Faithlife Sermons

Making a Difference @ RC

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Today, we are celebrating 2 years as River Church. One thing we want to do is to make a difference in the lives of people in our congregation and around the WB.
Fire in town shopping center – Firefighters couldn’t get it under control – Situation hopeless - Truck carrying farm workers came over hill & drove right into the fire – Farm workers able to beat out flames / save shopping center - $1000 reward – Mayor to truck driver, “What are you going to do with $1000?” Truck driver, “1st thing going to do is fix brakes”–
We don’t usually make a difference by accident, but by intention. So we want to look at how we can make a difference in our families and around the WB.

God has been good to River Church the last 2 years.

We launched the church with one service per week on Saturday nights.
We were able to purchase this building.
We launched 2 services per week that first Easter.
We launched Wednesday nights which have grown to be one of the larger services we have now.
We now provide full Children’s and youth ministries on Wednesday nights.
We provided 100 kids so far with School Supplies in a book bag.
We tarped a house for an elderly couple.
We have begun Fuel the Future .
We feed anyone who will come to church on Wednesdays.
We have done outreach with City of Gretna at their Halloween thing.
We have done a couple of Easter Outreaches with this past years being an awesome progression through the last week of Jesus life.
We had or first Baptisms this year.
We supplied 25 families with thanksgiving baskets.

God has been moving in many of your lives as well.

Write down on your connection cards some of the things God has done in, for and through your life these last 12 months.
I believe that in our third year, God will do even more.
Goals
200 plus in attendance between the two services because people are coming to faith in Jesus.
Begin a couple of new connect groups.
Begin Celebrate Recovery Ministry
I believe that the Lord has put us here at River Church to make a real difference in people’s lives.

The Lord has placed us here to make a difference.

So, how can we do that?
We can get our answers from the Bible and from the 1st Century church.
Acts 5:12–16 NLT
12 The apostles were performing many miraculous signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers were meeting regularly at the Temple in the area known as Solomon’s Colonnade. 13 But no one else dared to join them, even though all the people had high regard for them. 14 Yet more and more people believed and were brought to the Lord—crowds of both men and women. 15 As a result of the apostles’ work, sick people were brought out into the streets on beds and mats so that Peter’s shadow might fall across some of them as he went by. 16 Crowds came from the villages around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those possessed by evil spirits, and they were all healed.
Acts 6:7 NLT
7 So God’s message continued to spread. The number of believers greatly increased in Jerusalem, and many of the Jewish priests were converted, too.
Acts 8:4–8 NLT
4 But the believers who were scattered preached the Good News about Jesus wherever they went. 5 Philip, for example, went to the city of Samaria and told the people there about the Messiah. 6 Crowds listened intently to Philip because they were eager to hear his message and see the miraculous signs he did. 7 Many evil spirits were cast out, screaming as they left their victims. And many who had been paralyzed or lame were healed. 8 So there was great joy in that city.
Acts 9:31 NLT
31 The church then had peace throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria, and it became stronger as the believers lived in the fear of the Lord. And with the encouragement of the Holy Spirit, it also grew in numbers.
Acts 11:21 NLT
21 The power of the Lord was with them, and a large number of these Gentiles believed and turned to the Lord.
Acts 17:6 The Living Bible
6 Not finding them there, they dragged out Jason and some of the other believers, and took them before the Council instead. “Paul and Silas have turned the rest of the world upside down, and now they are here disturbing our city,” they shouted,

The 1st Century Church made a difference in the communities and culture of that day.

I believe the Lord wants you and I to make a difference in our culture and communities today.
What will it take for us to make a difference with our FRAN, our culture and our community?

What will it take for us to make a difference?

1. To make a difference, we must have a vision from the Lord.

Acts 1:8 NLT
8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
The early Christians caught their vision from the Lord. The vision was to take the message & ministry of Jesus everywhere… home… to work… to school… to the playground… the mall… to restaurants… They were ordinary people like you and me who turned their world upside down. (Acts 17:6 LB)

The early Christians caught Jesus vision to reach the world with the Gospel.

Proverbs 29:18 KJV 1900
18 Where there is no vision, the people perish: But he that keepeth the law, happy is he.
We too must catch this vision to reach our world from the Lord.
When Pastor Kathy and I first felt lead to begin a church, we wanted a church
Where people could grow together in their faith.
Where people who we ministered to in the jails and community could come to know Jesus and grow in their faith.
Where law enforcement could come and learn and grow in their faith.

2. To make a difference, we will have to live fruitful lives

Acts 2:41–47 NLT
41 Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church that day—about 3,000 in all. 42 All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer. 43 A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. 44 And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. 45 They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. 46 They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity—47 all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.
The people who heard the Gospel prayed to receive Jesus as Savior and Lord, followed it with Baptism. They got baptized because they wanted to make a public declaration that they were following Jesus.
How many have been baptized since making a profession of faith in Jesus? How many of you who could not raise your hands would be willing to be Baptized this month? Mark that on your Connection Card.
Next, they began to make a difference in their world.

To be fruitful, we must be plugged into a local church.

Acts 2:42 NLT
42 All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer.
It’s football season and the Saints and other teams have been practicing the basics so that they can beat Atlanta and go to the Super Bowl again.
Just like a football team has to practice, we have to practice as well. We have to spend time...

Hearing the Word.

2 Timothy 1:13 NLT
13 Hold on to the pattern of wholesome teaching you learned from me—a pattern shaped by the faith and love that you have in Christ Jesus.

Reading the Word.

1 Timothy 4:13 NLT
13 Until I get there, focus on reading the Scriptures to the church, encouraging the believers, and teaching them.

Studying the Word.

2 Timothy 2:15 KJV 1900
15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Meditating on the Word

1 Timothy 4:15 NKJV
15 Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all.
Psalm 1:1–3 NLT
1 Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. 2 But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. 3 They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.

Discussing the Word.

Acts 2:42 NLT
42 All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer.

Living out God’s Word

2 Timothy 3:14 NLT
14 But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you.
James 1:22 NLT
22 But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.
Joshua 1:8 NLT
8 Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.
We have to study the WOG Daily and together.

To fruitful lives, we have to Share our lives with other Believers.

Spend time with each other.

Acts 2:42 NLT
42 All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer.
Hebrews 10:25 NLT
25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.
You can’t build friendships with people without spending time with them… in church… in groups… doing ministry together.
Teams: Greeters, Ushers, Youth Team, Kids Team, Outreach Team,

Show love to each other.

Acts 2:44–45 NLT
44 And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. 45 They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need.
The early Christians demonstrated their love through their actions. Love is not primarily a feeling. It’s a verb.
1 John 3:18 NLT
18 Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.
Kathy’s mom would always say… words, words, words… let me see some deeds.

Work through difficulties with each other.

Acts 6:1–7 NLT
1 But as the believers rapidly multiplied, there were rumblings of discontent. The Greek-speaking believers complained about the Hebrew-speaking believers, saying that their widows were being discriminated against in the daily distribution of food. 2 So the Twelve called a meeting of all the believers. They said, “We apostles should spend our time teaching the word of God, not running a food program. 3 And so, brothers, select seven men who are well respected and are full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will give them this responsibility. 4 Then we apostles can spend our time in prayer and teaching the word.” 5 Everyone liked this idea, and they chose the following: Stephen (a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit), Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas of Antioch (an earlier convert to the Jewish faith). 6 These seven were presented to the apostles, who prayed for them as they laid their hands on them. 7 So God’s message continued to spread. The number of believers greatly increased in Jerusalem, and many of the Jewish priests were converted, too.

To live fruitful lives, we will have to spend time praying together.

Acts 2:42 NLT
42 All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer.
When people get together and pray, it multiplies the power of prayer. Pray all the time.
Little girl visiting grand-mother – “Say prayers last night?” “Nope – got to thinking that the Lord must be tired of hearing same prayers every night, so I crawled up in bed and read Him the story of Little Red Riding Hood.”
The Lord never gets tired of hearing your prayers.
The power of prayer can never be overrated. They who cannot serve God by preaching need not regret. If a man can but pray, he can do anything. He who knows how to overcome with God in prayer has Heaven and earth at his disposal.” (Charles Spurgeon)

To live fruitful lives, we will have share our resources.

Acts 2:44–45 NLT
44 And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. 45 They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need.
Acts 4:34–35 NLT
34 There were no needy people among them, because those who owned land or houses would sell them 35 and bring the money to the apostles to give to those in need.
god doesn’t want us focused on what we can buy for ourselves, but on what we can do for his kingdom. I want to hear… well done
Our church is so faithful. We have a large percentage of attenders who give something. It might be a little or a lot, but most of you are givers. My prayer is that you continue to grow in your faith as you see God moving in your finances.

To live fruitful lives, we will need to continue to worship together.

Acts 2:46–47 NLT
46 They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity—47 all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.
As we begin our 3rd year, let me encourage you commit to being in church regularly. Be faithful in your worship service attendance.
My 97 year old mother is in her church weekly… she won’t miss. Reminds me of
a 90 plus year old man who went to church faithfully. When asked why, he said, i want people to know whose side I am on.
Your faithful attendance is a witness to those you know and you multiply that by checking in on FB.

To live fruitful lives, we will need go witnessing together.

Acts 2:47 GNB
47 praising God, and enjoying the good will of all the people. And every day the Lord added to their group those who were being saved.
The 1st Century Christians made an impact because they were constantly telling others about who Jesus was to them and what he had done for them.
Acts 1:8 NLT
8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
I want people everywhere to experience what I have experienced… forgiveness, peace, inner joy, freedom. I want everyone to experience that along with heaven.
FRAN List.

3. To make a Difference, we will have to Live by Faith.

We can’t do anything without faith.
Galatians 2:20 NIV
20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Faith is the confident assurance in God that sets us free to attempt the impossible.
If you allow fear pessimism, & doubt to dominate your thoughts & life / to dictate what you do or don’t do, then you are not living by faith & will never accomplish anything great for the Lord until you learn to Live by Faith.
Faith is more than positive thinking - it’s believing in God, believing that He will do what He’s said he will do, and trusting him to do the impossible.
Wrap up
The first century Christians turned their world upside down for Jesus, and God wants us to do the same this year and in the years to follow.
Back in 2007, before the Saints became a good team, Drew Breese said,
“We’re looking for the people who are going to step up & be playmakers.”
That’s what God and we are looking for… a few good people to step up.
To make a difference, we have to become more like Jesus.
Acts 10:38 NLT
38 And you know that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. Then Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.
John 14:12 NLT
12 “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.
Bow heads
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