Impact Sunday

We don’t have to wait for our circumstances to change before we can discover and partner with God’s Spirit right where we are. Three simple ways we can do this is through prayer, giving and serving.

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Digging Deeper

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These past few weeks we have talked about how we can become part of God’s family and be there for each other.

Today we are talking about how together we can be there for the world around us.

We are calling today Impact Sunday. The hope this morning is that we can celebrate all the incredíble work God is doing through each of us in our city and world.

We love to see impact.
We love to see stories of transformation.
We love to see stats and videos and pictures.

If we love stories of impact so much and want to have a life full of meaning and purpose why do many of us relegate ourselves and our lives to the sidelines?

I think that might be true for many of us actually.

We have been so accustomed to the habits that the world offers that we have missed what we are actually longing for.

Our hearts know that we want something more.
Our hearts know that something is off.
That is why our culture is overflowing with affairs, pornography, gambling, and addiction. We intuitively know that something is off just like Adil.

We are actually longing for Jesus.

Our heart’s desire is for the one that created us and for a purpose in life. It’s like we are on a boat stranded at sea scooping glasses of sea water out to drink while there is a pitcher of fresh water right next to us waiting for us to pour.

This is the point of Impact Sunday – to celebrate what God is doing in the world not just from the sidelines, but also on the field.

The truth is, Jesus is building His Kingdom and He is bringing to realization His kingdom to the ends of the earth, and He has invited each of us to be with Him and to play our part as. Jesus’ Kingdom is wherever His rule and reign are fully realized and lived in.

 He invites us to participate in His Kingdom.

Look at what Jesus says to His disciples right before He ascends into Heaven. This is the culmination of everything Jesus taught, His last instructions before He left.

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”Matt 28:18

Jesus is about to leave, and He is commanding His disciples to take what they have learned from Him and to share it with the world, teaching others who Jesus is and how to live in His Kingdom. It’s because of their obedience to this command that we are all here today. And for us who consider Jesus our King, we get to do what they did.

Today I want to share with you three simple ways that you can participate in what God is up to in our city and the world.

3 Ways to Participate:

1. PRAY

Let’s first look at the role prayer plays in the Kingdom of God.

    We are going to watch a quick video to set this up. This is Jana and Kenno Leier.

    We have new friends who are Estonian missionaries living in Finland planting churches and serving across the whole of Europe. They share about the power of praying for our missionaries. M4 is doing some amazing work and so are all of our local and global partners!

    If I am being honest with you, this is one of the areas that I tend to struggle most with. I have often found myself praying because that is what I am supposed to do.

    The last couple of years God has really put prayer on my heart. It’s something I have been working on growing in, and I have felt compelled to be more intentional about helping you with this as well.

    Let’s look at how important Jesus makes this though. In Luke 10, Jesus is about to send out His 72 followers into the upcoming towns and villages.

    This is the first “sending” Jesus does, and He gives them instructions, pep talks, and sets them up for success.

    And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. – Luke 10:2

    Jesus acknowledges the need for resources in the work He is doing and gives His first instructions: PRAY!

    Did you know that there is not only resource scarcity but also resource imbalance?

    Almost half of the world’s population is considered to be unreached.

    • Unreached means that less than 2% of a people group are following Jesus and the rest don’t have access to the story of Jesus.
    • That is over 3 BILLION people, that not only don’t have a Bible or a church in their neighborhood, many of these people don’t even have someone that speaks their language that can tell them about Jesus.
    • 06%, not .6%, but .06% of Christian dollars are aimed at these people and only .03% of workers are aimed at these people. This is an IMBALANCE.

    But this imbalance is not new and it’s not unique to 2024.

    There are many other places where following Jesus leads to persecution or even execution.

    Jesus recognized the imbalance, and He addressed it. “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore PRAY earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”

    Prayer is mysterious and yet so powerful. God is in complete control and has a plan, and yet, He has made it so that His plan moves through our prayers.

    Our prayers move Him! God calls us to depend on Him to raise people, finances, technologies, and tools that are useful for His mission.

    What would it look like if we as a church committed to pray for our missionaries and partners around our city and world and prayed for the global church, the persecuted Church and asked God, the Lord of the harvest, to disperse out HIS resources.

    This brings us to the second way we can join in the work that God has for us. We can…

    2. GIVE

    When you hear give, your first thought is probably centered around money and rightfully so.

    Our entire culture is centered around money.

    This SO limits the work that we have before us though.

    The invitation here is not to just begrudgingly give money to Gateway or some nonprofit. The invitation is to be a part of God’s resource distribution.

    “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent?” – Romans 10:14

    The word “sent” perfectly illustrates this idea of giving. It is far beyond the idea of finances. It stems from a heart of generosity.

    This is the picture we have each week when we are invited into the journey of generosity.

    When we first see that everything we have is a blessing to us from God to be used to bless others (Gen 12:2-3) then a heart of generosity is not far off.

    I like to say that God desires a L.I.F.E. of generosity.

    Generosity in our Labor, Influence, Finances, and Expertise.

    We hold all of these with open hands allowing God to use each of those areas to bless those around us and move forward to the work He has called us to.

    Over the years I have had a chance to meet several of our missionaries and partners, sometimes in person and sometimes over Zoom.

    These are incredibly faithful workers who live and work all over the world amongst many different people groups.

    One of the things that comes up every time we get to talk to them is how much I feel blessed on behalf of Gateway to serve alongside them.

    We truly get to stand alongside and be a part of the fruit that God is producing through them because we “Gateway” are “sending” them through finances, relationship, and prayer.

    That is the picture of the journey of generosity.

    Paul talks about the gift that it is to “send” someone in Philippians.

    Paul traveled all across the Roman Empire during His life, starting churches in several different locations – many of these areas we would call the Middle East, in parts of Asia and parts of Europe .

    This obviously cost a lot of money, but look at Paul’s request in Philippians 4:17

    “Not that I desire your gifts (money); what I desire is that more be credited to your account.”

    His concern was less about the money and more about the rewards in Heaven they would receive as a part of the work being done.

    That is the invitation to a generous life. Not generosity specifically to Gateway or any specific person. A generous heart ready with open hands to be used for God’s Kingdom.

    Consider the example of the Mizo people in Northwest India…

    What would it look like if each of us took up the mantle of living a generous life?

    What would it look like to be a church that can radically send and to be even more a part of the resource distribution that God, the Lord of the Harvest, wants to release?

    With every dollar we give to God through Gateway, 11 cents goes to our local and global partners. We want to grow that while still making a huge difference in our mission field and through our campus.

    With summer coming and perhaps vacations on the horizon, would you consider setting up your giving to recur weekly or monthly while you are gone?

    If you already give, would you consider giving above and beyond your normal giving towards our campus’ Life by Life fund? Our goal with all of our campuses is to give $400,000 towards this fund before the end of August. At our campus, our goal is $70,000.

    If you aren’t giving, would you consider starting to give?

    No matter how large or small a gift if we all participate God will provide exactly what’s needed.

    Part of the beauty of giving is best described by Jesus when he said: “We are more blessed to give than to receive.” Try trusting God in this area more than you ever have before. Let Him guide you in this.

    This brings us to the third next step each of us can take…

    3. SERVE

    I want you each to hear something about yourself this morning. This is what God says about you and what God says about us, His Church.

    “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” – Ephesians 2:10

    Hear this and remember this, YOU are God’s handiwork.You are His work of art. You are a unique piece of art that God created for a purpose. You were created in Christ Jesus to do incredible things. Before you were even born, God had things prepared for you to do. They are incredible things, things that no one else can do.

    Again, just like prayer and giving, we have an invitation. Your invitation is to walk in the good works that God has prepared for you. There is an interesting picture here that almost feels like a contradiction.

    We read in the verse right before this that it is not works that save us but grace and faith. But we also just read that God created works for us.

    So, which is it?

    The truth is that we are saved by grace through faith. It is that saving that allows us to sink our roots of identity down into the soil of Jesus. There we find nourishment and nutrients. There we find out who God says we are. There we get to throw away the lies we hear about ourselves and choose the truths that God says about us. Once firmly rooted, we grow and produce fruit. This fruit is the good works God has prepared for us. It is not a matter of working really, really hard to produce fruit. It is about abiding in Jesus and allowing the fruit to naturally come out.

    Whatever God is nudging you toward, run fully at it. We often put off obedience until we get a real clear sign to get off the sidelines. But, it is off the sidelines where we get to experience life to the fullest and experience love and joy, hope and purpose.

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