4-10-2011 church Planting encouragement

 

4-10-2011 Church Planting Encouragement

I had the privilege to go down to one of our church plants two weeks ago and help out with a community day.  It was truly more of a blessing to me than I had imagined.  We drove down to Myrtle Beach on Friday night and Saturday we had the opportunity to be involved in a special day where Cornerstonemembers and other friends of the ministry collaborated for the sake of the gospel and those invited were able to eat some free ribs, play on bouncy equipment, do an Easter egg hunt, and sit around and share life. The result with much prayer and leg work resulted in twice the number of people showing up than had the previous year (600).  It was a great opportunity for the church to make new friends.

One of the joys I had that day was being able to sit down and have three gospel conversations with people who were living in the community at the time.  I learned that God will prepare hearts to hear the gospel when you are willing to love people in the name of Jesus (John 17:21).  Gospel churches not only look to grow on the inside through disipleship, but look outwardly with a vision to serve communities through many means.  I was encouraged because the four church planting families who had done the same event one year earlier now had a community of people willing to come alongside them and commit a whole afternoon of service to many people they had never met, AND do it with sacrificial joy. Expecting nothing but giving the love of Jesus is not only rewarding, but it is why Jesus has saved us.  To consider others more important than ourselves (Philippians 2:2-5).

In my observation, I also realized that church planting is a long term commitment of people who have to do the same work week in and week out for many years in order to build a core team of faithful servants.  No one remembers the two hour set up before service or the two hour breakdown after everyone has gone home.   This is basically a 6 hour day for those who have made a faithful commitment.  It's hard work but truly rewarding for those who stick with the vision.  The brothers and sisters were serving joyfully.

Our vision at Redemption is centered on being faithful to the gospel and being the messengers of God's kingdom building process.  We don't build the kingdom or bring the kingdom, but are faithful witnesses to the gospel.  We want to love on Fall River and be a beacon of hope to those whose lives need help.  We are the first to declare we need Jesus and his faithful people in our lives.  We can't live the Christian life alone and we so look forward to living it out together in Christian community, serving and caring for each other.

Our first book study this September will center on the recent release Counterfeit Gospels by Trevin Wax.  His goal in writing the book was to give a clear presentation of the gospel that includes a story, announcement and community.  The gospel includes these three parts, like a three legged stool and it is necessary we get a fully orbed picture of the gospel in order to have a healthy gospel community. There are also counterfeit gospels that attempt to appeal to the masses at a cheaper cost.  The only way to recognize the counterfeit,  (like counterfeit money) is to know what the real thing looks like. The biblical gospel was so costly that it required the substitutionary death of  Jesus Christ, God's Son.  This gospel requires a response.  Yet the ace tool of the devil is to offer a cheap substitute.  He wants us all to enjoy the counterfeit and avoid the hard work (response) that goes into discipling those who come to gospel churches.  Counterfeits are more focused on self than the selfless one (Jesus). If you get the gospel wrong then your community will be like a two legged stool, weak and ready to crumble at the slightest disturbance.

In the upcoming months we are also looking forward to worshipping at Meeting House Churchin Taunton, Massachusetts with James Thomasson and friends.  We pray that God finds us a place to serve while we prepare to launch our church in Fall River in the years to come. This is a young church that has already sent out a couple to further this gospel work.

Why not start right away in Fall River.  I believe the Lord would have us work together with a network of churches and be part of a movement of God.  We want to jump on the wave and be part of this church planting movement which will in upcoming years provide many more opportunities for other church planters in the area. God has done a secret work in the past few years bringing many church planters to the Boston area.  I believe God will bring many others with church planting desires through this movement.  Many resources will be provided for those who choose to do the same.  We pray that the Lord would allow us to help others in future years too.  We have already benefited from the wisdom of a few of the key members in this group.

Please pray that as we prepare to return this July that God would send us  servants who will come up with creative ways to minister to the people of Fall River Massachusetts.  We know that gospel seeds have been planted for many years and we are looking to serve with like minded people; those who treasure Christ and his redemptive work for sinners who are desperate for his message.  Please be praying for us as we make preparations!!  We look forward to meeting many new faces this summer.  Maybe you will be one of them!!



Is Faith In Jesus Enough

Just finished perusing the blog roll that I frequent.  Kevin Deyoung today shared this video and used this short 8 minute video by R C Sproul .  It is very sobering but it must be the message we get to people who have no hope.  Biblical hope is much different than the  visions of hope that surround us.  It is a confident expectation that God will fulfill what he has promised.  Our hope is in the gospel, the work of our Tiune God on behalf of desperate people who are facing an eternity with fear and uncertanity.  God's plan brought with it reconciliation, peace, and a promise.

In God's plan Jesus comes to redeem lost people first as a lamb, humble and meek, becoming our curse (Galatians 3:13) and promises to come again as a lion (2 Peter 3:10) to judge the living and the dead. Life doesn't necessarily change drastically overnight, but is progression of change and our end is eternally secured because of the work of Christ on behalf of sinful men.  This gives us hope to go on in the midst of daily struggles.

We can revel in this every day, and it is this type of gospel that can rejuvenate a people who are desperate.  Are you?  I came to a place where I realized that all I did could not change my relationship with a loving, holy, wrathful God. Only a secret work of God could undo what I had messed up!!  The gospel now has secured my new standing with God. Those who were once enemies of God, now by his grace through  faith in the work of Christ have become friends with Almighty God. I am one of them! We are reconciled completely and yet we must never forget he is not only a loving God but will bring with him his wrath for those rejecting God's amazing grace (2 Cor 5:18).  I'm now at peace with him because my sins have been removed as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12).  I cling to thepromise that  he will never turn his back on us (Hebrews 13:5) because he made Jesus our curse.

When I'm down I look to what Jesus has done for me.  When I'm up, I'm thankful for what Jesus is working in me, and when things are bleak I'm reminded there is a better day coming, when he will return and reign as the conquering King (Revelation 22:20). Being content now is possible.

I'm also privileged because of  the work done on the cross. It has been done for all those who recognize their depravity and need to turn from their sins to a great Savior who can forgive any and all sin.  I am truly a sinner saved ONLY by God's grace!!  Would you also recognize you are in desperate need of God's intervention? Would you like to team up with those whose view of God increases as life crushes in around you.  We love the gospel, will support each other in loving community, and be on mission for his glory.