Summary: This is the first of our "Light the Fire" sermon series focusing on growing in our faith.
“It Takes Faith to Grow”
We are starting out a brand new sermon series today about lighting the fires of Pentecost in our own spiritual lives. At some point in your spiritual journey… you have been “on fire” for Jesus. You might be “on fire” spiritually right now… or you may be finding those coals have long since gone cold. What we are going to be talking about for this next month is how to relight those fires of passion… how to keep those fires lit. We are going to start out today with the absolute simplest thing you can do to get those fires stoked a bit… invite the Holy Spirit in and let the spirit work in your life. I want you to turn to somebody next to you today and say to them “Let the Spirit move.”
16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 19 This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence 20 whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. 21 Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God 22 and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him. 23 And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. 24 Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.
When you are on fire in your faith… everything about the faith is exciting. Coming to church is vibrant and life changing… reading the bible is gripping and eye opening… praying is like talking to your best friend. You have no doubt that the Holy Spirit is working a great work in you and that Christ is living in you. But there comes a time… or there will come a time… when you begin to feel far from God. When the coals of passion begin to turn cold, and everything you do in the faith begins to feel routine and unexciting. So… what do you do when you hit that dip? Hold that question for a little bit… “what do you do when you hit that dip” because we are going on a little sidetrack for a while.
I just got back from my “New Pastor’s Retreat.” We have spent three years talking together… growing together… and supporting one another. And this last week we closed our time together with our final New Pastor Retreat. I guess this officially makes me an “old” pastor… right? Right? Well… I do want to thank the entire church for allowing me to go to these retreats and having the support of others going through the same thing that I am going through.
It has always been amazing to me… that each one of us was so unique… so different… we each have our own talents… we each have our own personalities… and we each have very unique churches with very unique personalities.
One thing that I have surely learned in the past three years is that… as a pastor… God puts you where you are needed, because it is amazing to me how the problems each church was experiencing was particularly suited to the pastor that has been serving them for the past three years.
When I started out searching for churches, my mentor gave me one of the best pieces of advice… she said, “It’s not about finding the perfect church, it’s about finding the church with the perfect problems.” There is no “garden of Eden” church out there… every single church in the world has troubles, problems, and conflicts… the trick… is allowing the Holy Spirit to guide you as a pastor to the church that you are best able to guide through those processes.
As we would sit down and begin to talk about all the problems in our church… naturally I had nothing to say ‘cause you all are perfect and never have conflict… but we would sit down and talk about all the problems that OTHER churches were having and it was amazing to me… each conflict that arose I was like, “man… I wouldn’t want to touch that one with a ten foot pole.” But the pastor that was presenting it had a specific skill set and a specific personality that he or she… was simply the best person to be in that place for that specific time. And here is the amazing thing… when you ask “How were you led to this specific church” you keep getting the exact same answer.