Waynedale United Methodist Church
Sunday, August 20, 2017
Making Disciples of Jesus for the Transformation of the World!
   

Aug 28, 2016 Sermon

“Connecting to Community: For the Transformation of the World”
Matthew 28:16 – 20
Ted Jansen  August 28, 2016   Waynedale UMC
 
1.)        Think about a time in your life when you were not connected to this congregation.  Who was a person who reached out to you and gave you their hand, perhaps literally, to let you know that you are welcome?  Each of us was in need of a hand to welcome us, care for us, listen to us. 
            The two hands on the cover of the bulletin represent reaching to others.  We believe Christ has reached out to us, we have reached out to the hands of our fellow disciples and we also reach out to others in the community.   
            Waynedale United Methodist Church Connect to Christ and Community.  Two hands are a symbol of our vision.    
 
2.)        Our scripture are the words that Jesus gave after He was raised from the dead.  This was before the Church began and is known as the Great Commission.  Listen to these words.  “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  (Matthew 28:18, 19, 20)
            This Great Commission tells us to go and make disciples of all nations.  We take this to heart as we remember Jesus telling us in John 14:34, “Love One Another.” 
 
3.)        Acts 1:8 gives us some further understanding of how we are to go and make disciples.  “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth.” 
            Jesus said we are to have a global perspective, as we have a local emphasis.  We are to reach our hands to those first, in Jerusalem, the people closest to us.  We are a witness in our home town as we keep reaching out our hand to the ends of the earth, to all the world, to all other communities. 
            We keep our heart and hands open to all who need the hand of Christ. 
 
4.)        I thank God for the all the ways that we, at Waynedale UMC, reach out our hands through the various missions and outreach ministries.  I would like to say, “thank you,” to everyone who has volunteered with the food bank, helped out with a mission team, been involved in the prayer chain, served a meal to a hurting family.  I want to offer thanks for all the ways we have been a partner and encouraged the different ministries in our community and communities around the world.  Other ministries have heard of the hands and hearts of the people of the Waynedale Church because of your hand reaching out in love.  “Thank you,” for the ways your giving is connecting Christ to the community.  
 
5.)        What if we started a new emphasis in the life of Waynedale Church using our hands and some water?  What if we decided to use our hands and some water bottles give to every person who came into this building?  We do ok with greeting and using our hands on Sunday morning.  But what if we greeted each person with our hands and gave them a water bottle?  What would happen? 
            People might first be surprised and then they might appreciate and enjoy it.  Perhaps they might ask us, “why are you doing this?” 
           
6.)        What if we set up a table near Bluffton Road with a cooler and water bottles?  What if we offered a handshake to each one who would come by and gave them some water to enjoy?  What if we listened to people who wanted to talk and if they wanted prayer we would do that.  What would happen?       
            What if we went door to door to each neighbor that lives around this building, with water bottles and greeted people with a handshake?  We shared our hospitality and friendship.  What would happen?     
            What if……
 
7.)        I want to challenge each of us to let our vision of Connecting to Christ and Community mean that we will try some new ways of reaching out.  Perhaps we need to let go of the “come and see” model or reaching out and try a “go and listen” plan.    
            How long have we invited people to “come and see” us in our worship, our program, our projects, our events?  Let God stir us to “go and listen.” As we listen we offer our hand and the hand of Christ in some practical way.  We can pray and bless them.   
 
8.)        Do you know how a Chameleon sees?  They have a unique way of looking at the world.  They have been created by God with a negative lens and a positive lens.   
            This interaction of the negative and positive lens gives them great vision.  Their brain connects their two lenses so that they have an ability to see what is most important. 
            As I thought of how a chameleon sees it made me consider our vision, how our two hands can reach out to our community, how Christ reaches out to us.
 
9.)        I want you to consider your vision for connecting to community, and outreach. 
            What do you see that is negative?  (Name some of the problems that you see in our world, state, community, etc.)  
            What do you see about Jesus Christ that is positive?  (Name the benefits of walking with God.  We have peace, forgiveness, new chances, the Holy Spirit, the church, love, joy, etc.)  
            When you see the negative and then let the positive perspective give focus you are led to do something to make a difference.  You see a need, you see God, you gain a vision and you act. 
            What do you see around you?  Who do you see?   As you think of God’s grace what does God want you to gain in your vision to act on?    
           
10.)      Do you know William Booth’s story of vision?  Let me share his story in a brief way as you think of vision. 
William Booth lived in London from 1829 – 1912.  He was a Methodist Lay preacher.  He had a heart for God and reaching people with the Good News of Jesus Christ.  He branched out from the church and begin preaching at open air meetings.   
            One of the negative things he saw was the abundance of alcohol for all ages to drink.  The children were not restricted in drinking alcohol.  As a result a lot of people were messed up in that area of the city.  This was a negative vision of life and need, especially of the children.   
This negative vision was corrected by his positive vision of God’s Grace and this stirred William Booth to do something.   He and his wife Catherine started a ministry of preaching, teaching and caring for the needs of people.  Their hands reached out to hands in practical, personal and loving ways to the people of need.    
            This ministry was blessed by God and continues today.  Have you ever heard of the Salvation Army?    It all started with a vision to connect to Christ and community.  I would guess that most people in our country have heard and know of the Salvation Army. The Salvation Army helps people and desires them to know the hand and heart of Christ as they serve.     
            Vision begins with a negative and a positive, like the chameleon’s eyes.   
 
11.)      Do you know the story of a girl named Andrea?  I did not know her story until this past week.  Perhaps it might inspire you as it did a song writer. 
Andrea was a University of Colorado student, studying Business.  She decided to go overseas to study micro-financing for a semester in Uganda.  While there she discovered a badly neglected orphanage and her heart broke.  No one was watching out for the children who were living in terrible conditions.  Many of the children had been abused and neglected and where dying a slow death.     
            When her semester ended Andrea called home and told her parents, “I’m not coming home.”  She had to do something to help the children.  She worked hard and started “Musana” ministries. “Musana,” in the local Ugandan language, means sunshine.  She has been involved in this outreach for over 8 years.   You can learn more about her story and ministry by going to the website.    
            I mention Andrea because her story inspired Matthew West, a Christian song writer.  He heard her story and that inspired him to write a song called, “Do Something.”  Listen to some of the words to that song.   (Or show the video) 
 
12.)      I woke up this morning  Saw a world full of trouble now  Thought, how'd we ever get so far down  How's it ever gonna turn around  So I turned my eyes to Heaven  I thought, "God, why don't You do something?"  Well, I just couldn't bear the thought of  People living in poverty
Children sold into slavery  The thought disgusted me  So, I shook my fist at Heaven  Said, "God, why don't You do something?"  He said, "I did, I created you"
            If not us, then who If not me and you Right now, it's time for us to do something If not now, then when Will we see an end To all this pain It's not enough to do nothing It's time for us to do  something
            I'm so tired of talking  About how we are God's hands and feet  But it's easier to say than to be Live like angels of apathy who tell ourselves  It's alright, "somebody else will do something"  Well, I don't know about you  But I'm sick and tired of life with no desire  I don't want a flame, I want a fire  I wanna be the one who stands up and says,  "I'm gonna do something" 
            We are the salt of the earth  We are a city on a hill  But we're never gonna change the world By standing still  No we won't stand still  No we won't stand still No we won't stand still
If not us, then whoIf not me and youRight now, it's time for us to do somethingIf not now, then whenWill we see an endTo all this painIt's not enough to do nothingIt's time for us to do something
 
14.)      As we consider the statement, “Connecting to Christ and Community,” are you willing to let God use your hands to do something?  In 1981 a song called, “Here I am Lord.”  It speaks of God asking the question of who will I send?  It answers with the person saying, “I will go, Lord.”   
            How will God use your hand to reach out to another person? 
I pray that you might have vision like a chameleon.  See the negative that God has placed before you and see God’s presence that can and does make a difference in the world.  Then do something with our hands to connect!