Harbor Light 2.0 - REBUILD

Pastor Terry Inman



HARBOR LIGHT 2.0 [REBUILD] Connecting people with each other.

Last Friday the 13th Convoy of Hope was featured on the ABC Extreme Makeover: Home Edition’s series finale. The 200th episode covered the building of seven homes in seven days in Joplin, Missouri. Hal Donaldson Convoy’s President talked to Ty Pennington about their work in Joplin rebuilding lives and giving hope.

May 22 of last year a tornado carved a deadly swath through Joplin killing 162 people and destroying hundreds of homes and businesses. Since then, Convoy of Hope has distributed more than 2.6 million pounds of food, water and supplies to those affected by the storm. On the episode Hal announced an additional million-dollar “rebuild Joplin” fund.

Harbor Light 2.0 is an upgrade of our four purposes. Rescue, recover, rebuild and release. Today we feature our third purpose rebuild.

In the last couple of years we have given over a hundred thousand dollars through Convoy of Hope. We have helped build homes for orphaned children in Africa. We help support a school for impoverished kids living in the squalor of Nairobi’s Mathare Valley. We have given to relief efforts in Haiti. One of our men Aaron Odell is going with Convoy to Haiti next week.

But today the kind of Rebuild we are talking about is the extreme makeover Jesus is doing in our lives. It takes more than seven days and it also takes a team. We rebuild lives by connecting people with each other.

The bible compares the body of Christ to a building project. (pagan temples)“He used the apostles and prophets for the foundation. Now he’s using you, fitting you in brick by brick, stone by stone, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone that holds all the parts together. We see it taking shape day after day—a holy temple built by God, all of us built into it, a temple in which God is quite at home.” Eph. 2.20-22

So far we have talked about rescue and recovery. We are here to save the lost and heal the saved. So what’s the difference between “recover” and “rebuild”. Let me illustrate it with an encounter Jesus had with some religious lawyers who were clamed he was practicing witchcraft. Jesus healed a deaf man and set him free from some form of demonic bondage.

The Pharisees claimed his power came from “Beelzebub” “the lord of the flies”. Some transcripts say, “Beelzebul” the “Lord of the dung”. At any rate it was a bunch of bull! (boloney)

So Jesus turned their arguments against them. Then he told gave them a hypothetical scenario where evil spirits left a man looking for a place to land. Then came back and found the “house” swept clean and orderly. So they along with seven worse spirits re-inhabited the guy. Now he was in worse shape than before. Luke 11.24-26 (NIV)

Now this was probably intended for the Pharisees who cleaned up well and looked like they had their house in order. Jesus told them they were clean on the outside of the cup but inside were full of greed and wickedness.

Our recovery ministries like cleansing streams, issue focused ministry, and celebrate recovery bring awesome relief though healing and freedom. They help us do some house keeping. We get cleaned up and we throw out the garbage. We get rid of the bad stuff. That’s all great!

But we also need to refill the house. We need to furnish it with good stuff! Therapists call it “replacement therapy”. We can’t just get rid of bad hurts hang-ups and habits we need to replace them with good habits.

That’s rebuilding! The bible is very clear about how Re-building works in) our lives. “Encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” 1Th. 5.11(NIV)

There are two key words here in the original language. “Encourage” literally means to “call someone close to comfort” It’s to support growth.

The second phrase “build each other up” is a construction term. The King James Bible says, “edify one another”. We think of an edifice as a building but it is also a structure, an association or a network.

So this short but emphatic verse says we are re-built in close networks! We call them connection groups! Jesus says, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Matt. 18.20 (NIV). It sounds like a team-huddle to me. 

So one of the primary ways we encourage spiritual maturity here at Harbor Light is to get people into these small transformative teams. It may be two or three in a mentoring relationship or ten our twelve in a connections group. To get the download you have to be on the network!

Our connections may form out of shared interests, or activities. We may come together to study or pray. We may get together to serve or even play but our goal is for every connection to be a source of support for spiritual maturity. Re-building is all about teamwork!

Speaking of maturity I was intrigued by something in the sports news last week. 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh was asked about the “mental maturation” of Vernon Davis, who made the winning touchdown catch.

Harbaugh said: “The only Vernon Davis I know is a team guy. He’s a study-hard guy. He’s a smart guy. He’s willing to do whatever is needed for the team. He’ll put his own accolades aside for the team.”

Rebuild at harbor light is like that kind of team-building. We are called to be like Vernon Davis, “study hard” guys “spiritually smart” guys “willing to do what-ever” guys, and we do it best when we team up!           

So lets talk about some spiritual remodeling. We may need to make some personal modifications if we are going to experience total transformation.

We believe there is at least three things that support rebuilding.

(1.) Intentional exposure to scripture. This is more than reading and reflecting this is comprehension and conformity to His word. “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” James 1.22 (NIV) You can be a bible scholar and still be immature.

Paul was a personal coach to a young leader named Timothy. He wrote to Him. “Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us. 2 Tim. 3.16-17 MSG

(2.) Accountable connections with others. “I myself am convinced, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, complete in knowledge and competent to instruct one another.” Rom. 15.14 (NIV)

Sermons are good. They motivate us. Teaching is good. It informs us. But most of our learning, which is measured by change, comes from what we share and receive from each other. Did I say get connected?

(3.) Challenging life-experiences. When we pass our tests, trials and temptations we develop spiritual strength. “We rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” Rom. 5.3 (NIV)

Our crisis and conflicts have a way of exposing our weakness. That’s why we need connections. We need support so we can be stronger than ever.

Another thing that challenges us to grow is service. Ministry responsibility motivates spiritual maturity. We get built-up as we serve. “From him the whole body, is joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” Eph. 4.16

Here’s what one Pastor asks his congregation to do...Read the bible for ten minutes every day. Pray ten minutes every day. Connect with a small group of ten people weekly and pray for ten people to accept Jesus Christ.

Internalizing Scripture, connecting with others, passing our tests and volunteering our gifts are good habits that rebuild our beliefs and behaviors. The bible calls this disciple making. It’s more like team building!

The original disciples experienced spiritual formation in a team. It’s obvious that the team had some real issues. Jesus spent his short life on earth coaching these guys. He died for them, rose again and just prior to lift off he gave them and all future followers some clear marching orders.           

 “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.” Matt. 28.18-20 (NIV)

There are three steps in this commission. Baptizing-Teaching- Following! Following is taking orders. It is “obeying everything I have commanded!

Growing up from childhood to adulthood is all about learning to obey.

After Jesus ran away form home to find out more about is heavenly father he was corrected by his worried Jewish mama. The bible says his parents didn’t understand him. (normal for parents of an adolescent) Then Luke adds the only thing we really know about Jesus childhood. “He went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them...And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” Luke 2.51-52 (NIV)

We grow by obedience. The bible says, “Although he (Jesus) was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered.” Heb. 5.8 (NIV)

We are going to take a radical first step of obedience today! The first of the three commands, baptizing, teaching and following is “baptism”!       Jesus earned the right to tell us what to do. “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore make disciples, baptizing them!           

You can believe in Jesus Christ and even be forgiven, but real “followers” of Jesus Christ obey and get baptized. They get totally immersed in Jesus Christ. Baptism is the first step of obedience in our life of discipleship!

You may think, this is a little weird. It’s a religious ritual I don’t totally get. Hey this is noting compared to the Jewish initiation rite of circumcision. Can you imagine those poor adult males that had to have a public surgical procedure before they entered the Promised Land. I would pass on that!

Jesus didn’t say, I suggest you get baptized, or it would be a nice way to let your friends and family know you are one of my devoted followers.

In Mark’s version of the commission Jesus says, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. Mark 16.15 (NIV) I’m just not picking up anything optional here.

So why is Jesus so insistent on starting this journey of discipleship with baptism? It’s a short three-act play that helps us make it clear to everybody that we are leaving our old life behind and following Jesus into this new life wherever it takes us! Jesus is building something brand new.

Paul says, “All of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” Rom. 6.3 NIV

With this ordinance with means “order” we demonstrate that are dying to our old self, which was spiritually dead any way. We burying ourselves into Him and His purposes and we are coming up as His new creation. “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” 2 Cor. 5.17 (NIV)

So just obey. Get baptized. When Jesus was baptized, his cousin John was hesitant. He didn’t feel worthy to baptize the Messiah.

Jesus said, “John do it now! “it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Matt. 3.15 (NIV) In other words, Let’s do this because its the right thing to do!

I think it was my mom that used to say, “slow obedience is no obedience”. Some people prefer the sprinkle method. It’s more convenient and much less of an exhibition. Ask the funeral home to just sprinkle a little dust over your casket when you die. Full burial may be a little too dramatic.

Of course it’s dramatic, it’s an exhibition of your devotion to Jesus Christ! You’re saying I’m all in! Jesus you can rebuild my life! I am ready to obey everything you have commanded me to do!

So we are going to take a radical action step today. If you haven’t been baptized I am going to invite you to jump in the hot tub with me right now. I am going to get wet with you. I know you didn’t prepare. But we brought plenty of extra towels and you can turn up the heat in your car and go home all wet.

You may think this is a little crazy but did you ever notice how they baptize the coach after a winning football game. It’s all part of the celebration! So come on be brave, be obedient let’s celebrate. Come on we will cheer for you!