Not a Cruise Ship


One year, our family went on a cruise for vacation. You might be thinking, that doesn’t sound like a great vacation, but we loved it! Cruise ships are designed for the comfort and pleasure of the passengers. You get to choose what shows you want to see, you get great service, and the food is endless. One night, after an incredible dinner, we went to the deck party with another dinner of fajitas!

Many people have gotten the idea that the church is like a cruise ship where the pastor is the Cruise Director, whose job is to make sure all the passengers, I mean the members and attenders, are happy and comfortable. The church staff is the cruise crew whose job is to serve the church members.

A few years ago, my daughter Makenzie and I went to Corpus to spend the night on the USS Lexington Battleship, also know as the Blue Ghost. The Lexington was a flagship during World War 2, leading battles through the Pacific. She received 11 battle stars and the Presidential Unit Citation. After the war, she was reclassified as an attack carrier and then as an anti-submarine carrier.

Battleships are built to achieve their mission, They are fast, fully equipped, and every sailor knows their mission.

The church is supposed to be a Battleship, not a cruise ship. Everyone should come with the attitude of all hands on deck and say, “I’m reporting for duty!”

The Connection Church is a Battleship. Our mission is clear: To connect with God, Connect with people, and to Connect people with God. That’s our driving passion.

Jehoshaphat also built a fleet of trading ships to sail to Ophir for gold. But the ships never set sail for they met with disaster in their home port. 1 Kings 22:48 NLT

How many people, families, and church, are just cruising through life, never leaving their home port, and ultimately meeting with disaster? If you want to get off the cruise and onto the crew, here’s what to do:

JOIN THE CREW!

Understand it’s bigger than my desires and wants, and likes and dislikes.

About the time I was a senior in high school, I had this huge jambox with a cd player that had trouble playing cd’s. They would just sort of skip. I didn’t want it anymore, but I knew someone who did: my little brother Kris. So I convinced (tricked) him to buy it for only $100. I got rid of my problem, made $100 bucks, and he got a useless cd player. I did that because I was just thinking about me and what I could get out of it. We’re good now, I hope.

I’ve grown up since then, but we still make decisions like that today. Instead, we are to have the same attitude as Jesus, who humbled Himself and gave His life for us.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. Philippians 2:3-4

Look out over the edge of the ship and see who’s lost at sea!

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:1-9

Before you follow Jesus, you’re not just sick, you’re spiritually dead. God sees us right where we are in the middle of our mess and brings us to life. I SEE DEAD PEOPLE! When we’re made alive, we should look different than the dead people around us.

God brought you to life so He can show you His love. Then, our mission is to be a part of the rescue team, bringing the message of Jesus to those who need the life that only Jesus gives.

WORK YOUR ASSIGNED POST!

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10

Before you were ever born, God had a plan for you and made you for some specific things to do! He didn’t save us, redeem us, and send His Son to die for us so we could cruise on a big ship and ignore the people in the water.

LIVE THE MISSION!

When we love the mission, we’re thinking about a lost world with people who desperately need a Savior. My life is all about winning the lost at any cost!

People sometimes look at The Connection Church and say, “If you just want to reach unchurches people, you’re just a shallow church!” No way! Battleships sail in deep waters. All rescues happen in the deep waters. There’s nothing deeper or more unselfish than setting aside our wants and preferences for the sake of seeing the dead made alive! That’s Deep!!!

Jesus is the ADMIRAL and COMMANDER of the whole FLEET ALL OVER THE WORLD! Is He your admiral and commander?

Questions for Discussion
  1. If you were boarding a cruise ship, what 3 must-have items would you take with you? What 3 must-have items would you need if you were boarding a battleship preparing for a battle?
  2. Read Philippians 2:3-4. In what ways have you valued others above yourself? In what ways have you valued yourself above others?
  3. Read Ephesians 2:1-3. What is the spiritual state of people before they become a follower of Jesus?
  4. Read Ephesians 2:4-9. Knowing that God brought us to life through His richness, mercy, love through His Son Jesus, even though we don’t deserve it, how can this wonderful and loving message reach the “dead”?
  5. What relationship(s) do you need to make right in order to be mission ready? For what relationship(s) should you express gratitude and/or love?

Cole Phillips

I'm a Connector, linking people with God and with others to experience the kind of life God has planned for them. I am the founding and Lead Pastor of THE CONNECTION CHURCH in Buda, Texas. I previously served in churches around the state as youth pastor and as pastor before moving to Kyle in the Spring of 2004. I love to lead people to connect with God and those around them and thrive on changed lives. I earned a doctorate in missions and evangelism with an emphasis on church growth. My heart beats for helping people connect with God and connect with others in an authentic community of faith. I love listening to and making music. I also enjoy hanging out with my family. Pam and I have been married since 1991 and we have two daughters, Makenzie and Bethanie. We are planting our lives in Hays County and allowing God to build a great church through us.