Summary: In this message I discuss the things that are vital to building a sticky faith. Churches must be filled with people who have a sticky faith that will help others decide to stay.
1st Corinthians 9:19-23
You are looking at a picture of the Sunshine Skyway bridge. Fo those of you who have lived in this area a long time you can remember the tragedy that took place in 1980 when the Sunshine Skyway bridge collapsed. Here is a picture from that year. Since that time we have all heard of numerous bridges that have collapsed and they are in the news much too often. It is perhaps unfortunate that these bridges that collapse become so prominent in the news. The pictures are hard to forget because they remind us of lives that are lost and families that are changed forever.
But let me ask you this morning to think of bridges in a different way. There is not one of us here today who has not safely crossed a bridge probably hundreds of times to get to a specific destination. If you go on the web to a site like Mapquest to get directions you often find that the directions can be interesting...they can take you to places that are out of the way, they can sometimes cost you extra time. Usually the maps really help but I did find an interesting thing...if you are trying to get from say Atlanta to London the map will direct you from Atlanta to say New York and then it stops there ....I did find one that said drive to the coast and then swim 4000 miles.
No thanks. I want a bridge. And I want a safe bridge, one that will get me to my destination and it won’t collapse. When we started this church almost nine years ago now over a period of several months we worked together to develop a vision statement that would define for us what we are about....where we are headed, that would give us direction for the future. The vision statement that we wrote says this...
Our vision is to enlarge the size of Heaven by taking as many people as possible with us. Simple. Direct. Right to the point. I like it. cause we we have this vision, we will do this...and here it is.....
Two years ago we added a purpose statement: We are Building bridges with unbelievers to cross over to maturity in Christ. These 2 sentences contain about 30m words. Memorize them. Pray over them. Let God show you your role as a bridge builder. The apostle Paul defined it this way...
1 Cor. 9:22 NIV to the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.
1 Cor. 9:22 LB Yes, whatever a person is like, I try to find common ground with him so that he will let me tell him about Christ and let Christ save him. 1 Cor. 9:22 NLT When I am with those who are oppressed, I share their oppression so that I might bring them to Christ. Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone so that I might bring them to Christ.
A common/big mistake that is made in many churches today is that to get people to come to church on Sunday mornings all the church has to do to get people to come to church on Sunday mornings all the church has to do is open their doors. Open the doors and unbelievers will come right in. Not so. They used to. Probably so but not now. Unfortunately in may cases people have been turned off by the church and by pastors in general. Too many pastors have compromised their Christian ethics, some churches are choosing to ordain men to the ministry who practice a gay lifestyle...many churches have suffered one scandal after another and pastors have made the news for all the wrong reasons and as a result the body of Christ has suffered. Research tells us that people are staying away from church in record numbers.
There is a question the church of today must consider and this is it...are we relevant or is it possible we are answering questions no one is asking? And is it possible to be relevant and biblical at the same time? Change for churches can be very hard. Change takes us out of our comfort zone but if we plan to grow as a church we have to talk about change. Now before we get to that topic let me remind you of some things that will never change in this church.....
(1) Jesus. Jesus Christ will never change. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. Every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father of the Heavenly lights who does not change. In a world of constant change it is comforting to know that Jesus will never change.