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DAY 1 STANDING AT THE CROSSROADS
Jeremiah 6:16; Isaiah 42:9, 43:18-19
The world is not just changing, it has changed, and it will change even more. That is what both the prophets Jeremiah and Isaiah experienced and spoke about. Their world was changing. Times were hard for them. But God was on the move, doing a new thing amidst those changing times.
Sociologists use an acronym to talk about our world today. We live in a VUCA world:
It was the best of times and it was the worst of times. That is how Dickens' begins A Tale of Two Cities. We can borrow that phrase for our times today. They are times of great opportunity. They are times of great difficulty. And they are times of great change.
Living Word began in 1978. Times have greatly changed in the 40 years since God launched our church to be about his purposes in our community and our world.
To the prophets and through them, God gave wisdom, encouragement, and hope. We are called to understand our times, remain grounded in our core values and beliefs, and then creatively advance into the future God has for us. We are to see what God is doing and join in. That is what a missional people do. That is what Living Word Community Church is doing in 2018.
Reflect: What are some of the biggest changes you see in the world around you? For each change, how is it an opportunity and how is it a threat?
Reflect: What are the new things you see God doing, first, in your life; second, in our church; and finally, in the world?
Pray: Pray the Lord’s Prayer today. Let it linger in your heart as you think about our times. Our prayer is that God’s Kingdom would come in power, beauty, love, and grace. Our prayer is that God’s people would be a Kingdom people, a missional people, a Jesus people.
DAY 2 SO WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO?
John 20:19-23; Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8
It is a hard world out there. Times are difficult. Times are becoming harder for those of the Christian faith. The biblical values that once (partially) guided our culture are increasingly discarded. We are experiencing the downward descent of a diminishing God who no longer matters for our nation. So what are we going to do?
The Christian faith has become marginalized. Many who are in power in our nation despise the Christian faith. They are antagonistic to the values of our faith. Those who speak of tolerance are intolerant of Christianity. So what are we going to do?
And the Christian faith (church) has not always been above reproach. Christians have done foolish things. We have not always represented Christ well. Sometimes we have misrepresented Jesus. The church and the Christian faith do not always have a stellar reputation. So what are we going to do?
There is a constant temptation. And there is a daily commission.
The temptation is to give up, withdraw, huddle in protective ways, respond with fear, and pray for Jesus to return before it gets really bad! Please note, none of that is advice we have from Jesus.
The commission is very different. Jesus gives us his peace. Jesus gives us his promise, “I am always with you.” Jesus gives us his mission, “Go. I am sending you out. Be my witnesses. Preach, teach, share the good news, make disciples, build the church, engage the world, have faith, be strong, be holy, be different, love, serve, heal…”
Withdraw or be with Jesus, learn from Jesus, become like Jesus, and work alongside Jesus as his missional friends (John 15:15-17).
So what are we going to do?
And what are you going to do?
Pray: What is God saying to you? How are you responding to the invitation and the commissioning of Jesus to be one of his missional friends who works with him to reverse the fall and renew the world?
DAY 3 KEEP THE MAIN THING THE MAIN THING
1 Corinthians 1:18-21; Matthew 25:31-46; Genesis 1:28-31
So what are we going to do?
FIRST and FOREMOST we are going to share the good news of Jesus. It is called evangelism. It is described as telling the good news of a Savior who is full of grace and truth. It is the invitation to trust in Jesus, receive Jesus, accept Jesus, believe in Jesus, have faith in Jesus, and follow Jesus. There is nothing more basic than being a missional church of good news.
Take Action: Who is the Just One person most on your heart who needs to be saved by Christ? They are most likely the mission of love given to you. Start praying for them. Start engaging with them. Invite them to Living Word. Bring them. Sit with them. Do life together with them!
SECOND and STRATEGICALLY SUPPORTIVE of what is first, we are going to be a people and a church of love, humility, service, caring, and compassion. We are here to help hurting people, and they are everywhere.We are already partnering in ministries of compassion to make our community and world a place where shalom (peace), justice, and goodness prevail. We will do even more to make this happen. We show the love of Jesus so we can share the love of Jesus.
Take Action: We have constant opportunities for you to serve the city and our community. Read our program, check our website, and call the office. We have one-time opportunities and ones that occur on a regular basis.
LAST, but certainly NOT LEAST, we are going to renew the world right where we live and work. Do good work. Be creative. Improve conditions wherever you find them. Be known for excellence and beauty and goodness. Make things better right where you are. This is the creation mandate, the cultural mandate, and Christians work to make our world a world of productivity, beauty, and glory. Do good work for the glory of God and the flourishing of the world!
Take Action: Commit to doing the best you can in the work you are called to do. Do good work, love people, serve the community, and be a witness of incredible integrity and excellence to the glory of Christ.
DAY 4 THE CHURCH IN THE WORLD
1 Peter 2:9-12, 3:15
I love this passage. Read it carefully. Study it. Pray through it. As you read, study, and pray, pay attention to these things.
What do you learn about our missional Messiah, Jesus?
What do you learn about the identity, nature, and purpose of the missional people of the missional Messiah?
This is what Living Word Community Church is to be: The missional church of our missional Messiah. We are to be the sent ones commissioned by the Sent One, Jesus (John 20:21).
This is what we teach. This is what we work for. This is who we are. This is our purpose. This is our strategy. This is why we make disciples. This is what we will do more and more. This is What Matters Most. This is how Jesus will bring to completion his plan of redemption for the world.
Pray: Pray often that Living Word would be faithful to the calling that Christ has given us. Pray for your role in this mission. You are important. You are needed. We cannot be a missional church without a missional you. Continue to offer yourself to Christ to do all that he teaches (Matthew 28:20).
We are blessed to be a blessing. We are filled to OVERFLOWING, so all that has been given to us will be for the FLOURISHING of the people we love. What a wonderful, generative, healthy, and beautiful life!
Thank you for being a part of the Living Word Community devoted to God’s Kingdom coming on earth as it is in heaven. We love your heart for the Things That Matter Most. May they matter even more for you in 2018.
Pray often and deeply for all of these things:
Identify the Just One person you will most love and influence in 2018. Participate by Finding Your Place at Living Word to serve and lead. Join in with financial support with our Best is Yet to Come campaign. Get ready for our March series: What the World Needs Now.
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