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Follow the Template

August 17, 2009 Leave a comment

We tell others about Christ, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all the wisdom God has given us. We want to present them to God, perfect in their relationship to Christ.

— Colossians 1:28

My objective never has been to have a large church; it always has been to have a biblical church and a strong church. The growth is up to God.

Not every church is going to be a large church, but every church should be a growing church. On that final day, Jesus is not going to say, “Well done, good and successful servant. By the way, how many numbers were you running?” Rather, He will say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

I believe the church exists for three reasons: the exaltation of God, the edification of believers, and the evangelization of the world. Another way to think of it is upward, inward, and outward.

Upward. The church exists for the exaltation of God. This idea may come as a revelation to some people who think they exist to find personal happiness. The Bible says, “Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself” (1 Corinthians 6:19).

Inward. The church exists for the edification of other believers. The apostle Paul said his goal was not merely to evangelize, but to warn believers, teach them the wisdom God had given him, and present them to God mature in their relationship with Christ (see Colossians 1:28).

Outward. The church is called to evangelize the world, which is the natural outgrowth of exalting God and edifying other believers. Healthy sheep will reproduce themselves.

The church is not to emphasize one of these at the expense of the other or take them out of order. You see, we are not to customize the church. We are to follow the original template Jesus gave us.

This study was prepared by Pastor Greg Laurie of Harvest Christian Fellowship.

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Seeker Sensitive

September 10, 2008 1 comment

Luke 15:1-7Now the tax collectors and “sinners” were all gathering around to hear him. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’  I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

When Jesus tells this story he is drawing from the Old Testament passage found in Ezekiel 34:11-12  ” ‘For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness.

This passage makes it clear that God seeks lost sheep. When a sheep goes missing, who seeks who? Does the sheep seek the shepherd? Or the shepherd, the sheep? Obviously it’s the shepherd who seeks the sheep. That’s why David says in Psalm 119:176 I have strayed like a lost sheep. Seek me.

God still seeks lost sheep, he seeks through human beings who share his concern. Those whose concern will outweigh the inconvenience (to put a sheep on your shoulders is heavy, a sheep can be between 70-90lbs.) Who can seek while also carrying responsibility for what they’ve been entrusted (to go seek a sheep, the shepherd would need undersheperds to assist with the 99.)

Cool story, when Muhammad ed-Deeb found the Dead Sea Scrolls in Qumran Cave I, he was a shepherd boy looking for a lost sheep. He counted his sheep and when he discovered that he was missing one, he left the 55 with two undershepherds and then in his search found the Dead Sea Scrolls, probably the greatest impact of any archeological discovery on Biblical study.

Who embrace the joy of finding the lost. (Some of those listening to Jesus would know the joy of finding lost lamb after searching like mad in the dangerous wilderness.)

I find it interesting that Jesus said that it brings more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. The question is, how many people don’t need repentance? The righteousness who need no repentance only exist in their own mind.
This has me thinking, what does it really mean to be seeker sensitive?

Is ‘seeker sensitive’ being attentive to visitors and guests who come to our church on Sunday? Or does it mean that we tune in our hearts to heaven everyday? Being receptive and responsive to the great SEEKER and His prompts to join Him. Today I want to be seeker-sensitive; to be aware and perceptive of what the SEEKER is up to. God invites me to co-labor with him, be a co-seeker in finding the lost sheep.

This requires that: I share his concern. To be disturbed in my soul for another person. That I realize the gravity of the person’s need. I am willing pay the cost of inconvenince. To share in God’s concern and seek with him will cost me personal time, money, sleep, reputation…what else will it cost me? If I share his concern and join in the seeking then I will get to share in the joy when one person is found.

It helps me to remember that there is not one person on the planet who God is not already pursuing. God is at work in every life. We just have to be sensitive to the SEEKER and find out how he’s working.  

View more studies from Pastor Kevin Queen at http://www.kevinqueen.com