$5K plus in the Final Drumming Up Support-a-thon Reflects God’s Purpose

THANK YOU – THANK YOU – THANK YOU to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ who is our life source who motivates and inspires our hearts to GIVE; give of our time, our effort and our resources. My immeasurable gratitude for those of you who responded to the call and gave so much towards helping us do a community fund raiser which was and is so much MORE than that. Well, the pragmatic outcome is funds raised in excess of $5000 and that’s just the thing that dreams are made of. It also indicates a much greater synergy of involvement than we’ve achieved before as a church family. Of course we were hovering under the goal until a few more of our friends including my young mates Ben & Alyssa and my God Daughter Stephanie stepped up to the plate in response to the final plea that went out from Drumming Up Support-a-thon HQ this very morning. We will send approximately $1700 to each of our 3 Kids Cause accounts before the end of the week.

The Drum-a-thon was the third in a recent series of events designed for a more than fund raising purpose. In 2016 we responded to God’s seemingly silly idea and even though in human terms we weren’t at all sure what doing such a visible event as a 24 hour Table Tennis marathon would yield, we went ahead, raised a couple of grand for Chloe Saxby and homeless young people, developed a new relationship with Chloe’s family, and signalled to the neighbourhood that we weren’t here for ourselves.

In 2017 we used a quirky but focused idea to interpret what had begun in our hearts (which was now manifest in a more open and welcoming façade than had been true for a while) and taking it for a walk through the neighbouring community; albeit a backwards walk.     We raised a few more dollars for Chloe and helped support our devoted High School Scripture teachers but we also indicated to those around us that we weren’t just fly by niters; that we were and are a developing neighbourhood support hub and what we represent is GOOD NEWS.

This 3rd instalment of a catalytic event represented much more of the journey we have been on and the journey we intend to be on. Corrimal Community Church is not a ‘temple’ that sits on a street that people revere from a safe distance and pay homage to BUT never really relate to. It is a developing representation and demonstration of the true and biblical definition of temple; ‘a diverse body of Jesus followers who have covenanted with each other to play THEIR Part in advancing the kingdom rule of God in people’s hearts by seeking to be more and more like  HEAVEN ON EARTH.’ This is the temple of the new covenant.    The old one’s curtain was rent in two as Jesus become the door to ALL that God represents.  The temple I speak of is NOT a structure that hides the presence of God, nor a consecrated building where God stuff happens; it is a BODY, like Jesus, that ‘carries’ the presence of God as it engages with people IN everyday situations and circumstances.

We don’t GO TO CHURCH, the followers of Jesus ARE the church where our neighbours can see Jesus and receive from Him.

This is called ‘incarnation’; literally the divine displayed in the flesh’ … it is where the 100% divine AND the 100% human are expressed as ONE. It is where the battle between the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of this world establishes outcomes ON earth.

This has no chance of happening unless we operate with the same strategy that the Father gave His Son when he sent Jesus to earth. That strategy is ‘simply’ to be the EMBODIMENT of the GOOD NEWS on earth as Jesus was. This is God’s mission – it IS His Primary Purpose and you and I have the privilege of responding to God’s invitation to THIS beautiful dance.    A drum-a-thon? Not really. It was just an attempt to embody God’s good news and do something beyond the comfort zone of seeming normality in the very real HOPE that we may win some with the unconditional and compassionate love of Jesus.

If we are hoping to sustain and reproduce God’s mission as the legacy beyond our earthly existence, then we will need to keep intentionally seeking the Holy Spirit’s lead as we head into this new season. It won’t always sound logical, it won’t look like anything much that we currently understand, it will expect us to give up our notion of it being OUR vision or OUR mission. It will have NO NAME but Jesus and as such will not be constrained by the limits of our abilities or gifts or knowledge or wisdom ………… Are we ready?

Stay tuned over the next few weeks as we start to roll out our prayerful reflection on Jesus’ strategy in practical ways. I’m looking forward to having a GO at this with you; learning together and growing together: ‘Shaping the Future – with a new HOPE and HEART for the neighbourhood’ 

A Summary of last Sunday’s message presented by Glenn Bower for Prayer, Reflection & Response. Signpost: See & Engage the Harvest   Theme: ‘God Breaks In’

Reference Scriptures

Isaiah 1; Ephesians 1:3-14; 2:1-10; Matthew 25: 31-46; Acts 1; Romans 2; Micah 6 

How does God break into our lives and the lives of those around us?

Let’s think about how God relates to us, to others, and what that means for how we relate to others. We could spend the rest of the day sharing with each other how God has revealed himself to us at the many levels that he does that; through his creation, through those around us, in deeply personal ways.

Through his son, God sent Jesus to be born as a child into our world, to be flesh amongst us,  the most revealing act by God so far. I can’t help but think how humble our God is.

When I think of the words of the prophet Isaiah I get a shiver and hairs stand up on the back of my neck because I am overwhelmed that I mean so much to God. (Isaiah 1:18)

Different versions use other words in place of “reason”, some say “let’s work this out together”, or “let us settle this”. Whichever you prefer, these are words of humility.

Here are these great and perfect persons, our God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,  having always lived in community with each other, in perfect harmony, complete, yet in nature they are a sending God, and as an act of sending, propelling outward,  they give of themselves and create humankind.

We know the story, we wander away from God and make a mess of things.

Giving of themselves was an act of humility in itself, creating us, sharing themselves,  sharing their community with us, was / is an act of humility.

And after we mess things up what does our God do?  They come after us to help us, to rescue us.

Recognising that left to our own devices we will be lost forever, and desiring real, genuine, relationship with us, what does our God say through Isaiah:

“Come now, let us reason together” I’ve got this.

God is saying everything is under control, you’re precious to me, everything will be right again, the way it was always meant to be.

Our God is making clear to us that he will see to it, God is saying try it my way, you’ll see, it’s the way to life, trust me, come on, let’s do this together.

And God’s humility, his grace, shows no favouritism. All people are equally precious to him. We recognise Jesus alongside us because we know him.                                                                      Can you believe how God humbles himself so that we can abide in him, so that he can make everything right again for us, for all people, for all of creation?

Just take a few moments and think about what words you would use to describe how God has and is breaking into your life, how he relates to you

You will probably think of words like; respectful, gentle, loving, kind, generous, patient, friendly, faithful, humble, reliable, present, creative, joyful, fulfilling, helpful, carries my load, compassionate…….We wouldn’t want it any other way would we?

So, today’s question is how can we help people that don’t recognise Jesus just yet, come see that he is alongside them too? Hang onto those thoughts and look at Pauls words to the Ephesians.  (I encourage you to sit and read through Ephesians in one go when you can, after all it was originally a single speech to the people in the church at Ephesus)

Reflect on Ephesians 1:3-14

Look at the tense that Paul uses in verse 3….. it’s past tense…… it has already happened….. it’s not pretend…….look who we are, now…….we are blessed people…… but look how blessed we are, now……we are blessed with EVERY spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms……..Please dwell on this with me for a moment.

‘God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ.’

We have, NOW, every spiritual blessing that exists in the heavenly realms.

What does that mean?

It means we are as connected to God as is possible, we can’t be more connected to God, there is nothing held back from us, we have gone from death to life, never to die again.

It means we are to, and can, live now, the way we will live forever – under Jesus reign and rule, Jesus way.

Sure these bodies may fail us, but this earthly tent is just so, so, temporary, we know that don’t we, but we also know that what really matters is that we are blessed spiritually in every way, to live life to the full now, to live as followers of Jesus are intended to,  now.

Let’s look some more at what Paul says to the church in Ephesus, the church in Ephesus by the way was on mission, in their local community in Ephesus I presume ..…..imagine the atmosphere at that time for those people in that place………… some of them would have been around when Jesus died and rose again.

They would have been well aware of the words of Jesus that we read in Acts 1:8;

“But you will receive power when the holy spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’

The Ephesians would have needed to know, like we need to know, that if we aren’t on mission, we aren’t being faithful witnesses.  It’s why I think Paul went to great lengths to spell out to the Ephesians what God has done for them, that he has empowered them to be on mission. And that they, like we, are an important part of Jesus mission.

Reflect on Ephesians 2:1-10

God has and is breaking into our lives and the lives of those around us, God’s work in our lives is an ongoing work. But look where we are as God continues this work in our lives and as he asks us to partner with him in the work in the lives of others.

Look at verse 6 again, this has got to be a big part of how we present the gospel, it’s got to go something like this doesn’t it?

“God completely sorted out our mess when he raised Jesus to life,” that is just way too good to pass up, to refuse, to reject”, there is nothing more to be done except to believe that what God has done for us through Jesus means we can get on with life in all its intended fullness.

God raised us from the dead along with Christ (at the same time as Christ was raised up) and seated us smack bang in the presence of God himself, connected perfectly again to the one and only life source, we never die, we are in the presence of God from here on in, we get on with kingdom lifestyle now, we live Jesus way now.

That’s too good to pass up. How do we show people the reality of the goodness of that.

Because living in the presence of God, Jesus way, has got to look so much better than the way those lives who don’t know him yet live, doesn’t it ?

But let’s remember God’s work in our lives is a long, slow work.

Sure, God has and is breaking into our lives and the lives of those around us as we speak,  but we know from our own experience that changing from living our way to living Jesus way doesn’t happen overnight.

It’s personal, it’s deep, it’s thorough, it’s constant, it’s reliable, it’s powerful, it’s life giving.

And importantly it’s empowering, it’s what enables us to do the good things he planned for us long ago.

What are those things?  Let’s look at a few.

  1. Prayer – what’s a relationship without communication? A conversation.
  2. Read the Word of God -Nourishment – we need to be fed, we need to feed our soul, we need to devour large portions of God’s word.
  3. Community – we are made for community, loving, others centred, community, humble, sacrificial service to each other here in our immediate faith community, and in our, as Graeme puts it, spheres of influence, and to all others in our wider community, no exclusions,  Jesus is all about an inclusive approach when it comes to redeeming his universe – he doesn’t want anyone or anything to be left out.
  4. Abiding in Jesus – where is Jesus, what’s he up to?

We know the big story of scripture is how he has and is breaking into our world, he became man and in the most significant act in human history he defeated death at the cross. We know how he is breaking into our lives, that he is alongside us, yoked to us, rubbing shoulders with us, teaching us, discipling us, bearing our burdens, showing empathy, abiding with us.

And we also know, thanks to Matthew 25: 31-46 that Jesus is alongside the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick, those in prison breaking into their lives

Lets just read a small part of that text:

‘For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’

Jesus is with those people, alongside them. We know Jesus cares for all people, and not least, the least of people, the underprivileged and marginalised people in our society. That’s where Jesus is, that’s where we find him, we want to be found there with him, alongside him, alongside the least of these people that Matthew wrote about for us, Jesus is there, bringing justice, making sure no one is left out.

Being faithful witnesses of Jesus means us being little Jesus’ – that is actually a CS Lewis expression. We need to be little Jesus’. When we are doing what Jesus is doing where Jesus is doing it we are being the faithful witnesses Luke wrote about in Acts 1:8

Being alongside people in a loving, giving way is an act of humility, it’s our God’s way, it’s the way of followers of Jesus, it’s who we are, it’s doing the good work that God planned for us to do long ago. Just like Jesus is alongside us discipling us, we need to be alongside others discipling them.

We must go to them just like God came and continues to come to us.

We can’t just wait for them to come to us.  If it ever worked that way it just doesn’t work like that anymore.  We need to go to where people are, where they live, work, play, to gently enter into their lives in a respectful way.

Sure, we still need to be hospitable and invite people into our lives too, into our homes, into our world – Jesus Kingdom.

But we can’t demand that people come to us. God doesn’t treat us like that. We would be finished if he did. No, he came to us.

He sent his son to us.  He brought his kingdom to us,  he brought the heavenly realms to us. But as we have been learning from Luke 10, this is Jesus’ strategy i.e. we need to go to people and show we value them by doing so.

Think back at the start of this message, about the ways that God is breaking into your life that we listed earlier.

Think about the words you used to describe how God conducts himself in his relationship with you…….Present, gentle…….

This is the work that God planned for us to do from the beginning, to be alongside each other in the same way that God is alongside us. This is what God has empowered us to do.

Ephesians is such a rich resource for us to draw on, we can’t do it justice this morning. In chapter 4 Paul’s makes it clear that God equips his church with every gift needed so that the whole body grows into the fullness of Christ.

Our community here lacks nothing for the work God has for us at the moment, we are a wonderful gift to each other, and to our community at large. We are complete, and we need to grow into the fullness of Christ for the sake of those around who are still finding their way back to God.

But seeing the young families yesterday highlighted our need for a young couple with a young family leading ministry amongst us, able to engage with people of their own age at the same stage of life. We’ve been praying about this for a while now as we’ve sought to find ways to equip young people and young adults to equip their generation.

We’ve finished raising our families but we can support a young couple who is at that stage of life, lets continue to pray for God to send a young couple(s), to us to fill this vital ministry need that we have, for the sake of those that were with us yesterday and throughout our 2518 community.

Listen to the words of Paul to the Christians in Rome, he was pointing out to them the effect of the beautiful way God that comes alongside us.

Reflect on Romans 2:4

“Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?”

I want to suggest to you that as I can see how much the effect that God’s love for you has had on you, that if you spend time alongside people in the same way God spends time alongside us, that it will have a similar effect on those people too,

As you minister to them by being alongside them, working alongside Jesus, meeting their needs, bearing their burdens, teaching by example, exposing them to kingdom living, the life of love, sacrifice, gentleness, respect, how can they not be turned?

Do you want to be where Jesus is?

Are you willing to give up your comforts, sacrifice your time, be generous with your resources, it’s not about how much or how little you have, it’s about your heart

Be inspired, be inspired by our beautiful God, the way he goes about drawing people into his family…….. our family.

We started off talking about the humility of our beautiful loving God.

Let’s finish with Micah 6:8

“Oh people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you:

to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”

Mission, discipleship, living in real life-giving community, these things are acts of humility, our God loves us with such sincere humility, let’s go and do likewise.

God can’t bear to see us lost, look at the lengths he goes to save us.

This IS who we are and the journey we have been on and becoming. NOW is the time to feel the same way about our whole community and impart ‘heaven ON earth’ for their sakes.

Here’s the Link to the home page for all that’s happening with the HUB https://www.corrimalcommunitychurch.com.au/blog