Repent to renew to rejoice

You have heard that our theme for 2017, our 45th Anniversary year is: “Repent to renew to rejoice.” And I am sure that each of us has a different association and understanding of what “repentance” is. In essence, repentance is the act of assessing our position, followed by an action.

A ship crossing the ocean is continuously “repenting.” The team on-board needs to continuously assess its current position and work out if they are still on course. If not, they will adjust the direction of the ship accordingly.

Why you may ask. I get concerned when people use church, Jesus and boring in the same phrase. Was Jesus’ ministry meant to be dull or boring? The DNA of this congregation is built, like the seven churches of Asia, with a wholehearted commitment to love as we are loved. Our mission statement reads: “A Christ centered people radiating his love to our community.” If our outcome, our purpose for existing is for a community to experience the power of the living Christ in their lives then maybe we need to look at his ministry.

Jesus’ ministry was:
- Revolutionary
- Relational
- Real 

Jesus spoke into our context today. He left us with just one co-mission: Make disciples. As you are going, baptising them (in the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit) and teaching them to obey everything I taught you. This discipleship is engaging, empowering and able to go viral – far beyond the best Facebook post. Nothing else can bring lasting satisfaction. Real joy is found in single-minded, wholehearted discipleship.

Bill Hybels said this of a dynamic church movement:

One of the greatest thrills in all of life is to feel the hand of God working through you and to be a part of the working reality of the church engaged in a movement larger than self.

As you read this I pray that His Spirit is poking at you, stirring your hearts to engage. When you understand God’s plan for tomorrow you will understand God’s purpose for today.

Jesus’ ministry was revolutionary, it was confronting, it was challenging, but it was authentic, real and explicitly relational. Jesus challenged the roots of religion – He has interest is not our works, but our hearts; He spoke about sex and lust, murder and envy. He was authentically bold in being real, revolutionary unashamed to love the unloved and hanged out with the uncool crowd. He had tongues wagging when He high-fived little kids and stunned his disciples when He discussed water provision with a Samaritan woman. He had the Pharisees reach for their Asthma puffers when He discussed money matters with Tax Collectors! Boring?