This was my talk on christ centered community that I gave during large group today. maybe you’ll get a kick out of it.. pretty much word for word
Personal Experience: These past several weeks have been fairly difficult. About 2 months ago I went through a really bad break-up, and since then, I’ve been handling it in a very personal self-deprecating manner. All through the break, anthology, and even this past week of class, I’ve definitely been dwelling a lot in the darkness. To be honest, I’ve been turning my attention away from God because I’ve been unwilling to fellowship with Him. I think its mainly been because I know God will make me face the hurt and anger I feel in my heart. God has been good though; God has blessed me with friends that have reminded me of the goodness of the Gospel. Each day, generally at night, I’ve been making it a point to talk to a different person about what I’ve been struggling with. But I know He is using the people around me to remind me to continue pursuing after Him. While my life has been so dark, God has been using people around me to draw me back to Him. It’s because of that I know God yearns for my attention. God wants me to stop dwelling in the darkness and shine brightly again.
For it’s said in Matthew 5:14-16 14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
Lesson: As I look around, I see a community of believers. I believe each of you really does care for each other deeply. Many of you have built many new friendships and relationships are are authentic and genuine. But what unites you with each other? **Give Examples** What holds us together? The thing that should unite our community is our vision and our love for God. Our vision is. One way one of my disciples has described it is, “what makes us different from other asian organizations like the ones we reach out to?” There should be something about us that stands out far beyond the the idea that people tag us as “christians”. People should see something different about us simply by the way that we live, and see something they’re missing in they lives, even if they can’t tell it’s actually God working. Jesus even describes us in the matthew verse that people will see our lives and glory will go to God. That’s what a movement looks like from the outside!
So, how do we get to movements everywhere? Lets work backwards. well, We’ve been talking about the community and what it’s role is. The community should be encouraging its members to be those movements because God has placed the vision of Epic in our hearts <encouraging people to live out the vision>. The community should be challenging its members to be more than christians living in a non-christian world. Members should be pushing others to live out the vision, attend the missional communities, go to free lunch, or friday afternoon evangelisms. In a very simple sense, the community instigates movements everywhere!
I believe earnestly and honestly that God has placed you in Epic because He intends to use you all to reach THE WORLD. I believe you’re not just here because you’re merely friends with the person next to you, but because God has placed the vision of epic in your heart. the vision of Epic in people’s hearts>. To emphasize that effect, Jesus described us as fishers of men. At the beginning of this year, or the beginning of last year, or whenever you came to your first epic event, you didn’t come by chance, God intended it. But even more importantly, you didn’t stay only because you thought it was a wonderful way to spend your wednesday evenings. No, something drew you here, and God is slowly imbedding the vision of Epic in your hearts. And it truly is a blessing to be able to watch that happen.
Of course, the integral part of the christ centered community comes from one key point. That we are encouraging one another to pursue God <>. Earlier I asked each of you to choose which description best fit your idea of a christ centered community. Frankly, all of you are correct. Each of those happens when we are truly spurring each other on and reminding other brothers and sisters in christ of the importance of fellowshiping with Him. I’m going to leave you guys with a really loaded heavy verse that talks about how we can spur one another on, but for sake of time, I’ll let you guys look it over yourselves.
Colossians 3:12-17 “12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
The basic message is Christ Centered Community will…
Christ Centered Community: encouraging one another to pursue God –> God places the vision of Epic in people’s hearts –> CCC should encourage people to live out the vision –> Movements everywhere so that everyone knows someone who truly follows JC
Response: So what can we do? Ask yourself, is your community, wherever/whatever it is… is it centered on Christ? What unites you? is it your love for God? Or is it your love for fun? Looking more closely, is your life centered on Christ?
In Phillipians 2:12-15, Paul talks about shining brightly again. 12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. 14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.”[c] Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky
Guys, a fellowship is only as strong and united as it’s community is. In order to truly spur each other on to pursue the vision, we must be christ centered. In order to be christ centered, we need to be individually pursing God as well. We should be encouraging each other to live out the vision, but before we can do that, we need to center our hearts on God. God has really shown that to me everyday.
Personal Experience (again): To be honest, I’m still struggling with loving God as I should, and not turning away from Him. But with each conversation I have with people, I know God is still inching closer to me. Each time I share with someone, God uses that person to remind me to lift prayers and burdens up to Him. And in return, God has also been speaking through that person, reminding me that I have a responsibility to the people I serve in Epic. I can’t continue to dwell in selfishness and darkness but instead I’m reminded of what a privilege it is to be used by God. In the phillipians 2:13 verse, it says, For it is GOD who wins in us in wills us to act in order to fulfill his good news.So one last time: pursue God –> encourage each other to pursue God –> God places the vision of Epic in our hearts –> CCC encourages people to live out the vision –> Movements everywhere so that everyone knows someone who truly follows Jesus Christ