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What's Your Game Plan? - Telling Others About Jesus

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Today one of Gateway's elders, John Maulella, brought the sermon, speaking from Acts 17:16-32 about another of our Habits - Telling others about Jesus.

In this passage, we saw a model for sharing our faith when Paul preached to the Athenians.  We see Connecting, Confronting, a Cause, and Caring.

Athens had lots of temples -- they were not places of worship, but homes for the gods, with nice things to appease them.  It was sort of a patronage system -- but that's still how many people think of God today.  If I do good things for God, He owes me.

First, Paul connected with his audience. 

"I see that in every way you are very religious."  He doesn't come across as thinking he's superior.

He confronts their wrong ideas about God (vs. 29).

He's not afraid to persuade.  This is countercultural to us.  But don't we do this in other contexts?  He does it respectfully.

The Cause (or Cognitive Reset): vs. 26-27

What's the point, God?  The point is that my life is planned.

"God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us."

God planned for us to be around these particular people.  We may be a part of them finding Him.

vs. 32 -- "some of them sneered."  We all get that reaction.  But some did get it.

What motivated Paul to do this?

In verse 17, we see Paul's heart.  He was "greatly distressed."

Paul was moved to action because he Cared.

Do we care?

Do we have the emotional bandwidth to care?

Will we allow God to build this into us?

Why did Paul care?  Because without Jesus, people are lost.

(Here, John told a story of when his daughter was 4 years old and she hid from them in a store.  Once they started calling for her, she was afraid they'd be angry, and hid all the more.  We're lost and hiding from God.  Come out!  He is not mad at us!)

Action items:

1)  Pray for:  Boldness, Energy, and Opportunity

2)  Invite.  Also, invest in lives.

Posted by Sondy Eklund with

The Art of Neighboring - Love Your Neighbor as Yourself

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Today Pastor Ed Allen continued his sermon series on "The Art of Neighboring" by looking at Leviticus 19:1-2, 9-18.  This is the passage where God commanded the Israelites to "Love your neighbor as yourself."

This passage has been called the fundamental definition of what it meant for Israel to be a holy nation.  Religion and how we treat our neighbor cannot be separated.

Who is our neighbor?

There was commentary and debate about this question in this passage.  From verse 10, it suggests even the poor and foreigners were included.  But from verse 17-18, some argued that it only meant fellow Israelites.

Jesus spoke to this question with the parable of the Good Samaritan.  His answer:

Our neighbor is anyone near us in need.

Why care?  What's our motivation for loving our neighbor?

God answers this question over and over in the passage:  Because "I am the Lord."

God is holy, so we must be.

God's holiness is the standard of His people's behavior and the foundation of their behavior.

We don't treat our neighbors with kindness to get more friends, to be more respected, or even because they need us.

We reach out to our neighbors because they're created by God.

God is our motivation.

We get caught up in ourselves and our own story.  It's not about us.  It's about God and what He wants for us.

The reason we act with kindness toward our neighbors is because of God.

How do we neighbor well?

This passage gives a practical list of ways to do that.  

Be generous and truthful.  Don't steal or take advantage of people.  Act with justice.  And so on.

Summary:  We love our neighbors as ourselves.

These aren't only about behavior.  They also are about how we feel -- don't hate, don't bear a grudge, and so on.

We should plan and strategize to help meet our neighbors' needs.  (Example is leaving part of the harvest to be gleaned.  That takes planning.)

Try to strategize to actively reach out to your neighbors.

With that in mind, we finished the service by meeting in groups with other people from our neighborhoods and prayed together for them.  And we're encouraged to actively look for ways to reach out.

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