05-08-16 @North Heartland: Time to Shine!

Published Date: May 6, 2016
Author: Rick McGinniss

This Sunday we begin a summer-long journey together as a church … and I am fired up about it! Our goal over the next several months is to get very practical concerning what it means for followers of Jesus to “shine like bright lights in a crooked and perverse world.” (Philippians 2:15)

As I have said several times in recent weeks, individual Christians and churches like ours have an incredible opportunity in this current political season. People are become increasingly disappointed and disillusioned with “the system” because there are no lasting answers there. The answer – for those who will receive it – is in what God has done in Christ and in the little communities of believers all over the world who endeavor to follow in His way (we call those communities “church”).

Through those communities, God intends, as I said in last Sunday’s message (which you can check out here) to make “up there” come “down here” … which is the opposite of what most people think.

Most people think Jesus came primarily to die on the cross so that we could go to “up there” (to Heaven) when we die. While it’s true that Jesus’ death antones for sin and makes forgiveness possible, His primary message was that the Kingdom of Heaven is coming down here. “It’s at hand,” he said. “So, revise your plans for living (i.e. repent) and base your life on this remarkable opportunity. Believe the good news!” (Mark 1:15)

In fact, when the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray, he didn’t tell them to pray “God, please rescue us from this sorry world and take us up there.” Instead, He told them (and us) to pray, “Thy Kingdom come; thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.” In other words, “O God, if you can do anything at all, would You make up there come down here? Would you make how You live become how we live? Would you make how Heaven operates become how we operate?”

In his time on earth, Jesus was the embodiment of that vision and reality. More importantly for you and me, His goal was to create a new community (the Church) that would follow Him into a radically different way of life – an alternative to the brokenness of our culture – so that “up there” would begin to come “down here.”

The question is … what does it look like for individual Christians and churches to be conduits of “up there” to “down here”? What “light shining in the darkness” characteristics are present in those people and communities?

In last Sunday’s message, I listed five that we will be looking at in the coming months. The first of those is generosity. Of all the things that made the first Christians stand out, this was probably the most striking. Even today, it still has that same effect: truly generous people stick out from the crowd.

But there’s a big problem. Most of us know how to give. We’ve been inspired, cajoled, and guilted into it all of our lives. But no one has taught us how to be generous … and there’s a big difference between the two.

Want to know what it is? Find out beginning this Sunday!

Here’s the plan for the series.

SHINE … through Generosity

05-08 It’s Not What You Think
Why we misunderstand what generosity really is.

05-15 Choose Your Crazy
Almost everyone does weird stuff when it comes to money.

05-22 The Last Shall Be First
What generous people do that no one else does.

I don’t know about you but I am looking forward to an awesome summer together at NHCC. I truly believe that we will be changed by it, both as individuals and as a church, and that the light we shine together will get a little bit brighter than before.

Remember that if you can’t be at a service, you can still be engaged in what’s going on each week through our app and website!

Rick

Amy Laws