LOVE, SERVICE, AND COMMUNITY are three of God’s purposes for the individuals of His Church. And the beautiful thing about God’s purposes is that they intertwine with one another to make the follower of Christ strong in and assured of his/her salvation.
LHH must be and will be a culture of people who care for and about one another. It has to be, if we’re to truly say we are living according to God’s Word – to the teachings He passed onto His children throughout time – to the teachings Jesus gave us about the Kingdom of God.
And don’t forget that the time we are given to walk this earth, when we become children of God, is to be spent preparing ourselves for the eternal life that awaits us in Heaven.
So knowing this changes our goals – our goals are no longer designed for what this short life on earth has to offer, but instead are based upon what Heaven offers.
Now remember, everyone is a creation of God, but not everyone is a child of God.
You are not a child of God until you make the choice that you need a Savior for your mistakes – your sins. And it’s through your repentance of these sins that God counts you as His child. It is through your repentance that God adopts you into His family. And without adoption papers, we don’t get our name changed to God’s last name.
The choice to be ADOPTED falls completely on your shoulders and mine. And if I don’t believe that Jesus is the INK that God uses to sign my adoption papers, then my belief in God means nothing.
1 John 2: 22-23 states, “Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist – he denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.”
Have you made the choice to be adopted? If you haven’t, don’t wait until tomorrow. It may be too late.
And if you made the choice recently or even today, the process of rearing is just beginning; whereas, the process of rearing never ends if you made the choice a while ago.
When Drew was born into my family almost 13 years ago, he took on the name we gave him – Drew Christian Cardwell. But that was just the beginning for him and for us as his parents. Fortunately for those adopted into God’s family, God doesn’t have to learn to be a parent on the fly like we humans do. He wrote the book.
But that’s not my point in this illustration. My point is this, just as Drew has to be nurtured, trained, and loved from his infancy throughout his entire life by the imperfect Caroline and me, God must nurture, train, and love on His adopted children from their infancy in Christ until they come into His physical presence.
And this process of nurture, training, and love is what God desires to see lived out in the people of LHH.
In Matthew 28: 18-19, the church is given its’ mandate to reach out to the world. And Jesus didn’t call the church to go out and get people saved. Instead He spoke these words, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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.”
God’s Big Idea from this passage is this: GOD WANTS DISCIPLES, NOT PUNCHED TICKETS.
And DISCIPLESHIP is merely applying and following the teachings and trainings of Christ.
So how were the disciples going to do this? How were they going to make disciples? They were going to make disciples by baptizing and teaching the new converts to obey the teachings that Jesus had taught them.
And you see there’s a huge difference between those who only want to be saved and those who are disciples. Those who only see themselves as saved – as having a punched ticket – a “get out of hell” pass – give nothing more to Jesus than mere lip service. Those who are disciples are being taught the core values of Jesus and are obeying them.
Tell me, who is Jesus more pleased to associate Himself with? You’re right – the disciple. With disciples there is RELATIONSHIP, and where there is relationship, there is OBEDIENCE.
LHH must be a culture that reaches out to the spiritually lost and blind of this world. And when they make the choice to be adopted into God’s family, it is our calling to teach them to obey the ways of Jesus. In doing so, they are being prepared for a future of eternity with God.
So how will the newly adopted be taught? They will be taught through YOU & ME.
We are Jesus in the flesh. That can be scary – really scary!!!!!! But if we obey His commands to live the way God has taught us to live, we will be a pretty good representation.
We should be able to say to those coming into the flock, the church, “Look at me and follow my example.” There’s not pride in such a statement because what others should be seeing in you and me is the lesson Jesus taught on humility. If they are seeing this community loving and serving one another, they are truly seeing humility.
What does this really look like at LHH? How do we become disciples? How do we disciple others?
Well, I really believe that the avenues you take in your spiritual growth flow out of you into others who are just beginning their walk. So the laws of nature say, “You put nothing in, nothing will come out. You put in more than the capacity can hold, and it has to overflow.”
You get the picture – the discipleship of others will only be as GREATas the disciple you are.
And at LHH there are many ways we encourage you to grow as a disciple of Jesus Christ; many being organic. I’ll list five.