Ephesians 2: 8-10
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
SUMMARY OF SUNDAY'S MESSAGE
On Sunday Alan continued with part 3 of this powerful series, this week focusing on Ephesians 2: 10: "For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."
As Christians we tend to build our story around our past and what Jesus has saved us from. As important as that is, the Spirit calls us forward into what we were saved for. We were delivered to dream that we might rewrite the story of our city.
We noted that in verse 10, Paul uses the collective word "us". As significant and transforming as our individual dreams are, when we dream as a community the impact is exponential. One hindrance to this is that often the church is waiting for God to show up while He's waiting for us to step out. The goal isn't that He would fulfil our dream for us, but rather with us. It involves relationship and partnership with the Father to release all the good things He has both into the city and for the city.
At the heart of our dream is 'Compassion at the Centre.' After the hugely significant and generous offering last year we have encountered a few delays along the way, but we see in the Bible that such delays generally have 2 purposes: they define the dream and they develop the dreamer.
In terms of defining the dream, initially the Compassion Centre was envisioned as a one floor building on a separate site from the church. However through the generosity of the people of CCV and following much prayer and prophetic direction, the leadership have sensed that God's dream was much bigger in size and scope than ours. Instead of a one floor building on its own piece of land, the intention is to build a 3 floor centre adjacent to the main church building.
So the size is clearly bigger, but even more so is the scope of what we are dreaming for the city. While reaching people with food, clothes, debt counselling etc. will always be important, it would be even greater to see a community released to create employment, train people in new skills and collaborate with local businesses, agencies and enterprises to see the economy of the region flourish. We believe as we step out, God will step in, and we will see a new way of doing business in our region. We long that our community would be a good place to grow up and a good place to grow old.
One translation of Ephesians 2: 10 says this: "...good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them."
Therefore, rather than being people who are waiting on permission from God, we are released to move forward in confident expectation that the 'good works' He has prepared are already out there just waiting for us to show up.
On Sunday 13th November, as well as having worship leader Martin Smith join us to help us celebrate God's goodness, we will be taking an offering to be used to fund this larger dream we now have for our Compassion Centre. Over the next few weeks, please be prayerful in deciding how much you will give, fully aware that we are not giving to a need, but to a dream, a God-sized dream, which is greater than all we had imagined or expected.