God is in the transforming business
Today we had the great opportunity to receive the Word of God from Pastor Mark Kelsey, one of the founding pastors of the C3 Church Global Movement, birthed in Sydney, Australia. He shared the testimony of his family and their journey along with God starting the first C3 church in New York City. Through this, he was able to show us the importance of being planted in the house with other believers and following the Lord’s leading in our lives, going where He tells us to go in faith.
“He (Jesus) went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read,” Luke 4:16 (NIV)
Jesus, the Son of God, went to church weekly. He knew the importance of being in community.
In Christ, we discover eternity; in the house, we discover destiny
In the House of God, purpose and vision are handed to you. Pastor Mark shared that all of his greatest paths in his life started by someone in the church handing it over to him. How grand something seemingly small becomes when it is directed by the Lord. But it’s not enough to just be handed the Word, purpose, or vision—it’s our job to unroll it. Scripture is meant to be written, read, and fulfilled.
“It is the pastor’s job to hand you the Word, but it's our job to unroll it.” - Pastor Mark Kelsey
What's on you?
“and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: 'The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.'” Luke 4:17-19 (NIV)
Isaiah 61 is the scripture Jesus read in the synagogue and in that day he read it, the scripture was fulfilled (700 years later). The Spirit of the Lord was upon Jesus, but it is also upon you. The purpose of scripture is to be made incarnate and to be fulfilled in and through us. It has the power to becoming living and active in our own world.
So what happens when we unroll the purpose and vision for our lives? Most always, we don’t know exactly what it will look like and we know it will bring trial. Right after Jesus was baptized and heaven was opened, he was led into the wilderness by the Spirit.
“Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” Matthew 4:1 (NIV)
We read that after fasting forty days and forty nights, it was then the tempter came to him. He entered the wilderness filled with the Holy Spirit, and he left empowered by the Holy Spirit. We don't just need the filling of the Spirit, but we need the empowerment of the Spirit.
Pastor Mark shared that what we can glean from this is that what we walk through is what empowers us. We grow through trial. It’s not fun to think about or say, but it’s true. We all have examples from our own lives. It’s in the stretching and the pulling and refining, that the impurities rise to the surface and are scraped off, leaving us more holy. This is so because as we become transformed, we play a part in transforming the community around us.
“Swarms of living creatures will live wherever the river flows. There will be large numbers of fish, because this water flows there and makes the salt water fresh; so where the river flows everything will live.” Ezekiel 47:9 (NIV)
The world is thirsty but they are drinking salt water. It is our job to be the "scattered church" when we leave the building after service on Sunday, to give the world the fresh and Living Water they have been searching for. We need to keep going back to the basics - back to the simplicity of the gospel and the love of Christ.
God doesn't just want us to experience Him, but to know Him.
As we step into the current, there are different levels of Christianity people step into. Ankle deep is "experiential Christianity." Christians experience God on a Sunday, but that's the only time they feel His presence. Knee deep is "directional Christianity." This is where Christians allow God to guide them and direct their paths. When you're waist deep, this is "transformational Christianity." The world conforms, but God transforms. And when you're so far into the river where you can't touch the bottom - this is "missional Christianity." This depth of your walk with the Lord is where you don't care about where you are going. It's wherever the river is going - wherever the Lord is moving and wherever He is taking you.
“In the house, the pastors are the ministers. But out in the scattered church, you are the ministers. People don’t need more religion, they need more water - they need more of the Holy Spirit.” - Pastor Mark Kelsey
When we know Jesus and walk with Him, we can be confident that even on our worst days, there is a river flowing through us. It’s not up to us to say the perfect words—He’s with us and guiding us every step of the way.
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