Summer is a great time to recharge, refresh, recalibrate and refocus.
What are your dreams? What are you goals? What do you desire most? If you could accomplish something great, what would you want to accomplish? Do you have a dream you are focusing on? Or do you feel like you do not have a dream or you are past the stage in life to dream and accomplish something truly remarkable?
Let's be inspired by David. After a long journey of fighting for God and fighting for his life against the King, he became King. Now what? Enjoy all the benefits of being king...
"After the king was settled in his palace and the Lord had given him rest from all his enemies around him, he said to Nathan the prophet, “Here I am, living in a house of cedar, while the ark of God remains in a tent.”
"Nathan replied to the king, “Whatever you have in mind, go ahead and do it, for the Lord is with you.” 2 Sam 7:1-3
As followers of Jesus, God has blessed us; not holding our sins against us, given us mercy, overwhelmed us with grace, given us new identity and freshness, incredible healing emotionally, spiritually, relationally and so much more. And just think, "He is with us."
The question is, what does He dream for you right now? What does God dream for you in this current season of your life? What great things does He want to do in your life and through you? How does Jesus want to do the Great Commandment and the Great Commission in your life?
What dreams does God have for your personal life?
What dreams does God have for your family?
What dreams does God have for our church?
What dreams does God have for you to encourage Christians?
What dreams does God have for you to serve and share with those far from Jesus?
Most often, God's dreams are breath taking. They are impossible to accomplish. They cause you to look yourself in the eye and say, "Are you kidding me?!?!" This is what separates Christians from just a casual follower to a life changing risk-er. Is the first really a Christian?
But, God is calling you to a dream. Today, take time to dream with Jesus. This week, this summer, each season of now, take time to listen to God given dreams. Then what?
Can you hear the Holy Spirit say like He did through Nathan, “Whatever you have in mind, go ahead and do it, for the Lord is with you.”
This summer, take the time to dream with God. What dreams will He birth and accomplish in you and through you now?
Enjoying the private moments with our Savior to dream,
Most everyone has the idea that some day we will stand before God and give an account of how we lived our lives. Even agnostics and people with non-religious views understand something like this.
"Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth." 2 Tim 2:15
Paul reminds a young man, Timothy, that every day, how we live our lives is before God. In other words, God is actively involved and present in every person's life whether they know it or not. So, the question becomes, how am I living my life every day? What is the condition of my soul? What is the condition of my conscience? What are the driving thoughts of my life? What is my character like? What is my belief system like?
Letting this verse lead our daily evaluation, in my daily actions and interactions do I need to be ashamed?
In how I walk with Jesus, live out His Word and share with others, am I correctly handling the Word of God?
Maybe we can ask ourselves with three C's...
How is my character?
How is my conduct?
What are my convictions?
Are these three C's in alignment and agreement? Or do they contradict each other?
Seeking to be a person who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the Word of Truth.
As you have read the four Biographies of Jesus--Matthew, Mark, Luke and John--have you seen a strategy of how Jesus lived out the Great Commandment and the Great Commission? In studying Jesus' life, ministry and relationships, can you see how He strategically built His relationship with His Heavenly Father, with the disciples and with those far from God? How did Jesus move someone far from God to be a genuine follower of Jesus?
A word that is so easily missed yet striking to me is the word: "Decapolis." Mark records in 7:31, "Then Jesus left the vicinity of Tyre and went through Sidon, down to the Sea of Galilee and into the region of the Decapolis." What is the "Decapolis"? Ten cities in a certain area. We can see that Jesus regularly visited these ten cities as well as so many others to share the great news that The Kingdom of God is at hand.
What strategy do you have to live out the Great Commandment and Great Commission? When you stand before Jesus and He asks you what did you do with these two most important missions, what will you say?
This past Sunday, I had the privilege to share the strategy we have been doing as a church family in order to live out these two most important commandments of Jesus. This strategy is Biblical, practical, and can actually work in helping someone who was once far from God to become a fully devoted follower of Jesus.
Here is the 6 step strategy to take an atheist, an agnostic, a person from a different religion, or someone who thinks they are a Christian and help them become sold out for Jesus Christ.
IF - Special Events - Challenge - Sunday mornings - Small Groups - RIN.
1. IF = Integrity Friendship. As we humbly walk with Jesus, we seek to build integrity friendships with those who do not go to church. Following Jesus' model that gained Him a reputation of "A Friend of Sinners," we need to spend time with those out side the church. Build a trusting, caring and serving relationship with them to the point where they know we are followers of Jesus.
2. Special Events = We regularly create special events that are easy invite events: Block Parties/Free BBQs, VBS, Christmas Musicals, Children's Musicals. Where else can people go and receive something totally free, have a great relational time and hear a life challenge?
Our next one is a free BBQ Block Party on Wed, June 14. Who are you going to invite?
3. Challenge - As we are relating and getting to know those who do not go to church, the Holy Spirit is fully drawing them to Jesus. The Holy Spirit is using our life in ways that we might not be able to see. Our serving them when they are having a bad day intensifies the Holy Spirit's attractive presence. The Special Events paint a beautiful picture of the reality of Jesus and a relationship with Him. All of this God uses to challenge them in their belief system. Are you cooperating with the Holy Spirit like this?
4. Sunday Mornings - This is where we seek to fully worship, relate and grow in our relationship with Jesus. Over the past 2,000 years the best place for unchurched people to learn, hear and respond to Jesus is Sunday morning worship services.
5. Small groups - Small groups are a wonderful way to begin to let God's Word transform us to be more like Jesus. It is where we can move past being alone or living up to a facade to being real and risking to be loved or rejected. It is where we can be totally real with a few people in order to know and be known, to love and be loved, and to serve and be served. Are you in a small group?
6. RIN - What a crazy non-word?! R-IN meaning "Are In"... Praying, building integrity friendships, inviting to events, challenging, inviting to Sunday mornings and small groups, we trust the Holy Spirit will use us to help our friend come to know Jesus. So, RIN means they are now in the family of Jesus.
R-IN the family of Jesus.
R-IN a ministry Team (discover spiritual gift and join a ministry team).
R-IN the mission of Jesus (trained to share Jesus with others and live out strategy).
R-IN the church (learn and commit to become a member of Southtown).
Will you join us in this 6 step strategy?
When you read the Biographies of Jesus with this strategy in mind, you can see it.
May God use us to move people along the spiritual journey to be adopted into His family and join Jesus' mission.
Committed to this strategy,
When was the last time your breath was taken away because of an experience, a scene in nature or a relationship?
Breath taking moments are special. They are unique. They are surprising.
The most common breath-taking-away moments for me are with Jesus.
Just the other day, as the silence of early morning awakened to loud chirping birds, as I sat in a chair in our living room, with all four beautifully growing children and wife asleep under the same roof, a passage of Scripture came alive again in my heart, soul and mind. This Scripture caused me to share with God the deep gratitude and joy that I have in being part of His family. My words were few but my mind, heart and soul were bursting with praise, thankfulness and satisfaction. Jesus is too good to be true.
Another was when Anikka, our second oldest daughter, got home from a three week mission trip to Africa. Seeing the joy of our family's anticipation and planning to meet her at the airport. The sign, hugs and excitement of the customs doors opening as we saw Anikka. The sitting around the dinner table hearing amazing story after amazing story of this brave young college woman sharing the great news of Jesus through a translator to Muslim men, who positively responded to Jesus' Gospel. What? A woman sharing with a Muslim man?! And the man responding to receive Christ?! Jesus is breath taking.
Another was over 70 Southtowners hosting a free neighborhood block party BBQ a few weeks ago. Seeing the excitement of meeting over a hundred new people, getting to know them, serving them a free meal, seeking to find out where they are spiritually was beautiful. Two days later I talked with one of the men who fully enjoyed the meal and relationship building time. I asked him about the spiritual message that was shared on Wed. He had wonderful things to share about that message of Jesus but that he still is not ready to become a Christian. Yet, it was a breath taking moment.When was the last time you had a breath taking moment with Jesus?
When was the last time you were just overwhelmed with Jesus, His presence, His work in you and around you?
When was the last time you were just in awe?
"Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles." Acts 2:43
Grateful for Jesus,
Pastor Chris Reinertson enjoys all sports, especially those involving a ball. He loves to hang out with people and challenge them to be Jesus REVolutionizers.