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Talk Notes: Called to… be light (5th Nov 2017)

(Sorry… the talk wasn’t recorded so you’ll never experience how amazing it was!!!)

Called To…

Called to… be light

On the previous talk in the series Dave’s talk was titled, “Called to… ministry”. He spoke from Jesus’ instructions in Matthew 5:14-16

You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.

In this statement Jesus releases ordinary people (that is who he was talking to) into his ministry – bringing God light to the earth.

And when he talks about how people put lights on stands, and not under a basket, he is saying God positions the lights so it will shine where its needed. This means all the places and people we find around us are precisely where God wants us to be light – he has strategically placed us to be his light.

We might think that our life is random – but not to God. Like embroidery in a frame – from one side it’s a mess of coloured thread, but from the other side it’s a beautiful picture. What looks like a random mess to us is actually God making our life into a beautiful work of art.

We might think God wants us to work with him in religious or spiritual places – church services, small groups, mission trips – and this is true, but the more amazing point is God is at work in our homes, neighbourhoods, workplaces, schools, gyms, clubs… and he wants us to work with him!

That was last time!

This Sunday we started to unpack what it means to be light.

We looked at Jesus’ declaration in John 8:12 – Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”  

This links into the idea from John 3:16-21.

In church we’ve often entred on verse 20: “All who do evil hate the light” and as a result we can create a culture of fear. We worry that popped outside the church won’t like us. This makes us nervous about saying we’re followers of Jesus and even more nervous about bringing our faith into situations and relationships outside of the church. We end up with a ghetto mindset – a holy huddle, trying to stay safe inside church and afraid of the people out there.

But verse 21 of the passage also says, “those who do what is right come to the light.” 

Dave talked that Jesus’ life wasn’t dictated by fear. He didn’t have a ghetto mindset and, despite knowing that some people weren’t interested in God, he still saw the world around him as being full of people who were open to God.

Jesus’ Non-Ghetto Strategy

So we looked at Luke 10:1-9 to try to understand the way Jesus understood the world around him.  He saw a great harvest – God already at work with people who were ready to start responding to his call.

Jesus sent out his followers to help these God-ready people be pointed towards God and gave them really practical advice – his strategy to reach them. We looked at these and tried to update and understand it for our context:

  1. Pray – “So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest”
    • Do we pray for the people around us? If God has strategically set us up to provide his light to the people around us are we praying for God (who is in charge) to use us as light?
    • Prayer often retunes our heart into God’s frequency. We can find our desires aligning with what he wants
    • Think of all the many people around you. Is there someone God is prompting you to start praying for? What ways can you do this regularly? (for example, set a daily reminder on your phone)
  2. Go – “Now go”
    • For the disciples going was to villages and towns. For us it’s to Go into our everyday lives. No staying in our holy huddles, but coming out from under our basket and looking to shine wherever we are
    • What places in your life are there opportunities for you, as a follower of Jesus with the Holy Spirit inside you, to make a difference – however simple or small?
  3. You’re Enough – “I am sending you out as lambs among wolves. Don’t take any money with you, nor a traveler’s bag, nor an extra pair of sandals”
    • Jesus is saying we don’t have to compete on the world’s terms – we don’t have to be wolves
    • Sometimes we think we could do so much better if only we knew more, or were better looking, or had such-and-such equipment or resources
    • Jesus says we’re enough just as we are!
    • Where do we feel we might need something extra to be light to those around us? How does our insecurity actually help us? (Hint: 2 Corinthians 12:9-10) How can we push through our insecurities – what helps us to do this?
  4. Be Focussed – “And don’t stop to greet anyone on the road”
    • What might distract us from doing what God is calling us to do? How might our desires and concerns be out of harmony with the priorities and life God has for us?  How can we evaluate this?
  5. Find A Person of Peace – “Whenever you enter someone’s home, first say, ‘May God’s peace be on this house.’ If those who live there are peaceful, the blessing will stand; if they are not, the blessing will return to you. Don’t move around from home to home. Stay in one place, eating and drinking what they provide. Don’t hesitate to accept hospitality, because those who work deserve their pay”
    • Jesus tells his followers to look for people who are already warm to God. It’s not our job to get people to God – he’s already at work in people. But he wants us to work with him to help people. If we can join in with what God is already doing then we’ll be much more fruitful and it will be easier
    • Jesus says to look for three things, which could be simplified for us to look for certain characteristics in people:
      1. They Like You – there is a relational favour and it’s nice to be with them
      2. They Listen to You – they are open and (increasingly) interested in your story and how God has blessed you
      3. They Serve You – they actually want to help you and even start to get involved with your ministry – i.e. as you outwork your faith by helping and blessing others they also enjoy helping you do this
    • Who do you have around you who fulfil the three characteristics above? If you’re not sure, how could you test someone? This is turning up the temperature to see how warm they are to God
      • For example, you might see if they want to hang out.  Or you might talk about something God has done in your life (or even your experience at the church service last weekend) and see if they’re interested. Or you might invite them to help you to do something.
      • What could you do towards this over the next week?

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Posted on 8th November 2017
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