What is Our Mission?
begin looking at what God is calling us to do, let us read Acts 2, verses 46
and 47. First of all, we see there was a sense of unity that was incredible in
the new church. The result of the one voice coming from the apostles and others
who were working closely with them is that the Lord was adding to their numbers
or to the early church daily.
Last week we
read about the way the Holy Spirit made himself known to not only the apostles
but also to many who were in Jerusalem at this time. Now we see the results of
the unity that existed at this time. In the 3rd chapter of Acts, we
see the Holy Spirit is confirming the authority of the apostles by a miracle
that no one familiar with this man could deny. When people are agreeing
together in the church, great things can happen. Here Peter and John were going
to share their faith in the temple when God provided this incredible
opportunity for them.
listened to what was one of the topics of discussion at this year’s Annual Conference,
I was struck by the acknowledgement that the Church of the Brethren in America
needs to sharpen its focus on unity within the church. This has led the
denomination to come up with “A compelling vision for the Church of the
Brethren.” Conversations have been going on for three years about what that
means and how to practically apply the vision in individual churches and across
the entire denomination. The basic vision statement says, “Together, as the Church
of the Brethren, we will passionately live and share the radical transformation
and holistic peace of Jesus Christ though relationship-based neighborhood
engagement. To move us forward, we will develop a culture of calling and
equipping disciples who are innovative, adaptable and fearless.”
As I have
listened the past several days at how we can put this into practice, I was
drawn to what the early church in Acts was doing. The apostles were allowing in
a meaningful way the Holy Spirit to guide them wherever he wanted them to go.
The apostles were also willing to do whatever they were asked to do to
accomplish God’s purposes at this time in history. As we read about the
apostles in the early church, they are putting into practice what the vision
statement of the Church of the Brethren is reminding us today of what we should
Spirit’s guidance was so powerful and the apostles’ willingness to serve was so
evident that God was doing great things through them. Peter and John saw a need
that this man had and they were so full of faith God would provide what this
man needed that they simply, without thinking, said and did what the Holy
Spirit encouraged them to do.
In our Bible
Study on Tuesday, there was a question asked, “What is holding you back from
witnessing for God?” Clearly nothing was holding Peter and John back from
sharing what God had to offer. The healing part of what happened would be easy
for any of us to do if we knew for sure God would make it happen. What happened
next is what is more difficult. Peter boldly asked the question, “Why does this
healing surprise you?” There were many who were there and witnessed this man
who had never walked a day in his life, now miraculously healed and walking.
Peter and John quickly pointed out it was not them that made this miracle
happen, it was the God you all should know about. They go on to say, “The one
you had killed, Jesus, is the one who has made this incredible miracle happen!”
Peter and John tell those gathered, “Repent of your sins and turn to God for
the forgiveness of those sins.” This is the part of God’s story for his
creation that is more difficult to share. It is easier, not always easy, but
easier, to tell of God’s love, mercy, grace and peace, but when it comes to
telling of God’s righteous judgment that is where it gets hard. The last
sentence in the vision statement seems to recognize the need we have in the
Church of the Brethren to tell the whole story of God. That sentence, again,
says, “To move us forward, we will develop a culture of calling and equipping
disciples who are innovative, adaptable and fearless.” Does
that sound familiar? That is the statement Peter and John could very well have
created. This is a vision of what God wants to do through me and I dare say
you. We must grab hold of it with both hands and go forward with it. It has
always been true, but today maybe more than ever, we need to be innovative,
adaptable and most of all fearless.
today this nation celebrates the 4th of July, which is the official
founding of this new concept called self-governance. This nation is not and never has been perfect,
but it is still the nation in the world that millions of people want to come to,
whether by legal or illegal means. These holidays are good times for its people
to take a step back and think on what we are doing right, both past and present,
and what we need to work to change.
inspired many of the good things that have happened in this nation’s past and
in the present as well. However, because men and women make the ultimate
decisions in this nation, we will always make some mistakes. When I look at the
difference between our nation and the church, I see one major difference. If we
as the church allow God and His word to guide and direct us, we will always be
victorious because it is not us, it is God leading. I am not saying that means
there will never be pain and suffering or that we will live in total perfection
on this earth. What I am saying is God will make clear what the mission of the
church is and what our individual mission is as well. I was encouraged by a lot
of what I heard at this year’s Annual Conference. The denomination wants to
recommit and refocus the mission we have in this nation and the world.
What is our
mission? When we look at what was happening in the early church in Acts, I
think we can learn what we need to do today by looking what happened in the
past. Here are 6 steps we must do to fulfill our mission.
1. Allow God’s Holy Spirit to lead us.
2. Continue in the unity of the faith.
3. Make ourselves available, whatever
that might mean to each one of us individually and as a church.
4. Be willing at times to share how
Jesus brought forgiveness of sins to us as believers.
5. Be willing to admit to our
6. Do all of this as the Church of the
Brethren’s vision concludes with living our lives for the cause of God through
Jesus Christ fearlessly.
church here in Cerro Gordo and across this country and around the world
recognize this mission and catch this vision just as the apostles did 2000
Bible Study 9:30 Tuesday
If you were previously giving children’s messages, we will put
you on the schedule unless you tell Beth Sawyer otherwise. Thanks in advance
for doing this!
July 14 Board Meeting—6:15 Exec. Comm; 7:00 Commissions; 7:30 Board
Pick up your new Upper Room in the back. Daily Bread
is also available.
Hard copies of the July newsletter are available in
Stolley Pest Control treated the church for
Thanks to everyone for your faithful giving!
Donation Box: AC bills
First Sundays: food donations for food banks
Pastor Larry Traxler- (217) 454-2362
keep up on Church of the Brethren news:
Denomination: www.brethren.org/news Sign
up for Newsline by clicking link on left side of page.
iwdcob.org (click on newsletter link) and on facebook
pages: cerrogordocob.com (printed sermon, announcements, &
calendar) and on facebook
in Your Prayers
Family of Galen Handley; Family of Holly
Flenner; Marlene Schultz & family; Sarah Rudelick; Sydney (Nancy Gorrell’s
niece); David Roe; Tera Runyan; Tim Laird; Carl and Wilma Cable; Mike Gentry; Larry
Albro; Mike McCleery; Sherry Wright; Mike and Carol Seidenstricker; Sonna Hall;
Brittany Wright; Evelyn Eads; Anna Gentry Thompson; Clyde and Nancy Fansler; Adiline
Young; Kim Lehmann; Dylan Junior; Doug Fansler; Liza Yore; Candy Dobson; Anna Rose Larrick; Gary Jesse; Norm
& Marge Starr; Shawn Cain; Robert Cripe; Mayo & Darlene Hanaver; Zola
Copeland; Patty Cripe; Lauren Gross; Stacie Warren; Nancy Gorrell; many
unspoken requests; Coronavirus crisis; healthcare workers and first responders;
the families of the 600,000+ people who have died from COVID-19; those who are
ill from the virus; the unemployed; school teachers, staff, and students;
victims of disasters; victims of shootings; nursing home residents; the
Nigerian church; victims of the volcano in Democratic Republic of Congo and
Military and Other
Services and their families
Service workers; Disaster project workers
God, grow with others, serve faithfully, reach the lost, find peace.