This past Sunday we did something a little different. Instead of the more usual format for the message, I did a collection of life transformation stories. Because of that, putting the "sermon" on the website seemed a bit thin. So, instead, here is the outline and highlights from Sunday, March 25, 2012.
"When I started to think about this message I couldn’t get away from a verse in 1 Corinthians 14. “When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up.” Personally, I am inspired and encouraged almost every day. I have a totally unfair advantage, of course, I’m in the hub – I get to hear probably 10x more stories every day than the average church attendee - and I am blessed enough to have my faith built daily.
"Obviously our whole culture, even our church culture, is based on consumerism and it is a huge battle to shake that off. We talk so much here about making Christ the centre of our lives and I’ve been realizing more and more lately that I have been more and more able to do that in my own life because of the richness of the stories I hear every day. When you are focused on what Christ is doing around you, you can’t help but let it alter your spirit.
"Everything that is done is this place must be done so that the church is built up. When I hear of someone’s miracle, life-change or victory, I identify Christ in it and in my own life. I am given hope for my own circumstances, I am given strength to face my own battles, I am given perspective on the greatness of the capital-K Kingdom, I am able to look outward.
"Without this message in mind Rob and I took an hour or so to do an interview with Andy Slough several weeks ago, just to have his story on film to use as encouragement for the church when we found a moment for it. While I was interviewing him I was overwhelmed with the thought that you all needed to hear this and also, of the 45 minutes of tape, what on earth could I ever cut out of it?
"I want to show you some of that interview today. P. Del has been talking to us about stewardship for the past three weeks, about using what we’ve been given. What did you bring to church today? Think about that as you watch this with me."
"Can you tell me – what has God changed in your life since you put your faith in Him? It might have been 50 years ago, it might have been 2 weeks ago. What has God changed in your life?
Philippians 1:3-6 (NIV)
In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Or, as the Message paraphrases it…
Philippians 1:3-6 (MSG)
There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.
"Are you aware that God is working? Do you know that you haven’t come here to subscribe to a religion but that the God we are worshiping is living and active in any life who is here with a heart wide open?
'He who began a good work in you'… the day you put your faith in Christ… 'will carry it on to completion'.
He knows you and He is not finished with you…
"What is God asking us to bring to the table? What is he doing in our lives? What can we say to others about the life that we live? What answer do we give for the hope that is within us.
"I found it fascinating during Andy’s interview how he answered this question: What has changed in your life since you made a decision for Christ?"
"This begs the question – do you have hope this morning? Do you have a story to tell? Could you report on what God is doing in your life? What is God doing in your life these days?
"Remember what Paul tells the church - 1 Corinthians 14:26
When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up.
"Are you ready to bring your part to church this morning?
Would you be willing to build us all up today and tell us what God is doing so that we can all be encouraged in our faith and strengthened in every way?"