This past week at Wednesday Night Worship we wrapped up the Tunnel Vision series that we kicked off the fall with. We tried something new this week and had announcements on the countdown video before the service. I made the announcements using an app on my phone where you can use a picture of someone and record your mouth speaking for them. So for this one I used Chuck Norris' face. This was actually suggested by Elaina on our creative team and it went over really well with lots of laughs. We then went into a worship set that included "Tell the World" (Hillsong United), "Sovereign Over Us" (Aaron Keyes), "Mighty to Save" (Hillsong United), and then we ended the night by singing "I Will Follow" (Micah Watson). This week was also the first week we had with our first set of LED lights installed!
I began the message by briefly reviewing what we have covered in the series so far and how we have been challenged to look beyond ourself. We read John 13:14 that really sparked the whole series and thinking about serving others. This week we wrapped it up by focusing on missions and how we have the important assignment of sharing our faith.
We then spent a few minutes discussing some events that have been so big that they altered world history. I showed a few pictures of some that I thought of (some serious and others no so serious) like the invention of baseball, the beginning of Apple Computers, Christopher Columbus' discoveries, Neil Armstrong on the moon, 9/11 Tragedy, the birth of Jesus and His death and resurrection. We then discussed another event that really altered world history and that was when the Holy Spirit came and empowered the apostles. They had experienced the power of the Holy Spirit in miracles they performed, their teaching, etc. But now the Holy Spirit was empowering them in a way they had never experienced and it was the purpose of sharing the gospel with others. We focused on Acts 1:8 which is the most popular verse when it comes to missions. In His final moments on earth before ascending to heaven, Jesus is telling the apostles about their mission ahead. He is telling them that they will be empowered with the Holy Spirit to be His witnesses. The word "witness" in the Greek means "one who dies for his faith" as it commonly occurred. We then looked at each of the regions mentioned (Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth) and had some people share about some of them.
-Jerusalem- this is where you actually live. For us this is McMinn County. I had a former student Ariel share about how God is using her to reach people here in our Jerusalem. She shared about her experience ministering in Crossover, which is a ministry for people with special needs and their families. She shared about how God has not only used her, but impacted her as well. In the past week she had specifically been able to minister to a family who lost their mother due to cancer. She also shared about the opportunities available at the college she attends and challenged the students to live their lives for Jesus where they currently are.
-Judea- for us this is the rest of Tennessee and surrounding states. This is generally the places we hit on our MFuge trips. I specifically have a heart for some of these cities myself.
-Samaria- this is even further out. For us it is the rest of North America. I shared about a former student Seth who is currently serving in Massachusetts and hopefully we will be able to hear from some of his experiences in the future.
-Ends of the earth- this is everywhere else. I had Doyle share about how God has placed a desire in his heart for the people of China. He shared with the students that it is because they need to know Jesus Christ. He told them that God may not call them to China, but they are to be obedient to wherever God calls them. I told the students that God is using Doyle here as well as in China and that we are called to serve in all areas, not simply choosing one like multiple choice.
As we wrapped things up, I challenged the students that when we stop living with tunnel vision, then we begin to see how large the world is and how many people need to know Jesus Christ. I closed by sharing the story of a great revival that took place in England in the 1800's. From this revival the people went out to tell others about Jesus and some specifically went to northern India. One family accepted Jesus in northern India and the chief of the village dragged them to the city and told them they must renounce their faith in Jesus Christ, and that if they did not they would be killed. The man said that "he had decided to follow Jesus, no turning back". When further prodded he then said "though none go with me, still I will follow". As he was about to die then man sang "the cross before me, the world behind me". After dying the chief and others were so moved that they refused to renounce their faith in Jesus and that they were willing to die for Him that they too were saved and the famous song "I Have Decided to Follow Jesus" was birthed. I challenged the students to let God show them where they need to follow Jesus and how He can use them now. We then sang that song. Afterward I said that following Jesus is a celebration and we let Jamin rock out a bit as we sang "I Will Follow". I dismissed but several stayed around to help work on the sack packs that we are sending to EK Baker to go home with students each week.
It was a great night all around. This has definitely been a challenging series for me and hopefully for the students. I pray that God will continue to challenge us to look beyond ourselves and serve others so that they can come to know Jesus Christ.