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Your Voice & Your Gifts Are Needed

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“Is this truly what Jesus intended?”

It’s a question that goes through my head and heart consistently on Sunday mornings in worship. My normal answer is, “Kind of...probably...I think.” 

Let me explain. I love CGLCS. I love the local church. I love the local church gathered to receive God’s Word and be reminded they are forgiven and loved through the Sacraments. So good. I’ll never tire of it. 

Yet, if your walk with Jesus is relegated to one hour (if you’re lucky) of passively listening to crazy Jesus freaks talk, mouthing a few songs, coming late and leaving early (to make sure you’re only in church an hour), you’re truly missing out. That is not what Jesus intended. 

My concern is that you are relegating a Holy Spirit movement to one hour a week with “Jesus professionals” giving you “Jesus content.” I’m not trying to make you feel guilty. I’m simply saying there is so much more to being a Jesus follower.

A friend asked me the other day on the golf course (naturally), “How do I move from being a consumer to a producer at the local church?” My mouth dropped. What honesty. Here is roughly what I said. 

  1. Read the Word, especially the story of Jesus found in the Gospels, every single day. Start your day drinking from the life-giving streams of God’s Word. 
  2. Find brothers or sisters in the faith you can meet with regularly to talk about deeper things than work, weather and sports. Ask one another about what God is revealing to you in His Word. Ask one another about your struggles and temptations. Pray for one another. 
  3. Serve. Seriously. Serve. Give your life away. It is way more blessed to give than to receive. Serve at your church. Serve in the community. Find a mission that seeks to right something that Jesus says is wrong, find others who share that mission, and go! Get after it in Jesus’ name!

I know what many of you are thinking, “That is so simple. You went to the seminary to learn this? I already know this.” Well then, if you do, do it. Simple. Do it!

Keep in mind, this is not to gain anything before God. Jesus has done everything for you through the cross and empty tomb. All the benefits of Jesus’ work are yours by grace through faith. There is nothing better than this. 

Yet, today, if you’re baptized and have received the Holy Spirit, you are a part of Jesus’ Plan A to change the world. There is no Plan B. Jesus didn’t say, “Well, if this church thing fails I’ll think of something else.” Rather Jesus said, “I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18

We are on the offensive to bring the light of Christ into a dark world. What is your role in the greatest movement of all time?

I don’t think the Apostle Paul envisioned consumer Christianity. I don’t think he’d be jazzed about how focused we are on what we get rather than what we give. I don’t think he’d applaud these phrases being the lion’s share of our spiritual words per week:

“Man, I loved the sermon, Pastor Jake. Thanks. Well, see you later.” 

“Peter, the songs were powerful. Thanks. Well, see you later.” 

“Trey, I don’t know about a Journey Group or service opportunities... I’m pretty busy...and I can’t find something that meets my needs. Thanks though. Well, see you later.” 

We have a big problem today in the local church. Many Christians don’t know and use their Holy Spirit-given gifts...and the body of Christ is hurt. Our witness to a watching world is damaged. 

Baptized Christian, for you to not use your gifts is like going to the gym and expecting to get stronger by watching your personal trainer work out. That’s ridiculous. 

If the Holy Spirit has convicted you at all in reading this then I’d love for you to meditate on these verses from Paul. 

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. For the body does not consist of one member but of many. (I Corinthians 12:11-13)

Can you sense Paul’s plea for every member of the body of Christ to know and use their gifts? There is no time for one member of the body to do all the work, nor do all the talking (i.e. professional church leaders). 

As leaders in the church do you know what our job description is? Equip YOU so you can equip others. Build YOU up so you can build up others. Disciple YOU so you can disciple others. 

Paul says it like this:

And He gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.  (Ephesians 4:11-13)

“The fullness of Christ.” Let that sink in. Our goal is to collectively mature more and more so that the fullness of Christ may be seen in us, Christ’s church. My. Mind. Is. Blown. 

We need you to come to a Sunday Focus Group! They are immediately after every service for the next 4 weeks. Your voice and gifts are needed to help discern God’s will for CGLCS’ future. 

I’ll admit, I was slightly troubled when we only had 30 people come to our focus groups the first Sunday we offered them. I’m sure some of you are thinking, “We trust you, Pastor.” Friend, I don’t trust me. I only trust Jesus and we. Me gets we in trouble. “Live the Journey” is about we, not me, nor even just our leadership staff. “Live the Journey” is about Jesus and us!

CGLCS is not mine. It is Jesus’ church that predates me and will outlast me. This is ours. Please let your voice and gifts be heard and used as we follow Jesus into a bright future. 

I’m not angry. I’m not frustrated. I’m motivated. As I look out on Sunday mornings this is what I think, “This worship encounter with the living Jesus and His sacraments is a catalyst for us, the church, to change the world by the power of the Spirit, for the glory of God.”

Let’s go. Everyone. The world needs Jesus.