Yesterday’s sermon at Asbury was, I think, one of the most important ones that I’ve preached since I’ve been here. If you haven’t heard it, you can listen to it on our website or by downloading our free mobile app.
2012 was, in every measurable way, the greatest year Asbury has ever had. We grew in worship attendance by 12.5%, added 90 new members, had 40 baptisms, started new small group connections, and had our best year of stewardship and giving ever.
It was an amazing year.
And the best is yet to come. I believe that 2013 will be the greatest year in the history of our church. But, for us to live into that great calling that God has for us, we have to know what it is that we are about. And what it is that we are trying to become, through God’s grace.
So, yesterday, I preached on that notion. And I wanted to pass it along and restate it here, to help it become firm in our minds, and help us sharpen our focus in 2013.
First, hear God’s Word from Matthew 5:13-16 (ESV):
“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
Our mission here is to be Salt and Light. You’ve heard that said a million times. But, what does that mean? What does that look like? Here it is. Asbury 101 (How to be Salt and Light)
We as church have two primary “goals.” To know Jesus and know Jesus better.
What does that mean? Well, it starts there. Knowing Jesus. Each of us, must first start with making that decision to follow Him. To make Him Lord. To put our faith in Him and follow Him.
But, knowing Jesus is not the end. It’s just the beginning. If we don’t know Him, we need to make that decision to know Him. But, if we do know Him, we need to spend our lives making sure that we know Him better.
Conversion is the start of this journey with Jesus. And we spend the rest of our time here on the earth knowing Jesus better. This is where the angst is satisfied. This is where life is found. Knowing Jesus and knowing Jesus better.
Ok, Andy, how do we know Jesus better?
Here at Asbury, we talk about it in three general ways. We pray, read your bible, and go to church. The first two are relatively self explanatory. In prayer, we open ourselves up to the awareness of God’s presence. We allow ourselves to give voice to God to our concerns and hurts, and we experience His transformative power.
In reading our Bible, we open God’s inspired, revealed Word and are built up, challenged, consoled and we better understand God’s plan of salvation for our lives, and God’s purpose in our lives.
It’s go to church that takes a little explanation. It’s not a perfect phrase, but it’s one that fits us. When I say go to church I don’t mean go to the building, but instead I mean be part of the community. I mean be part of the connection.
By go to church, I mean three things. Weekly worship here with the Body of Christ. You and I were made for worship. We were put here to worship God.
It also means be part of a Small Group Connection here at Asbury. We as a church, and I as a pastor, believe that true life changes happens in Small Groups. It’s where we learn, grow, are challenged, and held accountable. It’s where life change happens.
And, third, it means to serve. We weren’t just put here to receive and receive and receive. Through worship, through Small Groups, we are poured into. We are supposed to pour into others; through service, teaching, giving.
Life is found in giving what we have received.
And we when we do that, give what we have received, we make a difference. We are Salt and Light.
And that’s what we are about here at Asbury. That’s Asbury 101. That’s being Salt and Light.
We know Jesus and know Jesus better.
We pray, read our bible and go to church.
We become Salt and Light. We make a difference.
Today, no matter where you are, and what you are doing, may each of us make a difference for the kingdom. May we each be Salt and Light.