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Summary: In this sermon you will see the qualities that Jesus exhibited in order to bring out the winner in others.

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Today we have conducted a baby dedication. Parents bubble with anticipation for their children. Each of them expect their child to be the next president. One of the jobs of a parent is to bring out the winner in their child. That requires work, sometimes this job is more difficult than others. Paul Dickson has written a book entitled, What’s In A Name? In that book he shares some of the most unusual names he’s come across. How would you like to have any of these for your name? Cletus Clodfelter, Rotten Earp, Jinglebells Kaplan, and Boomfa Umfumpa. Can you imagine? "Hey Boomfa!" Dickson also writes that some people seem to be destined to certain occupations by their names. Joe Bunt became a baseball coach. Dan Druff became a barber. Would you feel secure hiring a plaster contractor by the name of Will Crumble?

(Contributed to Sermon Central by Timothy Smith)

Children need help in overcoming challenges and in becoming all that God intended for them to be. Most of the time we fail to see the God given potential in others. I want for us to consider the way Jesus saw the winner in people.

For a text I want to read John 1:42. “And he brought him to Jesus. Now when Jesus looked at him, He said, “You are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas” (which is translated, A Stone).” (NKJV) This text describes Simon Peter. He was the son of John. He was to become one of the foundational leaders of the early church. Paul verified this truth. In Galatians 2:9 he wrote “James and Cephas and John, who were acknowledged pillars” John 1:42 is the record of an interview. Simon Peter was interviewed by Jesus. This interview changed his life. It also gave him a new name—Peter in the Greek, Cephas in the Aramaic—both of which mean “a rock.” It took a great deal of work for Jesus to transform weak Simon into a rock, but He did it! Jesus saw the winner in Simon!

As we get into this text I want to acknowledge that it is Jesus who changes lives. We cannot change anyone. However, we learn some valuable lessons about dealing with people. These lessons can be applied to employee/employer relationships. These lessons can be applied to coach/player relationships. These lessons can be applied to parent/child relationships. These lessons can be applied as we share God’s love with others.

So what did Jesus do with Simon that brought out the God given potential in him? We can do these same things.

1. Jesus saw the Potential in people. I once heard a quote that fits appropriately at this point. “Anybody can count the number of apples on a tree, but only a rare and wonderful person can count the trees in an apple.” Jesus had the ability to count the trees in an apple. When Jesus saw Simon he saw a diamond in the rough. Here was this weak, fledging man who became one of the leaders of the early church. Notice a special phrase in our text. “When Jesus looked at him.” Jesus saw the special person God intended Simon to be. We can do the same. Look for the potential in other people. When you follow Jesus life you see His treatment of others.

In Luke 19 we find Jesus encounter with Zacchaeus. Zacchaeus was an outcast. Jesus saw his potential. Jesus told him to come down from his hide away in a tree and He was going to share a meal with him.

In Matthew 9 we find Jesus encounter with Matthew. Matthew was a hated tax collector. Jesus saw his potential.

In Mark 16:9 we find Jesus encounter with Mary Magdalene. She had formerly been possessed by seven demons. Can you imagine having her sitting on the front row of your church? Jesus saw the potential in her.

In John 4 we find Jesus encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well of Jacob. She was living with a man and had been married five times. In addition, she was a person with a mixed pedigree. The Jewish people frowned on such crossovers. Jesus saw the potential in this lady.

In each of those situations Jesus saw the potential, not the problems. Potential sometimes lies dormant. "The history books are full of stories of gifted persons whose talents were overlooked by a procession of people until someone believed in them. To name a few ... "Einstein was four years old before he could speak and seven before he could read". Einstein became one of the greatest physicists who ever lived. "Isaac Newton did poorly in grade school." Newton, like Einstein was one of the smartest people of his day as a scientist. "A newspaper fired Walt Disney because he had "no good ideas" Listen to the rest of the story about Mr. Disney. "It is reported that Walt Disney was not only a remarkable man but also a remarkably happy man. Somewhere recently there was a story about his early years. When he started out in Kansas City, he couldn’t sell his cartoons. Some hinted that he had no talent. Disney had a dream, so he set out to conquer his foes. He found a minister who paid him a small amount to draw advertising pictures for his church. Disney had no place to stay, so that the church let him sleep in the mouse-infested garage. One of those mice which Disney nicknamed Mickey, became famous---as the world knows. How satisfying life must have been for Disney when he remembered the hard struggle from lean years spent in a church garage." "Leo Tolstoy flunked out of college." It was later on that he wrote the literature classic that we know as "War And Peace".

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