Summary: God wants your life to make a lasting difference in the people around you.

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Ministry that Makes a Difference

Acts 13:42-52

Intro: Bill Wilson pastors an inner city church in New York City. His mission field is a very violent place. He himself has been stabbed twice as he ministered to the people of the community surrounding the church. Once a Puerto Rican woman became involved in the church and was led to Christ. After her conversion she came to Pastor Wilson and said, "I want to do something to help with the church’s ministry." He asked her what her talents were and she could think of nothing---she couldn’t even speak English---but she did love children. So he put her on one of the church’s buses that went into neighbor-hoods and transported kids to church. Every week she performed her duties. She would find the worst-looking kid on the bus, put him on her lap and whisper over and over the only words she had learned in English: "I love you. Jesus loves you."

-After several months, she became attached to one little boy in particular. The boy didn’t speak. He came to Sunday School every week with his sister and sat on the woman’s lap, but he never made a sound. Each week she would tell him all the way to Sunday School and all the way home, "I love you and Jesus loves you."

-One day, to her amazement, the little boy turned around and stammered, "I---I---I love you too!" Then he put his arms around her and gave her a big hug. That was 2:30 on a Sunday afternoon. At 6:30 that night he was found dead. His own mother had beaten him to death and thrown his body in the trash.......

-"I love you and Jesus loves you." ....Those were some of the last words this little boy heard in his short life---from the lips of a Puerto Rican woman who could barely speak English. This woman gave her one talent to God and because of that a little boy who never heard the word "love" in his own home, experienced and responded to the love of Christ.....

-As we are in the process of discovering and using our God-given gifts, let me encourage you that you can make a difference - if you will just use what God has given you. We may wish we had a different gift or could do things the way somebody else does them. However, ministry that makes a difference begins when we surrender ourselves to God and ask Him to use us the way He wants to. That’s our main theme:

Prop: God wants your life to make a lasting difference in the people around you.

Interrogative: How can we live so that our lives will have a lasting impact on those around us?

TS: Let’s look at a few thoughts from the Bible that show us how we can make a difference.

I. Life-Changing Ministry Leaves the Door Open (13:42)

42 As Paul and Barnabas were leaving the synagogue, the people invited them to speak further about these things on the next Sabbath.

-It really says something here that Paul and Barnabas were invited back. It shows us that as hard as some of Paul’s writings are, he still ministered with a sensitivity to people that left a door of ministry open into their lives. Paul & Barnabas spoke the truth in love, but they did not burn their bridges. The only ultimatums they gave were those that God gave. They did not add to God’s word or take away from it. Instead, they let the power and truth of God’s word have its effect. Paul said that he became all things to all men so that by all means he might win some of them to the Lord.

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