Friday, October 29, 2010

A People Changing Community

In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away! Luke 15:7 (NLT)

We are People Changing Communities! At the core of that truth is the reality that we are People Changing… Think of those two words for a second. We are people, image bearers of God, re-created and being restored by the power of Jesus Christ to become the persons God had in mind when he originally created us. We are People changing! In the spirit of 1 Corinthians 15:10, we are stewarding God’s grace and power by meeting it with human effort and faith so that we increasingly look more and more like Jesus every day.

You need to know that far and away the most powerful, missional and attractional aspect of the PCC community is our people. Guests visiting PCC don’t get involved because of the worship alone or the preaching alone or any of our ministries from the paid staff alone. Guests stick and are transformed because of the community and the way that they are welcomed to belong.

All day long last Sunday I marveled at God’s transforming power to change people. In case you missed it, let me share just a sample of the stories of changed lives that were embedded into my memory banks from Sunday:
  • An 8-year-old boy with amazing articulation expresses his love for Christ and is baptized by his father.
  • A middle school boy whose dad and stepmom are relative “newbies” to the PCC community goes on a winter retreat where it clicks; he understands that God loves him and Jesus died for his sins. He receives Christ and clearly speaks of new life in Christ. The dad’s prayer over his son after the baptism is raw and precious!
  • A high schooler from East Palo Alto, someone who would never walk through the church doors for a myriad of reasons (spiritual, ethnic, socio-economic just to name three!) is embraced by Serve the Peninsula and our staff on his high school campus. Because of community and his discovery that he can belong before he believes, he believes, is born again and wears a smile on his face that is heaven originated!
  • A 20-year-old college student testifies to a new normal, that being a life “sold out” for Jesus Christ. He can’t go back to an old way of living and humbly shares his love for Jesus, a love that can only come from a context of being rescued from the destruction of sin. As he comes out of the water, his small group rushes to the baptismal tank to surround and pray for him. Jesus-centered, grace-filled, truth-valuing community wins again!
  • A woman with 5 years of sobriety (!) shares how a couple in her recovery group befriended her and introduced her to the true “Higher Power,” the Lord Jesus Christ. Her smile and joy are contagious and frankly, produce a tinge of jealousy. As she emerges from the water, her hands are raised in the air much like Joe Montana used to raise his after scoring a touchdown. Her victory was far greater and more lasting than a touchdown. (And praise God that now we have a community of recovery called Dri Dock Café where she can engage with a recovery community from a Christ focused perspective.)

Luke 15:7 says that all of heaven rejoices when broken image bearers of God repent and invite Jesus to be the center of their lives. All of heaven parties when broken image bearers invite Jesus to hit the reboot button on their lives and place within them a new operating system. Seriously, what else matches that?

This Sunday, we continue through the Sermon on the Mount focusing on the most important decision you and I can ever make. Christ follower, what do you think that decision is?