Monday, October 11, 2010

It's been SEVEN weeks...

October 11, 2010

It has been seven weeks since I last “blogged” about Paragon Church. A lot has happened in that span of time.

The last time in blogged every NFL team was undefeated… today there are no undefeated teams left. The last time I blogged my son Payton was three… now he is four. The last time I blogged school had just started… as of now, we have just completed Fall Break.

The last seven weeks have been filled with lots of great things that God has been doing.
September 5, Labor Day, we had our highest attendance ever @ 147.
September 12 was our Fall Kickoff Sunday as we started a series called “One Month to Live” (which focused on living life to its fullest – as if your days are numbered).
September 19th allowed me the opportunity to baptize SIX people (Jodi, Zavier, and Zane Ridgely – Vanessa Briggs – Ed and Jesse Rodriquez)

The 26th was a challenge for us to Love like Jesus Loved… Completely… even those that hate us (that is what He did – Romans 5:6)

When October hit, a new plan to reach our community started to really swirl in my brain. On October 3rd, I let the people know that people are always changing, either moving closer to God or further from Him. We cannot stay the same. We cannot be happy with what we are or assume that we have done “good enough”. We have to keep reaching, keep pressing on, and keep straining for what is ahead. That doesn’t only go for each individual, but for the church as well. I laid out a 2020 plan. I want to reach 10,000 people for Christ in the next ten years. It sounds crazy, I know. As a matter of fact, it sounds impossible. How can a church of 120 reach 10,000 people in the next ten years? With God’s help and direction. Steven Furtick has a new book out called “Sun Stand Still”. My favorite quote from that book says this… “If the vision for your life isn’t intimidating to you, it is probably insulting to God”. The same God that used 120 average people in the book of Acts to change the world is the same God we pray to every day. We might not be able to do it alone, but God can definitely do it through us.

October 10th was the last of the points for One Month to Live. It was titled, Leave Boldly (Leave a Legacy). The main question I asked (and I asked many), was if you were to die today, what kind of legacy would you leave? How would you be remembered or better yet, would you be remembered? It was a sobering thought for me and for many who were there that morning.

As I look back on this “One Month to Live” series, it has really got me thinking about church in general. Not just Paragon, but all churches (and the people that make up those churches). Are we living like people we know are dying? Do churches really care about people outside of their walls? A friend of mine posted on his facebook… “Are churches disconnected from real life?” Have the people of the church compartmentalized their lives so much that the church and God are not a part of their “real life”? The One Month to Live Series has really brought out what we should do with our WHOLE lives…

The first point was to Live Passionately – That Found People find people. There is a world out there with no hope, and we live right in the middle of it. You and I have friends and family and neighbors and co workers and classmates and… that need to know the cure for their disease called sin is Jesus Christ… yet we do nothing to help them. Would it be the same if we had a cure for cancer… could we walk into the cancer wing at the hospital and have the nerve not to share the cure that would save their lives… NO – then why do we do it with the spiritual cancer called sin?

The second point was to Love Completely – That saved people serve people. We talked about the good Samaritan and how he got off his “donkey” to help someone who needed help after the priest (someone who knew the Bible inside and out) and the Levite (someone who spent time in the church daily) walked on by. Who do we walk by every day that needs our help?

The third point was to Learn Humbly – that growing people change. Our pride gets in the way CONSTANTLY – we want to be in control. SO does God. Only one person can lead – who is it going to be? How do we let Him lead? We learn humbly and put our pride and ego aside.

The last point was to Leave Boldly – that we can change the world, now and after we are gone. How will people remember you? Will people remember you? Have you invested in the lives of those around you? Have you taken a look at your own life and where you are building your legacy? Is your legacy merely a sandcastle waiting for the next wave to wipe it away without a trace or are you building things that cant be taken away… your convictions, your character, your community.

I take no credit for these points that we need to APPLY (not just know) in our lives. I feel fortunate that God would allow me to bring his message to you. The challenge now is to DO SOMETHING with it. APPLY it. REACH OUT. LIVE, LOVE, LEARN and LEAVE as Jesus did.

DO you ever wonder what life would be like if Jesus had chickened out of his calling… what if he told God it was too hard, or he was too busy, or he was afraid of what others might think?

Stop making excuses, get off your donkey and go change the world!