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Sunday, November 12, 2006

Sunday Sermon Summary #1

The sermon today was entitled, In the Midst of our Mess.

Spike began by telling a story of Christians worshipping in hiding during the time of Nazi Germany. They prayed and wanted God to come right now as their life was a mess...they were in hiding, being hunted and trying to worship God in secret. Do we feel like we are being hunted down? Do we feel like the other shoe is about to drop any second? Do we feel that no matter what we do, we can't get ahead? There are long time members of our church who have weathered the storm of life and got through it by their faith in God.

Right now there are many people in our church who may be struggling with many life issues. The world is struggling and is in chaos. Life can be difficult and messy at times. What did God do? God sent Jesus into our mess. The Word became Flesh. We need to pray for our world. In the paper today the headlines tell of Christians fleeing from the Holy Land. It makes one wonder if there is hope. When Scott Sunquist was here in October he told us of hope.

Scott Sunquist told us of hope in China, where the church is growing in ways we could not even imagine. For more info on that, please visit the website, Back to Jerusalem. The church in China has fearless believers and they are on a mission to take the gospel back to Jerusalem by land or by sea via the Silk Highway. What is Back to Jerusalem?

The Back to Jerusalem vision is something that thousands of Chinese Christians are willing to die for. Why? When many people first hear about Back to Jerusalem” they misinterpret from the name of the movement that the Chinese Church wants to evangelize Jerusalem.

The first thing to understand was that Back to Jerusalem does not at all mean the Chinese want to rush to Jerusalem with the Gospel. The vision is much larger than that.

The BTJ vision is a passion for the house churches of China. We pray about it daily, dream about it, and talk about it over breakfast, lunch and dinner. The Back to Jerusalem vision is not some small trivial matter for us, but the driving force of our lives and ministries. Many feel it is GodÂ’s ultimate call and destiny for the Chinese Church, the very reason they exist!

Back to Jerusalem is not some kind of end times theory. We have no plans to rush to Israel. Rather, BTJ refers to a call from God for the Chinese Church to preach the Gospel and establish fellowships of believers in all the countries, cities, towns, and ethnic groups between China and Jerusalem. This vision is no small task, for within those nations lay the three largest spiritual strongholds in the world today that have yet to be conquered by the Gospel: the giants of Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism.
The Chinese are opening laundromats and restaurants to spread the Word. What vision has God given to us to share with the world? Locally our schools need help. Most of the time we wait for people to come to us for help. Instead, we need to go to others who may need help. Who will we meet today who may need God's love? We need to be good news people. We need to be willing to serve.

There are members of the congregation who have reached out to the school directly across the street from us--St. Andrews Middle School. There are a number of members from the congregation who tutor there each week. Tara Gilmore is a school volunteer there and has encouraged more to volunteer. Hattie James tutors students in english and math. Norma Groover is a spanish tutor. Garrett Mitchener is a math tutor. Mary Oliver and Cheryl Cihlar also volunteer as well. Joan Pauley works with students who are in the custody of DSS in educational matters in the school where each is attending. At Mary Ford Elementary School, Lindy Coleman volunteers by hosting parties for the 2nd graders on Fridays. There are also others planning to get involved in the volunteer program as well.

Again...We need to be good news people. We need to be willing to serve.


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