Summary: Service, ministry, outreach
I SEE YOU, JESUS
Matt 25: 31-46 (p 702) Oct. 24, 2010
When I was growing up my Mom and Dad always got their gas at the same service station. Moore's Ammoco--He not only sold us our gas, but when something needed to be done to one of our cars John either worked on it himself, or one of his mechanics fixed it. When I started driving I always got my gas at Moore's Ammoco -He came out, washed my windows, checked my tires and oil, gas was 42 cents a gallon - so with my little car I handed him a five dollar bill for a fill-up (Boy those days are gone, huh?)
I loved talking with Mr. Moore about cars…he was a great guy and my first car was a '65 mustang. He could fix anything. He only had two pumps…and there was no such thing as self-service. It was pull up…ding…ding when you drove over the little black hose and he'd go to work. He was full service all the way.
I'm not sure, but I haven't seen a gas station like that for a long time---I'm not sure they exist at all…if they do they are few and far between.
There was a time for many of us…and maybe still for many where church was a place we went to be served. We want o hear an inspiring message, we went looking forward to singing our favorite hymns, to listen to a well trained choir, to have the pastor pray for us, to have our children taught, our teenagers entertained, our faith encouraged and then having been "well-served" we went home. We wanted full-service.
Don’t get me wrong…I believe church should meet the needs of its people, church should be a time of worship, celebration and Joy, but if we're honest we all have to admit we have that mental check list of things we need the church to be and do for us. When people come to visit Fern Creek or any other church families want to know…what do you offer? How well you provide the full-service I'm looking for?
"Is there a traditional Sunday School? Do I like the music? Are the seats comfortable? Are there stained glass windows, or a large enough youth
group? Is the nursery clean and well staffed? There are enough churches in Louisville that eventually people find what they're looking for…or as close as possible.
But you know somewhere in our faith journey a transition has to happen. At some point as we grow in Christ we have to move from a "Serve Us" to a Service" attitude…where the church is no longer a place we go "to be served" but a community of God's people who serve others. Eventually the church becomes a place where I put food on the table for starving people instead of a place where I sit and get fat because I only eat what I like while others pass it to me.
The N.T. describes what happens to a church that begins to focus on its past accomplishments and becomes complacent. It happens gradually, sacrifice and service build a very healthy congregation, but then that congregation starts to focus on making its people happy and fat instead of focusing on exercising its faith in the world. Instead of focusing forward and outward it's focus becomes inward…prevent defense…lets not lose anybody…lets make sure everyone is happy with our service….and instead of doing the things that created a healthy body…you create a self pleasing body.
When Jesus speaks to all 7 churches in the providence of Asia in Revelation 2 and 3 he deals with this issue over and over again. And to the first church, Ephesus he says "I hold this against you, you have forsaken you first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen. Repent and do the things you did at first…" (Rev. 2:4, 5)
The things they did at first all flowed out of their love for Jesus--he was first, his example was their example. His attitude was their attitude, but then something happened… they forgot about him…they still did stuff, but loving Jesus stopped being the motive. The body still existed, but the heart was gone…or just barely beating. Ephesus was dying.
Fern Creek Christian Church is almost 3 times the size it was 10 years ago. Our budget is 4 times as big as it was 10 years ago. Our staff is 3 times as big: our building is 3 times as big as the old one. By the world's definition of success…we've been fairly successful…but here's the danger…all those sacrifices that got us here….the servants that did so much for the cause of Christ, the love that made us a family…can easily be replaced with a self