On Sunday we had a heart to heart talk about what Jesus meant when he said “Follow Me.” If you were there you will remember that I asked the question, “If we believe the words of this book, are we willing to order our lives around it’s teaching? Are we willing to order our church around it’s teaching?”
I am excited about what God is doing in our midst. Over a three year period of time we have seen great growth. From about 37 people to more than 300 people who call Out of the Box home. However, there is more. I believe that God wants to take us to the next level. Just remember, in order to walk on water with Jesus, we have to get out of the boat. If we believe the words that Jesus gave us then we can take them to the bank. We can serve like never before because we know that Jesus didn’t come to be served but to serve. We can give like never before because we know that Jesus came to give and not be given to. If we believe the words of the Bible then we know that our ONE mission as the church is to take the gospel to the ends of the earth.
Now, I am no fool, we have probably 350 people who call OOTBWC their church home but we don’t see 350 every week. Heck, some of the people haven’t been seen in years. By the way, this is really sad for the people who are fooling themselves and think that they are OK because they have joined a church. Remember, kittens being born in a oven does not make them biscuits and people joining a church does not make them Christians. Here are some reminders of the marks of a Christian, according to Jesus.
Luke 9:23-24 (NLT)
23 Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me. 24 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.
You have to lose your life. Christian, you have lost your life; you are dead to yourself.
Luke 9:57-58 (NLT)
57 As they were walking along, someone said to Jesus, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58 But Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay his head.”
Jesus says, “You say you’ll follow me. You have to realize you’re not even guaranteed of the basic necessity of shelter.
Luke 10:3 (NLT)
3 Now go, and remember that I am sending you out as lambs among wolves.
Not good news. If you’re a lamb surrounded by wolves, you’re not in a good position. You’re in a dangerous position. This is not a call to comfort. This is a call to sacrifice.
Luke 12:22-34 (NLT)
22 Then, turning to his disciples, Jesus said, “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food to eat or enough clothes to wear. 23 For life is more than food, and your body more than clothing. 24 Look at the ravens. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for God feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than any birds! 25 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? 26 And if worry can’t accomplish a little thing like that, what’s the use of worrying over bigger things? 27 “Look at the lilies and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. 28 And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? 29 “And don’t be concerned about what to eat and what to drink. Don’t worry about such things.30 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers all over the world, but your Father already knows your needs. 31 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need. 32 “So don’t be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom. 33 “Sell your possessions and give to those in need. This will store up treasure for you in heaven! And the purses of heaven never get old or develop holes. Your treasure will be safe; no thief can steal it and no moth can destroy it. 34 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.
Jesus is worthy of absolute surrender, you can let go of everything; let go of everything in your life, and you can trust He is good.
Even when it seems crazy to the world around you, we can trust Him.
When He says to do something, we can trust Him. He’s worthy of that kind of surrender.
Luke 14:25-33 (NLT)
25 A large crowd was following Jesus. He turned around and said to them, 26 “If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple. 27 And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple. 28 “But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? 29 Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you.30 They would say, ‘There’s the person who started that building and couldn’t afford to finish it!’ 31 “Or what king would go to war against another king without first sitting down with his counselors to discuss whether his army of 10,000 could defeat the 20,000 soldiers marching against him? 32 And if he can’t, he will send a delegation to discuss terms of peace while the enemy is still far away. 33 So you cannot become my disciple without giving up everything you own.
Jesus is saying, “Don’t come to me casually.
There is more than praying a prayer involved in this thing; this is your life, surrendered to Jesus.
We just started our new series, “Your Move,” the next move is ours as the church in 2013. Are you interested in making history with Jesus or are you satisfied with the status quo? I for one am not satisfied with status quo, life is worth so much more than that. I don’t want the same old results the church has been getting for the past how ever many years. I am not satisfied with a convert here and there, there are 27,000 people in our own back door who need to be in a life changing relationship with Jesus Christ.
I’m not interested in having you come to more meetings, I am not interested in having more things for Christians to do to keep us busy, I am interested in getting all of us out there where the people are.
Here is the story I shared with you yesterday from the book “All In” by Mark Batterson.
Nearly a hundred years ago, the Philadelphia Church in Stockholm, Sweden, sent two missionary couples to the Congo. David and Svea Flood, along with Joel and Bertha Erickson, macheted their way through the jungle to establish a mission station. During their first year, they didn’t see a single convert. The village was resistant to the gospel because they were afraid of offending their tribal gods, but that didn’t keep Svea from sharing the love of Jesus with a five-year-old boy who delivered fresh eggs to their back door every day.
Svea became pregnant not long after arriving, but she was bedridden during much of the pregnancy battling malaria. She gave birth to a baby girl, Aina, on April 13, 1923, but Svea died seventeen days later. David made a casket and buried his twenty-seven-year-old wife on the mountainside overlooking the village. Grief, then bitterness, flooded his heart. David gave his daughter, Aina, to the Ericksons and returned to Sweden with dashed dreams and a broken heart. He would spend the next five decades of his life trying to drown his sorrow with drink. He forewarned those he knew never to mention God’s name in his presence.
The Ericksons raised Aina until she was a toddler, but both of them died within three days of each other when the villagers poisoned them to death. Aina was given to an American missionary couple, Arthur and Anna Berg. The Bergs renamed their adopted daughter Agnes, and called her Aggie. They eventually returned to America to pastor a church in South Dakota. After high school, Aggie enrolled at North Central Bible College in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She met and married a fellow student, Dewey Hurst. They started a family of their own and served a number of churches as pastors. Then Dr. Hurst became president of Northwest Bible College. On their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, the college gave the Hursts a special gift — a trip to Sweden.
Aggie’s sole purpose in going was to find her biological father who had abandoned her fifty years before. They searched Stockholm for five days without a trace. Then, on the last day before departure, they got a tip that led to the third floor of a ramshackled apartment building. There they found Aggie’s dad, who was on his deathbed with a failing liver. The last words David Flood ever expected to hear were, “Papa, it’s Aina.” The first words out of his mouth were filled with remorse: “I never meant to give you away.” When they embraced, a fifty-year curse of bitterness was broken. A father and daughter were reconciled that day, and a father was reconciled with his heavenly Father for eternity. When Aggie landed in Seattle the next day, she received news that her father had passed away while they were in flight.
Now here’s the rest of the story. Five years later, Dewey and Aggie Hurst attended the World Pentecostal Conference in London, England. Ten thousand delegates from around the world gathered at Royal Prince Albert Hall. One of the speakers on opening night was Ruhigita Ndagora, the superintendent of the Pentecostal Church in Zaire. What caught Aggie’s attention was the fact that Ruhigita was from the region where her parents had been missionaries half a century before. After the message, Aggie spoke to him through an interpreter. She asked if he knew of the village where she was born, and Ruhigita told her he had grown up in that village. She asked if he knew of missionaries by the name of Flood. He said, “Every day I would go to Svea Flood’s back door with a basket of eggs, and she would tell me about Jesus. I don’t know if she had a single convert in all of Africa besides me.” Then he added, “Shortly after I accepted Christ, Svea died and her husband left. She had a baby girl named Aina, and I’ve always wondered what happened to her.” When Aggie revealed that she was Aina, Ruhigita Ndagora started to sob. They embraced like siblings separated since birth. Then Ruhigita said, “Just a few months ago, I placed flowers on your mother’s grave. On behalf of the hundreds of churches and hundreds of thousands of believers in Zaire, thank you for letting your mother die so that so many of us could live.
Are you willing to LIVE your life in such a way that there will be a story to tell of how you made it count for eternity?