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There are many things I don’t enjoy. One of them is taking my vehicle to the dealership to have it serviced. Then there’s the wait for a ride back to the office (or sit in the waiting room drinking terrible coffee). I lose the rhythm in my day.
This past week was an absolute nightmare on Wednesday morning. I dropped the vehicle off and waited thirty minutes for the shuttle to get a ride back to the office. When I got to the office I was already thirty minutes late for a meeting, only to realise I had to leave at 11am for a meeting in London but wouldn’t have my vehicle! Our two staff kindly agreed to hike back to the dealership and get my un-serviced vehicle while I looked after my meeting at the office. THEN, when I finally left for London I was an hour late, and a call led me to turn around and come home because they figured the meeting would be nearly finished by the time I got there! And all because my vehicle needed to be serviced!
But I know it’s a necessary process, otherwise the vehicle will get ‘sick’ and have far more problems later on.
Sometimes I feel like my vehicle! There’s plenty of slug in my thoughts and grit in my spirit. But when I get together with God’s people, I get a tune-up!
ILL: This is an alleged New Year’s letter written from a church member to the pastor.
You often stress attendance at worship as being very important for a Christian, but I think a person has a right to miss now and then. I think every person ought to be excused for the following reasons and the number of times indicated.
Christmas Holidays (the Sunday before & after) 2
New Years (the party lasted too long) 1
Easter (get away for the holidays) 2
July 4th (national holidays) 1
Labor Day (need to get away) 2
Memorial Day (visit hometown folk) 1
School closing (kids need a break) 1
School reopens (one last fling) 1
Family reunions (mine & wife’s) 3
Sleep late (stayed up too long Saturday night) 9
Deaths in family 2
Anniversary (second honeymoon) 1
Sickness (one per family member) 5
Business trip (a must) 1
Vacation (three to four weeks) 6
Bad weather (ice, snow, rain, clouds) 2
Ball games 2
Unexpected company (can’t walk out) 2
Time changes (spring & fall) 2
Special on TV (superbowl, etc) 3
Pastor, that leaves two Sundays per year. So, you can count on us to be in church on the 4th Sunday in February and the 3rd Sunday in August unless we are providentially hindered.
A Faithful Member
Church growth expert, George Barna found that prayer was the foundational ministry of rapidly growing churches in America. He wrote: “The call to prayer [in these churches] was the battle cry of the congregation: it rallied the troops. These people understood the power of prayer. They actively and consistently included prayer in their services, in their events, their meetings and their personal ministries.” Barna also said in Little Rock at a church growth conference that, “culture reinvents itself every 5 to 8 years, while the church reinvents itself ever 35 to 40 years. Therefore the church is at least 75 to 80 years behind culture all the time.”
I was a supply preacher for a small town Texas Church, coming in early Sunday, preaching a sermon to the congregation, and then leaving after lunch. Arriving early one Sunday I sat down at a local donut shop, opened my Bible and went over my sermon notes.
A man was sitting down the counter from me and he said, "You a preacher or something?"
I replied, "Yes I preach at the Christian Church here in town."
He got excited and said, "Hey, I’m a member of that church."
The church was small and I knew all the regulars so I said, "I’ve been preaching there for abo...
I watched a documentary a few weeks ago about Wal-Mart. I found something very interest out about Sam Walton the founder of Wal-Mart. He had one vision – one goal. You know what that vision was – to capture the consumer market of America. Let me ask you – how many of you have ever shopped at a Wal-Mart or Sam’s Club? (In our church I expect it to be 100 %.) Now Sam’s vision just did not happen. He came up with a plan. He opened his first Wal-Mart in 1962 in Roger, Arkansas. By 1967 he had 24 stores in Arkansas. The sales that year had reached $12.6 million dollars. By 2005 sales had reached $312 billion dollars with 3,200 stores in America and just as many around the world. It took hard work – it took effort – it took long hours – but just look at the results. Everyone in this room has shopped at Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart’s vision has now changed – they now want to capture the consumer market of the world. God intends His church to grow. He has a plan – He has a strategy for church growth. In case you missed it here it is again: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Matthew 28:19-20 (NKJV)
Sermon Central Staff
A DYING CHURCH
An artist was once asked to put on canvas what he considered to be the picture best symbolizing a decaying and dying church. After several months, he returned and reported that he had finished the task. The hour finally arrived when the painting was to be unveiled. Several people standing around the easel had already given their description of what they thought the church would look like. Some had said it would be a rundown building in great need of repair and paint. Weeds would be growing in the church yard, and there would be some broken window panes. Everyone in the group seemed to have a similar picture in mind.
However, when the cloth was removed, a hush fell over the group. Everyone was stunned. Before their eyes was an absolutely beautiful church building. The grounds were well kept and the exterior of the building was in excellent condition. After a few minutes, one person stepped forward and said to the artist, "I thought we asked you to paint a dying church?"
The artist smiled and invited everyone to step closer to the painting. He pointed through the windows to the empty pews and to the collection plate on the table. There was nothing in the plate but cobwebs.
The church that has cobwebs in its collection plate is a church that is decaying and dying. Without the giver, there is no giving. Without the giving, ministries cannot be conducted by the church. Without ministries being conducted, the mission of the church cannot be carried out. If the mission of the church is not carried out, the church is purposeless and dead.
(From a sermon by Terry Blankenship, Igniting a Lifeless Church Service, 2/7/2011)
When you get a flu shot your getting injected with a very small amount of the sickness. So small that it shouldn’t make you sick and should keep you from getting very sick. Many people in the Church just want flu shoot Christianity. Not too much to were they turn into fanatics, but just enough to keep them from going to hell.
A New York City businessman moved to the country and bought a piece of land. He went to the local feed and livestock store and talked to the proprietor about how he was going to take up chicken farming. He then asked to buy 100 chicks.
"That’s a lot of chicks," commented the proprietor. "I mean business," the man replied.
A week later the new farmer was back again. "I need another 100 chicks," he said. "Boy, you are serious about this chicken farming," the man told him.
"Yeah," the man replied. "If I can iron out a few problems...
“In football they have a huddle, the goal of the huddle is to give you thirty seconds to call the play, that is why they give you a huddle.(At a professional football game there may be ) Sixty thousand people watching you huddle, they don’t mind you taking thirty seconds to call the play. They understand that you have to get organized, you have to know where you are going to go, the ends need to know where they are going to go, the quarterback needs to know where he is going to go, the backs need to know where they are going to go. A huddle is a necessary part of playing the game. But let me inform you if you do not already know, sixty thousand people do not pay $20 a ticket to watch you huddle. See, people don’t come to football games to watch the huddle. They want to see if their team can overcome the opposition who is daring them to snap the ball and move down the field to score. What they want to know is does your practice work? Now what Christians often do is get high on their huddles. We gather together on Sunday morning and Sunday nights and Wednesday nights and we go nuts over the huddle! We say, “Boy did we have a huddle!! My quarterback can call plays better than your quarterback. And boy do we go off on the huddle. But what people don’t seem to understand is, that the huddle is so that we can play the game. The effectiveness of your church cannot be measured by how well you do on Sunday morning. … The test of the church is what it does in the marketplace. What we need today is churches that are representative of Jesus Christ not only when gathered but when disseminated.” (Dr. Tony Evans. “The Power of God’s People.” (Sermon, 1987 – Church Growth Conference, Prestonwood Baptist Church, Dallas, TX)
Bill Hybels is the Pastor of the largest church in America, Willow Creek Community Church, just outside of Chicago, Illinois. His ministry began as an outreach from another church to teenagers during the early 70’s. They called the youth ministry Son City. He and his wife Lynne recount the story of their explosive church growth in their book Rediscovering church. Listen as I read an excerpt from the book, this is Lynne speaking:
"In my mind I am walking again along the quiet, tree-lined streets from the church to the tiny home where we had just begun our married life in May 1974. I am sitting at the round kitchen table with the red tablecloth. Another lonely meal. Another empty evening. An hour earlier I had begged Bill to stay home. He had looked at me in disbelief. "Kids are dying and going to hell, and you want me to stay home and hold your hand?" The words echo in my mind, and I hear them over and over in different forms: Don’t bother me, Lynne. How can you demand that, Lynne? Six months into marriage, I am convinced I have made a horrible mistake. I love the man I married. I love Son City. But I hate our marriage. I hate the pain of disappointment. I hate mourning the death of so many dreams. And I hate the loneliness." (Hybels, p. 44)