Everyday Church Summer 2018

Everyday Church-Week 5

On Sunday (Sept 23) we talked about "Everyday Evangelism". In that chapter of the book "Everyday Church," we read about the "Four Points Of Intersection" that revolve around the four movements of the Story Of God. This is something we covered in a previous sermon series, and what we see is that every person is telling a story, and being able to understand and speak the four movements of God's Story into their story gives us the ability to intersect with their story in a way that can engage them in gospel conversations. Peter says in 1 Peter 3 that we should engage in evangelism "with gentleness and respect" and this is a good reminder for us as we think about evangelism. We must be winsome, but also bold. We must love and care for those that God has placed us in the midst of. The first step in evangelism is prayer. Without prayer, our evangelism will wear us out, and fall flat. But with prayer, we can begin to grow in our love for people and from there we can begin to practice some of the ideas in "Everyday Church". In particular, take some time this week to think thru the idea of "Generative Themes" as described on page 125. This requires learning the cares, hopes, and dreams of those that God has called you to, but this is an important part of the work of evangelism.

Lastly, we must remember that the results of our evangelism are not up to us. We don't bear the weight of the salvation of anyone. Jesus bears that weight, and all we need to continually learn to do is trust in Him.

Jesus promised to be with us as we go and make disciples.

We can trust that His words are true.

He is with us.

Everyday Church-Week 4

Last Sunday(Sept 16, 2018) we talked in 9our service about the “8 ways to be missional” listed on page 91-92 in “Everyday Church”. Here is a blog post where you can read that list as well: 8 ways to be missional.

These 8 ways are great, but on page 90 of “Everyday Church” there is another very helpful list as we think about being on mission in everyday life. Here is what it says:

Here is an exercise to help identify opportunities for everyday mission. Think of all the activities, however mundane, in that make up your life: (1) daily routine (traveling to work, eating meals, doing chores, walking the dog, playing with children); (2) weekly routine (grocery shopping, watching favorite television programs, exercising); and (3) monthly routine (gardening, getting a haircut, going to the movies). You should have a long list of activities. For each one, ask whether you could add: (1) a community component by involving another member of your Christian community; (2) a missional component by involving an unbeliever; (3) a gospel component by identifying opportunities to talk about Jesus.

This is a great exercise and it is strongly encouraged that you take some time this week, sit down with a paper and pencil and work thru the exercise listed in that section of the book “Everyday Church”. As you work thru this exercise, don't be discouraged if you don't see the results you want, but instead see it as an opportunity to experience more of God's grace as you more deeply pursue being in mission with Him in this world!

Everyday Church-Week 3

In this week’s chapter and sermon on Everyday Church, we looked at the idea of “Everyday Pastoral Care”. We saw how this is a practical outworking on the “earnest love” that the Apostle Peter exhorts us to have for one another in 1 Peter 1. In this chapter, we come across four liberating truths that are both good news for when we are being pastored along with being good news for when we are pastoring. The four liberating truths are as follows:

  • God is great, so we do not have to be in control.

  • God is glorious, so we do not have to fear others.

  • God is good, so we do not have to look elsewhere.

  • God is gracious, so we do not have to prove ourselves.

We also see a helpful chart on page 82 of Everyday Church that shows us these four truths along with their contrary indicators. These contrary indicators are what we exhibit when we are failing to believe one of more of these truths:

  • God is great, so we do not have to be in control.

    • Contrary Indicators:

      • You are overbearing

      • You are inflexible or risk averse

      • You are impatient with people

      • You avoid responsibility

  • God is glorious, so we do not have to fear others.

    • Contrary Indicators

      • You avoid confrontation

      • You crave approval

      • You behave differently around certain people

      • You pretend or hide your true self

  • God is good, so we do not have to look elsewhere.

    • Contrary Indicators

      • You feel mystery is a burden

      • You often complain

      • You make people feel a burden of duty

      • You don’t stick at things

  • God is gracious, so we do not have to prove ourselves.

    • Contrary Indicators

      • You take criticism and failure badly

      • You find it hard to relax

      • You are proud or envy the success of others

      • You make people feel guilty

As you read this list and the corresponding Contrary Indicators, where do you see yourself most? The good news is that there is none of us who is perfect. We all have one or more areas where we struggle with unbelief. This is why we need to be in community with others who are on the same pastoral journey.

Take some time this week to talk thru this chart with one of more brothers and sisters in Christ and seek to pastor one another with these truths as you continue to learn to walk with Jesus in everyday life.

Everyday Church-Week 2

Last Sunday(sept 2, 2018) we continued ion our series "Everyday Church" and we looked at "Everyday Community". On page 56 of the book, we read the following:

People are often attracted to Christian Community before they are attracted to the Christian message. This does not necessarily mean inviting people to Sunday services. It means introducing them to our network of relationships in the context of ordinary life: inviting both Christian and non-Christian friends around for a meal or for an evening out.

For many of us, the ideas of "evangelism" and "invitation" are practically synonymous. The problem with this kind of thinking is that it eliminates our opportunity for mission with a lot of people. It also has the problem of allowing us to feel like we are on mission, when we really aren't. Invitation to church services is not the same as evangelism. We are not inviting people to come to an experience, we are inviting people to a relationship with a person who we believe is always with us. Jesus is present with us in the ordinary life situations that we find ourselves in every day, and these are the situations that we also find ourselves in with those who don't yet know Jesus. 

This week as you are living "ordinary life" think of all of the people who you interact within that "ordinary life" who you can begin to invite into your life in a way that will lead to gospel conversations. One of the key factors for this is that you are also pursuing life together with other Christians so that you are not on mission alone. This is where Missional Communities come in to play. MC's are a way for us to intentionally prioritize Christian community in a setting outside of Sunday morning so that we have that place to invite those who don't yet believe to "come around for a meal" or for a game night, or for a night out. MC's allow us to be on mission in community in a way that touches our "ordinary life".

Everyday Church-Week 1

Last Sunday (August 26, 2018) we began a sermon series based around the ideas in the book "Everyday Church". In chapter one of the book, we see some difficult realities that challenge much of the way we think about "church". Listen to the following quote:

One of the common assumptions, when people fail to turn up at church, is that we need to improve the experience of the church gatherings. We need to improve the "product". We need better music, more relevant sermons, multimedia presentations, or engaging dramas. Or we need to relocate to pubs, cafes, or art centers. We need cool venues with cool people and cool music. The problem with this approach is the assumption that people will come to church if the product is better...Our persistent "come to us" mindset suggests that we really believe that people who refuse to come in the front door are beyond the reach of Christ. -"Everyday Church". pg 27-28

When I read these words for the first time, I remember almost feeling offended. I immediately became defensive in my own heart and mind and began to justify and rationalize my reasons for wanting to do things with excellence in the Sunday morning experience. Certainly, we should seek excellence in all that we do, but the fact remains that in my own heart, even if I was not intentionally thinking this, I had kind of written off the folks in my life who did not come to church on Sundays. I had begun to buy into the lie that the quality of the worship service was the power of God unto salvation and not what Paul says in Romans 1:16:

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. - ESV

There are people in our neighborhoods, universities, schools, workplaces, and families who desperately need this power of God unto salvation, but they have no interest whatsoever in coming to a worship gathering. Inviting them to church will not be the primary way that they hear this good news about the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. The primary way that these people, and many more, will hear the gospel is through followers of Jesus who proclaim it to them where they are. This is the mission God has invited us into. This is the mission Jesus spoke of in Matthew 28. This week, and you ponder these ideas, take some time to pray about the people in your life that God desires you to share His good news with. Remember, the power unto salvation is not in your abilities but in the goodness of the news about God! 

Pastor Jeff