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Intro: A young man was traveling along a road when he came upon a small, fuzzy object lying in the road. He stopped to look more closely and discovered a sparrow lying on its back with its scrawny legs thrust skyward. At first he thought it was dead; but, upon closer examination he discovered it was very much alive. He asked the sparrow, “Are you all right?” The sparrow answered, “Yes.” The young man was puzzled and asked, “What are you doing on your back with your legs pointed up to the sky?” The sparrow answered that he heard the sky was falling so he was holding his legs up to support it. The young man said, “Surely you don’t think you are going to hold up the sky with those 2 scrawny legs?” After a few moments and a very solemn look the sparrow replied, “One does the best he can!” (from the sermon, The Original Nic At Night by Glenn Durham, Sermoncental.com)
I. Isn’t that the way most of us go through life? We do the best we can and hope. The same is true for the church and our faith in God. We do the best we can.
A. Outside the church, we live as though all we need is me, myself and I. We do the best we can.
B. 90% of the population in the U.S. say they believe in God or some life force or being. But not many people actually see a need for God. They think their lives are pretty good as they are and as long as they live a good life and give to the poor and don’t kill anybody or steal anything, they will be okay when they die.
C. Why do I need God when I seem to be doing just fine on my own? Most Americans today believe there are three forces at work in their lives. Money, sex and power.
II. Is it any wonder that organized religion is in trouble? It is easy to understand why church membership is on the decline.
A. Churches have trouble attracting and keeping committed members who attend regularly. Some individuals question the effectiveness and the viability of the church.
B. Why labor to keep the church up and running? Why not just quit and invest our time, money and effort in something that helps people?
C. Why? VS. 16 –“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
III. The reason church attendance is on the decline isn’t because we sing from hymnbooks instead of projected words. It isn’t because we use a pipe organ instead of a praise band.
A. There are plenty of good church people who know what makes a good church service, who know what the church ought to be doing, but at the mention of them getting personally involved, they run for the door.
B. There is a difference between a “head” a “heart knowledge of God. “head” = fully knowing and mentally agreeing to God’s plan for salvation / “heart” = accepting which brings us into a personal relationship with Christ Jesus
C. It is that people like you and me have failed to carry the love of God beyond the confines of these walls. We aren’t excited enough about what God has done for us that we are willing to share it with others. The 2 young girls baptized today came here because of a loving relationship with someone. They have experienced
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