On Feb 2-3rd , Mark Conner gave the 2002 vision message, which included our church's Ministry Priorities for this year and a prophetic word on God wanting to give us a "new heart".Sermon Summary: "A New Heart"
Our church's vision remains the same each year. We simply take some steps forward to see a greater fulfilment of it. We
continue making progress in our spiritual "journey" as a church through focusing on various ministry priorities. This year, we have three main priorities: Prayer, Serving and Outreach.
In October 2001, Greg Burson, a prophetic ministry from NZ, spoke to us about God wanting "a new heart" for the house. The heart is one of the most important parts of our human body. If it stops beating, life is over, so keeping it healthy and strong is a priority. Disorders of the heart kill more people than any other disease or physical problem. As it is in the natural, so it is in the spiritual. The condition of our "heart" (our inner world of thoughts, feelings, desires and
motives) is crucial to the quality of our life. In fact, the Bible has much to say about our "heart" (see Deut.6:4-6. 1 Sam.13:14; 16:7. Acts 13:22. Ps.51:10; 139:23-24. 2 Chron.16:9. Prov.4:23. 1 Kings 11:4. Is.29:13. Ezek.11:19; 36:26-27. Matt.12:34. Mark 7:20-23).
Individually, our spiritual hearts can become clogged and lose their flow of life. We can become spiritually unhealthy and even sickly - through feeding on destructive things, failing to apply God's Word to our life (lack of exercise) and through bad habits. So too, a church can have a heart that is unhealthy, which hinders it in fulfilling its God-given calling and purpose. A church community is a reflection of the health of the individual believers who are a part of it. A good question to ask yourself is, "What would my church be like if everyone was like me?"
What's the spiritual condition of your heart today? It's good to have a regular heart "check up"! With our natural heart, there are some things we can do to check its health (cholesterol test, blood pressure, weight, etc). An accurate analysis is essential so that we come out of deception or denial. Thinking you're "okay" is not enough. We must face the facts and then make decisions to adjust your lifestyle towards greater health. In the same way, we can measure our spiritual heart to check the quality of what's going on inside of us.
A heart towards God is evidenced by:
- Spending quality time with God on a regular basis and a strong desire to know him more.
- Expressing your love for God frequently. Worship is a priority in your life.
- A longing to please God and a diligence in obeying his instructions for your life.
- Sensitivity to the conviction of the Holy Spirit and a quick response to repent for anything you do wrong - whether in thought, word or action. Your conscience is active.
- Passion, zeal and enthusiasm for God's work in the earth.
- Sensitivity to the feelings of other people. You watch your words and actions carefully, always trying build up and encourage others.
- A love and a boldness to actively reach out of your circle of friends to embrace and include others in your life and relationships. You're friendly and hospitable.
- A willingness to forgive those who offend you and show God's love towards them.
- A burden for the poor and the needy - those less fortunate than you - that motivates you to give resources (time, money and energy) to help them out.
- A burden to see those who are far from God have a relationship with him - your friends, people in our city and nation and even in other nations of the world.
What's the spiritual condition of your heart today? Is it healthy and strong, passionately in love with God and pursuing his purpose with enthusiasm? It is "hot", on fire and fervent? Or is it becoming merely "warm", lulled into a comfort zone through the subtle intake of apathy, indifference, discouragement, worry and the things of this world easing into your system? Or is it becoming "cold", hard and totally shut down to the promptings of God's Spirit?
The Holy Spirit always comes to bring conviction, never condemnation, and conviction is always aimed towards positive
change. Stop doing things that are harmful and start making decisions that lead to life. Also, feeling the conviction of the Holy Spirit doesn't mean you've changed. You must make a decision to respond to what the Spirit is saying or prompting and make a change in your life. You must do things differently.
God has called us as a body to accomplish some pretty incredible things for his kingdom - having a tangible impact on
communities, cities and nations. That's big! But we will never do that, unless the heart and soul of the church is healthy and strong.Suggested Discussion Questions:
1. How can we as a Life Group focus on the church's three major Ministry Priorities:
- Prayer? Here is a good opportunity to talk about prayer within the Life Group. Open it up for ideas such as a "prayer chain" for Life Group member's needs, etc.
- Serving? Here is a good opportunity to discuss how Life Group members can serve in the Life Group and also in other church ministries (have a few "Ministry Opportunity Brochures" handy).
- Outreach? Here is a good opportunity to discuss what outreach events or activities the Life Group could do this year and how you can help one another reach your friends for Christ.
2. What are some tangible indicators of a "heart after God"?Have various members read some Scriptures about the "heart" (such as 1 Sam.16:7. 2 Chron.16:9. Prov.4:23. Ezek.11:19; 36:26-27 or any of the other mentioned above). Then ask them the question #2. You can use the list in the sermon notes above as a guide, but it is best to allow them to describe what they see first, before giving suggestions.
3. What decisions or changes do we need to make to ensure we have a "heart after God"? The aim here is to encourage people to make appropriate decisions to adjust their lifestyle so as to live in a way that will enhance the spiritual health of their life. Lasting change requires a decision of the will not just an emotional response. Finish with a prayer time together for each individual, for your Life Group and for the entire church family.Prayer for a New Heart
A new heart towards God:
- For God ("I will praise you with my whole heart ...").
- Gratitude ("In everything give thanks ..").
- Soft - sensitive.
- Fervent - passion.
A new heart towards others:
- Of love - others focused. Tender hearted.
- Those who have offended us ("Father forgive them ...").
- Our family.
- Our church ("zeal for your house ..").
A new heart for the lost:
Greg Burson Messages
- The lost ("that none should perish ...").
- The nations ("... all the world").
- Our city ("I have many people in this city ..").
- Our nation.
We don't have a direction problem just an obedience problem.
Who do you want to reach? You need a heart for them! What do you want to do? You need a heart for it!
Passion is the sign of a new heart. It is the fragrance of the church - magnetic and attractive. Passion needs releasing and then focus. There is an inbuilt passion in every person. It just gets diverted to the wrong things. Obey and follow your passion for Jesus. People are to be the most attractive part of the church.
"Open your eyes .. the harvest is white ..."We don't see as God does! We are often blind to the reality of the needs and
opportunities around us. Get healed of deafness and blindness. Start listening to God and then obey!
We have a giant foundation for the future. When the house is built, it won't collapse.
God wants to "extend" us like when a horse breaks into full gallop (full extension). The church has been doing dressage for too long. It's time to go cross-country. Macedonia ("extended land") call - extend your world! Go where you've never been before. Expand your territory and move out of your "comfort zone". Be stretched and flexible.
The church is "expecting". God is about to birth something. It is time for new desires and new life. Life patterns are to change.
Ark - David dancing. There is a lid on the worship. Move it to a new level.
God is looking for the heart of David (Acts 13:22).
- He loved to serve. He was a worker and he loved and cared for sheep.
- He was a worshipper. Joy.
- He was a warrior - bear, lion and Goliath.
- He was a weakling. Brokenness.
- Re-affirm our vision and values. "I Have a Dream".
- "Antioch" word by KJC.
- Sort through "Ideas" and "Eldership" black folders.
- Review Vision Concepts - why, who, what, how.
- The importance of "purpose" - Godwin tapes.
- Rick Warren's "days of purpose".