“What On Earth Are We Here For?” (John MacDiarmid)

(Notes on Talk given by John MacDiarmid for Poole Christian Fellowship at Poole High School on 7 January 2018.)

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Happy New Year!

I wonder how many times you have said that in your life?

Although 1st of January probably doesn’t have any spiritual significance, it serves as a useful landmark for us to take stock. As has been our custom for a number of years, we will be thinking today about the whole reason we do church. Why do we come every week to Poole High? Why have we been having a week of prayer? Why are we launching a new small groups strategy? What’s the point? What are we trying to achieve?

One of my favourite exchanges from Alice in Wonderland is this:

One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire cat in a tree. “Which road do I take she asked”?
The response was a question: “Where do you want to go?”
“I don’t know”, Alice answered.
“Then”, said the cat, “it doesn’t matter”

If we don’t know where we want to go, then it doesn’t matter what we do. On the other hand if we Do know where we want to go, if we understand what we are trying to achieve, then it makes all the difference in the world to what we do and how we behave. So today we ask ourselves the most basic of questions:
Who Are We?
What Are we trying to Do?
…and How are we going to do it?

Before we answer that question for ourselves, it is worth reminding ourselves that Jesus himself knew exactly what he wanted to achieve. He said: “The Son of Man came to seek to save the Lost”. Everything that Jesus did was seen through the lens of one who had been sent by God to seek and to save.

It will help us to consider our own mission by looking briefly at an episode from the history of God’s people. The Israelites had spent 40 years wandering the wilderness with one goal in mind to get into the promised land. When they were on the verge of it – disaster strikes The man they thought would take them in is gone. So does that mean that the vision is over, that now it’s not going to happen – quite the reverse. We pick up the story in Joshua Chapter 1:

After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, the LORD said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide: 2 “Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them—to the Israelites. 3 I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. 4 Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates—all the Hittite country—to the Mediterranean Sea in the west.5 No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. 6 Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.

God gave His people three things:
1. A Land to Possess – God makes the point that his promise to give them the land has not dies with Moses. We have a land before us here in Poole. You have your own territory to be taken in your own life. Do we still believe it?
2. A Promise to Claim – God promised that He would be with His people as they moved forward after the Moses era. God promises to be with us, as we obey his commission to make disciples here in Poole.
3. A Command to Obey – the rest of the book of Joshua is about God telling the Isrealites what He wants them to do . When they obey, they see Gods blessings. As will we.

So what is it that God has called us to be and to do as a part of His church in Poole?

Let’s refresh our minds about our Vision and Mission as PCF.

We are a family of believers who want to be:
“Spirit-led…Bible-shaped …Gospel-driven”

Our Mission is:
“Knowing Jesus…and making Him known”

We will do this by:
“Loving Jesus……developing our relationship with Jesus, learning to follow Him, Obey Him and become more like Him
Loving His Church…Living as a part of the family of God, meeting together, loving and caring for each other and encouraging one another in our shared mission
Loving the Lost…” …taking every opportunity to share the good news of the gospel with those around us, making disciples and teaching them to do the same.

For those of you who are new to PCF, this will help you to understand what we are doing as a church. For those of you who have been with us for some time, you will have heard this before, and maybe you were a part of putting it together.

For all of us, as we focus for the month of January in launching “Streams”, our new small group program, we are doing it because it is an integrated part of our calling as a church. It will help us to Know Jesus and make Him Known. It will help us to be a part of God’s family, and it will help us to Love, Jesus, Love His Church and to Love the Lost. Let’s continue to give ourselves to that in 2018.

John MacDiarmid
January 2018