Shift Four: From ‘Serve Us’ to Service

ShiftWe are continuing with our sermon series Shift based on the book, Shift, by Phil Maynard. This weekend, we will be looking at shifting from a “Serve Us” mentality to a life of Servanthood. We will be reflecting on two Scriptures: 1 Peter 4: 10-11 and John 15: 12-17.

Shifting or change of any kind in life requires a combination of things such as: desire, willingness to take the risk for change, time, discipline (involving individual or communal support and accountability) and so forth. Three points to learn as we discuss Shift Four, “From ‘Serve Us’ to Service,” are:

  1. We are no longer living for human passions but for the will of God.
  2. We are self-controlled, sober-minded and hospitable without grumbling.
  3. We are in service, not for ourselves, but in order that in everything God is glorified through Jesus Christ.

You can listen to this sermon on one of the following:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/United-Methodist-Church-of-Harris-Lake-Park/929832563710639

https://www.facebook.com/PasteurEmmanuel

http://www.enaweji.org/sermons.html

I pray that God continues to revive, transform and renew, and heal us all!

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Shift Three: From Membership to Discipleship

Shift Three: From Membership to Discipleship

This is an outline for the sermon that had to be delivered today, February 1 at Harris and Lake Park UMC.

Matthew 28: 16-20 is what frames the mission statement of the United Methodist Church: “to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.” This sets a clear goal by stating that it is not about having members of a local, but making disciples for the Kingdom.

Based on that, we have three ways to look at what a disciple should be.

1. A disciple of Jesus Christ is someone who belongs to God’s family

  • Belonging to God’s family requires faith. John (John 1: 12) says that to those who believe and receive Him (the Light or Jesus), God gives them the power to become children of God.
  • Joining this family is expressed through joining a community of believers (a local church).
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    ​Becoming a member of God’s family means we let Jesus live through us. Paul puts it this way: “It is not I who live, but Christ” (Galatians 2: 20). And this introduces us to the next step: following or walking in the footsteps of the Master.

2. A disciple of Jesus Christ is someone who follows the Master (the Rabbi)

  • All the disciples, in one way or another, Jesus called asked them to follow Him. Everyday, He calls us too to follow Him.
  • What does it take to follow Jesus?
    • Self denial,
    • taking up one’s cross
    • and following the Master. (Matthew 16: 24-27)
  • This is a transformational experience strengthened by a life of discipline: prayer, fasting, study of God’s word, fellowship with other believers and witness (sharing of the good news, service and mission).

3. A disciple of Jesus Christ is someone who partners with Jesus Christ for ministry

  • First and foremost, a disciple needs to keep in mind that it is about God’s ministry and mission. This is not our business.
    • God is the One who is sending us.
    • God is sending us to make disciples of all nations for Him, and not for our local church, even though it is great to see more people join us for worship and ministry. People joining our local church should be perceived as the fruit and outcome of what God is doing through His disciples, and not the goal.
  • A disciple is called and equipped with gifts. (1 Corinthians 12, the gifts of the Holy Spirit)
    • These are to be used as we minister to each other, and more importantly to those who do not know Jesus yet.
  • A disciple, in addition to receiving the gifts, is also equipped for the ministry (Ephesians 4: 11-15).
    • God melts, molds, shapes and fills us with a new breath of His Spirit everyday.
    • However, we have to open up ourselves up in order to allow Him to do so.

Only true disciples make disciples. Only true disciples make a vibrant local church. All this is because a true disciple is the one who know he or she belongs to God’s family, she walks in the footsteps of her Master and is daily in partnership with Jesus for God’s ministry!

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A few Reflections on what is the Church of Jesus Christ

ImageHave you ever heard of this statement: “I believe in God, but not in the church?” Probably you may have. That is where most people in the ages of 28 to about 38 claim they stand in relation to the Church and God. They represent close to 40 millions of the population here in the US. The next Generation, which is likely to inherit this stand and probably even change it to “I do not believe in God, nor in the Church,” is the group of people aged 10 to about 25. They represent about 70 millions of the population. They are the Generation Y and are also called the echo boomers and Millenniums. It is alarming to watch how and over the years, at an increasing rate, the Church has been losing its crucial place in society and the culture.  

Don’t you feel that God some day will hold you and I accountable for not sharing enough about our faith with these two generations? I am not trying to scare you off so that you choose to do it out of fear. No, what I want to say here is that you and I understand the urgency of truly being the Church of Jesus Christ. Transformation of lives comes out of being the Church and not just doing Church stuff. Doing what we do as the Church should always be a natural expression of God’s work in our lives.

In the coming weeks, I will be posting on my blog some of my personal reflections of what we, the Church of Jesus Christ should be about: nature, character and more. I will try my best to do a weekly post. At the meantime, stay blessed! 

 

 

 

 

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Living in Confidence

Have you ever thought of how much potential God has invested in you? Isn’t it what should enable you to live in confidence? The value of a box is it not what’s inside instead of just what’s written on the outside? In our sermon series, “God Calls and We Walk,” this last Sunday, we looked at the theme, “Living in Confidence,” based on Ephesians 3: 1-13.

In this passage, Paul begins by identifiying himself as a prisoner for Christ on behalf of the non believers. This is what I would call the Jesus’ attitude. It is to acknowledge the fact that no matter what God is always in control. It is also to say to what ever problem we face in life: “God is more powerful than you think you are.”

The next thing Paul does is to talk about God’s mystery, which is what made the Gentiles and the Jews become members of one body, the church. Altogether, they have become fellow heirs with Jesus Christ. This mystery was hidden to previous generations, but was first revealed to the apostles by the Spirit. Out of this mystery, Paul was also called into ministry as an apostle to the Gentiles, which he was until his death in Rome.

It is God’s mystery that has made you and I also fellow heirs with Christ, members and partakers in God’s Kingdom. This is the eternal purpose, which is bigger than our dreams and purposes we set in life. God’s purpose is that His manifold wisdom is made known through us, the church, to the rest of the world. Have a blessed week!

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Today’s Sermon: Peace and The Broken Walls

With the world so desperately longing for peace, true peace really comes from God.

In our sermon series, “God calls and We walk” based on the letter of Paul to the Ephesians, we discussed today what God’s Peace is all about and what happens when we experience it. The Ephesian church was a mixed bag. The majority of the people were Gentiles, not Jewish. They were therefore not biological descendants of Abraham and thus strangers to God’s promises and covenant. 

Paul is presenting in Ephesians 2: 11-22, today’s Scripture, the fact that Jesus is our Peace. He brings people (Jews and Gentiles alike) from afar and those who are near together through His blood in order they become one in Christ. Jesus by dying on the cross abolished every law that used to stand against us. Whether we are Abraham’s biological descendents or not, what matters is what God did through Jesus Christ.

God’s Peace means: 

– We become citizens and members of God’s household. A local church is a the community where our membership to the body of Christ is reflected. 

– We are built upon God’s Word with Jesus Christ the corner stone. The Bible, God’s written Word and the presence of Jesus Christ in our lives shape who we are. 

– We are joined together and are able to grow into a holy temple, a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

This dwelling place for God is whaat we call Church, which therefore exists not for us, but for God who does all the above among us. God’s Peace prevails when God is in charge and when He is the one doing it all in the midst of His people. Then, there is no hostility and all the walls of separation have been broken down. Also, People live in love with each other knowing that God is still seeking for some more who are afar to be brought near to Him, just as He did for us. 

Have a blessed week!

Pastor Emmanuel. 

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Life Out of Tune with God

Continuing with our sermon series, “God calls and We walk,” last Sunday, we looked at what it means to be in tune with God under the theme: “Life out of Tune with God.” We reflected on Ephesians 2: 1-10 and John 17: 14-21.

Three things came out of these two Scriptures: 

1. Life without God means death. This spiritual death is as a result of embracing a lifestyle that reflects the way of living of this world. Death also happens when we embrace the desires and passions of our flesh (humanity) that are not reflective of God and His Word.

2. We are, however, brought to life through Jesus Christ. This is God’s doing through us. Coming back to life only happens through God’s grace and faith. It is not human efforts or doing that can give life to our souls.

3. Lastly, Paul points out the purpose for God doing all this: We are God’s accomplishments and called to do God’s work. The reason God puts you and I in this world is not to fight it and its culture, but to reflect who God is so that people could come to know God through us. Again, this will not be our doing, but God’s. 

Blessings!  

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Not just Lucky but Blessed

Are you lucky or blessed? If blessed, what then defines your blessing? Is it your education? Is it what you have in your bank account? Is it because of the number of friends you have who make you feel so secure? 

All of the above comes and goes away. However, based on Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, from our sermon series, “God calls and we walk,” there are four things that should define our blessings, which will never be taken from us:  

1. God chose you in Christ before the foundation of the world – You have been chosen for a purpose. There is a reason why you are who you are, living where you live and with the people you know. Just being who you are is such a blessing and God needs you for something in this world.   

2. God predestined you to be His son/daughter through Jesus Christ – Part of the purpose of being is that God wanted you to be His child. If it were not through Jesus Christ, we would have never had a blessing to be called by God’s name. You belong to God and His people. That is your home and your family. 

3. God has forgiven and redeemed you through the blood of Jesus Christ – Not only are you forgiven, but you have been set free from sin through the blood of Jesus Christ. 

4. God has sealed you with the Holy Spirit – As a sign of God’s presence in your life and a tangible sign of God’s inheritance, your life is filled with God through the Holy Spirit.

We are really blessed not because of what we have or what we have achieved in life. We are blessed because we are God’s chosen people, forgiven, predestined to be sons and daughters of the Living God and filled with the Holy Spirit. All other things will come go away some day. They are not the reason why we exist. Instead they serve as tools to do God’s work and be God’s work. They will be no more some day, but the daily experience of God’s grace and love will for ever remain. 

Be blessed! 

 

 

 

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