The Skinny on Worship…

I have to admit something. As our band led us into one of my favorite song, Holy, Holy, Holy, my mind began to wander on why I love hymns and gospel songs that communicate big God, Holy God and joyous man responding to and enjoying the Lord. Then, dang it, then, this video came to mind spoofing worship. I immediately could not sing but had to bite my tongue to keep from laughing out loud. I totally missed the moment, but dude, I was have a blast inside.

Watch again and ask yourself, have you ever sang “he has made me glad” with a poisonous reptile draped across your trembling shoulders? Oh my goodness. My cheeks are hurting now from smiling and laughing at this. I’ve had lots of laughs from this video.

 

TRCC Distinctives: Ministry Part 2

TRCC Distinctive: Ministry

Ephesians 4:1-16

In the past weeks, we have said that every service done in the work of the church is not a waste of time. My intention today is to continue to speak to that from the Scriptures for the purpose of encouraging more work from more people as the Lord of the Harvest might give to those who have ears to hear.

It is the Lord Jesus who sends laborers. Jesus told us to ask him. It’s his role, through the Spirit, to move you to serve. Its our job to catch those he calls through the faithful preaching of the text and the shepherding of people to be equipped to do the work.

All of this takes time and effort and trial and error.

“Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox.” (Proverbs 14:4 ESV)

The idea is that an ox can make a mess in the stalls of the barn, but an ox does more work than the man manning the plow. Therefore, it’s worth the work of cleaning out messes in stalls to get to the abundant benefit of the ox.

A fallacy is that it’s easier, most of the time, to just do a task rather than take the time to equip someone to do it and then teach them to do it better, then bear with them when they don’t do it, and then teach them to do it better until they do it as an expert.

Although that may appear easier, it’s not pastoral ministry and it’s building something that can’t stand. The ministry of Three Rivers Community Church must never be staked on an elder.

The reason is that we are not defined by one elder. We have a Chief Shepherd, Jesus, Peter calls him (1 Peter 5:4), who leads us, and we are all growing up into him.

Therefore, it is not the elder’s job to do the tasks, but the elder’s job to teach you and help you do the tasks and grow up into Christ Jesus, our Head and Chief Shepherd.

Therefore, there can be NO ONE who is not engaged.

However, this does not mean that everyone should take over, start and / or manage a “ministry” with an organizational structure.

So, the question is, what is ministry? What is the individual’s role in that? What is the role of the elder in our life together as a local church? What is our goal / end / purpose in ministry?

1.  Ministry is service to the church and service to the world and service to the

Lord (worship) for Jesus’ fame Ephesians 4:1-16

The word for ministry is “diakonias”, deacon.

διακονία diakonía;

. diakonías, fem. noun from diákonos (1249), deacon, servant. Service, attendance, ministry. Verb, diakonéō (1247), to minister, serve.

(I) Service towards a master or guest, at table or in hospitality (Luke 10:40; 1 Cor. 16:15).

(II) Ministry, ministration, i.e., the office of ministering in divine things, spoken chiefly of apostles and teachers (Acts 1:17, 25; 6:4; 20:24; 21:19; Rom. 11:13; 1 Cor. 12:5; 2 Cor. 3:7–9; 4:1; 5:18; 6:3; Eph. 4:12; Col. 4:17; 1 Tim. 1:12; 2 Tim. 4:5, 11). Used once of the office of a diákonos (1249), deacon (Rom. 12:7). Some, however, take this to have a wider sense as above.

(III) In the sense of aid meaning relief as spoken of alms, contributions (Acts 11:29; Rom. 15:31 [see Rom. 15:26]; 2 Cor. 8:4; 9:1, 13; 11:8; Rev. 2:19). Spoken of the distribution or ministration of alms collected (Acts 6:1; 12:25, see 11:30; 2 Cor. 9:12). Diakonía involves compassionate love towards the needy within the Christian community (Acts 6:1, 4; 2 Cor. 8:4; 9:12, 13; Rev. 2:19). Every business, every calling, so far as its labor benefits others, is a diakonía. In this sense Paul and Luke in the Acts use the word to designate the vocation of those who preach the gospel and have the care of the churches (Acts 20:24; Rom. 11:13; 1 Cor. 12:5; Col. 4:17; 1 Tim. 1:12; 2 Tim. 4:5). Therefore, diakonía is an office or ministration in the Christian community viewed with reference to the labor needed for others, both in the case of individuals (1 Cor. 12:5), and generally as a total concept including all branches of service (Rom. 12:7; 2 Cor. 4:1; 6:3; Eph. 4:12; 1 Tim. 1:12).

Ministry: “Every business, every calling, so far as its labor benefits others, is a diakonía. In this sense Paul and Luke in the Acts use the word to designate the vocation of those who preach the gospel and have the care of the churches (Acts 20:24; Rom. 11:13; 1 Cor. 12:5; Col. 4:17; 1 Tim. 1:12; 2 Tim. 4:5). Therefore, diakonía is an office or ministration in the Christian community viewed with reference to the labor needed for others, both in the case of individuals (1 Cor. 12:5), and generally as a total concept including all branches of service (Rom. 12:7; 2 Cor. 4:1; 6:3; Eph. 4:12; 1 Tim. 1:12).”

A. Service toward a guest, hospitality

B. Relief (contributions to people in need, particularly in the Christian community)

C. Compassion / Love toward the needy within the Christian community

D. Service in things such as the work of the apostles, prophets, evangelists and pastor/ teachers

E. Service in the office of deacon, as defined as an office of the church

What is your role in ministry (service)?

A. Know your giftedness and operate in it for the church’s benefit

1. Gift – the grace of God-given to you that benefits the mission of the church, the people of the church and makes you exceedingly happy in doing it.

a. Gifts are discovered in community doing ministry not by taking a test. A good test can be helpful, but does not measure supernatural giftedness from the Spirit.

B. Fill needed roles and don’t assume someone else will do it

C. Understand, no matter what the role it, that it benefits the larger mission of the church

D. Be holy

E. Be present

F. Be observant and take note of needs and meet them

G. Know that all internal ministry, done well, benefits the external ministry of the church

Illustration: there are encouragers here given by the Spirit for the purpose of lifting the heads of some. Some of you are given for me. You serve me with timely words that lift my soul and fill me with courage and strength to keep working. There is benefit in my salvation, in your exercise of the gift given by the Spirit and in the external work of the church.

 2. Ministry brings unity while engaging each different and necessary gift

Ephesians 4:7

Though “one” in our common connection with “one Lord, one faith, &c., one God,” yet “each one of us” has assigned to him his own particular gift, to be used for the good of the whole: none is overlooked; none therefore can be dispensed with for the edifying of the Church (Eph 4:12).

3. All Christians are gifted by the Spirit for ministry Ephesians 4:7-8

“Whatever gifts you have that you aren’t exercising (begin to use it/them) because it’s robbing the body of that gift that was meant to be exercised.  You may not even see it as a “kingdom gift”, but instead as a “secular gift”.  All the gifts you have are from God, therefore all are to be used for his glory.” – Emmett Long

A. The Spirit gifts individually as he wills 1 Corinthians 12:11

B. Love for each other is more excellent than pursuit of gifts 1 Corinthians 12:31

C. Desire the gifts of the Spirit to serve the church and the mission 1 Corinthians 12:31

D. Discover/refine your gift by serving

E. Everyone is vital and needed and valued

4. Jesus gave apostles, prophets, evangelists and pastor / teachers to equip saints and build up the body not to do all the doing Ephesians 4:11-12

A. Equip is the word “katartismos” – to make adequate, to furnish completely.

B. Equipping involves teaching (from Scripture, “how to” do specific work, etc.)

C. Equipped servants / ministers build up the church with the pastor/teachers

D. If apostles, evangelists, pastor/teachers do the ministry there is no teaching and equipping and then we are no different than the Catholic church (many little protestant popes running their fiefdoms)

E. Equipping must look like 2 Timothy 2:2 “ and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”

5. Ministry must build up the body of Christ not the ministry itself Ephesians 4:12

A. Ministry builds up the body of Christ (the church) 4:12

B. Ministry brings unity of the faith 4:3, 4:13a (that is unity produced by our common trust in Jesus)

C. Ministry grows our knowing of the Son of God 4:13b-14

1. Ministry grows our knowledge of Jesus to the fullness

2. Growth in Jesus through ministry helps us not be tossed around by human schemes

D. Ministry involves speaking truthfully lovingly 4:15

E. Ministry involves everyone doing their part while growing into Christ Jesus 4:16a

F. Proper growth in the church comes from each part working properly in love 4:16b

 6. We, as TRCC, have to grow into doing Ephesians 4 ministry

A. Your elders need to grow into ministry equippers not ministry doers

B. Ministries need to be allowed to die if need be

1. If no one will do it, then we probably don’t need it

C. We have to walk a delicate line between organic and organization

D. We have to be comfortable with failed effort

1. It could be from lack of good organization

2. It could be from a chance for Father to grow us and teach us

3. It could be from over-organization and not allowing natural processes to work themselves out

7. What do we currently need?

A. Connect group leaders

B. Publications: brochures, email newsletters, signs, website, etc.

C. Prayers

D. Radical Kids workers

E. Setup/teardown help

F. Wisdom for big-picture decisions

G. One on one relationships between young men and older men; young women and older women; young families and older families

H. Website maintenance

TRCC Distinctive: Ministry: Part 1

TRCC Distinctive: Ministry

Ephesians 4:1-16

In the past weeks, we have said that every service done in the work of the church is not a waste of time. My intention today is to continue to speak to that from the Scriptures for the purpose of encouraging more work from more people as the Lord of the Harvest might give to those who have ears to hear.

It is the Lord Jesus who sends laborers. Jesus told us to ask him. It’s his role, through the Spirit, to move you to serve. Its our job to catch those he calls through the faithful preaching of the text and the shepherding of people to be equipped to do the work.

All of this takes time and effort and trial and error.

“Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox.” (Proverbs 14:4 ESV)

The idea is that an ox can make a mess in the stalls of the barn, but an ox does more work than the man manning the plow. Therefore, it’s worth the work of cleaning out messes in stalls to get to the abundant benefit of the ox.

A fallacy is that it’s easier, most of the time, to just do a task rather than take the time to equip someone to do it and then teach them to do it better, then bear with them when they don’t do it, and then teach them to do it better until they do it as an expert.

Although that may appear easier, it’s not pastoral ministry and it’s building something that can’t stand. The ministry of Three Rivers Community Church must never be staked on an elder.

The reason is that we are not defined by one elder. We have a Chief Shepherd, Jesus, Peter calls him (1 Peter 5:4), who leads us, and we are all growing up into him.

Therefore, it is not the elder’s job to do the tasks, but the elder’s job to teach you and help you do the tasks and grow up into Christ Jesus, our Head and Chief Shepherd.

Therefore, there can be NO ONE who is not engaged.

However, this does not mean that everyone should take over, start and / or manage a “ministry” with an organizational structure.

So, the question is, what is ministry? What is the individual’s role in that? What is the role of the elder in our life together as a local church? What is our goal / end / purpose in ministry?

  1. Ministry is service to the church and service to the world and service to the

Lord (worship) for Jesus’ fame Ephesians 4:1-16

The word for ministry is “diakonias”, deacon.

διακονία diakoníadiakonías, fem. noun from diákonos (1249), deacon, servant. Service, attendance, ministry. Verb, diakonéō (1247), to minister, serve.

(I) Service towards a master or guest, at table or in hospitality (Luke 10:40; 1 Cor. 16:15).

(II) Ministry, ministration, i.e., the office of ministering in divine things, spoken chiefly of apostles and teachers (Acts 1:17, 25; 6:4; 20:24; 21:19; Rom. 11:13; 1 Cor. 12:5; 2 Cor. 3:7–9; 4:1; 5:18; 6:3; Eph. 4:12; Col. 4:17; 1 Tim. 1:12; 2 Tim. 4:5, 11). Used once of the office of a diákonos (1249), deacon (Rom. 12:7). Some, however, take this to have a wider sense as above.

(III) In the sense of aid meaning relief as spoken of alms, contributions (Acts 11:29; Rom. 15:31 [see Rom. 15:26]; 2 Cor. 8:4; 9:1, 13; 11:8; Rev. 2:19). Spoken of the distribution or ministration of alms collected (Acts 6:1; 12:25, see 11:30; 2 Cor. 9:12). Diakonía involves compassionate love towards the needy within the Christian community (Acts 6:1, 4; 2 Cor. 8:4; 9:12, 13; Rev. 2:19). Every business, every calling, so far as its labor benefits others, is a diakonía. In this sense Paul and Luke in the Acts use the word to designate the vocation of those who preach the gospel and have the care of the churches (Acts 20:24; Rom. 11:13; 1 Cor. 12:5; Col. 4:17; 1 Tim. 1:12; 2 Tim. 4:5). Therefore, diakonía is an office or ministration in the Christian community viewed with reference to the labor needed for others, both in the case of individuals (1 Cor. 12:5), and generally as a total concept including all branches of service (Rom. 12:7; 2 Cor. 4:1; 6:3; Eph. 4:12; 1 Tim. 1:12).

Ministry: “Every business, every calling, so far as its labor benefits others, is a diakonía. In this sense Paul and Luke in the Acts use the word to designate the vocation of those who preach the gospel and have the care of the churches (Acts 20:24; Rom. 11:13; 1 Cor. 12:5; Col. 4:17; 1 Tim. 1:12; 2 Tim. 4:5). Therefore, diakonía is an office or ministration in the Christian community viewed with reference to the labor needed for others, both in the case of individuals (1 Cor. 12:5), and generally as a total concept including all branches of service (Rom. 12:7; 2 Cor. 4:1; 6:3; Eph. 4:12; 1 Tim. 1:12).”

A. Service toward a guest, hospitality

B. Relief (contributions to people in need, particularly in the Christian community)

C. Compassion / Love toward the needy within the Christian community

D. Service in things such as the work of the apostles, prophets, evangelists and pastor/teachers

E. Service in the office of deacon, as defined as an office of the church

What is your role in ministry (service)?

A. Know your giftedness and operate in it for the church’s benefit

1. Gift – the grace of God-given to you that benefits the mission of the church, the people of the church and makes you exceedingly happy in doing it.

a. Gifts are discovered in community doing ministry not by taking a test. A good test can be helpful, but does not measure supernatural giftedness from the Spirit.

B. Fill needed roles and don’t assume someone else will do it

C. Understand, no matter what the role it, that it benefits the larger mission of the church

D. Be holy

E. Be present

F. Be observant and take note of needs and meet them

G. Know that all internal ministry, done well, benefits the external ministry of the church

Illustration: there are encouragers here given by the Spirit for the purpose of lifting the heads of some. Some of you are given for me. You serve me with timely words that lift my soul and fill me with courage and strength to keep working. There is benefit in my salvation, in your exercise of the gift given by the Spirit and in the external work of the church.

Missions at TRCC

Missions at TRCC

Genesis 12:1-3 / Psalm 67 / Luke 24:44-49 / Matthew 28:16-20

The grand story of the Bible, the meta-narrative of the Gospel, can be summed up in four categories: 1. Creation 2. Fall 3. Redemption 4. Consummation

In the creation, the Triune God creates all things and man in his image. (Colossians 1:15-160; Genesis 1-2)

In the fall, the image bearers of God rebel, led by Satan and his hosts who have rebelled against the Triune God. Adam and Eve were set at odds with the Triune God and they began to die. Fear, shame and broken law now ruled their existence. All of mankind was set against his creator and put at war with him and fell under the Lord’s sentence of hell. (Genesis 3)

In the Redemption, which spans from Genesis 3 through Revelation 20, we learn of the missionary God who preaches the first Gospel (proto euangeleon), elects in grace those who will be objects of his affection to reveal himself to in order to save and send with the message (Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, etc.), brings judgment and salvation in one act (flood), populates the earth, scatters the population of the earth in their falleness to do what he mandated be done in filling the earth (Babel, they sought to make a name for themselves and gathered in the plain to do so and not scatter and populate the earth), chooses Abraham to bear the Good News to all the nations he has scattered, sends Moses to lead his people from slavery to his land in a Gospel act called the Exodus and gives them the standard of his holiness and continually saves them in spite of their sin, gives them a king who will rule them as a prophet, priest and king in preparation for the King of Kings and finally, the King of Kings himself, creator, master, the one at Abraham’s tent, the one who was merciful to Lot, the one who called Abraham and sent him and recused Isaac from his blade, the one who passed through Egypt and took the firstborn who were his in the first place, the one who parted the Red Sea, the one who appeared to Moses in a flame of fire in the bush, the one who took David by the hand and made him King, the one Isaiah saw sitting on a throne lofty and exalted, the one walking in the fire with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, the one who kept the lion’s mouths closed while in the pit with Daniel takes on the ultimate missionary task and takes on flesh (a sinful human nature) while still being all God, and eats our food and speaks our language and deals with the temptations of our flesh and he does so without even a hint of sin, and he goes to the cross and dies in our place for our sin and rises to fully secure justification for all who will repent and believe and he promises that when this message has been preached to all people groups he will come again.

In the consummation, the Good News speeds on and penetrates all the peoples and people from all people groups (tribes) believe and Jesus, the great missionary Son of God, returns to reign visibly forever on his new earth. Jesus will crush his enemies. Jesus will gather his elect from all tribes. Jesus will reward his people. Jesus will cast all who have not believed into hell. Jesus will bring in his new earth and heaven while doing this work of reward and judgment (Revelation). Jesus will bring us near to Father and we will see him face to face forever and fulfill created purpose on his earth in his Kingdom without sin forever!

1. Genesis 12:1-3

What?

Blessed – Included in the family of God

Secondarily, blessed means to have the supplies of the Tri-une God to do the mission of the Tri-une God.

So that you will be a blessing – Include people from all tribes / families in the family of God

Where?

All families

2. Psalm 67

What?

“God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine on us,

Why?

…that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations.”

3. Luke 24:44-49

What?

Summary of the Old Testament by Jesus:

Law, Prophets and Psalms – Repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in Jesus’ name to all nations.

4. Matthew 28:16-20

What?

Make disciples (the main verb of the sentence)

How?

Going

Where?

All nations (ethne’ – ethno linguistic distinct groups of people)

16,788 People Groups

6,955 Unreached People Groups

5,891 UPG’s in the 10/40 Window

How?

Baptizing – Tribal re-identification

Teaching – Discipleship

Focused: Unreached People Groups

Three Rivers’ passion, for God’s glory, is to answer the challenge to take the magnificent news of Jesus Christ to unreached people groups (UPGs), even in the face of risk. We, as the Apostle Paul wrote, “aspire to preach the gospel, not where Christ was already named…” (Rom. 15:20) We call this frontier missions – going where the church is not established.

Strategic: Church Planting Movements

It has been said that the most effective form of evangelism is through church planting.

Our goal, for God’s glory, is to establish indigenous, self-sustaining, reproducible, church-planting churches full of radical followers of Jesus who are committed to engaging the culture by meeting both physical and spiritual needs for the purpose of advancing the Kingdom of God by adopting, developing, and implementing strategies believed to effectively launch Church Planting Movements (CPMs).

Dynamic: Going and Sending

God’s mandate throughout Scripture gives every believer the opportunity and the responsibility to carry the good news of Jesus as the Savior to every people group on the face of the earth. This certainly does not mean that we think everyone is called to work overseas as a cross-cultural missionary. Some are specifically called by God to stay, be salt and light in their own culture, and join others in sending those who are called to be frontier missionaries. Both jobs are crucial and equally important. For God’s glory, we will endeavor to encourage and prepare people for the task – whether it’s with the neighbor across the street or halfway around the world.

Long-Term: Committed to Seeing the Work Through

Many of the churches’ methods today toward cross-cultural mission work are “shotgun” approaches – short term trips to a random country each year with no specific long-term strategy or goal in mind. For God’s glory, we will, instead, commit to a strategy that focuses long-term on a specific UPG until a Church Planting Movement is launched and a self-sustaining, viable, indigenous church is established.

Synergistic: Strategic Partnerships

Synergy is defined as the working together of two or more things, people, or organizations, especially when the result is greater than the sum of their individual effects or capabilities.

With this approach, for God’s glory, we will pursue strategic partnerships with like-minded churches and organizations, and by using the life of Jesus as our example, we will seek to transform lives and holistically meet needs – both physical and spiritual.

Three Rivers Community Church and our Mission

Three Rivers Community Church and our Mission

Ezekiel 36:37-38

This passage must have a greater fulfillment than the return of the exiles to the land. Chapter 37 helps us see this by reminding Ezekiel that the Lord will raise up a people from their dead state and unite Judah and Jerusalem into one people again and set “David” over them.

Well, David is dead. And the fact is that it’s not “David” that the Lord has in mind. What the Lord has in mind is the new Davidic covenant promise that from David will come rulers and one ruler in particular who will rule forever over his people who will be represented in all the peoples of the earth.

The genealogies at the beginning of Matthew are not there, however it may seem, to bore disinterested readers. Those list of names are there to show the astute bible reader that this Jesus of Nazareth is a (the) descendant of David that was promised to come and rule over the people of God just as Father promised in his grand work of salvation to rescue his creatures from the clutches of the rebellion in the garden so long ago started by Satan and propagated by our parents.

Ezekiel 36:37-38 has a distinct Gospel feel to it. This passage is a promise that when we ask Father for Gospel fruit he will give it to us and that fruit will be not for our consumption, but that fruit will be for the filling of nations and kingdoms to bring those nations and kingdoms under the rule of the King of Kings and his Kingdom.

This passage is the passage given by the Spirit to assure this heart that he was the one in charge of “growing” Three Rivers Community Church.

TRCC will be 10 years old March 2. What a journey this has been.

We have seen Father do what only Father can do even in spite of us.

So that we don’t forget and stay in step together for another 10 years, it’s vital that we revisit what makes us TRCC.

We will, for the next few weeks, revisit our mission (today) and some doctrinal distinctives that define us such as missions, salvation, baptism, the Lord’s Supper and the church. It should be fun and a great time to refocus and set our collective face like flint on the mission of the Lord.

Today, we’ll look at our mission, the radical life and some of how this John 15 kind of living works itself out.

1. Mission

For the glory of God, we will build the church (big picture of the Gospel) – Abrahamic Covenant, Matthew 28:16-20

Both local and global (scope of Gospel work) Acts 1:8

By being and producing radical followers of Jesus Christ (means) John 15

2. Means

Radical Life – John 15

Communion with God
Community with the Church
Collision with Culture

Radical Life is not necessarily ministry begun as an organizational entity requiring budgets and fractal structures of influence. Radical Life is Spirit filled followers of Jesus pointing people who do not know or Christians who need to grow toward the Father that they may be saved and / or may begin growing up into Christ who is their Chief Shepherd. That kind of ministry is powerful, free and effective.