Monday, July 25, 2011

Being Friends with Vision

Some folks have asked for the sermon notes from this last week. I preached a sermon based on the address that the General Superintendent of the Evangelical Friends Church- Eastern Region, Dr. John Williams, delivered to the Yearly Meeting delegates on July 18, 2011. If you were not at OFC on Sunday this is your opportunity to catch what you missed.

“Vision with action in the context of dependency on Christ brings about renewal”

Be part of something NEW!

A) We are New Creations in Christ- 2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

B) We have a New Command in Christ

John 13:34-35

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."

C) We are Ministers of the New Covenant -2 Corinthians 3:6

D) All in the context of Romans 15:20-21

My ambition has always been to preach the Good News where the name of Christ has never been heard, rather than where a church has already been started by someone else. I have been following the plan spoken of in the Scriptures, where it says,

“Those who have never been told about him will see,
and those who have never heard of him will understand.”

Therefore, we should seek newness through:
1) The Local Church Body- “Each church should seek to launch 4 new fresh initiatives this next year”

a) For Orange Friends this means:

1. Next Generation Ministry- Children’s Ministry, becoming debt free, facility upkeep/stewardship

2. Parenting class in the Fall 2011, Capital campaign Fall 2011, FCA camp this week (July 25-28)

2) The Surrounding Community

(This is where missional living begins! “Everyday Christians being missionaries in their everyday lives” Matthew 28:18-20 “as you are going”)

a) See a Need, Fill a need!

b) Would you skip church to serve others? What about the entire congregation skipping church to serve others?

3) The Region in which you live and worship

a) Get involved with ministries like CRACK House ministriesLink

b) Partnership with Central Ohio Evangelical Friends Churches- Church planting! Let’s plant 10 churches by the year 2020!

4) Global missions

Know our specific mission field better- Evangelical Friends Missions International ( )

6 Focused Dreams for the EFC-ER

#1 That every church will be attractional and missional
#2 That every believer will be a contagious , spiritually transformed witness
#3 That every church will grow as a sending church- sending out pastors, missionaries, and disciple makers into the market place
#4 That our churches will multiply in people and ministry- engaging weekly 20,000 or more who love to worship, study, and serve (we presently have 16,000 in average attendance)
#5 That every church will grow in outreach giving - locally, regionally, globally- giving away a tithe or more of the local church income

This includes Great Commission Budget, mission fields, church plants (10 by 2020), youth/young adults

#6 That our EFC movement will be radically revived so that the "radical message of sin and grace and the cross will become more powerful and central"

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Yearly Meeting

Hebrews 12:1-3
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” (NIV)

Yesterday, the worship team had the amazing opportunity to lead worship for the last session at Yearly Meeting. It was amazing to see so many people from so many different churches worshiping together. During the recording time of the service, the recorded pastors and Christian workers got together to sing in one unified choir the hymn “Bless the Lord, Oh My Soul”. What an amazing opportunity and example for us all. After all the business meetings, these leaders came together with one purpose – to Glorify The Living God! I was overwhelmed with joy and this verse came to mind.

The Message says “Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we'd better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he's there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!”

Over the course of church history there have been changes, countless times of struggle and victory. Over all of this has been and always will be a God who is in control, a faithful God who knows what race we are pressing through and sees the finish line. So today, take heart because even though the race is hard, the end result is worth it. And you are not alone. Let’s come together and consider what God is doing today.