70 Faith-Focused Question to Ask Your Kids Each Day – by Leslie Means

70 Faith-Focused Question to Ask Your Kids Each Day – by Leslie Means

  1. Is there anyone who needs your prayers today?
  2. What is something you want to thank God for today?
  3. How did you show the love of Jesus today?
  4. Is there anything happening in your life today that you need to ask God for help?
  5. Are there any worries or fears that you need to release to God?
  6. Who do you see everyday that needs to have a friend like Jesus? How can you be that?
  7. How were you like Jesus today?
  8. What was the kindest thing you said or did today? Who needs an extra dose of your kindness?
  9. Are there any things you said or did today that you need to ask for God’s forgiveness?
  10. Did you notice if anyone was having a rough day today? How did you help them?
  11. Who did you talk to about Jesus today?
  12. Did you ask anyone if they needed you to pray for them today?
  13. Did Jesus put anyone on your heart today at school?
  14. Was there a need that you saw and how did you or could you meet it?
  15. How did you demonstrate a servant’s heart today?
  16. What did God do for you today?
  17. What did you do for others today?
  18. What’s one way you know mommy loves Jesus?
  19. What’s one way you struggled to obey?
  20. What’s one thing you are grateful for?
  21. What do you have that lots of other kids around the world don’t have?
  22. What’s one beautiful thing in God’s creation that you saw?
  23. How did you see that you need Jesus today?
  24. We don’t necessarily ask a daily question but rather encourage them to build relationships with others on a daily basis. In light of this, we encourage our girls to be invitational, whether to a play date to get to know the kiddo better or to a church event or activity. When an event is coming up, we will ask our girls, “Whom do you think would be interested in going with us to ____ (event/activity name)?” This only works, of course, if you first have the relationship.
  25. God loves you each minute of every day. Do you remember that when things are hard?
  26. Who did you see Jesus working through and what were they doing?
  27. Jesus calls us to love one another. Can you think of a time you saw someone showing love?
  28. What did you do to make God smile today?
  29. What do you want to pray to God about that is worrying you?
  30. What did you do this week that impacted eternity?
  31. Did you love the unlovely today?
  32. What do you think is the coolest thing God ever made?
  33. What is your favorite animal God made?
  34. What’s the funniest looking animal God made?
  35. When you’re scared, what can you remember about God to help you trust Him?
  36. Who do you think is stronger, God or _________?
  37. What are things God has blessed you with? How can you use that to bless others?
  38. How would people know you follow Jesus today without you having to tell them?
  39. Do you have any prayer requests since I last saw you and we prayed this morning?
  40. Is there anyone God placed in your path who needs prayer?
  41. How did God show up in your day today?
  42. Are you struggling with anything we need to pray about together? (I always pray with my kids on the way to school- both go to different schools at different times, so each gets a send-off prayer from me… sealed with them saying “Amen” right along with me. This is one of the best things I’ve ever started with my kids. I hope it will carry on well into their older years when they can begin their days with prayer on their own. I couldn’t think of a more perfect way to start the day, than to pray for protection, guidance, and the ability for them to shine the light of Christ in all their decisions that day. It gives ME great peace to know they are covered in prayer, and I truly believe it gives them peace too. Those rushed days when I forget- they remind me every single time!
  43. What’s your favorite Bible story?
  44. Who’s your favorite character in the Bible?
  45. What’s your favorite memory verse? Would you like to hear one of mine?
  46. What’s something I can pray about for you tonight? Is there anyone at school you’d like me to pray for with you?
  47. I sent my kids off every day – through the last day of high school – with a modified version of the Jabez prayer: “God bless (kids names), expand their opportunity for learning, friendship, faith, joy, love, happiness and understanding. Lay your hands on them and protect them from evil so they don’t feel pain or cause pain. Amen.” And I have to tell you ladies, I believe this prayer was a main reason for God’s protection over all three of my kids the day we had a school shooting in their high school. We can never underestimate the power of prayer. 
  48. I have a friend who, instead of saying goodbye to his kids says “don’t forget to let your light shine!” – How did your light shine today?
  49. What did you do today that Jesus would have done?
  50. My kids are little so when we pray we often follow Philippians 4:6, New Living Testament: “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” When we are worried, we decide to pray. Then I say, “What do you need?” and then I say, “Now, what has God done? Let’s thank Him.”
  51. Was there anyone you struggled to love? Why? And how did you push through that? What was the outcome?

 

  1. Did you stop and ask if your attitude and actions were pleasing to God throughout the day? What did he say?

 

  1. In what ways did you see God move on your behalf today?
  2. What prayers is God answering in your life right now?
  3. Are there prayers that feel “too big” or “too selfish” to pray?
  4. Do you feel like God is with you always, or just some of the time?
  5. Did you feel shame or condemnation at any point today?

 

  1. What temptations did you face? Are you proud of the choices you made in those moments?

 

  1. What do you feel your peer group is learning from you?

 

  1. What scriptures did you stand on when you felt attacked?

 

  1. What are you and your friends specifically praying over your school right now?

 

  1. What burdens are you carrying? What do we need to lay at the cross?

 

  1. What have you been exposed to that we need Jesus to wash off?

 

  1. What did you do today that Jesus would be proud of?

 

  1. Do you feel sure of who you are and how loved you are by God and us?

 

  1. Is there anything that happened today you feel nervous to talk to me about, like it might shock me? Because it won’t.

 

  1. You remember nothing can break my love for you, or God’s love for you, right?

 

  1. How can I best support you as you go be the man God’s called you to be today?

 

  1. When my 3rd grader has had a tough day at school, I always ask him if he helped somebody else and I usually find that lifts his mood. We talk about his big heart and how that is more means more to Jesus, Mommy, and Daddy than test scores.

 

  1. Every day before school my dad would tell each of us kids to “have a good and godly day.” I thought it was kind of silly back then, but have adopted it as something I frequently say.

 

Source: http://herviewfromhome.com/not-just-bedtime-prayers-70-faith-focused-questions-to-ask-your-kids-each-day/

THREEFOLD PEACE… with GOD, OURSELVES, and OTHERS

“PEACE”… we’ve all used the term, we all want it, but most of us not only do not have it, we don’t even know how to get it. Click link below for a powerful 24 minute message Pastor Dan Borgelt gave last Christmas Sunday morning. I’ve transcribed his delightful opening about a childhood Christmas Sunday morning where he had the opposite of peace.

Just 24 minutes to PEACE…
Audio: [24:16]

Pastor Dan:
“I remember as a child one particular Christmas that was extremely un-peaceful in my life. It happen to be on a similar occasion such as this where Christmas fell on a Sunday. My parents got the brilliant idea that it would be more honoring to God if we waited to open our Christmas presents till after church.
I grew up in a family where on Christmas morning, we’d wake up, and my father had taken a mattress and put it in the hallway to barricade our way to the Christmas tree, so that not only could we not get to it, but we couldn’t even see the presents under the tree.
When it was time, my two older sisters and I would plow down the mattress, trip over each other, and run to the tree. And now all the sudden, in one year they say, “Let’s wait till after church” 🙂 .
Now, I really liked the pastor but that morning every word he said just made me so furious… he said, “And now I have another point…” and I’m just thinking the whole time, like, “I_DON’T_CARE” 🙂
That particular Christmas was everything but peaceful for me, and sort of ironic. In the middle of this Christmas story there is this announcement from heaven itself that says…
“With Christmas comes PEACE.”.

And so this morning I want to talk to you about the the peace that is available to us because Christmas happened

I get a little nervous using the word ‘peace’ and making a whole subject of a sermon about it, because peace is sort of an eroding word in our culture today.  I mean we don’t really use the word peace anymore.

If someone says the word peace we think of someone saying, “Hey, like peace man”… like a hippy.

Or maybe some of us might walk past someone and after we finish talking to them will say “peace”, or something like that, and really what we mean is sort of “see you later”.

But we don’t have any real rich understanding of what it means to have peace.

This morning I want to talk to you about the idea of “Three-fold Peace” that the Christmas story talks about.

First and most importantly peace with GOD.

Second this idea of peace with OURSELVES, or inner peace,

And then finally peace with OTHERS as well.  All of that because Jesus was born.”

LARRY’S NOTE: I’ve not the time to transcribe it all, but here’s a few more juicy slices from this superb sermon. To get the full impact of this message, please listen to it all (link below).

First… “Peace with God”, it’s the most important one. Peace with God is not a given… there is such a thing as NOT being at peace with God.

The Scripture tells us that our previous existence, our default setting from our birth, is NOT to be at peace with him, but instead is says to be alienated from God as his enemy.

So what has changed? What has happened that this army of God is now offering a message of peace.  And of course the answer is Jesus’ birth.. He is the key to our peace with God.

However, this Peace with God doesn’t automatically come upon us simply because Jesus has been born. No, the Scripture is clear and says, “Peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

And those “whom on his favor rests” are those who enter into a relationship with Jesus Christ.

If you don’t have a relationship with Jesus Christ then you have ultimately rejected God’s offer for peace with you… you have no more peace with God than if Christ had never been born in the first place.

If you are interest in having peace with God, the perfect place to start is with a basic prayer that simply says,

“God, I want to have a relationship with your Son Jesus Christ.”

LARRY’S NOTE: Ya gotta hear his “It takes two to tango” illustration and how it’s not always true… how ‘Isis’ in our world tells us that you can have a lock of peace with only one side who’s willing to fight.

A LACK of peace is more natural… In fact, it takes two to have peace, not not the other way around.

There are a lot of people who THINK that they are at peace with God… they don’t have a problem with God, no real issues with him, they’re pretty OK with the life that he’s given them… so they would say,

“Yeah I’m at peace with God, I don’t have any problems with Him, but it takes TWO to have peace with one another, and so you should be asking yourself the question,

“How is my standing with God?” … is God all right with me; and the only way to answer that question in the affirmative, is to say, “I have a relationship with Jesus Christ, my life is hidden in him… God’s offer for peace with him.”

There’s a lot of people out there who think they have peace with God, but who don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and therefore they’ve rejected God’s peace offering, and even though they’re OK with God he’s not OK with them–there’s no peace between them and God.

And to a degree, that works in the reverse as well… there are some who have a relationship with Jesus Christ… who God has declared you righteous… as his children, he has adopted you into his family; you are a Child of God, He is at complete peace with you, but maybe you grew up in a church environment where you heard: THE LAW and GUILT and SHAME, far more than GRACE and FORGIVENESS… and so you cannot accept the peace that he’s offering you to its fullest degree.

PEACE WITH OURSELVES and OTHERS

Peace with God is not the only type of piece that the Christmas story alludes to the Kingdom of God coming to earth and he’s going make life the way it was meant to be in the first place–that someday we will experience life the way God intended it to be… that someday we will be able to have complete peace with ourselves and peace with others.

The lack of peace that we feel inside and the lack of peace that we have with others is not the way that God designed life.

It’s important to realize that these 3 “peaces” are in this order for a reason:  Peace with GOD; then
Peace with OURSELVES; and then
Peace with OTHERS.

They’re in that order because that’s the order in which they need to happen in our lives.  It’s not possible to have true inner peace with yourself without having peace with God.  It’s not possible to have peace with others unless you have peace with yourself, and peace with God.

There’s an order in which these things have to happen.

The first and most important relationship to get right is our relationship with God; and once we have peace with God then we can consider the idea of having peace with ourself as well.

If we’re still walking around, and we feel guilty about something we’ve done in the past, if we’re still carrying the burden and the shame, and is still causing a hindrance in our relationship with God… then there’s no way we’re going to ever move on to having peace with ourselves.

But once we reconcile with God and we trust in Christ, and we trust in our standing with God, we can start talking about having peace with ourselves as well.

“INNER PEACE” is a term that gets misconstrued by other religions. and and society, but it has a Biblical definition as well.

Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

LARRY’S NOTE: THE FOLLOWING IS REALLY IMPORTANT !!!

The Scripture is telling us that when we get our relationship with God right, all the things that come our way, that normally would have robbed us of our peace–an economic situation, a relational problem, a health situation… whatever it might be… all the things that would’ve robbed us of our peace we can take all of that and give it to God, once you make peace with Him.

And that will allow you, it says, for the peace of God then to come and to “GUARD YOUR HEART” <3.  What a beautiful expression.

So some of us don’t have peace with ourself because we don’t have peace with God.

And if you don’t have peace WITH God, then you’re not going to receive peace FROM God.

The Scripture tells us that we can receive an immense amount of peace from God once our relationship with him is right, and we start taking our daily situations and circumstances to Him in PRAYER.

For those who don’t have peace with yourself even though you have peace with God, it’s because you haven’t heeded the wisdom of Philippians 4:6,7… you do not have peace with yourself, you do not have inner peace but you already have access to the relationship of the One who can give you that.. and the Scripture saying, “Go to him”.

You have a problem in your life and your default option is to try to fix it yourself.  And the Scripture saying, ‘no take all of those things that would threaten your peace, and bring them to the one whom you have a relationship with in Jesus Christ’… and you will have peace with yourself–He will give it to you.

PEACE WITH OTHERS
Again, the order of these “peaces” is key, because we cannot have peace with others unless we have peace with ourself, and we can’t have peace with ourself unless we have peace with God.

When Jesus shows up, He begins moving his followers in the direction of restoring the Kingdom of God. And our broken relationships with one another are part of the things that’s going to be restored. And so he starts asking his followers to live in such a way that we begin to restore in the Kingdom of God, and one of the way we do that is to be committed to living at PEACE WITH ONE ANOTHER.

Scripture tells us then ultimately, in Revelation 21:4, that one day God “will wipe away every tear from their eyes, there will be no more death, or mourning, or crying, or pain…”

Just think about all the ways that those things have come through broken relationships… He says, “But that’s all going to be over with… “for the old order of things has passed away.”

God will ultimately some day, usher in the full Kingdom of God, which will not only give us a full measure of peace with HIM, a full measure of peace with OURSELVES, but also a full measure of peace with OTHERS as well.”

Just 24 more minutes to PEACE…
Complete Audio: [24:16]

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Listen to recent sermons
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The Adoption Process

borget-adoption-pic

Pastor Dan and Amanda with their 3 biological children and recently adopted son Noah

Audio: [29:17]

Pastor Dan Borgelt:
“I will admit, that
I was looking for the opportunity to plan a series where I might be able organically, naturally share with you, some of our experiences in China over the last few weeks… and I would say above all the things that we experienced, one of the things that stood out to me the most, certainly the funniest, was seeing all the English translations of various things.

TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: This 3 minute introduction to the sermon is best heard… well, actually heard LIVE with projected pictures, but since there is no video, listening to the audio and his word picture description does the justice that my transcription here alone would not.
To hear this omitted part of the transcript, please go to audio [00:00:27 to 00:03:56] – IT IS VERY FUNNY  🙂

CONTINUED from recording @ [00:03:56]

“My wife Amanda was in a store doing some souvenir shopping, and I was sitting out with our guide, and I had our adopted son Noah… and this Chinese girl came walking down with a T-shirt that really caught my attention, because I had only one word across the front of it and it said,

adopted

It got my attention, and I started to kind of fumble towards her when I realized I needed a translator… so I started to look for the translator, and I wanted to tell the translator like, “Get her attention, stop her, I want to talk to her about her T-shirt, and the Chinese girl stopped, seeing all that I was doing, and she said to me in perfect English, Can I help you?”  (LAUGHTER)

And said, “Oh, you speak English?” She said, “Yes,” and I said “I just noticed your shirt…” and she said “Yes, I was adopted.”

And so I showed her Noah, and told her we were there for the adoption purpose… and then I realized she was there with her Caucasian, American sister who was walking with her. They were there with their parents, and they were adopting two more younger children from China.

And so we talked about that forbrief, pleasant conversation… but as she was walking away, I noticed the back of her T-shirt which had these words on it,

“In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ in accordance with his pleasure and will.”

And I thought, what a beautiful example of how there is PHYSICAL adoption and then there is SPIRITUAL adoption, and how there are so many parallels between the two of them… and from that point on I knew I definitely wanted to preach about this topic for the next couple weeks.

See… indeed, I want to talk to you about spiritual adoptionand draw many parallels between that and physical adoption.

And I love the fact that the T-shirt quote I read you is from the Bible; it’s from the Book of Ephesians 1:5.

And I just love when God… don’t you love when God takes a concept that we’re familiar with… that’s sort of tangible to us… and he uses that concept to describe a far more profound spiritual reality in our lives. 

And that’s what he does with the word adoption. He takes this idea that many of us can kind of grasp, whether we’ve done it or not, we can kind of relate to it, and understand some of it’s concepts… and he uses it to describe our relationship with HIM in this passage of Scripture.

Gold Dividing Line

So what I want to do is talk to you about the Adoption Process this week.  How do we go about getting adopted spiritually?  And then next week, I want to talk to you about the Adopted Life— how does that change the way we live our life with each other, and with God, if we have indeed been adopted into his family.

But for this week we want to talk about the adoption process, and looking at four points from this passage of Scripture:

  1. The adoption Need
  2. The adoption Work
  3. The adoption Cost and
  4. The adoption Faith

…all subcategories of the adoption process.

How do we go about getting adopted into the family of God?

adoption-words

First, the Adoption Need

I want to read the above passage of Scripture in its context and walk through it a little bit with you… but we don’t even really need to do that to talk about the adoption need. Because we’ve already read that in Ephesians 1:5 the word adoption occurs.

The word adoption implies so much… it implies that there was a previous reality in someone’s life.

We could talk about Noah’s adoption, we could say, “Oh, he’s now part of our family and he has a mom and dad and siblings, and a nice house, and a big yard, and church family…”  and we could all focus on that side of the adoption…

But the fact that he had to be adopted implies that there was a previous life for him too… doesn’t it?

The doctor told us this past week at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, that he was probably prematurely born.  That he probably experienced a period of time where he was severely malnourished.  We know that he was abandoned.  We saw where he was abandoned by his biological mother… we saw that place, it was not a place you’d want to walk around at night, let alone have a baby there by themselves.

We know he went from there to living in an orphanage where he was one of like three hundred kids, and then eventually got a foster mom… and I would think by the time he had a foster mom in this sort of foster home, it was about as good a situation as an orphan could have, but we still would have looked at it and thought, “Wow, this is really bleak.”

20130503103237He’s adopted and it’s a thing to celebrate

but the reality is that because he was adopted, he_had_a_previous_reality_as_well…  a previous life.

Noah was not born into our family, and the word adopted implies that reality. 

So what does that mean when God says we’ve been adopted into his family?

It implies the same thing… that we are not naturally born into the family of God.

If you’re counting on the idea that you are a child of God because you heard that all the children in the world are God’s children and that they’re all just naturally God’s children, and you’re a child of God because of it… you haven’t done anything really wrong to mess it up... that_is_not_what_the_Scripture_teaches.

The Scripture, by saying we must be adopted into the family, is implying that that is not the natural family that we are born into… that is not the natural state that we are born into.

Noah wasn’t born into our family, he had to be adopted, and the Bible is saying the same thing: “We are not born into the family of God, we must be adopted into the family of God”.

selah-3

So what is our previous life?

If that was Noah’s previous life, what is ours?

There are so many passages of Scripture that we could look at that describe our previous life as being a bleak state before our adoption, but the most clear one is right here in Ephesians… just one chapter over in Chapter two starting in verse one the Scripture tells us this:

Ephesians 2:1-3
Made Alive in Christ
“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of God’s wrath” (not Children of God).

You see the Scripture teaches us, “We’re not born into the family of God”… that whole idea that exists out there is a lie and it’s a lie of Satan, because one of the greatest lies of Satan is to convince you that you are better off than you really are before you are adopted.

One of the other greatest lies a Satan is to convince you that you’re worse off than you really are after you’re adopted, but we’ll talk about that next week.

But for this week one of the greatest lies of Satan is to convince you that you’re better off than you really are before you’ve been adopted.  Satan is telling you, “You’re OK, you’re just fine… you were born into the family of God… you’ve been a good person, you’re all right… so many people have been way worse than you, surely you’re part of the family of God.”

He wants to elevate your confidence and your standing in him, and it hasn’t happened yet… you haven’t actually been adopted… he wants to remove the need for adoption.

But the first point I want to make from this passage, the Biblical point is, there is an adoption need as a part of this adoption process, and that’s what I think the Scripture is teaching us here.

Gold Dividing Line

  1. The Adoption Work

Not only is there an adoption need, but there is also the adoption work as well.  And to uncover the adoption work, I want to just go back and re-read that passage of Scripture in Ephesians 5, and I want to read it in its context, and I want to ask you a simple question as we’re about to read this passage.

There’s a lot of stuff in this passage; we could preach on it for weeks.  There’s a lot of rabbit trails that we could go down with this passage… it has some controversial words like predestination, and some other stuff in there that we might disagree on… but I’m hoping that with this one question, we will be able to agree, by the time we finish reading it.

And that is…

When it comes to the adoption process, who is doing the majority of the work?  

Is God? … does God do the majority of the work? … do we need to do the majority of the work? …or do we somehow meet halfway?

What are you counting on in your life?

Let’s hear this passage of Scripture and I want you just to ask yourself who does the majority of the work… who’s the active agent in this adoption process?

Ephesians 1:3-9
Praise for Spiritual Blessings in Christ
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.  For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ,”

I think we can pause there.  So let me just ask you the question… when it comes to this passage of Scripture,

Who is the more active agent in the adoption process… God or us?

Yeah.  If you read this passage of Scripture with any level of open mindedness.  You’d have to say God is the active agent in it.  Don’t get all caught up in some of the other words that we might disagree about or argue about… I think we can be united in the reality that if we’re going to understand the adoption process we’re going to have to embrace the idea that the adoption process is primarily done_by_God. 

Which means… if we’re going to be adopted by God, if we’re going to understand our adoption, we’re going to have to stop trusting in our character and start trusting in God’s character. 

We’re going to have to stop trusting in what we’ve done, what we’re doing, and what we’re going to do… and we have to start trusting in what God has done what he’s doing and what he’s going to do.

We have to shift from ourselves over to God and embrace the reality.  That the Scripture says we need to be adopted, but that God is the one doing the work.

– – – – – – –

We’ve all heard stories about children who are trying to be adopted, and we hear about the work that they do to try to be adopted.  They know prospective parents are coming by, and they clean themselves up, and pretty themselves up, and try to be on the best of their behavior, because they’ve seen their friends be adopted, and they just want to join that fold.

And we think about it in those terms.  Then we think, “Oh, the person being adopted does the work.” But we have to realize that that’s actually not the big picture.

In the majority of cases, and certainly with international adoption, parents choose their child without ever having met them before. We see a few pictures and a little bio, but for the most part it has nothing to do with the child at all.

Instead the parents are left with the responsibility to pay for the adoption, to do all the paperwork, to do the travel.  They’re the ones that go and pick up the child… the one doing the adopting does the work, not the person being adopted.

And it’s true Spiritually as well.  God is the one doing the adopting and he does the work not us.

And I want you to just rest in that… to find peace in that reality… to let that wash over you.. and say, “You know what… maybe I can take a deep breath… and stop acting like this poor orphan child trying to get God’s attention, trying to become pleasing enough to be brought into his family,” … because it’s not about your character… it’s not about what you’ve done and what you haven’t done.  It’s about God’s character, He’s the one doing the adoption work… rest in his character.  Rest in that reality.

07052012figure_j

 

So not only is there a NEED for adoption, but there’s also the adoption WORK, and thirdly, there’s the adoption COST.

  1. The Adoption Cost

In natural adoption there’s obviously a significant cost involved. It varies depending on what country, whether you’re adopting domestically or internationally, etc.

When we were in China, I got sort of the nerve to ask one of the other American families who were with us, adopting as well, how much their adoption had cost. They were with a different agency and I was just kind of wondering, had we kind of gone rogue, or were we experiencing the norm?

He said, “Well… we’re probably at about the forty five thousand dollars mark”, and I said, “Yeah I think that’s right about where we are.”

And I just want to pause there and say, we could not have made that happen without you, and some of our other family.  So, thank you from the bottom of our hearts; this child here is made possible because of our church family. So thank you.

But when I compare that cost, as outrageous as it sounds, I have to remind myself that we left with three kids and came back with four–we gained a child. But the Gospel tells us that God gave his one and only Son… that He lost a child in the adoption process that it cost him not forty five thousand dollars, but it cost him everything.

In Ephesians 1:7 the Scripture tells us this,

“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins,”

That’s what it cost God to adopt us into this family.. His one and only Son’s blood… and he paid the price.

And it didn’t begin just with the Cross… the Cross was the culmination of it.  It began really with the Incarnation.

When Christ left Heaven and became fully human and fully divine he began paying the price for our redemption.

And by the way, as sort of a side bar, as he was about to be born, God told Joseph, what?  Basically, he told him to adopt his son… in essence saying, “I know this isn’t your child, but bring him into your home and treat him like he’s one of your children.”

– – – – – – –

So it began with the Incarnation.

It cost him… every time he stood up to the face of temptation… the type of temptation that we have given in to repeatedly in our lives, that he said “no” to.  The cost continued, and then finally he willingly offered his body and his blood as a sacrifice on the cross for our sins.

It cost him everything.

The adoption NEED… the adoption WORK… the adoption COST…and then finally,

  1. The Adoption FAITH.

Now as I talk to you about the adoption faith, I’m bringing up this subject because I didn’t want to leave you thinking that there’s no expectation from God in you in this adoption process.

So here’s what the Scripture says in In Ephesians 2:8-9

“by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”

So the Scripture says it’s been by grace that we’ve been saved through faith.

Repeatedly in the Bible, there’s a relationship between our having faith and God’s grace.

Now God’s grace is this idea that it’s unmerited favor… it’s the idea that he will treat us better than we deserve.

So when God puts grace and faith together in the same passage like this, what he’s essentially saying to you and I is, “We ought to have faith in God’s character, in God’s grace.

Our being adopted relies on us trusting that God will treat us better than we deserve.  Not counting on the fact that he will treat us how we deserve… the last thing we want is God to treat us justly.

What we desperately need is for God to treat us, mercifully with graciousness. 

So we have faith in the gracious character of God that he will treat us better than we deserve.  

Now that’s a reality… we have to have that faith; we have to place that faith in Jesus Christ.

But notice what the passage of Scripture says.

In keeping with our theme that God is the active person in all this… in keeping with our theme that this is about God’s character and not our character the Scripture says this,

 Ephesians 2:8-9
“by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”

… there’s nothing to boast about at all in this whole process.  It’s all about the character of God.

Gold Dividing Line

You know… about week two into our time in China, we were in this last city that we were in for the last week… and one of our kids’ favorite pastimes was that when we didn’t have something that we had to be going and doing… in the afternoon, while Amanda was putting Noah down, I would take the kids to the pool.

And one of the days while we were there at the pool, I sort of got this illustration in my mind…  it was an illustration about how God adopts us through His grace… and us just trusting in him, placing our faith in His grace…

…and it was this idea of someone who was drowning in a pool, struggling in a pool, and someone diving in and rescuing them.

And I had that thought… and I had it three days in a row… I had this sort of illustration come to my mind.  And each time it came to my mind I kind of pushed it back away… like, “Actually that’s not good enough God… that’s just not going to work, because it’s just an illustration… it’s not a real story.”

And real life events and stories work so much better than me just telling you about… “imagine if somebody was drowning…”

So… (light laughter)… the last day we were at the pool… I was there with my kids, and there was only a couple other people at the pool… it was an outdoor pool… a big nice outdoor pool.

There’s a shallow end, and a deep end… and our kids were in the shallow end, and I was just sitting in a chair along the side of the pool because I need to keep an eye on Levi still when he swims…

…and so anyways I was there watching our kids… and I saw this six year old Chinese girl who was swimming in the middle of the deep end… and as she was swimming, she stopped… her forward momentum stopped.

… and if you’re not a good swimmer, you know that could be a bad thing. And she started kind of standing up vertically… and she started sort of bobbing… and she starting to kind of kick and splash.

…and she made a noise as she was doing that.. I don’t know what she said, or what kind of noise… but it caused me to stand up on the edge of the pool, like this girl’s in trouble.

And then she went under the water and came back up and she yelled out for help.  I thought she was yelling out for her father… he was in the deep end, on the opposite side of the deep though… already in the water, and he saw her and he started to swim towards her… but I mean.. he clearly hasn’t watched Michael Phelps swim at all (LAUGHTER)…

I mean he was kind of dog paddling himself… he wasn’t making real good time, ya know… and I was confident that he was going to save her life, but to what.. trauma.

I mean because she’s already starting to go under, and he’s getting there kind of slow, and I’m a dive into the pool away.

And so I’ve got my shoes and khaki shorts and shirt on, and I just dove into the pool, and I came up and grabbed her in one arm, and started to swim with the other arm, and he was still just a few feet away… and he started immediately saying, “Thank you.”

And I asked the girl, “Are you OK?”  And she said, “Thank you.”  And then the mom came over and said, “Thank you”… and the lifeguard, who knows where he was, but he said, “Thank you”.

I was kind of expecting like a bottle of wine in our hotel room… (LAUGHTER) or something like that… but nothing like that happened.

Anyway so we get her to shore, and all the “Thank yous”, and it kind of moved on.. and I first remember thinking, “Next time you tell God, that’s not a good enough illustration… you better be careful” (LAUGHTER).

But… I remember thinking just how neat it was that when I took a hold of her she stopped… she didn’t kick or scream, or anything else anymore.. she just stood still and let me rescue her.

…and apparently, she felt completely at ease in that situation.

– – – – – – –

And that’s what the Bible is saying… we have to have… if we’re going to be adopted into the family of God… we have to have faith in God’s character and his ability to rescue us.

VERY IMPORTANT1

And see here’s the thing… there are some people who are here this morning who are in the deep end… and you’re drowning… and you’re still believing the lie of satan that you’re OK… and you’re not OK.

You haven’t been adopted into the family of God… you weren’t born into the family of God… and you_need_Christ to rescue you…

– – – – – –

Some of you… you’re in the deep end, and you know you’re struggling… you know you’re struggling… but you don’t know who to cry out to.

This passage of Scripture is saying, “Cry out to God’s one and only Son Jesus and be redeemed by His blood”.

– – – – – –

Some of you though… you have cried out to Christ, and you have had him dive in, and he has a hold of you, and he is swimming you to solid ground, and you are still kicking and screaming as if you have to save yourself.

– – – – – – –

And some of you… this is just really bad… He has rescued you years ago, and put you on solid ground, and you’re still over there on the side of the pool… kicking and wailing and screaming as if you are a drowning child … and you are not anymore.

You_are_adopted_into_the_family_of_God. You are a child of God, trust in His character, and his ability to rescue you.

– – – — – –

I’m going to invite our Praise Team to come forward.

We’re going to go ahead and pray and then sing our closing song together.

Father… as our church bows before you, we do so humbly… recognizing that you are God and that we are not… and we thank you for that reality. We confess to you the times that we mix that up… especially when it comes to us being just received by you, both now and for all of eternity.

Will you grant us, as this passage of Scripture says, “The faith to trust in your grace.”

… just to trust in your character… to trust in your adoption process and have the confidence of being your children.

And as we look forward to next week… we invite you to begin working on our heart, and show us what it means to live amongst each other and in relationship to you as your children.

And for those who might be here this morning who feel like they really are drowning in the deep end… and who have never cried out to Jesus Christ–our church prays for them.  We’re glad they’re here.  But we’re not glad that that’s what’s on their mind and on their heart… we want it to change.

We want them to become part of the family of God, and we pray that you would work on their heart to help them to see their desperate need to be adopted.  And their ability to place their faith in your Son, Jesus Christ. We ask these things in his name.  Amen.

Part 2: The Adopted Life audio
(no transcription yet)

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Acts 13 – Sharing Our Faith

Pastor Dan Borgelt
Pastor Dan Pulpit 3

Audio: [31:07]
“Sharing Our Faith”

NOTE: If you listen to audio only, be sure to scroll down for closing music video at bottom of this page.

Transcription:
“Let me ask you as we get started in our time together this morning,

When was the last time that you had a meaningful, faith-based conversation with someone who didn’t exactly share your convictions about faith?

When was the last time that you had it a meaningful faith-based conversation… you know, a conversation about real things, and real life; about faith and religion, and those types of things, with someone who wasn’t exactly on the same page as you?

You know, if you’re like me, the very thought of having such a conversation just absolutely makes you incredibly nervous.

The thought of having a conversation like that makes your heart race perhaps, or your palms begin to sweat a little bit, maybe even your voice begins to crack — the idea of… having a faith based conversation with someone who has a different belief system than you?

The reason, of course, that we start to feel that way, is because we tend to imagine the worst case scenario.  We imagine, “Surely if we talk to someone about our faith we’re going to just be completely rejected by them… they’re going to “unfriend us”, if you will.

They’re going to mock us; they’re going to outwit us, and they will leave the conversation perhaps even more convinced as to why they don’t believe in our faith, because of our conversation with them.

But this video reminds us that God is that work… that he is at work working in people’s lives drawing them to himself.  And that there are people out there from all different ages, from all different backgrounds, and all different situations in life, whose lives are broken, and who are ready to have someone come alongside them, and talk to them about matters of faith.

And I want to ask you this morning… I know that when it comes to the topic of sharing our faith, and when it comes to the topic of evangelism, as some of you want to label it… when it comes to this whole topic we tend to imagine the worst case scenario.

But I want to ask you this morning,

Does the best case scenario, outweigh the worst case scenario?

exp_curvy

Here we are in the book of Acts, and we’ve been looking through the book of Acts, and seeing people repeatedly sharing their faith, having faith based conversations with people who don’t already believe in what it is that they believe in.

And my guess is that many of those people were really excited, enthusiastic about the opportunity, and there was probably also many of them who were extremely nervous and cautious about that opportunity as well.

Some of them had incredible success in their efforts.  Others of them had incredible failures in their efforts, and we’re going to look at that and see that together in our Scripture this morning.

I want to talk to you about three basic points when it comes to the topic of sharing our faith.  The first one is that,
1. God calls all of us to a ministry. The second is that,

2. Sometimes that ministry that God calls us to seems like a failure.  And then finally,

3. Sometimes that ministry that God calls us to seems like a success. 

So God calls all of us to a ministry; sometimes it seems like a failure; and sometimes it seems like a success.

And maybe you’re here this morning, and you’re sort of new to the whole idea of church.  You’re here this morning you don’t even claim necessarily to have a relationship with Jesus Christ yourself, let alone tell other people about Him.

But I want you know that we’re glad that you’re here.  And perhaps you’re here because someone has had their life story changed by Jesus Christ… and they want to present that same opportunity to you by inviting you to come to where they go to church.

Gold Dividing Line

All right let’s look at our passage of Scripture this morning.

If you’re new with us, we are going through the book of Acts, which is the fifth book in the New Testament.  We are now in Acts chapter thirteen. We would love to have you grab a Bible that’s offered to you there in the pews, or your own from home, and open it up to Acts chapter thirteen.  If not we will have the Scripture on the screen behind me.

Here’s what the Scripture tells us.  First let’s look at this whole idea that,

1. God calls all of us to a specific ministry.

In verses one through three, here’s what the Scripture says.  This is the part that Charlie read earlier to our children.

Acts 13:1-3

 Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers:

Now as Charlie said there were a couple of Antiochs. When we think of the early Church, we tend to think of the city of Jerusalem as sort of being the hub of the early Church.

Jerusalem, in general, is located in the Southeast corner of the Mediterranean sea.  Antioch is north, up the Eastern side of the Mediterranean Sea, on the Northeast corner of the Mediterranean sea.

And this is where this group of people were… they were prophets and teachers, the Bible says.  Here were their names:

Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the Tetrarch) and Saul.

Now, most of those names probably don’t sound very familiar to you, and that’s okay. For time sake we’re going to leave them in the unfamiliar world.

But there is a name that might sound familiar to some of you who have been hanging around with us through our Acts series, and that is the name Saul.  Saul was someone who used to persecute the Church. His whole goal was to make sure that the followers of Christ were put out… and had an end.

But, the Scripture told us a back in Acts chapters eight and nine, that Saul had this miraculous conversion experience.  He is now a follower of Christ himself.  And slowly, quickly I guess, really becoming a leader–THE leader, a significant leader, in_the_early_Church.

So, this is the group of people who are gathered together… take note of their context,

2-3 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”  So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.

Alright…

God calls all of us to a specific ministry.

I want to put you at ease, because the nature and the type of ministry in which Saul and Barnabas are called to here in this passage, is incredibly extreme and miraculous.

So I want to let you know from the very beginning, I don’t mean to say that all of us are called to a ministry in the same manner, or to the same type of ministry that Saul and Barnabas are called to.

But nonetheless, I want to argue, that we are all called to a specific ministry.

And I want you to notice the context in which they are called to this ministry.

The Scripture says that Saul and Barnabas were not hanging out by themselves, doing ordinary things, if you will, but these men were gathered together with other brothers in Christ, and

they were Worshiping and fasting

And this is when God gives them this specific ministry for their lives.

And I think this is an important component for us to understand, because I believe this is when God tends to speak to most people in their lives.  So it’s when they’re doing some form of a spiritual discipline, that they begin to receive what God wants them to do with their lives.

It’s the reason why it’s important that we create an atmosphere here on Sunday morning when we’re Worshiping through song — that God can speak to you.

Or when we’re opening up the Scripture, that God might speak to you through it, because this is the type of gathering where God might call someone, and place upon their heart, a specific type of ministry for their lives.

It doesn’t have to be a Worship setting… it could be a Sunday School class; it could be a Small Group; it could be just an informal gathering of Brothers and Sisters in Christ… or it may have absolutely nothing to do with any spiritual discipline at all.

Alright?

God owns all of our circumstances, He could speak to us at any time.  He could speak to us and place a call or ministry upon our life, doing the most mundane thing.

You might go out one day for a jog.  And there you are jogging around you look up and you see a billboard… and the billboard informs you about the number of people in your community who struggle from hunger, and aren’t well fed, and God uses that billboard to speak to you, and place that ministry upon your heart.

Or perhaps he doesn’t.

And the only thing that billboard causes you to do is to think about how hungry you are.  So when you get home from your jog, you get your car, you drive off to the Chinese buffet.  And while you’re at the Chinese buffet, sitting there stuffing yourself, all of the sudden God reminds you that there are millions of orphans in China, and you should do something about it… right?

Or maybe He doesn’t.

Maybe you eat your Chinese buffet with absolutely no conviction at all, you get in your car and you’re driving home, you turn on the radio.  And it’s not until you turn on the radio and you hit the ‘Seek’ button that the local R&B Hip Hop station comes on… your liking the rap song, but somehow in the midst of the rap song.  God speaks to you and says, “You know what? There’s a lot of people in inner city Dayton who need your help. “

God can speak through all of those circumstances.

But what I’m trying to say, is that I don’t think we should ignore the reality that he called Saul and Barnabas in the midst of a spiritual discipline of worshiping God and fasting, because statistically, my observation is that, that seems to be when God places a ministry upon our hearts.

And I’m worried that there are churches filled with people all across America who would hear a message like this and think to themselves, “I’m not really sure what God wants me to do for his kingdom.  I’m not really sure what he’s calling me to do.  What is my ministry?”

And one of the main reasons they haven’t discovered that is because they don’t have enough times or opportunities when they’re alone with God… or have spiritual disciplines in their lives where God might speak His heart for them.

Well, the Scripture tells us that this is the call, this is the ministry that he gives Saul and Barnabas.  And I want you to realize that,

“How He calls us,” might be similar… but it also might be different. 

I mean, do you see in the Scripture how he called them…

the Holy Spirit said, “(quote)

I’m the kind of person who might say to someone, “I really feel like God was leading me to do this…” or, “I feel like you know God had placed this on my heart.”  I might say, “I feel like God was telling me…”

But it’s all understood that I’m not really quoting himI’m not one hundred percent sure… I just have a really strong inclination. 

But here Luke comes along and he tells us that this group of people are spoken to so clearly–perhaps audibly, perhaps not  I don’t know.  But so clearly to by God, that they were able to say . “The Holy Spirit said… and now, there he is… “in quotes”.

And some of you might be able to relate. But I suspect that most of you are more able to relate to me… we don’t really tend to have God speak to us, in that way.

Gold Dividing Line

He might place upon your heart, a call for ministry in another fashion.  It doesn’t necessarily have to be this MIRACULOUS, is what I’m trying to say to you.  He places a burden on your heart.  And perhaps you ignore it and then he places it on your heart again, and you ignore it again, and then he places it again; that’s probably…

If God gives you a burden, if you have a burden on your heart a repeated amount of times, it’s probably a good indication, it’s not from the devil… it’s probably from God.

So he can call us to our specific type of ministry in many different ways and circumstances, but I also want you to see that the type of ministry he calls us to, might be similar, or it also might be different.

Listen to the type of ministry he calls them to: they are not being called to just stick around their hometown, and begin to become the pastor of one of the local churches… they are being sent off to a cross cultural experience, where they are sharing Jesus Christ with people they don’t know, in a region that they are not familiar with.

And this is the type of experience and call, that some people in our church have. We have some people at Kirkmont, who spend a good portion of their lives overseas, somewhere else, doing that type of ministry.

Gold Dividing Line

But again, God doesn’t call all of us in the same way that he called Saul and Barnabas here. He might give us a a different burden — for some of us he might place on our heart a burden for missions, but we’re not the one who’s necessarily supposed to go, we’re the ones who are supposed to make sure that our church is generous, and supporting, and encouraging, and praying for missionaries, and sending others off.

That might be the burden that he gives you.

Other people might have a a global, social justice burden that God puts on their heart.

Maybe, you’re the kind of person who says, “You know what… there are millions of people who don’t have access to clean drinking water… that should not be.  I want to do something about it.”

You might be the kind of person who says, “You know what? There are millions of people who are sold into slavery every year.  That shouldn’t be.  I want to do something about it.”

Or maybe you are more of a local person and you want to sign up for our Work Days with the Gospel Mission Project and go to downtown Dayton and and help some inner city people who could really use your love, and care, and support.

Or maybe God has given you a real heart and a passion for the Pro-Life movement, and you want to sign up for the Miami Valley Women’s Center and support them.

Whatever ministry he might have given you, He can give it to you. It doesn’t necessarily have to be as extreme, if you will, as what he gave Saul and Barnabas, or be cross-cultural at all.

In fact, I want to argue that really what God tends to invite most of us to do is to really not do anything else different… but instead by placing a ministry on our hearts, what he’s actually inviting us to do is to continue to live out our ordinary lives, but to begin to live them with extra-ordinary purposes. 

To begin to do the things that we are already doing, but to now do them with Kingdom Purposes… to do that which comes natural to us but with supernatural purposes. 

07052012figure_j

So for many people the ministry that he calls us to, unlike Saul and Barnabas, it won’t require a change in your schedule in any way at all.  It will just require you to do what you’re already doing, with a new intention… for the Kingdom of God. 

And I have often discovered that what God tends to place on our heart… while many of those causes, and issues I mentioned are significant and important… God tends not to put causes and issues and programs on people’s hearts… he tends to put people on our hearts. 

And so many of you may never identify with some great ministry or some great cause that you sign up for.  But instead, in your ordinary, mundane life, God will put people in your path, who he burdens you with: the person whom you buy a coffee from every day… He may all of the sudden say, “Alright… it’s time that you be a light in this person’s life.

You see what I’m saying… that it’s not all like Paul.  It’s not all like Barnabas.  It’s often doing that which is ordinary for extra-ordinary reasons…  it’s not often programs, its more usually people. 

And that person that God places upon your heart, may be extremely open and SO grateful for the fact that you took the risk of sharing your faith in Jesus Christ with them… or… they might be incredibly belligerent of the fact that you tried to share your faith with them.

07052012figure_j

And that brings us to our second and third points… that

2. Sometimes, the ministry that God gives us seems like a failure; and

3. Sometimes the ministry that God gives us seems like a success.

Let’s go on in the Scripture, on Acts 13, verse four the Scripture tells us

On Cyprus

Now on to Cyprus. The Scripture is about to tell us that from Antioch, Saul and Barnabas went down to the port city Seleucia. And then they sailed across the Mediterranean, not that far across it, to Cyprus… Cyprus was an island on the Eastern side of the Mediterranean.  And there they start to minister in a couple of different cities. Here’s what the Scripture says,

4-11 The two of them, sent on their way by the Holy Spirit, went down to Seleucia and sailed from there to Cyprus. When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the Jewish synagogues. John was with them as their helper.

They traveled through the whole island until they came to Paphos. There they met a Jewish sorcerer and false prophet named Bar-Jesus, who was an attendant of the proconsul, Sergius Paulus. The proconsul, an intelligent man, sent for Barnabas and Saul because he wanted to hear the word of God. But Elymas the sorcerer (for that is what his name means) opposed them and tried to turn the proconsul from the faith. Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight at Elymas (this is Bar-Jesus, just a different name for him) and said, “You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord? Now the hand of the Lord is against you. You are going to be blind for a time, not even able to see the light of the sun.”

Immediately mist and darkness came over him, and he groped about, seeking someone to lead him by the hand.

Now let’s pause there.  So the Scripture tells us they come across a man named…. what was his parents thinking? … Bar Jesus.

Now.  I got on my phone and I started searching for all the bars in the Dayton area.  I found a Bar Louie, a Tank’s Bar, a Timothy’s Bar, but no “Bar Jesus”

Bar Jesus actually it means “son of Jesus”… in Aramaic it’s Jesus,  but in the Hebrew it’s Joshua, or Yeshua. And so the Son of Yeshua is this guy’s name.

And the Scripture tells us that when Saul and Barnabas arrive, this man, not only does he not receive their message, not only is he not converted or persuaded by their talks about Jesus, but in addition to his rejection of them, he is working to make sure that others around him don’t receive their message of Jesus Christ.  Particularly… this proconsul.

So here we find that Saul and Barnabas encounter this man… and I think that this is a common theme in the book of Acts that,

…sometimes our ministry efforts, that God calls us to, seem like a failure. 

And the reason why I use the word “seem” like a failure is because sometimes that which seems like a failure is really a success.  And sometimes that which seems like a success is really a failure.

But the truth is,

…that many times, when it seems like it’s a failure, it’s a failure. 

(Laughter)… and when it seems like it’s a success, it’s a success. 

So here we find they encountered this man Bar Jesus, and if their goal was to turn him and convert him by all practical means we could say this was a failure–they faced some resistance at this point.

This is a common theme in Acts.  We cannot read Acts, and see all of the advancement of the Gospel, all of the ministry successes, without also seeing that almost every time there’s a ministry success, it’s accompanied with the ministry failure.

It’s so important for us to realize that… because I’m concerned there are many people, when you talk to them about evangelism, or sharing their faith, or participating in a ministry, they will tell you about some experience they had — they tried that at one time.  And here’s why they don’t do it anymore… because it’s failed.

Well here’s the thing.

Failure happens in the Bible.

This your coach, kicking you in the butt saying, “Get back on the field, you can do better next time.”

Failures happen… this happens.  And so many people get discouraged–they don’t anticipate it.  And so when it happens they think, “Well this must not be what God’s called me to… I must be doing it wrong somehow.”

But the reality is,

…sometimes you might do everything right, but sometimes our ministry, that God calls us to, is still_a_failure.

It’s crucial for us to grasp because often times, I’ve discovered, that the failure come before the success. 

selah-3

Some of you know the story of the first time I was ever called to lead a Bible study.  I was in high school.  And I didn’t grow up in the church, I had no real Sunday School knowledge.  And I was just trying to attend a Bible study, but someone elected me to be the Bible study leader.

So that week I started reading this book by a Max Lucado, and it was “In The Grip of Grace”… a wonderful book, and he has this section in there that God really spoke to me… and I really felt like he was telling me to share this with this group of students.

I was excited… I was nervous, but I was more excited because I felt like God was behind me and he was supporting me, and I had this great thing to share.  And I got into the room.  And I completely tanked…  It was a miserable experience for me, and I’m sure for everyone else in the room as well.

I know because we had like twenty-five students the first week, and like twelve the next.

But that morning I went back to my locker and I sat there and I cried, in my public high school, at my locker, thinking, “God, this is the first time that you’ve asked me to step out in faith and do something like this and this is what happens?”

And the thing is that, since then, and even in my ministry today, things go back and forth.

There are some Sundays where I leave church I feel like a real success… and other Sundays I leave church I feel like a real failure.  Some Sundays I leave committee meetings, or session meetings feeling like a real success… and others I leave feeling like a real failure.

Sometimes I get emails from people that make me feel like a real success… and other times I get emails from people that make me feel like a real failure (Laughter).

You get the idea.

And here’s the thing… we have to be prepared for that reality.  God will give you a ministry, but that doesn’t mean that it will always be accompanied with success — at times you will also experience failure.

And I think the reason why He does that is to make sure our hearts are on the right place. 

Because if I talk to someone about my faith in Jesus Christ and they reject me… are they any worse off than they were before? No.

But I feel worse. I’m now wounded.  And what prevents me from going back? …my care for them? …or my care for myself?  It’s my care for myself — that’s what keeps us from having these hard conversations… it’s because, if we’re honest before God, we really care more about ourselves than them.

And I think one of the reasons why he allows us to fail before we experience success is because we have to get to a place in our heart where we care about the other person, more than ourselves.

Isn’t that the Gospel?

… that when we care about them more than ourselves we can have that conversation, even in the face of rejection, because we’re there for them, we’re not_there_for_ourselves.

Gold Dividing Line

There’s this Facebook quote, I threw up on our Facebook page here at Kirkmont the other day… and I’ll throw it up on the screen for you… this speaks to this whole topic that we’re discussing… it says,

be brave enough.jpg

To be brave enough to start a conversation that matters… it takes bravery, because sometimes those conversations fail — but they matter, because sometimes they succeed.

Let’s look at the very last verse in our Scripture together this morning.

12 When the proconsul saw what had happened, he believed, for he was amazed at the teaching about the Lord.

Isn’t it nice that the Scripture section here ends with that as well… not just this Bar Jesus guy.

Sometimes ministry seems like a success, and in this case, indeed it was. 

And this ought to motivate us… for the Gospel of Luke chapter fifteen verses eight through ten tell us this.

The Parable of the Lost Coin

 This is Luke, the same guy who was writing in the book of Acts, now quoting Jesus when Jesus said,

Luke 15:8-10 Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it?  And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’  In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

Church, at the beginning I asked you…

Does the best case scenario, outweigh the worst case scenario?

And I think this Scripture is a vivid reminder that,

 Yes_it_does.

Are you willing to be mocked —the worst case scenario… for the best case scenario… which is,

the angels in heaven rejoicing over a sinner who has repented.

Indeed… the success is worth the failure. 

And may we, this morning, leave this place… may we go into the world, with the love for others — the same love that drove Jesus Christ to the Cross for us, and for them…

And with the power of the Holy Spirit — the same power which raised him from the dead, that we might be used by God to change people’s stories.

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I want to invite our Praise Team to come forward as we prepare to sing our closing song together this morning … this is a song, “Your praise will ever be on my lips”. This is a song they introduced to us just a few minutes ago during our offering.  And now we have the opportunity singing together as a congregation.

Will you stand and join us as we close together.

 

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Kirkmont Closing Pic Combo

Kirkmont Composite Pic

  Link to Kirkmont Presbyterian Church Website
http://www.kirkmont.org/

Listen to recent sermons
http://www.kirkmont.org/listen-to-recent-sermons/

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