This Friday at 7:30pm, we're hosting "Nations Worship" in our auditorium! We'll be gathering by simulcast with others all around the world, experiencing expressions of worship from believers all around the world! It promises to be an inspiring time. I hope you're able to come.
This pandemic has made many feel lonely, and yet at the same time it has made the world feel small.
As I've said many times, this is a great opportunity for the gospel and for the church. This is opportunity for each of us to reexamine our affections and allegiances, and for all local churches to examine their structures and strategies to make sure their fulfilling their true mission.
Sometime last year I start mulling over this mission statement: "Fulfilling the Great Commandment and the Great Commission with Great Compassion and Great Conviction."
I visit that phrase often in my own personal prayer times, and as I search God's heart and mind for what SCC should look like in this new era.
This morning I was reading Psalm 105 and I saw two comments in the margin that I had jotted down some time ago. One says, "Matthew 28:19-20." The other says, "Luke 24:48." This morning I added a third comment: "Matthew 22:37-40."
Let me show you what those three passages say, and then what Psalm 105 says.
[Jesus said,] “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
[Jesus said,] “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things."
[Jesus said,] "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done. Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts. Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.
Global Disciples helps to equip near-culture missionaries to "make disciples" among their own people. We as a church have been able to provide resources to assist in those efforts. As a result the gospel of Jesus that gives life to the dead, and forgiveness to the repentant, is spreading throughout the least reached areas of the world!
When I went to Nepal I heard someone say something that stuck with me:
"If you plant a church you might get disciples, but if you make disciples, you'll always get a church."
We have something to learn from them.
In fact, I believe this is part of the change God is calling his church to embrace here in the West -- the changes we've been praying for discernment about here at SCC, where our mission needs to shift from growing a church to making disciples.
Part of that is catching the vision of what happens when people discover the gospel within their own cultural context!
When I experience the joy of disciples in other areas of the world it renews me. These people have never been taught to hope in political systems. They have very little earthly wealth or freedom to defend. They simply cast all their cares on the Lord and hope in his salvation. They trust that his care for them really is enough! And their joy is contagious. When I experience their joy in the Lord, my own faith and hope is restored and energized!
I want us all to experience that together. That's why we're hosting this "Nations Worship" event this Friday, at 7:30pm. Let's gather and worship the Lord together with our true brothers and sisters in the faith from all around the world. And let's renew our own love in it.
May God be honored as we lift the name of Jesus high.
Pastor of Sarasota Community Church since 2009.