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Summary: This sermon was preached at our 15th anniversary to encourage us to become all that we can be.

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Striving For Excellence

15th Anniversary 3/7/2004 Proverbs 6:6-12 Philippians 3:7-11 Text 3:12-14

Rick

Let’s go to Forest Hills Park for our annual Church picnic for a moment. It’s a hot sunny day, and you notice a little creature scurrying across the ground. We want you to meet Lucy the ant. Even though it is hot Lucy is busily carrying some food from one place to another. Some might wonder, why doesn’t Lucy simply chill out and take it easy. If you come back a few months later in the beautiful falls season, with all the colored leaves, you’d still see Lucy busily carrying some food from one place to another.

Toby

The Scriptures tell us, to observe Lucy the ant and take notice. There is no one telling her, she must move this food from here to there. There’s no one insisting that she store up her food. Yet Lucy is striving for excellence because God has placed within her, the knowledge that winter is coming, and what she does today, will determine what winter is going to be like for her.

Rick

Like Lucy, what we are doing today, is determining what our future is going to be like when we finally see Jesus face to face. What will you think, when Jesus says, “go ahead put your hand in my side where the soldier plunged his spear as I hung on the cross”? What will you feel when, when you see the holes in his hands, where the nails once pounded painfully through his flesh? If he still carries any signs of the wounds from the beating he took in the Passion of the Christ, “how will you feel if he asks, “I gave my life for you. What have you brought me in return?”

Toby

Our response is going depend on how much of our life was spent striving for excellence in the things that really mattered. Today we celebrate 15 years of ministering together for the cause of Christ. Not many churches reach this kind of a milestone in its history. It’s a witness of your love for us and of our love for you. Our goal for 15 years, has been to get to know who Jesus really is, that we might pass that knowledge on to you, so that you might pass that knowledge on to someone else.

Rick

You see there are some first generation, second generation, third generation, and fourth generation Christians here today. The generations are not based on age, but on who told who about the power of Christ to change lives and who led who into the life of the church.

Toby

For 15 years, we have been striving for excellence for the cause of Christ as a church. The struggle has not always been easy, but it’s always been worth it. It has never been our goal to have you look at us and say, wow what wonderful leaders we have. Our goal has been for you to see at least a glimpse of Jesus in us, in such a way that you would want to have that same Jesus in you.

Rick

We are but vessels, that God has given the honor and privilege of being used by Jesus Christ. We said yes to the call of God on our lives, but it was Jesus who changed your lives. It was Jesus who answered your prayers. It was Jesus who comforted you in your grief. It was Jesus who made everything work out. It was Jesus who has built His church.

Toby

One of the signs of growth in believers, is to recognize that our standard for our behavior is Jesus. If we compare ourselves with each other, it’s easy to stop striving for excellence, because we can all find somebody who is doing a little worse than we are. When we do, we can become lazy in our walk with the Lord.

Rick

Satan may then comes in and steals the spiritual richness out of our lives. But we do not recognize the loss, simply because we look a little better than somebody else. We can become content saying, “at least I’m not as bad as so and so” not realizing that so and so is not in the least bit pleasing in the eyes of God either. When we compare ourselves to Christ, it keeps a lot of things in perspective.

Toby

Paul had a vision of striving for excellence in his life. Have you ever noticed how people can be consumed by a desire to accomplish something. People spend enormous amount of time and energy to run in marathons, spend great sums of money on climbing mountains, or go to the extreme in one hobby or another. They’re all striving for excellence. Actors and actresses have their own personal body trainers and cooks, because they are striving for excellence in their appearance. They are doing all this work, for things that will eventually perish.

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