Sermon:  Perspective

Summary:  God has designated us the church to be the agent of his mission, which means 
it is our responsibility to stay healthy by following God's instructions for a healthy body 
which includes discipline as well as a focus, plan, and process for execution of God's 

Know:  The church and its leaders have the responsibility to stay healthy in order to be 
agents of God's rescue mission to a dying world

Feel:  Motivation to deal with internal conflicts and to move past them to mission and regain 
a positive sense of joy rooted in God's activity through us.

Do:  Reflect on what it means to possess the joy of God's salvation and how this is connected 
to church health, personal health, and mission

Text:  Psalm 51:12-13

Scripture Reading:  Ps 51:12-13

1.  Was a good trip, tired but in a good way
2.  A good time of reflection while driving, and while there
	a.  My spiritual wellness
		- Reconnect with God and his purpose for me
	b.  My personal mission and purpose in ministry
		- Not employee of a congregation, but an agent of God's mission
		- A servant of the kingdom - larger than any one congregation
		- To be God's man, not man's man - I answer to him
		- To be humble
	c.  The mission and purpose of the church
		- Not about just our congregation
		- It is about making disciples of lost people, it is about the Gospel
		- Planting sister churches needs to be part of the plan
3.  Share some of what I saw and some reflections while on my recent trip

I.  Saw evidence of Failure
	A.  Many empty or converted church buildings from Vermont to Connecticut
		1.  Some are now pharmacies, studios, or residences
		2.  They are no longer a base of operations for a congregation
	B.  Why?  Could be a number of reasons
		1.  Outgrew it - Not the case with most of them
		2.  Maybe lost sight of their purpose
		4.  (Rev 2:1-5) - What needs to happen when you become stale
			a.  Return to your first love
			b.  "Do the deed you did at the first"
				- Remember what it was like in the beginning?
				- Newly planted church, excitement
				- Is about bring the Gospel to the lost
				- Like Ephesian church, some lose sight of this
			c.  Repent - Change, 
			d.  Consequence:  I will remove your lampstand
		4.  It appears that God took away their lampstand
			a.  Just like the church in Ephesus, had some good things
			b.  Faithfulness to God's mission not primary, lose lampstand  
	C.  Saw many old graveyards - How many were lost when buried?
		1.  Jesus came to rescue people from sin and death
		2.  Jesus came that all may have life
		3.  How -- Through the church!
			a.  We are the light of the world, not the light of the church
			b.  If light doesn't shine, God takes away lampstand and 
			     gives it to someone else  
	D.  Do you want to fulfill your God given purpose and be faithful?
		1.  If so, raise your hand
		2.  Now I want to move on to another perspective

II.  Saw evidence of Life
	A.  A full and vibrant place of joy and love at the church in Waterbury
		1.  As of Monday evening, 13 had obeyed the Gospel
			a.  Rachael who obeyed then went out with a team
			b.  Priscilla who at first did not appear interested
			c.  Freddy with arms raised up in joy
		2.  As of Friday, 14 more obeyed, brings it to 27 thus far
	B.  Why?   What I learned from members and elders…
		1.  There were challenges
			a.  Worried about finances - prayer and faith
			b.  Some internal problems - Dealt firmly and biblically
		2.  They dealt with challenges
		3.  More importantly, they had a sense of calling from God
		4.  Men of prayer and firm commitment to God's mission
	C.  Result - A healthy, growing body
		1.  Got the attention of the community
			a.  Two stories in the local newspaper
			b.  Banquet with the mayor and a representative
			c.  People kept saying, "Yes I read about you in the paper"
		2.  Focused on other outreach ministries as well
			a.  World English Institute - Helping people who do not 
			     speak English as a first language
			b.  Help for unwed mothers - Gifts baskets
			c.  Soup Kitchen
		3.  And now they do We Care
	D.  There was nothing but joy (Cadre and congregation)

III.  Reflection on the home front
	A.  Several good things have happened in the last few years
		-A lot of spontaneous ministry has been happening
    	B.  Need to deal with challenges that prevent us from being effective
	 	1.  When I see death, brokenness, lostness all around us…
			a.  I don't want to make excuses when I stand before God
			b.  I don't want to say - We couldn't because we were sick
			c.  God might say - "Then why didn't you do the surgery like I 
		2.I want to hear - "Well done, good and faithful servant"
	C.  I do not want to let challenges, fears, etc. consume all of our emotional & physical 
		1.  The only way cancer can sap a body is if it is untreated
		2.  If we treat it, the body will be healthy, strong, and can grow
			a.  We can rediscover joy, vitality, and life 
			b.  We will be faithful to God's will
		3.  Any problem need not bea "major" problem
			a.  If we do surgery, God says we will heal
			b.  If we do what God instructs, we can be healthy
			c.  If we are faithful, we will fulfill God's desire
			d.  If we do as God instructs, he will say, "Well done"
	D.  Hear this:  In the long run GOOD WILL COME from being faithful to 
	     God's prescription.

1.  What is at stake?
	a.  People will die outside of Christ, we can lose out lampstand
	b.  People will not have the opportunity to hear the Gospel through us
	c.  We will lose our joy and vitality (at Waterbury, I saw joy and vitality)
	d.  Psalm 51
2.  We don't have to be like Israel when they were at the borders
	a.  They looked at the enemy - "We are like grasshoppers!"
	b.  God was angry, Moses had to repeatedly intercede
	c.  I have asked God not to remove our lampstand, but to move us
	d.  We are not grasshoppers with God
		- Not given spirit of timidity, but power, love, and discipline
		- Don't get caught up in impossibility thinking
3. Trust God in doing what he instructs us to do - ONLY GOOD COMES FROM DOING 
4.  If we trust God and step out in faith, God will accomplish his work through us

Small Group Questions:  Perspective

God has designated us the church to be the agent of his mission, which means it is our 
responsibility to stay healthy by following God's instructions for a healthy body which includes 
discipline as well as a focus, plan, and process for execution of God's mission.

- What is the most memorable disciplinary experience you have ever had?


Ps 51:12-13; Phil 1:12-18

1.  Explain how Paul could be joyful even though he is in prison for his faith?

2.  How is faithfulness and joy tied together?  How are these related to God's mission?

3.  What place does discipline have in our faith?  (Heb 12:5-11)

4.  Discipline, whether personal or church discipline can be such an unpleasant thing to think 
about, but what place does it have in the church fulfilling her mission?


5.  What has been the most discouraging thing for you in your faith?  What should be your 
perspective on in from God's point of view?

6.  What has been the most encouraging thing for you in your faith?  Why has this been 

7.  In what way can you encourage your brethren in this group and in the church to have the right 
perspective about what it is we as a church should be doing?

8.  What things is God calling us to do now?  What fears and apprehensions to we need to face
in order to be faithful to what God is calling us to do?

Prayer - Spend some significant time in prayer, reaffirming our allegiance and commitment to 
God, the health of the body, and his mission.  (Suggestion:  Split up into a male and female group 
and do chain prayers.)