Make the Connection
What an exciting time for us as we kick off the fall at the River!
God is doing a good thing at the River
· God has made this a safe place
· Where families can grow—
· New ones can come to the Lord--Prodigals can return—
People can be mentored
· Discover their gift—move out in it
· Leaders can be developed
And as we move to fall—sense we’re at a fresh season
Got a kick out of 9-9-09 parties etc
· 9 number of New Birth—pregnancy
· Teacher friend—after 40 weeks—which is number of trial (Noah, Fasting/Temptation, etc.)
· After travail/trial—you get to birth new life
We’ve had the travail—and we’ve had new birth
· God took a church—dangling by the thread in a broken place
· Raised up a people of health—strength—and passion
A place of OBSCURITY—becoming a place of Influence
· I am always amazed at the FAVOR that God has placed on the River
· You’re using US?
We’ve seen it in lots of ways—examples???/
God often uses obscure places to change history
· Paul—Moses—back side of desert
God has been birthing something powerful
· Seen NEW Births here
· Interns a few weeks back
Within the last year—completed a SEASON—entered into new era
· As we grow—not just TRANPLANTS—that is wonderful—gift—excellent
· But also NEW believers!!
God’s doing a new thing—And as we kick off the fall—another layer
What I’m going to do today—not normal teaching
· But cast vision for where we’re going
Understanding God’s vision is CRITICAL for us
· Write the vision—make it plain Hab 2:2
Write the vision
And make it plain on tablets,
That he may run who reads it
· Without a vision people perish Prov 29:18
18 Where there is ano 1vision, the people bare unrestrained
18 Where there is no vision [no redemptive revelation of God], the people perish;
18 Where there is no vision, the people perishf:
o So normal/good to share vision
o Need both—corporate and personal vision
We are more than just individuals—
· Contrast World/America—How God spoke in Bible
· We were meant to be more than just individual followers of God
o You are not going to find your purpose/vision ALONE—on your own for your life
o Meant to discover it TOGETHER—in the context of His church (with other believers)
o There’s a big part of God’s for vision for your life that can ONLY BE discovered, and lived out with other believers in the church
· We are His CHURCH
· Bride—Body of Christ
· Cells of body each one of us—has a part—a mission
I Cor 12:12 The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. . . . . . . . . 27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it
If one parts missing, you know it!
· Sometimes we lose a few parts along the way
· Zoanne/David—you promised to stay with me forever—but you’re leaving me one part at a time!
We need all pieces of body—you have important part—we need each other
· Not complete without
We have a purpose for our lives here on planet earth
· Quote from Patti
· We are not human beings having a temporary spiritual experience
· We are Spiritual beings having a temporary human experience
We have an eternal purpose to our lives
· And we want to be ALIVE in that purpose!
· And that purpose was meant to be DISCOVERED
· As we walk/grow TOGETHER in Jesus
Grapes grow BEST in clusters—love that analogy
· Don’t be a lone grape—or you might end up a raisin!
What is God’s vision?
· What is HE saying to us as church in this hour
· Make the Connection!!!
As we look to the year and God is leading us forward
· One of the things for this hour—is MAKE the Connection!
God wants us to connect with His VISION for our lives
· God wants to connect us with one another on the journey
Being RIGHTLY connected is so key!!
· We see it everyday in the natural!
· If not rightly connected—THINGS don’t WORK!
Ever notice you can look like you have it ALL together—but if the connection is off—nothing works??
· Greatly gifted computer guys in our church
· Bruce Clapp repair story—didn’t want to hurt their feelings—they were charged anyway . . .
But we’re like that!
Transition . . . ?
Our First Connection Is With Jesus
Head of Church
· We’re called His BODY
· It’s to be in a loving/living relationship
· First love
All we do
· Wouldn’t matter coolest programs—most impressive ministries
· Decorations or talent
· I could make you CRY—you were so INSPIRED
But without HIM—worth nothing
Salvation Connection opportunity—
· If you haven’t had that opportunity
· And you would LIKE that—you can begin that process TODAY at the end of the service
We need to be connected to HEAD—
· But also connected with His BODY—his church—the family
· We do best on TEAM—
· Clusters NOT raisins!
How Do we Connect/Plug in??
· Waited a long time to grow to this point
· God releasing structures
For long time—always had great elements
· Sometimes haven’t had enough pieces in place to help people connect/grow
Structures are important
· Without structures . . . well . . .
Without structures—we’re like one my FAVORITE Far-side Comics:
· The Boneless Chicken Ranch!!
We NEED structures—helps us connect
· Helps us be strong
One of the Greatest things we did in Renovation
· Front door area
· Why—welcomes people
o Testimony—someone who visited us—didn’t stay—uncomfortable
Scriptural door—unlocked ???
NOW—I feel like God is building DOORWAYS
· To welcome people
· Help them connect
· Help them GROW
Here are FOUR strategies being released in the year for this:
· Strategy to welcome first time visitors—help them connect
Over the years—We’ve been blessed with many people visiting—checking us out
· Have felt bad—
· Just like we didn’t have a front door in the natural
· Hasn’t always been easy to find out how do I really get IN to the church
· What are you guys all about? How do I connect
· If we’re to be fishers of men
· Then we gotta fill holes in the net
Fusion strategy is simple
· How to increase that sense of WELCOME as people come to check us out
· Get to know us
· Find out if we’re the right fit for them
Practical things include
· Connection Card
o Great way to be connected to people—welcome visitors
o Stay connected to regular body
o Sign ups!!!
o Prayer requests—etc.
o Keep things from falling in the cracks as we get larger
· Welcome gift
· Information letter
· Increase our training for welcoming strategies (develop what is said here)
o Life at The River Classes
o Releasing Membership (talk more about that later)
· Website is almost here!!!
· Increase strength—Usher Greeter Team
By the way
· Got a fun team forming that is working on communication pieces with people coming to visit church
· Work on Connection cards
· Help people get connected to connection groups
If you are interested in being a part of the Fusion team—contact Jessica/me
· Or fill out connection card—drop at front desk
2nd thing Released—Connection Groups
· Always have had lots of activity
· Taking to new level
· Taking what we’ve done—doing it better
First of all—as Pastor—let me explain my heart for this situation
· Sunday AM—soooooo vital—corporate—important—be here
· 2nd layer—small group connections—
· Why? Relationship!
o Discipleship—journey—Release In Ministry
· Quarterly system of opportunities
o Not obligated forever
· Diverse range of things you can do
o From intense bible study/prayer
o To fellowship times
o With intent to build relationship
o And help us on the walk
o 4 components that might happen
o Why this is good/important
Someone said—is that awkward?
· NO—it’s actually supposed to be normal
· Breaking bread/prayer
· Ministry over the kitchen table—in the living room—etc.
· Prime Timers
· Go through 16 Small groups List
Pray about WHICH GROUP you want to connect with
· Challenge—healthy/normal to be connected to group
Start dreaming about what kinds of groups we might want to have next quarter??
· Unlimited possibilities/creativity
· Why we’re here—80%
· Make room for more
o October 4th—9 and 11 AM
· Is 54—don’t hold back—let me fill
· Great opportunities
o Serve MORE people—give more variety
o First Steps
o Special Needs Class
o Leadership possibilities—GILT
· Let’s do this together
· Make room to REACH more TOGETHER!!
· Go to ONE—serve the Other—especially first few months!!
New Opportunities for Ministry
· God is wanting to multiply leadership
One of the GREAT THINGS about expanding to two services
· More opportunities for serving/growing
· Ministry opportunities for EVERYONE!
· Next week—flier with info—didn’t want to overwhelm you today—plenty of vision
We are in a season—New Beginnings
· God wants to position us personally/corporately to GROW
· Make Connection!
· First Love Connection—Response
· Make Connection with making room for more
o Called to BE in
o Drink of
o Swim in River
· Connection to head—Jesus
· 9 Number of Birthing—pregnancy
· Follows 40—number of tribulation/pain
Season of birthing at River
· God wanting to birth something new IN us
· Thru us
· connection Power
o Could do something on right connection—wrong connection
o Model with power chord
· Eph 4:16 16 For because of Him the whole body (the church, in all its various parts), closely joined and firmly knit together by the joints and ligaments with which it is supplied, when each part [with power adapted to its need] is working properly [in all its functions], grows to full maturity, building itself up in love.
· 16 He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love. (NLT)
From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
· Ephesians 4
11 It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12 to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
· I Corinthians 12:12 For just as the body is a unity and yet has many parts, and all the parts, though many, form [only] one body, so it is with Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).
I Cor 12 12 The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized bya one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.
14 Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it
· Bruce Clapp’s story—called in emergency service
o Not plugged in
We’ve all had that ‘duh’ moment
Right connection—right operation—power flows
· Wrong connection—funky results
When rightly connected
· Firing on all cylinders
· Everyone Grows Eph 4:16
The New King James Version. 1982 (Hab 2:2). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
a 1 Sam 3:1; Ps 74:9; Amos 8:11, 12
1 Or revelation
b Ex 32:25
New American Standard Bible : 1995 update. 1995 (Pr 29:18). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.
The amplified Bible, containing the amplified Old Testament and the amplified New Testament. 1987 (Pr 29:18). La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.
f perish: or, is made naked
Tyndale House Publishers. (2004). Holy Bible : New Living Translation. "Text edition"--Spine. (2nd ed.) (Eph 4:16). Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House Publishers.
The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.) (Eph 4:16). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.
The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.) (Eph 4:11-16). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.
a Or with; or in
The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.) (1 Co 12:12-27). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.