Think of one word that would describe what brought or is bringing you to JesusChurch. Share that word and a sentence or two explanation.
The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.
As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.
Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
WHY does JesusChurch exist? Our purpose is to help people find and follow Jesus. Our mission is to seek the lost and disciple the found.
1. To Help People Find Jesus
Our goal is to introduce people to Jesus. We want to help people get to know who Jesus is and what He has done and is doing. And we want to help people personally respond to Jesus by repenting of their sin, believing in Jesus, being baptized and joining the church.
Here’s how we have summarized our faith:
Here at JesusChurch, we believe in Jesus. Jesus is God the Father’s eternal Son. He came to reveal God’s character, demonstrate God’s love and restore God’s kingdom. He died on the cross bearing our sin. He arose from the dead offering forgiveness and eternal life to all who believe in Him. He pours out His Spirit to empower His followers to spread His word and continue His works. He is the Lord of life and the Lord of our lives. He will return to judge everyone who has ever lived. And He is inviting you to trust in Him. Can we help you make this important step?
(For the complete expression of our faith see Vineyard Statement of Faith)
Have you met Jesus? Have you repented of your sin? Have you believed in Him? Have you been baptized?
2. To Help People Follow Jesus
Once people have found Jesus (or have been found by Jesus), our goal is to help them follow in His footsteps. John says, Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus walked (1 John 2:6). As followers of Jesus (aka disciples or apprentices of Jesus) we are called not just to believe in Jesus, but to live our lives as if He were in our shoes?
Alan Hirsch in his book The Forgotten Ways puts it this way:
Jesus's strategy is to get a whole lot of little versions of him infiltrating every nook and cranny of society by reproducing himself in and through his people in every place throughout the world. In short, his aim is to fill the world with lots of "little Jesuses".
What do you think of Jesus’ strategy of filling the world with “little Jesuses”?
If our WHY is to help people find and follow Jesus, to seek the lost and disciple the found, HOW do we hope to do that? HOW will we – as a church and as individual Christians – reach people for Jesus and teach them how to follow Jesus? Here are 7 priorities for our church and 7 characteristics for a disciple of Jesus.
1. Celebrate the Father’s Love
Jesus’ parable of the lost son (Luke 15:11-32) is the story of our lives. We too were, and at times still are, lost in a far off country of sin and rebellion against our Father. By God’s grace, however, we came to our senses and when we started back home, the Father ran to us, embraced us and welcomed us Home. This is the most amazing miracle possible, considering how pure and holy God the Father is and how sinful and rebellious we are. The Father’s love is now the central truth of our lives. Through faith in Jesus we have become God’s children and the words the Father used to affirm Jesus, He now uses to affirm us: You are my son/daughter, whom I love. With you I am well pleased (Matthew 3:17). We are literally Home in the Father’s love. There is one more person mentioned in Jesus’ parable – the older son who refused to join the party the father was throwing for his newly returned brother. As children who have personally experienced the Father’s loving welcome, we welcome all returning sons and daughters. Come join the party of the Father’s love! Come join the family of God!
Luke 15:22, John 1:12, 1 John 3:1
Reflection: What would have happened if on the way home the younger son first met the older son before reaching the father? How can we help “younger sons” make it Home?
2. Be Passionate for Jesus
Jesus is our Savior, our Lord and our Friend. We seek to passionately pursue a relationship with Him through the practices of Bible reading, prayer, worship and community. We also seek to cultivate a sense of His presence each moment of the day. That’s because proximity to Jesus determines the vitality of our walk with Him and the power of our love for others. Without Jesus, we are nothing. But with Jesus, even ordinary people like us can live extraordinary lives for Him, even like Him! Knowing Jesus is the ultimate passion of our lives. Do you know Him?
John 15:5, John 15:7, Philippians 3:8
Reflection: What has helped you most to grow in passion for Jesus?
3. Commit to Community
We can’t live the Christian life on our own. Obviously, we need Jesus, but we also need each other. That’s why we are committed to community. We need each other for encouragement and accountability in our walk with Jesus. Of course, we can always hide, but then we can’t find the help that we need. So we challenge each other to be real and transparent because that takes great courage. And we meet together regularly for authentic community. Sunday mornings are great, but small groups are equally important because that’s where true community and deep growth can happen. Strong belongers become strong believers. So how can we help you get in touch with one of our small groups? How can we help you experience the family of God?
Acts 2:42, Hebrews 10:25, Colossians 3:12-15
Reflection: Why does it take great courage to create real community? When have you experienced Christian community?
4. Have Compassion for All
God loved the world so much that He sent Jesus (John 3:16). And now God continues to love the world by sending us. Jesus put it this way, As the Father sent me, so I am sending you (John 20:21). What are we sent to do? To love … to listen to people, serve people, pray for people, share Jesus with people and believe God to work miracles in people’s lives. This love always starts with God. It isn’t something we produce. It is something we receive and then share with others. As we are continually filled with the Father’s love, His love overflows from our lives to others. Then through our acts of kindness and words of grace people will experience God’s love through us.
Galatians 5:6, 1 John 4:9-12, John 7:37-38
Reflection: How has someone shown you the love of Jesus?
5. Be Dependent on the Spirit
“To hear is to obey.” This is how Jesus lived His life and carried out His ministry. When Jesus humbled Himself as the eternal Son of God and came to earth (Philippians 2:5-11), He lived and acted as a human being filled with the Holy Spirit in dependence on His Father’s leading (Matthew 12:28, Luke 4:14,18-19; 5:17, John 5:19, Acts 10:38). Jesus would hear from His Father and obey through the power of the Holy Spirit. That’s how we are to carry on Jesus’ ministry today. We listen and obey too. The Spirit will make the Bible come alive and speak directly to us. The Spirit will convict us of sin and call us to holiness. The Spirit will express the Father’s heart of compassion for someone and move us to respond. The question is, Will we listen and obey or will we tune Him out and just do our own thing? Through our relationship with the Spirit we can live a naturally supernatural life. In our everyday relationships and circumstances, we can glorify the Father and live as Jesus lived.
Acts 10:38, Acts 1:8, Ezekiel 36:26-27
Reflection: How did Jesus do what He did? Is ministry something we do for God or something He does through us? What has the Spirit been saying to you lately? What’s your next move?
6. Be Dedicated to the Kingdom
There is more to life than what meets the eye. There is a whole other realm, a spiritual realm, that influences people, ideas and societies. There is God the Creator and there is the rebel creature, Satan. There are angels and there are demons. The Bible says that apart from Jesus we are captive to Satan’s kingdom. This captivity took place when our first parents fell for Satan’s lie. But Jesus came to set the captives free. He did this by announcing the coming of God’s Kingdom (the rule and reign of God on earth), teaching the Truth about the Father’s love, ministering in the power of the Spirit, dying on the cross for our sins, rising from the dead on the third day and ascending back to glory with complete authority in heaven and on earth. As followers of Jesus and citizens of His Kingdom, then, we have the same calling – to set captives free. We do this by communicating the truth of the Kingdom and demonstrating the power of the Kingdom. We announce the Good News, help the poor, pray for the sick, battle for the spiritually oppressed and fight injustice. Whoever said following Jesus is boring? It’s epic! He and His Kingdom are worth living and even dying for.
Ephesians 6:10-12, Isaiah 61:1-4, Matthew 10:7-8
Reflection: How have you seen this spiritual battle in your life? How has God used you to minister to someone?
7. Disciple the Next Generation
It has been said that the church is only one generation from extinction. Though we don’t share this statement’s pessimism, we do get its point. We must pass the baton of faith to the next generation so that they can run their leg of the race. Therefore, we commit ourselves to invest in the next generation of children, youth, new believers, leaders and churches. One of our greatest Kingdom successes today may be preparing others to advance God’s Kingdom tomorrow. Our best fruit may grow on someone else’s tree. Our goal is to make disciples who make disciples, develop leaders who develop leaders and plant churches that plant churches.
Psalm 22:30-31, 2 Timothy 1:5, 2 Timothy 2:2
Reflection: Who invested in your faith?
Or once again …
Celebrate - God loves you
Passion - All in for Jesus
Community - Don’t do life alone
Compassion - Do small things with great love
Spirit-Led - To hear is to obey
Kingdom Come - Jesus is here so anything can happen
Next Generation - Pass the baton
JesusChurch is affiliated with the VineyardUSA. The Vineyard has 600 churches in the US and over 2,400 churches worldwide. The Vineyard’s priorities include church planting, compassionate outreach, experiencing God, the unity of Christ’s church and living out the Kingdom of God. For more information about the Vineyard visit VineyardUSA.org. Through the VineyardUSA, JesusChurch is affiliated with the National Association of Evangelicals. For more information about NAE visit NAE.net.
Reflection: What struck you from Eleanor’s take on the Vineyard?
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Read Mature Giving and begin or continue to tithe.
Take the Spiritual Gifts Test.
When signing in to take the test, under Denomination pick “Assoc. of Vineyard Churches”. You will get an email with your test results. If you can, print off the email and bring to our class next week. Also, if you could, forward the email to Anita@myJesusChurch.com for our church’s database.