Thesis: To suggest ways to overcome mediocrity in order to be on fire for God.
(1) Too many people settle for being average. Too many churches are content with maintaining “status quo.”
(2) However, God is not content with lukewarmness (Rev. 3:16).
(3) This being so, how can we overcome mediocrity?
I. First, we must have the courage to care.
A. #1 Problem in the Church = Apathy
B. E.g., scene from “Hotel Rwanda”
C. Looking at the heart of Jesus, we see compassion.
1. “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matt. 9:36).
2. “When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick” (Matt. 14:14).
3. “Jesus called his disciples to him and said, "I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way” (Matt. 15:32).
4. “Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him” (Matt. 20:34).
D. We, like Jesus, are to clothe ourselves with compassion (Col. 3:12; Phil. 2:1).
E. Note: True compassion = Actions (James 2:14-17)
II. Second, we must dare to dream.
A. “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Prov. 29:18a., KJV).
1. True, “vision” is better translated as “revelation.”
2. However, revelation gives guidance, without which people perish.
3. Thus, we must have a sense of where we are going.
B. Vision is “a clear mental image of a preferable future imparted by God to His chosen servants and is based upon an accurate understanding of God, self and circumstances” (Barna 28).
C. Vision is closely related to faith.
1. As God’s people, we must walk by faith and not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7).
2. Example – Missionary going to country without money
D. Jesus was a vision caster. Hear His words:
1. “Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest” (John 4:35) [NASV].
2. “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed […] nothing would be impossible” (Matt. 17:20) [NLT].
3. “Go into all the world and make disciples” (Matt. 28:19).
E. Walt Kallestad suggests some practical principles for vision (The Everyday,
Anytime Guide to Christian Leadership 30):
1. Expand your horizons by stretching your imagination
2. Nurture new ideas
3. Vote for positive changes, with a welcoming attitude
4. Imagine the impossible
5. Stay ahead of tomorrow
6. Invent the future
7. Operate expectantly
8. Notice unlimited opportunity
F. George Barna suggests some “vision killers.”
Matt 15:3 – And He answered and said to them, "Why do you yourselves transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?
Rev. 21:8 – will be in the lake of fire
“Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by” (Lam. 1:12)
4. Fatigue/Laziness (We tried once)
5. Short-term thinking
G. Vision is:
H. Where do you want to be in 10 years both individually and congregationally?
III. Third, we must have a willingness to work.
A. Cf. 1 Cor. 15:58 – Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding
B. In the Lord’s church, we need Christians who will carry their weight … We need elders to shepherd … we needs deacons to serve … we need preachers to minister … we need all members to work!
C. A failure to do your part hinders the body from functioning properly (1 Cor. 12:14ff.).
D. “The buck stops here”
(1) Are you a Christian who is truly doing his/her part?
(2) If not, are you willing to start being the Christian that God wants?