Saturday, October 1, 2011

What We Expect from People Who Go to Church at Zion

What are we asking of you, when you join Zion?

We know that we are saved through faith in Jesus Christ and not by anything we do. But we don’t believe that Jesus intended his people to sit around and navel gaze. He told his followers: “Go! Make followers of me!” In order to make followers, you also have to be a follower, and that means devoting time every day to get to know our Master, Jesus, better.

The biggest commitment we ask you to make when you join Zion is the commitment to grow in your faith. We believe that your intention to join a church, specifically this church, means that you believe Jesus is the way, the truth and the life and that you want to experience here and now the abundant life he offers in this life and the life to come in heaven. We aren’t a church of pew warmers - we are a church of Jesus followers. So we’re asking you to commit to “go” with us on the adventure of a lifetime. Having taken the new member class, and understanding that we are serious about what we believe, we ask you to give yourself to Jesus and his body, the church, in the following ways:

1. Commit to worship together weekly: We understand that “life happens,” and you’ll miss church sometimes. But we ask that you make it a priority, and part of your normal life routine. We don’t track your attendance, and you won’t get an angry note if you’re not in worship, but we believe that worshipping with other Christians is essential to the Christian life. We have 3 Sunday morning services and a Wednesday evening service, so there are plenty of chances to be involved.  Our belief is that part of being church together is worshipping together.  We believe that in worship, God is glorified and we are each edified, built up, refreshed, and equipped to be sent out into the world to serve Christ together and as individuals.  Weekly worship is the fuel that keeps us going day after day.  We also encourage our members to consider setting aside time every day for family and personal worship. See Exodus 20:8-9, Psalm 29:1-2, Psalm 95:1-7, Hebrews 10:24-25, Revelation 11:15-17. See Jesus do it: Luke 4:16-21.

2. Commit to reading the Bible every day: Sure there will be days when you don’t get to it, but we ask you to make it your daily habit. A great way to get started is to read 3 chapters of the book of John every day for a month. Every week you’ll finish the entire book (seven days x three chapters = 21 chapters in the book). You can also easily find daily reading Bibles or Bible apps that will guide you through the Bible in a year. Or maybe you’d rather set your own course and read as you feel led. We’re happy as long as you’re engaged with the Scriptures. We’re ready to answer your questions in person or by e-mail and we’re happy to take the time to help you get started. See 2 Timothy 3:14-17. See Jesus do it: Luke 24:25-27.

3. Commit to pray every day: Simply find a few quiet moments and open up your heart and mind to the Lord. Prayer is first and foremost a conversation between you and God. It involves both talking and listening. Through daily prayer, we learn to turn over control of our lives to God and we believe that you will begin to experience his presence more and more as a result. We recommend that if you're new to this discipline, you start with about 15 minutes a day and then try to add more time as you become comfortable with the practice. There are as many different styles and ways of praying as there are people. We offer classes on praying and also have a helpful guide on our website called, “Easy Steps to Homemade Prayer,” if you’re looking for help getting started. See 2 Chronicles 7:14, Matthew 6:5-13, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, James 5:13-16. See Jesus do it: Mark 1:35.

4. Commit to giving: This includes time, talents and treasure. We ask that you make a commitment to give of yourself to the church, to other people, and to God. This isn’t always easy, and you need to make tough decisions some times. We believe it’s ok to say “no,” so that when you say “yes,” you mean it. In other words, not every mission or program is the right one for you. But seek God’s call and live it out. We want you to give from a cheerful heart as God leads you to Zion and other holy causes- with your time, talents and treasure. We believe that we are called to be generous, as God himself is magnanimous with his grace, so we should be generous and magnanimous with our giving.  So we ask our members to give and give generously.  We encourage our members to give electronically, so that their offerings come in on a regular basis, even when they are away.  This also helps us with our budgeting and stewardship of offerings. See Mark 12:41-44, Luke 6:30, Luke 6:38, 2 Corinthians 9:6-8. See Jesus do it: Mt 14:13-21.

5. Commit to serving: Simply put, it is not enough that we should learn about Jesus. If we are to follow him we must also do the things that he does. One cannot be a disciple only in the classroom. To be a follower of Jesus Christ we must follow him from the classroom to the boardroom and the market place, into the life of our neighbor and to the ends of the earth. In a very real way the Church of Jesus Christ throughout the world has been given the task of carrying on the ministry of Jesus. Guided and united by the Holy Spirit we are the body of Christ and each individually members of it. (1 Cor 12). All of us have a role to play in ministering in Jesus’ name to the world. We believe that acts of selfless service are done for Jesus himself, even if they benefit others.  So we ask our members to be part of our mission together.  We ask that you join a ministry and volunteer.  Perhaps serving in the church when we get together on a Wednesday or Sunday or maybe serving in an outreach ministry to the neighborhood or the world.  Check out the Zion Missions Magazine at the info desk or look online for opportunities at Zion to get involved. If you don't feel that you can make that kind of on-going commitment, we invite you to drop by the "Just Do One Thing" board in the Fellowship Hall where special needs or projects are posted.  Just grab one of the items off the board for a quick and easy way to serve. We’re also very open to new opportunities into which the Lord might be leading you. See Ephesians 4:11-13. See Jesus do it: John 13:1-16

6. Commit to take a class: Following Jesus is a growing experience. We can't outgrow Christian faith. As modern day disciples of Jesus Christ, we are called to move from spiritual infancy to spiritual maturity (Philippians 3:13-14, Ephesians 4:12-14). For this reason we strive to bring people into an ever-growing relationship with Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:19). This growth best happens in small groups (Acts 2:42-47) and so we offer a number of classes to help you know Jesus and his teachings. As we grow in faith, we turn our hearts to God, giving of ourselves and our resources -- freely and cheerfully (2 Corinthians 9:7). We invite you to commit to being a life long student of Jesus. See 1 Timothy 4:13. See Jesus do it: Luke 2:41-50.

7. Commit to struggle against sin in your life: Jesus forgave our sin on the cross and because of his blood, we are reconciled with the Father. But we still sin. A part of following Jesus is to seek to eradicate sin from our lives so that Jesus might be wholly and completely Lord of our life. As John the Baptist once said, “He (Jesus) must increase, I must decrease.” You are not a vacuum, you will be filled with something. As sin decreases, Jesus increases (and vice versa). We strive to die everyday to our old, sinful selves, and to rather live to the new, reborn self through Jesus Christ. See 1 Cor. 10:13, Ephesians 4:22-5:12, 1 John 1:8-9. See Jesus do it: Mt 4:1-11; Mark 14:35-36.

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