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2019 Annual Theme

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Introducing a church-wide year-long focus for 2019

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The plan this morning is to introduce a church-wide and year-long focus for 2019. We want to mature as a church body by intentionally focusing on a growth area. (This is not about a having cool or interesting topic, but about giving focused attention to something that will make us better).
2020 seems like a more promising year to start the gym. #resolutionfail
Got ready for the gym, packed my gear and went for a burger instead.
Bought my twin sister workout clothes for our birthday and we have yet to lift anything but a fork.
We make jokes about short-lived resolutions, but never taking inventory or setting personal goals, living without focus or intent is surely the greater fail.
I am privileged each week to spend a couple of ours with our elders. They take seriously their God-given charge:
1 Peter 5:2–3 ESV
shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.
One aspect of this in recent months has been prayerfully considering ways that we could mature as body. They landed on one word and a short passage of Scripture:
Ephesians 4:15–16 ESV
Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
This isn’t going to be a yearlong sermon series, but we will look at this from several different angles and allow it to influence the direction of our teaching.
In essence:
God intends for the church to mature. We are always under construction, always striving to make progress, always maturing.
Paul envisions a church that embodies and lives the full-grown love of Jesus.
And the ‘how’ involves every part engaged in work alongside all the other parts with which God has equipped us.
What this is NOT
This not a trendy slogan or topic to appeal to people’s interest; it is a focus area to help us mature.
This is not a goal to busier this year than last. (Some of you are so engaged that you’re about to wear the teeth off the gears.) We want to be more fully engaged as a body—and so for those who are wearing the teeth off your gears, this may mean helping others share in the work.
Next week’s ministry fair
This is not just about visible or “official” church activity; this is about the engagement of our whole self in the reality of Jesus’ reign
What this IS
Am I living faithfully to the life God has asked me to live?
God has not asked us all to do the same things, but he does give each of us a purpose and a part in his own grand and expansive work.
What this might mean for you:
Engage with God (re-engage in spiritual things)
Engage with one another (friendship, encouragement, mentoring)
Engage as a neighbor
As a church body, I hope that we will come to see more clearly how we are uniquely positioned to love and serve our neighbors.
Engage at home
Engage in work (“idle hands are the devil’s workshop”)

Find Your Why

You have a God-given purpose that only you can fulfill. No one can live your purpose for you. You have a place in God’s heart that only you can fill.
Now, I pray that 2019 can be a year in which you and I more fully step into those places—that we will engage. But I also know that we are going to struggle in it—not unlike the way we struggle with going to the gym.
But struggle doesn’t mean there isn’t progress. It doesn’t have to go perfectly for progress to happen. We can look back and see how God has been steadily changing us, and we can look forward with confidence that he will finish the work that he started.
JOHN NEWTON — I am not the man I ought to be, I am not the man I wish to be, and I am not the man I hope to be, but by the grace of God, I am not the man I used to be.
In Christ we become the men and women God designed us to be—which God himself says is “very good.” We want to embody the full-grown version of Christ’s goodness and love.
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