Summary: Part three of Worship Series on Spiritual Growth

Green 3.0

“This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit,

explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. 1 Corinthians 2:13

Intro: The past couple of weeks the sermon has centered around one word.

That word summarizes what God wants us to do.

That word is “Green”

The color Green represents growth.

When you see the color Green think about making new Christians.

Anywhere you see the color Green think about growing in our own individual spiritual life.

Part of our offerings today go to support the United Methodist Children’s home.

The featured story for this week is about a young girl by the name of Misty

who was placed by social service to the Methodist Children’s home.

She had deeply rooted anger.

She had witness her mother being physically abused by her step-father on a daily basis.

See suffered a violent childhood.

Needless to say she was not a very happy child.

Also she had little respect for authority figures.

Misty was verbally aggressive.

She challenged everyone who tried to take care of her.

She was a danger to herself and to others.

But the staff and teachers kept trying help this child who did not want help.

Despite all the help she was receiving her life continued to spiral more and more out of control.

Misty said, that one day remembered one of the staff saying,

“We will never give up on you no matter how much you try to push us away.”

Misty said, it finally hit me. They really do care.

That’s when not only the emotional healing began but the spiritual healing as well.

Misty graduated the program and is now happily married and employed at a pediatric medical assistant.

She said, “I learned that with God anything is possible.

If you believe and have faith God will get you through the most difficult times.”

All of us have things happen that are painful.

Sometimes we have to be helped out of those really bad environments.

But no matter what you have gone through or are going through right now.

The church and relationship with Jesus Christ will help you overcome and claim victory in your life.

You are capable of becoming far more that who you are right now.

How do I know what I am capable of if I never get beyond what I am comfortable with?

Tap someone on the should and say, “You are capable of doing more.”

“We can reach the level of spiritual growth God wants for us.”

What I have learned about church people and I have been working with church people for long time.

That people will say they want to grow.

But then they don’t want to be changed.

The kind of change that comes along with growth.

Some people come to church and they already have a list of things they will do

and things they will not do.

I will come to church and I close my eyes when they say pray.

And I will open a hymn book or stand when they say sing.

I will look forward and listen to the sermon

but you have already set the limit on what part of the word of God you will believe

and what part of the commandments and commissions you are willing to do.

I will tap someone on the shoulder

But I want talk to anyone on the street

I will tell it in the Sunday school class or youth meeting

But I want go tell it on the mountain.

What if I help you see that there is something within you that is beyond you.

How can you be content with where you are

and YET BELIEVE IN A GOD WHO IS ABLE TO DO MORE than you can possibly imagine?

Think about all the things in your life you have convinced yourself that could not do but now you are doing.

How many of you had said to yourself

I will never be able to do that but now you are doing.

I will never be able to make that shot.

I will never be able to lift that many weights.

I will never be able to ask that person out on a date.

But you did it.

Come on now.

You said to yourself I will never be able to do that

but one day you found yourself doing it.

That is because of growth.

It is crazy what you convince yourself you can’t do.

Someone can say something to you one time…, JUST ONE TIME.

You can take what they say as gospel truth and believe what another person says more than you believe God.

All of us come into church with this little of box of what we think we can do

and we are willing to do

and we bring God our limitations instead of our expectations.

How willing are you to grow?

When Thomas Jefferson was President, he and his entourage came to a river on horseback.

Standing on the bank was a man who approached Jefferson and asked for a ride.

Jefferson gave him a lift onto the horse and they crossed safely to the other side.

Upon dismounting, several assistants criticized the man for asking the President for a ride.

“Look,” replied the man, “I didn’t know he was the President of the United States.

I just know some people have a YES FACE and some have a no face.

The President’s face said yes so I asked him for a ride.”

From the parking lot to the pew,

I want to build a congregation full of yes faces,

those who welcome others into our midst.

We cannot change people any more than we can make the rain fall and the sun to shine,

but we can take away the weeds

and we can take away the stones

and we can drop the rocks which prevent development and growth

and join hands as God makes his will known to us all.

Growth is an atmosphere that you create by saying yes to the Holy Spirit.

I am asking you today to create an atmosphere of growth

that we may work against the fears that have become a part of the culture of our day

and create a safe place where friends may come and be known.

Will you join me in that ministry?

When we are at a level of our own expectations we become disappoint and assume that God is limited.

When in fact it was our lid

that kept us from becoming

It is our lid that keeps us from growing into what God has in store for us to be.

And see what God can do with your life.

It is time to grow beyond what we have told ourselves about ourselves.

We limit ourselves in how we grow by all kinds of things.

You may not realize it but the music you listen to,

the video games you play,

the people we hang around,

the thoughts we dwell on,

affect our relationship with God and are part of our spiritual growth.

When you go to lunch and you talk bad about someone,

you put someone else down,

you talk in the negative

You see someone walk by and you are envious of what they have

or you are jealous of what they have got

All of your thoughts, the things you talk about affect how you grow.

Maybe you have not been growing because all you have ever done is talk

“words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit”

This week I saw on Facebook a post that said, people who cuddle get addicted to cuddling

And when you don’t cuddle you can actually have withdraws.

Wow. I think that is the first time I have ever had the complete attention of some of you while I am preaching.

There is lot of research that says, our brain releases oxytocin.

When you hug someone you love.

When you are holding someone you love.

And you get used to that warm fuzzy feeling and when you don’t get to be with that person you love

You don’t have that chemical release to your neuroceptors.

And you have a type of withdrawal

Another study was done along the same line of research

Only this time they observed people who meditate and pray.

What they found is so similar in people who pray.

What happens when we pray to God and are in this meditative state

The receptors in have that same chemical release.

It is on a smaller scale but still it happens.

The next time you meet someone who is mean spirited.

Has a potty mouth.

They have not been medicating

They have not spent enough time with God.

Today you can start a new healthy life.

But if you dwell on the past then we not making room for the future.

I believe God wants your joy to grow

I believe God wants your happiness to grow

I believe God wants the relationship with your partner to grow.

I believe God wants you forgiveness to grow.

I believe God wants you to grow.

There is story in the bible about a prophet named Elisha.

Elisha told this poor widow woman to go get more bottles.

She said, I don’t need more bottles I need more oil.

Elisha said go get more bottles and you will receive more oil.

You can’t grow sometimes until you make available the room for more growth in your life.!!!!

How many have you ever had to learn something the hard way?

If the person sitting beside isn’t raising their hand maybe you could raise it for them.

Some things you have to learn the hard way.

Some things can only be developed the hard way.

Trial and error.

We learn from our mistakes.

We learn from our past or just hurt from our past the choice is yours to make.

When I fall down I get up.

When I sin I repent.

When I get hurt I forgive.

But I don’t stay down.

I don’t live in sin.

I don’t dwell on my pain.

I start off a new day with a fresh start.

There was a father asked his teenage son, “Who is your favorite teacher?”

The son thought for a minute and asked, “Do you mean the one that I have the most fun with

or the one I learn the most from?”

I don’t get it how a thirteen year old understands that about education in our school

And we as adults don’t get it in our Christian life.

That the seasons in our life that are the most fun aren’t necessarily the most fruitful.

And the seasons in our life that makes us the strongest and we grow from

they mostly are not necessarily the ones we would choose to go through.

There are some seasons in our life that will cut you down and cut off your branches

We call them pruning seasons.

But even in the pruning is a promise

But God is up to something in your life

Dr. Bob Goodrich was pastor of First United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas

When President Kennedy was hot.

With tears in his eyes the following Sunday,

he lamented to his congregation, “Lee Harvey Oswald lived only three blocks from our church,

but so far as we know

no one from our congregation ever called on him,

or invited him to church,

or expressed any interest at all in him during that time.

Do we have any responsibility for what has just happened in our world?”

Now I lay me down to sleep,

I pray the Lord my soul to keep.

If I should die before I wake,

I pray the Lord my soul to take.

Do you remember how easy it was back then?

God was so big to hold you tight.

When we went to bed we were afraid of the dark and things that go bump in the night.

Monsters were under the bed

and even bigger ones lurked in the closet.

But we had been told that God would hold us close.

And we believed it.

BUT We have grown up but have our beliefs grown up with us?

Do we still believe in a God who is big enough to handle our grown up problems and grown up monsters?

As adults we essentially carry out the beliefs we learned and embraced when we were young.

Moral foundations are in place by the time a child is 9.

Most make a lasting determination

about the personal significance of Christ’s death and resurrection by age 12.

What you believe by the time you are 13 is probably what you will die believing.

Parents, teachers, coaches don’t let the spiritual formation of the children in your care

be a haphazard,

hit or miss,

take it or leave it proposition.

explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. 1 Corinthians 2:13

We are talking about things of eternal significance here.

Of course, today many people find that moral fiber at places other than home or church.

The worst thing that can ever happen is a child to be curious about faith and religion

and us miss that opportunity to teach them about the eternal.

If you want to believe, hang around believers.

If you want to grow roses, you don’t buy an acre of land at the North Pole.

You go where roses will grow.

If you want to believe, associate with believers.

Watch their actions.

Observe their attitudes.

Notice how they handle the difficulties of life.

They won’t be perfect.

In fact the devil will point out their imperfection to you.

But notice how their beliefs form the foundations for them to grow on.

Then go and do likewise.

In 1929, Chicago was one of the most dangers places in America to live.

The problem had a name.

His name was Al Capone.

Capone was a criminal. A wicked man who literally ran the city of Chicago.

He owned most of the politicians.

He owned most of the policemen.

Those he could not buy he threatened to kill them and their families.

Al Capone ran the mob, prostitution rings, drugs, and bootleg liquor worth millions.

Then, one day, a young 26 year old Eloit Ness for the Justice Department

was allowed to handpicked 11 other men to declare war on Capone.

Ness and his team ran continuous raids on Capone’s operations and cost the mobster millions of dollars.

One day Al Capone sends a messenger to Ness with an envelope.

At the time, Ness was making $2,800 a year (this was back in 1929)

and the envelope that was placed on his desk contained $2000 inside.

The messenger made it clear that this could be a weekly salary for Ness… if he would just lay off Capone.

Ness put the money back in the envelope and sent it and the messenger back to Capone.

THEN he called a press conference.

Ness told the newspaper men all about Capone’s attempted bribe him.

The next day, the headlines read “Ness and his men are UNTOUCHABLE.”

And thus began the legend of Eliot Ness and his Untouchables.

In a day of corrupt officials and policemen who were on the take Ness and his Untouchables became heroes.

They were men who could not be bought.

They were men of integrity who fought evil and corruption.

They were men who chose to do what was right and good.

They were the untouchables.

There will be temptations placed on your desk.

There will be temptations placed right in front of you.

Have you grown strong enough to be untouchable?

To resist?

Closing: God comes to us in our woundedness,

He comes to us in our brokenness.

he comes and asks us to believe.

He asks us to grow in our belief.

To grow Green.

Have you the courage to Grow today?