This week in The River, the sermon was given by Brooke Snyder. The message was based on 2nd Thessalonians 1:3, and in it Brooke shares how Christian community is like a game of twister- it’s too close, there doesn’t seem to be enough room, and everyone stinks. All of that is true, and yet there is something wonderful in all that mess. Listen to find out what.
On September 16, The River worshipped on the banks of the Chattahoochee. Several people had told me they had guests coming, but when we started none of them had come. So when a woman I didn’t know came forward for communion, I assumed she was a guest who had come late. After worship, I approached her to say hello.
It turned out that she was not a guest of anyone.
Instead, what had happened was that this woman had come to the park because she was upset. She was a Christian, and she had come to the park to pray and find peace. When she saw us worshipping, she came over. All of this came out in a rush after I introduced myself. I asked her if we could pray together, and she said she would like that very much. I got a couple of women from church to sit with us, and we talked some more, and we prayed. I got up to speak to some other people, and the others stayed with her. They talked for awhile, sharing God’s love by being her friend and being there for her.
I asked her to write down her name on a prayer request card, and she filled it out. In a week, I and the others who spoke with her are going to follow up and see how she is doing. We’re going to keep reaching out to her. God brought her into our life, and we’re going to find out whether or not it was to bless her once, or to be part of our community, or what. I don’t honestly know what will happen.
What I do know is that this is how evangelism happened in the bible. The fact that she’s a Christian already is irrelevant. In the bible, people Jesus finds what are called “people of peace. People like Zacchaeus and the Samaritan woman at the well . These people come to Jesus desperate, and he helps them, but they also listen to his teachings. They believe what he’s saying, and they follow him.
Jesus also sends his disciples out to find people of peace. Not everyone we meet, serve and love will be a person of peace. Some people may accept our help, but not be interested in being part of our community, or in following Christ as we do. Will this woman be a person of peace? I have no idea, but we will find out in a couple of weeks when we go to visit her again. I’ll let you know how it goes. For right now, though, I’m just happy that we are following Jesus’s method of evangelism. I’m confident that if we do that, the results will come, and they won’t be the results that bible thumpers get. They will be results that bless us, our people of peace, and our world.
If you’re married, then you remember what it was like being a newlywed. That is how church was for the first Christians, and it is part of God’s vision of how God’s people live out their faith together. In this sermon I share how the early church was a ‘newlywed’ church, and how we can rekindle some of that passion today. Based on Acts 2:42-47, with a little bit of Revelation 2:2-5 thrown in.
Last Sunday we had “The River on The River,” at which our church had an outdoor worship in a pavilion at Azalea Park in Roswell. It’s a gorgeous spot, and it was a beautiful day, and when we arrived to set up the parking lot was already full. There were, however, boat trailer parking spots available. Six of us parked in three of those, two cars per spot, and we began worship.
I was in the middle of the prayers, eyes closed and focusing, when my six year old son wrapped his arms around me.”You’re going to get a ticket!” he said. Jolted out of my prayer, I was at first annoyed, but then what he had said started to sink in. Wasn’t he supposed to be with Brittany having Children’s Church? I wondered where Brittany was. Then I saw her, standing just outside the pavilion.
“You need to more your car so you don’t get a ticket,” she told me. I looked over, and sure enough two Roswell police officers were standing by our cars. I thanked her, and my son, and gave her my keys. Everyone who had to move a car did so while I resumed the prayers. Later Brittany told me that the police had intended to give only a verbal warning, but when they saw none of us coming to speak with them, they assumed that the cars either weren’t ours or that we didn’t care. The police had no idea we were praying. When Brittany saw them writing the tickets, she explained that we had been in prayer, and they agreed to let us move them.
This was much better than the last time we met the Roswell police, which was three or four years ago. On that day, we were working with a local group to help fix the exterior of the home of a blind man who had been taken advantage of by unscrupulous contractors. There was a miscommunication, though, and the blind man didn’t know we were coming, and the crew leader didn’t think to knock on his door and tell him we had arrived. So when the owner heard people banging on the outside of his house, he got out his gun, called the police, and told them that he was getting ready to shoot. The police quickly arrived, calmed the man down, and told us what had almost happened. We left, and we haven’t worked with that group since.
I don’t know why this stuff keeps happening, and why it only happens in Roswell, but those are two stories I’m going to remember for a long time.
Yesterday, The River Church worshipped on the banks of the Chattahoochee River. In this sermon, I share why we did that, why we are named The River Church, and how in the bible God used rivers to bring life to all people. Based on Genesis 1-2:17, Mark 1:9-11, and Revelation 22:1-5.
Jesus never went to church, nor did he ever pastor one. So why do we have them? Today we look at what a church is supposed to be, and how The River is living that out. Based on 1st Corinthians 12:12-27.