Summary: We become a healthy church by committing to excellence.
FOCAL POINT: A HEALTHY CHURCH
ME: Well, first off, I want to say, Happy New Year. I hope you all had a great new year’s eve, and that you are really looking to have a greatly improved 2009. I know that is on my heart. I desperately want 2009 to be better than 2008. I desire my life to be greatly changed by God and for our church to be greatly changed by God in 2009. That is why we are beginning this focal point message series. I think it is of great importance that we refocus ourselves on the vision that I believe God has given for our church. And that dream is for our church to be: “A healthy, vibrant, biblical community that is growing holy followers of Jesus Christ and regularly reaching out to the unchurched.” And today, we will look at one aspect of what it means to be a healthy church. But first I want you to watch a short video, which consists of people in black shirts and white shirts passing a basketball back and forth. And what I want you to do is focus yourself on the ones in the white shirts passing the ball back and forth and to count the number of passes. (Show video)
So let me ask you, how many of you were unaware of the moon walking bear the first time you saw the video? It is okay to admit it. I missed it the first time I saw the video too. When your focus is directed at something else, sometimes you miss the obvious things that are right in front of your face. And over this last year, God has shown me that my focus has been on the wrong thing. You see, I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that God wants our church to grow. I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that God wants to use our church to help people find new life through Jesus Christ, but we haven’t really experienced a whole lot of that this past year. And for a while, I was blind to the problem. The problem was I wasn’t praying wholeheartedly for God to bless us, prosper us and expand our territory. I was focused on what I could do to make the church grow. So when things didn’t go the way I thought they should, I became discouraged and felt like giving up.
WE: Have you lost your focus? Do you ever find yourself giving a half-hearted effort to the church? I mean, have you ever made a commitment to do something in church and not shown up when it was your turn or maybe lost interest and felt like quitting because things just haven’t gone like you thought they should? What we must understand is that when we are unfocused, half-hearted, and lackadaisical in our commitment to the church we are in a very unhealthy place. And God’s will is for the church to be a healthy organism that grows and flourishes. So how do we become a healthy church? We become a healthy church by…
DOING EVERYTHING WITH EXCELLENCE
GOD: Take a look at what our memory verse from this week. It is from Colossians 3:23-24. Lets read it together. And lets not do it half-hearted; lets do it with a lot of passion. Here it goes. “Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, confident that you’ll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you’re serving is Christ. The sullen servant who does shoddy work will be held responsible. Being a follower of Jesus doesn’t cover up bad work.”
Would you underline the words, being a follower of Jesus doesn’t cover up bad work? Does excellence matter to God? Do you think God cares about quality? Is He concerned with how well things are done? Does it make any difference to God whether the worship team has rehearsed the songs, does it matter to God if the greeters are friendly? Does God care if we have nice looking programs? Is God really concerned with us being there to fill our ministry roles? Does God care if we have lots of food at the snack bar? You know, some people would say no. Some people would say, all God cares about is our heart.
And you know what, that is partially correct. But it is also partially wrong. God doesn’t care about those things in and of themselves. God is primarily concerned with our hearts. But God does care about those things as a demonstration of our hearts. Take a look at Numbers 18:29 in your notes. It says, “Make sure that GOD’s portion is the best and holiest of everything you get.” Go ahead and underline the words, the best and the holiest. You see, the level of commitment we have to doing ministry with excellence reveals what is truly in our hearts. If we are content to just come to church on Sunday and wing it, or have unfriendly greeters, or have poor looking programs, or just do enough to get by, we are not giving God our best or our holiest. And lets be honest, if we are not giving God the best and the holiest, then our focus is in the wrong place, and the health of our church is not good. But there is also a danger in our focus being in having the best and most attractive programs so we can attract more people, while we neglect God. And that is where I have gotten off track. I have been more concerned with being the best so we will be attractive to the unchurched, forgetting that we serve Christ, and Christ alone. Honoring Him should be the focal point of all we do because as we live to honor and serve Christ, people will see our love for Him and will be attracted to what God is doing in our lives and in our church.