Thursday, March 05, 2009

VISION 101 (part 4)

We also want to meet people where they are geographically. I am simply amazed at how God is growing our church. In the past 5 years we have seen over a 120% growth as a church and we are still experiencing growth today. We grew 22% this January and February over last January and February. It is amazing to see what God is doing. I honestly cannot go anywhere in our community without someone introducing themselves to me who now attends Grace.

What is even more amazing is the how regional our church is becoming. We have people who drive 30-45 minutes one way every week to attend Grace. Through the internet our sermons and blogs are being read and listened to by literally tens of thousands of people all over the country and all around the world. Through our missions programs and projects we are making a real difference in the lives of people in Ireland, Thailand, France, and Cambodia. And in the Central African Republic, hundreds of orphans are getting a hot meal each day and an education that is also teaching them the truth of who Jesus is because of the outreach of Grace Church (school for orphans in the CAR pictured above).

According to the most recent demographic studies there are approximately 250,000 people that live within a ten mile radius of our church. How can we let up until all of them have heard the Good News that Jesus saves? We must continue to make it our mission and our purpose as a church to penetrate our community. We must take the ministries of Grace Church outside of our building and off of our campus and out into our community, our region and our world.

Jesus Himself gave us this example in John 4 when He went way out of His cultural and geographical circle of comfort to meet the Samaritan woman at the well. One thing we can be sure of is that this sinful, lonely and hurting woman would have never left Samaritan territory to seek out Jesus. No way. Her only hope for finding eternal life was for Jesus to meet her where she was and that is exactly what He did. The Bible says in verse three of John chapter 4 that Jesus “had to go through Samaria.” Folks, listen, Jews didn’t do that. They hated Samaritans and they avoided stepping into Samaritan territory. They would rather walk all the way around Samaria than to defile themselves and enter its borders. I think it would be a pretty safe bet to assume that Jesus’ Jewish disciples moped and dragged their feet the whole way. I bet He took them into Samaria kicking and screaming. What a lesson He was teaching them and us.

Why did Jesus have to go through Samaria? He did so because God the Father had set up for Him a Divine Appointment with a woman who desperately needed to learn that Jesus was the Messiah. He gave us a Divine example, one that we should follow in our own lives. He met this lost women where she was geographically. Folks, listen, our community and our neighborhoods are filled with men, women, boys and girls who are just like that woman. They will never find their way on to our property, no matter how creative we get. Their only hope for eternal life is for us to become more committed to meeting them where they are…spiritually and geographically.

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