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A Strong Church

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A Strong Church Acts 1:8, Matthew 28:18-20 Outline taken from South Carolina Baptist Strong Churches Initiative December 31,2017 2008 was a rough year. In August of 2008 I lost one of the biggest influences in my life, my grandmother, Annie Sue Jordan. Two months later as I arrived at work after a 2 hour commute, I was called into the maintenance manager’s office and informed that because of the decrease in product demand my position was being down-sized and for the first time in my life I found myself without a job. For two months I submitted literally resume after resume after resume. It didn’t matter to me what the job was, I needed employment to provide for my family. One week turned into two and two turned into a month and by mid-december I had almost completely given up hope. Then during the middle I reached bottom. That morning I broke down in my bedroom and ended up face down in my bedroom crying out to God to show me what he wanted me to do. In absolute clarity I heard a still small voice remind me that I had already been shown where he wanted me, I simply chose to go in the opposite direction. In that moment I knew. During that same time frame, unbeknownst to me, God was busy at work behind the scenes, doing what he does best, working for the good of those who love him. Although the times were tough, the situation was intense, and the results were felt to be catastrophic, without them, well, we would not be where we are today. Because 2008 wasn’t just rough for me, it was rough for Cornerstone. A church that had worked and toiled and grown faced adversity and some very difficult situations during its very young life, experienced a heart breaking loss. One that has placed a mark on all those who were involved. Throughout scripture, in a beautiful display of grace and mercy we see God use some of the most broken people to perform some of the greatest acts. We see a liar become the father of nations, a murderer become the deliverer of the people, an adulterer and murderer become “a man after God’s own heart”, time after time we see imperfection used by the God to accomplish his work on this earth and the common thread between these men and women, obedience, not perfect by far, but obedience still. In grand fashion, time and again the servants of the Living God have trudged forward in imperfect obedience. We know that along the way they faltered and fell, but we also see that through the grace and mercy of God, they get back up and they move forward in obedience. As we mark the close of 2017, I want to take a moment to remind us to be obedient even imperfect obedience is used by God for his Kingdom and His purpose. 9 years ago, God brought together a broken church and a broken servant for the betterment of His kingdom and for His glory and we will continue to march forward in obedience. This morning I want to spend a few minutes casting somewhat of a vision for the next year for Cornerstone. The vision that I fully believe that God has laid on my heart. Before I start however, I must warn you that this vision will call for greater things from each of us. It will call for us to be more, give more, do more and it will call for us to stumble forward in imperfect obedience understanding that the power and ability to do all that we must, comes from, through and by Christ. This morning I am asking you to make a commitment. Not a half hearted commitment, but I am asking you to fully commit to this mission, I am aksing you to lay aside yourself for the sake of the cross. A couple of weeks ago a wonderful man of God went to glory. His name was R.C. Sproul. For those of you who do not know who this man was he was a theologian, pastor and author among other things, but he was FIERCELY devoted to the work that God had placed before them. RC, who was 78 when he passed away, once made the statement “I’ll retire when they pry my cold, dead fingers off of my Bible.” And that is exactly what he did. Each of us here this morning has a task, we are all called to serve in obedience. This morning we are going to take a look at what I believe God is placing before us in the framework of our mission statement “Make More Disciples”. Acts 1:8; Matthew 28:18-20 Before I go into the outline this morning I want to address a word, and that word is DISCIPLE. The word disciple can be used as a noun, to define a person who is a pupil or adherent of the doctrines of another, or it can be used as a verb to denote the conversion of someone into a disciple. So in the text we see this word listed as a noun, meaning that those who are being talked to are followers of the one doing the talking. Jesus said you will be MY disciples, meaning that we are to follow Him and His teaching. Note that you be a disciple it is imperative that you follow ALL of the teaching and one of those teachings we find in Matthew 28:19 go and make disciples. So the disciples of Christ are called to make more disciples and those disciples are called to make more disciples and the disciples are to follow who…Christ. This morning I want to talk to you about the training ground for disciples…the church, specifically I want to talk about strong churches and the fact that there are four specific actions that strong churches take when it comes to making disciples. Strong churches make disciples who will share hope, who will grow and develop, who will send workers and missionaries and who will start other churches. 1. Share Hope a. As a strong church we will create a culture of disciple makers who will i. Pray for the lost ii. Care for our community iii. Share hope with our neighbors 2. Strengthen the church a. As a strong church we will Grow and develop i. Disciples ii. Disciple making disciples 3. Sending Workers and Missionaries a. As a strong church we will i. Pray for workers and pray for the unreached ii. Make disciples iii. Send missionaries 1. Jerusalem 2. Judea 3. Samaria 4. The Ends of the Earth 4. Start Churches a. As a Strong Church we will i. Seek opportunities to plug in to church planting ii. Develop relationships with church planters 1. Jerusalem 2. Judea 3. Samaria 4. The Ends of the Earth iii. Deploy workers to assist or become missionary church planters I know, many of you are sitting there now thinking, this dude has lost his mind. There is no way we can accomplish these tasks to which I say the following…the time for negativity and doubting has passed, the time for careful and cautious movement that leads no where is over, it is time to move forward and to do that we need each and every person here to be on board and do their part. Are we going to be busy? Yes. Is the work going to be challenging? yes
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