Take a risk and reach out to those in need of Jesus. Be a light for Jesus in a dark world, bring joy and hope to those who are in despair.

 

 

Capture the Heart of the Community

Acts 5:12-14

 

Last week I asked that we all contact at least 2 people to show them we care.

How many of you reached out and showed your cared?

You have a chance this week to reach out and encourage 2 different people.

 

 

This weekend is Labor Day. We celebrate on the first Monday in September. It was a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It is a tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

 

So today it is appropriate to pay tribute to the laborers who have made America great but more importantly to pay tribute to the Spiritual laborers who have made our congregation great.

 

We must continue the labor for the Lord so that others can come to know Jesus.

 

Matthew 9:35 Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. …37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”

 

Are you praying that God will sent out workers in His field? Are you praying He will send you out?

The field can be a foreign mission field – if we don’t go we can at least send money.

I am asking that we as a congregation raise $1,200 for Toby and Amy Hill so they can begin their new mission work in the Dominican Republic. (That is the cost of one of them to get their residence.)

 

We have a field right here – your home, your family, your neighbors, your co-workers, etc.

Consider yourself a missionary – what support do you need to get the job done?

 

Let me share a sad story with you.

With 16 watertight compartments below sea level, she was deemed unsinkable. But the Titanic was not unsinkable! Tragically, only 700 of the 2,223 passengers on the Titanic survived. But what is even more tragic is the fact that a whole lot more could have been saved. Perhaps the greatest tragedy of the Titanic disaster was not the fact that so many lives were lost, but that so few people were rescued who could have been. Of the 20 lifeboats lowered, only a couple were filled to capacity. Several were half-full. A few had but a handful of passengers in them. After the ship broke in half and sank, hundreds of people floated in the open water in life jackets near the 20 lifeboats. Only one of the 20 boats went back in search of other survivors. The rest of them (with plenty of room in their boats) remained at a distance comforting one another, grateful to be alive. And all the while, hundreds of others died within their range of sight. Not by drowning, but by hypothermia.

 

Does that sad scene remind you at all of Christians? We’ve been saved from eternal judgment. We sing the songs of the redeemed, grateful for salvation. But to a great degree, we are unmoved by the plight of those perishing around us. We have what they need. There is room in our boat, but we are preoccupied with our “survival celebrations.” You know what I mean: activities that bind us together as the saved, sanctified, satisfied, and sheltered safely from the world.

 

Our purpose is to reach out not just stay huddled together.

This is no time to row away from a sinking ship. We’d best turn around and row toward them, no matter what the risk.

 

What are your ideas of how you and Oak Forest can reach out to those drowning in sin? What are you willing to commit to? What are you willing to risk to save those who are drowning?

 

This past week we were encouraged to care for each other.

This week we are encouraged to make an impact in our community.

 

We must search out people to love. Not just in our congregation but in our community. We want people to ask us why would you love me. And we can answer because Jesus loves you and we love you.

 

Are we making an impact in our community now?

Does Brookville know about Oak Forest Church of Christ and what we stand for?

If we closed the doors would people even know or care?

What do we stand for? That Jesus is alive in us. And we want to serve others like He served. So others know of our intentions. Are we following through with our intentions?

When people drive by what do they think? Do they even know we are an assembly?

Do you think they are curious about what goes on here? Would they be interested in coming and finding out?

Research says that 60% of sinners will not visit any church.

7% may sample a church

33% might consider attending under the right circumstances

 

There is no need to get discouraged at these numbers. Remember Nineveh. It was a heathen city. Researches said 0% chance of coming to God. But when God sent Jonah the entire city repented.

God wants all to be saved. So we know God’s Will. It is our responsibility to reach out and find people to love.

It is our responsibility to make the circumstances right so the 33% will attend a church service.

It is our responsibility to have a God honoring church for when the 7% come and visit.

 

The first century Christians went and shared Jesus.

Acts 8:4 Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went. 5 Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Christ there.

 

These early Christians were making an impact on Jerusalem and the world.

 

Acts 5:12 The apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders among the people. … 14 …more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number.

 

They were finding favor with all the people and daily more people were accepting Jesus.

They were worshipping Jesus and meeting the needs of others. This attracted many to see what they were missing. It was Jesus.

 

If we don’t love one another no one will be interested in getting to know Jesus.

John 13:34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

 

When we love others we will be a shining light

Matthew 5:14 “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

 

We need to let our love and our light shine through our actions.

 

Remember the movie “Sister Act” There was a scene when the nuns wanted to go out into the community. They said, “We wanted to make a difference that is why we joined.” The nun in charge said it was too dangerous.

But they did end up going out, they meet the people, helped them, made the place look more inviting and people came to worship.

 

As a Christian don’t you want to make a difference?

Yes, it may be dangerous and scary to reach out to our community but we must.

How are you doing that individually? How can we do that as a congregation?

We have reached out in a lot of different ways over the last 12 years.

 

People are not just going to come without any encouragement. We must go out draw people in.

We must invite people; not drag them in against their will but let them see what they are missing because they do not have a relationship with Jesus and do not have a Christian family supporting them.

 

Have you ever watched a commercial and decided you could not live without that product. You had to try that new sandwich you had to have the latest phone or the new and improved _______.

What if you had never seen the commercial? You would not have known you could not live without.

 

$10 billion is spent on advertising food and beverages to kids.

The Government spends $945 million with $545 million spent by the Defense Department for recruits.

Geico spent $751 million in 2007 (only number I could find)

 

Commercials work – if they didn’t why would companies spend so much money.

 

We need to be a commercial for Jesus. Oak Forest needs to be a commercial for Jesus.

We need people to look at us and want what we have.

What do we say on Facebook – will that draw people to you – to Jesus?

Will they see what you are for or just what you are against?

 

The question is how are we going to get them to see our commercial?

Only 7% may walk in the building to see us.

That means we have to go where they are or invite them to where we are

 

As we go we did to think about sharing Jesus. We must look for the opportunities that are there.

Get out there and meet people – We have to be in the community to be able to reach people.

Get out and meet felt needs (serving where people hurt or need help)

What are the needs in Franklin County – how can we meet those needs

After we meet a felt need we will have an opportunity to meet the real need.

Letting people hear the Good News of Jesus’ love and forgiveness.

 

What could we do together as a congregation to make a real impact in Brookville?

What can we do to meet people, serve them and then share Jesus?

I want us to take a little time to pray individually.

Ask God to show you how you can make a difference for Him.

 

Pause for Prayer

 

What needs do you see in our community? If you had the time, money and ability what would you do to meet that need? (Handout in bulletin) Come talk to me about those ideas.

 

Crazy ideas

I read of people going to a cemetery so they could help comfort the grieving.

One congregation opened a laundromat so people would have a safe place to go.

 

No idea is too crazy – how will God use us to meet the needs of others?

 

 

Former CEO of 3M Corporation said, “Our company has, indeed, stumbled onto some of its new products. But never forget that you can only stumble if you’re moving.”

 

We have to try and reach people and meet their needs so we can share the Gospel. Not everything we try will work, but we may just stumble on to what will work in Brookville if we keep being faithful to God.

 

When you are looking into your future ministry, it’s important to know which questions to ask. You don’t need to ask, “Do I have what it takes to be successful?” The answer to that is a resounding “YES!”

The key question is, “Am I willing to pay the price to be faithful to God?”

 

Only one of the 20 lifeboats from the Titanic went back in search of other survivors. The rest of them (with plenty of room in their boats) remained at a distance comforting one another, grateful to be alive.

 

Get your lifeboat moving toward the people who are in need.

 

Will you surrender all so others can know Jesus?

 

Maybe you need to come to Jesus today – He loves you, He will forgive you

He asks that you believe in Him, repent of your sins and be immersed

Will you come as we sing?