Let’s start with a recap of where we’re at in our series...
Last week, we continued our “Important Steps To Creating A NEW Year” series.
Our first sermon was “The Key To Experiencing A NEW Year”. I used some common math symbols as an analogy for the choices we have as we begin 2006. You can choose to be greater than (>), you can to be less than (<), or you can choose to be the same (=).
Most of what you experience and the results you get in 2006 will be TIED into this choice you make: to repent or not to repent.
Repentance is your key to a New Year! This message of repentance was what Jesus began his ministry with (Mark 1:15).
Last Sunday, we used some more math symbols to describe two ways of living life.
You can live a life of addition (+) and add to others and this world.
Or, you can live a life of subtraction (-) and take from others and this world.
This way of Giving-living shows itself in two revolutionary approaches to life: giving and serving.
We need to go from asking the question “What can I get?” to asking “What can I give?” We saw in Luke 6:38 that Jesus promises to bless those who give to others with an overflowing of blessing. We saw in Phillipians 2 that if we want to be like Jesus we will have to serve others.
These two approaches will change what you do and why you do them!
I feel like God wants this to be our theme for this year as a church. We need to focus on giving and serving the only two directions we can: vertically towards God and horizontally toward others.
I believe that God wants us to do this inwardly (to each other) and outwardly (towards others). We need to give without wanting/expecting anything back.
What do you want this year? What are your goals? What are your dreams?
What do you really need help with? How can we help you the most?
I bet that with the skills, the knowledge and the people that we all know that 90% of the things we need could happen if we give and serve each other!
We’re your resource – your network to achieving these things! Your ours! Let’s have you do this…
What are some things you want to (can) have, do or achieve in the next 90 days (Mid-April)? Think spiritually or physically. They obviously have to be realistic.
I want you to write it down. I’m going to give a copy of this to everyone next week. We’ll all look it over and see what things on there we could help someone with.
Some other ways that we could serve each other have to do with our Sunday morning gatherings…
- Morning set-up - Once every two months come at 8am to help us set up. That will help some of us that currently come early to be able to have a Sunday off.
- Refreshments - help for Paula.Running the computer for worship and messages.
- Take Down - Help being a part of take down crew with Brian in the Kids Gathering area or Steve up front here.
- Worship - Be a part of the worship team by playing an instrument and/or singing. You can be a part of it on a weekly basis or you can do it every once in awhile – like once a month or once every two or three months.
Other ways you could help… See a need and volunteer to take care of it!
But, if just stop there at giving and serving each other than we’ll miss out on so much that God wants to do in and through us. I don’t know if you realize this or not, but…
Your talents, your gifts that God has given you aren’t just to be used on yourself. They’re to be used to help the world!
Sometimes when we hear someone say we can affect the world it seems so impossible. But that’s because we’re thinking of the whole mass of humanity at one time.
You’re never going to one day bump into the every in the world, at all at once, in one place!
No! You’re going to meet and interact with the world one person at a time and one day at a time. When you think of using your gifts and talents in your day-by-day, one person at time way it seems much more doable!
Dale Carnegie said it like this…
“You have it easily in your power to increase the sum total of this world's happiness now. How? By giving a few words of sincere appreciation to someone who is lonely or discouraged. Perhaps you will forget tomorrow the kind words you say today, but the recipient may cherish them over a lifetime.”
But we have to GO and give and serve the world this year!
Listen to why the authors Kirbyjon Caldwell and Walt Kallestad in their book “Entrepreneurial Faith” say we need to go…
"If we can’t reach this generation by remaining within the walls of the church, and all the signs indicate that we can’t, then it’s time for entrepreneurial faith initiatives. We must take the church to the community.
"And it’s not just the twentysomething generation that is being missed. Look around your community and start making a list. There’s the immigrant population, the teen population, those who have grown up with no Christian influence and thus no familiarity with religion, and many, many others.
"Very few of these people will ever be affected by what goes on during a church service, no matter how dynamic, upbeat, and relevant the service is. Those who are following Buddhism or Hinduism, those who claim no religion, those who have been wounded in life (sometimes, even by the church), the lost men, women, boys, and girls in your community will not typically venture into your church.
"They have no reason to think they’ll find any answers there. They still have a tremendous need to experience the awesome reality of God’s love, but they won’t come begging.
"Status-quo ministry says 'open the doors and they’ll come.' That might have worked in the past, but it long ago lost its effectiveness. We can no longer just schedule church services and programs and wait for those who need God to show up.
"We must find creative ways to engage the nonchurchgoers in our communities.
"We must take the gospel out of the church and to the people. We must become entrepreneurs as we practice our faith.
"If we refuse to take this step, we run the very real risk of losing literally millions around us who desperately need and want to experience the love of God and who live right in our neighborhoods.
"Whether you are a pastor, an involved layperson, or a businessperson concerned about the needs in your community, it’s time to start dreaming about how God can use you in new ways. Ways that may be scary at times, but adventures that will be exciting as well."
I say it all the time, so you guys know this. We are the church. YOU are the church. Every week you interact with these people they were talking about – with the world. What will you give them? How will you serve them?
Here are some ideas I want us to try together…
I want to start giving out some water bottles to the people that come to run, play tennis and all RIGHT HERE at the school! Will be doing this in the next couple weeks.
I want to do give out some stuff like that for the students at Stanford. I want to do give out stuff like that to the students at Deanza!
I want to co-ordinate with the Mom’s in our church and offer babysitting to single Moms in our church and outside our church once a month.
I want to help that school in East Palo Alto. I’m going to talk to them and see what they need.
How You Can Do This:
1. I want you to think of some need that you’re passionate about.
2. Someone else to champion it with you. (This is the key thing.)
3. Gather a group of people who have the same passion (people who are a part of us and outside of us). We’ll announce it during one of our Sunday gatherings and see if there’s any one of us who wants to be a part.
4. Pick date on the calendar to gather some people and do your first giving or service project.
I believe that by becoming givers – by blessing others without expecting something back – that God will use this to expand our reach and to cause us to grow spiritually and numerically!
We also have to make sure to give and serve God too…
We talked last week and said there were 3 main things you could give to God and others: your time, your talent or your money.
I told you that all of us are probably generous in at least one of those areas already, but I encouraged you to make it a goal to begin being generous to God and others in one of these other ways and watch what happens!
But you know what God wants the most from you or none of the rest of these things matter?
He wants the same thing you want from someone you care about… He wants your heart! We need to just give God ourselves more this year!
Frank Laubach said this...
"Any hour of any day may be made perfect by merely choosing. It is perfect if one looks toward God that entire hour, waiting for his leadership all through the hour and trying hard to do every tiny thing exactly as God wishes it done, as perfectly as possible. No emotions are necessary. Just the doing of God's will perfectly makes the hour a perfect one. And the results of that one perfect hour, I believe, will echo down through eternity."
Looking back over this last year…
We’ve come a long way since this was all just a dream I felt God put on my heart. I remember when I first met with different ones of you on the core team. (Glen, Aaron, & Dave)
I remember that first night we met at my house on September 8, 2004. We were a group of strangers and an old friend who I hadn’t hung out with in a long time and we had somehow decided to do this together. It was God!
I remember our first Sunday gathering, being not sure who would show up – of anyone would. I remember not many people were here at first. People got lost and there was construction on the Page Mill exit off of 280, so people had to take a longer way around to find us. But we did it!
We ended up with 48 people. A lot of them were family and friends that were here to show there support.
This is what it was like…(Show video -- edited from audio recording)
I believe that this year we’re going to build momentum and we’re going to grow. I mean that numerically that they’ll be more of us, but I also mean it on a personal level. I believe God is going to grow you in new ways this year.
But there are two things that will hold us back if we’re not careful:
1. How you view yourself
2. How you view what God can do
Let's look in our Bibles at Numbers 13 and 14.
God sends tells Moses to choose one leader from each tribe to go on a reconnaissance mission. I won’t go into all their names, Joshua who was Moses attendant since he was young was one of them.
Here we learn that Joshua's name was first known as Hoshea which means "salvation", but Moses changed it to Joshua which means "Yahweh saves”. Joshua is the Hebrew spelling for Jesus (Y'shua)
Listen to what Moses tells them to scout out… in Numbers 13:19-20…
Hear the message below.
(Warning: I was STILL fighting off laryngitis, so my voice is still really raspy!)