Summary: This is the first sermon in a series of five to help my congregation become more outward focused. It is based on the church outreach program titled - "Outflow".

Come To The Celebration – Overflowing Outreach

We want to welcome you to our church service today. We are glad you are here! We don’t believe that you are here by accident. We believe that God has brought you here today for a purpose. Today is a special day in our church. Today is a day of celebration. We have come today to celebrate the presence of God in our lives. Every time we come together we come to celebrate who God is. This is called worship. Today we begin a new series in our church called – “Overflowing Outreach”. As we come together we come to celebrate. We come to celebrate God in all of His glory. Even if you have had a rough week – today is to be a day of celebration. Our worship is an act of giving God the praise He deserves. We want to start today by watching a video showing people praising God.

(Show video clip from the movie “Sister Act”. It is the clip where Sister Mary Clarence {Whoopi Goldberg} leads the choir to sing pop songs during the worship service. Mother Superior then confronts Sister Mary Clarence about her actions. *Note: our church has a license from Christian Video Licensing International to show video clips.)

Did you know that most people consider church to be a drag? 90% of Americans say they believe in God. Yet surveys also indicate that the majority (well over 55%) consistently choose to be somewhere other than church on Sunday morning. In a survey taken in California here are the top four reasons people give for not going to church:

1. Church services are boring, especially the sermons.

2. Church members are unfriendly to visitors.

3. The church is more interested in money than in me.

4. We worry about the quality of the church’s child care.

The truth is that very few people don’t come to church because they don’t have an interest in God. Most people are very concerned about spiritual matters. They just don’t feel welcome at church or think that the church has anything to offer them. They find church boring.

I have heard people say that church should not be entertaining – but I want to ask – why not? Have you ever looked up the word entertaining in the dictionary? Do you know what entertaining means? Here is what it means: "To hold a persons attention. To treat a person as a guest. To show a person hospitality." Don’t you want to go to a church where the worship service holds a person’s attention? How many of you what to be bored on Sunday morning? Nobody! We want to hear something that’s exciting. We have an eternal message which should not be compromised but needs to be presented in an interesting way.

That reminds me of the story of two guys meeting on the street corner and one man asks the other man, "How was church last Sunday?" The other man said, "I don’t know - I was kind of bored. I think I slept through half the sermon." The first man looked shocked and said, "How could you do that - you’re the pastor?"

Church needs to be a place of excitement. It needs to be interesting. I have three exciting facts to tell you today.

1. Jesus turns funerals into CELEBRATIONS.

Follow along with me in Luke chapter seven.

“As they approached the village gate, they met a funeral procession—a woman’s only son was being carried out for burial. And the mother was a widow. When Jesus saw her, his heart broke. He said to her, "Don’t cry.” Then he went over and touched the coffin. The pallbearers stopped. He said, "Young man, I tell you: Get up." The dead son sat up and began talking. Jesus presented him to his mother. They all realized they were in a place of holy mystery, that God was at work among them. They were quietly worshipful—and then noisily grateful, calling out among themselves, "God is back, looking to the needs of his people!" Luke 7:12-16 (MSG)

Everyone encounters loss and tragedy in life. Everyone has bad things happen to them. It may be a loss of a loved one. It may be an end of a marriage. It may be a broken friendship. It may be a lifelong dream gone sour. But Jesus can turn funerals into celebrations. He did it then – He can do it now.

The good news of God is GOOD NEWS because it comes in contact with bad news.

When things are going well – there is little need of a savior.

But we need a savior when we encounter hardships in life. We need a savior when there is suffering and pain. We need a savior when we come to the realization that we are drowning in our own sinfulness. We need a savior when we are hurting – when we are in pain – when our world comes crashing in on us – we need a savior. That’s what happened to the mother who had lost her son. In the midst of her suffering she needed a savior and Jesus was there. Psalm chapter thirty verse eleven says:

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