Saturday, March 21, 2009

Sermon Notes 3/15/09

From the text 1 Corinthians 1:18-25

The text reminds us of the foolishness we need to have as Christians in a viable and active church.

The proclamation of the Gospel was foolishness to Greeks and to Jews. The idea of a Crucified God made no sense to either. 
-To the Jews, it was that God had been cursed. If God were actually God then God could not be cursed.
-To the Greeks, it was foolishness that God could or would die. If Jesus had truly been God, then he could have pulled himself from the situation and not been crucified. To have died meant that this was not actually God.

Our message of the Gospel today is also foolishness, especially as we seek to live out a Vision here at Ojai UMC.
-First of all we proclaim Christ crucified, not because of what I can gain, but because of what someone else can gain, and what I have lost. I have lost my slavery to sin and death. Someone else can gain life and that abundantly. They can gain hope. They can gain eternal life.
-Secondly, our message is foolish because of who they are and how we claim them for Christ.

THEY are young people ages 18-35 in the Ojai Valley who have no church. (after all we are not in this to be stealing sheep).
THEY are older people 60+ who cannot get to church.

(I then asked if they agreed that these were two unreached, unchurched populations in the Ojai Valley, and if they were willing to reach out to them in action)

It is foolishness for us to reach these people for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Because to the world, we look like fools when we are choosing to reach young people 18-35. They claim people the age of this congregation, in this worship style, do not have anything to offer to young people in that demographic. We will find the ways to reach them, and we will use the gifts God has given us to do so. (I then asked if they agreed, and would act accordingly)

It is foolishness to reach those who cannot come to church, because the world tells us that IT IS ALL ABOUT THE NUMBERS. If people are not coming to church, then we don't have the numbers to reflect that we are reaching them. We will be fools, and we will reach them.

We are also going to care for one another. (Are we agreed that we need to care for one another along the way too?)

We are going to be implementing an outreach that heads us in each of these directions.
-First we are going to make cluster groups of about 4-5 active members of the church. We are going to ask you to call on each other - by phone, email, snail mail, personal visit, or some other method I have not named - every two weeks. (Can you do that?Will you commit to doing that?)
-Second, we are going to ask you to bring in names of people you know who are not coming to church, in either of the focus areas we have named - 18-35 year olds, and 60+. We are going to assign those throughout the membership no more that 2-3 per person. (Do you think you could call on 2-3 other people every two weeks?)
That gives us no more than 6-7 people to reach out to every two weeks, and begin to be in ministry.

This is not door-to-door evangelism. We aren't going to hand them and pamphlet telling them about our programs. We are going to build relationships. When Jesus taught the Great Commandment, he said "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and strength and mind; and Love your neighbor as yourself." Jesus did not say, "Invite your neighbor to the next program we have, or tell them about the great music we share". It begins with relationship. 

Our Vision will have to encompass these areas:
1) Reaching Young People 18-35
2) Reaching Older People 60+
3) Caring for one another

If we do not do those things, we are not being true to who we are. We are not being true to who God is calling us to be. As we frame the Vision in the next few weeks, the ways in which we can do this effectively with the gifts we have, and the needs of the community will come together very clearly.



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