Schools are starting, vacations are ending and it’s a great time to reflect back over the last 3/4 of the year so we can move through the last 1/4 together well.
We embraced three priorities at the start of 2019.
One, we recommitted ourselves to cultivating gospel clarity in the church for the world. To that end, we hosted the first installment of our Gospel Clarity Study Series. Together, we explored the relationship between the Gospel and Ethnic Identity. On November 9, we will host the second installment looking at the Gospel and Spiritual Warfare.
Two, we recommitted ourselves to living on mission. As disciples of Jesus, we live as His ambassadors in the city of Seattle. That means, we represent Him and His kingdom. Our Missional Communities are walking through curriculum on how to make disciples together. The curriculum examines the three facets that make up our disciple-making process: 1) Forming Identity: helping disciples discover who they are in Christ, 2) Fostering Intimacy: helping disciples discover how to walk with Christ, and 3) Fueling Involvement: helping disciples discover how they can serve Christ.
Three, we recommitted ourselves to being the church. Our prayer since the start of the year has been for every person who belongs to our church to fall in love with being the church all over again. We started the year studying the Book of Ephesians which explores how God designed the Church to make His grace visible to the watching world. On September 15, we will then start a series on the Book of Acts which showcases the Church in action, which is what we want to be! By God's grace, our church has been in action this year! We sent a team of disciples to encourage a church plant in Fuchu, Japan. We are sending another team to Northern Africa in October. Moreover, our Fremont and North Seattle Expressions hosted Imagine Creative Arts Camp for Kids this summer for over 110 kids. Our West Seattle Expression partnered with several West Seattle Churches in hosting a similar camp with an incredible neighborhood response designed to introduce neighbors to the Savior. All three expressions have hosted Parties in the Park and individuals and MCs have intentionally shared meals and experiences designed to nurture gospel-saturated relationships.
In light of all this activity, let's remember the connection between abiding in Christ and bearing fruit. Jesus tells us, "I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing." Activity apart from abiding in Christ will produce no fruit, neither in us nor in anyone else. Activity corresponding with abiding in Christ, however, produces fruit--fruit that lasts. Let's not just be active as we finish 2019 strong. Let's be active in abiding in Christ, which, in turn, bears fruit that lasts--that is, the fruit of gospel character and the fruit of gospel influence."