Summary: A sermon about making personal and spiritual changes both as an individual and a church as a whole.

“How to make a YOU-turn”

“Forgetting what is behind and straining toward that which is ahead,

I press on for the mark for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 3:13-14

Intro: In 1964 Guy Willis and the Willis Brothers released a record single of an old country truck driving song

which became a top ten country music hit.

Let me read you the words to the first verse and chorus:

He was headin' into Boston in a big, long diesel truck

It was his first trip to Boston, he was having lots of luck

He was going the wrong direction down a one-way street in town

And this is what he said when the police chased him down.


Give me forty acres and I'll turn this rig around

It's the easiest way that I've found ...

Some guys can turn it on a dime or turn it right downtown

But I need forty acres to turn this rig around.

A “U-turn” in driving means to perform a 180 degree turn to reverse the direction of travel.

A “Y O U -turn” has two meanings:

(1) to turn around your personal life…, so that you have the hope…, love…, joy…, and peace…,

that God created for you to have…, through salvation and your personal relationship with Christ.

The second meaning is…

(2) to move the church in the direction of commitment and growth…

so that we are a church that is living and fruitful

fulfilling the Great Commission of Christ…, to make disciples…

I am convinced that these two things go hand and hand…

Learn this Lesson: You must have personal and spiritual growth…,

in order…, to have church growth and professions of faith.

And when you are in a church…, that has baptisms…, and new members joining…

You will have people…, growing and maturing…, in their faith.

So today we are going to talk about “How to make a YOU-turn.”

I. Be Friendly

“I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” Matthew 25:35

Everyone wants to be around friendly people.

One of the most important things you can do for your spiritual life…,

is to surround yourself with…, positive…, friendly…, Christian people.

Friendliness is contagious…

To be invited…, welcomed…, and included… are among the greatest feelings you will ever have.

One Sunday a church was having a special service…, and the pews were filled to capacity.

Just after the service began…, a young man walked down the center aisle of the church

He was wearing flip flops and blue jeans.

He had a tattoo down his arm.

And when he couldn’t find a seat,

he squatted down…, right in front of the first pew…, sitting cross legged Indian style.

Everyone watched as the head usher walked down toward him.

The usher was in his best suit and tie.

And some in church thought, “Thank-you for doing something about this!”

Others just watched to see what would happen…

But what they saw was this…

They saw…, the head usher…, sit down beside the young man.

He took off his coat and sat Indian style.

He took a hymn book and turned to the page of the song

He leaned in…, toward the young man…, and shared the hymn

By the end of the service the two were talking and smiling and they were best friends.

If you had been there that day…, that would have been the only sermon that you needed.

Friends this was a YOU-turn moment for the young man…, in his flip flop and blue jeans

This was a YOU-turn moment for the head usher…,

And this was a YOU-turn moment for many other people…, in the church that day.

How do you make a YOU-turn?

You work intentionally to let your guard down…,

You open up your heart and say, “God…, come in.”

You open your mind and say “Holy Spirit I am watchful…, I am ready for you to act in my life…

You open your door and say “Jesus I confess my sin…,

I want you to change me and make me into what I ought to be.

I am ready

Maybe you have heard the story about the new Farm Agent

who was making his first official trip to some of the farms in the county.

He drove down this winding dead end road.

Along the way he saw these big signs that said,

“Keep Out!” “Trespassers Will Be Shot!” “This Means You!”

Finally with great anxiety and in trepidation…,

the agent got out of his car and knocked on the farmer’s door…,

What he found was a kind and gentle old man…, and a warm welcome.

After their business was finished, the farmer said, “Come back and see me again.

You know…, For some reason, I don’t get very many visitors.”

I want to ask you a question: Who is the most important person here this morning?

God…, Jesus…, the Holy Spirit…

O.K. that was pretty easy to answer…

Besides God who is the most important person in this room?

There may be professors, doctors, lawyers, politicians, engineers…

Let me tell you friends…, there are not any big “I’s” and little “you’s” in the Kingdom of Heaven…

John 3:16 says…, God so loved the world…

Jesus die on the cross for the whole world.

Now…, that included me and you…

As we have welcomed Christ into our life…

Christ teaches us to love our enemies…

Pray for those who persecute us.

To welcome in the strangers as though they were angels or Christ himself…

Romans 15:7 says Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you for the glory of God.”

Let’s be intentional about being Friendly.

How to make a YOU-turn

II. Be Fruitful

"That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love," Ephesians 3:17

What does it mean to be fruitful?

The first step in being fruitful is to be planted in good soil.

If the soil is bad then the seeds want grow

and the plant will be stunted at best…, or may even die…

Here is an interesting lesson I have learned in life…

We don’t get to choose what soil we are born into…

Because I would probably be Bruce Gates, or Bruce Buffet, Bruce Trump or maybe Bruce Hilton (LOL)

No one would ever choose to be born in the bush of Congo Africa where the GDP is about $300 per year.

No one would choose to be born near Detroit Michigan where the poverty rate is over 35%

Or we could go for a Sunday evening drive…, here in the Appalachia Region of Whitley County

and look at 60% of the people under the age of 18 or over the age of 65 live in poverty.

We can’t change of lot of things around us…, or instantly make the world a better place to live…

Here is my point: It doesn’t matter where you come from or where you live right now…

What does matter is knowing that God’s love reaches ever corner of the world.

It covers every experience

Every low of depression

Every height of celebration

His love is deep…, it reaches into the depths of discouragement, despair, and even death…

When you feel shut out…, broken…, and alone…, just remember you can never be lost to God’s love.

When Christ dwells in your heart by faith;

Then you are rooted and grounded in fruitfulness…

You are in the place God wants you to be…,

You are in the soil that has the potential to grow anything…

It can grow the best you… that you can possibly become…

You may live or work around a bunch of weeds,

but don’t let that stop you from blooming.

Your circumstance can NOT stop you from being joyful.

Some people spend all their time trying to pull up the weeds.

Meanwhile, they miss out on fruit that is growing up around them.

You can’t change the traffic on your way to work in the mornings.

You can’t fix everybody you know.

You can’t make all the people around you instantly polite and caring.

But what you can do is have the right attitude yourself…

You can become so rooted in God’s Word…

That people see the change Jesus has made in you…

Wouldn’t it be great if people starting asking about you…

What has gotten into them lately…,

They used to be so full of bitterness and anger, and hatred, and rudeness…

They used to be so selfish and self centered…

and now they smile…

they go around singing…

What is the difference? Why the change? Now they are full of "Holy Spirit”

They have found a church where they belong…

They are rooted in the Word of God.

Being fruitful means making a YOU-turn.

Your past is passed….

You move out of what has happened to you…

And into what God is going to do with you right now…

I’m not going to let the past destroy my future.

As God can turn your life around…,

God turns the people of his Church around

And heads his people into the right direction…,

Not only are the people of God Friendly…, They are also Fruitful.

III. Be Faithful

"For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." Matthew 18:20

Did you know that it is our faithfulness that attracts and activates the power of God.

John Wesley taught that faith doesn’t happen automatically.

Other people can pray for you,

Other people can quote the scripture to you,

but you are the only one who can actually exercise faith for yourself.

You must make a decision…, that you are going to be a believer.

You take charge of your life and decide,

“No matter what comes against me, I am going to believe in God.

I don’t care how difficult things are…,

I’m going to walk out of my problems….

And the problems I can’t walk out of…, I’m going to crawl out of…

If you can’t crawl you can pray….

The Apostle Paul knew hardships…

"Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one.

Three times I was beaten with rods,

once I was stoned,

three times I was shipwrecked,

I spent a night and a day in the open sea,

(he must have been Methodist because listen to what he says next…

I have been constantly on the move.)

I have been in danger from rivers,

in danger from bandits,

in danger from my own countrymen,

in danger from Gentiles;

in danger in the city,

in danger in the country,

in danger at sea;

and in danger from false brothers.

I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep;

I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food;

I have been cold and naked."

(2 Cor. 11:24-27)

But in all of these things Paul did not quit.

He did not give up…

He remained faithful…

I’m going to live in the faith…,

I’m going to live in the strength… which comes from the help of God…

No matter how many times you get knocked down…, keep getting back up.

God…, sees…, your…, determination.

God…, sees…, your…, faithfulness.

And when you do everything you can do…,

that’s when God will step in and do what you can’t do.

Did you know an oil tanker out on the ocean…, takes 14 miles to turn around.

That is a lot liking turning some people around

That is a lot like turning a church…

Out on the open seas…you have to be intentional…, and think ahead to make a U-turn.

That is exactly what God did for us…

He looked at the sins of Adam and Eve in the beginning in the garden of creation…

And he planned ahead in time…,

for salvation to no longer be in the blood of doves and goats and other animal sacrifices…

God looked ahead in time and saw your sins and my sins…

He planned 14 miles ago…

How to turn your life around…

God has a plan which included you

When Jesus went to the cross…, he laid out the way to turn our lives around.

It is time to say…, I am forgiven.

It is time to say…, Christ has made me whole

It is time to stop talking about the bad news…, and start telling people the Good News…

Sometimes you just need to tell your storm…, how big your God is…

The thing you have to learn in making a YOU-turn

is that no matter how big your problem has been Your God is bigger.

We have all made mistakes…, we have all made a wrong turns,

And guess what the only way you are not going to make any more mistakes

is if you sit down and don’t try to do anything.

I believe that is the biggest mistake of all…

All churches go through cycles.

As it goes through a number of these experiences…,

Some of them will be high points and others will not be.

There are times of growth and times of decline.

I believe that God can work to turn things around.

There are some things that we can learn:

God wants us to pass on His Word

Not pass out and quit…

God wants us to be Friendly, Fruitful…, and wants us to be Faithful.

Closing: The Apostle Paul had a reason to make a YOU-turn in his life.

He had given consent and permission for the stoning of Stephen, the first Christian martyr.

But he put his hope in Christ.

“Forgetting what is behind and straining toward that which is ahead,

I press on for the mark for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 3:13-14

He turned from guilt and shame to what God would help him to become.

Saul became Paul a complete 180 YOU-turn.