The Movement-Grace and Truth

Pastor Michael began his sermon by stating that he has been to a variety of churches over the years.  The common thread between all of the denominations was that they were designed for church people.  It seemed like those churches were always against something whether it was music, dancing, alcohol or divorce.  They were constantly trying to alienate entire groups of people.  If you didn’t believe and behave like them then you couldn’t join their church.  That is an example of the church being a kirche and trying to control everything rather than being a movement.  Pastor Michael wanted FBC to be part of the movement so he asked himself some important questions such as who is the church for and who gets to be a part of it?

He further defined ekklesia to mean called out.  We are a gathering of people who are following our Savior and being called out to be full of grace and truth.  Many churches tend to lean towards one side or the other.  The all truth churches only see things as either right or wrong with no gray areas.  They will tell you how wrong you are and won’t help you through the challenges in life.  They are judgmental and give no grace.  On the opposite end of the spectrum are the churches that are full of grace.  They are over flowing with love and accept you with open arms.  They do not have a moral code making it difficult to grow and mature your relationship with Christ.  As Christians we are called out to learn how to be both which opens up the opportunity for a lot of gray area.  The gray area is messy and is not always fair, but that is how the movement of Jesus is.  Not all people are at the same place in life.  There has to be different ways to reach people that are not cut and dry or full of rules.  There are days when you need to give someone the truth and there are days when you need to give them grace.

It should be easy to turn to God.  When churches are full of rules and regulations, you will always fall short.  When there are no rules then it becomes difficult to deepen your faith.  In order to be a part of the movement, you need to be comfortable with messy areas.  When you are at a low point in your life it is messy, but you still need love and forgiveness.  Jesus accepts you where you are at in life.  You are not here by accident.  Jesus found you and reached your holy spirit.  You are important to His movement.  It goes beyond just attending church on Sunday.  You need to go out and be a missionary for Jesus.  By adopting the principle of grace and truth then you can bring the message to those who need it.

The Movement-Ekklesia

What comes to mind when you think of the word church? Is it a white building with a steeple that you go to on Sunday morning? Is it a place to see your friends and family? Is it arguing with the kids because they want to sleep in? The church is not a physical building. The church is actually a movement created by Jesus that will go on forever and can’t be broken. This movement will transform lives, reach the lost and be a light in the community. This movement will never shut its doors because it is never ending and powerful.

Jesus reached out to the poor, the sick and the sinners. He preached in parables, which were often confusing and He preached about a kingdom that couldn’t be seen. Jesus did not preach to the super powers and religious people. He wanted to reach those that had nothing to offer. Jesus often offended people. Upon the truth that He was the savior and Son of God, Jesus started an ekklesia. The translation of ekklesia is a gathering of people united by a common identity and purpose. Pastor Michael read scripture from Matthew 16:13-18 when the disciples had an epiphany. Simon Peter’s name was changed to Peter which means rock and a world changing movement began.

After three years of His ministry, Jesus was betrayed and died on a cross. Those who were a part of this movement were hunted and tortured. Christians had to hide and gather in small groups to pray and eat together. If they whispered the word Jesus to the wrong person they could be killed. Despite these conditions, the ekklesia did not die. In 313AD Constantine, the emperor of Rome, legalized Christianity and became one himself. He began building churches and huge masses of people were saved. The church transformed into a Kirche, which is any ritual gathering place. With this shift in the movement, the enemy began to attack the leaders. The Bibles were locked up and the priest controlled the scriptures. The movement became a location as people didn’t have the word of Jesus anymore.

William Tyndale translated the Bible to English and began distributing them. He gave the word of Jesus back to the people. William renewed the idea of the church being more than just a physical building. The building is just a tool where the movement can gather to reach the lost. Tyndale was killed for translating the words of Jesus. The church is a movement built around the belief that Jesus is the Son of God and will do whatever it takes to show the unchurched that Jesus is the Savior. No matter where you are on your walk with Christ, you are equally important. God chose you to be a part of something so much bigger than yourself. Take that opportunity to invest in the people of your community.

Noel’s Mission Trip to Tijuana Mexico

Noel LeVasseur shared with FBC the experience he had while on his first mission trip. He was presented an opportunity to partner with Calvary Four Square Church to help a family that lost everything in a fire. Since Noel had some construction experience, he felt he would be a good addition. He prayed about it and decided to go. There were 11 people on the team and they were able to build a house for this family from start to finish in four days, minus the plumbing. The members of the team varied in age, but they bonded and worked well together.

One of the things that stood out to Noel was how proud the people of Tijuana are. They live in extreme poverty, but they do not beg for money. At stoplights they will try to sell you a bottle of water, a flower or offer to wash your windshield. They use scraps of paper for business cards to write the information of what they can offer you, so they can get paid for their service. It made Noel think of how we live in such a privileged country and take so many things for granted. Americans tend to have the “how can you help me?” mentality instead of the “how can I help others by serving God?” mindset.

Noel also realized how important family is to the people of Tijuana. The family, including the children, participated in the building of the house. They stayed strong even during difficult times. Flora was one of their children that helped everyday. She even made each member of the team a heart out of the scrap electrical wire to show how connected she was to the team. The father gave the key to Flora so she could be the first to open the door to their new house for the dedication feast. That was a special moment for Noel.

Noel attended church while on his mission trip. It was a modest building, but they had a band and televisions like FBC. The pastor had great energy and preached in Spanish and English. Noel felt comfortable and that he was in a place that was judgment free, much like being at FBC. The pastor’s sermon included the same clip from the Gladiator movie that Pastor Michael played during a sermon when Noel first started attending FBC. Noel knew that God was speaking to him. God was letting him know that He would always be there for him no matter where in the world he was. Noel has realized what it means to serve God and the reward that is felt from doing so. This experience was very powerful. There are so many ways that we can serve God. It’s not about us, but about how we can help others. Remember, what we do in life echoes in eternity.

Thank you so much Noel for giving FBC this incredible testimony.