Give to Restoration Rome

Today is “Give Tuesday”. I know there will be many folks reaching out to ask for your donations today. May I ask you a question? If you are in Rome/Floyd County, would you consider giving to the most needed work in our town? If you are from somewhere else, is there anything more worthy?

We have a foster care crisis in Rome, GA. As Christians, the mandate of James 1:27 looms over us as a glorious and joyous yet almost crushing way. Over 300 children in care. Less than 30 available homes. The need for good people to be coached into being great parents. The need for willing people to be available to care for and love a needy child. the need for families to become the forever home of a child. The need to bring every service necessary for all that work under one roof.

That’s not free, and that takes a lot of people working together.

We have made it our aim to work in the public square addressing real problems because that is what Jesus did. And this is work for anyone who wishes to help. We have to work together to solve this problem

Would you help us? There is much to be volunteered. But there is much-needed financially. Lots of construction upcoming. Lots of additions later. We need your help.

In the upper right corner of this post is a link on the picture of downtown titled “Restoration Rome”. Here is a link so you can read about is a little more Restoration Rome. There is a donate button to the right of the information on our page.

Please consider giving to Restoration Rome.

Thank you!

 

Covenant Renewal: Vision/Mission/Strategy/DNA

NOTE: THESE NOTES GO ALONG WITH A SPOKEN SERMON. THEY ARE NOT A FULL MANUSCRIPT. YOU WILL HAVE THE AUDIO AVAILABLE SOON ON TRC Sermons

Vision/Mission/Strategy/DNA

Last Week Pastor Josh preached on our vision as a church, today I’m going to cover the mission/strategy and DNA that drives our church. Why? Because we must regularly renew our understanding of who we are and what we are going to do about it…in the bible, it was a “covenant renewal” ceremony.

Covenant Renewal:

There were times in Israel’s history that God via his leaders called the people together for “covenant renewal”.

It was a reminder of who God is and who they were and what the demands of their commitment were. It was a reminder of the blessings and the curses if they obeyed or failed to obey.

Last week and this week are covenant renewal. That’s what vision sermons are. We’ve intentionally preached on vision and DNA two times per year. I preach on our vision / mission / strategy / tactics…almost constantly weaving it into everything.

Why?

Vision is leaky!

Churches are also susceptible to vision / mission drift as people with competing visions want to shift tactics to support their particular bent.

We are a covenant church. TRC Covenant:

  • I commit, as a worshiper of Jesus, to live a life of worship that reflects the Glory of God.
  • I commit to knowing God and his Word, and I commit to apply God’s Word by the leadership of the Holy Spirit.
  • I commit to be corrected by church discipline if my actions depart from the Word and dishonor Jesus and his cause.
  • I commit to serve the Kingdom of God through TRC with my attendance and gifts.
  • I commit to give financially and materially to the Kingdom of God through TRC.
  • I commit to unity in the church. I will not allow my views on non-essential doctrines, personal preferences, or personality conflicts destroy that unity. I commit to love and honor my family of faith above myself, and to love and honor God above all.
  • I commit myself to the vision and strategy of TRC.

Why should you be in covenant membership with a local church?

There is no way to obey Hebrews 10:24-25 (stirring one another up to love and good deeds by gathering together), Hebrews 13:17 (obeying your leaders), Matthew 18:15-20 (practice of church discipline precisely because one is covenanted to others in Christ) and its practical application in 1 Corinthians 5 unless you are in covenant fellowship with a local church.

Vision

What fuels our vision?

K – Gospel of the Kingdom Mark 1:14-15

D – Gospel makes disciples who hear and obey Matthew 7:24-27

S – Disciples engage domains of society…not programs but domains

4 Key shifts:

  1. From needs to assess
  2. From programs to domain engagement
  3. From working for the city to working with the city
  4. From managing projects to leading members

C – From all domains Jesus builds his church and fills the nations with his glory Matthew 16:18

Worship

Covenant renewal is an occasion for corporate worship. As we worship in the system of working together to do Jesus vision for his church, we honor God, each other and have ample reason to glory in Christ for his good order and leadership of his church.

Because we are in good order, and because we strive to lead toward his vision with resolve, we should offer King Jesus praise today.

 

 

 

 

 

Salt and Light

Jesus told his people to be salt and light. That is we are to be everything good accomplished by salt and light.

How?

By hearing the Spirit (All of the Godhead at work by Holy Spirit) and obeying him.

How?

His word, his counsel by his word, his application of his word as he leads your thinking, his flat-out direction of your steps in obedience to his word etc.

Result? Ruined for anything that does not have the fragrance of biblical fidelity.

I’m not unique to this in history (many have gone before), but the Scriptures have ruined me. The bible has completely made me a stickler for doing things in a bible way. Don’t hear that as me putting “bible way” over the top of my preferences. I mean a properly exegeted, not cultural alone kind of way. My kids play sports, go to public school, watch TV, hunt, play x-box…and I do to. I’m not talking about withdrawal from society stuff. I mean the every essence of God’s kingdom infecting all we do in our engagement of our domains for King and Kingdom.

That’s good, but that also has an edge to it. Why? When things are done contrary to clear teaching, your discernment keeps you from being able to just let it go, and that will get you in trouble sometimes and keep you being able to simply participate in some things.

Sometimes salt has to sting to preserve. Sometimes light has to temporarily blind in order to cause one to see.

Applying the bible to everything as intended will bring life and healing and kick the curse in the teeth. But you have to know it.

Read it. Follow a yearly reading plan. Study it separate from reading. Make yourself learn to obey it. Learn to hear the Spirit whispering through the pages as your pray over the text, pray the text and do so before Jesus when no one is looking. Teach others to do the same (that’s called making disciples and teaching them to obey everything Jesus said).

This will satisfy your soul, make you happy, make your prophetic (that’s the get in trouble part), and make you obey Jesus as you become salt and light. Nothing wrong with that.

 

Post-Christian South Versus Jesus’ Way

Living in the “bible belt” has it’s good and bad. I’m a child of the bible belt. Some good. Some bad.

The good? Easy access to Scripture. Evangelical doctrine purged (mostly) of post-enlightenment liberalism. Respect for elders. Honor for those who have passed on and their families (I love that in my town we still stop for a funeral procession. I’ve buried both my parents, and we’ve buried my wife’s mom, and nothing quite like people stopping to honor your grief). Strong sense of family. There’s more, but that’s not the point of this post.

The bad? Assumed salvation. Assumed gospel content. Poor child evangelism. Poor preaching. Moralistic therapeutic deism disguised as Christianity. Bad theology in many pockets (distinct from the overall absence of liberalism). Salvation tied to “asking Jesus into my heart” with no concern for following Jesus in obeying everything he has commanded. There’s more, but again, can’t be unpacked in this post.

What I am concerned about in the post-Christian south is a form of godliness that denies the power of God to supernaturally advance his kingdom. A lacking ethical standard rooted in the inerrant bible, God’s word, truth (noun not adjective in John 17:17), manual for life.

People who call themselves Christians yet show little concern for others in failing to observe boundaries. People who are concerned with not violating the law, but show little regard for biblically ethical behavior and practice…We are called to a higher ethical standard. It’s legal to seek an abortion, but we have a higher ethic for life. Power and a desire to be known leads to compromising biblical ethics for the sake of legality. Make sense? People who have little regard for the role of pastor/elder/overseer who passively/aggressively come after under-shepherds with little to no respect while doing nothing to obey Jesus’ teaching. People who will not receive instruction, but look for ways to contend and divide or just do things their own way. People not wanting to keep the covenant, but looking to get as much spiritual product as they can. People just being lazy.

None of us are perfect, but we must be humble people, striving to obey Jesus, loving each other and our neighbors well, fighting for joy, keeping unity and peace and smelling like what we read about in Scripture.

We can use marketing, CEO strategy and business tactics to build an organization, but it may not be the church. We must go after Jesus end and means to get the church.

Here’s Matt Chandler’s take:

 

Think in this, and may it produce a love for Jesus and a desire to see his kingdom come and his will be done on earth as it is done in heaven.

Restoration

TRC! Hey, want some really good news on the restoration of one of our own?

One of the reasons it’s wise, as Christians, to go beyond the legal to the biblical concept of uncovering sin and shining the healing light of obedience to Scripture on that sin is that there is never a cause to wonder if all has been done in decency and order. Legal does not always equal ethical. Laws have loopholes, and loopholes provide conveniently dark places for sin to hide as “legal”.

Another trap for sin is our culture’s idea of what is “Christian” and what is not. Our culture whispers the lies that say, hide it, don’t say it, don’t let others know and all will be well….you preserve the person’s whatever. The problem? Jesus does not give us that option. Sin thrives on and grows in darkness. He gave us a clear path to him being put on display as the unifier, healer and restorer and us seeing the miraculous work of the gospel of the kingdom producing fruit…Matthew 18:15-20. Think about it. What is there for the congregation to give Jesus glory for if there was never a problem for him to solve we couldn’t?

We believe God’s word as the inerrant truth for all regardless of their acknowledging it or not, and we’ve had to practice Jesus’ process on occasion.

We have reason to celebrate. Likely, you’ve been seeing Jackson Bishop around church and he’s been in our RL group when he gets to be home from his rather amazing job. If you are coming over from Kingston, you will see Jackson. Our brother, friend and fellow follower of Jesus, Jackson Bishop, has been restored to us. The Spirit did his work as we obeyed his word. Jackson will be playing in the Band on Sunday because there is no probation with God. Repentant and restored is the way.

In the parable of the lost (prodigal) son, Jesus tells us we welcome home the one who was “lost” with a dad gum party…we’ll sing to Jesus with our brother playing in the band. So, will you bring a little extra party feel to your praise tomorrow? You should.

Let’s celebrate what God has done.