New Hope Notes
Responding To The Great Commission ... Making A Difference
One God ... One Church
Pastor Elwin Ahu
Today we will be ending the series of “One God…One Church”. Throughout this series, we have been talking a lot about the basics and the DNA of New Hope. We have talked about salvation, spiritual growth and spiritual gifts, our hearts and stewardship. And you might be wondering why we have to talk about the basics. It is because a lot of times people put things into categories. We have been categorizing people and business in our daily lives. And we usually have certain expectations on each category through how we perceive things. So what is the world saying about churches and Christians? A research study put out 11 names of categories for people to rank. The category of evangelical is ranked number 10 out of all the 11, and it was only above the category of prostitutes. This shows how the general public views the churches and Christians. They don’t favor us as much. And it is understandable because the divorce rate within Christians is the same as that within non Christians. And 40% of born again Christians claimed that they do not believe that there is satan. In other words, we as a church didn’t make much difference from others. Since New Hope is a church that falls in the category of evangelical, we really need to talk about the basics and see what we haven’t done right, so we can make a difference. We started the series with our mission statement, and we are going to end it with the mission statement as well. Our missions is “To present the Gospel of Jesus Christ in such a way that turns non-Christians into converts, converts into disciples and disciples into mature, fruitful leaders who will in turn go into the world and reach others for Christ.” The last sentence in the mission statement said that we GO into the world and REACH others for Christ. As a church we are to go out and reach others, so…
1. New Hope is not about US.
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) We are in our dark moments now too as we have been seeing the name of Jesus being crucified in so many different ways. Prayers have been taken out in public schools and the Ten Commandments have been taken out in the teaching as well. The cross at the US Army Kolekole and Camp Smith in Hawaii has been taken down; the church listing in Honolulu city website is gone, too. Prayers are also prohibited in Hawaii state legislatures and there were law suit and complaints against prayers made in Jesus’ name. The world is dark now and the Lord has been telling me that it is only going to get darker as time goes by. And it is not because of bad law makers, it is because of the failure of the churches in shining His light to brighten the world. We as a church didn’t influence the world enough to make a difference, so they didn’t take notice of us and our God. Mark 13 in the Bible tells us that we will be hated by the world at the end, and we shall be His witnesses in front of the government and kings. So it seems to me that our future government is not going to be Christians then. And the Bible already tells us that the world is going to be darker and darker but that is also how Jesus’ light is shining brighter in the world. The world is dark now because there is not enough light to shine. However, darkness can never influence the light. Only the light can influence the dark. When a light is introduced into a dark room, the room only gets brighter, and the light is not going to get dimmer. Jesus told us in Matthew 5 that we are representing Him as the light of the world to shine His light so people can see God’s work and give glory to our Him. I noticed that when we turn on our flashlight in a very dark room, it doesn’t only light up the room, but also attracts the bugs. So I am sure that when we shine our light bright enough, we will be able to attract non-believers to Christ. And we cannot shine our light by talking the talk, we have to walk the talk to demonstrate the Gospel!
2. To reach the world for Christ will take a DEMONSTRATION, as well as a declaration of the Gospel.
We need to live a life that can shine God’s light to demonstrate the Gospel. If Farrington High School is Jerusalem, then our Judea would be the schools around, such as Kalakaua Middle School, Puuhale Elementary School and Dole Middle School. Our Samaria would be the people in the housing areas around these schools, such as Kamehameha Housing, Kaahumanu Housing and even Oahu Community Correctional. So what do people in these communities say about New Hope? If New Hope no longer existed, are they going to be happy or sad?
· If New Hope no longer existed, what would people say:
o “YAY” or “NAY”?
It all depends on whether we are living a life that can shine God’s light to demonstrate the Gospel. We need to be influential enough to make a difference in the community and to show Jesus’ love. And I am always very thankful for the hundreds of volunteers who come every weekend to help the church in shining the light in our community. As the Bible said, “As a result of your ministry, they will give glory to God. For your generosity to them and to all believers will prove that you are obedient to the Good News of Christ.” (2 Cor. 9:13 NLT) When the community sees God’s light shining through us when we are being obedient to His Good News, they will come to know Him and give glory to Him. People are looking for reality and authenticity nowadays. That is why the reality TV shows are so popular now. And we have to demonstrate the reality of the Gospel to our communities. I also found Mae Cannon saying in Social Justice Handbook that, “Evangelism and the expression of love in the community through compassion and justice go hand in hand. I truly believe that the engagement in social justice ministry is the greatest evangelistic opportunity of the 21st century. As nonbelievers engage in justice alongside the church, they are introduced to the person of Christ and the fact that our faith in Him is what compels believers into action.” It means that
· Good WORKS + Good WILL = Good NEWS
When we engage in these acts of service in the community with God’s love, it opens up people’s hearts to receive the Good News of Christ. You might probably be very excited now and want to do the work, but wondering how we can start though. We can start with imagination.
3. IMAGINE your church…
“And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” (Heb. 11:6)
I am very inspired by an annual event called ShareFest in Central Arkansas. ShareFest is an annual event sponsored by their local churches. The churches unite together and demonstrate the love of Christ through community service in this sharing event. In one of their annual ShareFest, more than 100 churches united together with Salvation Army, American Red Cross, Marine Corp Reserve and many other organizations, to serve in what is needed in the community. Their projects for that year included refurbishing the schools in the communities. There were more than 4,000 volunteers involved in refurbishing 26 schools in Central Arkansas. There were also food, clothes and toy drives to help the children in need. They raised more than $200,000 cash donations and the money was given and split among four local charities. They didn’t take anything from the event, but only to give and serve. They ended the ShareFest with an all church worship celebration and attracted thousands of people attending. This ShareFest was a big community event and was recognized by the communities as well as the mayor. So I am wondering what is taking us so long to do such extensive community service event in Hawaii. There is a round table with 28 pastors from different churches on the island, and I am going to pitch in this idea with them so we churches can do it together as one to shine God’s light. There will also be recycling effort partnering with the Hawaii state and Farrington High School, and the earnings from the effort will be all donated back to the School. The Bible said, “Then He said to His disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.’” (Matt 9:37-38) This is the assignment the Lord has given us. There is a lot of harvest out there and we need hands to shine the light. We can think globally to see what God is doing globally, but to start locally to participate in His work in our local communities. It would be a compliment to the Lord if a life is changed and transformed because someone took advantage of the opportunity to share Jesus’ heart to that person. I am ready to rock and roll to do this. Can we be a church that can rock and roll for Christ? Amen.
1. Have we been doing what our mission statement has said?
2. What do we do when the world is dark?
3. How do we reach the world for Christ?
4. How can we bring good news to our community?
5. What is the assignment that the Lord has charged us to do?