#Blueprint – Encounter

If you went onto the streets or in your offices and asked people to describe Christians in one word, what do you think many would say?

Blueprint Nov- Facebook Poster

How many of you gave a positive answer? Wow… all three of you 🙂 How many anticipated a negative reply? Hypocritical, judgmental, naive, gullible, arrogant, boring, deluded etc?

Now for many here, you know that this stereotyping of Christians is grossly unfair. Not all Christians are hypocritical and judgmental! Not all Christians are boring or naive! Not all churches are money-making machines to exploit gullible worshipers! There are many Christians and Christian organizations and churches that are doing great things – in providing healthcare, quality education, uplifting the poor, working for social justice and spreading the gospel of hope in Christ. And anyway, even the bible warned that the world will always be hostile to followers of Chris. Our job is not to get people to like us!

As accurate as all these objections might be, the truth is that the world today is increasingly getting suspicious of and hostile towards Christians. And while some of their sentiment might be unfair and inaccurate, could a part of the problem perhaps be that Christians have wondered away from the BLUEPRINT – the life that Jesus lived and called them to?

The startling thing when you read about Jesus is that he was such an attractive individual that all sorts of people were attracted to him. And so this month we want to explore Jesus’ BLUEPRINT, and how we can live such lives that like him, we are attractive to the people around us. As 1Pet.2:12 says, we are to live such good lives among unbelievers that though they accuse us of doing wrong, they may see our good deeds and glorify God!

Let’s turn to Mark 1.14-20. READ v.14-20

If you read the gospels, you’ll realize that Jesus had one key topic that he preached about over and over. It was the thing he talked about more than anything else. It was the message about the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God simply meant God’s rule over everything.

Many of his listeners probably assumed that he was talking about a political revolution. But Jesus had a different sort of revolution in mind. His revolution had to do with starting a movement of the heart in radical, passionate followers, who would then step out and effect God’s influence on their world. This passage tells us how he went about recruiting the leaders who would carry out this revolution.

There are two things that are very unique about the way Jesus recruited the future leaders for his movement. The first had to do with who did the recruiting. Among the Jews, the way things worked is if you wanted to become a scholar, you would do your research to find the best rabbi/teacher available and you would apply to them to become your mentor. If you’ve ever applied to study in a prestigious college, then you know what I’m talking about! But in Jesus’ case, the equation was reversed. He’s the one who did the recruiting – it’s like Harvard applying for you to join them! As he later told them in Jn.15:16, ‘you did not choose me but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit’.

The second unique thing about who was recruited. Jesus could have had his pick of sophisticated people in Jerusalem but he instead came to a rather backward place called Galilee. He could have picked the most promising scholars in the land but he picked some uneducated fishermen from the lakeside. He clearly didn’t pick them for their spirituality! In fact one could argue that he picked the people who were the least qualified.

How many here know that if not for Jesus, you are the least likely person to have been in church today? If this is you, then this scripture is great news for you! You didn’t qualify yourself to serve Jesus. He qualified you! Tell your neighbor, ‘relax, it’s not about you!’

On the other hand, there are others of us here who feel we were not so bad when we came to Mavuno. You felt like a decorated war veteran – you’d keshad for hours and knew how to cast out demons! If this is you, then this scripture is a reality check for you!  You didn’t qualify yourself to serve Jesus. He qualified you! Tell your other neighbor, ‘relax, it’s not about you!’

The amazing thing is that somehow, God in his wisdom has called and qualified this group of unlikely people sitting here today to join his revolution. None of us has any basis to think we’re better than those who don’t come to church! 1 Cor.1:26-9 reminds us ‘Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world [tell your neighbor – foolish!] to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. HE chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things – and the things that are not – to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.

Jesus looked for ordinary, unlikely people and called them to lead his revolution. In the same way, when we began Mavuno 9 years ago, we felt that God wanted us to focus on reaching the least likely people – urban un-churched young adults. Few churches were interested in reaching this skeptical group who were mostly skeptical about church. Many of them saw church as a place for religious activity or as a place where people just want your money (panda mbegu). We set out to start a church to reach a generation that was disillusioned with or indifferent about the church. And starting with such people, we were to raise them up to become the hope of our continent.

God by His amazing grace has blessed our efforts and 9 years later, we have grown to over 4500 people in 9 campuses spread over 6 countries. We have seen many of our friends and colleagues who would never have been caught in church service come to check us out and have a personal encounter with Jesus! Marriages have been saved. Radical life change has occurred. The amazing thing is that almost 90% of people who come to Mavuno come because someone close to them invited them, or because they saw such dramatic change in someone’s life that they decided to investigate for themselves. Clearly, we are a church that hungers to see ordinary people encounter an extraordinary God. Let me introduce you to one such person…

INTERVIEW…

And that’s why at Mavuno, we love to preach the same timeless message of the gospel but in ways our generation can understand. That’s why we do music the way we do, in genres that today’s generation can connect with. That’s why we host our services the way we do, in a conversational, relaxed style that engages our hearts and minds. That’s why we preach the way we do, giving practical handles that you can apply at work the rest of the week. That’s why we reach out to our community the way we do, going to where our generation is. We don’t do this to try and be cool! Rather than try to change how people behave or how they dress or how they talk, we want them to come as they are. We introduce them to Jesus, and we step out of the way. We let Him transform them into world changers who impact others!

Because you see, Jesus’ call was not just ‘come follow me’ but it’s ‘come follow me and I will make you fishers of men. This is more than just a Sunday school song! Where were these guys when Jesus found them? They were hustling to make a living and to provide for their families, just like ordinary Kenyans! If you asked Simon and Andrew their definition of success, what do you think they would have told you? They wanted to be successful fishermen. Young and rich!

Now I like that Jesus didn’t criticize their dream. He didn’t trash what they were doing. Instead it’s like he was saying, catching fish is not a bad thing. But that passion you have, bring it to me and let me show you why I gave it to you.’ Come with your job, dreams, profession, your ambition and I will make it more. I’ll make your life so attractive that you will influence many people for eternity.

What does all this have to do with living an attractive Christian life? Everything! You see this call to follow Jesus is not a one-time event. Its not like following someone on Twitter where you press ‘follow’ and from that time on you get periodic updates on your timeline. Instead, saying yes to follow Jesus means fully surrendering your whole life to him every day of your life from that point on. It means you stop living for yourself. It means everything about you becomes a tool to impact others and extend God’s rule in their lives! 

The Church today could easily be said to have lost the script – at some point it became about us! How our lives can become better. How God wants to bless us. We settle for a good life when God has called us to an extraordinary life of impact. We settle for our personal dreams, which are so small compared to God’s world changing dreams for us! We forget that our greatest calling is to be part of the greatest thing that God is doing on this planet – impacting men and women so that they join the great revolution. Maybe this is part of what turns off people who are not Christians in our culture. They observe us and can see that it’s all about us. We’re all in this thing for ourselves!

The disciples got it – they left everything behind in order to follow Jesus. From that time on, the most important thing in their lives was calling others to join the revolution. They were at the center of the most important thing that God was doing on planet earth. And their lives would never be the same again! These men, whose greatest ambition could have been been to become the most successful fishing boat owners on Lake Galilee became the fishers of men that would change their generation.

Meeting your need – that’s a small dream to live for! Your pocket is too small a vision for God to bless. You were created for more! And the route to the more is not what the world teaches – it’s not hustle more and network more and make more. It’s surrender to Jesus and trust Him to show you why He made you. All those gifts, all those ambitions, all those desires – they are a reflection of something bigger that God placed within you. You were created for impact! Jesus’ challenge to you this morning is, ‘Come follow me and I’ll show you WHY I made you!’ God wants to make your life so attractive that you will influence many people for eternity.

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2 Responses to “#Blueprint – Encounter”

  1. Very inspiring and life changing message …let no one disqualify you , its God who qualified you : Col 2:17 so many do not know Jesus as Lord and saviour because we’ve stopped seasoning the world with the love if Jesus …

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  2. Pray for fearlessness in this generation. That we would get with God’s agenda above our own because that is where we find our purpose.. in Him. Thank you for this reminder and am encouraged to be fearless in my love and pursuit of Christ where I live, work and play. That all would come to know Jesus and be found in him. I live in Johannesburg and desire for God to work in my community in a similar way to Mavuno. Let us know when there is another Mizizi in Johannesburg.
    Many blessings.

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