PAUSE: Engaged and Engaging Others with Christ Means Life.

Engaged and Engaging Others with Christ Means Life.
John 1: 34-41

We all have baggage.  You’ve probably heard that more than once.  Baggage in life is usually considered a negative; however, consider this – your baggage is what you come into relationships with – so, it can also be positive!  

Baggage is a fact of life and it’s part of who we are.  As Christians, I want to consider a few incredibly important things that are packed in your bags right now that we often forget.

4 Things Packed in Your Bags as a Christian Today:

  1. Understanding that you are a creation of God.  Genesis 2-3 makes it clear that you are not a chance arrival on this planet but a creation of God.  As a creation of God you and all people are worthy of dignity and value.
  2. You are a miracle of God.  The Apostle Paul tried to get it through the heads of the early church that they were once spiritually dead in their sins and through Christ they have been made alive.  Because of salvation Christians are no longer mere humans – we are redeemed by grace through faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross.  By the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit we are able to live lives for God in Christ.
  3. Because of Jesus you are free.  You are free from the power and penalty of sin.  You are able to make choices with your life that glorify God and lead you away from sin and into life.  You do not have to fear death.  You are free from the shame and humiliation of sin – it is no longer the master in your life – you have within you the Holy Spirit of God and thus the power to say no to sin.
  4. You have one another in the church to remind you of items 1 thru 4 (and more)!  The church family is a blessing to which you are essential.  You have a family in which you are wanted, appreciated and belong (you have a people – you’ll never be alone).  The church family encourages, challenges, helps and even corrects us.  Together, we search through and live under the authority of Scripture with Jesus as the Head of the Church.

At Lakeside we believe strongly in this baggage!  This baggage makes life beautiful and gives meaning to the highs and lows of life.  By no means are we perfect; however, in light of these points we strive to be Christians who reflect the glory of God into one another and the world.

Sadly, nothing will be reflected or happen with the baggage points listed above unless we (in the family of God) do something.  Great theology and good intentions never saved anyone. 

We must be engaged with what we say we believe!  To be engaged is to be captivated, held and arrested by what we believe to the point that it transforms our lives.  Christians are not in polite agreement with Scripture – they believe it and it governs their lives.  The amazing and miraculous ability to live out the faith we have is via the power of the Holy Spirit of God! 

In John chapter one we see Andrew is gripped by the teaching of John the Baptist (Jesus is the Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world).  Andrew meets Jesus and along with another disciple follows Jesus.  It’s not long before Andrew (who is fully engaged with Jesus) engages his brother Simon and brings him to Jesus.  Simon’s name is changed by Jesus to Peter and his life will never be the same again – he now has become engaged and given new life.  Soon Jesus finds Philip and engaged with Jesus – Philip finds Nathaniel.  In the face of Nathaniel’s skepticism, Philip tells him to come and see for himself who Jesus is.  The conclusion is that Nathaniel declares Jesus as “the Son of God; You are the King of Israel.”  The lives of these men were transformed and they become catalysts for the establishment of the church.

Engaged and engaging others in Christ means life. 

We all lead busy lives.  We all have responsibilities to attend to.  With the closing of the school year there are projects due, graduations and vacations to plan.  The routine busyness of the school year is about to give way to the activity of summer!  How do we find time to engage others with Christ?  Are you challenging us to world missions; hardly anyone has time and resources for that?! 

What is we simply took stock of our own lives and considered how engaged are we with Jesus.  Think about the PAUSE series.  Am I talking to God, acting on His Word, using my gifts and serving others right in front of me? 

We’ve learned in this series that an important Christian life skill is choosing the best from among all the good that swells our lives to overflowing (and busy). 

Where does one begin to engage others when it’s all one can do to make it to church on Sunday or Youth Group on Wednesday?  Isn’t it enough to just get myself in church?  How do I reach out and to whom should I be reaching out?  I’m so busy and my schedule is too packed to begin to think about world missions, homeless shelters and bringing strangers to Christ (whatever that means)!

Start here: engage the people closest to you with what you are already doing.  Don’t make more time or activity – invite the people already in your life into what you already do.

You go to church, women’s retreat, men’s breakfast, bible study, Sunday Night Dinners – bring people you are close to into those things with you.  Leave results to God – you simply bring them with you.  We all eat – who are you inviting around your table? 

Don’t create more – simply invite and bring people into what you’re already doing.  Let your family and friends see Christians in their natural habitats – home, church and in the community having fun and serving others.  Leave the business of answering their questions and concerns to Jesus. 

Have fun this week and bring someone to church with you, youth group, bible study and see what happens.  At Lakeside we believe in meeting people where they are and making room at the table for everyone – it’s what hospitality is all about.  So, be creative and daring – bring your friends and family with you to Lakeside events (Trivia Night at The Wilde Rover; Women’s Retreats, Men’s Breakfast, Lakeside|KIDS and youth events). 

Have fun.  Do it.  See what happens and watch God do amazing things!