Thursday, August 20, 2015

What the World Needs Now

This Sunday, I return to the pulpit at Westbury Baptist Church for the first time in five weeks.  I am so very grateful for a church gracious enough to offer her ministers a sabbatic leave every seven years.  I have enjoyed this time of refreshment so much.  I've gotten off to a good start on my next writing project: a 365 day journey through the life of Jesus.  I've read some great books.  And I've visited some churches that are doing an amazing job of reaching people for Christ.  (If you'd like to read more about what I've been doing and experiencing, check out the last several blog posts).  In these last couple days before Sunday, I am trying to assimilate all I've learned and come up with a list of action steps I want to apply at WBC.  But I am also looking forward to worshiping with my church family again.  And I am excited about the new sermon series I'll be starting on this Sunday, What the World Needs Now.  And no, the answer isn't "love, sweet love."  Here's a preview: 

In a little more than a year, we will be voting on our next president.  I can’t remember an election with so many candidates; it’s going to be interesting to watch how this all shapes up.  (I have some thoughts on how Jesus would choose who to vote for: click here)  I think we should be thankful that we have the opportunity to choose our own leaders, and I urge each of you to take that responsibility seriously.  But I must say, none of these men or women can fix what is wrong with our country, much less the problems facing our world.  If you are putting your hopes on a politician to make things better, you will be disappointed.  What the world needs now is not a Democrat, a Republican, a Libertarian or any other human leader.  It needs a true Church. No, the Church can’t fix everything that’s wrong with our world, either.  But the Church represents the group of people through whom God does His primary redemptive work on Earth.  I’m not saying we need to convert our nation into a theocracy; the Church has never done well when endowed with political power.  I am saying that politicians can only do so much; what people truly need is reconciliation with the God who loves them.  And that happens through the work of His people on Earth, the Church.  So what the world needs now, more than anything else, is for the true Church of Jesus Christ to show up and do its thing.  All this year, we’ve been talking about what it means to follow Christ in the real world. We’ve talked about spiritual disciplines, finding your role in God’s work, and relationships.  But following Jesus isn’t something you do on your own.  It is supposed to be done as part of a community, His Church.  Over the next several weeks, we’re going to look at what can happen in a society when a true Church does its thing. And what is a true Church?  Not a particular denomination or worship style; a true Church is one where God is totally and completely in charge. In the book of Acts, we see the story of a congregation where God was totally, completely in charge.  This small, under-resourced group of people literally changed the world forever.  Sunday, we'll start the series with a look at Acts 1 and 2, and discover what transformed them from fearful, confused, and insignificant to an unstoppable force for good...and what it would take to see the same transformation in us.  

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