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So I'm a Christian, Now What 3 We've Got to Get Connected

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SO I’M A CHRISTIAN, NOW WHAT?

#3: “We’ve Got to Get Connected”

Pastor Greg Henneman

February 18, 2007

Text:           1 Corinthians 12:12-27

Key Idea:    God calls us to do life together, on purpose for him.

Goal:           To get people connected in the SOD.

Introduction

Last Sunday we talked about the power of habits. Once we come to Christ we need to develop certain habits in our lives that will help us grow.

Illust: Speaking of habits, I came across a great exercise that will build muscle strength in the arms and shoulders. I’ve been doing it and it seems so easy that I thought I'd pass it on to you.

Begin by standing on a comfortable surface, where you have plenty of room at each side. With a 5-lb potato sack in each hand, extend your arms straight out from your sides and hold them there as long as you can. Try to reach a full minute, then relax. Each day, you'll find that you can hold this position for just a bit longer.

After a couple of weeks, move up to 10-lb potato sacks. Then 50-lb potato sacks. Eventually try to get to where you can lift a 100-lb potato sack in each hand and hold your arms straight for more than a full minute. (I'm at this level) After you feel confident at that level, put a potato in each sack. (Gotcha, didn’t I!)

Habits! We need good habits to stay healthy physically, and we need good habits to stay healthy spiritually. Last week we looked at Colossians 3 and we used the word GROW.

[PUT ON SCREEN]

G – Get new habits

R – Relate to new friends

O – Own up to your struggles

W – Walk with Christ

Today I want to zoom in on the R. Relate to new friends. This is one of God’s key purposes for us! Once we come to Christ, God puts us into his family; and he calls us to do life together, on purpose for him!

So many people are lonely. They feel isolated. Ironically we live in a time when we’re more connected than ever before! My daughter’s going to college – over 200 miles away at AU. But because of the internet and cell phones, we’re connecting with each other every day and it doesn’t feel like she’s gone! When I went college years ago, I felt like I was going to outer space with no connection back home!

But the irony is that in spite of our cell phones and email and instant messaging and text messaging, more people feel lonely and isolated today than ever before! Why is that? Because in spite of all the connections –we’re not really connecting!

We’ve become a nation of superficial acquaintances. Add to that the fact that so many families have divorce situations and so many people just living together without the commitment of marriage, people feel like they’re not really loving and being loved, knowing and being known!

Illust: Guy Doud was a school teacher who was honored as the Teacher of the Year a few years back. He noticed how lonely many of his students were. He wrote…

“What shocked me most, as I read their papers, was that so many of the students wrote about being lonely.  I thought peer pressure and drugs were the most significant problems, but the student who wrote, "I feel so alone, like there is no one I can talk to" voiced the sentiments of a majority of students in my class.” (BI, loneliness)

It’s not just High School students who struggle with loneliness. Even famous rich people are lonely.

Illust:  O.J. Simpson (years ago when he was still adored by everyone) said, "I sit in my house in Buffalo and sometimes I get so lonely it's unbelievable.  Life has been so good to me.  I've got a great wife, good kids, money, my own health -- and I'm lonely and bored...I often wondered why so many rich people commit suicide.  Money sure isn't a cure-all." (BI, loneliness)

Illust:  Ralph Barton, the Cartoonist, left a suicide note that said, "I have had few difficulties, many friends, great successes; I have gone from wife to wife, and from house to house, visited great countries of the world, but I am fed up with inventing devices to fill up 24 hours of the day." (BI, loneliness)

How can that be? How can you have all the pleasures of life at your fingertips –and still be lonely? I’ll tell you how: by not connecting with your Creator and not connecting with the family that he’s made for you! We are designed for connection!  And when we’re not connecting nothing else works right! Even our health is affected!

Illust: In 2005, results from the U.S. Framingham Heart Study demonstrated that lonely men had raised levels of IL-6, a blood chemical linked to heart disease. A 2006 study conducted by the Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience at the University of Chicago found loneliness can add 30 points to a blood pressure reading for adults over the age of 50. (wikipedia, loneliness)

Loneliness –it’s not God’s will for your life. He wants you to connect with him and with others! So let’s talk about two biblical truths…

Two Truths That Can Change Your Life

Turn to 1 Corinthians 12:12 & 27. It’s also on your outline…

1 Corinthians 12:12 and 27 “The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ… Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.”

The first truth that can change our lives is this…

1. We are the body of Christ.

This is mind-blowing if you really think about it! You and I (the church) are the body of Christ! Do you realize that God’s will is for you and you…and me…as Christ-followers to come together and relate to one another on the basis of our common commitment to Christ? Do you understand that we are to connect –like parts of a body? Do you grasp the fact that Christ wants us to be his hands and his feet and his mouth in this world?

Astounding, isn’t it!  Christ wants to touch this world through us! What a privilege! What a responsibility!

Now think about a body. Your body has many parts, right? You have eyes and ears and a nose. You have hands and feet and elbows and arms. And every part of the body is designed for certain functions, right. The eye doesn’t hear! The ears don’t see! The parts of the body are different and they do different things –and yet they are connected in such a way that they are one body!

Illust: I think it was two summers ago that I pulled my hamstring while playing softball. I’m standing out there in left field and a guy rips a shot down the left field line. I scoot over to pick it up and I feel a shot up my leg. It felt like a snake bit me! I thought “Woe! What is that?” I never had that problem before. I threw the ball in and take my position again. A few plays later I short fly ball is coming my way. I run up to catch it –it should have been an easy play; but my hamstring bit me again and slowed me down. I realize that I’m not getting to the ball on time and at the last second I dive to catch it. My glove lands on the ground and the ball hits right next to the my glove and bounces up and hits me in the eye. Now my eyebrow is bleeding like a sieve, and I had to leave the game. It ended up being just a little cut on the eyebrow but you would have thought my head was split open!

Do you see how the body is connected? My hamstring affected my entire body! My hamstring ended up doing damage to my face!

Here’s the question: What kind of hamstring are you? What kind of body part are you? (Now don’t get smart on me here. “Well I think you’re the backside!) No, no, no! Now that you’re a Christian and now that you know that the church is the body of Christ (we are his hands and feet to touch the world), and now that you know that you are called to be a healthy, active, connected body part –what are you going to do about it?

Will you get connected? Or will you be a lame body-part that keeps the body from being all that God wants it to be?

We are the body of Christ. It will change your life, if you really get it! It’s incredible! Truth #2…

2. God calls us to belong, not just believe.

1 Corinthians 12:14 "Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body."

My hands never say, “Hey ears! You’re stupid! You can’t do all the things we can do! We can hold a book and we can swing a golf club and we can type!” No! My hands know that the ears belong to the body just as much as they do!

We live in such an individualistic society where it’s all about me and my needs and what I want. Lots of people say, “Well I’m a Christian and I believe –but I don’t belong to any church. I just stay at home and pray and read my Bible. I don’t want to bother with church.”

Honestly, anyone who says that is either arrogant or ignorant. I’m serious! How can you say you love Jesus when you’re not doing what Jesus told you to do? Jesus said, “I will build my church! I want you to love each other and be connected to each other and do life together and be on mission for me together so that you can impact this world for me!” So if you claim to follow Christ, how can you ignore what Christ told you to do!

I used my computer Bible program to search the NT. I searched for all the “one another” phrases. I found 100 references to “one another” or “each other.” There’s no way I can repeat them all, but listen to some of them. See if I can do it in one breath.

Christ calls us to be…

·        Members of one another

·        Devoted to one another

·        Live in harmony with one another

·        Don’t pass judgment on one another

·        Accept one another

·        Instruct one another

·        Agree with one another

·        Serve one another

·        Be patient with one another

·        Be kind with one another

·        Be compassionate with one another

·        Forgive one another

·        Encourage one another

·        Spur one another on

·        Do not slander one another

·        Offer hospitality to one another

·        Be humble toward one another

·        Fellowship with one another

·        Admonish one another

·        Bear one another’s burdens

·        Submit to one another

·        Honor one another

·        Love one another

You see how connected God wants us to be?

So What?           GET CONNECTED!

Ushers, would you begin to hand out the Legos please?

Illust: I have here Lego man. Kyle, a young man in our school, made Lego man for me this week. Kind of looks like one of the Transformers, like Optimus Prime, doesn’t he? Or one of the cartoon guys.

Legos teach us some important things…

One lego has only so many connections… I personally cannot connect with each of you…but you can connect with some…

One lego by itself cannot build anything…neither can you. It takes many legos connecting together to make something worthwhile…same with your life. You can go through life basically alone, doing your own thing, but you won’t build anything worthwhile, especially when it comes to doing God’s will. God’s plan is for you to connect with other legos and link up and build something great for God!

Now here’s the real application. You were handed a brochure as you walked in...

          School of Discipleship

 

Would you look at it please? What is the SOD? It’s classes for all age groups, where you can connect with other believers and learn about the Bible. Normally we offer the SOD only at the 11:00 hour, but for the month of March we are offering it both hours. If you look at the center column you’ll see the three adult classes.

APPLIED PRACTICAL PARENTING

STORIES FROM THE OLD TESTAMENT

WALKING IN THE DUST OF THE RABBI

Now many of you do not have the habit of going to the SOD. For whatever reasons, it’s just not on your radar screen. I am challenging you, for the month of March, to stretch a little bit. Say, “Hey, you know, this is what I’m going to do, in preparation for Easter. Let’s go to the SOD and connect with other believers (have some coffee and donuts), and grow in our faith.”  Will you do that?

“Well Greg, I have kids and that’s just too long for them. An hour is all they can handle.” No it’s not! They go to school all day don’t they, or at least half a day if they’re in kindergarten. And our kids programs each hour are different, so you’re kids will love it, and they won’t want to go home!

“Well Greg, I’m not sure I want to be here that long!” Well let me ask you: Wouldn’t you like to grow closer to God? Connecting with others and learning more about the Bible is a key way that God has given us to grow! And here is the SOD to make that happen!

What I’m saying is: Try it! For the month of March. If you like coming to the ____ service, then go the SOD at _____. So that’s my challenge to you. I predict that you will love it and you will develop friends that you’ll be so glad you’ve met.

Another way to connect is through…

          Small Groups

 

We have another brochure all about our small groups that we can give you as you exit this morning. If you’re interested in our small groups, our ushers will be handing them out as you leave.

 

          Ministries

Another way to connect is by getting involved in some ministry. Would you take out a Communication Card that’s sticking in a pew near you? On the back of the Communication Card it lists the various ministries we have here at church…  I encourage you to check off whatever you’re interested in, put your name on the card, and hand it to one of the ushers or greeters after the service. Ok?

We’re going to quit right now, and as we do, I want you to connect with somebody you don’t know. Don’t talk to somebody you already know! Talk to some people you don’t know. Introduce yourself to each other. Ask how long they’ve been coming to this church, and what their favorite hobby is. Stand. PRAY. Connect, and have a great week.

Key Idea:    God calls us to do life together, on purpose for him.

Goal:           To get people connected in the SOD.


SO I’M A CHRISTIAN, NOW WHAT?

#3: “We’ve Got to Get Connected”

Pastor Greg Henneman

February 18, 2007

Text:           1 Corinthians 12:12-27

Key Idea:    God calls us to do life together, on purpose for him.

Two Truths That Can Change Your Life

1. We are the body of Christ.

1 Corinthians 12:12 and 27 “The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ… Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.”

2. God calls us to belong, not just believe.

1 Corinthians 12:14 "Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body."

So What?           GET CONNECTED!

          School of Discipleship

          Small Groups

          Ministries

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