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Why We're Taking a Detour

God is sovereign, he works all things together for our good (Rom 8:28), and nothing can stop his plans (Isaiah 14:27). There are no detours for him.

But we take detours. God will redirect us through his Word, through circumstance, and as we follow the leading of his Spirit.  For the next three weeks we're going to make a detour in our preaching series, but I believe it's what God had planned for us all along. 

Last week on my personal retreat I took significant time to step back and look at our church and ask two crucially important questions:

Are we really making disciples?

What does making disciples look like for us?

If making disciples is our mission from Jesus (Matt 28) we must often step back and ask the question. Let's face it: life is busy. Church is busy. And in that busyness its hard to come up for air and remember where we're going, and why. But in God's kindness I think he brought my some clarity as I prayed and studied his word and I think it warrants a detour from our planned preaching series. 

I believe this is a crucial season for our church. In the fall we unexpectedly had a spike in guests and people checking out our church (both believers and nonbelievers!) and I believe that out of those folks God has drawn specific people to stay and be part of our mission. I also believe God is preparing us for an even greater impact on our city in the years to come. We're more than halfway through our renovation project as well and I want to be careful we don't focus more on our facility (a tool for mission) than our actual mission. So I believe this is the right time for a series like this before we head into Easter.

Our mini-series will be called Ordinary Life, Extraordinary Mission and it will focus on helping us all make connections between our daily, seemingly ordinary lives, and the great and glorious mission he has called us to. It will, by God's grace, be simple but very specific. My hope is that every member or attender will walk away thinking: "I get it now. I get what Jesus has called us to as a church. And I get how I'm supposed to play a part in it." 

So here's what to expect:

  • March 8 (This Sunday) Redefining Success –– Acts 28: What does "success" look like for individual Christians for the church? How can we use God's barometer of success instead of our normal and often worldly definitions. 
  • March 15 Redefining Mission –– Acts 1: What is our mission as Christians and as the church? How does this reshape everything from our calendar to our budget to what ministries we have at church? Why are Community Groups a crucial part of this?
  • March 22 Redefining Ministry –– Acts 2: We're often trained that "ministry" is a special event or a meeting at church, but is that really true? When we see the early church take up the work of the ministry it looks surprisingly ordinary, so how does this affect our "ministry" at the church, in our Community Groups, and in our families? 

One unusual aspect of this series is that I don't have a full plan for how to "implement" all this across our church. Instead, I want to preach God's Word and then have us all consider together how it affects each of our families, how it would affect the ministry we are leading, how it would reshape our small groups. So would you be part of this series not as a spectator, but as a player? 

Now, this does not at all mean we've given up Exodus. We want to be relentless committed to expository preaching and we'll return to Exodus soon and stay there through mid-summer. 

After two weeks out on Sunday I cannot wait to be back with my church family. I look forward to seeing you soon, 

-Ricky