Beneath the Surface Discipleship

January 23, 2022 • Pastor Chris Pappenfus

Author and Pastor Peter Scazzero has spent two decades examining discipleship in Western Churches. Making Disciples is Jesus’ instruction to us, so it would stand to reason that if we call Jesus LORD, we would be doing what Jesus commanded us to do. After years of personal reflection and growth, as well as countless interactions with Pastors and Church leaders, Scazzero concluded that we suffer from shallow discipleship. Too many “Jesus believers” lack the spiritual and emotional depth to live in our world as “Jesus followers.” Too many Christians have a glossy veneer of Christian moralism but their transformation doesn’t go below the surface. The resulting church culture then does not reflect the revolutionary culture of Jesus. A healthy church culture that promotes deep discipleship must encourage beneath the surface transformation. Imagine your life as an iceberg floating in the ocean. What is seen above the surface of the water is only a fraction of the total mass of the ice which exists below the surface. Jesus seemed to run into this over and over again with his chosen disciples. Just when they seemed to be getting it figured out, they would succumb to their shallow self-interests and miss the Kingdom of God breaking into their world. Healthy churches encourage and even expect transformation that goes beneath the surface, penetrating our very souls and leading to an ever-deepening life with Jesus. This Sunday we will explore what discipleship looks like in a church culture committed to getting beneath the surface. Beneath the Surface Discipleship: -Confronts the Impact of Your Family of Origin - Gn:50:15-21; Dt. 5:8-10; Ezekiel 18:1-4; John 3:3. -Deals with Your Brokenness and Vulnerability - Psalm 22, 51:16-17; John 21:15-22; 1 Corinthians 1:25-27; 2 Corinthians 12:8-10. -Equips You to Live with God’s Limits - Genesis 2:16-17, 3:4-5; Matt. 4:3; John 3:26-27; Ecclesiastes 3:1-2. -Discovers the Treasures Hidden in Grief and Loss - Isaiah 48; Psalm 34:18-19, 73:21-28; Matthew 5:4, 11:28-30; John 16:22, (Familiarize yourself with the Scripture passages above in preparation for Sunday’s message)

CCR: "Every Person in Full-time Ministry"

February 20, 2022 • Pastor Chris Pappenfus • Colossians 3:23–24

This week’s Church Culture Revolution challenge is "Every Person in Full-Time Ministry." When you read this you might immediately associate this challenge with being an employee of the church. However, a church culture that encourages life-transforming discipleship has a distinctively biblical understanding of “Sacred Call” which is linked to new life in Jesus Christ, not a special dispensation of God’s grace on a select few. A church culture that encourages every person in full-time ministry acknowledges that we all are workers, created in the image of a working God, whose labors have been made hard because of sin -- but restored to purpose and significance because of Jesus Christ. Do you have a theology of work? (Not atonement of works, suggesting you can somehow earn God’s grace and forgiveness.) A theology of work considers God’s intention and God’s design for people as it pertains to the labors they are given. You might think of your job as just a paycheck. Perhaps you work to enjoy your weekend or your retirement. People have shared with me that they were looking forward to retirement so then they could give attention to more “spiritual things.” While it is true that Jesus invited the twelve to leave their occupations in order to follow him, there were far more people who Jesus sent back into their everyday lives as witnesses for him. This is certainly the case as Christianity spread across the world. The greater biblical narrative would indicate that some of God’s greatest servants were women and men who had “real jobs.” The Apostle Paul writes in Colossians 3:23-24, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” A revolutionary church culture reminds us that we all work for Jesus.

CCR-"Passionate Marriages & Singleness

February 13, 2022 • Pastor Chris Pappenfus

A Church Culture Revolution is needed if, and when, people's involvement with the Church leaves them unchanged. Jesus established the Church as the Fellowship of those who have been called out from their families of origin and societal culture and called into a new life and new community found in Christ Jesus. A church culture resulting in changed lives is evidenced in both marriage and singleness that reflects the oneness we are to have with Jesus Christ. In short, Christian singleness looks and acts differently than our culture's expression of singleness - as does Christian marriage - meaning that married and single people both bear witness to God’s love for humanity. Jesus followers desiring to grow as emotionally healthy disciples must learn what it means to submit either their singleness or their marriage unto the LORD. The Apostle Paul has written to this reality in 1 Corinthians 7 and Ephesian 5. Join us this Sunday as we consider how a church culture that promotes both passionate marriages and singleness can impact and grow generations of healthy disciples.

CCR "Healthy Community"

February 6, 2022 • Pastor Chris Pappenfus • John 13:34–35

In our series "Church Culture Revolution," we are considering how our church culture is the result of our discipleship and how our discipleship is inevitably shaped by our culture. Simply put, Culture is the "way we do things around here.” For Christians, we are to practice and be enveloped within a distinct “Jesus Culture.” A church culture that encourages the kind of discipleship used by Jesus values several characteristics which are becoming increasingly contrary to our broader society. Thus far we have considered the impacts: Of a Slowed-Down Spirituality (January 16) Beneath the Surface Discipleship (January 23) And the necessity of Integrity in Leadership (January 30) That these may run in conflict with our broader society shouldn’t surprise us -- that is why Jesus' followers are called the Ecclesia; meaning the “called out ones,” or more commonly translated simply as “The Church.” Christ-followers, by their very identity, are culture revolutionaries, having been reborn in Christ Jesus and daily being transformed into his likeness through the power of the Holy Spirit. This Sunday we will consider a fourth distinguishing characteristic of a “Jesus-Culture,” which is "Healthy Community." To be clear (lest you mistake a healthy community for a health club or wellness center) “healthy” is defined by Jesus as our quality and capacity to love. Join us this Sunday as we consider Jesus’ own shaping of a culture -- which would encourage deep discipleship through communities practicing unconditional - transformative - love. As part of this Sunday’s celebration, we will partake in holy communion. In preparation please reflect on Jesus’ command given in John 13:34-35.