An Authentic Change: Growth


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An Authentic Change Series

  • If your like me, you zone out well driving. You just forget where your going and end up somewhere completely different then where you wanted to be. Like we talked about last week I am a master at forgetting where I’m going when I’m driivng. I can’t count the number of times I’ve had to call Beth to say I’ll be “a few minutes late” because I ended up on the southside instead of the westside. That’s my bad driving habit.
  • It’s funny though because all of those times I’ve driven to the wrong place, I’ve have had to drive past literally a couple dozen signs that, if I paid attention to, would have told me i wasn’t where I needed to be. Dozens of signs saying “WEST EDMONTON MALL IS THAT WAY” or this is MILLWOODS PENTECOSTAL CHURCH not SOUTHSIDE PENTECOSTAL CHURCH. I guess it’s just that when you get familiar with a place or moving a certain direction that you begin to ignore the roadsigns around you. I got to know edmonton so well that I’d think “I don’t need these signs!” These are for tourists or out-of-towners, not me.
  • Today as we continue talking about our God-given vision for the future, Knowing Jesus and Making Him Known, we are going to begin looking at the four core values that the leadership team believes we need to focus on as a church family. If knowing Jesus and Making him known is our destination as a church then these core values are the roadsigns. There markers that help us to evaluate whether we are heading in the right direction. If we carry out these four core values in everything we do in as a church, then we will become an authentic church. One that we are proud to be apart of.
  • The first core value we are going to look at is Growth. This isn’t talking about growth in terms of numerical growth but instead it’s about growing in Knowing Jesus. Growth is about consistently gaining a deeper relationship with Him. The son of God who died in our place. Growth means finding ways to engage with Jesus and become imitators of his life.
Section 1:No such thing as Neutral
  • So why do we need growth? Why is gaining a deeper relationship with him so important in rebuilding a better church?
  • Well, let me explain with a little game.
  • Let’s say that were back in the 15th century, before all the wonders of modern technology the we have today that their are siblings in England heading off to the New world. Both of them are merchants hoping to make it rich in furs, gold and silver. So each one takes off from England in his own ship.
  • One sibling has never bothered to learn how to navigate at sea. They learned a little when they were a kid, or when they first became a merchant, but they haven’t spent much time in it. Their blind to it’s perils. The other sibling is a seasoned sailor, he knows the sea like the back of his hand. He’s put the time in and become a master at sea.
  • Which one is more likely to succeed here? Well obviously the one who’s learned and grown there skills in navigation. In this little room it’s easy to navigate. It’s not hard to make it to the other wall of the sanctuary. But imagine sailing the ocean. It’s vast, greater then anything else on earth. The foolish sibling is might only go off course by a few degrees, but in there vastness of the ocean those few degree turn into thousands of miles. The foolish sibling is not on course. He’s missed his mark.
  • The point I’m trying to mark is this. As we journey with Jesus through life we are either on course or we are off course, there is no in-between. We are either growing in Jesus or we are becoming less like him.
  • One teacher said it to me like this. We are either growing in Jesus or we decreasing in Jesus. There is no such thing as staying neutral with Jesus.
  • This a stance the Bible takes all over the place.
  • In Matthew Jesus says: “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” that sounds a lot like what we’ve heard the apostle Paul call the church to all summer “Become imitators of Jesus” Become more and more like Him. or Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God. ””
  • Here’s another example. At one point Jesus tells a parable about seed being planted in the ground. This is what he says at the end of the story. “The seed that fell on good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!””
  • “Those who truly hear and understand God’s word” That sounds like proverbs “The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.”
  • The point is, we are called to understand God more and more and more. Not just stay where were at. There is no place in the Bible that says “and when you get here, You’ve reached it. You’re down getting to know god. Time to warm the pews!” No! It says to “Remember your first love” Don’t loose that passion to get to know God. We are either increasing with Jesus or decreasing without him. We are either on course or off course.
  • Or as Jesus says in John 17:3 “This is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and the One You have sent —Jesus Christ.“
Section 2: Climbing out of the Valleys
  • Why do we need growth? Because there is no neutral. But It’s more then that. We need growth in Knowing Jesus because it’s the only thing that will get us through the valleys of life.
  • The truth is that hard times come. No matter what. We have to acknowledge the being a Christian does not mean we are immune to trouble. Christian’s deal with tragedy, loss, financial instability and everything in between. Sometimes people paint this picture that if you say “I believe in Jesus” then all of those things will magically go away over night. I remember people trying to sell me that.
  • Look, that’s just not the case. It isn’t what the Bible teaches. In fact, Jesus said the opposite would happen! “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. 17 Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, 18 and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles… 21 Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death, 22 and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake.
  • That doesn’t sound very good. So why bother being a Christian? Why bother growing in Knowing Jesus? Well because, the more you get to know Jesus, the more you’ll realize those great hardships of life aren’t the end of the world.
  • It’s like when you were a child. For little kids, everything is the end of the world. They stub their toe; WORLD. OVER. Food tastes funny; WORLD OVER.
  • Then, when your a teenager you outgrow those things. They still suck sometimes, but you learn to bare them. Instead new things become the end of the world. Cellphone dies; WORLD. OVER. Girlfriend breaks up with you; WORLD. OVER.
  • Then when you become an adult. you outgrow those things. But now other things, REAL THINGS, become life ending. Things like loosing your home, or illness, or loneliness or loss.
  • Christians don’t make light of those things. They are bad things. But the difference is this: When you grow your relationship with Jesus, those things become easier to bear. Mature Christians Know that Jesus is always with them. They have the holy Spirit. When life is hard and you feel beaten down people that know Jesus know that they have the promise of an eternal, all-powerful, compassionate, merciful, loving, kind, generous God on their side.
  • And he’s not just there in some spiritual sense. You can talk to him, seek out his counsel. Have him be a rock in the hard times.
  • When you Know Jesus intimately, he becomes your foundation. Your no longer pushed around, like a ship in a raging sea, but your rooted firmly in something unmovable.
  • In the light of eternity we know that nothing of this world can tear us down. As we known Jesus more we learn how to be joyful in our sadness. To praise God even when the world is burning down around us.
  • John 16:33 “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
Section 3: Build a family
  • If we want to be a church that is authentic about Knowing Jesus, then we each need to adopt an attitude of growth. A mindset that says, where I am isn’t the goal and there is still so much to learn. I will not settle into a rut but continue to seek him out.
  • The thing is, Growth in Knowing Jesus means spending time with him. Just like any relationship. Imagine if all of my time dating Beth that I never got to know her, how long do you think that relationship would last? If I want a deeper relationship to spend time with her, know who she is and let her know that she’s appreciated. It can’t all be about me.
  • yet thats how we talk to jesus.
  • The reality is that we have so many ways to get to Know Jesus. We have the bible, sixty six love letters that were written for you. We have prayer and meditation and worship and solitude and fasting. There are a dozens of ways to get to know God. We just need to put the time in, learn and adopt an attitude of growth
  • We also need to remember, and this is really important, that it’s not just our job to see growth in ourselves, but to help others grow. Especially those who have just started the journey of faith. Look, the truth is we have lots of young people in our church. Last Sunday we had more kids then adults, and thats becoming a common occurrence. Brothers and Sisters, these kids need you. They need adults who are going to love them and help them. People who are like family to them. I know your busy, but this is are calling. To teach others about Jesus. To help others to grow just as we have been helped to grow ourselves.
  • And This doesn’t stop with the children. If we want to be an authentic church. One that thrives instead of just survives. We need to be a church that talks to each other. To grow we need to communicate better then we have in the past.
  • My least favourite saying is “I just don’t want to rock the boat” or “I don’t want to cause trouble”. Most of the time, that saying has nothing to do with trouble for others and everything to do with not wanting to confront an issue. No-one wants to be the person walks up to someone else and says, I think your missing the mark.
  • If we really want to adopt an attidute of growth, then we need to be people who call each other out IN LOVE when we see something wrong. Not to be mean or spiteful or angry, but to help them grow. Otherwise are church is not going to change. How do you every expect anyone to change if you don’t talk to them. If we don’t start talking to each other and solving the tensions between us then we aren’t going to grow. We need to learn when to let go and when to confront. Growth means being will to have the tough conversations
  • It’s not hard. It just takes time. Getting to know those around you. Treating them like they are your literal brother or sister or grandchild or parent. Be a family that is committed to being better then you were yesterday.
  • I want to conclude by reading a verse I think summarizes why we always need to be growing, moving closer to Jesus every single day:
  • 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, growing into a mature man with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness. 14 Then we will no longer be little children, tossed by the waves and blown around by every wind of teaching, by human cunning with cleverness in the techniques of deceit. 15 But instead speaking the truth in love, let us grow in every way into Him who is the head —Christ.

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