Christ Community is honing in on 12 years of ministry here in Shelbyville! Between that and an awesome week of ministry in the life of our church, it had me pondering some things.. Here’s 5 that are at the "top of my mind" that I wanted to share with our church family.
We’re being trusted to meet big needs in our community and we need to keep answering the call! It’s long been a hope that our willingness to serve in whatever capacity was needed would lead to opportunities to serve on the front lines with people in our community who were far from Jesus. This week we worked on 4 different homes, delivered beds to 3 more, had countless personal conversations with people hurting in our community and likely more that I don’t know about. I’m grateful that God is giving us these opportunities! Christ Community, we need to keep answering the call. We have to keep being willing to do the hard things, the uncomfortable things, the things that wreck our schedule, and the things that others might not want to do. How can you keep making it a priority to Love Shelbyville like that?
There’s some tangible spiritual warfare going on as we try to respond to how the Lord is leading. Opportunities for gospel-centered ministry and conversations almost always incites spiritual warfare. Don’t hear me say that every hardship in your life is warfare, but know that as we share Jesus with both word and deed, the enemy wants to shut you up, slow you down, and make you second guess. I’m hearing it from several of you who are serving with, praying with, and sharing with others. Our enemy prowls around like a roaring lion. No better “lion spray” than time in the word and brothers and sisters who’ve got your back!
The Ripkens are a blessing! My goodness! Over the last couple weeks our church has been politely gut-punched and then given a hand as we go back out on mission together. What an encouraging and challenging story the Ripken’s have shared with us. If you missed it, you can check out the sermon from Sept. 18, stay tuned to the podcast for the Q&A session on Sept. 25, or head over to their website nikripken.com. As Ruth prayed, “Help us Lord, to know what to do as we wrestle with all you’ve put in front of us!” May God continue to prick hearts for the nations, inspire us to share Jesus, and remove barriers to obedience.
I didn’t think I could be this excited about Deacons! For the last couple years, the Pastor/Elders have been praying about, wrestling with, and excited about adding this layer of leadership to help Christ Community join Jesus in going out to make disciples. We’ve written a couple articles (The First Deacons & Who Should be a Deacon?), and now there’s a podcast episode out answering the question, “Why Now?” Doing this episode with Daniel Bright ahead of this Sunday’s sermon to kick off our series “No Perfect People” got me pumped to think about how Deacons at Christ Community might help us to go out to our community in ways we haven’t even dreamed about yet. This isn’t about handing out titles, this is about holding out hope to people in our community who need it! Let’s GO!
The people in our community need you to slow down and listen. I have personally been deeply burdened over the last month or so about my lack of sharing the gospel with people outside the church. The Ripkens encouraged me to think about the need to slow down and listen. They talked about how evangelism was ⅔ listening and ⅓ sharing. They also mentioned that the reason we often don’t evangelize is because it takes time that we are often unwilling to give. People in our community need us to hear their stories! They need us to connect our stories with theirs. And ultimately, they need to see how Jesus is changing their story, one day at a time.