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The Focus of 2013
Posted on May 3rd, 2013

From the Elders, presented on Sunday morning April 28, 2013
 
Over the last few months the elders have spent many hours discussing and praying through the question, “What is the scope of our vision?” We wanted to discern exactly what God wants us to accomplish as a church.
 
Of course, the simple answer is to “make disciples” (Matthew 28:19). It should always be about evangelism and discipleship. As you know, we have identified three pillars that shape the ministries of our church and how we go about making disciples. (1) IMAGE – helping people become conformed to the image of Christ. (2) On Mission – everyone, everyday, and everywhere living on mission and sharing the Gospel. (3) Faith Builders – encouraging strong marriages and strong families where parents are building faith into their children. So, in a sentence, we are …  
As we thought and prayed about where we are and where God is leading us, we asked a lot of questions.
 
What do we want to become? What do we hope our church will look like in five years? What are our holy discontents? What do we crave for our church? What will it take to stimulate a passionate love for Jesus that transforms the way we live? And how should we fulfill our responsibility to reach our community?
 
Flowing out of those months of discussion and prayer, we landed on four areas on which we believe our church must concentrate in 2013.
 
 
1.   A Passionate Love for Christ – We hope that our church will embrace a definition of Christianity as a passionate, intimate, day by day, moment by moment, personal relationship with Jesus; from which flows obedience and transformation.
We are convinced that everything must flow out of a love for Jesus. Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15). The person who truly loves Jesus will obey Him, will follow Him, and will do whatever He asks. Love is the catalyst for obedience. We want to create a church culture in which the outflow and manifestation of that love are cheerful obedience in evangelism, in prayer, in stewardship, and so on. Jesus said, “I am the vine, you are the branches … abides in Me and I in you” (John 15:5). And Paul said, “For Christ’s love compels us … that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15, NIV). We believe that a passionate love for Jesus will compel us to live passionate lives for Jesus.
 
 
2.   A Fresh Picture of Life in Christ – We hope to see changes in lifestyle and priority, a freedom from the world’s way of living, and an urgency for the mission of Christ.
 
We need a fresh picture of life in Christ. We want to present a fresh picture of Christianity, much like Francis Chan did in his book Crazy Love when he contrasted the “lukewarm” versus the “obsessed.” Jesus’ warned the Ephesians, “I have this against you, that you have left your first love” (Revelation 2:4). He also said to the Laodiceans, “Because you are lukewarm, I will spit you out of My mouth” (Revelation 3:16). Again, we are convinced that only a passionate love for Jesus will change the way a person lives. We are also convinced that too many Christians today are caught up in a way of living that competes with spiritual priorities. So we want to challenge those competing priorities and free people to live fully for Christ.
 
 
3.   Personal Evangelism – We hope to see every member of our church reach one other person with the gospel.
 
In his letter to Philemon, Paul said, “I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith” (Philemon 1:6, NIV). In talking about the scope of our vision, we talked a lot about our responsibility to reach our community. Paul said he was willing to “become all things to all people” because he wanted “to win as many as possible” (1 Corinthians 9:19, NIV). Some 37,000 cars drive past our church every day. We are responsible for our community, and we should have a burden for lost people. So, our hope is that each of us would engage with one other person and help that person come to Christ. Our prayer is for a sense of evangelistic urgency to permeate our church.
 
 
4.   Pray Big – We hope to hear prayers that are big and worthy to be asked of God, prayers of boldness and expectation, prayers of need and dependence, and prayers that deepen our relationship with God and dare to request from God.
 
Prayer is about relationship and request. We seek both God’s face and God’s hand. The Bible is filled with promises concerning prayer. Jesus said, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you … What father would give his son a stone when he asked for bread? What father would give his son a snake when he asked for fish? If imperfect parents know how to give good things to their children, then how much more will God our Father give what is good to us when we ask? (Matthew 7:7-11, paraphrase). This passage is an invitation to ask, and an invitation rooted in our relationship to God as our Father. And as a church, we want to trust our Father to hear and answer the prayers we pray concerning our church.
 
It is our hope and prayer that you will embrace this focus for 2013. Surely, these four things resonate with your heart. We believe they reflect the heart of God and the will of God for our church. We ask you to take these priorities to heart, to pray through them on behalf of our church, and to personally commit to living them out in your own life.
 
God bless you as you grow in Christ, and God bless The Church at Canyon Creek,
 
The Elders
 
Mark Perkins, Chairman
Damon Andrews
Donnie Dixon
David Melles
Steven Testone
Bruce Walker
Monty Watson


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3 Comments

Kelly - May 3rd, 2013 at 2:11 PM
Awesome!!!
Keith Tooley - May 3rd, 2013 at 8:32 PM
Thank you elders for casting vision for our vision. It is a great one! I hope, and pray, that all of us are excited about this vision and what God is doing in and through our church family. Of all the things in our vision, it will be BIG prayer that will be the launch pad to see our vision become a reality. God, please help me to pray BIG.
Bob Smith - May 5th, 2013 at 6:48 AM
Hmm... A Love for Christ, On Mission for Christ, Making disciples, Prayer with boldness and expectation, Evangelism Outside the Walls. This is how God gets the glory and His church is most magnified in Him.
I am so grateful we have elders who are reading, studying and praying through the Word of God.
We are on mission of being a disciple making church. There are very few in Austin. Lets waive the banner. Praise God.
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