Summary: As a church, our goal should be excellence in all we do!
January 17, 2016
Well, this week was SOTU, given by POTUS. I think the older I get, not that I’m old, the more I dislike all of the abbreviations and short hand writing.
For those who are AC, better known as Abbreviation Challenged, this week was the State of the Union Address. Given by the President of the United States.
Well, I’m going to kind of do the same. This week on Wednesday night is our Annual Meeting. Different committees will read their reports about what happened in the church in the past year, with a look forward to this year.
My sermon will actually be my Annual Report. I tend not to look to much at the past and say I did this or did that, but it’s a focus on who we are and who I believe God is calling us to be. The good thing is that while there are Republicans and Democrats here, we are all one people, called by God the Father to be a people of ONE faith, faith in Jesus Christ. So, when you applaud (everyone applauds).
Without back tracking too much, the last 4 months of 2015 were not necessarily easy. There were issues which were dealt with — which were not fun, they were not pleasant, yet we did what we believed we needed to do and I commend this church for standing up for the mission of the church and who Christ has uniquely called First Baptist Church to be.
Without your presence, without your participation, without your promise . . . this church would be nothing more than a vacant building. The church is built on Christ and nothing other than Christ. He is the foundation . . . He is the lifeline, he is the root . . . and we are the branches, extending to the world as an extension of His grace, love, mercy, power and strength. Without Christ . . . we are nothing and we have nothing!
Now, over the past 2 weeks I have been talking about EXCELLENCE. I believe we are called be God to be excellent. My greatest concern and fear for the church is that we have compromised our faith and chosen the road most traveled because it affords the most comfort. Not that we always have to do things the hard way, but often times, without realizing it, we take the easier road.
I truly believe that when we are comfortable, we are less effective in ministry. Yes, we need breaks, we need to be refreshed and cannot be on the ministry trail 24 / 7. I believe God understood this and this is why we have a Sabbath. We have a day to worship and be refreshed in the Lord.
Yet, when I look at the church, ours and the universal church I am just too struck at how comfortable we are. Sometimes, we find it too easy not to be involved in anything church related. You don’t have to live here. I don’t want you to live here. I don’t want you to be here everyday. When we leave here . . . I suppose my question is “what ministry are you involved in between the Sunday’s?”
It would be great if it was at a church related ministry, but it does not have to be – not at all. How are you making a difference in the world because of the difference Christ made in your life?
You see, that’s the crux of the issue when we talk about excellence. I’ve been reading about excellence and trying to wrap my heart and brain around what it means to be excellent. What does it mean to be an excellent Christian? I see Paul’s words to the church at Thessalonica. In 1 Thessalonians 4:1, Paul wrote ~
1 Finally, then, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more.
This is the basis of my message and Annual Report. Let’s look at what Paul was saying and what that means for you and I.
He’s coming to the end of his first letter to the church at Thessalonica. Everyone loves it when the preacher says finally. This is what Paul wanted the people to understand and it’s totally 100% relevant for you and I today . . .
I’m going to break this verse down a little. When Paul said “we,” he is referring to himself, Timothy and Silas. They were with Paul in writing this letter and in bringing the message of Christ to the people in Thessalonica.
Next, they ask and urge the people. He’s really using stronger words here than to ask and urge. The word ASK really means ~