- Here we go again. This is the start guys. Guys I want you to know that I have high hopes to this year.
- I told you all at the beginning of last year two things: The first being that you have a mission to share the Gospel to you city, community, state and the world. God has a calling on your life.
- That is why our job as your leaders is to help equip you, challenge you, spurn you on in your walk with Christ. This is why we don’ t play games on Wednesdays. You have a job to do and we want to support you in that calling.
- The second thing I told you was that you were ready. I really believed that. I saw it. You guys were the ministry last year. You created the sack lunch ministry, made Wednesday nights a sweet community. You took your small groups seriously. Invested time into your devotional life. Got real about evangelism. You did ministry.
- So with that being said where do we go from here? What is there left to do?
- It is something I have been praying about all Summer. What is it we as a group are suppose to do?
- In August a group of us went on a little hike. A small 42-miler. It was unbelievable, the beauty you see out there. But the cost of the hike is huge. The first day you hike thirteen miles. Up a crazy hillside that really is void of any real trail. Down into another valley and then up again. It is crazy! Then the next day you 16 miles down into another valley and back out again. We were tired, a little hungry, but knew that we had to hike another 13 miles to get back to the cars. So we got up in the morning and put our heads down and hiked.
- 42 miles in all we did it. I saw people persevere even though they were tired. They didn’t complain that day but pushed on. It was on that hike that this verse came to me during my devotions.
1 Corinthians 14:12:
- “ So with yourselves, since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church.”
- Where dose this fit? The only way we were going to get finish these last 13 miles was to encourage one another. If we didn’t encourage one another, we would have forgotten ALL the beauty that we saw!
- Guys this has been my prayer for you since I started here. That God would move in your life and in the lives of youth in Lane County.
- Maybe you have been hoping and praying for a friend to come to know the Lord. Or maybe you are sitting here tonight desiring that God would show up in a real way in your life but nothing seems to be happening.
- God gives us the prescription right here: You want to see the manifestation of the Spirit in your lives, in your schools, in your friends, in this community, then strive to excel in building up the church.
- To me it has never been so clear. I am so longing to see God move here and he gives us the answer of how to get that done: build the church. If I want to see the real manifestation of God on this Earth than I need to build the church.
Strive to Excel:
- The focus for us is the what: which is the strive to excel and and lastly the who: which is the church.
- I love that Paul uses the word strive here because what it means isn’t just physical effort it is speaking more to desire.
- Paul is saying you want to see the manifestation of the spirit you first have to change your desire.
- The desire or longing is for others to be built up. Specifically the church.
- This is not to say that we don’t invest into those outside the church but even the reason for it is to connect them with the Body.
- So that is the question I have for you tonight: do you desire to see the church, this group, and your small group being built up in Christ?
- If the desire isn’t there then you will miss seeing God move. It is not to say that he wont, it is to say you wont see it.
- Think about it. God came down, told people he was Christ yet they couldn’t see him that way. Why, their desire wasn’t to see Him.
- Here is the catch though. This desire has to grow in to wanting to get better and building up others.
- I am not any more spiritual or gifted than you but my desire and pursuit for excellence in building up the church is different than yours.
- That is what excel really means. We want to build up other people. We want to get better at it. It becomes a life’s pursuit. We strive to master it. We should be known for it.
- John 13 says that you will know Christians for their love for one another.
- In order to do that we have to make our life less about us and more about others.
- Guys, this is what I want our focus to be on: building up.
- We have all seen that though right? I had lunch with one of the guys that went to SF with me this Summer, and he asked me why it was easier to be close with God down there. The answer is this verse.
- It was easy because he was focused, he desired to, get better at building up others. He served the Homeless, encouraged his brothers in ministry, was a light to his leaders, what was he doing: He was building the church.
- Could you imagine a place where everyone felt loved, free to be themselves, felt encouraged, supported, and inspired. Why can’t that be here? This place.
- But that means we have to get better at it.
- It means that we have to be intentional at getting better.
Where we are going:
- So that is what our mission is this year. We, as your leaders, are raising the bar and pushing and challenging ourselves as well as you to strive for this.
- We want to see God move in a real way and I know that you do to. So let’s build each other up.
- Paul says in 1 Corinthians 8 that knowledge puffs up but love builds up.
- Let’s get to work. Let’s love God and his people well.