January 2014: TIME2SHINE! Pt 2

Pastor Terry Inman

01-29-14

 

Two weeks ago my first message to you for 2014 was titled TIME2SHINE. Apparently a couple hundred of us got the message before I did and interpreted it to mean the sun is out, so lets go to the beach. 

Others thought rise and shine it’s 10 am and its game time. Fortunately the 49’s won that one. But, you can’t say I didn't warn you if you stay home from church to watch the 49’s they might lose. They won two weeks ago but they lost the big one last week. It was delayed judgment! 

The bible says, When the sentence for a crime is not quickly carried out, the hearts of the people are filled with schemes to do wrong. (Eccl. 8.11 NIV)

OK you know I’m just chiding you because need a crowd to be happy. Pastors are a little insecure like everybody else. I’m working on it but I do get a little down when the attendance is down. You can ask my wife.  

Now the real truth, I am very concerned about a trend.  For many reasons many of us are attending church less frequently. So today I am going to preach the same message from two weeks ago all over again.

Well not exactly, but because I believe the Lord is getting us ready for a new harvest today we are sticking with the topic. TIME2SHINE PART II 

So just a bit of review: Two weeks ago we imagined ourselves on a crowded hillside with hundreds of Jesus’ seekers and followers. The son was setting slowly over a scenic and serene body of water. On the distant horizon small hillside villages began to light the night. Jesus seized the moment to illustrate something that gives our lives spiritual purpose. 

You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. (Matt.5.14 NIV) 

It doesn't get any brighter than that. Our reason for being is to beam the light of Jesus Christ throughout the landscape of our personal world. God fully intends for his people to be vibrant, colorful and highly visible.  

Peter says it this way. You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. (1 Pet. 2.9)  

We gather on Sundays and weekly in smaller connections to get charged up! The rest of the week we light up! If we are not careful we can default to occasionally attending worship and then turning out the light?   

When we come together with God’s family on Sunday our worship should be an electrifying spiritual experience. We plug into the Spirit’s current. Our prayers, our praise and just our presence is encouraging to others.  

Corporate worship is re-fueling. The bible says, Be filled with the Spirit. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord. (Eph. 5.18-19 NIV) 

When we gather during the week with a few friends in our connection groups we get another power boost. In the bible there’s even an agenda for small group meetings. It’s more personal and participatory. 

When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church. (1 Cor. 14.26 NIV) 

The key word here is “strengthening”. It means to build up. When get together in Jesus name we get built up. There is enough in this world to douse our flame we need to a place to get lit up! 

To light up our world we must to stay connected to God and each other. We are not a lampshade we on a lamp-stand! Jesus made that very clear.   

If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine!  (Matt. 5.15-16 NIV) 

Somebody said, stand for something or you may fall for anything. Worship, fellowship and teaching are all about equipping and empowering us for our purpose. According to Jesus, We are here: we exist to be light! 

This is why the bible reminds us to come together more often, not less often. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Heb. 10.25 NIV) 

I know you have heard this before but listen to this with your heart! It is time to make some priority shifts. It is time be more engaged with Christ and His body the Church. How can we shine if our light is growing dim?  

Jesus short teaching on light is the same passage we read two weeks ago but today the applications are new. If you didn't hear Part I of TIME2SHINE please go to our web site and listen to Part I. 

Jesus final thought is very attractive  Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven. (Matthew 5.16 NIV) 

You may be more familiar with this version. let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. (Matt.5.16 NIV) 

“Good deeds” does not quite capture it. “Good” can also mean, valuable, honorable or worthy. Deeds are simply our efforts or actions. So what we do, how we live, how we serve, how we love shines brightly. It causes people who maybe in darkness to see where the light comes from!   

As I said in my introduction I believe the Lord is getting us ready for a new harvest. We are not in it alone. When Jesus commissioned his disciples he said he would be with us always even to the end of time. He then promised and delivered the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit. 

This year we will be doing some simple things together that will better equip us to open up our lives and our hearts to shine. 

This spring the six weeks leading to Easter we are doing an all- church campaign. We are calling it 40 days of Love and Light. On Sunday mornings and in our home connection groups we will be learning and practicing the prayer-care-share lifestyle. It all about love then light. 

Jesus introduced it, when he first sent out his disciples. It is a very simple and natural way to open our lives and let our light shine.   

The Lord is not asking us to work harder, be smarter, or come up with some new strategies, programs or plans to reach people. Jesus is the light. Jesus shines. Some people are attracted some people are repelled.   

All that we need to do is let him shine in us and through us every-where, every day and in every way. I love the way the message interprets Jesus words, Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God.   

We began 2013 by introducing a simple triangle called a Life-Shape. It’s not a new discipleship technique but a simple tool to help us form and sustain a healthy spiritual life. 

UP is our relationship with God. The greatest commandment is to Love the Lord our God with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our strength and with all our mind (Luke 10.27 NIV).    

When we ask each other what’s UP. Were asking how are you doing with God right now? Are you staying connected? When did you last hear his voice? What are you doing to stay up close and personal with the Lord. 

IN is like a dashboard on our connections with those nearest and dearest to us: our spouses, children, close relatives, companions or small group. Jesus said, where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them. (Matt. 18.20 NIV) 

OUT is a cue for reaching out those far from Christ. The last part of the great commandment adds, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  Who are the folks around us, not yet walking in the light of Jesus? Are we praying for them? Are we connecting with them? The bible says, Jesus was a friend of sinners. Do we have some family, friends, neighbors or work and school associates that that we are inspiring toward faith in Jesus Christ.   

The prayer-care-share lifestyle, we will be exploring together in a few weeks is simply a way to accomplish the OUT part of following Jesus. 

So how to we keep our light bright. If it’s really TIME2SHINE what do we do, or should I say what do we do different or how to we improve on what we are now doing. How do we pull the lamp-shade off the lamp-stand. 

I was reading this scripture passage in my personal UP time this week. Tuesday I shared with our Pastoral staff. They are some of my IN people. 

I don’t have time this morning to do a full exposition of John 15 but at least let me expose you to another one of Jesus powerful analogies. 

This time we are all going to take a walk through a vineyard with Jesus and a few disciples. Jesus must have liked vineyards because he talked a lot about workers and vineyards. I think the Pharisees even accused the disciples of picking grapes on the Sabbath. 

Anyway as we walk and listen to Jesus thoughts from John 15 I want you to shout out-loud UP, IN or OUT when we you hear something that relates to our relationships with God, with those close to us, and those far from Christ.  I’m just going to read a few verses from John 15 are you ready? 

John 15.5  I am the vine; you are the branches. (UP) If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; (OUT) apart from me you can do nothing. (UP) 

6 If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. (UP) 

8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. (OUT) 

9  As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. (UP) 10 If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. (UP) 

11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. (UP) 

12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. (IN) 13 Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. (IN)   

14 You are my friends if you do what I command. (UP & IN) 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. (UP & IN) 

16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. (OUT)  Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 17 This is my command: Love each other. (IN)   

OK that was fun or maybe even a bit frustrating. But it’s obvious that we have to stay intimately connected to God and each other if we are going to spread any love or light around this year. 

I know introducing two many metaphors like light and vines can be confusing but let me simply ask you how it’s going with UP-loving God, with IN-loving one another and OUT- loving the lost?  It’s TIME2SHINE!  

Jesus says, Were here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill! 

The next two Sunday’s our Annual Missions Summit will again focus on Christ’s co-mission, 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) 

Next Sunday we are delighted to host Tyler and Rebecca Shultz. Rebecca grew up as a missionary kid with David and Beth Grant in India. She also served with Project Rescue and used expressive arts as a healing tool for young women rescued from human trafficking. They are returning to India to reach university students and continue the work with Project Rescue.    

Harbor Light it’s our TIME2SHINE! Locally and Globally!