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I love my church: Purpose

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Our purpose, knowing why the church exists is all the motivation and direction we need to make a difference in the world.

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Our Purpose - Our Why?

Today I want to begin why I LOVE MY CHURCH and why I think everyone should LOVE MY CHURCH, or our church. We are going to discover the power of purpose, knowing our why.
I have two kids, I told you last week, Kyle and Katherine. They are about to go off to college this fall, Kyle as a Junior to Salisbury and Katherine will be a freshman at Western Michigan. It seems like just a couple of days ago they were born.
I remember very clearly when Kyle was born, he was our first. He was due on May 12th I think, but on May 7th, early in the morning Michelle woke me up to tell me she needed to go to the hospital but she wasn’t sure. I was like, we have 5 more days, can’t we sleep in? No she said, so off we went. I remember the doctor had said it was due on the 12th; so no worries.
We get to the hospital and the nurse examines my wife and says i’ll be back in a minute to take you to a room. I ask, what is wrong? The nurse just looks at me and smiles, not a thing, you are about to have a baby. WOW, you could have knocked me over with a feather. All at once I was overwhelmed with responsibility. So much so that I had to leave the room for a minute. This couldn’t be, I wasn’t ready. All I could think about was all the things that I had to do. I came back into the room and Michelle said where did you go? I said, I had to go home. She said no you don’t. I said, yes I do, I have put the crib together. We don’t have anywhere for the baby to sleep.
I was overcome with responsibility. If I had done what I thought needed to be done I would have missed one of the most amazing events in my life, the birth of a child.
What about you? have you ever gotten so wrapped up in your responsibilities that you forgot why you were doing them in the first place?
It happens very easy. Easier as I get older and understand things, my responsibilities a bit better than I used to. Why I do them doesn’t matter any more, you just do because it’s your responsibility.
It doesn’t always have to be that way though.
I want to look at one of those times in the bible today when the WHY was the driving purpose for a man and how knowing his why changed him and eventually changed the world.
But before I do, I want us to understand the power of knowing WHY.

YOU:

There is a leadership book out now written by Simon Sinek that’s called knowing your why.
In it he talks about how most people, and organizations, focus on what they do or should do, and then figure out how to do it. He said game changing organizations and individuals do it completely opposite. They start with why they do what they do, and apply that to How they will do it.
He uses several examples. Apple, doesn't want to just sell you a computer; they are driven to challenge everything believing in thinking differently. Martin Luther King, drew crowds not because he wanted to change laws, but because he had a dream that people would understand their God given worth. The Wright brothers didn't just want to fly, they wanted to change the world with their flying machine.
These people accomplished amazing things, not so they could have power, but to resolve their why.

GOD:

Now to our scripture for today:
If you brought your bible today, I hope you did…that’s what we are here for after all. If you don’t have a bible, you tell me and I’ll get you one. But till then, you should have one near you in your pew there. Exodus 3 is on page....You with me? Say amen when you find it.
You know who Moses was right. He was an Israelite who was raised by Pharaoh's sister. He grew up in the home of Pharaoh. He knew he was a Jew. That’s why when he got older and saw one of the Jewish slaves killed by one of the Egyptian guards, he lashed out and killed the guard. Ashamed and scared, he ran away…far far away. That’s where we pick up the story in Exodus 3.
Here we go
Exodus 3:1–10 NLT
1 One day Moses was tending the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian. He led the flock far into the wilderness and came to Sinai, the mountain of God. 2 There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing fire from the middle of a bush. Moses stared in amazement. Though the bush was engulfed in flames, it didn’t burn up. 3 “This is amazing,” Moses said to himself. “Why isn’t that bush burning up? I must go see it.” 4 When the Lord saw Moses coming to take a closer look, God called to him from the middle of the bush, “Moses! Moses!” “Here I am!” Moses replied. 5 “Do not come any closer,” the Lord warned. “Take off your sandals, for you are standing on holy ground. 6 I am the God of your father—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” When Moses heard this, he covered his face because he was afraid to look at God. 7 Then the Lord told him, “I have certainly seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their cries of distress because of their harsh slave drivers. Yes, I am aware of their suffering. 8 So I have come down to rescue them from the power of the Egyptians and lead them out of Egypt into their own fertile and spacious land. It is a land flowing with milk and honey—the land where the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites now live. 9 Look! The cry of the people of Israel has reached me, and I have seen how harshly the Egyptians abuse them. 10 Now go, for I am sending you to Pharaoh. You must lead my people Israel out of Egypt.”
Remember Moses was a wanted murderer. What would it take to get him to go back to Egypt? A really powerful WHY would do it.
That’s what God gave him.
Go back because I’m sending you. I am telling you to go and deliver my people. That’s a bit more persuasive than I think you should help isn’t it.
God tells him Go…how does he go? Go to pharoah…and do what? tell him to let my people go.
You see, now if he didn’t understand his WHY, he’d focus on the what. and the conversation with Pharaoh would go something like this:
Pharaoh. I know I've been away a while, but while I was away, I got to thinking. I’ve actually been burdened by this. I think you should let the Jews go. You and your fathers have had them for like 400 years, don’t you think it’s time they leave? no…well OK I guess, Are you sure? OK, I’ll check back later. What’s that, if I come back you are going to kill me?
That wouldn’t be very persuasive as you can imagine. But knowing he was sent by God Moses was able to stand before pharoah time after time and demand the release of the Jews. Until God delivered.
He understood his WHY. He was concerned, he was compassionate, he was committed, he was convincing, he did something that was remarkable because he understood his why.
I believe God calls a bunch of people, all the time, but not that many of us really understand our why and therefore we miss out on the blessing of seeing God accomplish great thing through us.
The apostle Paul was another one in the bible who was pretty clear on his why.
Paul explained his why in
Romans 1:1–7 NLT
1 This letter is from Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, chosen by God to be an apostle and sent out to preach his Good News. 2 God promised this Good News long ago through his prophets in the holy Scriptures. 3 The Good News is about his Son. In his earthly life he was born into King David’s family line, 4 and he was shown to be the Son of God when he was raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit. He is Jesus Christ our Lord. 5 Through Christ, God has given us the privilege and authority as apostles to tell Gentiles everywhere what God has done for them, so that they will believe and obey him, bringing glory to his name. 6 And you are included among those Gentiles who have been called to belong to Jesus Christ. 7 I am writing to all of you in Rome who are loved by God and are called to be his own holy people. May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.
What is his why? He was called. He had encountered God and sent him. What and how he lived that out would would change from person to person, town to town because what he did didn’t matter because everything he did was because of his WHY .…and it changed everything for him and for the church.
That’s the power of knowing your why.
Michael Jr Video

YOU:

Do you know your why? Maybe you have never taken a moment to really think about WHY you are here today. I believe it is so that you might have a relationship with the creator of the universe, that he might love you and you might live for him.
Do you remember your why? Maybe you are like me back when my son was born. You have gotten so busy taking care of all the what’s and how’s that you have forgotten the why.
I love my church because I love our WHY, Jesus.
Often times, we get mixed up at church. That’s normal. We get so focused on the what we do, Sunday school or youth ministry or fish fry’s or cemeteries, or potluck suppers; that we begin to think those things are our WHY.
But they are not.
You might argue with me and say worship is our WHY; or pray, sing, hold one another accountable or make disciples. THose aren’t our why either. If we keep boiling it down eventually we will get to God, just like Paul and Moses found. Our why is Jesus.
Why do we preach, why do we worship, why do we study, why do we do everything we do?
Our WHY is Jesus.
Our why is that Jesus changed my life and has called us.
Matthew 28:19–20 NIV84
19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Matthew 22:37–39 NIV84
37 Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
Our WHY is Jesus is the experience we have had with Jesus, and our mission is is our grace-filled response to the call of God on our lives that we experienced in JESUS.
My why? Jesus saved me, redeemed my past, and has sent me to lead the church help people discover the life for which they were created.
If you are a Christian, you WHY is a person JESUS. Knowing all that he did for us, changes everything!

Whenever United Methodism has had a clear sense of [OUR WHY], God has used our Church to save persons, heal relationships, transform social structures, and spread scriptural holiness, thereby changing the world.

In order to be truly alive, we embrace Jesus’ mandate to love God and to love our neighbor and to make disciples of all peoples.

WE: IMAGINE

I want us to understand our WHY. I want us to live and breathe our WHY. When someone says tell me about your church, we will say…well what we do won’t make sense until you I first tell you about our WHY, Jesus.
When the lady at the grocery store asks, what’s going on down at the church? Your answer will be Jesus is what’s going on, and he is AWESOME!
When the man at the barber shop asks, what’s going on down at the church this weekend, you will say. We are going to have a great time, you should come because Jesus is going to show up!
Then when people experience our WHY, we won’t be able to keep them out.
I love our church, I love our WHY.
Do you know him?
Knowing him isn’t about following a set of rules or stopping all your bad habits. Knowing that Jesus died so you could live the life you were created to live. Jesus has done everything you need. He has finished it and is waiting for you to receive his work as a gift.
If you would like to begin a relationship with Christ today and at the same time begin to know WHY you were created and begin to truly live, I invite you to pray with me.
Lord, I have been living life without considering why I was created for way to long. Today God I thank you for showing me that Jesus is my WHY. I have tried to find meaning in many other things, but today I accept that you are my purpose. I thank you for showing me the best reason to live. Help me to love you and love my neighbor. Thank you for this new life. God I give it back to you. I love you.
Have you received it? If you have and you have found yourself focused more on the what of church life than the why of life itself, then today is a good day to refocus.
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