Week 1: Jesus in my Neighborhood

Pastor T. Ngala @tcngala 2014

October Sermon Series: Stewardship of our Presence – ‘Bado Tuko’

Week 1: Jesus in my Neighborhood

How to live out our faith amidst our neighbors; all people of diverse religions, tribes, families, the drunkard, the debtor, the stigmatized, neighborhood groupings and chamaz.

Read Matthew 5:13-16

13 “Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage. (The Message)

14-16 “Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.

Who chose the neighbors around us? Who determines the environment I should stay in? Would it be better if all around me were Christians and I would not have to deal with all this…?”

First it’s easy to say I chose the neighborhood I should be in, that is quite right but you do not chose the people around you, that’s a God placing. Only monks did this, and they ended up being the reason why Islam for example and other philosophies that were against Christianity to fill up Europe- talk of post modernism. When we were shining but hidden under a bushel (heap) called the monastery.

The bible says these two things:

1. “You are the salt of the earth”

Fish in Salt

The functions of salt (Acronym NaCl)

1. N– Nursing wounds (outside of Wine- as sterilizer

  • Ezekiel 16:4 (salting babies)
  • Levi. 2:13 (purifying quality of salt)

Tweetable: Dear friends, we have a wounded and septic world… a world that needs purifying, and sterilizing. When we do not open our hearts and our hands we relegate the world to a septic condition.

2. A– Absorbs Moisture – prevents decay – in meat:

  • Dehydrates and leaves the environment unfriendly for the bacteria to exist.
  • Prevention of decay –or rot

Moisture droplets that destroy the society. Our society needs this prevention, Stop blaming the meat: it’s the salt that needs to do its work

3. C– Causes thirst

  • Cows use it to help in the drinking etc
  • We can cause thirst to the world

Why is no one running to the water of Life? No one running to you for help because they see you as the doctor on call, why isn’t anyone noticing our white coats, why is everyone mistaking us for butchery attendants while we are doctors and nurses?

Why is the world not thirsty for water?

  • We withhold from the world the ultimate catalyst in discovering a relationship with Jesus Christ.
  • Salt is meant to be noticeable, the absence of it is very disappointing
  • Numbers 18: permanent covenant
  • Our salvation is permanent

4. L– Lasting flavor

God created the world with flavour.  But it can be contaminated or corrupted by the world. God wants to work through you and impact a lost and dying world.

It starts with us opening our hearts: others will want to open their hearts to the God we have opened to. People will want to know about how you live out your life.

The more we continue to guard our comfort, at the expense of a dying world, the more we show how much we value Gods loved poured on us. Luke 7:37 says, “He who has been loved much will love much.”

Tweetable: Jesus is in my neighborhood because I am in it. Not because the church building is in it.

2. “You are the light of the world.”

The absence of Light disappoints; it hides a lot. It encourages a lot of evil and danger as the Bible says, it resides in the dark.

Without light, evil can gain a foothold. There is a reason that a lot of crime and other bad Lightbehaviors take place under the cover of darkness. Light exposes us, it allows for our behavior to be seen clearly, it removes from us the option of hiding or trying to keep our deeds from others. Light reveals our secrets, it tells the truth that can become obscured when we retreat to the darkness. Light can be a painful thing when we have something to hide!

You are a city on a Hill: whatever you do you cannot be hidden, yes people know the light bearers in the community, no matter how much we try to hide it. The LIFE Community is the light.

Tweetable: If death happens around a life community, if darkness reigns and decay is prevalent, we must look deep and ask our self what we are not doing to impart life…

LIFE Community Application

  1. Take a spiritual gifts test: “How many of you have taken a spiritual gifts test, and after discovering your gifts, you went out on your own and found your place of service?”  You can do so here. (Take the test)
  2. Find like minds if you feel you cannot initiate; find an Aaron in your life that will go ahead of you and speak, if it’s courage you are looking for.
  3. Begin anyway, regardless of all the circumstances around you. It’s all you need to enter the books of history. Darkness disappears at the incoming of light.

What if as Leaders at LIFESPRING we encourage people to serve in an unusual place first: outside the walls of the church. Rather than making the perpetual pitch for ushers, greeters and kids’ ministry workers, staff members. Our Members are encouraged to live out their faith most in the “domains” where they live, work and play.

If someone has time and a passion for mentoring kids and that’s their passion, encourage them to do it instead of imploring them to work in the nursery or Sunday school. What would happen if we released these people to be transforming agents where they live, work, play and learn? You will not only deal with the issue of need to serve in church but will also have far reaching impact in your community which is also part of the DNA from the start.

Example:  There is a lady who is not a Sunday school teacher or volunteer at her church but leads a children’s bible study club in their estate. That is Jesus in the community. I bet you she is not trained to do so.

The Question is:

As a church we must ask; how do we move beyond “episodes of mercy” to where community engagement is part of the DNA of Christians and the church?

Imagine if we could ask everyone in the church to give a one-minute story next year October about how they sensed something was broken in the world or community, how they felt led into that area, what they did about it and the difference it made. Imagine having a thousand stories like that on your website. And when people ask you about your church, you tell them, “We’re a church that will help you change the world.”

If we can help people have a story to tell, you can invite people to come to your church because you’ll help them change the world.

The needs in our community are only doors to usher us into people lives and allow them the opportunity to be attracted to the light. The wine running out just as it did John 2 at the wedding in Cana.

The Prayer of enablement

For all of you out there feeling a tug to do something yet you may be feeling inadequate to the task. May the Lord give you boldness to step out. May he resource you adequately for the task. May he walk with you as you dare to change the world.

Prayer of Salvation

You are desiring to have great impact in this world. This is only possible with the Maker of the universe on your side. Will you dare to start walking with Christ? Invite him into your heart. Confess your sin, ask that he may forgive you. Receive salvation from Jesus this day. You will be well on your way to personal transformation that will translate to transformation of your world.

About lifespringchapel

"to be a community transformed by Christ, transforming our world with Christ."
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