V2R Vision
Sermon Summary
This message is the first part of a three part series which deal with Norhshore Church’s vision and what it will take to bring it from Vision to Reality! Northshore Church’s vision statement is “to raise up a healthy church that will impact the north shore and ultimately the world with the life changing message of Jesus Christ!” This first message focuses on what it means to be a healthy church. Four characteristics of a healthy church are discussed. These are drawn from the forth chapter of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. While this is the beginning of an expansion campaign for Northshore Church’s facilities, we must remember the focus must never be on the buildings, but the people and their spiritual fitness!

Ice breaker: Do you believe the stated vision of Northshore Church is the right vision for the church? Why or why not?
“It is the vision of Northshore Church to raise up a healthy church that will impact the north shore and ultimately the world with the life changing message of Jesus Christ!”

1. A healthy church knows its purpose for existing. Paul told the Ephesian Church they must never forget their calling. Paul had previously written to the Corinthian Church that Christ followers are called to be ambassadors for Christ. Does the stated mission of Northshore Church meet this criteria? Why or why not?
Northshore’s Mission: “Transforming worship, people and the world!”

2 Corinthians 5:20-21
20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.
21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Mat 28:19  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
Mat 28:20  and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

2. A healthy church is filled, not with perfect people, but with people who have been given a new attitude and a new way of life. Both are very different from the world’s M.O. or mode of operation. Discuss the differences based on the following passage from Ephesians 4:17-5:1. There’s a lot here, so this will be the last question. (Leaders, you might want to divide up the passage and let a couple people come up with some differences to present to the group. Verses 17-21 are an overview of the differences. Verses 22-32 are where you find specifics. A good breakdown would be: 22-24/25-27/28-30/31-32. Eph. 5:1 is like a wrap up verse.

17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking.
18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.
19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.
20 You, however, did not come to know Christ that way.
21 Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus.
22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;
23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds;
24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body.
27 and do not give the devil a foothold.
28 He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.
29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.
32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
5:1 Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children

FULL SERMON NOTES

V2R Vision - Today, we as a church are entering another exciting season. We just celebrated the Death, burial and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! It is precisely due to the events of the season we just celebrated that we are entering into this new season in our church's life! This series of sermons will only last for three weeks, but this exciting time in the life of our church will last much, much longer! I know some of you are wondering what in the world I'm talking about. Let me put it this way…The Northshore Church family is growing and expanding!!

To God be the glory!! Last week we had over 800 folks in worship and 180 of these were children! That's more than we had total when we had our grand launch back in the spring of 2002. I think we had around 147 folks on that day and we were super excited.
Our facilities are going to need to be expanded! Is that not an exciting problem to have? So exciting and something we should be so thankful for. God is moving in a powerful way and to God be all the glory!!

Now let me tell you, we've had so much happen since we had our first Bible Study in our home. I'll give you a little more detail in a couple of weeks, but did you know we've met in at least 17 places in our 13 years of existence. It's true!!!

Our home/Oak Harbor Golf Club/Old Town Soda Shop/Calvary Baptist Youth Building/Gymnastics building on Carey Street/The Northshore Community Center on Carr Drive/The Pottery World Building/ and then after Katrina...The Pottery World Parking lot for a couple of Sundays/Calvary Baptist Sanctuary on Sunday nights/Grace Memorial on Sunday nights/Crazy Carls Fireworks/A tent in the parking lot for a month/Slidell Event Center/Super 8 Movie theater/First Presbyterian Gym/Slidell Athletic Club/And now the Old Scweggaman's Grocery Store!

Seventeen different places. People would say stuff like this
"I missed a week and lost my church. Where'd you guys go?"

But let me tell you. We gained more folks than we lost in the moves. People saw the tent out by Crazy Carls and said, "That must be a church or something. I'll go check it out!" God touched that young sailor's heart and she became a part of the Northshore family! People leaving the athletic club on Saturday nights as we were setting up for services the next day would ask questions and some even would get an extra workout helping us set up. Some would come to workout on Sunday mornings and find a church had taken over their health club. We welcomed them in their workout clothes!
And speaking of health club. Did you know we're a health club of sorts? That's right! We're all about Spiritual Fitness! In fact it's a focal part of our Vision statement. Our vision is...

Vision: To raise up a healthy church that will impact the north shore and ultimately the world with the life changing message of Jesus Christ!

Let's pray and ask God to clarify for us today His vision for Northshore Church and to begin showing each one of us what our individual role is to bring the vision to reality!

PRAY!

Before we talk about the details of the vision, I must remind you of our purpose and our mission. Why? Purpose is why we do what we do. Mission is what we do. Vision is what we hope to accomplish through what we do. Vision is the end result! So our...

Purpose: To see the One who gave His life for us exalted and the ones He gave His life for transformed!

Mission: Transforming worship, people and the world!

Vision: To raise up a healthy church that will impact the north shore and ultimately the world with the life changing message of Jesus Christ!

Over the next three weeks we're going to talk about our God-given vision and how to make it a reality! Today we're going to talk about the intricate details of that vision! Next week we're going to talk about how we move from Vision To Reality.

The week after that you will be given multiple ways in which you can become a very real part of the process to help Northshore Church take the Vision To Reality! You see, at Northshore Church, it's not the preacher, the staff or the leadership that moves the vision to reality. At Northshore Church, it's a team thing, with God leading our team! It's a Common calling we all share, though there's nothing common about it. It's a divine calling placed on each and every person who is a part of our congregation! We are in this together. We're not building our own little kingdom, we're building God's kingdom! We must seek God's wisdom for our church as we begin to live and breath our God given mission. As we take steps to move from Vision to Reality, V2R. As we allow our purpose to motivate us to see our God-given purpose fulfilled… V2R. As our mission becomes more than a statement, but a passion to see the vision become Reality! V2R!

This vision statement begs the question of what constitutes a healthy church. Northshore Church's purpose, mission and vision rise and fall on being a healthy church. Open your Bible to Ephesians chapter 4 beginning with verse 1. And don't worry, we're going to get to the verse listed on the notes page of your guide, but it will be the wrap up verse for today's message.

A Healthy Church Knows It's Purpose!

Ephesians 4:1-4
1 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.
2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
4 There is one body and one Spirit —just as you were called to one hope when you were called —

What is the calling we've received? Is it not to be ambassadors for Christ? Is it not to seek and to save those who are lost? Is it not to be a beam of light in a world struggling in the dark?

2 Corinthians 5:20-21
20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.
21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

If we are Christ's ambassadors we represent Him and His mission. What was His mission. Let's hear it from Him...

Matthew 9:10-13
10 While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and “sinners” came and ate with him and his disciples.
11 When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?”
12 On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.
13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Now I'm gonna get a little personal, but I want you to know it's done in love.

The church is not hear to serve as a country club for the saints, but to be an urgent care for sick and dying sinners. The church is to serve as a training center where we receive training much like a university hospital where doctors do their residency. So important we get this, because if we don't we won't be a healthy church. Sure we're here for the saints when they have a need, especially when we know about it. We're supposed to care for one another and that is one of the reasons we want all of you to connect with a small group so we can minister to you in your time of need.  

Paul put it this way in his letter to the Galatians...

Galatians 6:10Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

We desperately want to minister to you our family and if we know there's a need we will do all we can to meet it! And here's an interesting fact. If you've rolled up your sleeves and are helping us fulfill our purpose, mission and vision, we'll probably know right away if something is wrong because we're doing life together and it will be obvious. If you're on the side lines, we may not know and if you don't tell us, we won't know. Anytime a church becomes focused on itself instead of its God-given mission it becomes unhealthy and eventually will die. Paul was concerned about this with the Corinthian Church. Here's what he wrote to them...

1 Corinthians 9-17
9 God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.
10 I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.
11 My brothers, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you.
12 What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas ’”; still another, “I follow Christ.”
13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Paul?
14 I am thankful that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius,
15 so no one can say that you were baptized into my name.
16 (Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don’t remember if I baptized anyone else.)
17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

See how quickly Paul called the church back to it's mission of preaching the gospel? And this leads me to the second characteristic of a healthy church...

A Healthy Church Carries Out Its Mission!

Ephesians 4:11-13
11 It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers,
12 to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up
13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

I know I've said this before, but I can't do all the ministry that needs to be done in this church and we could never hire enough staff to do all the ministry. That's why we have to minister to one another. That's why each and every Sunday you need to realize you are in training for the ministry God has called you to do during the week. Real Christianity is not a spectator sport. Your job is not to cheer me on, my job is to cheer you on. A healthy church grows not just on Sunday at the worship gathering. A healthy church grows every day as its members are out in the world shining the light of Christ through their lives, their attitudes, their message, their character, and most of all their love! You see our vision is to impact the world with the life changing message of Jesus Christ! Be the message! You see, we can transform worship in here by having worship that transforms people, but if we want to transform the world, we'll all have to do our part out there. I used to love the sign at one of the church buildings we met at when our church was homeless. As you were leaving the parking lot it said...

"Entering the mission Field!" Wow!! What a wonderful reminder. Now, right now some of you might be thinking you've heard some of this before. You're not crazy. You have! This is a new sermon with some old messages. Reminds me of a little country church years ago. The story goes something like this...

They called a new preacher and were so excited. His first sermon was amazing and the whole community was talking. The second Sunday, they couldn't wait to hear him again, but to their surprise, he preached the exact same sermon. Once again he was the talk of the town. But no one said anything to him. They figured he just made a mistake and in the midst of the move and everything just didn't realize what he had done. So the next week they came as curious as ever as to what he would preach. To the shock of everyone, he preached the exact same sermon. Afterwards the leadership called a meeting to ask him about this very odd behavior. To which he replied, "I'm pretty surprised myself. Three times I've preached the same sermon and you guys still haven't gotten it. l'll preach a new sermon when you start doing the things I've already preached."

A Healthy Church Looks to Jesus for Leadership and to His Word for Doctrine!

Ephesians 4:14-16
14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.
15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.
16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

Make no mistake about it, Jesus is our Head! He is our leader! He is our Lord! He's our inspiration through the amazing life He lived and the supreme sacrifice He gave! His Word is our guide in all things! But don't miss verse 16...

Ephesians 4:16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

He's the head who brings unity, instruction, direction, wisdom, and so much more, but we grow and build in love as each of us do the work God has called each of us to do. I love the way Paul put just a few paragraphs back in Ephesians 2:19-22

Ephesians 2:19-22
19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household,
20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.
21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.
22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

And God's Spirit causes the last characteristic of a healthy church to be possible...

A Healthy Church is Filled with Sinners Who've Changed Their M.O. (modus operandi)

Ephesians 4:17-5:1
17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking.
18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.
19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.
20 You, however, did not come to know Christ that way.
21 Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus.
22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;
23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds;
24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body.
27 and do not give the devil a foothold.
28 He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.
29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.
32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
5:1 Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children

And isn't it appropriate for God's Word to tell us to be imitators of God as dearly loved children? You see, children are dear to God for many reasons. They aren't perfect, but they have innocence, teachability and so much potential! Children are the future of the Church. Someone once said we are only one generation from being a Christless society. As your leadership and staff met and prayed about the most important next step for us to take in order to see our vision become a reality it became clear. It was to build out a section of our building to increase our ability to minister to children first and then to our youth. This will also increase our space for other ministry training which we'll talk about in the coming two weeks.

You might wonder whether or not building out another portion of our building to house our children's ministry is the church focusing on its self. It is not! Why?
Because the main goal of the children's ministry at Northshore Church is...

"To teach children the love of Jesus through God’s Word while providing them with a loving environment."

Why is this the goal? Anyone in this room think our children would be better off left to the spiritual whims of the world? Do you really believe our children would be better off without the teachings of Christ and the Bible? The teachings that teach us to love one another, pray for one another, love the unlovable, it's more blessed to give than receive, do unto others as you would have them do unto you, honor and obey your parents! These concept come from the Bible!

And why is this goal not selfish? Because we desire to raise up spiritually healthy children who will impact their world with the Good News of Jesus Christ and who will someday have spiritually healthy families who will continue to build God's Kingdom!
We want the message that Jesus offers pardon, peace, and purpose, to never stop impacting our community and our world.

You see, we really do want...

Vision: To raise up a healthy church that will impact the north shore and ultimately the world with the life changing message of Jesus Christ!

Okay, I haven't forgotten. I told you I would rap up with the two verses on your guide. Ephesians 3:20-21...

Ephesians 3:20-21
20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,
21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Let's pray!!