Summary: This message looks at the need for humility and how God works through it.

OUR OWN BOOTSTRAPS: How often do we bring our plans to God as an afterthought?

- Too often in church life and in our individual lives, we come up with our plans and then we bring them to God.

- “Is this alright with You?”

- “Please bless this.”

- “God, make everything come together.”

- “Father, help it all to turn out all right.”

- And when we do this, we can feel pretty smug because we’re praying over our plans. We’re bringing them to God! So that is an obvious indication of our devotion to Him as a church or as an individual.

- The problem, though, is that we’re including Him on the tail end, after all the significant decisions have been made. We’ve already brought everything together – we just want Him to pour out His blessings on that.

- That’s unacceptable to God, but even doing that we’re not really asking for anything from Him.

- How do I know? Well, our next point is. . .

STRONG ENOUGH?: We try to accomplish things in our own strength.

- Even when we do bring it to God as an afterthought, generally we’re not actually expecting anything from Him.

- Rare is the plan that we’ve devised ourselves that is dependant on God actually showing up.

- Usually, it’s a plan that accomplishes what we want to see done with the resources that we have available. We don’t really need God at all – we’re just praying to make it look a little religious.

- A telling question: what percentage of our prep time for whatever we’re doing is spent in prayer?

- Usually, it’s an afterthought or a cursory obligation at the beginning, but it’s rarely the meat of our work.

- Another telling question: how much of what we do would go on without interruption if the Holy Spirit failed to show up?

- It’s been said (correctly, I believe) that most churches could have the Spirit cease to show up and things would continue to move along uninterrupted. That’s a truly scary thought.

GETTING STRONGER: We should see Christ as our leader and the Spirit as our coordinator.

- Matthew 23:11.

- We are often quick to want to fill the vacuum of power with our lives and within our churches rather than allowing Jesus and the Spirit to fulfill their roles.

- What do I mean by that statement?

a. Christ as our leader.

- We want to be the leader. We want to make the decisions. We want to be the boss.

- But we’re not the leader. Jesus said, “Follow Me.” It’s hard for us to admit that we’re not the ones calling the shots.

- We have to be willing to submit to His leadership and not demand that we be in charge.

- That includes when He’s points us to do things and go places that we might not have chosen on our own.

b. Spirit as our coordinator.

- The Spirit is to be our guide, directing us as we go through life.

- He is there to give us the step-by-step instructions that we need as we trust God to walk with us.

- He’s our “on-board guidance system.” He coordinates things for us as we move forward. Again, it’s God calling the shots.

- What’s the pastor as servant look like?

- One thought: Acts focus on preaching and prayer as the centerpiece of pastoral duties.

- Cf. pastor adding more ministries to fill programming needs vs. only doing something that someone feels called to do.

- Cf. Billy Graham coming to a church and cleaning toilets. “That’s beneath you.” Actually, nothing is beneath a servant of God. But we tend to exalt pastors and put them on pedestals.

- Part of the problem may be the organizational structure that many churches have that puts the pastor as the centerpiece – attending all the committees, chairing all the important stuff, knowing all that’s going on.

- Some of this is self-imposed by pastors wanting to have their hands in everything.

- What if you dropped “organizational structure” and everyone just did what they felt called to?

- Examples:

a. You call your people to serious prayer before doing anything.

b. Rather than cultivating the image of being the smartest one in the church about the Bible, you look for ways to bring in others’ thoughts.

c. You regularly participate in ministries where you’re not the one in charge, but you’re following someone else’s lead.

d. You drop the lofty “Rev.” and “Dr.” titles.

- What’s the Christian as servant look like?

- We recognize that obedience is not optional.

- We recognize that we’re to be followers of Christ.

- We recognize that we’re bought with a price and not our own.

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