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Sermons about Empowering
Sometimes reaching out to people can seem daunting. We don't always feel like an evangelist. The thrust of this series is to allow the Holy Spirit to instill in us a heart for those without Christ so we can be the hands and feet of Jesus to our community.
Paul's prayer that the church would be strengthened as it understands the magnificence of the love of God.
I was in Texas for less than 48 hours this week, but in that brief time, I made a few observations. One: the folks in Texas don't know how to handle ice and snow any better than folks in NC. I never saw so many wrecks in my life. Two: even my non-English speaking taxi driver was an expert on the Dallas Cowboys and his ideas about how to fix them are better than the ones I hear from the present coaching staff. Three: When they say everything is big in Texas, they aren't joking. Even the churches are huge. I was in an area where on 3 different corners there were churches of over 10,000 folks each and there was a 4th just a mile up the road When you take a look at some of the pastors and churches in Texas, you'll notice that a large number of them have built their ministries upon the idea that all that God has done in this world and through Christ is really just for you and once we realize all that God has done, we will become better people. Within that philosophy of ministry, I hear nuggets of truth, but upon further consideration, it seems to fall short of the full picture. This point became clear when I heard two pastors speak at the conference One did this incredibly well done video piece of him teaching his son to ride a bike. In it, he talked about how through our failure, we learn how to succeed. His mantra was: try, fail, learn, adjust. He closed by saying that failure was God's way of making you a winner. Now that sounds like a decent theology right? Learn from your failures. God doesn't intend for us to hang our heads in the sand and mope when things don't go well. Yet, it still seemed a bit incomplete. Then, the next speaker came up on the stage, Mark Driscoll from Mars Hill Church in Seattle. If you know anything about Driscoll, he is about a straight shooter as they come, and he is unconcerned and unimpressed with Christian celebrities. He spoke of Righteousness, Risk and Repentance warning pastors like myself not to base our righteousness on the success of our ministries, not to not become addicted to or too scared of risk, and to continually walk in repentance. Then as he closed, he offered this correction to the prior speaker. He said, "Oh yeah, one more thing: only in America will a pastor tell you that that the purpose of failure is so God can make you a winner. You might just fail, and all you will have left is Jesus. The bigger question is, â€˜Is Jesus enough for you?'" That bold rebuke struck home to my heart. Folks, when we are said and done here on the dusty bowl called planet Earth, the fundamental question is going to be, "Do you have Jesus or not?" The size of this church, the job you have, the things that make you comfortable, are not going to count. Jesus is what counts. If I preach this sermon or if I preach them all year long, if Sovereign King grows, if we have 4, 6, 8 CE Groups, if we are serving the police well, if we do all of those things and lives are not changed and transformed because of Jesus Christ, we are wasting our time. If your life is not impacted and transformed because you met the risen Savior, then I'm wasting my time up here. Don't let the structure of things going on here distract you. I think our CE Groups are vital and the men's and women's study are vital, but they are means to an end and not and end unto themselves Instead allow the structure of going on here instruct you how you and those you know can be transformed by Jesus. Jesus is not a means to an end. He is not your way to have a happy, healthy, wealthy life. Jesus is the end. The goal is Jesus. When we get done with our day, whether or not it has gone our way or whether or not we feel blessed, ask yourself, "Was Jesus enough for me today?" If the answer is no, it is not because Jesus was insufficient. It was because you found Him insufficient and desired other things. What we are going to find in I John today is that He is going to describe the folks that get that, the folks that get that Jesus is the point. He is going to describe those folks as those that overcome the world.