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THE JACOB PERSPECTIVE : DUTY OR DESIRE: 5-24-2009 am

Notes & Transcripts

THE JACOB PERSPECTIVE

DUTY OR DESIRE:

PASTOR LES RAY

May 24, 2009 AM

 

I WANT ASK YOU TO TURN WITH ME TO PSALMS 27… READING VERSE 4-6

WE ARE GOING TO BE LOOKING TODAY… AT OUR PERSPECTIVE OF THE CHURCH…

THE BOTTOM LINE IS… WHY ARE WE HERE???  IT ALL HAS TO DO WITH OUR PERSPECTIVE… ARE WE HERE BECAUSE WE HAVE TO  BE HERE??? OR… ARE WE HERE BECAUSE WE WANT TO BE HERE????

 


THE PSALMIST DAVID SPOKE OF THE HOUSE OF GOD AS BEING THE “ONE THING” HE LONGED FOR… HE SAID IN  

(Psa 27:4 NIV)  One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.

FRIENDS… IT IS MY CONTENTION THIS MORNING… THAT THE LORD LOVES AND CARES HIS PEOPLE WHO MEET TOGETHER IN HIS NAME… THAT IS… HIS CHURCH… AND HE WANTS TO PUT THAT SAME LOVE AND CARE FOR THE CHURCH IN OUR HEARTS TODAY…

MANY Statistics SPEAK TO THE CURRENT STATE OF THE CHURCH IN AMERICA… IN SOME WAYS THE PICTURE ISN’T VERY PRETTY

  • THE VAST MAJORITY (65% ) of American churches are declining in attendance
  • 2/3 RDS (66%) of all churches HAVE plateaued at 150 members  OR LESS…
  • CONFIDENCE IN RELIGIOUS INSTITUTIONS IN THE U.S. HAS HIT AN ALL-TIME LOW
  • THE PERCENTAGE OF PEOPLE ATTENTING CHURCH IN AMERICA DROPPED 2% PER YEAR  FROM 1991 TO 1996  (from 49% TO 37% )
  • DURING THAT SAME TIME-FRAME  (THE 1990’S) THE PERCENTAGE OF PEOPLE IDENTIFYING THEMSELVES AS CHRISTIANS DROPPED FROM 86% IN 1990 TO 77% IN 2001
  • THE NUMBER OF AGNOSTICS, ATHEISTS, AND SECULARISTS HAS INCREASED RAPIDLY IN THE U.S.
  • AT THE PRESENT RATE OF CHANGE… MOST AMERICANS WILL IDENTIFY THEMSELVES AS “NON-CHRISTIANS” BY 2035
  • It takes the average evangelical church 100 people and one year to introduce one person to Jesus Christ.

(LOWER CASE )SonLife Letter, Nov 15, 1994 / OTHER STATS FROM 2009 INTERNET

From edstetzer.com – ED STETZER WRITES ON THE STATE OF THE CHURCH FOR THE DUKE DIVINITY SCHOOL… SAYING…

·         Mainline denominations are no longer bleeding--they are hemorrhaging. Increasingly, they are simply managing their decline, not reaching out to others.

  • For evangelicals, the picture is better, but that is only by comparison to the great decline of the mainline churches. Southern Baptists have peaked and trends indicate they will decline over the next several decades.

AND SO IF YOU LOOK AT THE CHURCH… THERE IS MUCH BAD NEWS … BUT THERE IS ALSO GOOD NEWS…

53% of Americans STILL consider religions to be very important in their lives. This compares with 16% in Britain, 14% in France and 13% in Germany. 
  • In the last four years, " there has been a rise in the proportion of adults who read the Bible..."
  • TODAY "Half of all unchurched and non-Christian adults admit that they are seeking meaning and purpose in their life - providing a meaningful entry point for evangelizers."
  • Christianity, with a market share of about 34% worldwide, remains the most popular religion globally. 
  • Although the importance of religion has been declining in other developed countries, it has remained strong in the U.S. The United States has a higher level of church attendance than any other country which is "at a comparable level of development.

BAD NEWS IS.. VERY FEW OF THE 300,000  PLUS CHURCHES IN AMERICA ARE GROWING…

THE GOOD NEWS IS…  THERE ARE SOME THAT THERE ARE TWO… AND Only two Christian denominations (out of the top 25) THAT are growing THEY BOTH HAPPEN TO BE PENTECOSTAL MOVEMENTS: the Assemblies of God --- THE CHURCH WHICH YOU ARE IN TODAY… and the Church of God (Cleveland, TN).

AND I BELIEVE WE CAN CONTINUE TO BE ONE OF THEM…

·         So, IN LOOKING AT THAT… Pentecostalism is doing GOOD

·         Evangelicalism is flat but showing signs of a cracking foundation.

·         The mainline is dying.

WE HAVEA BATTLE ON OUR HANDS…

1.    WE MUST FIGHT AGAISNT … The loss of focus on the gospel.

2.    WE MUST OVERCOME …  A lack of discipleship.

3.    WE MUST DEFEAT… The danger of cultural captivity…. WHERE OUR CULTURE HAS TAKEN US FAR FROM GOD…

TODAY WE ARE GOING TO LOOK AT SOME OF THE THINGS THAT CHURCHES THAT ARE GROWING HAVE IN COMMON…

LET’S PRAY:

YOU HAVE PROBABLY SEEN THE ADS… MAC VS PC

 

A REALLY HIP GUY REPRESENTS MAC… A KIND OF GEEKY GUY … WHO LOOKS AMAZINGLY LIKE BILL GATES RERESENTS THE PC…

 

NOW I AM NOT MAKING A STATEMENT ABOUT WHICH SYSTEM IS BETTER… OR WHAT YOU SHOULD BE USING… 

THAT IS COMPLETELY UP TO YOU…

 

AND IF THE TRUTH BE TOLD… THERE ARE PROBABLY ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF EACH SYSTEM…  IF YOU DON’T BELIEVE THAT… JUST GOOGLE MAC VS. PC… AND YOU WILL GET ALL KINDS OF DIFFERING OPINIONS…

 

 

BUT I WANT TO MAKE A POINT HERE ABOUT ONE ASPECT OF THE MAC COMPUTER AND HOW IT HAS BEEN MARKETED AS A USER FRIENDLY COMPUTER…

 

AND THE ENTHUSIATS FOR THE MAC COMPUTER WILL TELL YOU… THAT TO THEM…

 

Macs are consistently consistent

Bottom line: it's easier to get stuff done.

NOW WHETHER THAT IS TRUE OR NOT… THAT IS UP TO YOU TO DETERMINE…

BUT THE POINT I DO WANT TO MAKE IS…. THAT FOR A LOT OF PEOPLE … EASE OF USE IN SOMETHING COMPLICATED LIKE A COMPUTER… CAN BE VERY IMPORTANT…

WHEN LOOKING FOR A COMPUTER OF SOFTWARE PACKAGE… MOST PEOPLE WILL INVARIABLY CHOOSE THE PACKAGE THAT IS THE MOST USER FRIENDLY

USER FRIENDLY IS A COMPUTER TERM… THAT DESCRIBES…

A USER FRIENDLY COMPUTER … OR SOFTWARE PACKAGE ONE THAT :

q  IS EASY TO UNDERSTAND AND USE

q  IT MAKES SENSE TO THE USER

q  IT MEETS THE NEEDS OF THE USER

q  IT CAN BE USED WITHOUT READING THE ENTIRE 3” THICK MANUAL,

q  YOU CAN TAKE IT OUT OF THE BOX AND USE IT WITHOUT TAKING A COLLEGE LEVEL COURSE

q  IT CAN BE USED BY PEOPLE OF VARYING SKILL AND KNOWLEDGE LEVELS

PEOPLE ARE LOOKING FOR SOMETHING TO MAKE SENSE… AND TO BE USEABLE…

AND IT’S NOT JUST COMPUTERS THERE ARE VARIOUS AREAS OF PRODUCTS AND SERVICES THAT WE ARE SEEING THIS TREND…

I.E. NOW THEY HAVE THE DVD RECORDERS… AND THE ALARM CLOCK/RADIOS…  THAT AUTOMATICALLY SET THE CLOCK…WHEN THE POWER GETS INTERRUPTED…  AND PEOPLE ARE BUYING THEM… WHY??? BECAUSE THEY LIKE THAT USER FRIENDLY FEATURE…

A LOT OF THINGS TODAY ARE MORE USER FRIENDLY THAN THEY USED TO BE…

THINK ABOUT ADDING A QUART OF OIL…  WE USED TO HAVE TO GET OUT A FUNNEL… USE A CAN OPENER … OR A SCREW DRIVER… OR THAT SPOUT YOU WOULD STICK IN THE CAN… AND WHEN YOU WERE DONE… YOU HAD OIL ON SOMETHING… SOMETIMES I HAD  OIL OVER EVERYTHING… IF NOT CAREFUL BEND UP THAT OIL CARTON… THE BOTTOM LINE WAS IT WAS MESSY…

TODAY YOU GO BUY A QUART OF OIL… AND THEY HAVE THE SPOUT BUILT IN… A LOT OF THEM  HAVE A SEE-THROUGH WINDOW THAT TELLS YOU HOW MUCH YOU’VE USED… AND YOU CAN THEY HAVE TWIST OFF CAPS ON THEM…  AND THEY ARE SO EASY TO USE…  NO FUSS… AND NO MESS…

AND I HAVE TO ADMIT… I DON’T GO TO THE STORE TO LOOK AT OIL VERY OFTEN… BUT IN MY OBSERVATIONS…  WHERE I HAVE GONE… I HAVEN’T SEEN ANY OF THOSE OLD STYLE OIL CANS AROUND???

WHY??? BECAUSE NOBODY WANTS THEM… THEY AREN’T AS USER FRIENDLY AS THE NEW ONES…

AND FRIENDS JUST LIKE THE FACT THAT MOST PEOPLE WHO CHOOSE A COMPUTER … A CLOCK RADIO…  A DVD RECORDER AND  OR A QUART OF OIL … WILL CONSIDER AND LOOK FOR A PROGRAM OR  A PRODUCT  THAT IS THE MOST USER FRIENDLY … UNDERSTANDABLE … AND USEFUL… AND EFFORTLESS

I WANT TO THROW OUT AN IDEA TO YOU TODAY… AND THAT IS… THAT… PEOPLE WHEN LOOKING FOR A CHURCH WILL ALSO MORE OFTEN THAN NOT … LOOK FOR A USER FRIENDLY CHURCH…  ONE THAT IS UNDERSTANDABLE…  USEFUL… AND RELEVANT

AND FRIENDS… I BELIEVE WE NEED TO BECOME A USER-FRIENDLY CHURCH… ONE WHO MAKES THE GOSPEL UNDERSTANDABLE AND USEFUL FOR PEOPLE’S LIVES…

WHEN I TALK ABOUT BECOMING A USER FRIENDLY CHURCH… DON’T GET ME WRONG… I AM NOT TALKING ABOUT WATERING DOWN THE GOSPEL… OR NOT PREACHING THE WHOLE COUNSEL OF THE WORD…

OR CHANGING THE MESSAGE IN ANY WAY…

BUT I AM TALKING ABOUT BEING USER FRIENDLY IN THE SENSE THAT…

WE BECOME THE CHURCH THAT:

q  MEETS THE NEEDS OF PEOPLE WHO COME

q  PREACH THE GOSPEL … AND APPLY IT… SO THAT IT’S USABLE, UNDERSTANDABLE… PEOPLE DON’T LEAVE THE CHURCH SCRATCHING THEIR HEADS GOING… WHAT DID HE SAY?

q  WE BECOME THE CHURCH THAT IS RELEVANT AND CHALLENGING TO THE NEW COMER AS WELL AS TO THE LONG-TIME BELIEVER…

q  JUST LIKE … IN THE USER FRIENDLY COMPUTER… YOU CAN LOOK AT THE COMPUTER SCREEN FOR HELP… IN THE USER FRIENDLY CHURCH… YOU CAN LOOK TO THE PEOPLE… AND SEE BY THEIR LIVES… HOW TO MAKE RIGHT DECISIONS IN YOUR LIFE… AND OH WHAT A BEAUTIFUL HELP THAT IS…

HOW DO WE GET THERE???

HOW DO WE: MEET THE NEEDS OF THE PEOPLE WHO COME

HOW DO WE PREACH THE GOSPEL … AND APPLY IT… SO THAT IT’S USABLE, UNDERSTANDABLE…

HOW DO WE BECOME THE CHURCH THAT IS RELEVANT AND CHALLENGING TO ALL WHO ARE HERE…

WE KNOW THAT IT BEGINS IN THE REALM OF THE SPIRIT OF GOD… 

FOR IT IS HE WHO IS NOT WILLING THAT ANY SHOULD PERISH… BUT THAT ALL SHOULD COME TO REPENTANCE… BUT WITH GOD’S HELP AND DIRECTION WE CAN DO IT…

THE POINT I WANT TO LOOK AT FOR THE NEXT FEW MOMENTS IS…

1.      DEVELOPING THE USER FRIENDLY CHURCH:

 

WE CAN LOOK AT OTHER CHURCHES WHO ARE SUCCEEDING IN MEETING THE NEEDS OF THEIR COMMUNITIES…  WE CAN LOOK AT THEIR PATTERNS… THEIR IDEAS… AND THEIR ATTITUDES…

BUT FRIENDS… TO COPY THEM IN COOKIE CUTTER FASHION… WOULD BE FOR US… A QUICK ROUTE TO FAILURE…  I THANK GOD FOR WHAT HE IS DOING IN FAITH A/G IN ORLANDO… I THANK GOD FOR WHAT HE IS DOING AT FIRST A/G IN PHOENIX…  I THANK GOD FOR WHAT HE IS DOING IN JAMES RIVER ASSEMBLY IN SPRINGFIELD, MO… 

BUT FRIENDS… THE FACT REMAINS… WE AREN’T

FAITH ASSEMBLY… WE ARE PHOENIX FIRST ASSEMBLY… WE AREN’T JAMES RIVER  ASSEMBLY… WE ARE FIRST ASSEMBLY IN COCOA….

EACH CHURCH IS DIFFERENT… AND I BELIEVE GOD HAS A KEY FOR EACH CHURCH…

GOD HAS A KEY FOR COCOA FIRST ASSEMBLY OF GOD

GOD WANTS COCOA FIRST ASSEMBLY OF GOD TO SUCCEED…

THAT BRINGS US TO AN IMPORTANT QUESTION…

WHAT IS SUCCESS FOR A CHURCH?

 SUCCESS IS ONE OF THOSE OVERUSED WORDS IN OUR SOCIETY TODAY…

THOUSANDS OF BOOKS WRITTEN ON SUCCESS… BARNES & NOBLE.COM LISTED 30,122 CURRENT TITLES OF BOOKS THAT HAVE TO DO WITH THE SUBJECT OF SUCCESS…  AMAZON.COM HAS 800,644 BOOKS ON THE SUBJECT OF SUCCESS…

THERE ARE THOUSANDS OF WEB-SITES  DEALING WITH SUCCESS ON INTERNET…  I WENT TO GOOGLE.COM SEARCH ENGINE  AND LOOKED UP SUCCESS… AND THERE WERE  OVER 341 MILLION. SITES CONNECTED TO THE WORD SUCCESS…

I DECIDED NOT TO LOOK AT ALL OF THEM..

I DIDN’T LOOK AT THEM… BECAUSE… FRIENDS… THE WORLD HAS A LOT OF IDEAS ABOUT WHAT SUCCESS IS  … AND ABOUT HOW TO ATTAIN IT… BUT… DO YOU KNOW WHAT…  I AM NOT TOO CONCERNED ABOUT WHAT THIS WORLD THINKS SUCCESS IS… 

I AM MUCH MORE CONCERNED ABOUT WHAT GOD THINKS SUCCESS IS…

I BELIEVE THE LORD WANTS THE CHURCH TO BE THE CHURCH… 

HE WANTS THE CHURCH TO KEEP GOING… AND KEEP GROWING…

WHEN WE READ THE BOOK OF ACTS… WE CAN SEE A NEW TESTAMENT EXAMPLE OF WHAT THE CHURCH IS SUPPOSED TO BE ALL ABOUT…

AND LOOKING AT THAT WE SEE THAT  IF WE WANT TO HAVE A SUCCESSFUL CHURCH… IN THE NEW TESTAMENT FASHION… WE HAVE TO HAVE A CHURCH THAT IS DOING SOMETHING REMARKABLE… :


1.      IT IS CHANGING PEOPLE’S LIVES

2.      IT’S BRINGING PEOPLE INTO A DEEPER RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD

3.      IT’S BUILDING FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST

4.      IT’S SEEING SIGNS OF THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

5.      AND IT’S ACCOMPLISHING IT’S PURPOSE … IT’S REASON FOR BEING…

AND FRIENDS… I BELIEVE THAT IS WHAT THE LORD WOULD HAVE FOR HIS CHURCH TODAY… FOR THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST… SUCCESS IS ALL OF THESE… 

IT IS SEEING PEOPLE LIVES CHANGED

IT IS SEEING PEOPLE MOVE INTO DEEPER RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD

IT IS SEEING PEOPLE’S FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST BEING BUILT UP

IT IS SEEING PEOPLE EXPERIENCE THE SUPERNATURAL POWER OF GOD

AND IT’S SEEING THE CHURCH ACCOMPLISH IT’S PURPOSE…

HOW MANY ARE THERE HERE TODAY WHO WANT THIS CHURCH TO SUCCEED IN GOD’S EYES???

WELL… HOW DO WE DO IT???

HOW DO WE GET TO BE A CHURCH THAT SUCCEEDS IN GOD’S EYES???:

WELL FRIENDS… I BELIVE THAT IT ALL STARTS WITH OUR PERSPECTIVE…  THE WAY WE LOOK AT THINGS… WILL THIS BE A CHRUCH OR DUTY… OR DESIRE…

I HEARD A STORY ABOUT A shoe manufacturer who decided to open the Congo market sent two salesmen to the undeveloped territory. One salesman cabled back: "Prospect here nil. No one wears shoes." The other salesman reported enthusiastically, "Market potential terrific! Everyone is barefooted."

FRIENDS… WHAT WE NEED… IS TO GET THE RIGHT PERSPECTIVE:

When Goliath came against the Israelites, the soldiers all thought, "He's so big we can never kill him." David looked at the same giant and thought, "He's so big I can't miss."

FRIENDS… God Can Make It Happen

IN THIS CHURCH… GOD CAN MAKE IT HAPPEN…

ARE YOU LOOKING AT WHAT YOU CAN DO??? OR … ARE YOU LOOKING AT WHAT GOD CAN DO???

IF WE LOOK AT THIS CHURCH WITH ENTHUSIASM AND EXPECTANCY…

I BELIEVE WE WILL SEE GOD DO GREAT THINGS THROUGH THIS CHURCH…

ONE OF THE FACTS OF LIFE IS… THAT THOSE WHO LOOK AT CHALLENGES IN LIFE WITH A POSITIVE – FAITH – FILLED PERSPECTIVE SEE TIME AND TIME AGAIN…. THAT SOMETHING GOOD HAPPENS…

I.E. LET ME GIVE YOU AN EXAMPLE… GARDENING…   HOW MANY PEOPLE LIKE TO GARDEN??? HOW MANY DON’T ???

SOME LIKE IT… SOME DON’T… WHO HAS THE BEST GARDENS…  THOSE WITH GREAT EXPECTANCY AND ENTHUSIASM… PERSPECTIVE IS SO IMPORTANT IN OUR LEVEL OF OUTPUT IN THIS LIFE…

TURN WITH ME TO GEN. 29: 16-20

(En 29:16 NIV)  Now Laban had two daughters; the name of the older was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. (Gen 29:17 NIV)  Leah had weak eyes, but Rachel was lovely in form, and beautiful. (Gen 29:18 NIV)  Jacob was in love with Rachel and said, "I'll work for you seven years in return for your younger daughter Rachel."  (Gen 29:19 NIV)  Laban said, "It's better that I give her to you than to some other man. Stay here with me." (Gen 29:20 NIV)  So Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her.

THE KEY VERSE IS VERSE 20:  (Gen 29:20 NIV)  So Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her.

THIS IS A FASCINATING ACCOUNT.. AND IT BEGS THE QUESTION OF US…

ARE WE PEOPLE OF DUTY… OR DESIRE…

JACOB WAS A MAN OF DESIRE… BECAUSE OF HIS LOVE RACHEL… THOSE 7 YEARS…HE HAD TO SERVE LABAN TO HAVE IN HER HAND IN MARRIAGE…  SEEMED LIKE ONLY DAYS…


WHAT WAS IT THAT CHANGED JACOB’S DUTY TO DESIRE…???

 IT WAS HIS PERSPECTIVE…

HE SAW RACHEL THROUGH THE EYES OF LOVE.


WHEN YOU LOVE SOME ONE … YOU’LL DO THINGS FOR THEM… IT WON’T BE A CHORE… IT WILL BE A JOY…

THOSE 7 YEARS JACOB WORKED… WEREN’T CHORES… THEY WERE JOYS…  BECAUSE HE LOVED RACHEL… AND HE KNEW THAT SOMEDAY RACHEL WOULD BE HIS…

WHAT IS IT… THAT DETERMINES WHETHER … THE WORK YOU FACE… THE TASK YOU’RE CALLED TO.. THE LIFE YOU LIVE… WHETHER THOSE THINGS ARE DUTY OR DESIRE???

IT’S YOUR PERSPECTIVE… THE WAY YOU LOOK AT THEM…

AND GOD WANTS US TO LOOK AT HIS CHURCH… AND HIS CALLING ON OUR LIVES… THROUGH THE EYES OF LOVE…

PEOPLE HAVE TWO DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES ON CHURCH…

SOME COME BECAUSE THEY HAVE TO… THEY COME OUT OF DUTY

OTHERS COME BECAUSE THEY WANT TO… THEY COME OUT OF DESIRE

LET ME GIVE YOU AN ILLUSTRATION…

I.E. IN THE CHURCH OUT OF DUTY =  PEOPLE GO TO CHURCH BECAUSE THEY FEEL LIKE THEY HAVE TO… AND THERE IS VERY LITTLE THAT IS EASY ABOUT IT… IT IS LIKE THEY ARE HERE TETHERED WITH BALL AND  CHAIN …

BUT… IN THE CHURCH OF DESIRE = PEOPLE GO BECAUSE THEY WANT TO GO… AND THE CHURCH SERVICE GOES BY … (SNAP) LIKE THAT…  AND THE WORK THEY DO IN THAT CHURCH BRINGS THEM GENUINE JOY, PEACE, LOVE, AND HAPPINESS… 

NOW… OUT OF THESE TWO CHURCHES… THE CHURCH OF DUTY… AND THE CHURCH OF DESIRE… WHICH OF THESE GROUPS OF PEOPLE ARE GOING TO MAKE IT THROUGH 7 YEARS OF LABOR???


OBVIOUSLY IT IS THE CHURCH OF DESIRE… FOR THEM.. LIKE FOR JACOB… THE LABOR WILL SEEM LIKE ONLY A FEW DAYS…

FRIENDS… OUR ATTITUDE TOWARDS THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST… IS A KEY TO PROGRESS AND SUCCESS… “ HOW WE THINK IS AS IMPORTANT AS WHAT WE DO…

LET’S BE A CHURCH OF DESIRE… NOT DUTY…

WHEN WE DEVELOP THIS PERSPECTIVE AND OUTLOOK… OF DESIRE AND LOVE OF GOD…  AND CORRESPONDING LOVE FOR HIS CHURCH…

IT IS THEN THAT WE WILL UNDERSTAND THAT CHRIST HAS SINGLED US OUT FOR AN IMPORTANT AND UNIQUE WORK HERE IN COCOA

WE WON’T BE CONTENT TO SIT BACK AND TAKE THINGS AS THEY ARE…  WE WILL LOOK FOR WAYS TO MAKE OUR CHURCH AND OUR INDIVIDUAL MINISTRIES MORE EFFECTIVE

KINGDOM WORK WILL NOT BE A CHORE … IT WILL BE A DELIGHT… AS WE BEGIN TO FOCUS OUR ENERGY AND OUR ATTENTION ON NEW OPPORTUNITIES

FRIENDS… THE LORD WANTS US TO UNDERSTAND THIS MORNING… THAT JUST LIKE JACOB WORKED FOR RACHEL AND FOUND IT TO BE EASY BECAUSE HE SERVED OUT OF DESIRE… WE WILL FIND THE SAME IN THE CHURCH IF WE MINSTER OUT OF DESIRE AND NOT OUT OF DUTY …

IN THE CHURCH OF DESIRE… MINISTRY IS A JOYOUS OPPORTUNITY…

NOW… LET’S LOOK AT

THE POWER OF POSITIVE PERSPECTIVE:

TAKING A STEP OF FAITH TO BE MORE INVOLVED… TO DO MORE FOR GOD… CAN BE  EXCITING… JOYFUL… AND REWARDING… 

OR IT CAN BE THE MOST DIFFICULT AND LEAST REWARDING THING YOU HAVE EVER DONE…

THE OUTCOME IN SO MANY WAYS DEPENDS ON YOUR PERSPECTIVE…

 

 

 

 

 

WE NEED A POSITIVE PERSPECTIVE REGARDING MINISTRY BEFORE THE LORD…

 

POSITIVE PERSPECTIVE IS THE THING THAT ENABLED JACOB TO WORK 7 YEARS FOR RACHEL…

ITS ALSO THE THING THAT ENABLED HIM TO WORK 7 MORE YEARS WHEN HE FOUND OUT THAT HE HAD BEEN DECEIVED BY LABAN…

(INCIDENTALLY HE WAS REAPING WHAT HE HAD SEWN… HE WAS HIMSELF A DECEIVER)

BUT WE ARE NOT TALKING ABOUT SEWING AND REAPING TODAY… WE ARE TALKING ABOUT POSITIVE PERSPECTIVE…

AND FRIENDS… I BELIEVE… THE POWER OF A POSITIVE PERSPECTIVE IN EACH OF US… IS GOING TO BE ONE THING GOD IS GOING TO USE TO CAUSE THIS CHURCH TO GROW…


WHAT MAKES VISITORS FEEL LIKE THIS IS A PLACE WHERE THEY WOULD LIKE TO BE ???

WHAT MAKES GUESTS WANT TO BE PART OF THIS FELLOWSHIP???

A BIG PART OF IT… HAS TO DO WITH OUR PERSPECTIVE… VISITORS AND GUESTS TO CHURCHES TODAY… ARE LOOKING TO ALIGN THEMSELVES WITH CHURCHES WHO HAVE AS A PART OF THEIR MAKE UP A POSITIVE PERSPECTIVE…

IN FACT… IN A RECENT STUDY DONE ON CHURCHES THAT ARE GROWING…


GEORGE BARNA WRITES… THAT TODAY… CHURCHES THAT ARE EXPERIENCING GROWTH… ARE THE CHURCHES WHO DO INDEED HAVE

A  POSITIVE PERSPECTIVE AND OUTLOOK ON THEIR CHURCH…

I AM TALKING ABOUT A POSITIVE PERSPECTIVE THAT DRAWS THEM TOGETHER WITH A COMMON PURPOSE BUILDING THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST…

A POSITIVE PERSPECTIVE THAT SAYS THAT WHAT THEY ARE DOING IS IMPORTANT… BECAUSE IT IS THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST…

A POSITIVE PERSPECTIVE THAT IS SEEN IN A DESIRE TO SERVE OTHERS… THAT BECOMES CONTAGIOUS AND SWEEPS THROUGH THE BODY…  NOT A DUTY … BUT A DESIRE…

THE TRUTH IS … TODAY… THE CHURCHES THAT ARE GROWING POSSESS… A POSITIVE PERSPECTIVE THAT CHANGES OBSTACLES THEY FACE… INTO CHALLENGES…

  • JAMES 1:2 SAYS, “CONSIDER IT JOY WHENEVER YOU FACE TRIALS…  VERSE  4 SAYS -- BECAUSE THEY BRING US TO MATURITY”

THESE GROWING CHURCHES ALSO HAVE A POSITIVE PERSPECTIVE THAT PUTS INDIVIDUAL MINISTRY AS ONE’S PURPOSE IN LIFE… THEY REALIZE THAT FULFILLMENT COMES INTO THEIR LIVES AS THEY FIND THEIR PLACE OF MINISTRY…

THEY ALSO POSSESS A POSITIVE PERSPECTIVE WHERE PEOPLE ENGAGE IN MINISTRY BECAUSE THEY WANT TO… NOT BECAUSE THEY ARE FORCED TO…

  • FRIENDS… GOD HAS A MINISTRY FOR YOU… YOU WILL NEVER ENJOY THE GODLY SUCCESS THAT GOD HAS PLANNED FOR YOU… UNTIL YOU GET IN VOLVED WITH LORD AND FIND THE MINISTRY THAT HE LEADS YOU TO…

ANOTHER COMMON INGREDIENT OF GROWING CHURCHES… IS THAT THEY HAVE A POSITIVE PERSPECTIVE CONCERNING THEIR EXCITEMENT ABOUT MINISTRY…  BARNA SAYS… IN GROWING CHURCHES… THE PEOPLE CAN’T WAIT FOR CHURCH… THEY HAVE THAT DESIRE OF DAVID IN THEM… RECORDED IN  (Psa 27:4 NIV)  One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.

  • HERE’S WHAT I KNOW FRIENDS… WHEN WE GET EXCITED ABOUT WHAT GOD IS DOING AT FIRST ASSEMBLY… THIS THING IS GOING TO BREAK WIDE OPEN..


MOVING ON… ANOTHER CHARACTERISTIC SEEN IN CHURCHES THAT ARE GROWING IS THAT… THEY HAVE A POSITIVE PERSPECTIVE WHERE PEOPLE ARE PASSIONATE ABOUT OUTREACH.. WHERE THEY VIEW LIFE AS AN OPPORTUNITY TO SERVE GOD…

  • FRIENDS… IT IS EXCITING JUST TO REALIZE… THAT THE GOD OF ALL CREATION WANTS TO USE US… TO HELP BUILD HIS KINGDOM AND TO HELP IN POPULATING HEAVEN…

AND FINALLY … GROWING CHURCHES HAVE THAT ONGOING POSITIVE PERSPECTIVE THAT IS FULL OF FAITH AND EXPECTANCY…

LET ME DESCRIBE FOR YOU TWO DIFFERENT TYPES OF PEOPLE… THAT REPRESENT TWO DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES OF CHURCH MINISTRY:

THESE TWO PEOPLE WIN A TRIP TO HAWAII… ALL EXPENSES PAID…

HOW MANY BEEN TO HAWAII …  HOW MANY WOULD LIKE TO WIN A TRIP TO HAWAII???

WELL… THESE TWO PEOPLE WON THE TRIP…

ONE COMES BACK…  IT WAS TOO LONG TO BE GONE…  GOT A BAD SEAT ON THE AIRPLANE…  MY STEWARDESS WAS INATTENTIVE…  THE PEOPLE IN THE HOTEL WERE RUDE… IT WAS SO SANDY OVER THERE… COULDN’T WAIT TO GO HOME…  IT WAS A MISTAKE TO GO IN THE FIRST PLACE…

THE OTHER ONE COMES BACK … ALL POSITIVE… I WON … I WON… IT WAS GREAT… I COULDN’T BELIEVE IT…  THE TIME FLEW BY… THE FLIGHT WAS GREAT…  THE PEOPLE WERE GREAT… I DON’T KNOW WHEN I’VE ENJOYED MYSELF AS MUCH AS ON THIS TRIP…

LET’S SAY YOU ARE ON THE SAME PLANE…

WHICH PERSON WOULD YOU WANT TO SIT BY???

LET’S SAY YOU WON TOO…

WHICH PERSON WOULD  YOU WANT TO SPEND YOUR VACATION WITH???

LET’S SAY YOU WERE THINKING ABOUT GOING TO HAWAII…

WHICH PERSON WOULD CONVINCE YOU TO GO TO HAWAII???

FRIENDS… THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO PARALLEL BOTH OF THESE PERSPECTIVES IN THE CHURCH…

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THEIR REACTIONS???  IT IS THEIR PERSPECTIVE AND IT IS THEIR ATTITUDE

AND FRIEND… IT IS ONLY THAT ONE WHO IS FULL OF LOVE FOR GOD… WHO CAN ALWAYS MAINTAIN THAT POSITIVE PERSPECTIVE… AND WORK WITHOUT COMPLAINING…  BE EXCITED ABOUT WHAT’S GOING ON…

IF OUR CHURCH IS GOING TO GROW… LIKE GOD WANTS IT TO GROW…  WE HAVE TO HAVE THAT POSITIVE PERSPECTIVE OF                                         A SPIRIT OF EXPECTANCY…

THE KEY IS FAITH, HOPE AND LOVE:

IT’S THE KEY IN EVERY AREA OF OUR LIVES… INCLUDING OUR CHURCH LIVES…

BELIEVING THAT GOD WILL DO WHAT HE SAID…

BELIEVING FOR MORE OF GOD IN THE FUTURE

BELIEVING THAT JESUS WILL COME AGAIN TO TAKE US TO HEAVEN… AND THAT HE WANTS US TO OCCUPY UNTIL HE COMES…

FRIENDS…. IT’S THE KEY TO GROWING A CHURCH AS WELL…

LET’S LOOK AT ACTS 2:42-47… THE INTENSITY & GROWTH OF THE EARLY CHURCH

(Acts 2:42 NIV)  They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. (43)  Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. (44)  All the believers were together and had everything in common. (45)  Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. (46)  Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, (47)  praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

WHAT WOULD CAUSE THEM TO DEVOTE THEMSELVES… SELL ALL THEY HAD… ???


FRIENDS… IT WAS A SPIRIT OF FAITH AND HOPE AND LOVE…

THEY BELIEVED IN THE POWER OF GOD…

THEIR NUMBERS INCREASED DAILY … IN PART BECAUSE

THEY EXPECTED GOD TO DO THE SAME AND EVEN MORE… 

AND THEY HAD SUCH LOVE FOR HIM…

THAT TO BE FULLY DEVOTED … EVEN AT GREAT PERSONAL COST…

WAS A DELIGHT AND A DESIRE FOR THEM…

AND FRIENDS… TODAY IN THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST…

IN ORDER FOR US TO MATURE… TO GROW… TO SEE GOD MOVE…             WE MUST COME IN THE HOUSE OF GOD WITH A SPIRIT OF EXPECTANCY…

THAT IS HELD TOGETHER BY OUR FAITH AND HOPE IN GOD…

AND OUR LOVE FOR GOD…

EXPECTING… NOT JUST THAT THE MUSIC IS GOING TO BE GOOD… OR THE PEWS ARE GOING TO BE FULL … OR THE MESSAGE IS GOING TO BE GOOD…  BUT THAT GOD IS HERE… HE IS IN THIS PLACE…  AND IF WE GET TO BE WITH HIM… IT IS WORTH EVERY BIT OF EFFORT WE EXPEND…

FRIENDS… WE ARE NOT TRYING TO BE  JUST A “ POSITIVE THINKING” GROUP… BUT WE WANT TOT BE A PEOPLE OF EVER GROWING FAITH… SEEING GOD’S BLESSING’S MANIFEST IN RESPONSE TO PRAYER… WORK… AND EXPECTANCY OF MORE OF THE SAME BLESSING… EXPECTING  GOD TO WORK THROUGH EACH OF US…

FRIENDS… THE WHOLE CONCETP OF (GROWING MEANS)

IN GROWING WE MATURE… AND WE CHANGE …


1.      WE GET RID OF SKEPTICISM --FOR A MOVE OF GOD HERE AT FIRST ASSEMBLY… THERE IS NO REASON TO BELIEVE GOD WILL NOT BLESS THIS CHURCH…

2.      WE DEFEAT THE FEAR OF FAILURE --  BECAUSE FEAR IS ONE OF THOSE WET BLANKETS THAT WILL PUT OUT THE FIRE

3.      WE GET RID OF COMPLACENCY… REGARDING GOD’S MOVE IN OUR LIVES… WE NEED TO GIVE GOD CREDIT WHEN HE MOVES IN US…

FRIENDS… HERE IS WHAT I DO KNOW…

OUR ATTITUDES… OUR LEVEL OF EXPECTANCY… OUR PERSPECTIVE… WHETHER THIS IS A DUTY OR A DESIRE… IT ALL DOES MATTER…

IN FACT THE PERSONALITY THAT WE AS A CHURCH DEVELOP IT IS FORMED AS A RESULT OF THE SUM OF EACH OF OUR ATTITUDES…

IT IS TIME WE ASK OURSELVES SOME TOUGH QUESTIONS:

TODAY WE HAVE LOOKED AT THE NEED FOR US TO BE PEOPLE OF THE JACOB PERSPECTIVE…

AND HERE’S THE QUESTION:

IS OUR WORK IN THE CHURCH GOING TO BE LIKE 7 YEARS OF HARD LABOR… OR IS IT GOING TO GO BY QUICKLY ???

ARE WE GOING TO SERVE GOD… OUT OF DUTY??? OR OUT OF DESIRE???

IS THIS CHURCH… GOING TO BE A SUCCESS ???

IN:

1.      CHANGING PEOPLE’S LIVES

2.      BRINGING PEOPLE TO DEEPER RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD

3.      BUILDING FAITH IN CHRIST

4.      SEEING SIGNS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT’S WORK

5.      ACCOMPLISHING OUR PURPOSE

IS OUR PERSPECTIVE… AND HOW WE SHARE IT… GOING TO FOR A CHURCH THAT PEOPLE WANT TO BELONG TO???

BECAUSE OF THE FACT THAT :

FOR US… OUR OBSTACLES HAVE BECOME CHALLENGES

IN THIS CHURCH WE ARE EXCITED ABOUT BEING HERE

OUR DESIRE TO SERVE AND WORSHIP IS CONTAGIOUS ( IN A GOOD WAY)

ARE PEOPLE GOING TO WANT TO BE A PART OF WHAT GOD IS DOING HERE… BECAUSE EACH OF US HAVE DEVELOPED A SENSE OF THE IMPORTANCE OF OUR INDIVIDUAL MINISTRIES

ARE PEOPLE GOING TO BE ATTRACTED TO THIS CHURCH BECAUSE WE CAN’T WAIT FOR CHURCH AND BECAUSE WE ARE FULL OF FAITH AND EXPECTANCY

MAYBE YOU WOULD SAY WITH ME THIS MORNING…  YES LORD..

I WANT TO BE THE KIND OF BELIEVER THAT SOMEONE ELSE WOULD WANT TO SIT BY… I WANT THE LORD TO PUT IN MY HEART… A FRESH DOSE OF THAT FAITH AND EXPECTANCY TODAY…

FRIENDS…. GOD WANTS TO DO A WORK THIS MORNING BY CHANGING OUR EXPECTANCY’S … CHANGING OUR PERSPECTIVE… CHANGING OUR ATTITUDE…

LORD GIVE ME THE PERSPECTIVE OF JACOB…

MAY CHURCH BE FOR ME… A DESIRE… NOT A DUTY

MAY MY PERSONAL MINISTRY BE SOMETHING I SEARCH FOR … RATHER THAN RUN FROM

MAY MY WALK WITH CHRIST BE MY HIGHEST PRIORITY…

“CHANGE MY HEART OH GOD”

IF YOU REALLY WANT THIS FOR YOURSELF AND FOR OUR CHURCH… COME FORWARD NOW…

RAISE YOUR HANDS IN SURRENDER … “LORD I ALLOW YOU TO CHANGE ME”

CONFESS TO THE LORD AREAS OF DOUBT AND NEGATIVITY… 

( THINGS THAT YOU KNOW YOU NEED TO CHANGE)

VERBALLY ACCEPT THE SPIRIT OF EXPECTANCY…

( IN YOUR OWN WORDS)

FOLKS… DON’T LEAVE THESE GREAT INTENTIONS HERE… TAKE YOUR NEW “JACOB PERSPECTIVE” … AND SHARE IT WITH SOMEBODY…

T IS A FACT… GROWING CHURCHES TODAY ARE DOMINATED BY EXUBERANCE… ANTICIPATION… POSITIVE EXPECTANT SPIRIT..

GROWING CHURCH EXPECT FORM EACH OTHER INDIVIDUAL PERSONAL SPIRITUAL GROWTH… 

THEY HEED THE INSTRUCTION OF (Heb 10:24 NIV)  And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.

(Heb 10:25 NIV)  Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Rick Warren states, and I agree, that the key issue for churches in the 21st Century will be church health, not growth. Because when a congregation is healthy it will grow. God wants his church to grow, and to the extent that we are healthy, to that extent we will grow naturally.

Colossians 2:19 (TMNT)
We can grow up healthy in God only as he nourishes us.

And just how effective is the church today at halting this social decline? Not very, according to most sources. The sad reality is that on many fronts, the American Church is struggling just to exist. In the face of real life problems, our churches are anemic and turned in on themselves. C. Peter Wagner states that only 1% of the churches in America are currently growing by conversion growth, and that no county across the nation has shown a net growth in Christianity in the last two decades. Furthermore, in my own denominational conference, over 40% of the churches did not record a single profession of faith in all of 1990. That represents a lot of church services in which no one received Jesus.

Terry Teykl, Blueprints for the House of Prayer, p. 22

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