to Ecuador for almost two weeks. Some have been before, and for some (my sister) this will be the first trip. They will be going to several places, but the main idea that Pastor kept up in his plug was about how they will be in the backyard of slums and small towns, etc. These kids (teens and younger) that they’re going to be with might not get a whole lot of love. They may not know that they’re loved (by God and by others) until somebody shows up in their backyard to tell them so.
Pastor talked about how those kids tug at his heart every time he goes, and how they tug at the hearts of each person on the trips.
He asked three questions:
What is it that you agonize over?
What really bothers you?
Where do you extend compassion?
Find that and immerse yourself in it.
The other two questions he asked dealt with calling:
Where you being called?
Who has God placed on your heart?
Go. Share compassion.
I was incredibly glad for friends last night.
We had a couple of problems in our house last night—our carbon monoxide detector was beeping. I put new batteries in it, and it still beeped. Called my Mom (she and Dad were out of town for the night) and she said to find someone who would let me sleep on their couch or something for the night, just in case. So I raced around the house throwing some important stuff in a bag and texted the worship pastor, whose family welcomed me to crash on their couch for the night. So that was a relief.
I bought a new detector today and it wasn’t beeping at all, so we figure our old one was just malfunctioning, but we didn’t want to risk it, you know?
So that was my weekend. Kind of scary, but I lived through it.
I had to be up to be at church by 8 to help with screen, and I didn’t sleep enough. Once I feel asleep I was all right, but it took me a little longer to fall asleep I think. Anyway, aside from the sermon slides confusing me, both services went fine.
Second service was incredible.
So many good songs. So many people responding.
It reminded me of something I heard on Friday night, something a band leader mentioned about raising hands.
See, he used to think that lifting hands in praise was something for just the super-spiritual people.
But then he had kids. What did he realize? That when his girls want to be picked up by their daddy, they raise their arms up to him.
They reach up.
This dad and band member said that raising hands in praise is all about acknowledging that we are broken, needy people who want that loving embrace from our Father.
I thought that was a pretty neat way to think about it.