Yourself. Church. Jesus.
Faith Community is embarking on a journey to find something that may have been lost for a lot of us and maybe a lot of you. Maybe you're feeling directionless in life, not knowing where you want to go or who you want to be. Maybe you've forgotten what church is supposed to be about or even what it is. Or maybe you've lost that relationship with Jesus Christ and you don't know how to get it back. Here at FC, we want to invite you all on this two month journey with us, to RE:DISCOVER yourself, church, and Jesus.
Join us, December 25th at 10 a.m. for worship through music and a message about rediscovering Jesus. After, there will be a devotional digging deeper into God's Word. We will also continue the "FC Classic," the ultimate icebreaker competition to end all icebreakers. Finally, we will carry on with "The Project," where you will have an opportunity to build something to keep you anchored.
a light on my path." - Psalm 119:105
Every journey begins with a decision.
And that is whether or not to start at all.
What will you decide?
Identity has become a recurring theme in today's culture. Many people wrestle with the question of who they are. We often put our identity in trivial things, but God wants us to put our identity in Him. We are guided by the Light to be a light. We are his chosen people, called out of the darkness to follow the light He provided us. We are the light of the world to let others know about our Father in heaven. It's not about our light under the spotlight.
God opposes the proud, and at the right time He will lift up the humble. We are simply trees living in a story about a forest. We are part of a larger legacy. We each have a special role in God's grand narrative for humankind. To live out this story takes bravery, honesty, and vulnerability. That's also what it takes to build a church. We can't live in fear as we pursue God's goodness. It takes change. At Faith Community, we let people know to "Come As You Are," but that doesn't mean "Stay As You Are."
Change can be a trial in itself. It can lead to brokenness, but it can also lead to rebuilding. It can develop resilience. The first step towards going somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are. Yes, there are some things we can't change, but I encourage you all to pray about it. Ask God to grant you the serenity to accept the things you cannot change, the courage to change the things you can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
Be a light, like Jesus. Build a legacy, like Jesus. To do this, we have to make the decision to change. We have to ask ourselves a simple question. What kind of Christian do I want to be?
Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV)
14 "You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
1 Peter 5:5-6 (NIV)
5 In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, "God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble." 6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.
1 Peter 3:13-14 (NIV)
13 Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. "Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened."
1 Peter 2:9 (NIV)
9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
Psalm 119:105 (NIV)
105 Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.
Be a light. Build a legacy. When this happens, you will become a leader. To grow as a leader you need S.O.I.L. and S.E.E.D.
- S ervant
- O thers focused
- I ntegrity
- L ove
- S piritual
- E xercises
- E ach
- D ay
S.O.I.L. - These are all characteristics a leader must possess.
S.E.E.D. - A leader needs to be intentional in their relationship with God through acts like prayer, solitude, and fasting. A person can't help but grow when there is S.O.I.L. and S.E.E.D. Most importantly, a true leader must to be able to follow. A leader must be able to follow Jesus Christ.
Despite whoever our political leaders may be, it is important to remember Jesus is King. That is because our true citizenship lies in heaven. As we become leaders, we must be aware of how we portray ourselves in our daily lifestyles.
At the same time, it's also important to remember we are not perfect and that whomever we are leading will make mistakes as well. None of us are blameless. God knows this and forgives us. That's why we don't need to earn salvation. Jesus already paid that debt for us. That's what makes Christianity different from other religions. It's a relationship between a Creator and His masterpiece.
You are His workmanship. He is chiseling away at you through all the trials, lessons, and heartaches. He is using every moment in your life to shape you, but God will never give you anything you can't handle. You will be tested, but know that you are being forged through fire into the leader He wants you to be.
Ephesians 2:8-10 (NIV)
8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Proverbs 3:6 (NIV)
6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
John 8:7 (NIV)
7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her."
Ephesians 4:32 (NIV)
32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Church isn't just limited to a building used for public Christian worship. Church isn't confined in walls, but it is something that is lived out in our walk. We are the church. Living and breathing just like God's Word.
We are Faith Community and we exist as a movement of God to be abiding, caring, and sharing.
We are each a part of the body of Christ. By using the gifts He gave each of us, we can build it up and reach unity in the faith in the hope that we can mature and be more like Jesus.
God wants us to use our spiritual gifts in inventive ways to break out of the traditional box of what Christian service looks like. Art, administration, carpentry, designing, encouraging, filming, making music, serving in the military, teaching, even giving someone a cold cup of water can be a sign of a spiritual gift.
Everybody in the world has some type of talent or ability, but spiritual gifts are something that only Christians have. It's about having faith in God's strength and not in our own. It is an expression of our faith and it's used to strengthen the faith of others. We can use our gifts to help each other keep the faith and this is especially true during the storms in life.
One of the best things about being a church is knowing that we are not alone in those storms. We have a hope in the certainty of His promises that are sure and steadfast. By using our spiritual gifts we can strengthen one another and encourage one another. Spiritual gifts remind us of His promises and it brings all the glory to Christ.
1 Corinthians 12:27 (NIV)
27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
Ephesians 4:11-13 (NIV)
11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
1 Peter 4:10 (NIV)
10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms.
Hebrews 6:19a (NIV)
19a We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain...
Conflict is inevitable. Even in church. So it's important that we follow God's Word and love one another. To reach true harmony, we need to be united in thought and purpose. Our relationships with one another will change, but only if we dedicate ourselves to loving one another as Jesus loved us. To truly love one another, we need to be able to strengthen one other and forgive one another.
We often hear God's truth from other believers, but our relationship with them will determine whether they accept that truth or not. The truth must always be done in an environment of grace through a relationship built on trust. In the heat of conflict, it's important to make Christ-like decisions. We need to excel at imitating Christ as leaders. That means doing His will and following in His way. Loving Jesus is all about being obedient to Him.
By saying we are Christians, we are saying we are followers of Christ. That means Jesus needs to be our goal and following Him can be an arduous journey. Following Him could cost you everything. By imitating any person, you are essentially giving up your own plans and desires. However, imitation can be the greatest form of flattery. By imitating Christ, we are saying He is worth chasing after. We may not be perfect reproductions, but we always need to strive to be just like Christ. We need to strengthen, forgive, and love one another. That's how the world will know we are followers of Christ.
Ephesians 4:15-16 (NIV)
15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
Colossians 3:12-14 (NIV)
12 Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Ephesians 4:2 (NIV)
2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
John 14:21 (NIV)
21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.
1 Corinthians 1:10 (NIV)
10 I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.
Ephesians 4:32 (NIV)
32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Jesus' way of self-sacrifice and humility can be extremely counterculture to the way of the world. The way of the world is all about consumer culture where we become more. The truth is we need to make Jesus more. This consumer culture can even envelop the church and create Christians that seek instant gratification for their own personal needs. They start to depend on their own competence rather than a prayerful life that is dependent on God.
True humility is denying oneself and following Jesus. Putting aside our own desires and plans to follow the desires and plans of Jesus. That takes sacrifice, trust, and love. We learn to love Jesus by loving one another through our actions because the gospel values community over individualism. A church exists for others and that means living a life of submission.
Transforming someone into the likeness of Christ can't be hurried. People make mistakes. It's a slow work, so it can't be hurried, but it's urgent, so it can't be delayed. The Christian consumer culture wants to get things done now and they are looking for shortcuts to becoming like Christ, but the truth is that God is building that person over a long period of time. We need to embrace that God created us with that in mind. God is the archer and we are the arrow. He uses life, like a bow, to create tension. The farther we get pulled back, the farther we will launch forward. God is launching us to our purposes here on Earth.
We are not limited to one purpose in life. We are here to do many things and first and foremost our purpose is to let others know about the unsearchable riches of Christ. That Jesus died for our sins, was buried, and then rose again. That's the simple gospel that we struggle to share to the rest of the world. That is the Good News.
Micah 6:8 (NIV)
8 He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
Romans 12:10 (NIV)
10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.
1 John 3:18 (NIV)
18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.
Mark 8:34-36 (NIV)
34 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. 36 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?"
1 Corinthians 15:3-4 (NIV)
3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.
Ephesians 3:7-8 (NIV)
7 I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God's grace given me through the working of his power. 8 Although I am less than the least of all the Lord's people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ.
Philippians 1:27 (NIV)
27 Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel