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Revival #3

Are You Ready to Grow?

(Luke 14:23)

We've had a good day. I hope you have. If you haven't, I hope it just gets better from here. I appreciate the fellowship. Bro. Charles and I had a good day. I always enjoy being with him and his family. I always enjoy being with you. I just want you to know that for a preacher to go into a church and have the liberty that I have enjoyed, and always have, it's a very special thing. Unless you are a preacher you may not know exactly what that means, but it's a rarity to be able to go in and just feel at home, and I do here. I hope you do as well as we interact together this week. The Lord and I had some discussion today about tonight. You know how preachers do. We get things in our mind and kind of lay then out and say this is what God wants us to do before we ever really talk to God about it. And God has kind of changed a little direction tonight so bear with me. You know, sometimes as a preacher I don't know why I preach the things I preach and usually that works the best. It's when I don't understand what is going on and when I don't know why and when things just really don't make a whole lot of sense to me, that's when God says, 'You know, it's all me. Just let Me do my thing. You just be available and I'll handle the rest.' I want to ask you tonight, are you ready to grow? Let me tell you something, growth is something you prepare for. In growing up physiologically, you probably didn't do a lot of preparing. You didn't wake up in the morning and say, 'Gee, what do I need to do today to grow?' My oldest son, Justin, will soon be 22, and he didn't grow until his senior year in high school. He was afraid that he was going to be a dwarf. My other sons are 6'3" and 6'4" and then there he was. He was just afraid that he was going to be a midget. That really bothered him and he just couldn't stand it. He wanted to do things and he just couldn't because he just wasn't tall enough, and he really worked at it. But you know what, all of his preparation mentally and trying to eat certain foods and drink certain things and do all this stuff, didn't change anything at all. But I want you to know that inside of him, his body was preparing to grow. That's what our bodies do. Your bodies take you through a process of growth that we really don't have much control over. So there is preparation that has to be made, and I think it's that way, and especially that way, in church growth. I think a church has to be ready to grow. I think you have to be prepared to grow and that's what I want to talk to you about. In Luke 14:23 there is a very, very well known verse of scripture that most of you probably have memorized but we are going to read it again just to remind ourselves why we are here. Why does this church exist? Why has God for the last fifty years kept his hand upon this church, and why has he worked in your lives? Why has he brought you to this particular point in time? Do you believe God has a plan? Do you think God wakes up in the morning and says, ' uhhhh... What should I do today?' I don't think so. I think He is looking down and sees the whole big picture of stuff and He already has it all laid out. God has, for his purpose, brought you to this very moment in time, but why? (Luke 14:30) Do you think that verse is still relevant today? Do you think it is still important to us as God's people to take this verse of scripture to heart? Let me tell you, I believe that we as God's people and that we as churches -- if we are not constantly being challenged and stretched, we are not moving forward for the Lord. But I'll have to admit to you that that is the worst part for me. I don't like being challenged. I don't like being stretched. I don't like being faced with things that have to change. I'll tell you unequivocally tonight that I am not a liberal. I am not a radical. I like things to be the same. It makes my job easier. I am conservative to the nth degree. But I also realize I live in a world that is changing. I like to be comfortable. I like to be snug in my little world. I like to be able to hide, you know. For a pastor to preach about change is one of the most dangerous subjects that you can choose. It really is, because you know why? The people sitting out there don't really know what is going on in here in the pastor's mind, and when a pastor starts to preach about change people begin to wonder, 'just how far is he going to take this thing? What's he going to do? Where is the end of this road? What's his goal? What's his motive? What's he really after? Are there ulterior motives in this?' But the world is changing. I made a statement to my folks not too long ago. I said that the Bible says: the same yesterday, today, and forever but it wasn't talking about us. It was talking about Christ. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever but the church is supposed to change. Sometimes I really believe we are trying to reach the new millennium with the 1950's mentality. So I'm going to say some things tonight and I hope you will understand where I'm coming from. I am just like you. I was raised just like you. I grew up in a church just like this church and the church I pastor. I believe we are the way we are because we are right. I believe it is God's way. So don't misunderstand anything I am going to say tonight because I believe we are starting from the same place, OK? I'm want to ask, are you ready to grow? What do you want out of your church? Are you satisfied with the way things are? Wouldn't you like to see more people here? Sure you would. As long as they are here for the right reason and as long as it is done properly, you would love to see this building filled, wouldn't you? Well I'm here to tell you, you don't have to compromise to do the work of the Lord. I was raised in a mentality that basically indirectly, and I don't mean this to sound derogatory -- I thank God for the men that God put into my life to preach to me and teach me in the church that I grew up in. But if we are not careful we will have the same mentality that was kind of present when I was growing up. That mentality told me that if you are going to serve the Lord and you are going to be faithful and do it right, you are not going to have many folks to work with. That you are not really going to be very successful at it. If you are as old as I am or older you probably understand exactly what I'm talking about. That somehow we have become martyrs for the cause. That it's just us. My little house and your little house and his little house and that's all we have. But I want you to know that there are a bunch of folks that have yet to bow their knee to Baal. They are still serving God and they are still doing it faithfully and right, and I promise you by the promise of God's Word that you can be successful when you do it. We need to get rid of the little church mentality. In God's eyes there (continued...)

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