Every time you open or close a door, I want you to remember Mars Hill Church and the book of Malachi.
A door opens up to what is new. At Mars Hill, God has opened some crazy awesome doors of opportunity that could make 2014 the biggest year we’ve ever had with some of the greatest investments we’ve ever made. To get us ready to walk through that door next year, we are finishing this year by opening the book of Malachi.
A door both opens and closes. As the last book of the Old Testament, Malachi closes Old Covenant revelation and opens New Covenant revelation promising the ministry of John the Baptizer preparing the way for Jesus roughly 400 years later.
Malachi has some tough words. But, they come from God who tells us he’s a loving Father. To understand the words of God, we need to know the heart of God. In Malachi, God is a Father who has spiritual children that do not love him back, and have chosen lethargy over legacy. Because their heart was not devoted to God, their families were not devoted to God, and their tithing was not directed to God.
They had lost a vision for their legacy. They had closed their eyes to the future and so their Father sat them down to open their eyes to living for a legacy.
What legacy are you living for? Are you a single person investing in people and our church family? Are you a married person investing in your marriage and family?
These are the issues we will be meeting with our Father about every Sunday as we study Malachi together for our final sermon series of 2013. One of my favorite verses in the book is Malachi 4:5–6: “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers.”
The Father wants every one of us to have his heart. He wants us to submit to the Holy Spirit as he turns our hearts toward living for a legacy. This legacy is physical and spiritual children who love God the Father and love the family of God called the church. And this is not just for married couples with kids. Even those who aren’t raising children in their home can do spiritual parenting in the church by investing in others of all ages.
Living for a legacy
In Malachi we learn that the Lord is seeking “godly offspring” (2:15). He cares about the faithfulness of his people in the present, in part because he has more people to save in the future. Our church family has really grown since we first all met on a couch at the home Grace and I were renting in Seattle 17 years ago. The first children born into our church are now preparing for college, which means for us it’s time to look toward the future and start asking:
“What can we do to leave a legacy of faithfulness that blesses the next generation and helps our kids and grandkids accomplish the work God has yet in store?”
When we think about what it means to live for a legacy, two specific responses are evident in Malachi and throughout Scripture: giving and prayer.
Giving for a legacy
Malachi teaches that God is a generous giver who requires generosity from his people—not as an empty religious gesture, but as an act of sincere, liberating worship.
During this season, we as a church will be raising money—above and beyond our normal budget—to help fund a few special projects related to the long-term health of our church legacy:
- New homes for church families: January 12, 2014, is a huge day! We’ll be opening new buildings for Mars Hill Church in Tacoma, Everett, Olympia, and Huntington Beach, and it’s the grand opening for Mars Hill Phoenix. On that day, we also launch the book of James.
- Christian education: In the coming year, we’ll be partnering with two universities to offer an accredited undergraduate and graduate education in Bellevue, primarily to equip young men and women heading out into a world where Christians are an increasingly despised minority.
- Jesus Festival: On August 22, we’ll host our first-ever Jesus Festival at Marymoor Park near Seattle. Everyone at Mars Hill churches far and near is invited for this unique opportunity to grow together and evangelize within the surrounding community. Fun for kids, music, gospel preaching, baptisms, and good times at no charge because it’s always good to practice for the kingdom with a party!
- Mars Hill Global: In 2014, we plan to support 20 additional church planters in Ethiopia, and 10 additional church planters in India—73 overall, for a legacy that extends beyond our own congregation and country.
We’ll have much more to share about these projects in the coming weeks. Go to marshill.com/give to give online and set up recurring giving for 2014.
We are asking the people of Mars Hill to give an additional $2 million above and beyond normal giving by the end of 2013 to make all this happen. Please pray about what your portion is and pray for everyone to do their part.
Praying for a Legacy
God has given us a lot to do, which means we have a lot to pray for first.
Next year is shaping up to be the busiest, most eventful, most fruitful year in the history of Mars Hill. On behalf of your pastors, we feel led to saturate this opportunity with 40 days of prayer as a church.
From December 1 through January 9, in preparation for our big day on January 12, we’re asking you to pray for your church. Pray that we would glorify Jesus. Pray that lots of people would be saved. Pray for our legacy.
Throughout the 40 days of prayer, we will be posting daily prayer requests, updates, and devotionals on MarsHill.com—which is also where you can find weekly study materials for Malachi, since we will not be producing study guide books before the series begins. Please plan to unite with us in praying for 2014.
Thank you for being a part of Jesus’ legacy at Mars Hill Church! There is much, much more to come.
With a father’s heart,
–Pastor Mark Driscoll
*All gifts during the Living for a Legacy sermon series are donated to the church’s general fund and can be used for operating purposes.