Summary: This sermon is to kickoff our Stewardship Campaign and our Anniversary Service in sharing the vision for our two year campaign.
“It’s Kickoff Time”
A long time ago when I played football, I was on the kickoff team. I was always full of optimism and I could feel butterflies in my stomach. When the referee blew that long whistle, everything we had been practicing for for weeks was finally beginning. I had to kick off the butterflies that were swarming around in my stomach and head in the direction of the ball flying through the air.
Every now and then God call us to be on his kick off team in some new adventure in the kingdom of God. We may not be sure of what the final outcome is going to be, but we’re glad to be on the starting team. We look for the direction the Spirit is moving and we have to kick off things in our lives and head for the Spirit’s leading.
God kicked off a new thing in Glenville 48 years ago. It happened when he called a group of people to move beyond being scattered individuals to rise up and become a church in this building. Of those who answered the call of that game, 5 of them are still among us in the game. They are Aileen Moffett, Ann Moore, Lillie Jackson, Juanita McGowan and Sarah Williams. Since then many others have come and joined our church family. Many today are in heaven because of the ministry that came out of the body of Christ here at Glenville. We thank God for the legacy they built.
One of the tragedies in the bible, is that often when God did a great move among God’s people, it often did not survive past the generation that was there to see it. The next generation would slip back into old ways and into their own comfort and slowly invest their lives into other things. Before long God’s claim on their lives and God’s purpose for their existence would be forgotten.
In the book of Haggai, God’s people had lived a very rebellious life and after many years of trying to get them to change, God let the people have their way. God had warned his people that the Babylonian army would come and attack them and carry them away. They did not believe it, and they refused to kick off their rebellious ways. The Babylonians came, burned the city, tore down the city walls, and destroyed God’s temple.
The people who survived were carried off as captives to Babylon, where they remained for 70 years. After several decades of captivity, the people then began to kickoff all the false gods they had worshipped and kicked off their complacency and began to cry out to God. God heard their plea, and after 70 years he touched the heart of King Cyrus who gave a decree for all the people from Israel who wanted to leave to return home to their lands and take the gold and silver articles that had been looted from the temple back with them.
The people were delighted with the news. They kicked off the Babylonian yoke and headed for Jerusalem. When they arrived, they started to rebuild the temple out of gratitude for God giving them such a great deliverance. But slowly their enthusiasm and their remembrance of God’s faithfulness began to dwindle. They stopped working on the temple, and began thinking about themselves. 18 years after arriving in Jerusalem, a certain level of prosperity and blessing had set in. They had built beautiful homes for themselves but had allowed the temple to not only go unfinished, but to fall into disrepair.
We like to think and say that “God does not care what things look like, God only looks at what is on the inside.” That’s only true to an extent and applies to when we first come to God. When a person cries out to God, God does not look at their outward appearance. It does not matter to God if the person has on rags or designer clothes, it does not matter if the person is addicted to drugs or addicted to fame, it does not matter if the person is a prostitute or a so called respectable sinner. All of them need the same savior, Jesus, as each one of us needs in our lives. But when God comes into our lives, a change takes place on the inside, that makes for a change to take place on the outside.
We kickoff some of the old things we use to do, and our goal is to offer God our best of what we have to offer. If you had some oatmeal, some three day old left over chicken, and some fresh T bone steaks in the refrigerator and you knew somebody you loved and admired was coming over for dinner, how many of you would be wanting to serve the steaks for the person. How many of you would be eager to say, “I got some steaks in the refrigerator, but I figured you could get full off this huge bowl of oatmeal just as well.” No most of us want to offer our best because we are caring and loving people. We know that what we offer says a lot about how we feel.