Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Today we hear a lot about innovators who start up their own dot-com business. Many innovators are not afraid to fail because they believe in the importance of change. An innovator is a person who does not mind introducing a new way of doing things to othe

Illustration:Perhaps you may remember Hank Luisetti, the great basketball player of a few decades back. When Hank came along, virtually every basketball coach in the country insisted that his players shoot with two hands. Instead of two hands, Hank used a jerky, funny-looking, one-handed jump shot. His coach, looking for results rather than method, was smart enough to let him use it. The rest is basketball history--today almost everybody uses Hank’s one-handed jump shot.

Source Unknown.

1. Today we hear a lot about innovators who start up their own dot-com business. Many innovators are not afraid to fail because they believe in the importance of change. An innovator is a person who does not mind introducing a new way of doing things to others.

Example: In this passage we learn a lot about innovation from the courage of Cornelius, the founder of the first gentile house church.

As a Roman centurion he was known to be a man who could control his temper in commanding a hundred sturdy men. By inviting Peter to his own he risked ridicule from many of his peers, but he seized upon a great opportunity to help other Gentiles from salvation through Christ.

A. The innovative ministry of Cornelius allowed for a huge barrier to broken down between those who worship in the Jewish temples and the Gentiles. Think of the consequences if Cornelius would not have innovated the starting of Gentile house fellowships?

B. Millions would have hesitated to walk into a Jewish temple because of the social, cultural and language barriers. Ask the Lord to help you to be an innovator for Jesus Christ.

Illustration:On June 4, 1783 at the market square of a French village of Annonay, not far from Paris, a smoky bonfire on a raised platform was fed by wet straw and old wool rags. Tethered above, straining its lines, was a huge taffeta bag 33 feet in diameter. In the presence of "a respectable assembly and a great many other people," and accompanied by great cheering, the balloon was cut from its moorings and set free to rise majestically into the noon sky. Six thousand feet into the air it went -- the first public ascent of a balloon, the first step in the history of human flight. It came to earth several miles away in a field, where it was promptly attacked by pitchfork-waving peasants and torn to pieces as an instrument of evil!

Today in the Word, July 15, 1993.

2. Cornelius’ invitation to Peter allowed the apostle to use the "keys of the kingdom" to open the door of the gospel to the entire Gentile world. There are many people whose gifts are not being utilized until someone innovates a ministry. Cornelius could have received a nasty letter of rejection, but he took the chance for the sake of his own people.

Application: Ask the Lord to allow your innovation to catalyze the use of many peopleâs spiritual gifts.

3. Cornelius was not averse to receiving criticism for seeking guidance from a stranger. Cornelius had never met Peter but he used his connections to communicate to one who knew Jesus Christ. You may not know a lot about a person directly, but through your trusted connections try to find people who demonstrate Christ inspired leadership. Trust the Lord to help you to relate to men of God who can help you advance Christ’s kingdom in your community, family or office.

4. Cornelius cared more about truth and eternal values than merely maintaining the status quo. Cornelius was a man of means and enjoyed considerable influence, but he was not content with mediocrity. He wanted to know the truth and experience the best God had for him and his family.

Application: Ask the Lord to help you to seek truth and the integration of eternal values in all aspects of your life instead of seeking to maintain the status quo.

5. Cornelius trusted in the power of the Holy Spirit to work out his innovation. Unless the Holy Spirit would have intervened in Peter’s heart, the innovation would not have succeeded. Do not think you can innovate without the leading, empowering and timely intervention of the Holy Spirit.

Quote; The reason why most innovations fail is they are not scripturally based nor are they following the leading of the Spirit of God.

Application: Trust the Lord to lead, provide and intervene in every aspect of your innovations.

Concluding Illustration:When Jean-Claude Killy made the French national ski team in the early 1960s, he was prepared to work harder than anyone else to be the best. At the crack of dawn he would run up the slopes with his skis on, an unbelievably grueling activity. In the evening he would lift weights, run sprints--anything to get an edge. But the other team members were working as hard and long as he was. He realized instinctively that simply training harder would never be enough. Killy then began challenging the basic theories of racing technique. Each week he would try something different to see if he could find a better, faster way down the mountain. His experiments resulted in a new style that was almost exactly opposite the accepted technique of the time. It involved skiing with his legs apart (not together) for better balance and sitting back (not forward) on the skis when he came to a turn. He also used ski poles in an unorthodox way--to propel himself as he skied. The explosive new style helped cut Killy’s racing times dramatically. In 1966 and 1967 he captured virtually every major skiing trophy. The next year he won three gold medals in the Winter Olympics, a record in ski racing that has never been topped. Killy learned an important secret shared by many creative people: innovations don’t require genius, just a willingness to question the way things have always been done.

Reader’s Digest, Oct, 1991, p. 61.

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