While the church IS an institution, it also IS the only "institution" that was initiated by God after God came as a baby (Immanuel), and therefore cannot be reduced to the restrictive "laws" of governing, managing, and measuring institutions.Read More
Filtering by Category: Vision
In theory love is so simple, but in practice, love is supremely challenging...and it's risky, gritty, courageous, and isn't afraid to get messy in the dirt of life.Read More
This is the heartbeat of God who desires our hearts to be healed. Where there is sin God wants to heal. Where there is the consequence of sin, God wants to bring REVIVAL.Read More
This core value made for a great four-part series because when a church looks honestly at its call to make disciples, they are forced to:
- Assess its surroundings--our culture--and determine if the call is still relevant or not, and...
- Judge whether it is fulfilling the call or not, and...
- Evaluate whether its application is succeeding or not, and...
- Project whether it will continue the same strategies or develop new ones.
This is how I organized the sermons to address these difficult tasks:
- Week 1 - "The Great Commission: Missions" - a sermon arguing that the call to "go and make disciples" is not only relevant it's needed now more than in the last 200 years in North America.
- Week 2 - "The Great Omission: Discipleship" - a sermon lamenting our failure to truly disciple new believers after conversion.
- Week 3 - "The Current Condition" - a sermon sharing the unhealthy state of the Christian Church in America, the unfortunate reality of so few people faithfully attending church on the Big Island (4%), and what we must do about it.
- Week 4 - "We are a Missionary People" - a sermon pointing to the Biblical strategy of missions as being a blessing to those around us and radically displaying God's grace in our lives.
Let me summarize the heart of this series: God is a Missionary God (always pursuing sinners and offering LIFE and forgiveness), Jesus was a Missionary from the first day of his ministry ("assimilating" here to seek and to save the lost) and the Spirit is a Missionary Sending Spirit (read the book of Acts!). And we are called to follow in suit, especially in this hour of darkness where 96,000 are lost on the Kona Coast alone. The call to witness and disciple is not only relevant, IT'S URGENT! And unfortunately bible thumping (which is so easy and convenient) simply doesn't work anymore; however, the timeless strategy of blessing (read about God's covenant with Abraham--I love this!) still proves to be the best way to "prove" God's love for people.
I enjoy wrestling with our call to make disciples BECAUSE IT FORCES US TO COME TO GRIPS WITH WHETHER WE ARE TRULY BEING FAITHFUL OR NOT.
There are no two ways around the Great Commission. Either you're doing the two things it mandates or you're not. Are we seeing people come to NEW LIFE in Christ (conversions) and are we legitimately WALKING WITH PEOPLE INTO MATURITY in the faith (discipleship)?
It's a yes or no question, really.
To bring it home: ARE WE FULFILLING OUR CALL TO BE MISSIONARIES RIGHT HERE WHERE WE LIVE, reaching the lost and discipling the found at all costs (1 Cor. 9:22)?
KCN is committed to shouting: "YES! YES! YES!" now and many years in the future.
CORE VALUE #4: WE ARE MISSIONARIES HERE
On mission with you,
We preached five weeks through a series highlighting the major developments between the betrayal of Jesus and his resurrection. Here were the sermon titles:
- Easter: Arrested (March 3)
- Easter: Sentenced (March 10)
- Easter: Friday (March 17)
- Easter: Saturday (March 24)
- Easter: Sunday (March 31)
I was asked two questions about this series that are important to share:
- Someone said to me, "How are you going to preach a whole Sunday message on the the Saturday between the crucifixion and the resurrection?" I love this question because of the importance of Saturday in the story of Christ's crucifixion and resurrection. There is a reason we don't call it the "crucifixion-resurrection" or the "crucio-resurrection" or some other kind of hybrid term. We don't refer to them as a single event with no distinction. The AND between "crucifixion and resurrection" is important and necessary. Without the AND, the crucifixion is a holding-of-breath, a divine "just kidding". With the AND--the Saturday--the crucifixion is undeniably final! It is a completed crucifixion, a completed sacrifice and offering (Isaiah 53:10, John 1:29), a completed atonement (Romans 5:11), a finished work (John 19:30). Without the AND, the resurrection is a resuscitation, a good recovery, a divine "paramedic rescue". But because Jesus fully died and was buried, the resurrection is a complete and definitive victory over death--it is a conquering of death itself (Romans 6:9).
- Another person asked, "Why is the cross not part of our Core Value?" The short answer is: IT IS! First, there's no resurrection without death (on the cross), and second, if the resurrection didn't occur Jesus is STILL in the post-crucifixion grave. But we don't worship a "tomb" Jesus, a Jesus that ultimately lost to the Roman empire. No! We worship a Christ that was resurrected and lives, a Christ that won (John 11:25). I believe with the Apostle Paul we can say that the resurrection gives the cross ultimate meaning (1 Cor 15:17).
That was pretty wordy, don't you think? Let's make it simple. (For all those who skip to the end of a these newsletters, this is where you want to pick up again.)
WE ARE A RESURRECTION PEOPLE because...
- …the crucifixion of Jesus defines our faith but is not the end of the story of God's redemption.
- …after the cross, death was overcome and conquered by LIFE.
- …through the resurrection, the guilt of sin and bondage of death lose their "grip" on our lives.
WE ARE A RESURRECTION PEOPLE because God's redemption and power over death and bondage must be our mission and our message on the Big Island of Hawaii.
CORE VALUE #3: WE ARE A RESURRECTION PEOPLE
Celebrating God's victory,
In our preaching series We are shaped by the Word, we made a few important distinctions.
The Spoken Word of God in the Beginning is an important place to start (Genesis 1-3). Why? Well, the earliest "memories" we have of the redeeming God that created the universe, called out a peculiar people to live as his representatives, and sent the Son for the purpose of atonement ("at-ONE-ment"--so we could be in ONe union with God) set everything in motion with WORDS. God's words created. They gave life. They gave "nothingness" substance and the substance meaning and purpose. The beauty of these strong statements is that they can all be stated in present tense: God's Word creates, gives life, and gives purpose and meaning (John 10).
IF WE ARE A PEOPLE SHAPED BY THE WORD, THEN WE MUST BE PEOPLE THAT TAKE SERIOUSLY (AND ARE SHAPED BY) THE POWER OF GOD'S VOICE IN HISTORY AND THE POWER OF GOD'S VOICE TO GIVE LIFE TODAY.
The Living Word is also a "word" that is important to Christians. John, in the first chapter of his Gospel says that The Word, was with God (and was God) in those first miraculous moments of creation and with flesh to "dwell among us". Of course, the Living Word was our Lord Jesus. But John says more in chapter one. He tells us that the Word was light in a dark world, offered freedom through belief, and opened up a chance for us to be adopted into the Family of God (v12).
Now that all sounds a little "in the clouds", so let's say it like this: The intentionality and love, power and grace that motivated and moved God to create and give life in the beginning was completely and perfectly embodied in one persons: Jesus Christ. So God's Living Word is Christ, offering life and light to this world.
IF WE ARE A PEOPLE SHAPED BY THE WORD, THEN WE MUST BE PEOPLE SHAPED BY THE VERY LIFE, DEATH, AND MINISTRY OF JESUS CHRIST. HE MUST DEFINE AND DIRECT WHO WE ARE!
Of course the Word also refers to the Written Word we know as scripture. I love Psalm 119 because I think it richly and poetically captures the effects of the Written Word on someone who reads, wrestles, and meditates on it. The Written Word 1) gives guidance in perilous times, 2) leads to fulfillment and meaning in life, and 3) ignites in us a passion for faithfulness.
The Written Word, unfortunately, seems most often wielded for fighting, as though it was written to win arguments. That misses the purpose. Along with the three points above, the Written Word is the story of God's creation and redemption. As believers, we are invited to dive in, ask hard questions, wrestle with challenging mandates, meditate and pray over poetry and portraits, and continually be shaped into agents for that redemption--God's kingdom.
By participating and being shaped by the Word (don't forget the other meanings of the Word) we become more Word-like--our lives become stories of grace and redemption, offering life, healing, and adoption into God's family to those around us.
IF WE ARE A PEOPLE SHAPED BY THE WORD, OUR LIVES WILL BEGIN TO LOOK LIKE GOD'S LIFE-GIVING WORD.
Always in grace,
We are a people of prayer! That's one of those statements that just sounds right as it rolls off your tongue (or through your mind, if you don't read aloud like me). Why is that? What is so right about that statement--that proclamation? Yet the ironic thing is that it's seldom stated and even less often lived.
The Apostle Paul talks about a moment that the direction of your life, the thought patterns of your mind, and even your eternal future change:
If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9)
If there was ever a proponent of the Gospel that deeply believed that it was an all-in, hand-to-the-plow-without-looking-back (Luke 9:62) adventure, it was the Apostle Paul. It's no wonder he says that we must confess with our mouth (for it to be verbal it must already be mental) and believe in our heart (to believe in your heart it must already be felt in your spirit). Being saved means being in complete and utter surrender to the Lord Jesus Christ.
I believe that "We are a people of prayer" is such a meaningful and rich statement because to genuinely be a person of prayer, one continually confesses with their mouth and believes in their heart. In other words, Paul's "ingredients" for salvation may be a one-time event, but to be a people of prayer WE MUST CONTINUE THE SPIRIT OF CONFESSION DAILY.
Imagine that! To DAILY engage God in the manner that we did when we first repented (completely turned our life toward God). That's what a prayerful life looks like. DAILY surrender. DAILY devotion. DAILY dialogue with our Creator.
That'll challenge you.
That'll change you.
That'll shape you to be more like Christ.
In our Core Values preaching series We are a People of Prayer this was one of the most important take-aways: Prayer begins with a hunger for God and a hunger for change (Psalm 63). I believe this is a major reason Jesus' prayer ends with a "conviction" to be changed rather than a "petition" for change: Not my will but yours. (Luke 22)
To be a people of prayer, we are far more than simply a people that say prayers often (though we do that!); instead, we are a people that daily hunger for God and hunger for God to change us. We pray because we know that prayer "feeds" that hunger and is a "vehicle" for that transformation. God answers those prayers, and many times those answers are in the form of changing us.
Let's not forget, though, that we're also a people of prayer because our prayers are a powerful tool for changing others and the world around us (James 5 and elsewhere). But even those prayers are only effective because of our righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21) that is accomplished by God. In other words, PRAYER WORKS BECAUSE GOD IS AT WORK.
We pray because it works! We change! Other's change! The world changes! And it's the natural response to a deep hunger for God and a life in complete surrender to the Kingdom…DAILY.
WE ARE A PEOPLE OF PRAYER
Praying for change,
- Acts (1)
- Acts 2 (1)
- Acts 4 (1)
- Acts 8 (1)
- Acts 9 (1)
- Easter (1)
- Eden (1)
- Fire (1)
- God's voice (1)
- Great Commission (1)
- John 8 (1)
- John 9 (1)
- Living Word (1)
- Missio Dei (1)
- Romans 10:9 (1)
- The Flood (1)
- Tower of Babel (1)
- Unity (1)
- Word (1)
- arrested (1)
- bow (1)
- change (1)
- church institution (1)
- compassion (1)
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- discipleship (1)
- great omission (1)
- gritty love (1)
- institutionalization (1)
- love (1)
- missionary people (1)
- prayer (1)
- proclamation (1)
- redemption (1)
- resurrection (1)
- resurrection people (1)
- revival (1)
- revival people (1)
- sentenced (1)
- spoken word (1)
- understanding (1)
- vision (1)
- written word (1)
- core values (2)
- material reality (2)
- missionaries (3)
- missions (3)
- core value (5)