Summary: How to respond to discouragement when it feels like we’re spinning our wheels. Part of a giving campaign series.
The last few years motivational posters have gotten popular. You know what I mean: those posters with a photograph followed by an inspirational saying underneath the picture. We have a few of them in the green room for our musicians on our worship team. Many of you probably have them hanging in your workplace.
Well a company came out that decided to put out some demotivational posters. I’d like to share a few of those demotivational posters with you as we start today.
Mistakes: "It could be that the purpose of your life is only to serve as a warning to others."
Doubt: "In the battle between you and the world, bet on the world. "
Humiliation: "The harder you try, the dumber you look."
Losing: "If at first you don’t succeed, it could be that losing is just your style."
Despair: "It’s always darkest just before it goes pitch dark."
We laugh at those because all of us know what discouragement feels like. The truth be told, we spend more time discouraged in life than we do encouraged. So these demotivational posters remind us that you can’t be optimistic all the time.
Today we’re going to talk about how to stay focused on our priorities when we do get discouraged. Now we’re in the midst of a brief sermon series about priorities. This sermon series is part of our all church emphasis that we’re calling Beyond Every Limit. The purpose of Beyond Every Limit has been to help us as a congregation dream beyond our current limitations and take some new steps of faith. Our four goals of Beyond Every Limit have been to challenge our members to embrace Kingdom priorities, to see God provide enough money to relocate our coffee house and install some portable classrooms, to pay off our building loan early, and finally to envision new ministries that will extend the influence of God’s kingdom.
This all church emphasis is focused on our members, people who view Life Bible Fellowship Church as their church home. If you’re here as a guest today, you’re sitting in on some family business, and although we’re glad you’re here, this series of sermons isn’t directed to you.
As part of Beyond Every Limit, this last week we’ve been gathering for all church banquets. We’ve had over 600 people attend these four banquets, and I was very encouraged by the level of involvement in our church. If you weren’t able to attend one of the banquets, be sure to pick up Beyond Every Limit packet in the courtyard after the service. At our banquets last week we also announced the amount of money precommitted by our elder board, staff, and leadership team to Beyond Every Limit. We’ve seen over one quarter of a million dollars precommitted by 34 families. I was really encouraged by the fact that our leaders are setting the pace.
Now next weekend, Palm Sunday weekend, is Launch Weekend. On launch weekend we’ll be taking the special one time offering that will go primarily to relocate our coffee house and install portable classrooms. We’ll also be collecting commitment cards from all our church members, and based on those commitment cards begin making double or triple payments on our loan. Let me clarify one question that has come up. The cash offering will go primarily to pay for coffee house relocation and portable classrooms. The 36 month commitments will go for the debt reduction. Also, just as a reminder, we’re asking that our members give to Beyond Every Limit above and beyond what they’re already giving to our general fund here at the church. We don’t want to rob funds from our current ministries to meet these other needs. So next weekend be sure to bring whatever amount God has led you to give in the offering and bring your completed commitment card. If you have an elementary age child, also be sure to remind them to bring their Beyond Every Limit banks, because they’ll be presenting that offering to the Lord during our Launch Weekend as well.
Now we’re all excited about what God is doing right now, so we’re not feeling very discouraged at the moment. But when discouragement does come, how can we stay focused on God’s Kingdom priorities?
The people of Israel faced a similar situation in the sixth century before the birth of Jesus. After spending 70 years in exile, away from their homeland, they finally returned to Jerusalem. Seventy years earlier the Babylonians had completely destroyed the city of Jerusalem and torn down the Jewish temple that King Solomon had built. So these returning exiles rebuild the walls of Jerusalem under the leadership of Nehemiah, and they laid the foundation to rebuild a new temple under the leadership of Ezra. But then they lost their focus, and for 18 years there was no progress on rebuilding the temple. So God raised up a prophet named Haggai to challenge them to get their priorities back in sync with God’s priorities. We saw last week from Haggai’s first sermon to the people that our true priorities are revealed in how we spend our time and money, that when our priorities are misplaced, life stops working, and that when we realign our priorities with God’s priorities, God’s blessings start flowing back into our lives. The people of Israel responded to Haggai’s sermon with obedience and commitment, and soon God was stirring their hearts to rebuild the temple.