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∑ Now the rest of the story: Contributions to churches for the year totaled $56.7 billion (thatís just over $10 per person), but the amount spent on professional baseball, football, and basketball totaled $4 billion (thatís nearly $40 per person or almost 4 times what people gave to their local church per person). Is it any wonder that we look at some fans and say that they really are fanatics? They are more sold out for their team than many church attenders. HOW MIGHT WE CHANGE OUR NATION IF THE CHURCH QUADRUPLED ITS COMMITMENT TO OUR CAUSE? (Statistics reported in Citation: National & International Religion Report, 5/2/94. "To Verify," Leadership.)
Open your Bibles again to Haggai (remember thatís three books left from Matthew). Last week we began a series of messages from Haggai called ďA WORD TO THE CHURCHĒ; putting it simply God wants His church to complete the work He has called them to do. Now is not a time for excuses, or doing our own thing; we must join together to fulfill Godís plan for our church.
Last week we saw that Satan cannot destroy the Church of Jesus Christ, but he can slow it down. The devil wants to bring the church to a grinding halt in order to prevent us from doing the work that God has planned for us to do.
HOW IS THE WORK OF THE CHURCH SLOWED DOWN? Satan wants us to get our priorities mixed up, to focus on the wrong things. Satan has a very effective strategy: he makes us comfortable.
If we are going to rediscover Godís priority for our lives, then we have to get out of our comfort zones.
Iím not going to take the time to repreach last weekís message, but I need to remind you about this one thing. If you are going to keep God in His rightful place as number one in your life, then you are going to have to do some things that will make you uncomfortable.
+ Matthew 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (NIV)
Making God our first priority means we pursue His kingdom and His righteousness; itís not one or the other but both. Our lives must be GOD-GOVERNED, not SELF-GOVERNED, and we live by HIS SPIRIT and not by our own desires. Itís impossible to do that and remain comfortable. (See message: "Godís Work Delayed")
Today, I want us to move from seeing how Godís work is delayed to GETTING GODíS WORK DONE. As the prophet Haggai spoke Godís word to the nation of Israel, God gave the people a three step action plan which goes like this:
Assessment -> Agreement -> Action!
God calls each of us to make an assessment of our priorities. We cannot live with the status quo; if we are to move forward individually and as a church, then the time has come for a careful examination of everything we do.
An assessment is to appraise or evaluate; itís to judge the value
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