Every successful organization and business has a purpose for which they exist. The purpose of the Pepsi plant is to produce Pepsi, Mountain Dew, and Diet Pepsi. If they suddenly decided to make their main purpose teaching golf lessons instead of making Pepsi, they would soon go out of business. The purpose of our hospitals is to provide health care. How long would they stay in business if they changed their purpose to dry cleaning? Now, there’s nothing wrong with golf lessons or dry cleaning, those are good things to do, but those things can’t become the primary focus of those organizations.
Our church has a purpose statement. There are hundreds of things a church could do that are good things, but a clearly defined purpose statement keeps us focused
on the best things we can do. Southern Illinois Worship Center purpose is to reach, teach, and equip people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Those people that we are to reach, teach, and equip are in three different directions: across the aisle; across the street; and around the world. We have to reach out on purpose in all three of those directions.
There isn’t anything in this life that has value, deals with your destiny, or the kingdom of God that can be done on accident. It has to be done on purpose. You have to purposefully look across the aisle, literally look across the aisle at the people who gather to worship with you. We can go through our routine and forget that the people that sit across the aisle from us; have hurts, sorrow, pain, and grief. Those people, also have points of joy and victory as well. The question is do you genuinely care about the person across the aisle from you? Have reached out to them?
Do you want to know them and to know about them? Or are you content to just see them each week and smile and shake their hands during our meet and greet time? I believe we can become more intentional (do it on purpose) in reaching across the aisle to love and connect with one another.
The Apostle John wrote a magnificent letter, in this letter he hasa lot to say about loving one another. Many people call I Corinthians 13 the love chapter, “love” is found eight times in 1 Corinthians 13, but I John 4 should have the designation of the love chapter. “Love” is used 27 times in 1 John 4. In reading this letter, think about how this relates to being on purpose across the aisle with those that gather with you.
I John 4:7-12; 18-21:
7 Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. 8 But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
9 God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. 10 This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.
11 Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. 12 No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.
18 Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. 19 We love each other because he loved us first.
20 If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a fellow believer, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? 21 And he has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their fellow believers.
We must purpose in our hearts to reach out to the people across the aisle, on purpose. The issue of our day, in all of our technology, we are more connected than ever before, but we also live in isolation. Be on purpose about getting connected to real people. Reach across that aisle!
The crux of Christianity is that the last words of Jesus should be our first priority. Jesus said go into all the world (Matthew 28:19). Further He instructed them in Acts 1:8 that they “will” be witnesses of Him, in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth!
Take some time over the next 21 days and purposefully connect with those that are across the Aisle, go to them, then go and fellowship with them! Do it on purpose!