Sunnyside Church of the Nazarene
Sunday January 12 2020
  • You're Worthy Of My Praise
  • I Will Follow
  • Mighty To Save
  • Sometimes By Step
  • Follow You
  • As we head into the year 2020, I want to take the next several Sundays and step back from a typical sermon that’s based upon a particular passage of Scripture and just share what’s on my mind and heart regarding our mission, our vision, our purpose. As we look at our mission, the tendency may be to hear only the negative - what we’re not doing right. We need fight against that. Sunnyside is a wonderful church. God is moving in many ways. This is not about how bad we are - it’s about become all that God desires. So the next several Sundays will be about heading into the places where God wants us to go.
    Over time, Christians and consequently congregations tend to become complacent, comfortable, inward focused and we forget about the Gospel. We forget about the lost, the unsaved. We’ll just hang out until Jesus comes back. We must resist that mentality. It’s unbiblical.
    In his book, Canoeing the Mountains, Tod Bolsinger compares today’s church with Lewis and Clark. Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery were commissioned to find a waterway that connected the East Coast with the West Coast. When they finally made it to Lemhi Pass on what is now the Montana/Idaho border, they discovered there is no such waterway. All they saw before them were mountains unlike anything they had ever seen - the Rocky Mountains. They weren’t trained for mountains - they were trained for rivers. Thus, they had a choice - quit and go home, quit and stay put or adventure forward and discover new country.
    I truly believe that as our culture rapidly changes, as evil forces gnaw at our country, Sunnyside is standing at a Lemhi Pass and we have a choice. We can quit and hide and wait until Jesus comes back. We can stay where we are, keep doing the same things or we can adventure forward and discover new ways of being the church, new ways of reaching people for Christ.
    I’m not interested in quitting and I’m not interested in staying put.
    Our mission is to help people reach their full potential in Christ - physically, emotionally and spiritually.
    Now that sounds great - but unless we own it and put it into practice, it means nothing and consequently we will either quit or stay put. I don’t want a mission statement that’s just words. I want a mission statement that calls us into action. Not busyness - but action - Kingdom, Gospel-centered action.
    Our mission needs to become a call to action
    a tool that helps us reach our potential in Christ so we can help others reach their potential in Christ.
    As we move forward and head over the mountains, we will need to make necessary adjustments in our church, in our activities and in our personal lives that will enable us to become a very Gospel-centered church - to become a church that not only takes care of its own, but a church that also reaches unsaved people with the life transforming truth of gospel of Jesus Christ.
    Over the next several Sundays, I hope to challenge us to evaluate ourselves and our church regarding our mission.
    Three questions we need to be asking:
    1) What am I doing to reach my potential in Christ?
    2) What am I doing to help others reach their potential in Christ?
    3) What am I doing to help Sunnyside reach its potential in Christ?
    Those three questions, however, need to be filtered through the Great Commandment and the Great Commission.
    Matthew 22:37–40 ESV
    And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
    Matthew 28:18–20 ESV
    And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore 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 that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
    See, reaching our potential in Christ and heading over the mountains, if you will has everything to do with fully loving God in surrender, obedience and relationship. And, reaching our potential has everything to do with loving our neighbors and introducing people to Jesus Christ.
    Every person who claims Jesus as Savior is to be a disciple and to help make disciples.
    And as disciples, we are called to mature in our faith, we are called to holiness, we are called to transformation and we are called to build each other up.
    One of the best ways to learn how to love God and love others - to learn how to share Christ with a lost world, to grow in holiness and maturity is through consistent Christian fellowship in addition to corporate worship. One of the best ways to be a disciple and make disciples is through small groups or home fellowships. What I mean by a small group is a group of people who gather together each week to pray together, to encourage one another, to study the Word of God, to hold one another accountable, care for one another and to spur one other toward Christ-likeness.
    Now, we won’t find a verse in the Bible that says, “Thou shalt attend a small group!” But we do know that for thousands of years Believers met in homes, in marketplaces, in temples - underground - they met anywhere and everywhere - to gather for prayer, for teaching and encouragement.
    Small groups, Bible studies … have been the backbone of Judeo-Christian
    discipleship for thousands and thousands of years.
    So, meeting together outside of a corporate worship service is traditional, but also biblical and necessary and
    One of the most effective means of being the Church and expanding the Church.
    We know that many of the first Christians gathered in homes - they didn’t have church buildings. Think about that when Paul wrote this -
    1 Corinthians 14:26 ESV
    What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up.
    That was done in a home.
    Hebrews 10:23–25 ESV
    Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
    Hebrews 3:12–13 ESV
    Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
    Acts 2:42–47 ESV
    And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
    One of the most effective ways to see people saved and be transformed is through Christians who engage in consistent biblical fellowship. As I look back on my Christian journey, home groups and Bible studies were the key to my spiritual growth. A home fellowship was key to saving my marriage. A home Bible study was key to me forgiving myself.
    We put out a church survey last year. The response was clear - we want more discipleship and more fellowship. So here it is - starting the first week of February and going through the end of April - we’re starting two Connection Groups - Craig will lead one and I’ll led the other. We hope to have more in the future.
    We are at Lemhi Pass - and one of the ways we’re going to move forward over the mountains is through Connection Groups. So I hope that you will be a part of one or perhaps even lead one.
    Some of you will be tempted to look in the past and say we tried that, or we had a bad experience or whatever and you will be tempted to stay put. Forget the past - this is a different day; a different time and we need to head over the mountains.
    Before I close - If you have never received Christ as Savior - you need to.
      • Matthew 22:37–40NLT

      • Matthew 28:18–20ESV

      • 1 Corinthians 14:26ESV

      • Hebrews 10:23–25NLT

      • Hebrews 3:12–13NLT

      • Acts 2:42–47NLT

  • I Have Decided To Follow Jesus
  • I Surrender All

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