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His question was not just introspective. He is serving on the Church Strategy Task Team, which will research how to reach and serve our community. He was moving toward the question, "If we bring people to church, what do we have to offer them? What kind of persons will they become as a result of coming to our church?"
The short answer is that we are becoming a Successful Participant in Godís work in and through us. And a Successful Participant is described on the banner behind me. This morning, we will be looking the characteristic of flexible persistence and how we can develop flexible persistence in our lives.
All of us have given up prematurely sometime in our lives. We may have come up against a business setback, and we quit. Others of us had relational difficulties, whether with our spouse, our in-laws or our co-workers, and weíve stopped trying to work things out. Still others have started a physical, spiritual or academic program but gave up before reaching the finish line.
We live in a society and time when almost everything is handed to us without requiring us to be patient or to persevere. We buy our clothes off the rack. We buy our food frozen but pre-cooked. The shows on television and the movies resolve all the problems the main characters have, and they do this in 30 minutes to 2 hours at most. And recently, one can get a divorce on-line, without ever leaving home.
Flexible persistence is vanishing from our society. Flexible persistence enables us to work with difficult people in difficult situations to achieve Godís best. Flexible persistence trusts God and utilizes God-given resources to accomplish God-size goals. Flexible persistence can be developed, and weíll look at its building blocks this morning.
The text is 2 Corinthians 4.
This letter from Paul to the Corinthian church deals in part with false accusations against the Apostle Paul and his Christian ministry. Rather than retaliate or give up serving with the Corinthian Church, Paul worked at resolving the problem. Letís look at what Paul had to enable him to persevere.
First, Paul had the purity of motive. We see this in verses 1-6.
Paul was honest. He served the Corinthian Church because of his love for Jesus Christ. Paulís purity of motive enabled him to work with difficult people who falsely accused him of using deceptive and self-seeking methods in Christian ministry. If our motives are pure, we will have the perseverance to work with difficult people or difficult situations.
Seven years ago, I left my job in biotechnology to serve as campus minister at UC Davis. Before I could begin, I had to raise over $30,000 in financial support.
I had never raised financial support before. The closest thing I ever observed was the KQED fund drives on television. In the first two months, I raised about 4% of the total amount. At this rate, I would need 200 months or 16 years to raise the $30,000.
I approached one of my college friends, a Christian who was doing well in computer programming. I asked if he would support me, and he agreed to support me $30.
I was young and tactless. I said something like, "Youíre kidding. Youíve got
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