RENEWED Conference

I want to challenge you once again to be a part of Renewed Sunday, this Sunday, March 31st. We will be joined again by Bill Elliff, the pastor of Summit Church in Little Rock, Arkansas. Last year, our Renewed Conference was a powerful catalyst for us to examine our own spiritual vitality and life of prayer. As an example, since last year we have reinvigorated a wonderful time of prayer each Sunday morning at 9:00 a.m. in the worship center. Let me take this opportunity to encourage you again to attend this weekly time of prayer. This year Bill will be leading our morning service at 10:50 a.m., and a special evening service at 5:00 p.m. Please make every effort to attend and to invite your friends.

Also, please join me in prayer these next few days leading into Renewed Sunday. Pray in general for our ongoing need of brokenness for the lost in our communities. Pray for openness to repentance, restoration, and accountability in our relationships. Pray that we might have courage to carry out God’s vision for the future of Metropolitan. Pray that we might have love for, and a vision for the city of Wichita and our individual neighborhoods. Pray that we might have compassion on those in our communities dealing with tremendous struggles. Pray for a greater thirst for prayer. Pray for the presence of Jesus in our church.

People are not pawns…

It is not revolutionary to state that addiction is difficult.  As I reflect upon this last week’s sermon, that becomes self-evident and further reinforced.  Whether it is substance abuse, pornography, technology, gambling, food or a myriad of other issues, addiction can seem helpless.

What is our response as a church?  How can we feel like we can have any effect?  Is it fair to ask if we are wasting our time?  Am I wasting my time to take on a discipleship relationship with a person consumed with an addiction?  Are we as a church wasting our time working with addicts?  The answer is a resounding “No!”  The answer is “no” because people are people.  People are not pawns.  People are not pawns in our game to grow a church.   

If we see people as pawns to grow our church, or as pawns to help us personally advance in life, then we will see their struggles as a waste of our time—not to mention that we are blindly forgetting our own struggles.  Just imagine if Jesus had that mindset.  What if He would have seen the struggles of ordinary people as a roadblock to building His kingdom?  If humanity had drawn up the plan for Jesus, He would have spent His time exclusively with the ruling elite.  If humanity had drawn up the plan, Jesus would have never spent time with the leper, the woman with the issue of blood, the man born blind, nor His inner twelve for that matter. 

However, all people are created in the image of God and therefore have infinite worth and value.  The King knows this truth, but often we, His servants, can easily forget.

Let us be people who do not automatically calculate the time that people will consume, but let us see them as our fellow image-bearers.  People are not pawns.  We are all image-bearers with scars of a fallen world.

A Review of “Seven Traits of Healthy Churches”

Last month I shared thoughts on the first part of the article “Seven Traits of Healthy Churches Today” by Thom Rainer. Below is a review of healthy church traits one through three:

  1. They truly believe in the power of the gospel.
  2. They have courageous leaders.
  3. They embrace change.

This month we will finish the list, and review traits four through seven. Rainer captures the straight-forward essence of what a healthy church looks like, and how its people interact with the world.

4. “They are not nostalgic.”
There is nothing wrong with fondly remembering the past. In fact, I consider myself to be pretty nostalgic. However, we can never allow memories of the past to keep us from being effective in the future. The mission of making and maturing disciples never changes. However, the methodology has always, and will always, continue to change.

5. “They see reality.”
This trait deals with a church being honest with itself. This kind of church is not afraid to look at its own warts. In fact, this type of church looks to seek fresh eyes in order to get a fresh perspective on what it can improve.

6. “They intentionally intersect their lives with non-Christians.”
Would you like to give fresh perspective and purpose to that drab job and the difficulties you face? Well, how about having God’s perspective about your job. He sees it as a mission field that is ripe for the harvest of the lost coming to faith in Jesus. What about the people you know from your kids’ activities? Mission field. What about your neighbors? Mission field. The waitress that you see often at the restaurant you frequent? Mission field.

7. “They accept responsibility.”
Healthy churches recognize that cultural changes may not always be for the best, but they always provide opportunities for the gospel to change lives. Healthy churches do not see other churches as competition but as partners in the enormity of the task of reaping in the field of missions.

For further reading, check out Thom Rainer’s full article at https://thomrainer.com/2018/08/seven-traits-healthy-churches-today/

Richest Blessings,

Pastor Mason