We are called to be the body of Christ, and yet most Christians nowadays are living as detached arms. It’s time to get attached!
PURSUIT LAUNCH TEAM SEND-OFF
(PUT PURSUIT COMMUNITY CHURCH SLIDE UP)
Today is a special day for us.
A hard and good day, all at the same time.
Earlier this summer, we introduced you to Mark Allen, who is going to be our 4th church planter…and will be planting Pursuit Community Church at the Mounds View Community Center.
I’d like to ask Mark to come up here for a moment.
When Mark was here in July, we asked for people to join the Pursuit Community Church launch team, and 21 of you responded to go with!
In fact, I’d like to call those people from Renovation on stage right now.
Before I say anything about these guys, we also want to recognize that there are others from the Pursuit Launch Team at our services today…
If you’re on that team, and here at first service, would you just stand for a second…so we can honor your boldness in this endeavor?
You know, we want to be a church that reaches as many people as possible for Christ.
And in that, our goal, is not to build the Kingdom of Renovation, but the Kingdom of God.
We wouldn’t be asking all of these people to leave our church, if we were just trying to build our own kingdom.
Sure, some of these people will be back in 9 months…but some will choose to stay on and do ministry there.
And this isn’t an easy thing.
It’s hard for me to look at these guys.
Rick & Kathy Olson…
You know, I was 27 years old when I started this church.
And for a few years I’m not sure there were more than a handful of people over 30…
But Rick & Kathy were here from the beginning.
Always ready to welcome in anyone over 50…daring enough to join this young church
Bjorn & Aly Hanson…
Bjorn and my wife Lindsey’s family go way back…their dads were college roommates. They’ve been here from the beginning
These are my friends…they’re in my house group.
Or I look over to Mitch Anderson…or Nancy Miller.
These are 2 people that got saved at our church…met Jesus at our church.
And I could go through each person here…
It’s not easy to send these people out…
So why are we doing it?
We’re doing it because THIS IS HOW YOU CHANGE THE WORLD.
You can’t change the world just by gathering in people to one place
You introduce them to Jesus, you disciple them, and you send them out.
And so today, is their last Sunday with us, as they start their practice services next week as they prepare for their Grand Opening on November 11th
And before they go, we want to pray for them.
I’m going to ask you all to stand down in front of the stage (spread out)
And if you’re a friend…family member…would you come forward…and lay a hand on them as we commission them and send them out?
Let me pray
FAMILY FUN DAY VISION CASTING
(Put up Family Fun Day slide)
It’s a busy month for us here at Renovation Church as we’re sending off the Pursuit Team, House Groups are starting, and 7 days from now, is our massive outreach, Family Fun Day.
It’s going to be amazing.
We’re going to have a ton of free food!
Cheese curds…mini donuts…corn dogs…roasted corn
A field full of inflatables!
Man it’s going to be awesome!
But let me tell you something…WE’RE NOT DOING THIS FOR YOU.
We didn’t say, “Gee, let’s spend a bunch of our money, so we can all have a good time together”
We’re doing this…because we’re going to see something like 700 visitors next week…the vast, vast majority of which do not go to church and do not follow Jesus.
You tell me where else this is happening…I can maybe think of only one or two other places in our state…
Where 700some people who don’t know Christ are coming in…and hearing the Gospel! That’s insane!
Listen, they’re not all going to stick (some will…and they’ll join your house group soon enough)…but ALL of them will hear the good news of Jesus…and who knows what God will do with that?
So who are you bringing with you?
You’re going to get handed a few more invite cards when you leave today.
Make it your goal to get rid of all of them in the next 7 days.
Just keep praying, “God who do you want me to give this to?”
God can use you. He’s going to use us! Are you ready?
WE ARE I-SOLATED
(ABDICATE SERIES SLIDE)
All right, this morning, we’re going to talk about the topic of community…which isn’t our strong suit in America.
Think about how much things have changed.
100 years ago, most Americans lived in small towns and had strong friendship circles, church communities, and family bonds.
But technology has drastically changed the way we live…and has caused a shift from communal dependence to isolated independence
How we go about our days and our struggles are completely different than they were…even 25 years ago.
If I’m having a problem with my toddler and I can’t figure out what to do…whom do I ask?
Google! I ask…GOOGLE!
But what did people used to do?
They’d ask a friend…a family member
If I need a product…and I need it now? Whom do I ask for help?
But what did people used to do?
They asked their neighbors.
If I I’m feeling lonely…maybe I want to know what someone else is up to? What do I do?
I stalk them on Facebook. Endlessly scroll through Instagram.
But what did you used to do?
You used to get this “phone thing” that hung on the wall, and you’d call them and say, “Hey, what are you up to? Want to hang out?”
The way society was structured 100 years ago…even 25 years ago…forced us into community…just out of necessity’s sake.
But now, technology has caused too many of us to believe that we don’t need each other
Which maybe true from a strictly functional/operational perspective, but from an emotional and relational perspective…the change is killing us.
In the same time period that our social isolation has increased, so also have our levels of depression, and suicide, and on and on.
And there are about 1,000 studies nowadays that say so
You need people.
Without people…we will suffer.
GOD HAS SAVED YOU INTO COMMUNITY (THE BODY) / YOU BELONG TO OTHER PEOPLE
And no surprise here, the Bible, God’s Word…is going to teach us that very thing.
We’re going to look at part of the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Romans
(Romans 12:1-8) – NIV
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. 4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
Okay, so what is Paul saying here?
He’s saying that, if you are a Christian, God has saved you INTO a community.
Look at verse 5 again:
(Romans 12:5) – NIV - Keep it up for a minute
5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.
When you become a follower of Jesus, you become part of what the Bible calls “the body of Christ”
Look at the verse…it says IN CHRIST…you now form ONE BODY.
And Colossians 1:18 tells us that Jesus is “the head” of that body.
So when you’re saved, you’re supposed to be a part of the Christian BODY with some sort of local church.
And verse 4 told us that each of you have a unique role in that body
(Romans 12:4) – NIV
4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function
So just as your body has a hand, and an arm, and a foot and a host of other body parts that serve different purposes
So a church, the body of Christ, is made up of all sorts of different people (like you) with different gifts and functions.
So yes, it’s important to spend time with God, and do Bible reading plans, and podcast great speakers, or whatever you do on your own to grow in God…that’s all great.
But, God DID NOT intend for you to live out your faith in isolation.
That sort of “independent spirituality” that many Christians have today would be SHOCKING to the writers of the NT. It would make no sense to them.
And so let me tell you something that plenty of churches won’t tell you nowadays
If you’re just attending here every week, and you’re walking in and out, and you don’t really know anyone, that’s not Biblical community.
They may be cultural normative, but it’s not the Biblical definition of church…of the body.
That would be like an arm or a foot hoping it’s going to grow by just being the same room as the rest of the body.
You’re not attached.
Look at it this way…
(go over to table on stage and pull back black sheet. Under the table will be two cylinders are filled with yellow water and a fake body part…i.e. an arm or leg)
Here we have…a detached arm…I took this off someone last night…j/k…settle down, it’s fake.
If this arm…is not attached to the body…what’s going to happen to it????? (shout it out)
It’s going to decay, decompose, and it’s not going to fulfill its intended purpose.
And there are exponentially more Christian Americans living as detached arms then there were 25 years ago.
And like I said at the beginning, that’s in large part because of what’s happening in our society.
We can get answers, resources, and help from technology.
But your technology cannot cry with you after a miscarriage, or rejoice with you after a miracle baby…
Nor can it give you advise based on you…for a relationship…OR challenge you when you’re drifting from God.
This is what our House Groups are all about! BEING THE BODY!
And this is what makes us so unique…even amongst other churches.
House Groups is something that not 20% (like the average church in America) or even 50% of our people do.
An astounding 80% of all of the adults who call Renovation Church home…are regulars in a House Group.
And let me tell you something…if you’re on the fence on this thing…it doesn’t get to be 80% if it’s not good…and not helpful
So, what are House Groups?
Around 75 of you are new just in the last year, so I don’t want to presume that you already know what they are…
House Groups are groups of around 20-30 people that meet weekly.
They spend the first 45 minutes of so in a large group with everyone together
Eating delicious food, getting to know each other
One person shares a story of what God’s doing in their life every week
Watch a short video teaching done by me
And they spend the 2nd 45 minutes in men’s & women’s small groups.
Where they take what we talked about in the message, and start to apply it to their lives
The groups have people that are just starting in their faith and people who’ve been following Jesus for a long time.
The groups are intergenerational.
Meaning you’ll most likely be able to learn from someone much older than you and be inspired by someone much younger than you.
But they’re also big enough (with over 30 people on a roster) that you can find some people who are right in your life stage as well!
We have 8 different House Groups on 5 different nights (Sunday – Thursday)
Including a brand-new House Group on Sunday nights
Our hope is that every single adult who calls Renovation Church their home…finds a House Group where they can find a community who’s going to support them & encourage them in their faith.
Grab the card that was on top of your chair right now.
Would you hold this in your hand, and pray, “God do you want me to do this? And when? What night?”
Fill this out…now…or during announcements.
Let me just say...
If your schedule is an issue…or childcare is an issue.
Talk to us out at the table…many other people have faced similar situations in the past.
GOD WANTS TO USE YOU TO BLESS OTHERS
Here’s the thing…and I know this is hard for us to understand in the way we “consume Christianity” nowadays…
But God has made you for other people.
Paul, when talking about the body again to the Corinthians says it this way:
(1 Corinthians 12:21) – NIV
The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!”
In fact, I don’t know if you saw this in the text or not the first time, but Paul uses even stronger language in Romans
(Romans 12:5) – NIV - Keep it up for a minute
5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.
It says…you BELONG to the others.
If you’re an arm…you belong to the body.
If you’ve detached yourself from the body of Christ…and you’re just walking in and out of a church service…
If you’ve detached yourself…you’re not just doing yourself a disservice, but you’re doing the body a disservice.
Because GOD WANTS TO USE YOU!
And he has a purpose for your life!
Look at verse 1 again
(Romans 12:1) – NIV
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.
He says, “Because of what Christ has done for you…you are to POUR out your body as a living sacrifice”
Your life is meant to be a sacrifice…not a suction.
And see, too many modern Christians are just sucking from others like a vacuum…
Teach me, feed me, give me another good experience.
That’s not the body!
That’s just a detached arm…who’s decomposing…and trying to suck life back into itself!
There’s a way for life to flow into you…to bring vibrancy to your faith…
It’s by being attached to a body!
God has purposefully and very intentionally, gifted each and every one of you to bless the rest of the body.
That was verses 6 through 8…that God has gifted each and every one of you, as believers (to teach, to serve, to show mercy, to encourage)…
And he gave you these gifts…to bless…the body!
And listen, as this church has grown exponentially in the last 2 or 3 years.
You can’t KNOW 500 people here.
The American church needs to stop kidding itself and pretending that shooting the breeze by the church café is the same as being connected to the body of Christ.
But you can use the gifts God has put in you…when you attach to a body…like a House Group.
I think of a single mom in our church…who is new to walking with Christ…and boldly signed up to join a House Group last year…not knowing anyone.
Shortly after attending for a couple of weeks, she shared with her small group that she needed to move to a new place…but wasn’t sure where to get help moving.
They immediately offered help, and 5 or 6 people, who barely knew her, came and moved all of her things…ate pizza with her afterward, and prayed for her, her son, and their new place.
This is what we do!
And guess who loves House Groups? And is really growing in her faith?
Right, and you can focus on her…and how that was great for her (and it was), but it was also great for the people in her house group!
Because they were exercising their gifts!
Because they were attached to the body, they were being used in the way God created them to be used!
What has God created you for?
How does God want to use you to bless other people?
Get attached to the body!
An arm never gets to experience the joy of lifting anyone else up…if it stays detached.
GOD CAN USE OTHERS TO BLESS YOU
You can really apply verses 6-8 regarding our spiritual gifts in two ways, right?
God can use you to bless other people…AND God can use others to bless you!
But again…only when you’re in community.
You know, we are in the Abdicate Series right now, and if you weren’t here last week, abdicate means to relinquish or renounce the throne.
Last week we talked about abdicating to the authority of God’s Word.
And for some of you, it’s time to abdicate to the authority of letting other people speak into your life.
You ought to be wary of being “alone on the throne”
That’s when we “think too highly of ourselves” as verse 3 said today.
And this is true whether you’re in a House Group already or not…
When you’re honest with people in community, they can bless you with their gifts…with their help.
But if you’re not honest (even if you’ve been in a group for 5 year), they don’t know how to help you.
It reminds me of an email I got recently from one of our House Group people, which she gave me permission to share. She writes:
“I have been suffering from anxiety. What were manageable fears and something I could control on my own ended up becoming something I wasn’t able to, and I started to experience physical symptoms of it.
Living alone and with family far away also made it worse as I was often fearful of something happening at home when no one was around.
I constantly felt like I was alone, but the Lord kept reminding me that I wasn’t.
In the worst of it, I ended up calling a friend from my house group because I was a mess.
She stayed at my house for a couple nights until I was in a much better place.
All she did was talk with me so I wouldn’t get lost in my own thoughts and helped me organize my bathroom. :)
Something so simple but something that made a world of difference for me.
It was a such a huge answer to prayer that I had someone I could talk to who could tell me I wasn’t crazy, and could honestly tell me that it was going to get better.
Having someone from house group I could call in that vulnerable time of need (DO YOU HAVE SOMEONE LIKE THAT…THAT YOU CAN CALL WHEN YOU REALLY NEED HELP) was such a blessing to me and I’m not sure what I would have done without it. Because of house groups I was really able to heal.”
This is what WE DO for each other.
I know House Groups people who’ve helped each other financially, who watch each other’s kids in time of need…it’s a community…
The CHURCH is a body!
You’re not meant to be a detached arm.
You’re meant to thrive in community…in the body.
Attach with us…
We want to support you, help you, cry with you, celebrate with you, and help YOU grow closer to God.
But you can’t really do that walking in and walking out…not really…
Attach to the body again…or maybe for the first time.
And look, this is where we come back to the beginning of where we started this whole thing
We’re sending people out…together…as a NEW body…
To go and reach people…not just as a bunch of detached arms
Because a bunch of detached arms can’t accomplish anything!
But when people come together…
When people come together…like in what will happen here next week, on Family Fun Day…
When people come together in unity, and we serve, and invite, and share the Gospel…
When the body bonds together and works together, then we change the world.
That’s the type of church we are…that’s what God is doing here.
Attach with us…and let God use you too!
Let me pray.
Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN
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