Not sure if you're a big hockey fan or not, but I began watching hockey several years ago when our family lived near Columbus, Ohio. We started watching and quickly became Columbus Blue Jacket fans. I've learned a lot about hockey over the past 10 years and the one thing that I know is that every player on the ice is in pursuit of one thing... the puck!
Every player is focused on the puck. Every fan is trying to keep up with the puck. The officials are following the puck as they watch the players fly around the ice chasing after the puck. The goalies are always watching the puck. So what does this have to do with you and me!
Every day we should be focused on a few things as Christians. We all should be in "pursuit" of a few things. I want to help us understand what those are. We need to keep our eyes focused on these 5 things.
1 ) Pursue God
Love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength. The Bible tells us that's why we should PURSUE GOD. We pursue God by seeking to be like Jesus in everything we do. Everything we do as a church—from Preaching and Music to Discipleship and Events—begins and ends with this inspiring story of God’s sacrificial love and transforming power. Through this story of God's redemption and restoration - we have the opportunity to boldly and confidently pursue God. By believing in Jesus and living as Jesus-Centered disciples, we experience Him, share Him and begin to love our neighbors as ourselves. Our lives become chapters in His story. (Galatians 4:19, 1 Corinthians 13, Matthew 28:18-20).
3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. 5 If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.
A.W. Tozer said:
“The Bible is not an end in itself, but a means to bring men to an intimate and satisfying knowledge of God,” “From all this we learn that faith is not a once-done act, but a continuous gaze of the heart at the Triune God.”
We are to PURSUE GOD daily with all of our lives. Living in such a way to "keep in step" with the Holy Spirit as we each day become more like Jesus - loving our neighbor as ourselves.
2) Pursue Life Together
Love Other People as yourself. The second command that Jesus gives us is to love our neighbor. That’s why we PURSUE LIFE TOGETHER by intentionally building relationships with all people; both inside the church and in our community. We all need relationships that are honest, encouraging, and challenging. As we experience relationships where people invest in us and in our growth, we become the kind of people who invest in others and care for our city.
As George Ross said - "you can't mess this up!" His point being that if your heart is right for people and helping them come back to God - then you can't mess up sharing your faith. All we need to do is pursue life with other people and it's not always going to be pretty. Matter of fact it's going to be messy at times. It's important to remember as we PURSUE LIFE TOGETHER to "love everyone always".
In our experiences at church we each discover different avenues to influence... Through Sunday Experiences, Sunday School, Life Groups, and Discipleship or simply sharing and doing life together we experience Jesus in community.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer said "The Christian, however, must bear the burden of a brother. He must suffer and endure the brother. It is only when he is a burden that another person is really a brother and not merely an object to be manipulated."
As we live our lives, work at our jobs, and interact with the people God has placed in our circles of influence, we seek for ways to demonstrate God's love as consistently as we can. Through individual relationships and strategic partnerships, we are constantly discovering new ways to serve and “love on” our community and the world.
5 Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity.
3) Pursue Restoration
Help people find their way back to God. That’s why we PURSUE RESTORATION by serving the needs of others, giving grace to the lost and sharing the good news in real ways.
Jesus is on a mission to renew people and he has given us the task of doing the same - helping people find their way back to God. We join Him on mission through what we do (we love and serve others) and in what we say (we share the gospel and testify to how it has changed us).
By following Jesus, He renews us with a sense of purpose. We experience Jesus’ hope speaking to our deepest needs, and we look for opportunities to share this hope with others. The gospel renews us with a sense of purpose and a mission to become a blessing to others. (Acts 5:42, James 5:13-16, Romans 12:8-14).
4) Pursue Authentic Worship
Commit to becoming more like Jesus daily. That’s why we PURSUE AUTHENTIC WORSHIP by being committed to worship, personal holiness, prayer and gathering together to help show people hope that is only found in following Jesus.
We were created to live and grow in community that worships together. Our desire is to cultivate relationships which consistently drive people toward spiritual maturity. As people find hope and healing in Jesus, people and our communities are restored.
As people love and honor their neighbors at work, home, and in neighborhoods; people and our communities are restored. As people live out authentic worship in their daily lives, people are restored. (Acts 2:42-47, Acts 20:7, Hebrews 10:24-25).
5) Pursue Generous Leadership
Lead others by living out a generous lifestyle because of God’s faithfulness and goodness. That’s why we PURSUE GENEROUS LEADERSHIP by using our gifts, talents and resources to expand God’s kingdom for His glory. Augustine said: "God is always trying to give good things to us, but our hands are too full to receive them."
Generous leaders experience and display Jesus, and intentionally pour into others. It's just about what we have been given by God, but it's how we use and apply what we have been given.
Developing generous leaders who Pursue God, Pursue Life Together, Pursue Restoration and Pursue Authentic Worship, is crucial to our vision of making disciples, who experience Jesus in every part of their lives, and share Jesus in every part of their city. (Acts 4:32-37, 2 Corinthians 9:6-15, Deuteronomy 28:12-14, Matthew 28:18-20).
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