Friday, November 14, 2014
I hope your week has been a great one and that you were infectious to everyone you came in contact with.
This Sunday, we continue our Thanksgiving series… “What A View… An Exodus Thanksgiving”. Last week we looked back, into our past, from Mount Nebo and this week we look down into our present. Join us for this provocative journey with the Israelites as they move toward the Promised Land.
Also, this week is our ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY! Please plan to join us as we celebrate God’s faithfulness through fellowship, music, generosity, teaching and great food!
Outbreak Church is providing the meat, drinks and paper products. Bring a desert or side dish to share. We are going to have a wonderful time together. INVITE SOMEONE TO JOIN YOU!
Just a heads up… Family Christmas at The Farm will be Friday, December 19 at 6:30 at the Carroll Farm. I hope you will invite your friends to join us for this interactive look at the Christmas Story. More info will follow in the next newsletter.
I look forward to seeing you Sunday….
I’m proud to be your pastor…
Usually we refer to an act as a musical group, performer or maybe even a gimmick. Well, in Biblical terms, Dr. Luke records the Act(s) of the Apostles. The book of Acts presents an eyewitness account of the Gospel Virus as it is unleashed on the world! The power of this virus comes through the Holy Spirit. Jesus promised in Acts 1:8 that…
Acts 1:8 (MSG)
8 What you’ll get is the Holy Spirit. And when the Holy Spirit comes on you, you will be able to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, all over Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the world.“
Epidemiologists refer to 3 Patterns of Viral Outbreaks. Each one describes the geographical extent of the outbreak
Endemic – a communicable disease, such as influenza, measles, mumps, pneumonia, colds, small pox, which is characteristic of a particular place, or among a particular group, or area of interest or activity. (Local Outbreak)
Epidemic – when this disease is found to infect a significantly larger number of people at the same time than is common at that time, and among that population, and may spread through one or several communities. (Regional outbreak)
Pandemic – occurs when an epidemic spreads worldwide. (Worldwide Outbreak)
Jesus says the Gospel Virus will start as an ENDEMIC! The virus would be centered in Jerusalem. The details are found in Acts 1-7.
Next Jesus says the Gospel Virus will spread to become an EPIDEMIC! In Acts 8-12 Jesus told His followers that the Gospel Virus would spread from Jerusalem to “all over Judea and Samaria“
This is critical for us to understand. The mandate to reach Jerusalem first was exactly what the believers did… but… they became complacent and didn’t reach outside of Jerusalem. The found their comfort zone and stayed in it!
Jesus’ specific instructions to go to Samaria in their mission are important because of the spiritual, cultural, and racial barriers between the Jews and Samaritans.
Jesus is drawing His followers out of their comfort zones. It took persecution to expand the Gospel Endemic into a Gospel Epidemic!
Finally Jesus says the Gospel Virus will explode into a PANDEMIC! The remainder of the book details how the Gospel Virus spread, infecting most of the known world…
So… how’s YOUR Act(s)? Are you contagious?
What do you usually think of when you hear that word? Probably nothing good! You might think of an OUTBREAK of Salmonella, an OUTBREAK of the Flu… maybe an OUTBREAK of the Black Plague… (OK, only history junkies would think of that).
Let’s switch images here just a minute… What if… instead of visions of hospitals, hazmat suits, fear, worry and stress… the word OUTBREAK gave us visions of hope, courage, power and passion?
That’s exactly what can take place. Jesus calls us to be his witnesses, he calls us to make disciples, to share His love and advance His kingdom. He calls us to move out of our element and break free from our comfy little spiritual boxes. He called us to start an OUTBREAK!
Jesus calls us to start an OUTBREAK by infecting people with the Gospel Virus… unleashing a Gospel Epidemic of Biblical magnitude, powered by His Spirit, and fueled by our passion!
Remember His words?
Matthew 28:19-20 (MSG)
19 Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
20 Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.”
Acts 1:8 (MSG)
8 What you’ll get is the Holy Spirit. And when the Holy Spirit comes on you, you will be able to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, all over Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the world.”
Are you contagious? Let’s go viral!
I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and that you were able to spend some special time with family and friends. I can’t believe we’re finishing up 2013! Where did it go? As we get ready to step into 2014, many of us have been, or are going through some tough times wondering…
- Does God not care about what I’m going through?
- Why did god let this happen?
- Where is God when I need Him?
- Why didn’t God do something about this?
I want us to remember that Psalm 139 assures us that… we matter to God! Take a moment to read Psalm 139 and soak up all the magnificent words. God assures us that he knows us, made us, loves us and is thinking about us. God wants us to find our identity in Him alone!
My prayer is that 2014 just might be the year that you realize that you truly matter to God as you open yourself to Him and find your identity and purpose in Him. In this New Year may you realize that you are covered in His extravagant love and that you can’t help but infect others with the virus of Grace.
Let’s start an OUTBREAK!
Just a few miles from my house is a sheep farm. I pass it everyday. I’m always intrigued as I watch the sheep. They are so cute! For the most part they sort of meander around and just hang out. Eating and doing what good sheep do… it has been my privilege however to see them in the presence of their shepherd.
- When their shepherd comes out and calls them, you can tell that they immediately recognize his voice.
- I have seen him call them from the barn and they respond to the sound of his voice and turn from whatever they are doing and go to him.
- I have seen him lead them from one pasture to the next. He opens the gate, walks through and all the sheep follow right behind through the gate.
- I have seen him carrying a sheep over his shoulders.
- I have watched as he softly grooms and inspects each sheep as they stand patiently in the lot awaiting their turn under the sheers.
I asked a shepherd once about using one of the sheep for a church production. He said that wouldn’t work well because they know his voice and will only do what He tells them. They will not respond to or obey another voice. Hummmm.
As we approach Christmas and sing songs of the shepherds and tell the stories of the shepherds in their fields and around the manger… we need to remember WHO our shepherd is and WHAT our shepherd does… We are the sheep of His pasture and The Shepherd watches after HIS sheep.
David says… The Lord is my shepherd. Jesus called Himself the good shepherd…
14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me– 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father–and I lay down my life for the sheep. John 10:14-15 (NIV)
We can only sing about the Lord being our shepherd because he first became the sheep which was slaughtered in our place.
These words that we prayed so often as children (and many of us still repeat as parents and grandparents) pack a powerful punch! They are not a cliché children’s rhyme but the resounding affirmation of God’s character revealed to His people. As the Word became flesh, God’s Goodness and Greatness walked among us and lives in and through us today. I trust as we have journeyed through psalms and discovered that Jesus is the main focus of them, you’ll be able to sing with the psalmists the recurring theme that God is truly GREAT and God is truly GOOD. Whether we are singing the blues or dancing the night away in joy, this resounding chorus floods us with comfort and encouragement.
Last week we looked at what it means to “cover” a song. I hope you have been “covering” Psalm 16 every day! This week we’ll be looking at Psalm 22. You’ll recognize the tune immediately… we sing it so often!
Remember… the birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension of the Baby was penned in so many of the Psalms… Let’s sing in the season this year as with and give HIM Glory in the Highest!
I want to encourage you to join Cindy and me as Christ in us lives out the verses below and we look to what God has planned for HIS Body of believers … both Outbreak Church and Transformation Church.
Philippians 3:13-15 (NIV)
13 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,
14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
15 All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you.
Just a reminder… We are currently meeting in the fellowship hall at the Rock Hill Masonic Lodge 111 AFM. The lodge is located at 130 S Elizabeth Ln. Our service is at 10:30 am. Come early and enjoy coffee and conversation!
It’s a joy and honor to serve alongside each of you!
Spread the word… There’s an OUTBREAK on the horizon!
Let’s get contagious! Infect somebody with GRACE today!