Summary: This is a sermon preached at our 21st Anniversary as being pastors of our congregation. The goal is to set our eyes on the future.
Moving Forward With A United Vision
Joshua 1:1-11 Colosians 2:6-10
Today we celebrate 21 years of ministry together, because 21 years ago a decision was made to move forward with a united vision for the cause of Jesus Christ. For 21 years, Jesus Christ has been our reason for staying in business. Jesus has been touching, healing, and changing lives in this place week after week, month after month and year after year. When people ask, what is really going on in Glenville, they need look no further than our desire to be united in the cause of Jesus Christ as it is revealed in the word of God. We do not attempt to change the word of God to fit our desires, but rather to change ourselves to fit the plan and purposes of God.
We were challenged in the word of God today in Colossians 2:6 where it says 6 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, 7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. For 21 years we have been sending our roots deeper and deeper in Christ as a church and we have been built up in him. It’s hard to believe that 22 years ago, there were many who thought this church would fold and close. But God had too many of us who had to be reached, too many of us who had to get saved and too many of us who would need the kind of support this church has to offer to let it close.
So what did we do, 21 years ago we decided to believe God. We stepped out in faith on what could possibly happen. We were willing to believe, that if God could take a Joshua and encourage him to only be strong and courageous, that same God could do the same for us if we chose the same path. Joshua, the leaders and the people banded together, and they received the promises of God and the land that God had for them. For 21 years, we have discovered a God who loves this congregation and is faithful to his word.
When we step out on the word of God, we discover there is no limit to the possibilities of what God will do, when we as a church make ourselves available to be used. We know that we have been made for a mission. We know that in that mission, we are to demonstrate excellence in action, because we serve an Excellent God who does all things well. There is power in the unity found in Jesus Christ. When we ban together as a one solid unit, that is rooted in God, sustained by God, and directed by God, there is no limit to our potential to make a difference in the lives of others.
When we came here 21 years ago, we didn’t come with a mission to be here for 21 years. We came with a desire to do God’s will and to try to help build a great church. A lot of our success as a church, has been your willingness to believe that God loves you and if you put your trust in God, God will make a way for you. You have trusted God with your money and look what God has done. 22 years ago, Glenville’s giving was so low, it could barely pay its bills and it had 220 members on the role. We had to bribe you to increase the low salary you were offering to us, by saying that we would pay the $5000 increase ourselves through our giving. We made you an offer that was hard to refuse, we will come if you increase our salary from $15,000 to $20,000 and we will pay the difference.
At that point some of you realized we were not that smart, two people for $15000 and they will pay the difference for the increase. We came and preached on giving God a tithe, 10% of your income, and let God multiply the 90% you get to keep. If we were going to move forward with a united vision, we were going to have to be united in our giving for the Kingdom of God. We demonstrated tithing first in our lives, and then the elders also rose to the level of tithing. Members of the congregation caught the vision of funding ministry for the cause of Jesus Christ. Where has that unity taken us in 21 years. It has taken us to investing in the lives of others. Whereas before, our church was at the bottom of giving in the Presbytery per member, we have moved into the number 2 slot behind the Korean Presbyterian Church.