Friday, July 31, 2015

The Volunteer Meeting RECAP

Sunday, July 26 was a great day.  I was excited to see all of those who showed up to eat, connect, and have the desire to serve this fall.  It is going to be an exciting year and I can’t wait to see what God is going to do in our church and through our church.

There was a problem though.  I was distracted.  I had so much I wanted to say but a number of things kept me off balance and I didn’t communicate some of the most important things I wanted to express.

So, with that, here is what I wanted to say…

FIRST OF ALL… THANK YOU!  THANK YOU!  THANK YOU!  The volunteers at Paragon are awesome!  I am so grateful for each and every person that takes time to serve the people of Paragon and the people of Rio Rancho.

Whether it be cleaning or teaching or making coffee or greeting or…  you are making a bigger difference than you may ever know.  You really are changing lives.

And that is why we do what we do… to change lives… to change the world.

We exist as a church to be an agent of change.  To see lives change and ultimately see our world change.

Our vision at Paragon is help people grow closer in their relationship to Jesus Christ. 
Whether a person has no knowledge of Jesus or a person has been “walking” with Him for years, we want to be catalysts in seeing people deepen their connection with Him daily.

Simply put, we want you to Come as you are.  Be Changed.  Go change the world. 

It is why we do what we do.  To see God change us and to see God change others.

Why is that important to know?  Because we must know that weekend services, connection groups, Bible studies, and any other gathering is more than just an event, it is our vision in action.

We have a tendency to miss that in the church and in our lives.  Everything we do is pointing towards our end goal, our vision.

Like Andy Stanley says, “You’re going to end up somewhere.  It might as well be on purpose.”

The concept of vision is all throughout the Scriptures.  Abraham carried within himself the vision of land and a multitude of descendants.  Moses led the Children of God with the vision of the Promise Land in mind.  Joshua advanced his army with a vision in mind.  Jonah had a vision that turned him the other way.  The magi traveled a great distance over a great period of time with the vision of meeting the newly born King.  Jesus had a vision in mind to save you, me, and the rest of the world.

For the church (our church), our end goal is to see lives and our world change.

Not only is the vision important to know, it is also critically important to keep fresh and up front.  Why?

Vision creates unity.  It unites people around God’s leadership.
Vision creates energy.  It moves us from stagnancy to mission.
Vision provides purpose.  It helps us realize we are a part of something significant.
Vision fosters risk-taking.  To fulfill a God sized vision, you have to get out of your comfort zone.
Vision enhances leadership.  It keeps leadership on task.
Vision promotes excellence.  It does not permit laziness or sloppiness.
Vision sustains ministry.  It keeps us focused and moving forward (even when you might want to throw in the towel).

Here is another question to ponder… What drives our vision?
Our Core Values… that which oozes from us… which is communicated from us at all times… it is what flows from the heart (you show what value by what you do)

Here are the ones I have written down (though we need to work on them oozing from us)

#1 - GOSPEL CENTERED (and every other one hinges on this fact)

#2 - WORSHIP (both corporate and individual)
  • through being and doing

#3 - PRAYER (both corporate and individual)

#4 - DISCIPLESHIP (be a disciple - make a disciple)
  • Saved people serve people - Growing People change

#5 - EVANGELISM (reaching people - reaching a community)
  • Found people Find people
  • In the book of Acts, the church was growing.  It says in 2:47 that the church was “adding daily those who were being saved.” 
  • How do we add daily those who are being saved?

#6 - CONNECTION (with God, with each other, with community)
  • realize you can’t do life alone

These six things will be the driving force behind our vision to reach our community for Christ and see life change take place. 

You may say, that is a BIG TASK - how can we accomplish that?   The answer is “just like eating an elephant… one bite at a time.”

One bite at a time. 

Do you realize that when Moses was called to get God’s people out, it was a big task?  Every step along the way he followed God.  Even as he was taking the Israelites out of Egypt that he stopped at the edge of the Red Sea and waited for God to show up.  He didn’t try to figure it out on his own… he waited, he listened, and he followed.

We wait for God to show up.
We follow God’s leading and direction.

Today I would like you to PRAY for God to show up and direct you on where to go… where to serve… who to disciple… who to be discipled by… where to plug in… who to share the love of Christ with.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

A discussion on Disgust

This past weekend (July 25-26) we talked about the movie Inside Out and focused on disgust (you can hear the message HERE).  The ending challenge was, if something disgusts you, do something about it.  Here are some things to work through by yourself, with your family, or with friends.

Revelation 3:14-22 (ESV)
14 “And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God's creation.
15 “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. 19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. 21 The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’”

SEE THROUGH Jesus EYES.  (see the world with a Biblical Worldview)
A Worldview is the core set of beliefs a person has by which he/she interprets all that is experienced in life, that life is built on, the filter through which all decisions are made, etc.

READ THIS TEXT:  Matthew 9:35-38  (ESV)
35 And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 38 therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”

·      What did Jesus see?  How did He respond?
·      What do you see while you are going?  How do you/did you respond?

What does COMPASSION look like?
·      The word “compassion” literally means to “suffer with.”  A powerful deep awareness of someone else’s hurt, pain, suffering, etc, that moves you to respond. 
·      Did you know there are over 90 references to compassion in the Bible (most are linked to Jesus)

·      Compassion isn’t to be confused with sympathy which is being sad about another’s sadness, nor is it empathy, when that sorrow is expressed to the saddened one, nor is it pity which often moves us to what to help “if we only could.”  COMPASSION goes a step farther.  It is more than a feeling, more than a mere desire to help, it creates a determination and then a decision to ACTUALLY HELP - even if only in a small way.

·      Take some time this week to look up the references to “compassion” in the Bible.  Use your concordance or GOOGLE it.

The verse to highlight… 33 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion.

·      What did the priest and the Levite see?  How did they respond?
·      What did the Samaritan see?  How did he respond?
·      In the story, do you see an opportunity or a problem?

(our worldview shapes our perspective of a situation)

THE CHALLENGE:  Do something this week….
1.  PRAY.  “Pray earnestly” as Jesus directed.
·      Would you agree that “…the harvest is plentiful?”
·      Would you agree that there are people out there that are “harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd?”
·      Would you agree that there are people who are beaten down by life, being passed by on the other side by those who see them as a problem, not an opportunity?

PRAY THIS WEEK to God that He will send workers into the fields of the harvest… that he would send YOU.

2.  SEE.  See through Jesus eyes.
·      Study the context of the 90+ passages about compassion.  How does Jesus do what He does and what actions does He take?
·      PRAY that God would give you compassion to DO SOMETHING in His Name.

3.  ACT.  Put yourself in the place with the most potential.
·      Make it a point to not just sit and be fed, but exercise your gifts wherever God calls you to do it.

·      Don’t give excuses.  If God is calling, answer