This coming Sunday is Mother's Day - which is a great day for families to attend Church services together. For many Churches Mother's Day is one of the highest attended Sundays of the year, because it's a time when children intentionally attend a worship service with their mother or grandmother as a demonstration of their love and appreciation for them, and when husbands attend a worship service with their spouse for the same reason.

Mothers, grandmothers, and wives, I encourage you to use your influence to get your family members to come with you to Celebration Church this Sunday. Tell them, "What I want for Mother's Day is for my family to join me in Church." I believe that when your family members come with you they will be encouraged by the worship and friendliness of our people and challenged and potentially changed by the message they hear from God's Word. One lady has already texted me this message: "My son and his wife have already agreed to attend Church with me on Mother's Day. It's their first time in Church in a long time. Prayer works."
So mothers, grandmothers, and wives, I'm asking you to give your best effort to bring your family members to Church services this weekend. I'm asking you to do so because I know that you want them to experience the Lord's saving, healing, freeing, and transforming power in their lives. And because I know that you want them to join you in heaven one day.
On Mother's Day, we're also beginning a new sermon series, Navigating The ChallengesI came up with this title for this series after reflecting back on my family vacation last summer, when we rafted the Ocoee and Pigeon Rivers while in Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge. The Pigeon River has Class 3 rapids (our Guide was catapulted out of the raft at one time on that river), and the Ocoee has Class 4-5 rapids and was used for the Olympics some years ago. When rafting along things can be relatively calm for a time, and then the experience can become really challenging (even dangerous) as you navigate through the rapids.

 That's sort of what family life is all about. It can be filled with good and tranquil times, but then things occur that are really challenging that you and your family have to learn how to navigate through.

In this Navigating The Challenges series we're going to be leading our people to learn how to navigate through the challenges of Parenting, Marriage, Sex, Communication, Faith, Conflict, Singleness, Divorce, and other Challenges. Be thinking about whom you would like to invite to attend with you throughout this Navigating The Challenges series, and go ahead and start inviting them. We're trusting that the Lord will use this sermon series to bring lots of hope, help, healing, and health to lots of individuals and families.

7 primary beliefs people need to have in order to really embrace Jesus and Christianity.

When I think about the influence of good and godly mothers on their family members, I'm also reminded of the Church's influence for good and for God on the world. For a number of weeks in our Connecting Point blogs, I've been writing about a discussion we had in our All Staff Meeting back in March. In that March All-Staff Meeting, we talked about 7 primary beliefs people need to have in order to really embrace Jesus and Christianity. Those 7 primary beliefs include the truths that:

  • God Is All Powerful And He Really Cares About Us

  • Jesus Is The Only Son Of God And Savior Of The World

  • The Bible Is God's Word, Authority, And Guide For Our Lives

  • The Holy Spirit Lives In And Empowers Christ-Followers

  • Christians Are To Live Differently Than The Rest Of The World

A sixth belief that real Christians must affirm and adhere to is the belief that The Church Is Christ's Body And Primary Vehicle For Ministry. Now, there are many great ministry organizations. And we are glad to affirm and support many of them. But the primary agency through which the Lord proclaims His message and carries out his ministry is through local Churches like Celebration Church. Jesus said in Matthew 16:18, "I will build My Church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it." When Jesus spoke those words to His disciples, He was preparing to leave Earth. But before leaving earth to return to heaven He wanted to make sure that the disciples understood that He would carry out His ministry through His Church.

What is the message that is to be proclaimed by Jesus' Church?

We also read in Ephesians 1:22, "God has put all things under the authority of Christ for the benefit of the Church. And the Church is His body; it is filled by Christ." So the Church is Christ's Body, and it belongs to Him, and the purpose of the Church should be to proclaim His message and carry out His ministry. What is the message that is to be proclaimed by Jesus' Church? We're to proclaim to the world that God loves us all enough that He sent Jesus into the world to give His life for us (John 3:16, Romans 5:8). And we're to tell them that Jesus is the only Son of God and Savior of the world; and that people can only experience forgiveness for their sins, enter into God's family, have freedom from their strongholds and abundant life on earth and eternal life in heaven by surrendering their lives to Jesus (John 3:16, 8:36, 10:9-10, 14:6).

What is the ministry of Jesus' Church? It's the same ministry that Jesus had when He lived and ministered on Planet Earth. In Luke 4:18 Jesus said that He came to: 1) Preach the Gospel, 2) Heal the Brokenhearted, 3) Set Captives free, 4) Bring Spiritual Vision to People, and 5) Liberate the Oppressed. So every Church should be focused on continuing the ministry that Jesus began when He was on earth, which we will do when we're focused on reaching people with the gospel and making disciples in Jesus' authority and power (Matthew 28:19-20).

Having said all of the above, it's so important that we help people become members of a Church family, and not only members but also "ministers" in that Church family. Here are some Scriptures about that.

  • Paul - "Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ's body. We are all parts of his one body, and each of us has different work to do. And since we are all one body in Christ, we belong to each other, and each of us needs all the others." (Romans 12:4-5)

  • Paul - "You are members of God's very own family . . . and you belong to God's household with every other Christian." (Ephesians 2:19)

  • Paul - "I'm writing . . . so you'll know how to live in the family of God.  That family is the church . . ." (1 Timothy 3:14-15 NCV)

Lots of people don't understand their need to be engaged in a Church family where they can be really loved, supported, and helped to grow in their relationship with the Lord.

 And lots of people don't want to belong to a Church family because they've been hurt by other professing Christians. Years ago I read an article in an Advice Column in a newspaper where someone wrote how their daughter had gone to a Church, met a man, and started dating that man, only weeks later to find out that he was still married and still lived with his wife. The woman who wrote the Advice Columnist said, "The Church is filled with dogs." When I read that article and statement I thought to myself, "Our Church is filled with dogs, skunks, snakes, foxes, chickens, and all sorts of "animals." But I also thought, our Church is also filled with some of the most wonderful people on the planet - people who really love God and love others. And I'm so grateful to be a part of the Celebration Church family. In fact, I love and appreciate our Church family so much that I want every un-Churched person in the world to be a part of our Church or a Church similar to our Church. I hope that you feel the same way about our Celebration Family.

What a blessing it is to believe in Jesus' Church, to be a part of Jesus' Church, and to serve the people in Jesus' Church. Every day we can be thankful for the Lord and His Church.

Email me at Dennisw@celebrationchurch.org and let me know of some reasons that you're thankful for your Church.

Jesus Changes Everything,
  
Pastor Dennis Watson
Lead Pastor, Celebration Church
dennisw@celebrationchurch.org
  dennis.watson.96

 

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