Sermon Series “Ancient Future Church”

Six week series meant to look back at the earliest church in the New Testament while inviting us to look forward to what we might become as we emulate them.

Video MessageResources
Week 1:
We are Witnesses
Monday Memo notes

An Article on Witness
Click below for a short post by the late Dallas Willard on what the good news of Christ offers, no less than a full, new way of life…this is the message and reality to which we are “witnesses”: There is More to Life than Guilt
A Prayer for the New Year
We used this right before Communion; it’d work well as your week-long prayer for the new year: A Prayer for New Creation (Adapted from Liturgy Alive – Modes of Celebration):
– Lord God, Yours are the seasons and the ages. Give us a new heart and a new spirit.
– Jesus Christ, You are the beginning and the end of all that is, including our lives. Make a new beginning with all of us.
– Lord God, You breathe Your Spirit on all creation. Make our old world new again.
– Father Almighty, let Your forgiveness and love come down on us day after day, and lead us into everlasting life, amen.
Week 2:
Intentional Fellowship
Monday Memo notes

Intentional Fellowship – Personal Application
A worthwhile exercise this week would be to ask yourself a series of “who, why, how, what, and when” questions about your own intentional relational life as a Christian. 
– “Who and why” = Who in your life would make a good spiritual traveling companion or relational investment? Why? (Why is God leading you toward them in particular? Why does their past action or character make this a wise or worthwhile relational investment?) 
– “How, what, and when” = If you can identify a few people with whom you want to build a closer relationship, how will you do that? How will you communicate with them (email, calls, etc.)? How often would you like to do that, so that you don’t inadvertently lose touch? What specifically do you want to talk about? What would you like these interactions to look like? How can you invite one another to be a little more open, vulnerable, and honest?
Week 3:
Equipped to do Ministry
Monday Memo notes

Questions Upon Which to Reflect
So where and how does God want you to be His priest, do His ministry work, and build up the body of Christ? (Those last two phrases are pulled directly out of Eph. 4.11-13)…
Spend some time this week reflecting on or journaling about the following questions…they’re meant be help you get a sense of your place in God’s wider Kingdom work. (These also make for a dynamite small group or Sunday School discussion.) 
1. What about the Christian life or church ministry really animates, energizes, or motivates you? 
2. What social causes move you or are you passionate about? 
3. Consider this quote: ““Your calling in life is where your greatest joy meets the world’s greatest need” (Frederich Buechner). How does it help you specify your responses to #1 and #2 above? 
4. When have you felt like you really made a difference in someone’s life, when God was acting through you, or when you and God were very close while you went about His work? 
5. When have others told you that you were good at some specific kind of ministry or endeavor, or that God really touched or blessed them through you? 
6. Your responses to the first five questions now make you ready for the last: How can you prioritize following your calling more, how do you need to be equipped or trained in order to do so, and what do you need to stop doing in order to free up more time for your calling? 
Week 4:
Unprecedented Unity
Monday Memo notes

From “A House United,” by Allen Hilton:
“Our 21st-century American cities, neighborhoods, states, and society at large need help. Deep and painful divisions have them to the brink of a cultural disaster…And no one is stepping up to lead them back toward one another.
“I nominate the Christian church for that job…People need someone to teach them how to find things they can do together well, how to stay in the same room when they disagree on important issues, and how to talk to one another about those important issues long enough to make something better than either person could have done alone…
“The time for redemptive Christian unity is now…If Christ’s church wakes to the glories God has in store for those who stay engaged across our differences, maybe a century from now, someone will write a book chronicling the societal bridge that religion became in the 21st-century.”

From “Disunity in Christ,” by Christena Cleveland –
“To embrace our identity in this new common family called church, we must engage in the difficult process of lessening our grip on the identities that we have idolized and clung to far too long, things like politics, vocation, class, race, and culture. In many ways, this process will jar our souls, wrenching us from the safe homogenous existence we so easily seek.
“At first, it will feel painfully unnatural because we have lived outside of our shared identity in Christ for so long. Intentional unity will feel wrong to us initially, enough so that the best of us will want to quit…However, never forget – not only is Jesus serious about crossing impossible boundaries to pursue us, but He’s also equally serious about His followers crossing the same boundaries in order to be the church together. He has led the way; we follow in His footsteps. As the great industrialist Henry Ford said it, ‘Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.’”
Week 5:
Indispensible Basics
Monday Memo notes

Resources to Explore
– Another sports story about the importance of basics, this one from a legendary football coach: Vince Lombardi on the Hidden Power of Mastering the Fundamentals
– Interested in learning more about Natural Church Development?: 
Here’s a brief video overview of NCD, and the 8 quality characteristics – PCC Natural Church Development
Here’s a brief written overview of NCD and its findings, courtesy of the United Methodist Church – ncd2pagesummary.pdf
A Prayer for the Week
Let’s pray this periodically throughout the week for KirkWood…
From the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) –
Gracious Father, we pray for Your holy universal church, and for our church. Fill it with all truth and peace. Where it is corrupt, purify it; where it is in error, direct it; where in anything it is amiss, reform it; where it is right, strengthen it; where it is in need, provide for it; and where it is divided, reunite it. We ask this for the sake of Your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, now and forever, amen.
Week 6:
The Presbyterian Bull’s Eye
Monday Memo notes

Quotes to Remember
“The church is not a select circle of the immaculate, but a home where the outcast may come in. It is not a palace with gate attendants and challenging sentinels along the entrance-ways holding off at arm’s-length the stranger, but rather a hospital where the broken-hearted may be healed, and where all the weary and troubled may find rest and take counsel together.” (John H. Aughey, Presbyterian pastor, 1828-1911)
“We acknowledge that the church even at its best is a frail and fallible human institution. We know that we “hold these treasures in earthen vessels”…Recognizing how far short we fall from God’s intentions, we continually submit all our doctrines and structures to be reformed according to the Word of God and the call of the Spirit. The church is a…pilgrim people, a people on the way, not yet what we shall be. The church, because of who we are, remains open to always being reformed…This motto , “reformed and always being reformed,” calls us to something more radical than we have imagined. It challenges…the habits and agendas we have lately fallen into. It brings a prophetic critique…It invites us, as people who worship and serve a living God, to be open to being “re-formed” according to the Word of God and the call of the Spirit.” (The Presbyterian Mission Agency)