This morning began with a dynamic worship service. John Ortberg’s sermon raised up a vision of what God is calling the church to be based on Acts 2:42-47:
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
He proclaimed “There was a time when people were so devoted to God and irrationally connected to each other in service… when they took off their masks and changed the world.”
That is the kind of church God is calling us to be today. He challenged us to imagine a church that is Spirit led and Christ centered, devoted to teaching the nations; where the claims of Jesus are expressed in thoughtful, winsome, and compelling ways; where anyone can come, bring their hurts and doubts, and hear a clear, confident, humble expression of the gospel; where church meetings are never a waste of anyone’s time because they are focused on how to reach people, do justice, and build disciples; and where hundreds of thousands of people are being won to Jesus. “Can God not do that today?”
He then introduced the name and mission statement of the New Reformed Body:
Evangelical – Bringing the Good News (Evangel) to all people
Covenant – Expressing a commitment and accountability to God and one another
Order – Committing to a way of life together.
Playing around with the initials “ECO”, Ortberg reminded us that a healthy eco-system provides a place where a multitude of organisms can flourish and grow. An unhealthy ecosystem becomes toxic to living organisms. ECO will exist to help congregations flourish in making disciples of Jesus Christ.
“Will you devote the rest of your life to be part of such a church?”
More in my next update on how ECO and the Fellowship of Presbyterians hope to live into that vision.