This Sunday we hear from two leaders in our Youth Ministry.
Seg Phiri and James Francis will be sharing on the theme of “Being Church’ in Part 2 in our series. Far from being the church of the future, our children and young people are the church with us today.
We eagerly listen to their voice because we pray that through their testimony we meet Jesus. Our young people will bring valuable, unique and challenging words for us to hear. That’s so good. It all an important part of us being Church.
Today we launch the vision of our church going into 2020 and beyond.
Far from just being a place of retreat, the grace of God gives the church power to truly make an eternal difference in the world. We pray that we may be a willing active part of this. We are a future oriented people looking towards the life that is to come when Jesus returns. Like God, we know this life is too good to keep to ourselves. Jesus is with us by his Spirit not only to secure us but to send us out as his community with transforming good news of the gospel.
You will have opportunity over the next few weeks to indicate how you might give of your time, talents and finances to this mission that belongs to Jesus. The best is yet to come.
Note: The intro video to [Building a Discipling Culture](https://www.bdc.org.au) that was shown during Simon's message can be viewed [here](https://vimeo.com/316471625).
Our society puts enormous pressure on us to have more and more possessions, consuming them in order to find contentment and security. Jesus - through Paul - invites us to beware the lure of worldly wealth and to take seriously his promise that we can have treasure in heaven, finding contentment and richness in lives of love and generosity.
Can these bones live? They were the words God asked Ezekiel the prophet when He looked on the corrupt state of Israel. Some may be asking the same of the church today. Yet God told Ezekiel to speak his Word over the dry bones and they miraculously came to life. Even today God is bringing new life to people through the words about Jesus risen from the dead. It is because of such a hope for the world that Jesus sends the church out to preach good news. There is much rejoicing to come.
Its is a joy for us to baptise Joshua Trainor this morning.
It’s not the first time people have brought children to Jesus asking them him to bless them. Indeed Jesus illustrates that is how we all must come to him. Not with our power, our goodness, or our credentials.
The kingdom of God belongs to the least, the lost and the little.
It’s for those who have nothing to give to it.
It’s what Jesus gives that matters.
From the earliest days of his ministry Jesus called followers.
He gathered people around him to learn what he was doing so that they might continue his ministry of the Kingdom of God.
It was however never apart from him because Jesus knew that his followers didn’t just need training - they also need power. He has promised to be that power for the church if we abide in him. Jesus calls lifelong worshipers, but he also says I will be with you even to the ends of the age. Listening to his voice is the key to discipleship.
Caring for the poor is one of the major themes of the Bible. God showed Moses that He ‘defends the cause of the fatherless, the widows and foreigner living among you” (Deut 10:18). It is one of the identifying markers of the church that Jesus built. Jesus even used our care for the poor as a indicator of our faith in him in his end-time parable of the sheep and the goats (Matt 25:31-46). Today we will hear about the ministry of Mukti Australia, and meet Malvika Akhade and Chhaya Mhankale from the Pandita Ramabai Mukti Mission (PRMM) in India. We will see how Jesus transforms lives and communities through the care of his people. May it inspire us to be a people who really do care for the poor.
Reading through the Bible we discover that the church is a very different community from those around them. The early church saw themselves as aliens and exiles in the world (1 Peter 2:11) but citizen of heaven (Phil 3:20) with a deep love for God’s world and the people around them. They saw themselves as Spirit empowered servants of God, a sign of the kingdom of God, and ministers of reconciliation and justice.
Which makes me think? Is what we do, what we call church today what Jesus has in mind?
I think Yes and No.
We live in different days and although we have the same Spirit and the mind of Christ we need to let him constantly renew us. And he will as we continue to be a people focused on Jesus.
God is love but this is not abstract. It is personal. He has set His heart upon you. His kingdom and power, His care for creation, his rule over the world, His intervention in the affairs of human history, His authority over evil and His conviction of our sin… is all an action of His love. You are the beloved. Let this penetrate your heart. It affects everything we do.