Preached on Sunday, September 18, 2016 at First Baptist Church, Jefferson City, Missouri. Click here to listen to the audio.
We are launching a new sermon series today titled “Because of Christ, everything has changed.” This series is the second in a series of sermons related to our Setting Sail visioning process. Over the past two years we have prayed and dreamed together about what God is calling us to be and do and now we are launching out in faith and in the power of the Holy Spirit, setting sail in obedience and anticipation of God’s dreams for us.
Today we begin our focus on Life-Changing Faith. Our preferred future is that First Baptist Church leads every person to follow the Way of Christ, discover their giftedness, and experience continual life transformation. All generations are rooted in a Biblical, hope-filled faith and experience the joy and significance of service.
In short, we follow Christ.
And because of Christ, everything has changed. Well, most of it has changed. I mean, a good percentage has changed. Okay, well maybe not a lot has changed but way more than Susie or Ted. I mean, talk about zero change.
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In 2006 there was a disturbing story out of England about a 38-year-old British woman discovered dead in her apartment. What was shocking was not that she died nor how she died. What was shocking was how long she had been dead. It was determined that Joyce Vincent had actually died over two years earlier yet no one knew. She was estranged and self-isolated from friends and family. She had resigned from her job and moved into a different flat. Her rent and her utilities were all set for auto debit payments and due to this, and some debt forgiveness plans, it took two years for bill collectors to demand possession of the flat. And that was how Vincent’s death was discovered.
Four years ago some crazy Baptists at my church sat in a room together asking the question – would anyone notice if we left Jefferson City? Would it matter to anyone if we closed up shop and disbanded the church? Would it take two years for anyone to notice the building was empty? Would they rejoice that there was now prime real estate available downtown to build a parking garage?
The focus of the question wasn’t about us and the need to be known, the need to have a big fuss made about us in the unfortunate event of our demise.
The focus of the question was our relationship with the community that God has placed us in to serve and to love.
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