This Is It – The Lost Sheep


What state were you in when you first walked into Mavuno?

Some of you had your act together and some of you were in pretty bad shape. The interesting thing is that people of doubtful reputation felt they could come close to Jesus and connect with him. They were attracted to his way of doing church.

Luke 15: 1-7

What you need to do is to imagine Jesus surrounded by people who would not regularly be seen in Church.  It is almost as if you were to bump into one of the Mavuno pastors talking to such a person of the opposite sex, skimpily dressed and a little tipsy; outside a joint in this city where people do lap and pole dancing and other such activities. Perhaps some of these women’s clothing were a little revealing; perhaps holding the pastor’s hand and walking a little distance with him

There was something about the way Jesus worded his messages that made them attractive for tax collectors and sinners. It also had the effect of offending the Pharisees. They experienced major tension with Jesus because of conflicting priorities. The Pharisees muttered or complained among themselves; because Jesus was not just eating with sinners, he was treating them like old friends.

They struggled to understand what Jesus considers priority:

i.      what brings God joy is when one wicked person changes their mind.
ii.     what brings God joy is when we demonstrate that we treat people of doubtful reputation as friends.
iii.    what brings God joy is when we are prepared to go to great lengths, who are willing to be inconvenienced to go in search of people who have lost their way in life.
iv.     what brings God joy is when we are radical about investing in other people so they can find God.

We should not make it hard for people who are turning to God.

Where else in life do we see people distancing themselves from people of doubtful reputation?

Many of us from the moment we got saved we changed our friends, changed our hang out joints, changed our company. The minute we enter into Church it is like we have entered a certain zone. As a pastor you are supposed to use words like: Babosh! Blesh Gad! Receive! Everything changes. People expect you to speak a certain way.

Where will you use words like anointed in your workplace? That meeting was anointed. No one ever says that sales pitch was anointed. We are very quick to use these words even when we don’t know what they mean. Other words like anointed, blessed, consecrated, dedicated, exalted, faithful, glorified, Hallelujah!

Like the Pharisees and religious scholars, we want to wait for people to get their act together somewhere else, and then come to us for the mark of approval. Jesus went beyond the ordinary Rabbi; He touched people with all their issues. But Jesus spoke in a language that people could understand. In Acts 15 when the early church was spreading into gentile territory, the Jewish Christians began to be concerned because they were encountering people with all sorts of pagan practices. And the question arose as to whether it was necessary for people to become Jews first before becoming Christians. And James the apostle gave a landmark ruling that gentiles should only be asked to abstain from fornication and eating meat with blood.

Acts 15: 19 It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God.”

We should not make it difficult for people who are turning to God.

There is a space for you to occupy and influence the place you are in by being approachable and making contributions in the space where you are in.  Jesus put himself in certain situations for the sake of compassion not for the sake of compromise. For you to grow you have to recognize God’s overwhelming priority to offer acceptance and recognition to sinners. To occupy spiritually we must align our priorities with his priorities. We must invest in others. It is not about compromise it’s about compassion Jesus demonstrated and understood that to get the pig out of the mud you must get into the mud but it does not make you into a pig.

Here at Mavuno, we have something in mind when we sit down to create a weekend experience. We begin with an unwritten set of assumptions that define success. There is a category of people that we want to reach. We plan our weekend services with the unchurched in mind. We see the teams that put our services together and the people who invite others as partners in an evangelism team. Our long term goal is for people to attend the services regularly and begin to experience transformation in the way they think and behave.

Success for us is when a regular member brings an unchurched friend to Church and that friend enjoys church so much that they come back again.

Every ministry environment communicates something. The sermon begins in the parking lot. By the time the preacher gets up to preach, the audience has already received a dozen messages. Many have already made up their minds as to whether they will come back the next week. Our desire is to create irresistible environments. We need men and women who will ask these questions each month.

  1. What does an irresistible ministry environment for children look like!
  2. How can we make our small groups model more irresistible?
  3. What could we do to make our weekend services/worship nights more irresistible?

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