Thursday, August 4, 2011

Being Christ through out Campus

I had the privilege of teaching our Vintage Uptown Campus family again this weekend at our worship gatherings. We are closing an "Identity" Series. This has been a rich time of growth as we have talked about who we are as Vintage Church. This weekend I walked through Acts 10 and applied the truth from this passage into what being the Church in our community, city, nation and world would look like.

Listen here

Acts 10 is simply a story of 2 men in whom God is working through the Gospel to transform lives.

The 2 Men
  • Cornelius - a God-fearer, a Gentile who needed the Gospel
  • Peter - a Converted Christian, who shared the Gospel
In Acts 10, God is showing us that His Church will include all people from all nations. This is because our God is a global God that is working throughout the world through His Spirit. He is also working through sending of His church, an important note is that he sent Peter to share the Gospel.

It is particularly intetesting to note that America has become a global nation with people from across the globe moving here. Many American cities, from San Francisco to New Orleans to New York to Miami to Chicago, are experiencing explosive growth from people of all countries. I have heard that America is quickly becoming a majority-minority-nation.

Here are some of the ways that I have seen this in New Orleans:
  • Restaurants from every country in the world [Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, American, Mexican, French and New Orleanian]
  • The Magazine Street pavers who I have met that don’t speak fluent English.
  • The chef of my favorite Mediterranean restaurant speaks very broken English.
  • The large number of Asian students studying at Tulane and Loyola.
  • A drive from Nashville to Louisiana shows that there is not an overwhelming majority race living in Uptown.
  • The Hispanic population has doubled in Metairie over the last 10 years.

I believe that God is working in these demographic shifts for His glory. And this provides the Church a great opportunity. In Acts 10, God works in 2 men in order that the the Gospel can transform lives. Note what Peter shares with Cornelius - "The Gospel says":
  • the forgiveness of sins is available for every person in every nation [v. 35]
  • the forgiveness of sins is possible because of what Jesus Christ has done [v. 39-40]
  • the forgiveness of sins comes through believing in Jesus Christ [v. 43]
I'm thankful for the way God is working through the Church in New Orleans. More specifically I'm thankful for God's grace in the life and ministry of Vintage Church over the last 3 years. I hope that we will continue to pray for God's favor and grace.

This fall I'm praying we will apply the truth of Acts 10 in 2 primary ways:
  • Individually
At Vintage Church, all mission and ministry begins with the individual. This is because every person who is saved by the Gospel is then empowered through the Gospel to be a witness for the Gospel.

I've encouraged our campus to begin to ask "Spirit-sensitivity" questions last week.
This week I encouraged them to begin to ask this one question:
  • Who is my Cornelius?
- Someone who looks different than you ~ racially
- Someone who thinks different than you ~ religiously
- Someone who smells different than you ~ economically

  • Corporately
As a family we also want to take time when we unite together to serve our community, city, nation and world. So here's some of the plans for this fall:

- Serve our Community
One of the biggest ways that God has worked in our community over the last 3 years has been the outside volunteer teams that come every summer and daily serve our community. As a campus we are going to gather 3 Saturdays this fall to serve our community, doing many of the same things that these groups have done throughout the summer.

- Serve our City
There are about 1.1 million people in the Orleans, Jefferson & surrounding parishes. NOBA has shared that about 7% of the population in the Orleans and Jefferson parishes are connected to an evangelical church. This has led Pastor Rob and myself to begin to pray for more churches and campuses. This city needs thousands of more churches. As we prayed, God worked. On September 9, 2011 the Vintage Metairie Campus will launch. God has already been moving and transforming lives since January. We're excited to see how God will continue to work in this community. Check out Vintage Metairie webpage for updates.

- Serve our Nation
As a church family we want to be sent like Peter was to other Corneliuses that are in cities throughout America. An opportunity in August is a trip to Tuscaloosa, Alabama. We are going from Wednesday Aug 17th to Saturday Aug 20th. I will be giving more information and details soon about this trip.

So there's our prayer along with some of the plans for the fall. I pray God will work in you and through you in whatever city or country that He has placed you.

One final thought: below is a video that I believe gives a visual picture of our Identity journey.

This is who we are, this is what we do as Vintage Church

Go BE the Church

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