July 10, 2016
[On Sunday, our group that went to the EFCA's Challenge Conference shared stories of our adventure there, what we learned and experienced. Afterward, I shared these brief comments]
I told the Challenge Group that if they talked long enough, there would be no sermon.
So there is no sermon today. But I do want to wrap up all of what has been said.
By coming back to this idea of IDENTITY.
We’ve learned all week about Who God is and what He has done and how that shapes who we are and why we are here.
Here again are the three symbols to remind us of that.
1. God is Father. And because of that, we are family.
It was really encouraging to see the students grasp their identity as children of God.
1 John 3:1 says, “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!”
That is what we are!
And we are not individual children. We are gathered together into a family.
And that is the most important family in the universe. The family of God.
More important than the other families the world has to offer, even the good ones.
More important than a brotherhood of bikers, a brotherhood of union workers, a family of firefighters, more important than our national brotherhood.
More important even than our biological families, is the family of God.
2. God is Son, the servant king sent to redeem us.
And because God is Son, we are servants.
It was awesome to see the students assume that identity this week on their service projects.
I was so encouraged to see them walking up and down the urban streets of Louisville picking up trash and making friends with a predominantly black community.
And there was no complaining! They were servants.
They lived out Philippians 2.
“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.” Who became a servant.
3. God is Spirit, the Holy Spirit. And because of that, we are missionaries.
We are sent ones.
We have the gospel message that the world so desperately needs.
Is there any question, after the week our nation has had, that we need the gospel? And we need people to carry the gospel into the world?
We are sent into this world, into our neighborhoods, into our community, into our workplaces, into schools, into every area of life to present the gospel and to represent Jesus Christ.
We learned that this week.
[Check out all of the teaching on this page of videos. There's some really fun and funny ones in there, too!]
I saw lights go on in our student’s eyes.
Raise your hand if you are a missionary.
Raise your hand if that is your identity.
We are not all called into foreign missions.
We are not all called to go to Rio in Brazil, like we learned about at the conference.
We are all sent.
We are all missionaries.
We are all to LIVE SENT.
Remember when Jesus appeared to the disciples right before he encountered Doubting Thomas? John chapter 20? [I just talked about this a year ago after the Pittsburgh Ministry Trip.]
They were huddled, too. They were huddled in fear and the doors were locked.
And then Jesus just appeared and they were overjoyed and said, “Peace be with you!” and then He showed his hands and side to the disciples and they were overjoyed.
And then he gave them this commission. “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”
And then you know what He did?
He breathed on them, and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
The Father send the Son, the Son was sending the Spirit, to be received by the disciples and they were then to be sent into the world.
And that’s us, too.
A family of servant missionaries.
That’s us. That's what we've been learning about all year long.
We’re going to how you one more video that captures what we learned.
It was created just for our conference using the poetry of David Bowden.
He wrote this poem just for us.
And they showed the first half at the very start of our conference and the second half at the very end.
It’s about our identity, and it’s called “Who Am I?”
We’ve given you the words in that handout so that you can follow along if you want.
Who Am I?
Previous Challenge Reports
Download the Daily Devotional 30 Day Challenge: Live Sent Together