We continue with week two of our series, CODE, at C3 Church Wellington. The series CODE is all about the DNA of C3 Church Wellington – who we are, who we want to be, and the culture we want to cultivate as a people.
If you weren't able to make it on Sunday, let's recap it, because we really don't want you to miss out!
Code two: We choose the boat.
any dishonest tax collectors and other notorious sinners often gathered around to listen as Jesus taught the people. This raised concerns with the Jewish religious leaders and experts of the law. Indignant, they grumbled and complained, saying, “Look at how this man associates with all these notorious sinners and welcomes them all to come to him!”
In response, Jesus gave them this illustration:
“There once was a shepherd with a hundred lambs, but one of his lambs wandered away and was lost. So the shepherd left the ninety-nine lambs out in the open field and searched in the wilderness for that one lost lamb. He didn’t stop until he finally found it. With exuberant joy he raised it up and placed it on his shoulders, carrying it back with cheerful delight! Returning home, he called all his friends and neighbors together and said, ‘Let’s have a party! Come and celebrate with me the return of my lost lamb. It wandered away, but I found it and brought it home.’”
esus continued, “In the same way, there will be a glorious celebration in heaven over the rescue of one lost sinner who repents, comes back home, and returns to the fold—more so than for all the righteous people who never strayed away.”
Luke 15 v 1 - 7
As a church we believe that this is the ultimate example to follow when it comes to code two: we choose the boat.
We are a mission focused church.
In Luke 15, Jesus tells the parable of the shepherd tending for his flock of sheep. The shepherd accounts for ninety-nine of his sheep and when he realises just one was missing, the shepherd without a second thought went back for the lost sheep. When the single sheep was found, the entire flock was reunited and the shepherd gathered friends and family to celebrate the reunion of his whole flock.
This is a beautiful representation of Jesus and His love for us. Jesus will do anything to see us know him intimately. The heart of Jesus is for the lost. Jesus will always leave the ninety-nine to find the one. Why? Because we all matter to Him.
On Sunday, Pastor Steve shared a vision that he had with us. It began with Steve and his wife, Bex, on a beautiful, picturesque beach and it seemed perfect. As the vision continued, Steve noticed beyond the breakers that lots of people were drowning in the water. The moment of what seemed beautiful and perfect turned to become a moment of frantic panic realising what they could see beyond the waves. Steve and Bex looked for a way to help, they noticed the nose of a dinghy sticking up out of the sand so they dug it out and started to row out. They gathered as many as they could into their boat and rowed them to the beach and then went back out to save more, and so on. On one occasion, Steve noticed on the beach there were lots of people already there sunbathing, playing volley ball, and just relaxing, completely oblivious. Everyone was so unaware of what was happening beyond the breakers. Steve then realised all the other noses of dinghies covered in sand, opportunities for more people to be saving those in need who were drowning. There were too many people to rescue, it wasn’t a two man job.
Our mission as a church is to bring those that are far from God, close to Him. We as a church, believe that it is the highest of priority to bring people to Jesus. Our heart is for the lost people of our city, nation and of this world. We don’t want to be people who are so unaware and oblivious to miss the fact that people are drowning and that Jesus is needed desperately! We want to be a people that choose the boat and will do whatever it takes to see people far from God, come close to Him.
We are a church that goes.
The greatest part about knowing Jesus is that we are well equipped to get in the boat and go. We carry the spirit of God inside of us and we have the good news, the gospel to share. We are ambassadors of God, we represent Him.
God has given each of us a mission field - take a look at your family, friends, work colleagues, high school buddies, and uni mates. They are your ocean. God has given you a responsibility to tell them the good news, help them to understand truth of who Jesus is and watch them fall in love with Jesus. People before us chose the boat and because of their choice, we now stand here with the choice: beach or boat. We as a church will always choose the boat.
We are church that comes.
There is a growing trend in churches worldwide for a decrease in church attendance and the frequency of an average Christian church goer. It is common to see people become isolated within the church community and eventually not be a part of community all together.
The lambs were reunited when the Shepherd brought the one lost sheep home. The isolated sheep was brought back into the group and the shepherd, his neighbors and friends celebrated together.
“Your lives light up the world. Let others see your light from a distance, for how can you hide a city that stands on a hilltop? And who would light a lamp and then hide it in an obscure place? Instead, it’s placed where everyone in the house can benefit from its light. So don’t hide your light!
Matthew 5:14 - 16 14
When we come together and gather, our lights become brighter and stronger. Coming together is choosing the boat life. If we are gathering, we are showing others where they come to find Jesus. Your light, your praise, your worship, and your “amen” matters. You make a difference, we together make a difference. As we do this, watch darkness give way to light, it always will!
We are a church that brings.
One of the most simple yet most powerful questions we could ask is this:
“Would you come to church with me?”. If we don’t ask, by default the answer is “No”.
We will be people that cultivate the habit of inviting people to church. We will be a church that cultivates a habit of inviting people into relationship with Jesus. We choose not to deny someone the opportunity of finding intimacy with God, deep relationship with people, and freedom and acceptance in community.
Jesus left the ninety-nine to go back for the one. We exist as a church to follow in Jesus’ footsteps. We as a people and a church, will always go back for the one because everyone matters. We choose the boat, not the beach.
By Shekinah Rapata