Bringing Hope to Humanity #life24seven

At Gateway South in Austin, we are at a defining moment. To move forward into what God has for us will require each of us trusting God more than we ever have before.

We can experience the life and freedom God intends for our lives and bring that life and freedom to others. We can experience God’s loving presence and guidance all day and every day.

Life 24 seven means knowing God intimately and bringing hope to humanity wherever we may be 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

In this message, I shared on our part in moving forward into God’s better future for our campus.

Watch the message here:

We can bring hope to humanity as we bring #life24seven to our city!

The early church gives us an example of what could be true of us!

Acts 2:42-47

42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

This is a remarkable description!

Every single day, lives were being changed!

What is also remarkable is how the people are described.

“praising God” AND “enjoying the favor of all the people”

I know people who are known for praising God, but they are not the same ones that enjoy the favor of all the people.

I know people who enjoy the favor of others, but they are not the same people who are known for praising God.

This seems like an oxymoron: two phrases that do not belong together like “jumbo shrimp” or “cafeteria food” or “SMU Football.”

So how did this happen?!

They were devoted to God AND they were devoted to each other.

The result: they experienced the miraculous AND lives were transformed.

It is hard to distinguish between their devotion to God and their devotion to others. Loving God and loving people are interconnected. You cannot love God without loving others. And let’s be honest, to truly love others, we need God’s help!

But let’s take a look at how they were devoted to God and how they were devoted to others.

So how were they devoted to God?

  • the apostles’ teaching about God
  • prayer
  • sent out into relationships – in the lives of other believers and those who did not yet believe
  • willing to trust God and sacrifice for others

How were they devoted to each other?

  • gathered in the temple courts with each other (large groups)
  • shared meals in their homes (small groups)
  • fellowship
  • sacrificed to meet the needs of others

Let’s pause for a moment and define what “fellowship” means.

Fellowship is not what Christ-followers do for each other. Fellowship is what we do together for the world!

Our cause is bringing hope to humanity – and His name is Jesus!

Church is not a building. Church is not a service. The Church is made up of all of those who follow Jesus!

 “The Church is not here to meet our needs.
We are the Church, and we are here to meet the needs of the world!”

– Erwin McManus

They also sacrificed as individuals for the good of others. As each person dove deep into their relationship with God, He led each to sacrifice for the needs of others.

Miraculously, as the early church chose to fully trust Jesus – even with their belongings and finances – He worked through them to see their family, neighbors, co-workers, friends, and even complete strangers transformed through their generosity.

Remember: they were the first people on the planet to believe that God came to earth as a baby, grew up, lived a perfect life, started traveling with a group of followers, taught with authority, healed people with diseases and illnesses, and even died on the cross to heal our spiritual sickness – our sin that separates us from God. Rising from the dead He promised to send His Spirit to live within all of those who choose to follow Him.

This was remarkable! They were the first to believe this!

Rather than being confused or even repelled by their beliefs,
the people around them were intrigued by their generosity.

They might have unusual beliefs, but they met the needs of others through their financial sacrifice!

Think of all the good we can do with a new space! We could do even more than we are able to do now! As we choose to make a commitment today, what we give together will enable us to have a space during the week where people can experience life transformation!

The possibilities of what we could for our city are endless!

You see, we live in a different day and age, but some things never change. People are drawn to Jesus when people who follow Jesus live remarkable lives.

  • When we choose to sacrifice financially…
  • When we choose to meet the needs of others through serving…
  • When we choose to invest our time and energy into the lives of others…

Everything changes!

Others want what we have!

Here at Gateway, what we have here is so miraculous!

We are part of a community where we can invite family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers, and know they will be welcomed, encouraged, and discover faith.

You’re investment with your time, your energy, and your finances is making an eternal difference!

As I shared last week, our leaders have been incredibly faithful and generous, but for us to be able to move into this new space it will require people who do not give regularly to decide to tithe – to give 10% of their income to God through our local church.

To move into this new space will require people who tithe but have never given above and beyond that to stretch in order to give to Life Giving Life South. But more than anything, it’s going to require all of us who call this our church home to participate—whether a lot or a little—God will honor our willingness to all unite in this effort and everyone do their part.

We can do this! Our sacrifice will be worth it!

I want you to know something: what you have done has not only made a difference in our city. What you have done and what you are doing is helping people across the planet!

Trusting God means knowing God will do things that we cannot do.
Trusting God also means being obedient to do our part.

The larger context of the description of the early church begins in Acts 1. In Acts 1, Jesus is saying farewell to His disciples. He had risen from the dead and spent time with them teaching them about the Kingdom of God and preparing them for life without Him. He would send His Spirit to be with them.  At one point, Jesus said to them:

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” – Acts 1:8

After this, Jesus ascended into heaven. For several days the disciples waited for the Spirit. Finally a holiday known as Pentecost arrived. Jewish people from all across the Roman world came to Jerusalem to celebrate. Miraculously the disciples heard a sound like a violent wind. The promised Spirit of God filled them, and they were able to speak in the native languages of all of those visiting. Hearing their native language from these fishermen and tax collectors, the people were confused and figured that they must just be drunk.

It was then that Peter, one of the disciples stood up and addressed the crowd. He told the people that the people were not drunk. It was only 9am in the morning! Instead he explained that this was a miracle and a fulfillment of the prophet Joel’s words. Peter then quoted Joel when he said in Acts 2:

 17 “‘In the last days, God says,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams.
18 Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days,

and they will prophesy.
19 I will show wonders in the heavens above
and signs on the earth below…
21 And everyone who calls

on the name of the Lord will be saved.’

Peter finishes his message proclaiming Jesus as more than a man who did miracles but God among us! He was God among us. He died on the cross and rose from the dead.

It was then that Peter quoted King David with the following words in Acts 2 (originally found in Psalm 16):

“‘I saw the Lord always before me.
Because he is at my right hand,
I will not be shaken.
26 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest in hope….

As long as we focus our eyes on the Lord, we will not be shaken! God is with us! God will not abandon us! He gives us joy! He gives us rest! He gives us life24seven!

We can trust God fully! When we do, we are on the verge of experiencing an incredible miracle!

We can experience the fullness of the life offered by Jesus, and we can bring the fullness of God’s life to others in our life.

Leading up to the description of the early church and their devotion to God and their devotion to others, Peter concludes his message. The people’s response was overwhelming. Over 3000 people who had come to celebrate Pentecost ended up celebrating new life in Christ. Over 3000 people got baptized! The Church was born.

Those 3000 people experienced a new life that so transformed that they brought new life to those around them. That process of life giving life has continued all the way to today – so that we are sitting in a high school in Austin, Texas.

God loved you so much that He brought someone into your life to help you find Him. He sent people ahead of you—10 people, then 100 who sacrificed financially and served and led so that God could do His work in you through Gateway Church. And now we do the same, not only for ourselves, but for all those who will come after us—Life Giving Life 24/7 through all the ministry that will happen over the next 5+ years in this new building.

God loves the people around you so much that He brought you into their lives to find Him too.

God’s desire is to get us involved in His work—working together as a church that functions as His Body, His hands and feet bringing hope and healing to our bruised and battered world.  That’s what he’s doing through our church.

So many of us are waiting for God to do something for us, when God is waiting to do something through us.
John Burke

Next Steps

1. In what ways have you seen God at work in your life?

2. In what ways have you experienced the blessing of being devoted to God?

3. In what ways have you experienced the blessing of being devoted to our church family?

4. In what ways do you sense God wants you to grow in devotion to God or to your community?

5. If you follow Jesus, who was the person who helped you follow Him?

6. Who do you believe God has brought into your life that you can serve, love, and influence towards a relationship with Jesus?

Want to get involved in Gateway South’s journey to a new location?

If so, go to www.life24seven.org!

 

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