This past Sunday, I started a 2 week mini-series called, The COST. This series and the one that will follow starting on Sunday, September 15th, both came following a three month season of prayer where I asked God to provide his clear vision and desire for our church, Harvest Church. It has been almost 2 years since we started on this epic adventure. In my mind, we had to a place where I asked, What has changed? In 2 years of new church work, what has changed; for those involved, those in the community, and of course, what has changed in me?
Church planting is not easy. It’s hard work; filled with ups and downs, success and heartbreak. And it’s a HUGE step of faith.
The reality is, much has changed, and there is still more change ahead. After spending 3 long months in prayer, a vision began to be made clear. I suddenly felt as though God had spoken a plan into place. The Spirit opened my eyes to see what God wanted me to see. It was exciting. It was wonderful. And it was big. So before I spoke anything of this vision, I wanted confirmation. I wanted to be 100% sure that what I was experiencing was from God and not something from my own self ambition or drive. This past week, as I was preparing to teach part 1 of this series, I prayed, “Lord, confirm all of this for me, that I know this is all from you!” Wednesday, evening, on an invitation from a fellow pastor, my family visited his weekly summer Bible study. There was a special speaker coming in that he wanted me to hear. That night, God confirmed his vision in an amazing and undeniable way. And of course, the timing was perfect.
You see, there is a cost to following Jesus. Sure, the gift of God’s grace is free. Yes, the life that Jesus died to provide is free. But in order for us to follow him, we must be willing to not only accept the free gift he gives, but to also be aware of and willing to accept the cost of following him.
Luke 14:33 reads, (Jesus is speaking) “In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.” You see the cost is, total surrender of self to say, Yes, Jesus, I will follow you anywhere. Unfortunately, in today’s culture, we don’t always take Jesus’s words as literally as perhaps he intended.
So over the next few weeks, I will be posting segments of The Cost, and portions of my follow up series, The Life You Were Meant to Live, to the blog. I don’t want what is said on a Sunday morning during the teaching time at Harvest to become whispers in an empty room. I want them to be the echoes that bounce from wall to wall in our hearts. Words that the Spirit continues to speak. Words that challenge us to respond with obedience to God’s call to, “Follow me.”
This Sunday morning I started with these questions.
Q.1. Why are you here this morning?
– What has brought you to this place? Why are you here?
– If you come regularly, what keeps you coming back?
– If this is your second or third or fourth time visiting us, what brings you here again?
– If this is your first time here, what led you to place?
Q.2. What do you expect to happen when you come here?
– Are you hoping for your favorite song to be song?
– Are you hoping to see your friends, to catch up, maybe make plans to lunch together?
– Do you hope to hear something that will make you feel good about yourself, to help you feel like your an okay person?
– Do you hope to hear a message that encourages you, maybe challenges you, maybe convicts you?
– Are you hoping that we’ll be done on time so you can get on with your day, enjoy the rest of your holiday weekend?
Q.3. When or if, you have given space in your life for God, Jesus, Church; what did you think it all entailed?
– Did you think life would be easier?
– Were you told that without Jesus, you were a sinner, heading to hell, but it you ask for forgiveness and “give your life to Jesus, then you would go to heaven when you die. – You will live forever and ever?
– Do you think, okay, I’m a Christian now, now I don’t have to worry, I’ll just go to church, I’ll drop some money in the offering plate, maybe I’ll help out in some way. I’ll make sure my kids are involved. I’ll make sure my wife is happy. And hey, maybe I’ll make a friend or two, who knows?
How would you answer these questions? Honestly. Take some time to evaluate what you thought you were getting into when you first said yes to Jesus.
Be sure to check in tomorrow as we continue the discussion.
Visit us online at: HarvestChurchToday.org
Come and visit us in person this Sunday! Location and directions available on our website.