Summary: What is your ministry passion?

Every year for the past several years, the trophy that is given to the winning Super Bowl team is called “The Vince Lombardi Trophy” because it is so named for the first coach who won the first two Super Bowls in 1967 and 1968– Vince Lombardi of the Green Bay Packers.

Vince Lombardi became a legend during his tenure as coach in the 1960’s of a team that was less than a legend when he arrived in 1959 to lead a team that had 1 win, 10 losses, and 1 tie in the previous season. He was quoted as saying, “I have never been associated with a loser and I don’t expect to be now.”

Passion was a driving force for Lombardi. He loved football throughout his life time and David Maraniss, in a recent biography of Lombardi, describes this passion after a prep school game he had played in. “Lombardi... felt anything but a loser when it was over. [His team had lost.] He experienced what he later described as a locker room epiphany. As he slumped on the bench in his grass-stained red and blue uniform, he was overcome by joy, a rare feeling for him... He felt fatigue, soreness, competitive yearning, accomplishment-all of this, he said later, left him surprisingly elated.”

We are concluding this morning our series, “Getting In Shape For God,” with a look at something that we see much of in our society, and even in our own lives, but perhaps something that we overlook as part of being spiritually fit for service and ministry - passion.

I would remind us one last time that we get in shape for God by: (overhead 1)

Accepting ourselves as God’s greatest creation.

Learning to serve others and be God’s servant

Discovering and accepting our place on God’s “team”- the church

Accepting ourselves for who we are while growing in Christian maturity

Letting God use all of our life experiences-including our failures and disappointments

Discerning and discovering our God given passion - the “thing” that we want to do the most for God

This morning I ask each of us here: If you could do one thing for God what would that be? Your answer to this question reveals your ministry passion. This morning I offer you one way to answer this question. It is an insert this morning that gives a listing of the most current and potential ministry positions in our church. (I say most because it is very possible that some positions have been overlooked.)

Notice there are two columns, “C” and “I.” “C” represents an area where you currently serve. “I” represents an area that you have an interest in serving. I call your attention to this insert now because in a few moments I am going to give you time to fill it out and turn it in to us at the end of the service. As you listen and read through this insert this morning reflect on the question, “If you could do one thing for God what would that be?”

Passion is a word that we hear a lot these days. It is used in a variety of contexts notably regarding what motivates you to work and live. But what exactly is passion?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines passion as “an object of affection or enthusiasm.” When it comes to being in shape for the Lord what gives you (or would give you) enthusiasm in serving Him?

In our main text for this morning, Paul shares his ministry passion. I want to read 1:29 and 2:1 in a couple of different versions of the Bible:

“That’s what I am working so hard at day after day, year after year, doing my best with the energy God generously gives to me. I want you to realize that I continue to work as hard as I know how for you, and also for the Christians over at Laodicea.” (The Message)

“I work hard at this, as I depend on Christ’s mighty power that works within me. I want you to know how much I have agonized for you and for the church at Laodicea, and many other friends who have never known me personally.” (NLT)

What is Paul working hard at? What is the object, the purpose of Paul’s passion?

That people accept Christ and become mature in their faith! This is what Paul worked hard at doing. This is what Paul was passionate about throughout his travels and ministry. This is where Paul’s heart was!

And Paul was so passionate about this ministry that he was willing to endure anything and everything to make it happen as we read in 1:28 (again in two different versions): “So everywhere we go, we tell everyone about Christ. We warn them and teach them with all the wisdom God has give us for we want to present them to God, perfect in their relationship with Christ.” (NLT)

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