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Staff Picks of Free Sermons and PRO Church Media
A church that has passion is a church where "Discouraged folks cheer up, dishonest folks fees up, sour folks sweeten up, closed folk, open up, gossipers shut up, conflicted folks make up, sleeping folks wake up, lukewarm folk, fire up, dry bones shake up, and pew potatoes stand up! But most of all, Christ the Savior of the entire world is lifted up."
Have you heard about the little boy who attended church for the first time and was asked how it went? He replied, "The music was nice but the commercial was too long."
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.”
Once a man asked an evangelist “how can we have revival?” The evangelist answered by asking “Do you have a place where you can pray?” Yes the man replied. Tell you what to do, go to that place and take a piece of chalk along. Kneel down there, and with the chalk draw a complete circle around you and pray for God to ...
Jonathan Edwards: The Obligation of every Generation is to understand what God is doing and then to do it together with Him!
D. Greg Ebie
Imagine that we are putting together a 1,000 piece puzzle. In turn we each put pieces into place; slowly the beauty of the picture begins to take shape. As we continue putting the puzzle together we talk about what it would be like to be a part of the scene before us. As the final pieces are being put into place we are suddenly confronted with the fact that our picture is incomplete; 4 pieces are missing. How do you feel about all our work together knowing that it will forever remain incomplete?
Now imagine that instead of missing pieces, the puzzle is alive. As the final pieces are being put into place they change shape and refuse to be joined together with the adjoining pieces. Or worse yet we watch as parts of the puzzle we have put together suddenly separate and pieces leave the table. How do you feel knowing that the beauty of the image being put together will never be finished, because the pieces won’t cooperate with each other?
I wonder if that is sometimes how God feels about His church? He fits people together only to find that some are missing, or individuals which He has purposed to join together refuse to be connected or deliberately separate from each other. I know that there have been times when I have had those kind of feelings.
Lyle Schaller in speaking about the challenges of the church said - "The biggest challenge for the church at the opening of the twenty-first century is to develop a solution to the discontinuity and fragmentation of the American lifestyle." (The Connecting Church, Randy Frazee, p. 37)
Gene A. Getz, in his book, The Measure of a Church, asks the question, "What is the measure of maturity in the church?" And he lists what others believe are the measure of maturity:
1. An active church (involving people in meetings and programs)
2. A giving church (supporting the church and efforts financially)
3. A growing church (new people coming and staying)
4. A soul-winning church (leading unbelievers to faith and baptism)
5. A smooth-running church (efficient and orderly)
6. A missionary-minded church (supports missionaries around the world)
7. A Spirit-filled church (enthusiastic, emotional)
8. A big church (large attendance, with many programs)
God used Paul to give us a different measure for maturity of the church. Paul says that the church is mature when it functions like one body, where Jesus Christ is the Head.
When Esther was a newborn, we could see her eyes wanting to reach for a toy, but her hands and arms were not yet able to cooperate. As she became more mature, her body parts began to do what her "head" wanted her to d...
Sermon Central Staff
I once read about a certain Mr. Wahlstrom who purchased an old bombsight and took it apart to see what made it work. As he began to put it back together, he decided to add to it some spare parts he had from other projects. Over time, friends and neighbors took an interest in the matter and started bringing him parts and pieces, which he incorporated into his contraption. Over a period of about ten years, he added to his machine hundreds of wheels and cogs, belts and whistles and gears and who knows what all until the thing became "a marvel to behold." He would throw the switch, and the machine’s thousand parts would begin to move. Wheels turned, lights flashed, bells rang, and belts whirred. The device came to be known as "Wahlstrom’s Wonder." It was incredible. The only thing is: It didn’t do anything! It just went through the motions. (Gene Bartlett, The Audacity of Preaching, 1962, pp. 64f.).
It makes you wonder: Is that what we’re doing? Are we just go through the motions? The church has been commissioned by Jesus himself to make disciples, but do we do that?
(From a sermon by Isaac Butterworth, Showing Up at the Gym, 12/17/2010)
My first staff position in a church was as the Associate Pastor of The Kirk Community Church in Dunedin, Florida. I normally arrived at church early but on this particular morning my wife and I had arrived just a few minutes before the worship service was to begin. As my wife Christina unbuckled the baby from his car seat, I straightened my tie in the mirror and watched something which is really rather commonplace in a rather uncommon way.
I have seen people go in and out of church many times. That morning though, it was as though veil had been removed from things I had never before seen. It was one of those moments when something that has always been right in front finally comes into focus. Were I a painter, I would love to paint this image the way that it appeared to me that day. I paint a portrait of people walking as if unencumbered yet clearly overloaded with piles and piles of clutter on their shoulders.
It was as though God was allowing me to see the burdens that we carry with us every day and bring with us into the doors of the church every Sunday. It was as if He wanted me to know just how heavy and cumbersome those burdens are. As I watched the people filing into the church building from their sedans, trucks, and minivans, it occurred to me that each person carried his own invisible burden.
Some carried the burden of guilt for past sins. These people hoped that by regularly attending church they would convince God to forgive them. Some of them carried the burden of fear, depression, and anxiety. These people came to into the church hoping to find peace – even if only for an hour on Sunday morning. Whatever their burdens were, one thing became clear to me; most of us, all of us, carry burdens that we were not intended to carry alone.
As I sat watching all of these people, many of whom I knew well, making their way into the church that Sunday, I was struck with the sense that so many of us come to church and generally live out our Christian faith out of what is largely a sense of obligation rather than of love. We fill our lives with repetitious, albeit well intentioned, deeds in order to fulfill our obligations rather than living a life which flows from the love of God working in and through us.
Imagine the folly of a man who chooses day in and day out to hoard and heap burdens upon his shoulders which are not his to carry alone. Imagine the woman who works diligently to earn the forgiveness which she has already received.
Dear Saints of God, if we are ever to learn to live lives which are filled with the grace of God, if we are ever to live the grace-filled life, we must let go of obligation and embrace love. We do not do good works to earn God’s favor; we do good works because we have received His favor. Good works, duty, stoic obligation are not what is pleasing to God. While people tend to be mostly concerned with the outward appearance of things, God is concerned with our hearts. (I Samuel 16:7)