We’re continuing our conversation from last week about our desire to grow, as a community, and as individuals, in our impact.
Growing…in Formation…in Generosity…in our sense of Community…will always lead to us making a greater impact!
How do we define Impact?
What kind of dent or difference are we making for God and for good, at home, in our neighbourhood, at work, in our city, in our world?
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For any church community…or follower of Jesus…of human for that matter…we make an impact in 3 ways…
How we LIVE…SERVE…SPEAK
LIVE in such a way that convinces others that God is real and present.
Fredrick Neichze, a philosopher and cultural critic, who lived in the mid-late 1800’s was an advocate of atheism and agnosticism. He was well known for one of his written pieces, Madman. About a man running in the streets shouting, God is dead, God is dead. One of the many lines was this very interesting one, “And you killed him, because you live like he doesn’t exist.” A serious critique of Christianity, wouldn’t you say.
Ghandi, in less dramatic style, said this once to the church, “I like your Christ, I don’t like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike Christ. If they were, all of India would want to be a follower of Christ.” Also, quite the critique, don’t you think?
They were both saying the same thing: Live like Jesus, and people might just see that God is ALIVE. If you don’t, you Christians are hurting the cause.
In 1 Thessalonians 1:6-9, Paul is grateful that this early and young church are, one, imitators the gospel (living out their faith for people to see) and two, loud with their lives (his words are in fact, and the message rang out from them).
So, don’t just talk a good talk…live a life that backs it up!
SERVE in such a way that shows others that Love & Grace are alive & well.
Anytime we give, serve, contribute, fill a need, help a hurt, feed an empty stomach, … We are being Jesus to others.
It’s in Matthew 25 that Jesus days, if you’ve done this to the least of these, you’ve done it unto me…
- this is what makes dent in our world
- this is what makes difference in our city
- this is what helps others see the love and grace of Jesus
Jesus will only be as alive to others as he is alive in us and through us!
SPEAK in such ways that communicate Jesus is alive and is worth following.
I recently came across some info that says there’s a decline of religious and moral words. Words to describe faith have declined over the course of the 20th century. According to Google Ngram, 74% of words associated with faith were used less frequently over the last century. Words like, grace, mercy, wisdom, faith, honesty, righteousness. And…words like love, patience, gentleness, have become rarer too. Modesty = 52% less. Kindness = 56% less. Thankfulness = 49%.
Why bring this up. Well, I believe that it’s our responsibility to provide language and words for good conversation to take place.
For this we look to Colossians 4:2-6…
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
Pray (talk to God about people before you talk to people about God)
– Pray to be clear, to be wise, to be graceful
Be wise when talking to people about God
– don’t waste opportunities
– don’t manufacture moments
– but please, don’t waste them either
When you do open your mouth to speak, remember that it’s a conversation, never a speech.
– 2 ways: Listen & Talk (in that order)
– Full of Grace & Salt…or…put another way, Thoughtful & Tasty
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If we wanna make an impact? If we wanna make a difference?
It’ll happen in the way we LIVE, the way we SERVE, and in how we SPEAK.
I guess now all we have to do is simply live out our faith…take advantage of the opportunities to serve…and when the moment arrives, speak, with gentleness, respect, grace, and a touch of salt. Who knows what God can do through us? Let’s try and see what happens.
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We also had the chance to interview Michelle Little this past Sunday. We do this from time to time at The Village; take a few moments to hear someone’s story through a live interview.
Here are a few things that came from the interview:
- Michelle is a camp director, a mom, a wife, and a wonderful person who’s trying to become all that God has called her to be
- Michelle is passionate about helping young people, kids and teens, discover how amazing it is to follow Jesus, and how that will help them in every area of their life. She’s also very excited to help them become future leaders.
- She sees camps like Mini Yo We as a partners in a child’s development, both spiritual and physical.
- We talked about her journey of formation, the people that helped her along the way, and how this inspires her to do the same for others.
- We heard about her patience in waiting for what she thought was her and God’s dream for her life. How she almost gave up on it. How it eventually felt like the exact perfect time for it all to come together.
- She affirmed our greatest church community value, that it takes a village for any of us to become who God is calling us to be.
- Why does she follow Jesus? Because he makes sense. Because he is worth every inch of our heart, and every moment of our attention.
- If you get a chance to chat with her, she’d love to tell you more.