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Summary: There are two sides of the priority coin. Life experience either has or will teach you that there is quite a difference between knowing something and doing it. We all know how to improve certain areas of our lives but fail to act on them. Unless one takes

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SHOULDER 2 SHOULDER

“THE POWER OF PRIORITIES”

Text: Matt.26:6-13

Introduction:

Often even in a whirlwind of activity there is little or no productivity. The key is not necessarily working harder, but working smarter. There are two sides of the priority coin. Life experience either has or will teach you that there is quite a difference between knowing something and doing it. We all know how to improve certain areas of our lives but fail to act on them. Unless one takes action on that in which they know, the knowledge is nearly useless. The demands of the non-priority things in life are more forceful than those of the priority things in life. The unimportant things will always scream louder than the important things. It’s the squeaky wheel that gets the oil.

The church is notorious for not tending to priorities. Too many churches focus on things like printing the bulletin selecting carpet color, whether women can wear pants or not, who sits where, what color suits should the deacons wear. While things like these are not completely unimportant, they are a long way from God’s top priorities within His church. You can respond in two ways to this subject of priorities. #1. Help your pastor with some of the things he doesn’t have time to do…#2. Keep your efforts and energies focused on the biblical priorities of the church.

PRIORITY #1 LEADERSHIP

Vs.3-6…”lest there be an uproar among the people”.

The Chief priests & scribes would not subdue Jesus because of the influence he had upon the people. He had become the driving force in which the people were willing to follow. Everything rises and falls on leadership. Leadership can be described as influence. If you are a leader, someone should be following. The issue is not how many are following, but the result of your influence on those who are following you. There is a thin line between influence & manipulation. There are three profiles of this first priority on leadership.

#1. Natural Leader…some people are born leaders. Natural leaders are visionary. The have dreams they believe in and can’t be silenced about them. They’re out front, trend setters, risk & takers.

#2. Learned Leader…With the help of a strong leader who is willing to mentor or oversee the mentoring process, one can grow in leadership skills and abilities. Many of the characteristics of a learned leader are the same as those of a natural leader, but less intense and obvious.

#3. Non-Leader…If you are not a leader, you’re not a second-class citizen. Don’t ever let anyone cause you to feel inferior. God has designed the body of Christ to have many different parts, and obviously not all can be leaders.

PRIORITY #2 UNCONDITIONAL LOVE

Vs.6b “… Simon the leper”

Jesus is visiting Simon, the father of Judas (who would betray him). Lets look at how these two met (Lk.5:12). Simon was full of leprosy (elab), but Jesus exhibited unconditional love towards him. Understanding this priority causes us to realize that Jesus loves us no matter what. Our responsibility as Christians is to pass on that unconditional love to people both in & outside the Church. One of the best passages of scripture on this topic can be found in 1John 4:7-11. God’s love must be expressed in three dimensions:

1. Love God (vs.19)…We are to love God more than anything else in the world. Ask yourself…Is there anything, including a person or any possession, that you would not give up for God? (elab…Abraham/Isaac).

2. Love Yourself (Eph.5:29)…Though we are not to love anyone more than God, we are instructed to love ourselves. God knows deep down inside that no one hates himself. Self-destructive behavior breaks the heart of God & the will of man. A healthy self-love results from thinking of yourself the way God does…FORGIVEN!!

3. Love Others (1Jn.3:18)…Talk is cheap. Scripture says we must put action behind our love. Loving others is about intentionally giving yourself away for the benefit of the other person. Loving others is part of God’s plan for you that will bring you great eternal rewards and joy.

PRIORITY #3 FIRST-TIME GUESTS

Vs.6b…”in the house…”

Jesus had healed this man of a seemingly incurable situation. Before the healing, he himself was an outcast, an outsider, a castaway. I can imagine his surprise to open the door and Jesus is visiting his home for the first time. When it comes to Church growth, next to a new convert, nothing is more important than a first-time guest. You can support your pastor and build your church by becoming visitor-friendly. There are two things you can do to help bring more visitors.

#1) Develop relationships outside the church (Prov.18:24)…In order to have or make friends one must be pleasant enough, approachable enough for others to consider being friends. Make a list of several friends, family members, and acquaintances who are not church-goers to whom you can purposefully cultivate relationships with the ultimate hope of making a spiritual impact.

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