Today is my first visit to “The Meeting Place” which is our newest church in the North Central Region. It was officially organized on March 22, 2020 just as the Covid-19 shelter in place was being implemented. The founding pastor, Mike Dana, still wanted to move forward and so we organized the church “virtually”.
Since then the church has continued to grow and serve Billings, MT.
Truly Jesus’ words ring true: “And the gates of hell shall not prevail.” (Mt. 16:18)
Sonja and I count it a privilege to join with Pastor Mike/Danette Dana and their congregation today. Following is the outline for the message I will be preaching.
Sermon Title: Why You Meet Matters…a lot!
The story of my salvation and early growth as a Christian.
- Punchline: Outside of my family, the church was the only institution that has remained committed to my personal growth and well-being.
- And the church is the only institution committed to my well-being for eternity.
- And this goes for every human being who has ever lived or will live since the church was birthed on the Day of Pentecost.
Bottom line: Church matters…your church matters…a lot!
Mission: My mission is to reinforce the importance of the church in society and especially the importance of each Christian being committed to the success of a particular church.
1. The Place Where You Meet Matters.
Holy Places Matter.
Scripture: Genesis 28:17-22 (NKJV)
17 And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven!” 18 Then Jacob rose early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put at his head, set it up as a pillar, and poured oil on top of it. 19 And he called the name of that place Bethel; but the name of that city had been Luz previously. 20 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me, and keep me in this way that I am going, and give me bread to eat and clothing to put on, 21 so that I come back to my father’s house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God. 22 And this stone which I have set as a pillar shall be God’s house, and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You.”
Illustration: Jesus –
- The first public place he was taken, age 8 days.
- Age 12 About his father’s business at his father’s house, etc.
- The last public place he went before his death and glorification.
- The Meeting Place was central to Jesus’ life and ministry.
Application: Be intentional about cherishing and maintaining this Holy Meeting Place – you’re making a statement to God and the world.
2. The People You Meet With Matter.
Scripture: John 13:34-35 (NKJV) A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Illustration: Ernestine Howard & Bill Burris (Romans 12:3-5)
One of the most consistent illustrations used in the N.T. to illustrate a local congregation is comparing them to a human body.
Ernestine Howard: 3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.
Bill Burris: 4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.
Application: Be intentional about cherishing and serving one another.
- By the way, if you are not occasionally “hurt” at church then you are not really a part of the “family.” Application: Don’t expect church to be perfect.
3. The Purpose You Meet For Matters.
Illustration: (Salt) The Covid induced scarcity of salt in restaurants. (Salt = vaccine)
Illustration: (Light) How seeing the lights of a little town while driving through the night on these open stretches of road is a comfort.
Scripture: Romans 12:6 (NKJV) Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them:
- The PLACE where you meet matter matters.
- The PEOPLE you meet with matters.
- The PURPOSE you meet for matters.