This weekend is Memorial Day weekend and for the past 3 years, NewSong has made it a tradition to gather at noon at the home of Pastor Nelson and Magali Ruiz to share lunch together, worship (loudly!) in the backyard, invite family, friends and neighbors to join with us, and generally spend an entire Sunday afternoon together. We "give up" our morning service at the Westord PCA to do this.
Basically, because it's a community thing. These special gatherings (we have 3-4 a year) allow us to fully practice the essentials that we see in the early church - the gathering together in the name of Jesus, the "breaking of bread" in a fellowship meal, spending time in prayer and the Scriptures, and sharing in Communion.
Obviously, we have a regular Sunday morning gathering as well, so we're not saying those are non-essential. But all too often, our services have become structured and routined - especially for NewSong, as we are a mobile community, so we have a rental time that we have agreed to, which means we have a deadline by which we have to be packed up and out of the facility.
So these special Sundays are important.
They allow us to breathe, to relax.
They allow us to worship freely and invite others to do the same.
They allow us to celebrate together - free of time constraint - all that God has done.
Most importantly, they allow us to be the Church. The people of God.
In the Name of Jesus.
As disciples and disciple-makers.
To proclaim His glory and see His will done on earth as in heaven.
We invite you to join us this Sunday at 12pm at 3 Bowers Avenue in Tyngsboro, MA.
You may never see "church" the same way.
When one thinks of discipleship several definitions race to mind. “It's mentoring.” “It's apprenticeship.” “It's teaching.” These are among the top definitions of discipleship. I would like to suggest it's starts here and grows. The practical is where we forge the trust and relationship to disciple God's people in the greater things of God and His Kingdom.
Many think that discipleship is helping another get a grip on a practical and tangible thing such as skiing, cooking, auto repair, fixing your computer, learning that new hand-held device and more. While discipleship in these ways is helpful in a practical way, how does it help with one's spiritual life and walk? I would like to suggest that discipleship is about helping the new, as-well-as the aged Christian, become a true disciple of Christ. Therefore, discipleship requires us to impart our Godly knowledge and experience to others of any age both chronologically and in Christ.
We must therefore be proficient in the things of God ourselves in order to make true disciples. How can you disciple someone in hearing God if you do not hear from Him yourself? He does speak to His children through His written word, situation, through others, and in our own ears audibly like another human being. How do you disciple someone in hearing God this way?
I have entered into discipleship with a friend to help them hear God in the way He speaks to them. We all hear His voice differently. My friend is just now, after 9 months of working with them, beginning to hear God's voice in the way He speaks to them. Just recently they have found they are hearing Him more and more frequently. How would you disciple someone this way?
Frequently people have problems and are looking for God's discernment in how to best address their issue with a Godly choice. How would you disciple someone in this way?
Sometimes, decisions are clouded with ambiguity because two or more paths look equally rewarding and blessed of God. Yet only one is God's choice. How does one discern which is God's path in this place?
Have you heard God help you make a decision when the view is filled with ambiguity? Have you heard God help you make the right choice when the path is not clear cut? - When each choice seems to carry equal reward and blessing? If so, how would you disciple someone in this? Could you disciple someone in this?
I believe this is why teaching on discipleship is either poorly done, or not done at all. It's easy to disciple someone in a practical and tangible thing because we can see, feel, taste, touch and smell it. The things of God are not so practical and tangible as they are based in things not of this world. They are frequently concepts with different outcomes in different people so that the definition of successful discipleship is not always the same. However, if you know what the different outcomes are, you can have some idea of what to expect for a successful discipleship outcome. What will mark victory in that person's life that we have entered into discipleship with? Where are your limits of discipleship? How far can you go into the abstract things of God and make them real in someone else as they are in you? How long can you walk beside someone when they repeatedly have failure in the pursuit of a successful outcome they earnestly desire to have?
How would you disciple someone to have more faith? Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is assurance of things hoped for, proof of things not seen.” We need to disciple everyone in this. So how do we disciple someone to have faith in something they cannot see?
We have faith in airplanes to fly because we see it. We know very infrequently they have trouble and so we have faith they can get us where we need to go and do it safely. This is because our faith is based in tangible facts and knowledge of flight and airplanes. What happens when we posses only the knowledge of what God's word tells us and we cannot correlate that with something tangible? - Something seen and/or experienced? How do we teach it to others so as to disciple them?
God's word is the only thing we can see when we open a Bible. A message from a Pastor or Teacher is the only thing we can hear. Everything else is unseen requiring faith that it exists because God said it does. In these things we are charged with discipleship in Matthew 28:19-20 “Go, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I commanded you. Behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.” (Note: Emphasis added to point out our charge.)
Last Sunday, Jonah's story came to a close - but it was not the happy ending we would have written.
[listen to the message]
You would think that Jonah, who ran from God, who repented of his sin, who obeyed God and saw the city of Nineveh repent and turn from evil – you would think he would get the happy ending to his story here... but he doesn’t.
Because even repentance & obedience fall short if our heart is not transformed by God.
[Jonah 4:1] -- But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry.
5 Ways Our Hearts Are Sick:
1. I would rather be comfortable than transformed
2. I would rather run from God than admit I’m not God
3. I would rather serve my self than love & serve others
4. I am jealous when God gets the glory
5. I quickly forget the grace & forgiveness I have just received
God does not want to leave us with broken hearts,
broken lives, and broken spirits
:: Heart Transformation
1. Protect your heart
[Prov.4:23] - “Guard your heart... for it determines the course of your life.”
The heart is core to who we are, the centerpiece of our life
2. Realize that transformation means change
Our faith and hope are in Christ for salvation and transformation
3.Let God’s Word speak new life to us
[Psalm 119] – “I have stored your Word in my heart... that I might not sin against You”
4. Allow the Holy Spirit to convict, lead to repentance and renew
[Psalm 51] – “Create in me a clean heart...”
[Prov. 16:3] – “Commit your actions to the Lord...”