Embrace Change

We are looking at things that need to change if we hope to be a dangerous church. We saw that we need:

1> To see things through the eyes of the unchurched and de-churched

2> Let guests and visitors be anonymous

Today – Let’s look at the need to EMBRACE CHANGE

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Let Guests be Anonymous

We are looking at things that need to change in some churches so that we can better be about the Father’s business of seeking and saving the lost. Last time we look at the need to see things through the eyes of the unchurched or de-churched…Today, let’s look at how we make visitors or our guests feel – when and if we have someone new attend our service.

When people go to watch a movie, many people like to sit in the back row, just like the many people who enter our churches wanting to test the waters. They appreciate and value anonymity. Unfortunately, in many ways, our good-intentioned desire to recognize and honor visitors in our services often has the opposite effect. Imagine if you can what it feels like to darken the doors of a church for the first time. Most visitors want to be warmly welcomed, accepted as they are, and allowed to journey at their own pace. Are we letting them do that?

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Your Religion is Showing

As we examine the life of Jesus (a good thing to do but first take off your religious glasses), we see that He was amazingly brilliant at cultivating relationships with people who didn’t fit in with the established religion or had been rejected by the religious leaders. Jesus at times even went out of His way to disrupt the established religious practices in an attempt to help people grasp the passionate core of His mission: reaching lost people.Establishing another religion was the last thing Jesus wanted to do. His real goal was to make disciples, devoted followers who would carry forward His mission with the same passion and commitment to reaching people who were far from God.

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Stop Playing God

The fourth step towards showing the love of God to our unsaved friends and neighbors and thus becoming dangerous disciples … STOP PLAYING GOD

Hypocrisy in our lives (see the last blog), hiding who we really are to cover our sin, always leads to judging. When we judge others, we play God and excuse our own sin by focusing on the sins of others. While there is a need for wise discernment and loving confrontation of sinful behavior, this is different from being judgmental. I once wrote in the margins of my Bible (I’m not sure where I heard it), “There is a world of difference between making judgment and being judgmental.” The problem is not that we make judgments but that we make judgments to excuse our own sinful behaviors.

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Stop Being a Hypocrite

The third step to change so that people will be attracted to us, to the Church and, of course, to Jesus. The third step to becoming different and dangerous…  STOP BEING A HYPOCRITE

A pastor writes: It was a Saturday afternoon, and I was in the parking lot of a downtown Portland mall… We were in a bit of a rush, as I had just realized that I was going to be late for the start of our weekend services. That weekend, I was preaching a message about God’s love. As we were rushing to enter the mall, we passed a young teenage girl. She was obviously homeless (Oregon is in the top 10 percent of the nation for homelessness), and as we walked by, she looked up at me and asked, “Sir, do you have any spare change for the bus?” Without hesitating, I mumbled a quick no and kept moving. But as I pushed open the glass doors, I clearly heard God speak these words into my heart: “You are a hypocrite.”

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Remember Jesus

Last time we saw that we, the Church, need to change. The first change desperately needed is for each of us – and thus the Church -to simplify.

The second change we need to incorporate into our lives as disciples of Jesus if we want to be dangerous Christians is to REMEMBER JESUS

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Start Simplifying

If we are going to solve the problem – yesterday we saw that the problem was “us” and the way we live as believers – we need to do a number of things.

  1. Start Simplifying
  2. Remember Jesus
  3. Stop being a hypocrite
  4. Stop playing God

Let’s do one each day …

START SIMPLIFYING

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Jesus Isn’t the Problem – We Are

OVER THE YEARS, I’ve discovered that most of the people I have led to Christ never had a problem with Jesus. In fact, many of them shared that even before they became a Christ follower, they felt some level of affection for him. Jesus consistently remains popular with people outside the church, and they tend to express their affection for him in a variety of ways.

One of the most requested tattoos people ask for is “Jesus,” and the cross has become the most famous symbol in all of history, worn by all sorts of different people. Seventy percent of ultimate fighting champions claim to be followers of Jesus Christ and proceed to thank him after they pummel their opponents unconscious. Jesus has been on the cover of Time magazine twenty-two times, and he has even made an appearance on The Simpsons. Roughly a hundred films have been made about him, and he is mentioned on more websites than any other person. He has appeared in more songs, paintings, and books than anyone else who has ever lived. His birth is the most remembered and celebrated in history, and every day he is mentioned by name more often than any other individual.

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Risk Everything for God

Becoming a dangerous church requires a willingness to risk everything for God: our plans, our reputation, and our resources. God is all about seeking and saving the lost, and if our churches are not about that too, then we are not doing His work; we are doing our own.

The key to reaching lost people is to understand the most essential aspect of effective outreach: it all begins with grace. Dangerous churches are all about God’s grace changing lives, one person at a time. Always remember, the only reason why people ever come to know Jesus Christ is because of God’s grace. So, we must show them His grace and, like Jesus, be full of grace (John 1:14). Truth is good and must be coupled with grace but grace is what draws people to the truth -grace is what draws people to jesus who is the Truth. So, we need to be a church of grace.

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Move Forward

We are looking at the need to take risks and being willing to fail if we ever hope to do something that would indicate that we are dangerous Christians and involved in pushing back spiritual darkness and seeing people rescued and brought into the Kingdom and born again. We saw that we need to attempt things so big that they will only succeed if God is actively involved – the “only God” factor.

Someone once said: “One day someone is going to come along, pick up a Bible and believe it – and put the rest of us to shame.” (Rolfe Bernard) I believe that. I want to be that person. I want to be risking everything for the sake of fulfilling the Great Commission and assuring that every last person on the planet hears the Gospel of the Kingdom.

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