Sermons

Summary: Building God’s Church through Excellence (Bob Russell - When God Build’s a Church)

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These items were in news letters and other church notices

1) Scouts are saving aluminum cans, bottles, and other items to be recycled. Proceeds will be used to cripple children.

2) The outreach committee has enlisted 25 visitors to make calls on people who are not afflicted with any church.

3) Evening massage - 6 p.m.

4) The Pastor would appreciate it if the ladies of the congregation would lend him their electric girdles for the pancake breakfast next Sunday morning.

5) The audience is asked to remain seated until the end of the recession.

6) Low Self-Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 to 8:30 p.m. Please use the back door.

7) Ushers will eat latecomers.

8) The third verse of Blessed Assurance will be sung without musical accomplishment.

9) The Rev. Merriwether spoke briefly, much to the delight of the audience.

10) The pastor will preach his farewell message, after which the choir will sing, "Break Forth Into Joy."

11) During the absence of our pastor, we enjoyed the rare privilege of hearing a good sermon when J.F. Stubbs supplied our pulpit.

12) Next Sunday Mrs. Vinson will be soloist for the morning service. The pastor will then speak on "It’s a Terrible Experience."

13) Due to the Rector’s illness, Wednesday’s healing services will be discontinued until further notice.

As you know, Linda and I were on vacation last week. I’m sorry to say that I’m just not ready for this morning’s service on Excellence. [pause] OK. I was just kidding. But think for a moment about the thoughts that you just had. What would it mean to you if you showed up for church some Sunday morning, and the people who are responsible for organizing and presenting the service simply were not prepared? What would you think about their commitment? What would you think about their faith?

Is that far fetched? Not as far fetched as you might think.

Have you ever sat in a service that started five minutes late? Have you been there when they announced a trio, but only two people came forward? Have you seen bulletins full of typos? Have you ever heard the ramblings of an obviously unprepared preacher? Slipshod and disorganized services happen with alarming frequency.

Today we are continuing our series on building God’s church. The topic is excellence. We, as a church, need to demonstrate the seriousness of our commitment to faith through our commitment to excellence.

Excellence is attractive

How many of you make an effort to clean-up your home and fix a special meal when company is coming. Some of you do even more than that. Some of you make a special effort to keep your home, or maybe a room in your home, especially neat, just because someone might drop by unexpectedly. You maintain an air of excellence in your home at all times.

My mother is like that. When I was growing up, I was not allowed to go into the living room. Actually, there was no reason I would want to go there. There was no TV. There was a fireplace, but it had some plants in it. It was never actually used for a fire. No food or drinks were allowed, unless we were entertaining. The room was reserved for company. Our family room downstairs was where we really lived.

I proved last week while I was visiting my parents that my mother’s rules made sense. I have gotten to the point where I am allowed to sit in the living room if I like. The carpet there is white – or at least it was. As I came in from a shopping trip, I stopped by the refrigerator in the garage and carried a cold can of soda into the house. Many people don’t realize that Albuquerque is actually at a higher elevation than Denver. Opening a can of soda at that altitude is risky business, best done over the kitchen sink. No, I was not foolish enough to open the soda in the living room. I was just carrying it with me. As we were chatting, the unopened can slipped from my hand. It must have fallen against a chair leg or something because when it landed, an inch long hole tore open in the side. Powered by a jet of soda, the can spun like a pinwheel, spewing cola in every direction. In no time my wife, my 84-year-old mother, and I were all on our hands and knees trying to get cola out of white carpet. It was a disaster. I had violated my mother’s sense of excellence.

The notion that we might present something less than our very best to a guest who might happen by would be beyond my mother’s imagination. She would see it as demeaning to the guest as well as a personal embarrassment.

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