Summary: Sermon preached the morning before we sent another team of missionaries to foreign soil. Discusses what is needed to have missions trips.

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Have you ever wished that you could do something to make changes in the world around you? Have you ever said, "If I had my way… if only I could, if only I could?" Most of us would like to have some kind of positive impact on our surroundings in some way or other, wouldn’t we?

But think for a moment. Given the chance to change things, how would you do it? What would be your criteria for change? Where would you start? On the surface, it would seem impossible for an average person to really make effectual changes, wouldn’t it?

But it has been done many times! Everyday people, just like you and me have taken their ideas and changed the world forever. Just like a young boy in Milan, Ohio. He was a hyperactive kid and suffered from what now call ’Attention Deficit Disorder.’ He was not the type of kid you would really enjoy babysitting.

Yet this boy grew into a man that had such an appetite for knowledge he could do nothing but pursue it. His teachers deemed him mildly retarded, but in 1879, Thomas Alva Edison invented the first light bulb, thereby changing the course of mankind forever.

Another boy was skinny and shy. He seemed like a very poor successor to his overachieving parents. His father was a prominent attorney and his mother served on charitable boards and ran the United Way.

The only thing this boy did well was show an enormous talent for math and logic, but was nobody’s vision of a natural leader. He dropped out of college in his junior year and set out to pursue his heart’s desire. In 1974, young Bill Gates got his big break and Microsoft was born. I don’t think we need to mention the impact he had on the world, do you?

These are just two of thousands of examples of how ordinary men and women came forth with their ideas and dreams and altered the course of events for mankind. They were just average people who had an idea and brought it forth rather than sit on it and forget it.

Now, as much as we think these two men offered the greatest of all changes to our world, there came two men long before them that contributed something even greater for the world.

As humans, don’t we tend to have a standard that people should meet before we will recognize their worth? Sometimes, we need to realize that when we put up a standard for someone to meet before they can be judged ‘acceptable’, the only ones we are deeming ‘unacceptable’ are ourselves.

One man was born out of wedlock to a teen-aged mother. He worked with his father until he was 30 years old. That is when some people think he went off the deep end, because he started talking to others about God, and His love for them.

At the age of 33, he made the most significant impact on the world that has ever been made. He willingly gave up His life simply because He wanted us to live. He died to pay the ransom for our sinful souls.

JOHN 3:16 says,

‘For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.’

There are more people in the world that do not believe in Jesus than believe in Him, but in January 2000, TIME Magazine named Jesus Christ the most influential person who ever lived.

A few years after Jesus, came another man. For his time, he was considered brilliant and very well educated. He was a very religious man, and he looked upon the new Christians as people who were damaging his religion. Therefore, he helped hunt them down and persecute them. This man was what we call today as a TYPE A PERSONALITY. He was very focused and he was an accomplisher.

He was perhaps the last person you would ever expect to make a total commitment to Jesus Christ. Yet, the man named Paul, who made a living from seeing believers killed, became one of the strongest Christians who ever lived. He is the most widely read author in history, influencing millions upon millions for the glory of Jesus.

My point is this: other than Jesus, all of these men I described were average people who made incredible contributions and huge impacts on our world and were chosen by God to do so.

I want each of you to know today that you can also make an impact in this world, no matter what the circumstances are in your life. No matter what your age, your financial income, your education or anything else, if you have the heart to make an impact, you can. Each one of us can literally change the course of someone’s life, if you have the heart and desire to do so. And when you change someone’s life, there is no greater impact you can have on society.

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Richard Andrus

commented on Oct 7, 2006

Great reflection in preparation for a sending celebration for a group of religious women leaving our church for new ministry in various places internationally.

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