Building ComeUnity

Posted in Uncategorized on July 3, 2013 by jimheinze

school-of-fish

Building ComeUnity.

Acts 2:46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

While watching a TV show about a group of people in Alaska working together as a community to survive the great dark winter months, I was struck with the importance of community. Here in this freezing cold dark part of the world community is vital for physical survival! If you don’t catch enough fish in the early months, then I don’t eat! If I don’t grow and preserve enough vegetables or fruit, then you don’t eat! If I let my cows be eaten by bears, then there is no milk or cheese, etc. Then I look at most of us here in US in our cities with stores where everything we need is available throughout the year. The need for physical interdependence is really not there. It alters or even eliminates our need or desire for community.

We know that in the bible community is very important. In fact at our church, New Hope, it is one of our five purposes — to “Build Community.” But what does that look like and why is it important? After all, I have around 400 friends on Facebook and many of them are Christian and a large portion of them attend my church. We meet together once a week on Sunday morning from 10:30 to 12:00 and then enjoy some visiting afterwards for about 30 minutes. Isn’t that enough?

One of the things that strikes me about community in the bible is the fact that it is quite often connected with eating! Sharing a meal together was a very important part of community. In fact the Greek root of the word “companion” has to do with sharing a meal together. Throughout the bible (from old testament feasts to sitting on a hill eating bread and fish together in the new testament) community is often centered around a meal. Why is that? Well, the obvious reason is that we when we eat together we are sitting, looking at each other, and forced into some conversation. I know that is usually hard for us (most of us anyway). While in Europe I noticed that in some restaurants people actually don’t mind if you sit at their table! That would seldom happen here. By in large we are isolationists. My comfort zone is important to me. Don’t bust in! I’ll text you if I need you for some reason.

I’ve discovered the fruit of isolation spiritually is disaster. The opposite also seems to be true. The more built up in community we are the more spiritually developed we become. The more we disconnect the harder and darker our lives can become. Community is vital for our spiritual sanctification! Sanctification is a theological term that basically means our ability to overcome the power of sin in our lives. I need you to help me walk in light and be victorious in my life. And guess what? You need me as well! We can’t stand in isolation! We are placed into the BODY of Christ. Yes, universal but also local! We are the church, a community of believers growing together in Christ, helping each other stand! Encouraging each other to grow and overcome. One mistake we make is to think that this can take place in an hour and a half setting on a Sunday morning! Listen, there is no way you’re going to build community with me nor I with you in that short time frame! No way at all! Never mind that a large portion of us only hit one or two Sundays a month! Then we wonder why our lives are falling apart! Where’s the Lord we ask? My marriage, my children, my life is upside down! Again I suggest, you can’t survive outside community! And like those folks in Alaska, if I don’t show up with my vegetables you don’t get any.

Community Mindset Shift
Here’s an idea. What if we stopped looking at community selfishly as in “why do I need it” and “what do I get out of it?” What if we stopped looking at community as meeting my needs and started looking at it as my participation meeting your needs? If I don’t show up then you don’t get what I’m supposed to bring. If you don’t show up to build community then I don’t get what God as given you to bring. You’re missing out on what I’m to bring and I’m missing out because you’re not there. And, of course, each of us are given gifts by the Holy Spirit. But if you are not committed to being built up in community then those gifts are not only left unused but others don’t receive the benefit! I can think that by missing church it only affects me, but I’d be so wrong. What I was given by the Holy Spirit to use in the community of believers goes unused. Wasted! Quenched! I’m stuck with a bag of “unused gifts”.

Community is vital for survival! The church is a community. The local church is a community. Unfortunately, we’ve been trying to build community with isolationist mindsets! What an overwhelming and impossible task that is! We need the Lord to change us. We are all significant in the body of Christ! Again, I not only need you, but you need me! We need to take the opportunity to build community — life together.

I Surrender Almost All

Posted in Uncategorized on October 1, 2012 by jimheinze

I Surrender All

We sang that song Sunday and I prefaced it with, “Sometimes it’s very hard for me to sing this song. Maybe it should be titled “I Surrender Almost All”!

I received this Facebook message from a friend after church: “My favorite line of the day…I surrender ALMOST all! I always wonder if I’m the only one feeling like a hypocrite singing I surrender all. Do I really surrender all? No…I often sing..help me surrender all or… Show me where I’m not surrendering all. So glad you said that today : )”

All to Jesus I surrender all to Him I freely give. Just as any other part of our walk with Christ is done in faith I think our singing to Him should be an act of faith as well. Yes, we stand before our God undone. We realize the inadequacies in our lives. No one needs to tell us. The Holy Spirit does a fine job of pointing those issues out. But there is a desire even a hunger to be clean and completely surrendered to the lover of our souls. So we sing the words. We fight the battle yes I do, no I don’t, yes I do……. There’s another line that gets me as well. In the song Jesus Lover of My Soul, we sing “I love You, I need You, though my world my fall I’ll never let You go. My Savior, my closest friend, I will worship You until the very end.” Really? Never let You go? Until the very end? Oh how I want to. Oh how I desire that to be the truth! Here I am standing here singing it to Jesus.

I think my friend had a great perspective here. Help me to surrender. Show me where I’m not surrendering.

Stepping out in faith and growing through the songs we sing. Hearing what we’re singing. Letting God fill us and challenge us to be people of faith even in our corporate worship.

How about the line, “Let me feel the Holy Spirit truly know that Thou art mine”. Do we really desire that as well?

The Great Goal

Posted in Uncategorized on September 29, 2012 by jimheinze

The Great Goal

They may start out with good intentions. But they also realize that the office that they’re striving for offers power and, in most cases, great wealth. They strive hard to obtain their goal. A lot of effort and money is spent on pleading their case to the public. Some twist the truth, some outright lie. All is done and said with the great goal in mind. We listen, we get confused, and then make a decision to trust one of them. We believe in him or her. We feel good about our decision. This one seems different. This one seems like the one who’ll do the job! Finally things are going to change. 

 On that day, they arrive at their posts. They are welcomed by those who have been there for years. For some it’s been a hard fought journey. For some, idealistic causes are still fresh on their minds. There’s the handshake and with the wink of an eye the game begins. Play along and you’ll get that power and wealth you desire. Cause trouble and you might as well not even unpack your suitcase. Avoiding the temptation takes great courage and strength. All too many fold, surrender, give up. After all, they want to unpack, put their things away and make a home and a future for themselves. The’ve obtained the first step of their great goal.

 There is one man who was different than all. He had a great goal. But unlike any other man His great goal was untainted with selfish desire or self gratification. His goal was free of the drive for power or great wealth. His great goal was motivated by His great love. 

 Matthew 9:35 Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. 36 But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. 37 Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. 38 Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”

 Jesus was moved with compassion for us! No wealth or power in sight. (in fact He was going to die to obtain His goal) Only compassion and love for mankind. His goal was to shepherd us to a relationship with God that can only come by surrendering to the Shepherd! He also said “come to me all who labor and are heavy ladened and I will give you rest for your souls”. Then He told His followers to go out into the harvest and let others know! The Great Shepherd desires to bring you into a great rest. To bring fulfillment to your life. What a great hope!

 You see, I am a laborer in His harvest. When I listen, I am not confused at His promises. I have no fear that He is “in it for Himself”. That brings me great comfort when I see those making their promises to obtain their great goal. There is a scripture in Psalm 20 that says: 7 Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; But we will remember the name of the Lord our God. 8 They have bowed down and fallen; But we have risen and stand upright.

 His great goal? It was to offer us not only comfort from weariness now but beyond this life into the eternal. To live life trusting the Great Shepherd now is glorious. But Jesus Himself said  “I tell you for certain that everyone who has faith in me has eternal life.” John 6:47

 

 

 

 

 

 

Worship? That’s tomorrow

Posted in Uncategorized on September 1, 2012 by jimheinze

Romans 12:1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Calendars are great tools to help us plan the future. With a quick glance we can scan the next week while mentally slotting our tasks into correct alignment for perfect order.  I mean, who doesn’t like to keep things organized? Monday is my day off, Tuesday staff meeting, Wed etc. By Saturday we’ve looked over our calendar with careful eyes in hopes that all that was recorded was successfully accomplished. Job well done! Then we see that tomorrow is Sunday. For some finally, a day of rest. For others there’s a list at least as big or bigger of things yet to get done before we flip the calendar to Monday and start the process all over again. Oh, there’s that small hour and a half appointment at 10:30. I’ve got to get to church and worship! Wow, then after that I have a bunch of stuff to do. Birthday parties, a day at the lake, last minute work to get done before Monday, homework, sporting events…..

We show up at our “place of worship” sometimes on time and sometimes late. Some sit and wait and some pitch in and get to work. Ushering, greeting, serving snacks, helping with the nursery, teaching the children, play our instrument, attending a “special” meeting afterwards. Turn off the lights, set the alarm and lock the doors. Whew!

Sunday night we again look into the future by scanning our calendars for the week ahead. Monday, back to work, pick up the kids, friends over for dinner. Tuesday …….

Holy Holy Holy Lord God Almighty

Posted in Uncategorized on July 29, 2012 by jimheinze

Image

We sang that great and wonderful hymn this morning.  After church I was speaking to one of my friends and he thanked me saying that he really liked that old hymn. Well, I really like it as well. As a worship leader I pick the songs that we will be singing each Sunday. Sometimes I pick songs that people like and I’m sure that sometimes I pick songs that people don’t like. (Although they will very seldom come up and tell me that they didn’t like a particular song) Picking songs is an interesting procedure. We usually sing 4 or 5 songs on a Sunday morning. My dilemma is how do you sing about an awesome God in so few songs? How do you celebrate just how magnificent God is in a half hour of corporate singing? He’s infinitely greater than any few songs we can string together. I’m sure we’d all admit to that. Then there’s the expectation of fast song or slow song, like God is waiting to tap His foot or close His eyes and ponder just how great He is. While we do the best we can to worship Him, all too often it becomes about us and our need to sing something familiar, something we hear on the radio. We can relate to the song that kept us calm on the freeway, patient in the parking lot, or brings back fond memories of camp. Even the old hymn can bring memories to some of a simpler time in church when we sang from those worn and tattered hymnals. No video projector, no smoke machines, no flashing lights and thunderous speaker systems. Ah the memories. But then when you actually see the words you’re singing when you stand before an awesome God and start to declare:

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty

Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee

Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty

God in three Persons blessed trinity

Holy, holy, holy, all the saints adore Thee

Casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea

Cherubim and seraphim falling down before Thee

Which wert, and art and evermore shalt be

Holy, holy, holy, Tho the darkness hide Thee

Tho the eye of sinful man Thy glory may not see

Only Thou art holy there is none beside Thee

Perfect in power, in love, and purity

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God almighty

All thy works shall praise thy name in earth and sky and sea

Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty

God in three persons blessed trinity

Something hits you. WOW! God is Holy! And He loves me!

Yeah, I like that old hymn too.

Posted in Uncategorized on July 28, 2012 by jimheinze

TODAY!

Posted in Uncategorized on July 28, 2012 by jimheinze

http://youtu.be/uEBEKVEv4Hs

A friend posted a video of one of my favorite song writers and worship leaders, Brian Doerksen. His song is called TODAY. It directed my thoughts toward just how important TODAY is. TODAY is always a day of decisions. Everything revolves around the choices that we make TODAY. We could decide to help someone, hurt someone or even rob a bank. We could even start following after Jesus TODAY. I think of many that I come into contact with that will make a choice TODAY to take another hit or another drink. The bible talks a lot about TODAY. Psalm 95 tells us to listen to God’s voice TODAY. Hebrews 3:7 seems to give us a choice to listen to God by saying “TODAY if you will hear His voice. Joshua, God’s man and the leader of the Israelites, set a challenge before the his people to decide to serve God or idols. He said to choose this day (or TODAY) who you will serve. Jesus said in Matthew 6:34 Don’t worry about tomorrow. It will take care of itself. You have enough to worry about TODAY. In other words make the right decision TODAY. God is there to help you choose. Jesus has an open invitation to come to Him. In Matthew 11:28 He says “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest”.  Listen to His voice TODAY. And tomorrow? Well, that’s just another TODAY that isn’t here yet.