Revision 2017: Knowing Jesus and Making Him Known

[Revision 2017 is forty plus days of prayer for spiritual renewal in us as individuals and as a church that we might be used to bring renewal to our neighborhoods. We will conclude with our Good Friday celebration just before Easter.]

Week Three: Deepening Vision. 

"Grace Church exists to glorify God by knowing Jesus and making him known through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit." This is our mission, the reason we believe we exist and the thing we always want to center our ministry and experience on together. Two years ago when we established this new mission statement we truly desired, and still do, for it to be our guide, reminder, and fuel. 

But this is also a pretty common mission for churches or ministries so how can we ensure that we actually follow it and keep it at the heart of our ministry? Only by the Spirit. That is why deepening our vision, to live this mission, is our focus in this third week of Revision 2017. We believe renewal and revival come through knowing Jesus and since he is all we have to offer as a church, we want to know him more. 

A Scripture we have been going back to in this season is a prayer in Ephesians 3. "For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, [15] from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, [16] that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, [17] so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, [18] may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, [19] and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God." (ESV) Ephesians 3:14-19.

Zeroing in on verse 19, this is our prayer this week. That as a church we would know the love of Christ and be filled with all the fullness of God. That we would be filled to overflowing so that others would know Jesus too. 

This is us making disciples and living out the gifts the Spirit gives us for the good of the church and the mission of the body. 

We can study more, see Jesus in theological books and in group conversations. We can read more, certainly being refreshed in the word of God. But we need ultimately a move of the Spirit to fill us with the fullness of God, with intimate knowledge of Jesus. Let's pray for that this week. 

Lord, move among us by your Spirit that you would increase our knowledge and personal experience with you Jesus. That we would tangibly experience your love and grace toward us with face-t0-face intimacy. Then move us outward to share you with others. Give us opportunities to make you known, empower us to glorify your name alone. That we and others would be forever changed by you and live with the hope of eternity with you. Amen. 

A Different Kind of Love

Pastor Jonathan's Monday Reflection:

Love is so central to the church's existence, it is the thing Jesus says will define us, and yet it can be so far from us; seemingly unobtainable because of our sin and pride. It is striking that we let our sin get in the way of love in the place we come to be given the hope of grace to rid us of sin. 

But if this is so essential, and we are so bad at it (because we are human) then why even try? Why include this as something vital to the expression of gifts and the ministry of the church? Can't we just come up with a new model that leaves the love out and allows us to insert preference and performance instead? Of course if we did that we would be suggesting we don't need Jesus and that wouldn't be cool. 

So what do we do now? Well we know we are meant for this love (agape is the Greek word Paul uses, and this means as you would expect: love, kindness, devotedness). We also know that gifts of the Spirit are pointless without it. We know as well that this love is a gift just the same as other gifts. If this is all true then we pursue it just like the gifts - we ask the Spirit to give it to us so we can share it with each other. 

Honestly as I think back over my Christian experience I realize that I have spent far more time praying for miraculous gifts than I have for the miracle of love. I want that to change, and I hope you do as well. 

My prayer this week is to this end, that would would experience this love in our body. That as a church we would be recognized for our love and the ministry we are called to in love. May the Spirit pour the love of God into our hearts that we can have an abundance of this love, the life-blood of the church. Pray with me, will you?