Here’s a quick recap of “Vertical Church” so far…
Chapter 1 – “A Universal Longing: Transcendence” – All mankind has a desire for something MORE….something beyond themselves. Solomon called it “eternity” in our hearts.
Chapter 2 – “A Singular Provision: Glory.” – That longing is really a desire for God’s glory! God’s glory if revealed with God shows up and does something only GOD can do. We were created to live for His glory.
Now Chapter 3 – “A Common Access: Church.”
Eph. 3:20-21, “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”
This is an amazing passage of Scripture. God wants to blow our mind with how marvelous He is. He wants to display His glory in ways that we can’t even imagine. “But how, Lord? Where will you do this?” Answer? THE CHURCH.
This truth has some significant implications. Just follow the logic here; 1) EVERYONE has a desire for something more…something beyond themselves…something transcendent. 2)What we really long for is God’s GLORY! His glory is the only thing that will really satisfy the desire of our hearts. 3) That GLORY is found in the church of Jesus Christ!
That means your neighbor needs the church. He will find what his SOUL is longing for at church. Your atheist co-worker who is constantly slamming Christianity and the church really, deep in his heart, longs for what he can find in the church. EVERYONE needs what the church has to offer…if only the church would offer it!
It’s my desire that Harvest Bible Chapel, Fort Wayne would be the place where God’s glory is on full display. So how are we going to seek to accomplish this?
High Impact Services
We want God to show up and blow our minds each and every Sunday. We want His Son, Jesus, to be unshamedly adored through our worship. The songs that we sing should be Christ-focused, gospel-centered anthems of praise and celebration for all that God has done. We want church to be the HIGHLIGHT of your week as GOD rains His glory down on you each and every week.
Pastor James summarized this well in today’s “Our Journey” devotional…
My desire is that you would begin to count the days until you get to go to church again, and be with a room full of people who feel the same. I want you to wake up on Sundays and leap out of bed because it’s your favorite day of the week. My heart is that your palms would get sweaty and your heart would beat faster because you knew God was waiting to meet with you and those you love most in all the world. I want you to laugh and cry and shout and kneel at church. I long for you to have your soul fed, and your mind exploded and your will convicted and your heart connected to others and be massively encouraged.
It’s also my desire that you experience God’s glory through what we at Harvest call “Uncommon Community.” The Bible is clear…we are called to get personally involved with each other’s lives. Here’s a passage to support that statement;
Heb. 10:24-25, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
Look at the words in this text. There is the word “consider” which means to “Look intently into.” How about “stir up” which has the idea of inciting to action? These are words that MANDATE close, life-on-life relationships within the church. Ephesians 4:11-16 paints a picture of the SAINTS doing the work of the ministry as they teach doctrine, and build one another up in Christ.
That kind of closeness is NOT common in our society today. We drive home from work, punch the garage door opener, and go into our secluded, little castles. Most people don’t the names of even 5 other families in their neighborhood. If they do, the relationships are surface at best. Rarely to we allow others into the deeper places of our lives. But that is NOT the way God wants the church to operate. Closeness is something we are not only commanded to achieve, but it’s something we all desperately need.
At Harvest we want to establish those deeper, discipleship relationships through our small group ministry. We don’t “do” small groups because is new and popular, but because we believe it’s the way we establish those meaningful relationships. It’s how achieve “uncommon community.” And when we get close to one another and help each other to grow in our deep areas of life, God’s GLORY comes down. He uses others to keep us accountable, to encourage us, to show us His love. Through those relationships we grow to be more like Jesus, which brings Him more glory. Glory coming down, glory going up…glory on glory. THAT is vertical church.
Our prayer is that Harvest Fort Wayne will be THIS kind of a church. Impactful, exciting, life-changing…vertical. It’s our prayer and our passion. And with God’s help, GLORY will be the experience of His people when they attend. And that, more than anything else, will determine our success.