I Will Build My Church

"I Will Build My Church  Interactive Workshop 2015

At the Annual Meeting, March 8, 2015, Pastor Jim gave an update of what the Elder Council heard from the Lord at the Elders Retreat December 2014.  They met several times following their retreat to clarify what God was saying.  The Lord directed them back to the Vision and Mission Statement of January 29, 2006.  At the Annual Meeting, everyone present received a copy of this statement.

What they sensed God saying had to do with the Church; not CCC, but the universal Church of Jesus Christ.  Jesus said in Matthew 16:18, "I will build my church.  So The Church belongs to Jesus, and He is the only one who can build it.  The Church is at the center of His plans.  Collinsville Congregational Church needs to take a good look at what The Church is”her nature and character.  We need to also look at what her purpose is, i.e. why she exists.

Key questions:
         -How does Jesus "build His Church?
         -What does "church growth entail?

An ongoing, interactive workshop was proposed to look into these questions.  For all those who sense the call on CCC to fulfill Christ's Vision and Mission for us, we would begin to meet during second hour (11:30-12:15) on Sundays beginning in April.  We would look into the New Testament documents which describe the Church and discover principles from which specific, measurable, attainable goals and objectives would be developed, always asking the question, "How does this apply to CCC?

We need YOU to help us strategize and develop an action plan for the next five years.  We would like you to be a kind of congregational "task force.

Where do we sense we are to be in the next 5 years?

What do we need to do to become the kind of Church we see in the New Testament?

In a day when many believers are giving up on the Church, if the Church is at the center of Jesus' plans and purposes, then how can we position ourselves to cooperate with Him, who is the Head and Chief Architect of the Church?

We had originally suggested today, April 12 as the launch day for the workshop, but we would like to defer its start until Sunday, April 19.

To prepare, please read Acts 1-5.

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Interactive Workshop Summary:  April 19, 2015

Acts 1:1-8

Everything changed with Jesus' Resurrection.  All their despair at His Death was transformed, yet it took all of the 40 days for them to not only be convinced He was alive, but to see His Resurrection in a full way, a complete way.

Just as in Luke 24, when Jesus, on the day of His Resurrection, opened their spiritual eyes to see the OT in a way they had never seen it before, and to see Him as never before, so for 40 days their eyes were gradually opened to begin to see everything in a new, complete way.

The 40 days was a time of preparation (like 40 years and 40 days in scripture is always about preparation).  Their understanding was limited before the Resurrection.  But by the time Jesus ascended they had a full understanding.

"Kingdom of God was the main theme of the 40 days.  It refers to the rule and authority of Jesus.  He is not only Creator, but Ruler of the entire universe.  They hadn't understood this either.  It took them 40 days to grasp it.

The disciples had lots of questions!  Their understanding of Jesus and His plans and purposes had been limited before His suffering and resurrection. Jesus needed to clear up much, especially misconceptions about who He was, why He came, and what He wanted them to do after He left.

PRINCIPLE:  The Church needs to believe (and proclaim) the rule and reign of Jesus Christ.  They need to see Him as more than just Savior, but King.

Unbelievers are not just being called to believe Jesus died on the Cross for their sins, but that He is sitting on a throne running the Universe and that everybody and everything is under His authority.  They need to submit to Him now.
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Interactive Workshop Summary:  5/3/15

As we gathered, Pastor Jim Wheeler shared some insights he had discovered over the two weeks break.

Acts 1 is not just a transitional chapter between the Resurrection in Luke 24 and Pentecost in Acts 2.  During the 40 days of Jesus' "post-resurrection ministry, the disciples experienced Jesus as real and alive among them, differently than before the Cross.  This was unique and different.

What was different when Jesus ascended?  Was Jesus any less real, any less present?  Did His Presence diminish when He left?  Was it "better when Jesus was with them?  (He Himself said it was better for Him to go than to stay, John 16:7.)

No, they still experienced the real, alive Presence of Jesus in their midst.

We conclude therefore from this chapter the following principle:

The Church is the real, manifest Presence of the risen, living Lord Jesus Christ.

A Goal then would be:
To encounter the Presence of Jesus
To cultivate the Presence of Jesus
To welcome the Presence of Jesus
To practice the Presence of Jesus
To draw the Presence of Jesus
To increase the Presence of Jesus

There are things believers do that increase His Presence, and cause Him to "show up more powerfully and actively.

Conversely, there are things believers do that decrease His Presence, i.e. they grieve Him and cause His presence to diminish.

Q.     What increases Jesus' Presence?

A.      Worship in Spirit and Truth
         Prayer (cf. Ephesians 1:15-23)
         Encouraging one another/fellowship/body life
         Holiness
         Repentance and confession; renunciation of pride, unbelief, independence, hard hearts
         Unity
         Expectation

Q.     What's missing?  What's holding back His presence?
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Interactive Workshop Summary:  5/17/15 (skipped Mother's Day, 5/10)

What happened in the "Upper Room?
         They "waited
         They had patience, they didn't get ahead of the Lord Jesus
         They waited expectantly
         They were anticipating something
         They didn't have the "tools
         They had enthusiasm ("en=in, "thus=God)
         They had a vision (received it from Lord Jesus)
         They were in "one accord, i.e. unity
         They were in tune with the Lord
         They were seeking the Lord
         They were waiting for a PERSON (Holy Spirit)
         They were waiting for POWER (i.e. to be energized, to be given ability)

We've made it too complicated!  SIMPLIFY!

Matthew 7:7  A-S-K

BELIEVE = Expectation
         That Jesus is who He says He is
         That Jesus can do what He says He can do
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Interactive Workshop Summary:  5/24/15, Pentecost Sunday

Today was the day of Pentecost, so we reviewed the summaries of the first 3 workshops, 4/19, 5/3, and 5/17.

Two principles had emerged in those sessions:
       1. The Church needs to believe in the rule and reign of the Lord Jesus Christ
        2. The Church is the real manifest Presence of the risen, living Lord Jesus Christ

Someone asked what "PRESENCE means, i.e. what do we mean when we say Jesus is "Present with us?

How do we know His Presence?

Of course, His Presence is always with us, yet there are times when Jesus comes in a special way, too.

The words:  sweet, glory, holiness, covering, energy/power, joy, attentiveness, and eyes being opened were suggested.

Also, that He is happy to be with us.

GOAL:  Seek the Kingdom of God (i.e. Jesus' Kingdom rule) first through PRAYER with expectation in home groups.

This (the fact that there are home groups which could be joined?) should be announced every Sunday.
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Interactive Workshop Summary:  5/31/15

When we met 524/15, we had come up with the GOAL:
"To seek the Kingdom of God (i.e. Jesus' Kingdom rule) first through PRAYER with expectation in home groups.

This goal still seemed a bit vague, and not "measurable and attainable enough.  So on 5/31/15, we sought to refine it more.

I'm not sure we accomplished this.  What we did discuss was "PRESENCE (cf. Summary of 5/24/15).

We all thought that the Spirit-led worship of 5/24 (Pentecost) was about His Presence, especially the last ten minutes, the unplanned, free worship.

We feel we need more "unplanned worship (it was mentioned that our "open services are unplanned as well).

We tried to further define "The Kingdom Rule of Jesus:
In the hearts of believers it is OBEDIENCE
In the hearts of unbelievers it is WITNESS

Joseph's House in Torrington was held up as an example of how prayer can bring about a greater sense of Jesus' Kingdom rule.  Their ministry to the homeless, and substance abusers is bathed in prayer.

Most everybody present at this workshop session, and on 5/24, is involved in a small group of some kind, home fellowship, Bible study, prayer group.  So the question was put forth:  what is the role of prayer in your group?  Are you praying for the Kingdom rule of Jesus with expectation?

Question:  How can we foster more expectant prayer in the groups for the Kingdom rule of Jesus?

Note:  Howie Aitken was not in church, so there is no photo of the white board.
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