The Order

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Give illustration of asking church leaders what they want.
What do you think would upset people more, if things weren’t accomplished from the first list or if things weren’t accomplished from the second list. Sadly most people today would say things from the first list.
In Luke chapter 12 Jesus tells a parable about a master who leaves his servants with specific tasks. When he returns and sees that the servants did not do what he asked they were punished harshly.
Far too often we are more concerned with how well the sermon was communicated, how relevant the youth group is, or how to make the music better. What honestly would get us stirred up for change.
We need to ask ourselves do we want our church to change because we see areas where we aren’t actually listening to God’s commands or it is trying to be obedient to commands that we have made up ourselves.
I think if we answer that honestly we can see if we are trying to please God or if we are trying to please people. Whether God is leading our church or we are.
Mark 7:
Mark 7:5–9 NIV
So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, “Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with defiled hands?” He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: “ ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’ You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.” And he continued, “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions!
Here is the thing Jesus was mad at. God laid out commandments for the Jews to keep. 613 of them to be exact, but then these dudes went and added some of their own and were mad when people wouldn’t keep them. It wasn’t wrong for them to do it. They had created their own traditions to obey and emphasized them.
It may surprise you, but a 30-40 minute sermon isn’t commanded. Worship songs aren’t commanded but bearing one another burdens is.
It is so important that we separate what God commands and what we want.

What works

I have caught myself thinking and trying to get more and more people into the young adult services, and while this isn’t a bad thing I think I allowed and we allow ourselves to get caught up in wrong methods and actually skip out on some of God’s commandments.
Romans 9:1–3 NIV
I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit—I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race,
The apostle Paul was extremely passionate when it came to people knowing Christ, but he never used human thoughts and ideas to bring people. Paul was super careful to be reliant on the Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 1:17 NIV
For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.
Paul refused to let it be about him.
Alan Hirsch was a pastor who had built a mega church in Australia. He said that if we use entertainment and marketing to win people to our church we will need to keep them there with that same entertainment and marketing. It becomes exhausting.
Much of people’s unhappiness in the church today stems from this exact entertainment. They feel as if the Church has let them down. It is because the Church is giving people what they are asking for rather than what they need.
Amelia asking for candy
If thinking about the things we discussed last week bores you (explain). Then we aren’t allowing the Holy Spirit to do the work he is trying to do in our lives.
Tailoring our worship to the worshipers and not the object of our worship creates a human centered church.
It is just true of humans that we make our decisions on what brings us the most pleasure, and then we make sure that we aren’t violating any commandment of God. In essence we want to know what God will tolerate rather than what pleases Him.
Is it possible for us to ask what would please God most?

Devoted to God’s orders

When you read the book of Acts you can’t help but think to yourself, “that is a community that I want to be a part of”.
I mean they were eating together, sharing all they had, having services and praying and healing together and God was adding more and more to their numbers everyday.
These people weren’t strategizing to get more people they were just fully dependent on the power of God.
Here is where I think we have gone wrong today. We look at that and we think that is boring. Where is the excitement? Where is the power?
But there is a key word in our passage that I believe separates the modern church from the early church. It is the word “devoted”. We live in a culture that is impatient. We want to experience Biblical awe without Biblical devotion.
So what were they devoted to in the early church that started such a powerful movement.

The Apostles Teaching

The early church devoted themselves to the apostles teaching. Most Christians have heard all of their lives that the word of God is alive, but do we genuinely believe it?
Do we genuinely believe that the word of God can accomplish what it sets out to do?
Isaiah 55:10–11 NIV
As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
I know I get super excited to hear speakers who have charisma. I get excited to laugh at funny preachers, but I have caught myself relying to heavily on the speakers actually making God’s word come alive.
Maybe if we focused more and the power of the word as it is there will be a generation who will raise up that is addicted to the word of God. A true hunger for it.
What does it look like to strip away the distractions and become a church who is hungry and addicted to God’s word. I mean the book of revelation offers a promise of a blessing to anyone who reads it aloud. Did you know that?

The breaking of bread

The breaking of bread in the New Testament refers to a shared meal in which they celebrated the Lord’s supper. Jesus profoundly impacted the people in the early church. His sacrifice was extremely real for them. Imagine sitting around a table with people who’s lives changed the same way yours did drastically and who loved you unconditionally.
Could you see how powerful this would have been? Do you think we have lost sight of Jesus sacrifice? Do you think that we have made communion a tradition only? Has it become an obligation for us? The broken body and spilled blood of Jesus shouldn’t just become another theological concept to us.
Here is the thing. Communion isn’t just about intimacy with Jesus it is about intimacy with one another.
As we consider the cross and look around the room is it possible for us to think that we could love each other to that extent. Just imagine if the church was made up of people who would literally go to the cross for one another.
If this just feels like an add on then we are missing the point of the church.

The prayers

Is prayer something that we consider highly or does it also become burdensome. Would you say prayer plays a meaningful role to us. I heard a pastor say recently that if prayer isn’t vital to our church then our church isn’t vital. If we can accomplish our mission without church then our church is irrelevant.
I believe there is something deep in us that wants to pray intensely with like minded people and see a supernatural response.


God desires His people to experience him. It is why he wants us to be devoted to these things. Our job is to reveal God to people. It isn’t to put on pep rallies and arouse excitement, but to watch as we put God on display in our lives and He draws people to himself.
Daniel Kolinda story from Afric
Imagine if we constantly allowed God to be on display and relied on Him being himself.
Illustration about my exciting birthday party.
Illustration about my exciting birthday party.
Isn’t this was we do with God?
Malachi 1:13 NIV
And you say, ‘What a burden!’ and you sniff at it contemptuously,” says the Lord Almighty. “When you bring injured, lame or diseased animals and offer them as sacrifices, should I accept them from your hands?” says the Lord.
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