Taking the Training Wheels Off, Part 2 | Serve Give Live

admin —  March 11, 2017

Note: As a part of our sermon on February 26, we talked about the next step of faith we are taking as church. We describe this step as “taking the training wheels off.” Unfortunately, we had some technical difficulties with the recording that day, and we are unable to provide audio from the second half of the message. So, we are going to post some of that information here. You may listen to the first part of the sermon by clicking here. Thanks for your understanding and willingness to read.

This is the second of two posts on this topic. Click here for “Taking the Training Wheels Off, Part 1.”

In the first post, we talked about the opportunity we have to “take the training wheels off.” In this post, we explore what that vision means for us.

How can we help take the training wheels off?

Our theme this year has been to “serve and give so that others may live.” This comes from the theme verse in our sermon series through the Gospel of Mark, Mark 10:45. It says that Jesus “came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” We summarize the verse this way: “Christ came to serve and give so that others may live.” As we grow in our walk with Jesus, we discover that this is also how each of us really live.

This statement includes three key aspects: SERVE, GIVE, and SO THAT OTHERS MAY LIVE.

SERVE

Jesus came “not to be served but to serve.” He taught us that “whoever would be great among you must be your servant.” Jesus says that we should do what he did. We should serve others rather than self. If we are going to be a great church, it will be because we are servants.

So, we need you to jump in. We need everyone helping out. Jesus isn’t just talking about serving in church, obviously. But in our city, weekend gatherings are still the best opportunity we have to reach the greatest number of people with the gospel. So, we need your help on Sundays. Redemption Church gatherings are an all y’all thing.

We’ve got about 30 opportunities for you to serve right now. They are so diverse that I promise you everyone here can do some of them. As a side note, did you know that more than 80% of our regular students between grades 6-12 already serve at Redemption Church? How awesome is that!!

We want to be people who live with a sense of calling to serve others. We were made to live on mission, and we hope everyone here engages in serving.

GIVE

In Mark 10:45, what does it say Jesus came to give? His life. Jesus gave it all.

He taught us: “Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” Jesus gave everything to provide for our deepest needs, our every need.

For each of us, learning to trust Jesus to provide for us and to fully satisfy us will free us to live for the good of others. Our resources and creativity follow our hearts. So, we want to look, not just at our finances, but at our hearts. Where are we placing our trust? What mission are we giving our lives to? Who are we investing our lives in?

Finances are just one resource that helps to make ministry happen, but it’s an important one. We see our giving as mission investment that helps us reach and serve people.

Bottom line is that it takes a lot to do ministry. Let me give you one example of what it kind of ministry dollars it takes for us as a church. Did you know that our rent here at John Ross is $106,000 a year. Our rent was increased in 2015 by 10% and in 2016 by 20%. Those are major adjustments for us, but they enable us to reach people and help them grow each weekend.

Our job is to take the next step of faith that’s in front of us as a church and trust that God’s going to provide. Let me give you some hope for this story. We can do this!

In Edmond, the average household income is $72,000. Our church is made up of 166 or so households. If each family gave 10%, that would add up to $1,195,200. That’s a fantastic amount of potential money for Jesus’ mission! In fact, that’s almost double our needs for our entire ministry plan this year.

Imagine our potential. If we each give the normal percentage of what God asks, imagine what is possible for us! I hope this stirs up your excitement for what we can do with God’s help.

I know these are round numbers based on loose projections, but it does offer us an idea of what is possible. If we each give 10%, we could fund our entire ministry and have cash savings for a downpayment on land—very soon. Do that year over year, and we would expand our kingdom influence tremendously.

Now, I want to acknowledge, some of you are out of work, and this is a difficult season. Please don’t feel any guilt. The Bible says that the rest of us need to chip in to help you out. Others are struggling with debt. You need to pay that down and start living within your means before you can contribute more. As a church family, we want to assist you with training, coaching, and encouragement. It may take some time, but it’ll be worth it—the mission needs you too!

Sometimes, we think we can not help because we get stuck thinking about this only one way, but what if we got creative? Let’s think outside the box with how we can contribute:

  • have a garage sale
  • give your tax return
  • stay home one day on your vacation and play games instead of spending money
  • give your Starbucks money for one month
  • drink water when you eat out and save all drink money for the church
  • use your talents to create something you can sell

It may not seem like much, but 200-300 people with an all-in commitment to give can accomplish a lot together!

For those who are not currently giving, can I give you some encouragement? Just write the first check—it’s the hardest one to write. Trust God with step one. It will always feel risky, but Jesus is more than enough, and he will take care of you.

For us all, our hearts follow our money. When we invest in Christ’s kingdom, it will shape our hearts and change our lives. Let’s give our lives to something bigger than ourselves!

SO THAT OTHERS MAY LIVE

Our purpose for all of this—the thing that drives us and compels us to act boldly—is people. We serve and give so that others may live. We want to love our neighbors and invite them into life with Jesus and his church.

So, we are asking you to identify a few people that you are going to commit to pursue relationally. Who are the “others” you know who need to experience deep faith in Jesus? Who are the “others” that stir your heart to serve and give more?

What if each person at Redemption committed to bring one new person to church by Easter? Not just to invite one person, but to keep asking and keep praying and keep loving and keep serving until someone said, “Yes!”

As a way to help us keep this vision for life in front of us, we created the “So That Others May Live…” wall, which will be open to you each Sunday in our worship gathering space. Each time you add a name to the wall, we believe this encourages us all and helps us spur one another on to love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24). We hope that you will add some name(s) to the wall!

Will you help us take the training wheels off?

If we really took these risks and lived out these commitments together, what kind of crazy, wild, fun, amazing, faith-growing year would 2017 be?

  • What if everyone served somewhere in our regular rotation?
  • What if everyone generously gave what they could to the mission?
  • What if we each brought at least one new person to Jesus’ church?

We want to be an all-in family! Let’s take the training wheels off! It’s not easy. It’s going to mean sacrifice. It’s going to mean everyone going all in. But with God’s help, this is going to happen.

I want to share a video with you that captures the heart of what it means to serve and give so that others may live. As you watch, I want you to think about the sacrifices love calls us to make and the incredible joy that makes it all worth it.

Some said, “Forget it.” They said, “No way.”
They invested their lives.
They took risks.
They made commitments.
They sacrificed.
They gave up things they enjoyed.
They cried.
They sweat.
They never gave up.
They gave all they had.
They cheered each other on.
They crossed the finish line together.
And together they shared tears of victory and joy.
That’s what it looks like to serve and give so that others my live.

There are people in the world who will never cross the finish line of faith in celebration surrounded by a great crowd of witness cheering them on unless you decide to run with them. It we don’t serve and give, we won’t get the honor of watching them really live for the first time.

“Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross.” – Hebrews 12:1-2

This is the second of two posts on this topic. Click here for “Taking the Training Wheels Off, Part 1.”

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