Summary: This was preached two Sundays after my resignation, dealing with the approaching time of transition that the church (and pastor) will be experiencing.
Hold items dug up in the process of moving. Use them as references to all of the change that we have experienced individually and as a church.
File – containing clergy records
Church – nearly 75% of you were not actively involved when I arrived
New article – 911 and all that has happen in reaction
Flyer – 220th Anniversary
Pictures – how my family has aged
Pictures – how some of you have aged
Cell phone – technological changes
Many things have change, but one thing remains the same: the message of God’s grace.
When I arrived, during my first month of preaching, I asked you a question. I told you that it was the most important question I could ask you to think about to consider your spiritual health and well-being. As I depart, after seven years of ministry with you, I want to ask that same question today. It has been the question behind most of my thoughts as I have served with you as pastor. Here is the question: Do you enjoy God?
Perhaps you thought the question would be about you belief in certain doctrines and dogmas. No! The fact is that we can have all our beliefs in proper order and still be spiritually unhealthy.
Perhaps you thought the question would be something to do with your actions and performance! No! We can do all the right things on anybody’s "religious to-do list" and still not be spiritually healthy.
No, the most important question for gauging our spiritual health has nothing to do with whether we believe the right beliefs or perform the proper actions. The most important question we could ask has something to do with relationship.
Here is the question again: “Do you enjoy God?”
Jesus did not say, “I have come that you might be burned-out doing church work.”
Jesus did not say, “I have come that you might have more religious rules."
Jesus did not say, "I have come that you might have more rituals and regulations.”
Jesus did not say, "I have come to give you a few more doctrine and dogmas."
Jesus did not say, “I have come that you might feel burdened and full of misery.”
Jesus said, “I have come that you might have life and have it in all its abundance.”
Now when Jesus speaks of like he is talking about more (much more) than that rush of oxygen in our lungs or the blood that is coursing through out veins. When Jesus speaks of life, he is speaking about having an honest-to-goodness intimate relationship with God. That’s the gift Jesus came to bring. That’s what he was speaking about when he said, "I am the resurrection and the life. He that trust in me, though he dies, yet shall he live. And he who trusts in me will never die."
Jesus came that we may have life, but not just any life. Jesus also says that this life will be of a certain style and variety. He said it would be a life of abundance, a life marked by a joyful and fulfilling relationship with God." Jesus is saying that he came to show us that is it possible for us to enjoy God.
So the question bears repeating, DO YOU ENJOY GOD?
I. SAD NEWS, MOST PEOPLE REALLY DO NOT ENJOY GOD.
Many people view the Christian faith as more of a burden than a blessing.
It produces more hardship than happiness.
It produces more spiritual austerity than abundance.
You know the type. Everything seems to be a battle. Everything seems to be a downer. Everything seems to be a fight. Everything has to be a struggle. There is no joy, little laughter, and no celebration of God’s grace. Everything is a stress or a strain, including the Christian life. They do not enjoy God.
II. WHY IS IT THAT MANY PEOPLE DO NOT ENJOY GOD?
If you listen to them closely, you will see that thy have a LOUSY VIEW OF GOD.
They view God more as a Mr. Law than a Mr. Grace.
They have a lousy idea that God’s acceptance is base their performance.
They have a view that God is a dictator ready to strike us down the moment we fail.
In some respects, it is easy to understand why they feel that way.
In many churches, that is what they hear from the pulpit week after week.
It’s what they read most of the Sunday School literature that comes from the SBC.
It is the kind of stuff they hear and see on religious radio and television.
Is there any surprise why so many people see church as a real downer?
When you have this lousy view of God, it robs worship of any sense of joy.