As I said in my latest post, a church should be a tithing missional community of Jesus disciples who study His teachings and commandments on love and service, and then obey them through words and actions.
So that’s what LHH will and must be.
LHH must be a missional church – reaching out to those in our local communities as well as using resources to spread the Gospel globally.
LHH must be a tithing church – God gives to us so we must give back – we must tithe in order to be a missional church.
LHH must be a community church – reaching in to one another to show our genuine care and concern for our brothers and sisters in Christ.
LHH must be a discipling church – our mandate is to go out and make disciples – so we will disciple those who are new in the faith so that they may persevere in their faith and may one day do the same for others.
LHH must be a loving and serving church – these two qualities most define Christ’s ministry and so we must follow in His footsteps (this is where the rubber meets the road).
Now, let’s look at LHH’s final area of culture – an area that truly is God-ordained to speak on – because the Church began the season of Lent on Wednesday – a season of 40 days of individual preparation for God’s sacrifice for mankind.
In Colossians 3: 1-17, Paul makes it very clear to the church in Colosse that life, attitudes, and actions must change in the person who is in Christ. And if you look at some of His other letters to churches you’ll see the same theme.
If I could put verses 1-4 into today’s language, he would be saying to us, “Because you have accepted Christ as your Savior, you have died to self and now find your identity in Him. Since your identity is now in Him, then put your thoughts on the things He desires to see in your life; not on the things of this earth that you once valued. And for you who live according to Christ, know that when He returns for His Church, you too will return with Him to the glory of Heaven.”
So God’s Big Idea from these verses is this: CHRIST MUST BE YOUR IDENTITY.
n verses 5-10 God provides us with this Big Idea: FAITH IS MIND OVER MATTER.
Just as in the days of the early church there were carnal Christians, people accepting Christ’s salvation yet living as nothing needed to change in their lives, carnality is running ramped among the church in the western hemisphere. People are crying out to Christ because they want the eternal life He has to offer, in fact Jesus is cool, but they never permit their minds, their thoughts, their hearts, and their lives to be transformed into His likeness. They want a ticket to Heaven, but don’t give up their earthly desires – the party is still happening. They abuse His grace by seeking pleasure for themselves, with no conscience to change – to do what is right.
Paul was saying to us that life in Christ is about change– change for the better. But it takes a conscientious decision on our part to want this change.
In verses 12-17 God’s Big Idea is this: WEAR WHAT IS RIGHTEOUS.
In order to do this I have to constantly think about what I am saying and what I am doing. Which is what the season of Lent is all about – sacrificing my desires (what I want to do) for those of Jesus (what He wants me to do and to be.)
I know the thought was a fad a number of years ago that actually made some a lot of money, but it is so much more than a fad. It is really valuable and should never be forgotten as we prepare ourselves to wear Christ. Remember the thought? WWJD bracelets.
Actually, I have to train my mind in all situations to first think on how Jesus would have me handle this – “If Jesus were here, what would He have me do?”
And that is our goal – to allow our minds to be transformedinto the knowledge of what is above – that being Jesus Christ. This is wearing righteousness. Our thinking must become that of Christ’s, and in this process we become more like Him.
LHH must be a culture of people who live righteously and holy. Not a people who are self-righteous and proud – “holier than thou” – but a culture of people who truly clothe themselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. A culture of people who choose to be made in the image of God rather than making God in the image of man.
We don’t want to be a culture of people who give Jesus a “black eye” by our unwillingness to change to do what is right. If He is our Savior, then let’s let Him be our Savior – our Savior from the Devil and our Savior from ourselves.
Though the goal of Christ for everyone who calls on His name to be saved is righteouness and holiness, He also understands that in our humanity we will mess up from time to time. Not a problem when we admit it to Him and learn from our mistakes. Jesus always picks us up and gives us another chance.
But when we abuse this grace, when we continue to live in the same sin over and over again, we become carnal Followers of Christ.
In conclusion, LHH will be a culture that resembles what God wants to see in His Church.
He wants to see LOVE.
He wants to see SERVICE, which is love in action.
He wants to see COMMUNITY.
He wants to see DISCIPLESHIP.
He wants to see TITHING.
He wants to see MISSION.
And He wants to see RIGHTEOUSNESS.
But this culture won’t exist unless you and I embody it. If we want to be the church as God has called the church to be, then we have to live according to His purposes for the church.
So what do you want to do? The choice is yours. I hope you come along on the adventure. And I can guarantee you this, if it’s done right, you won’t be disappointed; and neither will God.