LHH is God’s church – not that we believe we are His only church, but rather that we are His church if we live according to His purpose, vision, and plans.
God’s favor rests on individuals and churches who purposely seek to do His will in the time given to them on this earth. And some really struggle to find God’s purpose and will for their lives – they search high and low, but never seem to find it. Why? I mean they really want to find God’s purpose and will for their lives.
The reason for the struggle stems from the following 2 scenarios:
You know how I know? I know because I have been on both sides of these scenarios. I am speaking from experience.
There were times where I wished I could be like Billy Graham winning tons of souls to Christ – how glamorous that would be! There were also times where I wrestled with my purpose simply because I didn’t know who God really is.
So through my struggle, I bring to you the answers to God’s purposes that I have come to know. And notice I didn’t say purpose, but purposes because God has multiple purposes for everyone.
And these purposes are the culture of LHH that we are to exemplify to one another and to the people God brings into our lives.
We’ve already looked at the 2 purposes that Christ clearly modeled for us. They are LOVE AND SERVICE.
Today we’re going to look at a 3rd piece of culture – a 3rdpiece of purpose that God envisions for the people of LHH. We can find this piece in the first body of believers – the first church – as recorded in Acts – Acts 2: 42-47 and Acts 4: 32-37.
God’s Big Idea from these passages is: CHURCH IS COMMUNITY.
And thank God that He inspired Luke, the Physician, to write down the history of the early church so that we might get a true picture of what church/what community should look like, be like, and feel like.
Just look at the qualities we see in this group who had no theology/ no doctrine upon which to grapple and fight over. They clearly had to live out their faith on the fly. And from them we get our doctrine – the New Testament.
You can almost hear the communication and concern these believers had for one another just through the facts that were recorded.
In my mind I hear, “Hey, how you doing today? How are things going in your life? How you doing in the faith? Is there anything I can do to help? You know what, I’ve got some extra food, why don’t you come over and eat with me. And if you need a place to stay until you get your feet back under you, feel free to stay with me. God has blessed me with so much. Just remember, what’s mine is yours. In fact, I heard there was another family who just came into the faith that is really struggling to put food on the table. So, I’m going to sell that piece of land I have and give it to the church to distribute to this family and anyone else who has need. After all, Jesus taught us through the apostles that ‘where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.’”
I think it’s pretty obvious that church was not merely showing up at the temple once a week, or whenever it fit in their schedule.
In fact, we see a church that was meeting at the temple to conduct God’s business. They were gathering with eagerness and anticipation to LEARN from the apostles’ teaching that Jesus, Himself, had taught them. They were gathering to REMEMBER what Jesus had done for them by partaking in the Lord’s Supper. They were gathering to FELLOWSHIP and to PRAY. They were gathering to ENSURE everyone who was in need was receiving the essentials they needed to live on for the day. And they were gathering in each other’s homes to EAT and to PRAISEGod for His bounty and favor.
This was a church that had grown from 120 people to 3120 people in one day, and was without a church building. Though we aren’t given a clear timeline and don’t know how many of the 3000 that were saved and baptized remained in Jerusalem after the preaching of Peter at Pentecost, we are given a picture of what the early church looked like in Jerusalem for those who did remain.
And the picture shows us a group of people with a COMMON UNITY – in other words a group in Community.
They LOOKED OUT for each other. They CARED about each other. They HELPED one another. They were doing what God desired to see lived out in them as given to them by the apostles’ teaching. They were being the Church.
In his book The Connecting Church, Author Randy Frazee writes, “The experience of authentic community is one of the purposes God intends to be fulfilled by the church. The writings of Scripture lead one to conclude that God intends the church, not to be one more bolt on the wheel of activity in our lives, but the very hub at the center of one’s life…..”
And that’s what we see from the early church – a group whose center is in SHARING LIFE TOGETHER so that the needs of everyone – spiritually, physically, and emotionally – are being met in the name of Jesus Christ.
And this is what LHH will be – a church whose sole purpose is to be united in love and service for one another and to the community God has called it to be in.
To me, there is no greater cause than to be the church as God intended it to be. It’s beautiful when the body of believers lay aside their PRIDE and JEALOUSY of one another to UNITE in a love for one another that has the world scratching its head.
And through their faithfulness – their devotion to the church of Jesus Christ, “the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”
Did you know that the huge Redwood Trees in California are the largest living things on earth and tallest trees in the world? Yea, some of them are 300 feet high (a football field) and more than 2500 years old. Yet, despite their magnitude and size, Redwoods have a very shallow root system – kind of like the pines of the east coast.
So how do they stand up? How do they keep from falling when the storms and winds come? They survive because the roots of these trees are intertwined – tied in with each other – interlocked. And thus because their root system is interlocked, they support and sustain each other. They need one another to survive. And so do we!
LHH must be a culture of people INTERLOCKED with one another to assure our spiritual survival while here on this earth.
What Caroline and I want to do now is model to you that we truly believe in what God has given me to share today. The Lord has blessed us with a home, as well as a log cabin with 20 acres about 1hour and 15 minutes from here. Our home, which some of you have been to, is always open to any of you to come for a visit, for dinner, or for any need you need to discuss. But, the main offering we want to share with you is the use of our cabin. When we purchased it back in 2007, we saw God’s hand in giving us a place that we could use as an investment for our family and as an opportunity to minister to others. So if you’re ever looking for an opportunity just to get away from the hustle and bustle of life – for a time of retreat – let us know. It’s not a resort, nor is it near any entertainment venues, but it is a place easy to get to and will give you a place of solitude, reflection, and relaxation. The keys are yours if you’d like them.
Church is COMMUNITY. And LHH will be a place where people will find love and service wrapped up in a community of believers who care for one another.
Are you in?