Unlike following a sports team, being a Christian is not meant to be a spectator sport. As Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount, the call on the Christian journey is to put some “skin in the game.” Participation matters. Participation makes a difference. You don’t have to head up the children’s ministry or have the gift of teaching. Simply being present on any Sunday morning at your place of worship is a ministry. It may seem like a little thing but it matters. It's genuinely a way of being part of the Body of Christ (The Church as a whole) and serving other people. The ministry of presence is the ministry of being there - of simply gathering with other believers on any given Sunday. Do you ever consider this as you decide whether or not to go to church on any given Sunday?
The Church as a whole, and Rockhills church specifically, is similar to a “team.” We are in this together. We are on this Christian path together. There are many parts and many gifts, but one central focus for everyone who is following Christ. At Rockhills, our mission statement is: “Love God, love others. Helping people find and follow Jesus.” Everything we do and offer is seen through that filter. We are a team and that is our ultimate goal.
What about your Christian journey? Do you fall into the “just a fan” category, or are you a participant? Jesus didn’t call us to be “admirers” of Christianity. He called us to be followers. What does being a follower of Jesus look like in your life?
INVITATION: Please join us in Bible study this week as we seek what God has for us regarding following Him and serving Him and others and what that might look like in your personal life.
MONDAY: Hebrews 12:1-13. These verses are filled with action verbs. Notice the verb phrases used to describe Jesus’ actions on our behalf. He is ON OUR TEAM. He is FOR US. Jesus is your biggest FAN. He is my biggest fan. Reflect on what Jesus has done for the sake of “the joy set before him”:
endured the cross
scorned its shame
Now ponder the verb phrases that describe our response:
run with perseverance
fix our eyes
not grow weary and lose heart
How many of these action verbs capture the essence of your response to Jesus Christ? Are you an active participant in your responses to Christ, or are you on the sidelines as a “fan?” In what areas of your life would you like to deepen your faith? How might you bring that to Jesus in prayer today? Consider repeating your need and your desire to him in the course of the next few days and this week.
TUESDAY: Luke 22:26-27: When we are not engaged and not part of the “team” we run the risk of getting bored and moving on to other things. Usually such things are not helpful to us or our families or our ultimate goals and desires for our lives. Have you moved beyond attending church and being part of a “team” because you are becoming bored on the sidelines and feeling like you are not “entertained” enough? Pastor Eugene Peterson says: “Classically there are three ways in which humans try to find transcendence - - religious meaning - - apart from God as revealed in the cross of Jesus: through the ecstacy of alcohol and drugs, through the ecstasy of recreational sex, and through the ecstasy of crowds. Church leaders frequently warn against the drugs and sex, but at least in America, almost never against the crowds.” Are you looking for some type of ecstasy and entertainment in regard to your church involvement, or are you looking to find and follow Jesus and grow in His love? As Pastor Adam pointed out from Jesus’ teaching in the Sermon on the Mount: WHY are you at church? WHY are you following God? WHY are you reading the Bible? Could you be doing the “right” things but for all the wrong reasons? Are you ready for a HEART change rather than simply trying to adjust your behavior? We are called to BE the church, not just WATCH the church like it's a sporting event and be enthralled by the “crowd.”
WEDNESDAY: I Cor. 12:12-30: Paul proposes that unity in diversity is central to the life in Christian community. He sees in the community different gifts but the same Spirit; different services and deeds but the same God working through them; an array of people called to be baptized - Jews and Greeks, salves and free - who are part of the same body. How might the words of this passage influence the way you relate to people within your church and The Church at large? The way in which you pray? To bring the message of Paul closer to home, name someone you know who is suffering. Think of another person who has recently been honored or acknowledged in some way. Think of someone who exhibits each of the spiritual gifts listed in verses 28-30. Have you considered thanking them for using their gifts?
THURSDAY: Pastor Adam quoted, “Hyper-individualism makes committing to the local church revolutionary.” God calls us to be revolutionaries. The Sermon on the Mount is a great example of the call to be different and look different and be a revolutionary. Christianity is counter intuitive and counter cultural. Are you willing to be revolutionary in your life? In the life of your family? In your work environment? How might that look today and this week? Another quote to consider today is from George McDonald: “Never be discouraged because good things get on so slowly here; and never fail daily to do that good which lies next to your hand.” Could you be searching for God in the ecstasy of big job titles and volunteer roles, and the enticement of the “lights, camera, action” and crowds? Could the slow work of God and a “long obedience in the same direction” (Eugene Peterson) be what ends up being revolutionary in your heart and life?
FRIDAY: Acts 20:35: Christians are called to take our eyes off of ourselves. When that happens, everything changes. We think it's for the “others” in our lives, but then God changes things in us. Even the secular world teaches this principal. Mark Twain said: “The best way to cheer yourself up is to cheer someone else up.” How can you focus on others today and take your eyes off yourself? What would it look like and sound like today to pray about your personal cares and concerns, leave them at the foot of the cross and trust Jesus with them, and put your eyes on others for the remainder of the day?
SATURDAY: Luke 12:22-34: “Indeed the very heart of this work is nothing else but a naked intent toward God for God’s own sake. I call it a naked intent because it is utterly disinterested. In this work, the perfect artisan does not seek personal gain or exemption from suffering. One desires only God and God alone. One is so fascinated by the God one loves and so concerned that God’s will be done on earth that one neither notices nor cares about one’s own ease or anxiety. In reality it amounts to a yearning for God, a longing to see and taste God as much as is possible in this life.” (Anonymous, The Cloud of Unknowing). What if you were to begin praying for this type of desire and yearning for God and God alone in your life? Are you revolutionary enough to pray such prayers? What word or phrase from these scriptures stands out to you today? How can you take that into prayer for your day?
SOME WAYS TO GET OFF THE SIDELINES around Rockhills: If you feel called in any way to volunteer for one of our service teams, or just to say, “I want to help” in any way, please consider our new tool. Simply text the word TEAM to 210-988-6658. We would LOVE to have you be an active participant on one of our service teams. Some examples are: set up/tear down, children’s ministry, First Impressions (greeting), Vertical (Jr. High), Integrate (High school/college), production team, brew crew, care team, prayer team. Or……maybe YOU have an idea of a ministry to offer to our body of believers and/or the neighbors around us? We’d love to hear from you and consider how we might come alongside you to help you use your ideas, gifts and talents.