Open House – The Only Way to Live 3

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Matt 5 (MSG)

Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.
 

Matthew 10:5-8 MSG

 Jesus sent his twelve harvest hands out with this charge: “Don’t begin by traveling to some far-off place to convert unbelievers. And don’t try to be dramatic by tackling some public enemy. Go to the lost, confused people right here in the neighborhood. Tell them that the kingdom is here. Bring health to the sick. Raise the dead. Touch the untouchables. Kick out the demons. You have been treated generously, so live generously. 

II Corinthians 5:20 NKJV

Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. 

BIG IDEA:

It is clear that Jesus was not here just to save us. It went farther than that. His ultimate goal was to impart the message of what He was doing into a team of people who would pass this message perpetually through the generations so the love displayed through Jesus actions would find its way through this entire planet and into the future. Currently the “believers of today,” we are that team. 

So in essence Jesus is saying share this message and the spirit of this message with this world so they have the opportunity to believe, and their lives can be changed by a relationship with God through Jesus. 

BIG QUESTIONS:

WHY do we struggle with open house living?  WHY do we close the door behind us?

1. Do we forget the importence?
2. Do we make life about other things first?
3. Do we forget to care?
4. Are we distracted?

>This thought reminds me of a story Jesus told when he was teaching people about the way the kingdom works. 

A life changing Story:

It was a story about a farmer who was planting seed. He said the man scattered seed. Some fell on the side of the road, and before it could take root the birds came and carried it off. Some fell on stony soil, this seed quickly sprouted up but roots were shallow so the sun came up scorched and killed the growth. Some fell in the weeds and thorns, the seed took root and began to grow, but being surrounded by thorns and weeds the plant was choked out and died. Finally the seed that fell on good, prepared, rich soil took deep root, and due to the nutrients in the good undisturbed soil the plant grew, and produced major growth and life. 

Thought:  I think the weeds and thorns are what we deal with in today’s culture more than any other thing

Mark 4:18, 19 MSG

“The seed cast in the weeds represents the ones who hear the kingdom news but are overwhelmed with worries about all the things they have to do and all the things they want to get. The stress strangles what they heard, and nothing comes of it. 

(AMP)

Then the cares and anxieties of the world and distractions of the age, and the pleasure and delight and false glamour and deceitfulness of riches, and the craving and passionate desire for other things creep in and choke and suffocate the Word, and it becomes fruitless. 

(NLT)

but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life, the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things, so no fruit is produced. 

HOW do we begin to live this open house life?

1. Throw the door wide open

(Take the pressure off)

What we can’t do…

We can’t change someone
We can’t save someone

What we can do?

We can love everyone. 
We can be generous to everyone

We should focus on what we can do, and leave what only God can do to him. 

>We are NOT trying to MAKE A POINT
>We ARE trying to MAKE A DIFFERENCE

2.  Remember what Jesus did for us and share

>Don’t ever forget where Jesus brought you frame and what he did for you, share your story. Every member a messenger

>You don’t have to be a great theologian what you learned this morning you can teach this afternoon

>Take the pressure off just be you and share your story

3.  Intentionally open our lives to people seeking for answers and love
Be aware

>Pray this prayer…”who’s it going to be today?”

>Share the love

4.  Look beyond our prejudices, our inconveniences, and their sin

>Aknowlege that at times we all have some sort of prejudice. Prejudice simply means to pre-judge. 
Fire yourself from the job of judge (Gods Job)

>You can disagree and still love

>expect to be inconvenienced and be ok with it.

>Create some margin in your life.

>Love covers a multitude of sin

5.  Make this a way of living. 

This is not a strategy its a lifestyle. 
It’s not a method its a way of living
it’s not a religeous obligation, it’s the overflow of love from Jesus. 

BIG THOUGHT:

>We are his mouthpiece
>His ambassadors
>His representatives to the people of this world.  

LAST THOUGHT:

We have been placed in our circle of influence. We may think life just landed us in our current role but God is far more strategic than that. You are there to make a difference for the kingdom of God, you are there to love people the way Jesus loves you. 

Do you know Jesus? You can have this love and life we are talking about. It is truly the answer you are looking for.

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Out of the Archives 2 (Excited to be Invited)

“People are Excited to be Invited”

Sitting here in starbucks working on leadership track development, about to shift gears to meet with some of our male pastors to brainstorm the Total Man Retreat for 2011. So in the few minutes I have before they get here, I want to share with you my experience with inviting people to church. I do and have always loved the opportunities to share the love of Jesus with people. Really get in deep conversation about it and lead them to a relationship with Him. However that doesn’t always happen in every conversation we have with people who we would want to come to church. Many times you have time to merely invite people. We use a tool at harvest called an invite card. Its a business card type of an invitation. It has the information for our campuses on it, and leaves a blank place we can put your name and number. I use these all the time.

My experience with inviting people to church is simple. People are excited to be invited. I haven’t invited anyone to church yet that was antagonistic to me, or rejected me. They don’t always come but I have never been treated badly when I have invited someone to come to church. Its a compliment to someone to be invited somewhere. I say this just to encourage everyone, the normal everyday person, no matter what the “experts” say, are not antagonistic towards the church, or to those who would invite them. I think sometimes people “experts” make these sweeping statements about how people view the church, that are based on pop culture, but I encourage you to ask the next person who says something like that, “How many people have you invited to church, and how did they respond?” Usually the extreme silence gives you the answer.

So, here are some easy practical ways to invite people to church or engage them in a conversation about Christ.

1. Change your thinking: From they don’t want to hear, and don’t want to be invited, to, They are excited to be invited.

I believe that most people would at least try church out if they were invited to go. What are you losing to Invite them?

2. Just invite them.

Be friendly, look for a time in the conversation before you go separate ways to invite them to come to church with you.

3. Be available for a conversation.

Slow down a bit and be available to talk. When you are in a public place don’t be glued to your phone, look up and engage people. People want, and love to talk. Be available for the conversation and the opportunity will present itself to invite them to church.

4. Use a tool to help you.

If you have something like an invite card, use it. It provides you with something to give, it helps you give them information that will keep you connected.

5. Look for opportunities to do something Kind for someone.

This always creates an open door to talk about Jesus or invite them to church, because they want to know why you did that for them.

6. look outside your family, and close friends.

What’s wrong with inviting someone you have met for the first time? Remember they are excited to be invited!

You Just Never Know

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The one thing I have found to be truly consistent in travel and missions is inconsistency. You never know what’s going to happen.

We should be in Hong Kong this morning but instead we are still in las Angeles. Thankfully everyone is safe and sound. We have a flight out tonight late and the airline covered our food and our hotel.

This is a great “flexible” team and they’ve taken every step with grace. So it’s off to Venice beach today for a bit
of fun. Then dinner and back to the airport and finally on the plane to cambodia. Pray that all things work as planned tonight, no interruptions.

harvest, doing life together…tail-gate party

If you take a good look at Acts Chapter two you will find that the early church did life together.  Its important that we reach out to the community, and share the love of Christ, and the Gospel to everyone we com in contact with, however its also very important for our own spiritual growth, that we do life together with our church family.

This is how we are built up and strengthened in our faith, it is also how the world will know that we are followers of Jesus Christ.  Jesus himself said that men would know we follow Him if we love one another.  So encourage you, get plugged in to a local church and let it build you and strengthen you and do life together with them, because isolation isn’t the key.  By the way it fine to have some fun while your at it.

The power of multi site….

A few years ago, very few people were thinking about this model of “one church, multiple locations”, now for many its becoming a viable option.

There are so many great benefits that come with this. I believe it is really the new “God Move” to take some powerful visions and spread them across the nation and globe through multiplying efforts from one place to another.

To many, it seems strange and the methods used seem to evoke much controversy and criticism. What are the benefits? Here are some I like.

1. Campuses have the opportunity to benefit from the vision of the whole. Makes them a part of something bigger than they are.

2. Its a great training platform. Guys wanting to be excellent and develop within somewhat of a safety net. they can stretch their wings but have someone there to catch them if they fall and help them try again. Great learning experience and support structure.

3. Gives you the ability to accomplish much more because you are a part of something that is bigger than you are. The synergy is awesome.

4. It expands opportunities for people to work in full time ministry in their skill set, in their talent, their specialty. No longer does full time ministry mean one or two things, it could mean hundreds or even thousands.

I love what God is doing, and this is really not new, the only thing new about it is technology and methodology of the day. But this is the model that the new testament church used to enlarge the influence of the church in the world.

I love the fact that we are a multi-site church. Harvest had 4 campuses and has just added a 5th. Bringing people together around the vision that God has given us to reach and touch the lives of people for the cause of Christ.

I love what God is doing, can’t wait to see whats next. We are working and learning through the process, bottom line just do what God has called you to do, and love every minute of it.

thanks
David

You can live in the shadows, or the light….

Tonight’s meeting with Ambassador Simington was a real treat. We had met with the ambassador at the embassy and he invited the whole team to his house, or “our house” as he liked to call it.

We came in and he introduced us to a couple of friends from the peace core. Nice people. We set around and talked as the staff brought us drinks and snacks. He asked the entire team their name, what thy did in life, and what most impacted them about Rwanda. It was a very interesting conversation. After everyone had shared, he began to tell some stories. He ended with a story of his visit to the Genocide Memorial.

The second story of the memorial is dedicated to the children who were killed in the genocide. He said he had noticed something particular about the photos. The pictures were obviously of dead children, and it reminds us of the atrocity of the genocide. He said, however, if you look at the photos all the children’s eyes look they have a bright light in them. It was from the flash bulb, not the red eye effect but the flash bulb reflecting in their eyes. He said when he noticed it he had the thought. The Rwandan people have a choice, they can live in the shadows of the past or the light of the future.

He teared up when he said it, it was a very moving moment for he and the team. You know Jesus said that he was the light of the world. He also goes on to say that we are the light of the world.

When we are reaching out to others, when we are sharing the love of Christ, in practical ways, in spiritual ways, in any way, we are carrying that light and we are modeling that light.

They key to Rwanda being all it could be has to do with that light. The light of the world Jesus himself. They can make laws, they can build an infrastructure, they can do a lot of things, but what will truly make a difference is a heart change. A relationship with Jesus Christ.

I was inspired by the Ambassador, he cares about America and about Rwanda, and how we can help them. I’m encouraging you. Reach out and help someone else, whether in Rwanda, or in your own neighborhood. Live out of the light of the future, and not in the shadows of the past.

So now we go home and start planning for next year, and in the mean time, reach foster kids in our county, teens from around the nation, then leave for Cambodia and help widows and orphans there and teach leadership through Christ to those who want to learn.

Don’t just see the light, be the light.

God bless you

David