by Manuel Luz, Pastor of Creative Arts
One of the sayings we repeat to one another often at Oak Hills is this: “The church is for discipleship, and discipleship is for the world.” What it means is that we, as Oak Hills, don’t exist simply for the purpose of helping one another in our journey toward following Christ. We follow Christ because we are God’s incarnational expression of the Gospel to the world.
The word incarnation comes from a Latin word that means “in the flesh.” And Jesus is the primary expression of this. God’s love for us was so great and so astounding that the Son voluntarily entered into His creation, being born an unassuming baby, entering the gritty and often difficult life of a normal human being, living and laughing and loving and dying, so that His redemptive purposes could be fulfilled. He came to live among us, clothing himself in mortal flesh, in order to love us and save us and invite us to a better way.
Jesus called us, His church, to go and make disciples. In John 20:21, Jesus says, “as the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” So in a very real sense, we are the enfleshment of His continuing purposes in the world. We are called to be flesh-and-blood examples of His love and grace.
We have and continue to emphasize spiritual formation at Oak Hills. And we think we have done of good job of teaching and modeling and living out lives that are continually surrendering to God’s reign and rule. And the result of living in the Kingdom of God is the transformation of our character to be more like Jesus. But our mission statement is “Oak Hills Church exists to invite people to experience the reality of life in the Kingdom of God.” Spiritual formation is not an end unto itself. Discipleship is for the world.
Frank Laubach stated, “The simple program of Christ for winning the whole world is to make each person he touches magnetic enough with love to draw others.” In other words, it is the transformation of our lives by God into something “other than” that will draw others to Him. Jesus said it this way:
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16)
This is why we’ll be exploring the various aspects of what it means to live out our Kingdom lives to the world. We invite you to attend each Sunday through the months of October and November, as we explore the nature of God’s mission, who we are, our culture, and how to practically live out God’s grace in Folsom and beyond. We’ll even have a Sunday to answer your questions. Join us as we learn together how to live “Beyond Our Fences.”
10/6 Our Missionary God
10/13 Who We Are Matters
10/20 Our Post-Christian Culture
10/27 Love Your Neighbor
11/3 Making Room
11/10 Third Places
11/17 Life Together