Think of one word that would describe what brought or is bringing you to JesusChurch. Share that word and a sentence or two explanation.
Why does JesusChurch exist? Our purpose is to help people Live a Questionable Life.
Jesus lived a questionable life. People were constantly scratching their heads around Jesus asking, “What makes this guy tick?” He touched lepers, talked to foreigners, welcomed children, hung out with sinners, washed dirty feet and even forgave those who were crucifying Him. Ultimately, Jesus died on the cross bearing our sin so that we could have true life. Jesus was definitely different! That’s because He was on a mission from His Father to save the world.
Jesus now calls us to join Him in that mission and Live a Questionable Life too. He said, As the Father sent me, so I am sending you (John 20:21).
The mission of our church, then, is to help people Live a Questionable Life like Jesus did. To find Jesus and follow Him. To trust Jesus and live as if He were in their shoes. As 1 John 2:6 says, Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus walked. So how can we help you get to know Jesus and follow in His footsteps? In other words, how can we help you grow as Jesus’ disciple, His apprentice?
The goal in all of this is for you to live in such a way that your life creates curiosity for Christ and gets people asking “What makes (insert your name) tick?” And the answer? “It’s Jesus! He’s my Savior and Lord and I’m His follower. So I’m trying to live like Him.”
This is exactly how Peter and Paul call us to live:
You must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way. (1 Peter 3:15-16).
Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone. (Colossians 4:5-6).
Reflection: Who did you see living as a follower of Jesus? What questions did that raise for you? Did it lead to any conversations? What is your reaction to this quote by Dallas Willard from his book The Great Omission:
The greatest issue facing the world today, with all its heartbreaking needs, is whether those who, by profession or culture, are identified as "Christians" will become disciples - students, apprentices, practitioners - of Jesus Christ, steadily learning from him how to live the life of the Kingdom of the Heavens into every corner of human existence.
If we are called to Live a Questionable Life like Jesus, what does that look like? If we are to be citizens of a different Kingdom, how are we to live? Here are seven priorities for a follower of Jesus. These seven also serve as the core values of our JesusChurch.
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 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 620 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?
- Install the Church App - Search for Church App - Tithe.ly (JesusChurch)
- Read Core Values & Beliefs and What is the Vineyard? (You can pick these up at the Welcome Table on Sunday. They are in the Welcome folder.)
- Read Mature Giving and begin or continue to tithe.
- Take t he 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.
- Read Other Distinctives.
- Come next week for our second session.