Summary: This is part of a series of sermons that encourage believers to take a personal responsibility for the growth and ministry of the church.
RAISING THE BAR OF EXCELLENCE
ILL> This summer our son Alan was in the play ¡°Big River¡± which was performed at the Bucyrus Little Theater. Ken Barnett from MG High School was the director.
Not long before the first performance they had a dress rehearsal. Mr. Barnett said, ¡°That was good enough for a high school play, but it¡¯s not good enough for here.¡±
Striving for excellence.
We are in the middle of a sermon series that I¡¯ve called ¡°Raising the Bar.¡± We have talked so far about raising the bar of truth, worship, and leadership. Today I want to talk about raising the bar of excellence
I was always told ¡°If something is worth doing, then it¡¯s worth doing right!¡± I heard a poem several years ago that gives that same sentiment:
Good, better best,
Never let it rest,
Until your good is better
And your better, best.
In the OT, Jewish worshipers were required to sacrifice a lamb or an ox. Now, this couldn¡¯t be just any old animal. You couldn¡¯t take the one that was sickly, weak, or deformed and offer it to Christ. No, when God talks about sacrifice it always refers to giving up something that is of value¨Cif it doesn¡¯t cost anything, then it¡¯s not a sacrifice. So, the animal had to be one that was perfect¨Cwithout spot or blemish. God also required them to give the firstfruits of their crops¨Cthe best portion¨Cback to Him. Now, in the NT there are no such written requirements, but since Jesus Christ gave all for us, doesn¡¯t He deserve our best in return?
When we give our best, we honor Christ. Notice, that I didn¡¯t say....when we give our best to the church¨Cwhen we give our best to the Lord. When we give our best in every aspect of our lives, then we honor Christ.
READ: Colossians 3:15-24
I> IN THE HOME (18-21)
This is similar to what Paul says in Ephesians 5
ILL> Rules from the Male point of view. Notice that they are all numbered 1 because it doesn¡¯t matter.
1. We don’t remember dates. Mark birthdays and anniversaries on the
calendar. Remind us frequently beforehand.
1. Ask for what you want. Let us be clear on this one: Subtle hints do not work! Strong hints do not work! Obvious hints do not work! Just say it!
1. If something we said can be interpreted two ways, and one of the ways makes you sad or angry, we meant the other one.
1. Christopher Columbus did not need directions, and neither do we.
1. Don’t ask us what we’re thinking about unless you are prepared to
discuss such topics as navel lint, the shotgun formation, or monster trucks.
1. If you ask a question you don’t want an answer to, expect an answer you don’t want to hear.
Ephes. 5:21-25 says, ¡°Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.  Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.  Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.  Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her¡±
ILL> Being unfaithful in a marriage takes a great deal of time and effort. I am convinced that if a person would spend just one quarter of that time and spend it working on their relationship with their spouse, that they would have one of the greatest marriages going.
ILL> Children are natural mimics--they act like their parents in spite of every attempt to teach them good manners.
ILL> Marriage is like farming, you have to start all over again every morning.
Do¡¯s for couples
1. Date your wife - spend time together
It¡¯s easy to allow your schedules to take you in opposites directions¨Cdo things together
¡ñ Go watch your children or grandchildren in sports
¡ñ Go out to eat
¡ñ Take in a movie
2. Watch your finances¨Cthis is the #1 problem in marriages today
3. Keep the past in the past
4. Encourage one another
II> IN THE WORKPLACE (22)
What kind of worker are you? Do you work just as hard when the boss is not around as you do when the boss is looking over your shoulder?
ILL> It¡¯s not secret that in many businesses that have those who work hard, and then there are those who work hard at not working.
Did you ever stop to think that the kind of worker you are has a reflection on Christ and His Church? Remember¨Cif you¡¯re sloughing off at work, it gives people a bad impression about what a Christian is. Look at VS 23.