Basic: Living-Francis Chan
Philippians 1:20b-2:18-To Live is Christ
Encountering God will always leave us in a different place than where we started. Many people live with a conception of God that matches their personality and interests, but it differs greatly from who God actually is. When we misunderstand God, nothing matters more than learning who He truly is and coming to Him on His terms. If you fear God, does your life reflect that fear? If you are a follower of Jesus, does that mean anything in your everyday life? If you are led and empowered by the Holy Spirit, does your life look any different from someone who doesn’t have the Holy Spirit?
The way to rediscover our calling as the church is not to look at what’s around, but look up. We should be looking to God, we should listen to what He says in the Bible, and we should be willing to go anywhere and do anything simply because He calls us to do it. James tells us to “be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (James 1:22). The character of God moves us to action. The commands of Jesus demand something of us. The Spirit’s guidance pulls us in a specific direction. It’s not enough to understand who God is and hear what he says. We need to act. This is part of the maturing process.
Before doing things for the sake of doing we should consider three areas: prayer and meditation, active obedience, and community. Prayer and meditation is a good place to start. As you seek God in prayer, don’t forget to spend time in silence as well. Allow Him to “speak” to you, to guide you, and to comfort you with His presence. In meditation allow your mind to process God’s truth and to soak it in. Setting aside a regular prayer time can help to set your mind on pursuing God. It’s important to ask God for things, but don’t forget to submit your life to Him and ask Him to lead you.
Active Obedience might seem like something we shouldn’t have to say. Quite often obedience is not doing things we may think displease God rather than actively seeking His direction and guidance. If all we do is seek God’s will be never act on it, we are not really living into the fullness of Christ. Jesus calls us to follow Him, so find some concrete ways that you can get out and act. And be intentional about choosing activities that will take you outside your comfort zone. There is an amazing fellowship with God that comes through following Him into difficult situations.
In the most basic sense you might begin by finding a need in the church and try to start meeting it. (Visitor’s Cards, V.B.S., nursery, cleaning the church, giving of time, money, and talents) Pray for those who have hurt you and you haven’t yet forgiven. Pray for, and look for, opportunities to share your faith. As you watch for these opportunities, pray for boldness to share even when it’s uncomfortable.
A community is a group of people who you see face-to-face on a regular basis over a long period of time. God has designed us to work this way as individuals, but this is also His plan for the church. We need to be in community with one another, and involved in the lives of others. Some of the ways we might do this is through a prayer group, or find people in your church that you can minister to, some of the best fellowship comes through meeting someone’s needs. Reach out to the hurting people around you. They could be in your neighborhood, workplace, church, or even your family. One practical idea may be a widow’s support group.
2 Corinthians 5:15
The next sessions will guide us though what the church is and how it functions.