Surf breaks. Egg and Bacon rolls. Beach walks. Bush walks. Lake walks. Playgrounds. Sunshine. Sunsets. Coffee. Sporting fields. Shopping centres. Standup paddle boarding. Manly Sea Eagles. Panoramic views. Restaurants. Retirement villages. There is so much to LOVE about the Northern Beaches of Sydney!! During January 2013, St Faith’s Arvo Church we will be considering how to LOVE THE BEACHES. It is good to enjoy the many great things about living in this place. However, the big idea is that the BEST way to love the beaches is to point them to Jesus’ love.
The love of Jesus is news that our whole world needs to hear. That’s why we send missionaries across the world, but we also need to send them across the street. And so the subtitle of this series could be called “LOCAL MISSIONARIES”.
PART 1 // LOCAL MISSIONARIES LOVE THE CREATOR
The Northern Beaches is a place where many love the creation without acknowledging the Creator. Romans 1 shows the seriousness of ingratitude and thanklessness.
According to Romans 1:18-20 God has made himself known through what he has made. That is, when you stand on Edgecliffe Boulevarde Collaroy Plateau and enjoy the panoramic views, you are supposed to see the handiwork of the creator.
But according to Romans 1:21-25, people fail to glorify and thank God (v21) they worship the creation rather than the creator (v25).
All people are are guilty of idolatry, i.e. turning good things into god things. But it’s pretty obvious in such a beautiful place like the Northern Beaches where the location is central to our identity. Our community LOVE: the lifestyle; the creation; enjoying God’s good gifts. But so often they fail to to thank God for it.
Our community may not claim to be religious, but the reality is that everyone worships someone or something. If it’s not the Creator it’s created things.
LOCAL MISSIONARIES MODEL GRATITUDE
As local missionaries, we have the opportunity to glorify God and thank him for his creation. In doing this we will model to our community gratitude and the right response as creatures to our Creator. Don’t be shy in everyday life and conversations to use ‘God-talk’ in acknowledging God’s many blessings. Likewise, enjoy creation without living for it.
But our thanksgiving is not just for the stuff that God gives us, we are to be most thankful for God! We are to be thankful that we know Him.
LOCAL MISSIONARIES WORSHIP THE CREATOR
Ultimately we model gratitude by worshipping the True and Living God.
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.” Romans 12:1
Worship is “in view of God’s mercy”. Romans 1-3 shows that humans are condemned before God for their thanklessness, disobedience and sin. Romans 3-11 then explains what Christ has done on the cross to deal with our sin and bring new life to those who trust him. This is the mercy and kindness that is in view when Christians are called to offer themselves to God in worship in Romans 12:1. Worship the God who has given you life in Jesus.
The danger for us is that it’s so easy to forget God and get wrapped up in worshipping the creation along with the rest of the Northern Beaches. Enjoy it! But don’t worship it.
Not a Christian? Perhaps you could take time to get to know the Creator of the many things you enjoy from him.
Christian? Make 2013 a year marked by gratitude. It’s easy to: be thankless; grumble; whinge and complain. Don’t! Be grateful.
Part of St Faith’s ARVO church? LOVE THE BEACHES. Thank God for his kindness. Be a local missionary who Loves the Creator more than the creation.