This month our church will be specifically focused on “Discipleship.” Discipleship simply means “to follow Jesus.”
The first Disciples were called from their jobs and from their homes to literally follow Jesus around.
As the travelled around the Sea of Galilee in Israel, their heard his teachings, saw his healings and experienced his great love.
They followed him into Jerusalem where they had their faith and understanding tested in the most painful way.
The followed him as a Risen Lord after Easter morning and started a world-wide movement that would make the name “Jesus” recognizable in every language.
Today, we are the beneficiaries of all that has gone before us. And we are also the bearers of the “Good News” to the generations that follow us.
Our “Discipleship” emphasis month will last 7 weeks and started last week with the sermon: “Dead or Alive.”
It asked the simple question: “Are we alive in Christ? Are we active citizens of God’s heavenly Kingdom?” or “Are we dead to all that God is doing” and “Have we ignored the great unconditional love God has offered to us in Jesus Christ.” It’s not easy to answer. We know how easy it is to lose track of God in our life.
On Sunday, as an important part of assessing where we are, we asked everyone to take THE REAL DISCIPLESHIP SURVEY found on our website (www.LancasterUnited.org).
It’s an anonymous survey and it gives us a snapshot of where we are as a disciple of Jesus Christ. In addition, it offers immediate suggestions as to what we can do to strengthen our faith and discipleship. (And please, if you haven’t done so already, go and do so now! It only takes a few minutes and it will give you a wealth of information about your spiritual journey.)
OUR CHURCH IS SHIFTING!
In the Book: “Missional Renassiance”, we’re learning that in order to become the 21st Century Church that is able to make a real difference, the shift we critically need is to move to a “Disciple Centered” church instead of a “Program Centered” church.
This is the heart of becoming a “Missional” church. We are a “body of people sent on God’s redemptive mission…” And it takes work for us to keep our focus on God and God’s will for us.
This means that everything we do needs to be measured by how well we all become better disciples of Jesus Christ, how we all are better at offering the great unconditional love of God through our lives.
The first step in this shift to consider is in what direction are we oriented?
Are we oriented “inward”, toward organizational activities, filling slots, perpetuating ministries, repeating past activities? Or are we oriented in an outward way, contributing to an expanding Kingdom of God?
We have often talked about “being” the church rather than “just doing” church. This means that we organically embody God’s love in real ways. We must become serious about our lives if we are to be a movement of disciples.
With this is mind, Church is not so much a destination for people to join as a place of “Connection” where people become empowered and involved in the new things that God is doing.
God’s people were not called to be simply blessed, but to be a blessing to all people. (Genesis 12)
We are to live our lives in such a way that we end up blessing those around us, even those who don’t deserve it. (Some would say especially those who don’t deserve it.)
Here’s the challenge: Can each of us be a blessing to at least three other people a week? Not from obligation but just because it’s the natural thing to do with unconditional love?
And when we begin to do this, we embody the gifts of the Holy Spirit, we “incarnate” it and make it visible.
To help us with this journey we’re using the anonymous “Real Discipleship Survey” found on our website; www.LancasterUnited.org.
“Missional Renaissance” by Reggie McNeal, and then we’re meeting every Sunday at 12:30 pm to share and pray about it, and challenging each other to live in a new, Christ centered way that works to move deeper into discipleship and God’s unconditional love.
You are welcome to join us!
Please, come and have lunch with us every Sunday, 12:30 pm, (except when church activities conflict).
We will discover our spiritual journey together….and we will discern what God has for us as a congregation for many years to come.
What scripture has stayed with you this week?
What have others learned about Jesus Christ because of you?
How goes it with your soul?
Grace and Peace,
PLEASE ADD TO THE LIST FROM LAST MONTH THESE TWO NEW MEMBERS IN 2016:
Pam and James Dorrell
This makes 22 people who have joined our church last year!
Thank God! And we thank God for the Dorrell’s. (And I apologize to them for any misunderstanding and inconvenience.)