Christian Fellowship Church's Sermons

Increasing Our Influence
Increasing Our Love
March 17, 2019 - Michael Acock
1 Thessalonians 3:12; 1 John 4:16-19
This morning we are continuing our launching of Increasing Our Influence that Phil spoke on last week. #CFDreams We were prophesied to be a church marked by the communing presence of God-Father, Son and Holy Spirit and marked by love in action empowered by his grace and the filling and leading of the Holy Spirit. We were prophesied to be an Antioch church. I dream of a place where those who have a strong home will, instead of paying to send their own kids to our Christian Fellowship School, pay for kids who come from broken homes to come to CFS. We will send out a tithe of our people into ministry and mission outside the walls of this church. A story of Launching Pads. I have learned a new word. Coddiwomple: “to travel in a purposeful manner toward a vague destination” Dreaming is a bit vague and it's hard to describe the end of a dream. Like most journeys there will be days it is very clear, and other days it will seem distant and obstructed from our sight. But the quality of our journey is up to us. Are we living purposely? I want to speak to us this morning about a purposeful way - increasing our love. I Thessalonians 3:12 - "And may the Lord increase your love..." Love creates a place of transformation and life. It creates healing that is physical and emotional. Life sharers - we know the life of God and we share it with each other and with anyone that will receive it. Love is a culture of honor - the humane over inhumane. Jesus was the God-man, the incarnation of Christ who is, who was, who will ever be shown us real humanity It is our fear brokenness, pain, woundedness from sin that fuels our behavior which is largely inhumane. We are inhumane to ourselves, to our families, to those around us and to our worlds unless LOVE breaks in. Love makes us human again. It returns us to who we were created to become. Our hearts are restless until we find our rest in Him (who is love). Saint Augustine states, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.” I want to challenge us as we Increase Our Influence for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus Christ; let's do it purposefully receiving the love of God, increasing the love between each other, overwhelming in love to the world all around us. Last April, Phil shared during on 40 Anniversary month several prophetic words over our church from the past. One has stuck with me from a woman sharing in the early days during worship. She said she had to a very short simple thing being spoken in her spirit: Seek first the Kingdom of God, Seek first the Kingdom of God, seek first the Kingdom of God Make love your aim, make love your aim, make love your aim "Not all of us can do great things, but we can do small things with great love." - Mother Teresa Love and Fear: In many ways, for me, love cannot be talked about if we do not also address fear. Not facing your fears would be like telling you to begin taking a bike ride with two flat tires. Fear and Love are not compatible. I John 4:16-19 - God is love; love never brings fear. We experience God's love for us - which was long before we loved HIM (John 4:10). We live fearlessly toward the day of judgment. As Jesus is now - crowned king of kings, lord of lords - risen son of God who has overcome death and the grave - So we are in this world. Love - it moves us to connection with others it believes, corrects, develops, and releases. Fear - it moves us to disconnection with others as it judges, controls, demands, and restricts. Love trusts and operates in the truth that I can only be responsible for me. Self-control to choose to love the other. This is a powerful life of choice. Fear mistrusts and operates in the lie that I can control other people's lives and punish them for not meeting my expectation. This is a powerless life of being the victim. Love responds. Love does not react. A response is about being responsible for your action. Responsibility is literally the "ability to respond." Love sees and moves and hopes. Love see people, creation, systems and the need of love inside each one of those. Love moves toward the need and levels the ground. Love gets in the ditch with the other. Love elevates up the other. Romans 14: 13, 15, 19, 21; Romans 15:1-7 - our goal is to empower others to what is right and good for spiritual maturity. Where is God calling you to step out into love?
Increasing Our Vision
March 10, 2019 - Phil Schaefer
Habakkuk 2:1-4
Habakkuk 2:1-4 Why do we have these artists painting on stage? We gave them words and said use these words to paint a picture of vision. Use these words to reflect a dream. These pictures show how a vision, in the beginning, is undeveloped - a dream. I want to read what was given to me by a newer, younger member of our church. I think it is prophetic: “We have done the work to prepare the property and the plans. Now we prepare as the church, which is us. We know the church isn’t a building. The church is the Body of Christ. It’s people. So now, we step into preparing ourselves for what God is preparing for us. The launching pad is underway. Now we prepare what will be launched from there. And that’s us. This is the time to dream. To dream of what God will do with us next, from this new building. Dreaming is not always logical. It’s not always straightforward. God hasn’t given us the full & complete vision of what we will do next. I could dictate a vision to you but that is very one-sided. We all need to press into hearing from God in this next phase of preparation. He won’t give just one of us the vision & plan for our future. He will share it with all of us in parts and we will come together to see it from a complete picture. This phase of dreaming is abstract. It requires the engagement of a different part of your brain, a different depth of your heart, the fullness of your soul. What do you dream that you will do once we step into the new building? What could we become? Who can we reach? Who will find a home with us in Christ? How many? These types of dreams also require hope. Hope in God. Dare we hope for these things? Dare we believe God could use us in these ways? This action of dreaming will stretch you. It will require you to question & challenge what you believe about God and His abilities; what place you have in His plans. This is a time to stretch our creative thinking and imagine what more we can do as a church – for our time and the generations to come. Come, let’s dream together.” This morning we launch ‘Increasing Our Influence’ Helen Keller said: "The only thing worse than no sight is to have sight but no vision." Vision is a dream and an action. A vision is the difference between filling bags with dirt and building a dike in order to save a town. A vision is the difference between having a seat to sit in on Sunday mornings and gathering to reflect the Kingdom of God on earth. A vision is the difference between going to church to get a spiritual fix and believing you can shape a city. Vision forms in the hearts of those who know we have not arrived; who know there is more in God to enter. Vision says: Get in there! Vision comes into existence through praying & preparation. More than speaking vision into existence, you pray & plan it into existence. Our prayer is to see and act on opportunities. Our prayer is for God to give us the people who have the faith and the passion, the resources, the skills, the influence, to bring a vision into existence. It is praying that God gives us favor with financiers and city planners; architects and engineers; designers and doers. God ordained vision appears to be impossible. That is how you know it must be God. God does not ask us to do something we can do. He asks us to do something we cannot do. He asks us to do something He wants to do. In a God-given vision, there are always more questions than answers; there are always obstacles and barriers; there is always a lack of resources; there is always a sense that this could be an epic failure; there is always a sense that we cannot let this thing go. And there is a sense of destiny - this gut-level, unquenchable desire to push on. It is easy to trust God when you have the resources in your hand. It is easy to trust God when you have the means to do what you want to do. That’s not truly trusting God. God has already given us the blueprint for this church. He basically said make plans for expansion of every side. He basically said to give what you have, and I will give you more. Don’t hold back. What is the definition of success? We would say it is when we have reached a goal. But the Biblical definition of success is being found faithful to what God has placed before you. Vision demands risk and sacrifice; to leave what is comfortable & familiar; to embrace the uncomfortable & unfamiliar; to be battling against fear, uncertainty, unbelief, and failure. Here is a picture of a preferable future: ‘To be a dynamic hub of Christ-centered & Spirit-led thought, action, creativity, & community devoted to embracing and transforming our world with the message of the grace of God in Jesus Christ.’