Vision: Seeking the Face of God
So a few months back, we started the letter of Peter to all those Christians that were part of the dispersed and we took a short break there to look at Advent for 4 weeks. And then today we're going to go ahead and start switch is the new year coming right around the corner sometime just talking about vision for our church and what this looks like going forward for the next year and some things that I've been praying about seeking God on as well as talking with people about and then next week. We'll get back into the letter of First Peter after we finish that we're going to spend some time just talking about spiritual rhythms and what that looks like in our lives and then we're going to tackle the book of 1st Corinthians to take anywhere from six months to 18 months depending on how quickly we move through it. So just going to lay down some tracks this morning if you have Bible you can open up to Colossians 3 Going to be put up there as well normally would teach three scriptures today's little bit more topical. So we're going to have a lot of scripture popping up. You might not be able to flip quick enough unless you want all your Awana Awards back in the day in Colossians 3:1 through to it says if then you have been raised with Christ seek, the things that are above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God set your minds on things that are above not that are on things on the Earth. Seek the face of God. Now in the Old Testament this idea of seeking the face of God that weird face is really just a word that can be changed for the word present as well. If you steam somebody's face. You've seen their emotion you seen who they are. They go hand-in-hand as for our church this year as I began to sing talk with other people my heart that in a very much more intense kind of way is that we are people that are seeking the presence seeking the face of God and a much more deeper sense in all of our weekly rhythms. And what's Sunday's look like with this idea of seeking the face of God is not that God is playing hide and seek with us. He does not do that, but that God has near to him and I He's actually invited us into his presence and what a privilege that is to be the people of God as we seen in that letter that Peter is riding. You are a royal priesthood a holy nation. You have been changed. If you are a follower of Jesus as we saw last week your entire Foundation what you built your life upon has changed your Sanctified made righteous and holy in Jesus Christ ever called to see God and what a privilege it is. What a privilege it is. God bends his ear down low and hears the cries of his people. To know and to understand that God is not a puppet that weed direct command of demand things of but that he has called us to be near to him. To draw close to him to have friendship with him and my hope for us is that on one and individual level people in this body? Begin to grow in that way, but also collectively as a church because God did not just call us to be individuals and do our individual thing. He's actually called us to a community and to pursue him together in the same vein of thought John Piper wrote this wonderful quote. I saw you said God calls us to enjoy a continual consciousness of the Supreme greatness and beauty and worth Piper never waste words. God calls us to enjoy a continual consciousness of his Supreme greatness. There's this idea that as you've been raised with Christ seek, the things above God has called us to be aware of his Supreme greatness of his glory his goodness his hand at work in our lives. And the beauty and the worth that is around us and sometimes we miss that we get so focused on seeking our own well-being. We get so focused on just speaking the very desires that we think we should have in the things that we need and yet there's this idea that that's to be transformed and shifted in our heart to seek God. What does that look like? Will this morning this morning is going to be shorter than me about 20 minutes during to have some other people sharing this morning.
It's a conscious Choice the setting of the mind on the things of God is the opposite of mental coasting coasting when we just sort of checkouts we can come out with her Beyond news articles and television are we can just kind of sit back and zone out from the things of the day maybe some of you guys got the chair in the garage mines in the shopping to my County. I'm going to go do some work back and I just sit in like a piece it might be. All right. That's not what we have to be doing towards the things of God, but I sense and fear for many evangelicals at call Christ Lord. Trump most of our days and weeks is more of a passive thoughts than an active thought in our lives may be the only need to dial them up will get ahold of him. The idea that we are to be pressing into him to be something far from us too conscious choice to direct our heart toward God Paul says in 2nd Thessalonians. Britain's going to throw this up here 35 may the Lord who may the Lord the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God edge of the steadfastness of Christ May the Lords of captivate capture and grab your heart that it's being pulled towards him. We're so in love with and we so desire him in his present FedEx near to our hearts. May we set our minds on him? It's a conscious effort. On our part now the word efforts and Christianity are two words that I rarely ever put together in a sentence for obvious reasons for we know that is by grace that we are saved. Not of Works lest any man should boast this idea of effort that I'm sharing this morning has no connection to how you were saved that God graciously gave himself to us and for us that he has called us and made us his own know. It's nothing that you did or deserved. But once we are saved once we are his there is in a sense that we are putting and setting our heart and our mind on the things of God. Listen to James 4:8 draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Who is James writing to? He's riding to followers of Jesus.
Take a step back and think about that. This wasn't non-believers who are receiving this letter and what he say to draw near to God and he trusts near to us to Christians who are already saved and Sanctified set apart that are made his and they're told to draw near why to enjoy closeness. There's an analogy that parts will break down on this but if the analogy of that of a husband and wife. Legally by law. I am bound to Jessica. I'm no less married to her when I'm in the doghouse and when I'm riding high and well, right same thing for her believe it or not that sweet thing you put in the doghouse, right?
Might actually get some sleep then so.
By law or married with a things are going well or terrible nothing in there. I can change our relationship unless legality we go and do something about that, but there are times in our marriage. We can feel close and tighten it in all the cylinders are firing and we're just clicking and there can be times in our marriage. We feel like ships passing in the night. You don't even see one another. Should either of those scenarios were not more or less married or bound to one another? You see what we're being told here in James is that you are his you are God's he paid the price he has made you his own. But he's calling us to draw near to him. to enjoy his presence There's been a murder with somebody you want to spend as much time around them as possible to the point to where you even starts at and talk like him or her. This is the idea that we're getting at are we enamored with God and we enamored with Jesus. Are we so drawn to who got his and his word and we desire to spend time in the presence of God or X is more like ships passing recalled to draw near Alec. I'm going to butcher his last name. Not your he's this Theologian, he would never call himself that he said. I just really love to the scriptures with some of my favorite commentators recommended talk about this man is gone home to be with the Lord never to handful of his books and talking about James in the commentary on James. He says the first elements in the conflict is the central battle to live near God the battle for regularity and discipline and Bible reading prayer private and public worship feasting at the Lord's table devoting ourselves to Christian Fellowship cultivating every appointed Avenue. Whereby we can draw near to him fellowship with God and its consequent blessing of his fellowship with us does not just happen. We cannot drift into it any more than we drift into.
love this he basically lays out the spiritual disciplines and rhythms that ought to be in a believer's life not because we're earning some sort of favor not because the L word legalism is being thrown out and it says if you do this then God is obligated required. It's based on you then. He'll do that notice idea that because you've been changed you're going to pursue these things but there are obstacles that get in our way. We know there are things that dolas and blind us. It's easy to distract us. We have to be seeking the things of God. What does it involve?
How many of us just feel like we're too busy to sit down to pray? We're too busy to read scripture. We're too busy.
pursue hospitality to engage other people were too busy to even stop and show generosity and kindness and this morning is not a trip in the checklist of all my better get right and do these think it's an eye-opening opportunity to see look we are to dive head in first into these things because this is what God has called us to be put often or far too distracted in life. I sit down. Used to be no matter what time I got up a child is following me downstairs five minutes later. And then it was get me breakfast and do these things in and they were young or I were talking young age and then all the sudden next kids up next cuz I don't have time. I got to be up to date. I just got a text. There's a crisis or something busy happening. Think of how distracted we are a society today.
I would say we're one of the most distracted. I have no statistics on this except for just my visual of seeing people around one of the most distracted societies to ever live. Is always something pulling our attention and often were so busy with the unnecessary? We can't even stop to pour into our kids. We Can't Stop to have a real conversation because of the ding on our phone Or something out there that is weeks away with feels like it's so pressing because we got to have our stuff together and look put together for the world to lookin at us distractions frustrations. Frustration to prevent us from seeking God's face. I get frustrated because why haven't you done this God? Why didn't you answer me when I cried out? Why hasn't life gone how I wanted? No, I'm not going to pursue you. I'm not going to spend time with you. Thanks for saving me but I'll get there the rest of the way, I'm frustrated. I'm angry and rather than Tres in we pulled back where we should be crying all the father. That should be a closeness in which we engage with God even in the midst of our frustrations. Our frustrations can even be over good things. Things worth we're looking at children and friends who aren't Walking With Jesus relationships that are splintered and a hurting jobs. That didn't come through survive. Why haven't you moved why haven't you worked yet? So can I trust you? Can I draw near to you? How much do we need to look no further than Jesus God In the Flesh who in the time of greatest difficulty there in the garden. Knowing he's going to the Cross he doesn't pull back but he draws close to God. Don't let your frustrations your disappointments in your letdowns. Keep you from pursuing him but stagnation. I mean you have just seen a pool of water or like a swimming pool that hasn't been tended to. No movement no flow or at the great example. Always there in Israel is the Dead Sea where the water flows in but nothing flows out its stagnant nothing lives in it. Therefore. It's the Dead Sea sometimes stagnant. We can't even motivate ourselves to draw close to this. Great. God life is become so boring. So mundane so routine. We're not realizing what Piper said earlier not quote the beauty the glory the goodness of God you need to wake up and shaking out of that and the fourth thing the fourth obstacle that probably many others. It's not going to rhyme. I'm sorry. It's sin.
But I'm engaged entrenched in sin. I don't want to come to God. I don't want to repent. I don't want to turn I don't know why but I just say, you know what it's better to let me keep doing this to actually engage you as an repentance got us back. He calls us to walk in the truth to walk in the light and these are areas that will keep us these are obstacles from seeking the face of God birthday. Just a few more things for this morning as a church. This is what I want. And this is what I desire is that we're growing in this area seeking and how we going to do this prayer. I desire for redeemers to be a people prayers seem so obvious 1st Timothy 2:1. First of all, then I urge that supplication prayer intercession Thanksgiving be made for all people.
Could you pray for most? I typed for me the most right? I really get down to it. Because so much is going on in life. And then I'll I'll move out sometimes in this concentric circles of a cabin pray for my family and I prefer a church and pray for our community. Phillip RAC Timothy is not pray for you cover one another in prayer. When I desire one desire for us in the Sikh people are in this body into say, how can I pray for you this year? How can I be caring for you in this way? Can we go all cover one another in prayer? Can we get so tight-knit and close in this way that we don't even have to think about ourselves because we know somebody else is actually praying for us over and over how many Epistles policy I'm praying for you pray for one another. 1st Thessalonians, 5:17 says Rejoice Evermore in 5/16 giving thanks Always Money talks about pray without ceasing Philippians 4:6 do not be anxious about anything but in everything by prayer and supplication by prayer and supplication with Thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God prayer is conventionally. Sorry intentionally contain a message to God. That's what we're doing. When we pray. We're say Lord. I'm coming to you. I'm bringing this to you and it's not wrong to pray for ourselves. If you're heard that let me correct that however, can we do people that desire to lift one another up in prayer to care for one another prayer intentionally convey a message to God that we rejoice in him and that we love and care for other people around us in prayer. We give praise we give thanks and we make supplication in intercession on the behalf of others as well as things. in our lives to we are seeking God's will his kingdom. In prayer, we recognize our inability and its capability. This isn't so many different facets. We realized first and foremost our inability to even save ourselves our inability to make ourselves righteous and holy and clean before God, recognizing his capability that he is the one who is done that we're saying you were able to intervene and move into the darkest situations in the world around me. You can bring light where there was Darkness for years at redeemers. We've been praying for God to move open the hearts of people this year. We saw 7 come to Jesus Christ. That's amazing this year. We saw marriages restored this year. We saw God work and move I'm telling you God has called us to pray just like in the garden worst partner there with man to cultivate reate and make this Earth beautiful man turning their back on God and rebelling I understand that centers in he is calling us as a Church to seek his face and to pray for other people. I want to see more who don't know Jesus where there is Darkness. lights dimming in their lives in prayer God is working through his people. Prayer, yes aligns my heart with God's the god also moves in it. Go read Daniel and you come and tell me that God didn't work through that man's prayers. I can't Define and accurately explain the tension that exists between the sovereignty of God in the prayers of his people, but I know that God is Sovereign and I also know that we are called to pray. I know that God is mighty and powerful and able to intervene into a man's life like Paul. When everybody is just pray Eid Dead all the Christians Tire does align my heart but God bends his ear down and he hears the prayers people. Do we engage and prayer?
Our church at 8:55 in that back room Mary's back there. I'm back there and anybody else who wants to pray for praying from 8:55 to 9:10 and our church on 2nd and 4th Tuesdays man, We Gather to read and pray. We don't comment 8 when I'm having Bible study scripture, and we pray there's a ladies prayer group that happens. I believe it's on the 1st and 3rd, or could be the second and fourth Tuesdays as well Thursdays. Thank you. There's a group and they're going to share in a little bit Allen and Tracy that twice a month after church the driving meal and then they go and pray for restored relationships that are broken to be restored and reconciled. We want to see this church move in prayer and its Vision that I have for us and it's so simplistic. It's biblical. It's good. It's right and I want to bring this before it continually next community. We look at this a little bit. We're not to be an independent people or dependent people but an interdependent people and we talked about spiritual rhythms. We're going to talk about what this actually looks like in what's actually means what in Acts 2:46. It says every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere Hearts Hebrews 10:24 through 25. Let us consider how we may spur one another to love and Good Deeds not giving up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing but encouraging one another and the more as you see the day approaching. Community is not large Gathering and pastor and worship leader Community is all of us in this together. Community is engaged in building and pouring into one another's lives. I understand for some of us has limitations cuz we travel we can't get out there's different things going on. But at least commit to say I may not be able to meet on a Tuesday night at a community group time to start to build community because I'm already here Sunday mornings. I can make it an extra 10 to 15 minutes earlier. I can come back and praise her to build relationship with those people all my kids to go to bed early woman. Guess what you can get up early. I didn't come pray with us. We can find time to actually pursue and carve out time for these things. We're always carving out time for anything that's important to us. Whether it's a game on TV show, we like to watch every Tuesday nights at event. We like to attend and go to we make time for what's important to us. Don't we? Community important to you Are important to you about time for this? We at this church seek to accomplish Community. We have three Community groups going. We just started another one already filled. We're looking at starting two more and we have one in Prineville. So by March we should have six maybe seven groups. I'd love to see more Community groups popping up. 6 8 10 people they gather to pursue and seek God in from that friendship and life is developed in smaller groups stem out from that where people are encouraged and encouraging one another in life riding youth group.
Don't think you can just have Community without giving Community you'll just have to take from it. But go and Gage and be a part of it. What does it look like? We need to create community and cultivate community. Trading community means this where there was once nothing. There is now something 5 1/2 years ago redeemers Church didn't exist. Five years later wishing people come to know Jesus as a group that gathers regularly on Sundays for the worship and praise and teaching and fellowship and communion where there was once nothing. We've now created something. We're in the process now, we're cultivating. Who are working on intending in growing and seeing God work and move with our church needs this year going forward in the area Community as we need some people to well creates none to start some we need others who are already participating to cultivate that culture to pour into those relationships to connect with one another. This is at the people are called to be doing all aspects of Life cultivating creating again will look at this and spiritual rhythms later on. Sure thing we're doing is a church going forward in this is a huge emphasis for us is the Sunday Gathering. My mom sent me this quote. I put a little bit on the front end and in the back end of some Gary black church is not just an event to be attended a seminar to take in or concert to enjoy in. This is from Gary black Norris in a social club or volunteer organization is a workout is doing it is a work God is doing in history in his people. That's what your chin is. So we'll work that God is doing in his people. It's the Gathering of the Saints for the praise of God in the glory of God. We learn we grow and we Minister one to another my talk about church right now. There's this big idea that as the church. It doesn't just stop when we leave here on Sundays. But as a church, what are we going to do as We Gather? What are we going to continue to press in? I stole this from Mark Dever, but he talks about one of his books that we're going to read the word as we do every Sunday when we have somebody read from scriptures being a sahm or somewhere in the New or Old Testament. We're going to sing the word we're going to sing the truce of God as his people. We're going to preach the word and we're going to show the word through communion which we do about 50 out of the 52 Sunday a year. That's what we're going to be about on Sundays Luke 1 He's riding to Theophilus. And I think it's right around verse for my P11. That you may have certainty concerning the things that you have been taught. We believe in this is the word and the truth of God that he's given us all things pertaining to life and godliness that in the letters in the Epistles to both Timothy and Titus to encourage and told to not just read the script but you teach to expound and to share on them. We're going to continue to do that. We're going to sing praise Colossians 3:16 with the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom teaching admonishing one another in Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs singing with Grace in your hearts to the Lord. We are going to sing some of us are going to make a Joyful Noise. Either of us are going to sing. I'm in the Joyful Noise Club welcome. We are going to be a part of this and we're going to sing praises unto God. Number 3 on Sundays are going to gather for the mutual encouragement of the Saints in Ephesians, 4:15 through 16 rather speaking the truth in love where to grow up in every way into him who is the head into Christ from whom the whole body joint and held together by every joint with which it is equipped when each part is working properly make the body grow so that a build itself up in life. As We Gather on Sundays the time we gather isn't just 9:30 to 11, they're people as early as 7:30 setting up chairs connecting their people all the way till noon there people get together after noon and they continue to Worship the Lord if you need to spend time with one another we went to engage the body of Christ for the building up of the body. This is what we desire to do a lot of this happens organically as we build relationships and friendships with one another throughout the week as we meet for coffee and we share meals with each other but this is what our church on Sundays is going to be about We're going we're going talk a lot about Jesus and our blessed. Hope who he is and what he has done. We're going to preach and teach and read and we're going to fellowship and spend time with one another and share in the Lord's table last thing here this morning, then I'll be done. Missions of a lot of you know this we talked about missions kind of off and on at redeemers and started this a long long time ago, but we have a I mean like five years ago with missionaries his son Tyler actually stayed with us what two years ago and stayed with the lipids as well. And he served as an intern for a summer with us. Just going to help out with the church by his father as I'm going to read in a letter here. I Curtis is just as amazing great man has been a little bit of time later this year to talk with us. We've supported and we continue to support Curtis every single month as a missionary Curtis's not the typical kind of missionary just goes and lives somewhere. He's actually based out of Florida and he does short-term missions trips. He does his long-term mission trip for youth in the summer, but he also has hundreds of Youth pastors that he pours into all throughout Central and South America reads training and teaching them on wedding crock Incarnation on Ministry, which if you were here in the 90s and early 2000s is big word that is now catching on and other parts of the world what that actually looks like so we support this man a little bit each month. We're all supporting to work going on at Costa Rican. I want to read to you guys just a letter from Perry is one of our elders and he's best friends with Curtis. So I'll share this and then I will stop speaking has the history on Curtis Curtis grew up in Columbia South America where he's the son of a missionary couple for new tribes missions. It was here that his dad Pruitt was Radical for his time for standing up in a mission meeting City American missionaries were doing it wrong for trying to reach the natives in the Amazon get the radical idea that North American missionary should be training the national Colombians to reach their own native people since they know the culture and language. Shouldn't be revolutionary but it was it was the belief that I'd influence Curtis spend his life as a Missionary Training the Christian leaders of countries to reach their own population. Currently Curtis is a missionary with rain Ministries take steam to Christians to other countries and short-term mission trips for two decades Curtis has taken a team of North American teams and leaders to Europe for mission trips each summer. If she many Europeans came to Christ your Street Ministry evangelism, the trip was changed. When did the people's lives that have gone to minister mini mini now adults point of this trip as the most influential experience in their Christian lies men are not missionary themselves during the non summer months Curtis takes teams and short-term mission trips throughout Central and South America. He also speaks as a youth pastor a conference in Skype conferences in Mexico Central and South America produces originally in Perris youth group as a teenager. They're both roommates rather time at Multnomah University after graduating Curtis married a girl that graduated from subpoena subpoena in Perris youth group. Alaska if they closing the last 37 years. Started talkin by taking teams that Curtis and led to Costa Rica for a year. So Perry, I have taken I think three teams over at this point. Our church is built a relationship with the churches in Costa Rica. They have, that we are the first church to even returned after a missions trip with improve their church building on construction trips help with a huge 175 person Vacation Bible School Mason you were here for that. Right? Well since you're on that one to 15 passenger van on a missions trip five years ago we too were to Camp. I was on this trip out in the west part of the country just 15 miles from the small town of nicoya the Central American Mission known as cam actually owns this Camp campus and dorms bathrooms in small kitchen is all rough, but the locals have teamed up with some short-term missions to start fixing this up Curtis mentioned at this time that a swimming pool.
That word stuck in Perris mind and also ours as a church hoping and praying we could someday build a pool over the last two trips to be partnering with local trust that funded our trips materials in the van this year. Wanted to take a physical team a very physical team. So people that could just work in 90 degree weather who's going on this. Yeah. It's going to be all right if physical physical Team new construction is Camp. He was hoping to help work on many of the camps needs Sabina contacted Kelly is sitting up here in the front to help write a grant for the team to go down in the winter. The grant was due in August and July the overseer of the grant a Sabina how much money we be riding for Sabine ass for 30,000 thinking Big Two Weeks Later a check arrived for 50,000 without even writing a grant. Yeah, this means we take a team the Tico's Costa Ricans get a brand new adult and kitty swimming pool. God is good a week before we arrived to install the pool pump house at the same time. Curtis is teaching to a group of Youth pastors at the camp training them to do relational ministry as condition for building a swimming pool. We've asked for details on the safety of the pool plan with a healthy meat to the ticos will be good stewards of this amazing gift. The president of Cam is coming to meet us and deliver the plans and the local church with the local church on how they will follow through while we're there. Will you work with the locals design a landscape plan for the seven acres for the future trips. The entire team will be pouring cement create a deck around the pool to bring it to completion. The team will be sleeping on the ground and 10th and will be hot extremely hot. Dennis's assured us Toby bugs snakes and scorpions crawling up and down with us. I'm not going on this one. Please. Pray there going to be a missionary house and then I'll go.
Forget the full can actually be installed before we get there pray that our team is patient sensitive of their culture pray. God meets each team member in a dynamic way to help Challenger faith and see him in the more intimate way Unity for a team long-range long-range. We want to keep coming back to this camp and improving it we have to bring teachers to encourage. Our customers can brothers and sisters and be encouraged by them. We hope to also bring Curtis to the church this fall so you can meet him learn what he has the same pray for him Curtis and I have been talking behind the scenes and I've gotten him some material to help train the local pastors down there a Catholic Church is huge and prosperity Ministries huge and all those people get funded the evangelico get lost in the mixed and they have very little training and I'm not an expert but my desires to team up with Curtis and to write things out and to go down and teach and to train and to use this Camp as a place of ministry where we can see the gospel explode in Costa Rica. This is something at our church is partnering with and doing That we desire to continue to see God work and use one other area of missions that were partaking in right now is Matt and Stacy is that Stacy? Here. He is not here today, but they have a Ministry called while we're waiting eight eight years ago eight years ago. They lost their 10 years ago. They lost their oldest son did been up here and they showed before he was 18 and they have a through this process started and teamed up with the ministry based out of Arkansas where their parents they ran three camps in the last year our church helps them with their monthly meetings as they meet here. We also help pay for all the food they fly in families from all over the country as well as local families who have lost children and their they spend a week in Ministry and pouring into these children to Ministry. We believe in we see God working and moving in and through them and something that we're going to continue to give to Are you give to the church? I want you to think that you're not just giving to make Sunday morning have there so much going on all around us and we're supporting Ministries for supporting missions Mercy in the gospel. Go for you have any interest in talking with our meeting on Stacy if you know people who've lost children who are hurting who are in pain, please please let me help you get connected with them. If a local are also farther out they bring people in like I said and they put on this Retreat for free for the families to come out huge. It's important and it's a good work that they're doing. So this is what's going on at our church information also some preaching in the beginning but I want you guys to be aware of where we've been