For some time now I have been thinking about the spiritually lost people of our community. People I see in my neighborhood and my other regular stops each day. How many are living without knowing about a God who loves and desires to be in a relationship with them? Reaching those individuals is the very purpose of the church and the best use of the time we have left in this life.
However, reaching people with this life-giving message has become increasingly difficult in a culture that has moved rapidly away from a true knowledge of God. Yesterday’s assumptions about truth, human identity, and purpose in life have largely evaporated. As a result, the church has become content to preach to the already converted — to people who share our beliefs and particular points of view.
But if we desire to be a church that is effective in changing hearts and making disciples, we must direct our hearts and our energies outward. We must look to God to provide us the vision and strength to see the world the way He does and to join Him in His work.
Then Jesus made a circuit of all the towns and villages. He taught in their meeting places, reported kingdom news, and healed their diseased bodies, healed their bruised and hurt lives. When he looked out over the crowds, his heart broke. So confused and aimless they were, like sheep with no shepherd. “What a huge harvest!” he said to his disciples. “How few workers! On your knees and pray for harvest hands!”Matthew 9:35-38, The Message
I believe the greatest need for the people in our community is a true experience with the message of the Gospel. Only God can open a person’s heart, but He calls us to be His messengers. This begins by asking God to do what no one else can do — draw people to Himself.
We must start by praying!
This Sunday we will begin a 3-week “Call To Pray” series focused on preparing our hearts and community for a supernatural work of God. If we want to ready ourselves as God’s chosen instruments for this all-important work, we need to pray for a burden… for the growth of a genuine desire in our hearts for the spiritually lost.
Ashely Cross, who spoke to our congregation in July, will launch this series. Then she and her husband, Pastor Melvin Cross, will be back with their congregation from Glory House International on Sunday night to join us for a special time of worship and prayer in our sanctuary. This “Call To Pray” gathering begins at 6:30pm. We will ask God to meet us and prepare us for a greater Gospel work in our community.
The following Sunday (October 31) we are planning time within our morning services for our elders and members of our prayer team to receive people for prayer. This is a time for each of us to allow another person to be an agent for God’s power into our lives. You will not want to miss this service.
Finally, we will conclude the series on Sunday, November 7, with a focus on praying for individuals God has put in our lives right now. Those of you using the Habits Journal we distributed last month have been praying for people in your life over the last many weeks. This will be an opportunity for all of us to select one person to pray for and to begin intentionally engaging in the weeks to come.
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.Colossians 4:2-6
The church does not exist for the sake of its members but for the sake of the world. In fact, it best serves its members by connecting them to the needs of the world around them.
Only when the church is a mission will it be a place where its greatest promises will ring true in the hearts of those who call it home. And this can only be accomplished by engaging a vision that is far bigger than our resources, our imagination, and our fears — a vision that cannot be accomplished without God’s intervention and sustaining power.
Expecting great things from God,