Less than 2% (Gideon’s Guide to Church Building) By Steve Light
Today we are going to take a look at an Old Testament story that has powerful and important lessons for us as church. We are going to examine the story of Gideon in the book of Judges and dive into how the Lord was able to use very few people, very few resources and very little faith to accomplish an amazing feat.
And why study this story? Because we live in a world where Christians define success by worldly measures – the size of church membership, the size of church programs, the size of the building and the size of the budget. In doing so, churches are at a high risk to not leave room for God’s blessings and provisions, His direction and most importantly room for the Holy Spirit.
This story also gives us a roadmap as a church on how to be faithful to the Lord and keep everything we do at the center of His will and His guidance.
It requires us to be full of faith, active in prayer, driven to obedience and embracing humility.
And if we listen and we learn from Gideon’s story, there is no doubt God will bless Gracetown. With less than 2% of what we think is needed to grow, I believe God will show us he can give us 500x more than we can imagine.
Let us pray….
Father, as we read your word, let us remember Proverbs 2:10-11…”For wisdom will enter your mind, and knowledge will delight your heart. Discretion will watch over you, and understanding will guard you”. I ask that the Holy Spirit be present, to fill our hearts and mind that we would hear, learn and act as Your perfect will would guide us. Amen.
Midian Oppresses Israel (Judges 6:1-10)
Judges 6:1-2 (HSCB)“The Israelites did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. So the Lord handed them over to Midian seven years, and they oppressed Israel. Because of Midian, the Israelites made hiding places for themselves in mountains and caves”.
Why is the number seven showing up frequently through this story?
And we see this is in Judges 6:6 – “So Israel became poverty-stricken because of Midian and the Israelites cried out to the Lord”.
Lesson #1 – They repented. They turned away from the world and focused on God.
The Lord Calls Gideon (Judges 6:11-24)
As we read the passages between Judges 6:11-24 we are going to learn a lot about Gideon and his faith in God.
I call this Gideon seeing his relationship with God in 3-D.
We will see that when God shows in his everyday, ordinary life Gideon does two things. First he questions why the world is so upside down. He does not seek to learn from God the lesson of the situation, but instead merely wants relief. Second, and most importantly, he blames God for the tumultuous situation of Israel.
Here I am reminded of Leo Tolstoy’s spot on quote that “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no thinks of changing himself”.
Gideon is called by the Angel of the Lord to lead the people against Midian and his first reaction is doubt in his ability to be successful. He goes on to argue with God, to be disobedient despite the command. He makes a veiled attempt at humility claiming he is from the weakest clan and he is the least of this clan. Finally, instead of taking a leap of faith towards God, he seeks to distance himself from God out of fear and doubt.
Scripture teaches us in these moments how to be faithful, courageous and strong to God’s call…
Proverbs 3:5-6 (HSCB)“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths”.
Ephesian 3:20 (HSCB)“Now to Him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us”. The power is the Holy Spirit.
Gideon then runs to pull together a “gift” for the Angel of the Lord – which is a test. Is this real? Will he be there when I return? Gideon goes and gets a young goat, unleavened bread and broth. He brings it back to make a meal. But the Angel of the Lord gives him a sign. He takes the simple and ordinary – meager provisions from Gideon and supernaturally completes the meal – pulling fire from a rock.
The lesson here…Gideon brings basic effort and resources and God elevates it and glorifies it. This shows Gideon that God is truly in his presence and He worships God.
Let’s read Judges 6:11-23 and look for blame, the doubt, the disobedience and the distance away from God’s will and His blessing.
So Gideon is full of the Spirit of God and is ready to take on the Midianites now, right? No. It’s the first steps of the journey. He has to do hard things, say hard things. Things that will put him at odds with his family, with his community and with the world. Things that runs counter to culture. And where do we find him. Timid, afraid…but…at least taking the first steps in faith and obedience.
Gideon Tears Down the Baal Alter (Judges 6:25-32)
Later that night, Gideon hears from God with crystal clear instructions…
Judges 6:25-26“Take your father’s young bull and a second bull seven years old. Then tear down the alter of Baal that belongs to your father and cut down the Asherah pole beside it. Build a well constructed alter to the Lord your God on the top of this rock. Take the second bull and offer it as a burnt offering with the wood of the Asherah pole you cut down”.
Baal and Asherah – male and female fertility gods of Canaanites
Gideon follows God’s command, but let’s see how he does this…
Judges 6:27“But because he was too afraid of his father’s household and the men of the city to do it in the daytime, he did it all at night”.
Gideon lacked courage. He lacked integrity. He was more concerned with the opinions of the other people than God. He had a chance to be bold and he whimpered.
Galatians 1:10 teaches…“For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ”.
We cannot allow our fears of the world’s reaction to our call to diminish our sharing of the Gospel and engaging the world. We have to be bold. How did the men of the village react to the torn down altar? Now remember these are Israelites that are violating God’s law in being idolatrous. They are breaking the very first law – there shall be no other gods than Jehovah. These guys are outraged and want blood. They want death for Gideon. They are completely blinded by his call to repentance. His father steps in and wisely calls to let Baal defend himself. He tells everyone to wait for Baal to punish Gideon, essentially questioning if he is real and has any real power.
Joash – his father, also gives Gideon a new name – Jerubbal, which means “contender against Baal”.
The Sign of the Fleece (Judges 6:33-39)
Now we see that the Sprit of the Lord has descended upon Gideon. He starts to rally his clan and other tribes in the region. Yet we find he still doubts. He continues to move forward but has not yet full released his trust completely to God. But there is a critical lesson here…Gideon goes to God for confirmation and clarity. This principle is asking God to reveal with clarity His will. It is seeking out signs for confirmation that the direction is right. This often comes through discussions with others, circumstances around us – doors opening and doors closing. We have to be mindful and spirit filled to see and discern these things.
How does Gideon do this? He asks God to do some supernatural signs using some simple tools. And he doesn’t just ask once, but TWICE!. God is truly patient. Let’s read Judges 6:36-39 and look for how Gideon sought to get confirmation and clarity from the Lord.
God Selects Gideon’s Army
Notice here that the message is NOT Gideon selected his army, but the Lord did. Gideon, now full of faith and spirit, goes on the move. He has 135,000 Midianites camped in a valley north of him. He rallies 32,000 people. Not good odds. He has 1 Israelite for every 4 Midianites. VERY tough to complete the task with such limited resources. He needs volunteers but there are not enough.
What does God say to this? Does he bring more people, more money, and more resources? No. He tells Gideon that he has too much for the task at hand. He simplifies it. He demands faith and obedience and in that the Lord brings the necessary provisions.
Let’s look at Judges 7:2…“The Lord said to Gideon, “You have too many people for Me to hand the Midianites over to you, or else Israel might brag: “I did this myself”.
God instructs Gideon with a test of wisdom. He tells Gideon to have each man drink from the water. Anyone who kneels to drink put in one group. Anyone who laps water with his tongue like a dog put into another group. Why this test? The men that lapped water like a dog where wise for battle – they got nourishment while being able to keep their eyes up and alert. But those that kneeled put their eyes down and were at risk of being blindsided.
What were the results? Judges 6:6 tells us “the number of those who lapped with their hands to their mouth was 300 men. In verse 7 “The Lord said to Gideon, “I will deliver you with the 300 men who lapped and turn the Midianites over to you”.
300 men? To wage war against 135,000 Midianites that had been terrorizing the nation of Israel for 7 long, difficult, horrible years. Was God crazy? He was sending Gideon to battle with only 1.4% (see the tie in now to the less than 2%?) of the men he started with. 300 Israelites against 135,000 Midianites. How could he succeed?
Here’s the greatest truth of this story – Gideon could not on his own. Not by his human strength or intelligence. Not without making room for God. Not without trusting God. Not without having faith completely, without reservation, that God would provide EVERYTHING they needed with 300 men. And not without the Holy Spirit.
Gideon Spies on the Midianites Camp (Judges 7:9-14)
Gideon, as you can imagine, is unsettled. He has built up his faith in the Lord only to return to fear now that he has 300 men assigned by God. God rouses Gideon from sleep and tells him to go the Midianites camp and “listen to what they say; and then you will be strengthened to go to the camp”.
God knew Gideon’s heart. He was full of doubt and fear. So God tells him in verse 10 – “if you are afraid to go to the camp, go with Purah your servant”.
God reminded Gideon to surround himself with someone he trusted. Someone that would be encouraging and knew him well. Someone that could lift him up.
Our growth as Christians and as a church requires God to take us to uncomfortable places so God has the room to show us our true selves and to help us grow into a life that is joyful, peaceful and blessed.
Gideon and Purah go to the camp at night and heard a man speak of a dream that a “loaf of barley bread came tumbling into Midinite camp, struck a tent, and it fell.” His friend replied, ”This is nothing less the sword of Gideon…God has handed the entire Midianite camp over to him”. (Judges 7:13-14).
It would be preposterous to think that a simple loaf of bread could roll over a tent. Yet with God nothing is impossible. If we listen for the small voice of God in the world around us, we get the confirmation and clarity of His guidance for us.
Isaiah 30:21 teaches…“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying “This is the way; walk in it”.
Direction from God should be clear and should give us peace.
Gideon finally, with the faith in the Lord, and the fellowship of Purah had his peace. It was time to do God’s work with less than 2% of what Gideon originally thought he needed.
Gideon Attack the Midianites (Judges 7:15-23)
Following God’s instruction, Gideon and the 300 men took three things to battle. A sword, a shield and a helmet. Right? No. They took a bow, arrows and a spear. Right? No. They took a trumpet, an empty water pitcher and a torch. If they did it there way, they would have used weapons and attacked using their strength. And they would have lost. But letting God lead, they submitted to His wisdom. The split up into three groups and in the middle of the night surrounded the camp of Midianites. They began to blow the trumpets, smashed the pitchers and held up the torches shouting…”The sword of the Lord and of Gideon”. God’s Spirit created a confusion and madness that swept the camp. The Midianite warriors set their swords against each other. The result was the 120,000 warriors slaughtered one another. And the remaining 15,000 fled the camp. Gideon and his men pursued them with a larger force and routed the Midianites for good.
Gideon was living out Isaiah 12:2 – “Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid” and Philippians 4:13 – “I can do all things through Him who gives me strength”.
Gideon’s Legacy (Judges 8:22-28)
There are two final critical lessons for us in this story that we need understand and apply to our lives and to our church.
The battle is over and naturally the men said to Gideon in Judges 8:22 – “rule over us, you as well as your sons and your grandsons, for YOU delivered us from the power of Midian”.
Wow. All that work by God and these guys do not give God credit. Gideon is wise. He says ”I will not rule over you, and my son will not rule over you; the Lord will rule over you” (Judges 8:23) Gideon rightly gave glory to God.
Lesson one – our faith and our mission it is not about any human leadership. It is only about Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Our hearts and minds need to focus on entirely making Him the King of our homes and our church.
Scripture tells us in Judges 8:28…”so Midian was subdued before the Israelites, and they were no longer a threat. The land was peaceful for 40 years during the days of Gideon”.
God answered their prayers. They repented and trusted in Him for guidance and provision using only 1.4% of what they thought they needed. He brought them salvation, peace and prosperity.
Judges 8:33-34…”When Gideon died, the Israelites turned and prostituted themselves with the Baals and made Baal –berith their god. The Israelites did not remember the Lord their God who had delivered them from the power of the enemies around them”.
Lesson two – when life is good, things are working well and there are no issues, we forget about God and tend to focus on ourselves, our desires and our wants.
The Israelites knew this lesson well, but ignored it. They knew that life came from God. That all resources came from God. That all blessings (and curses) came from God. His command was simple. Seek Him first, live holy, love and care for others and worship Him alone.
Let’s read from Deuteronomy 8 that was the law that the Israelites had in the Torah…
Deuteronomy 8:11-13…“Be careful that you don’t forget the Lord your God by failing to keep His command – the ordinances and statues – I am giving you today. When you eat and are full, and build beautiful houses to live in, and your hers and flocks grow large, and your silver and gold multiply, and everything else you have increases, be careful that your heart doesn’t become proud and you forget the Lord your God…”
“You may say to yourself, my power and my own ability have gained this wealth for me, but remember that the Lord your God gives you the power to gain wealth…”
So I stand here today asking all of us to answer a simple question as a church… Why type of Gideons do we want to be? Afraid, lacking faith, trying to do it ourselves? Or bold, trusting God and ready to build God’s kingdom on less than 2% of what the world tells us we need when we have the Holy Spirit guiding us, teaching us and caring for us?
Let’s pray together….Father, we give thanks to You, Lord, for You are good. Your faithful love endures forever. Remember us, Lord, when You show favor on Your people. Come to us with Your salvation so that we may enjoy the prosperity of Your chosen ones, rejoice in being Your people and boast about Your heritage. Amen.
Principles for Great Organizational Success
“If the axe is dull, and one does not sharpen the edge, then he must use more strength; but wisdom brings success.” (Ecclesiastes 10:10)
Success in leadership doesn’t usually happen by chance. It is part of a strategic approach to life and business that yields lasting rewards. To walk in a greater level of success as a leader and organization, we must follow these principles of success:
1. Do something different. It has been said that if you want something you’ve never had, you’ll have to do something you’ve never done. Examine your methods of doing things. Are they working? Are you accomplishing your goals? Is your vision being fulfilled? If not, re-think, restructure, refresh, reenergize, your plan and make adjustments as necessary.
Romans 12:2 NKJV – And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”Albert Einstein
2. Don’t be afraid of change. The natural tendency of a person, when they find themselves in a hole, is to dig deeper. Sometimes doing exactly the opposite of what you have been doing up till now can turn out to be the perfect solution. Remember, when you find yourself in a hole the way to get out is to stop digging
Psalm 37:3-4 NIV – Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.4 Take delight in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.
•Reasons Why People Resist Change
1. Fear: The unknown is a threat to people’s comfort zones
2. Insecurity: People may think they will be worse off after the changes
3. Power: People sense the change may cause them to lose power
4. Inertia: It is easier to maintain the status quo
5. Energy: It takes a lot of work to change things
“Decide what you want, decide what you are willing to exchange for it. Establish your priorities and go to work. H. L. Hunt
3. Work harmoniously with others. Our interactions, our responses, our attitudes, all reflect whether we will be successful or unsuccessful. You will never be able to accomplish alone what you could accomplish with the help of others. Don’t isolate yourself from those around you, but connect yourself with those divine relationships God brings into your life.
Eph. 4:1-3 NIV – As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
“Power consists in one’s capacity to link his will with the purpose of others, to lead by reason and a gift of cooperation.”Woodrow Wilson
4. Help others achieve their goals. The principle of sowing and reaping is not just in your tithes and offerings. If you want to gain success, help someone else achieve their success. Many times, if you will minister to someone else when you feel inadequate, you will see your own answer come to you.
Eccl. 4:9 NIV – Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor:
“You can’t help someone get up a hill without getting closer to the top yourself.” General H. Norman Schwarzkopf
“How to Become an Effective, Life Giving Team Leader”
2 Timothy 1:13-14 What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.
Pastors, we must be keepers of the culture. If we are weak on our culture, others will come in and define it for us. Therefore we have the God given responsibility to set the culture.
Culture – Predominating attitudes and behaviors that characterizes the function of the organization.
GOAL – Life Giving Culture
John 10:10 NIV – The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life,and have it to the full.
Some of Our Culture Attitudes at GraceTown….
Churches have barriers to growth – 100, 200, 500, 800, 1000. Although each barrier is unique, there are 3 key factors that apply to every barrier we will face as a church.
1. Inspiring and consistently excellent worship services
•Our services are WELL PLANNED, but feel FLEXIBLE and UNRUSHED. They are upbeat but relaxed.
•We only have 52 Sunday’s a year and every single one needs to count!
2. Clear pathways to Connection and involvement
3. Effective and life giving Structure and administration
Don’t be afraid to lead – rid yourself of the thinking that you are inadequate or unqualified.
Leadership is Influence – John Maxwell
Our day today is an emotionally charged, overweight burden down society that needs LIFE, from life giving leadership!
What Life Giving Leadership Is:
A. Leadership is not a project, leadership is a spirit. People don’t need a position to be a leader.
B. Leadership must give encouragement and confidence
C. Joshua’s Leadership Training –
Joshua 1:9 – “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid, do not be dismayed.”
•God was focusing on Joshua’s spirit before the task.
D. For God to get us to where he would like us to be, He needs us to realize our leadership is more about a spirit than a task. Be strong, inspired, and full of courage, life and purpose. Life Giving Leadership
•Leadership is more than information, communication, and projects. Leadership is spirit
•Remember this – “Your Leadership can be something that people have to overcome, or something that helps people overcome.” – Kevin Gerald
F. It should cause people to lighten up
G. Life Giving leadership is positive and inspiring –
Proverbs 16:15 (message) says, “Good tempered leaders invigorate lives; they’re life spring rain and sunshine.”
H. We will not resort to a negative, forceful, or whiney approach to motivate. This leads to immaturity.
I. To be an effective leader – STAY POSITIVE.
J. Leaders are like an elevator – you are either taking people up or taking them down. Make a decision to take people up!’
Life Giving Leaders are…
1. Life Giving leaders are always growing and reaching to improve their leadership. Take responsibility for your own failures as well as successes. If you keep learning, you will improve, and your leadership will get better.
2. Life Giving leaders are pushing the boundary lines to move beyond what is normal or usual. Leaders are pioneers. They venture into unexplored territory and guide to new and often unfamiliar destinations.
3. Life Giving leaders are risk-takers. They reject the maintenance mentality and take risks from strength, preparing thoroughly, understanding what is at stake, and marching forward with confidence. It is never too late to be what you might have become!
4. Life Giving leaders are resource finders and releasers. They have built a leadership pipeline that finds potential leaders, trains them, and releases them to greater levels of ministry.
5. Life Giving leaders are future-focused and dedicated to do whatever it takes to get there. Their faith capacity has increased to believe that God will provide all that is necessary as the need arises. Their people capacity is increased so that getting along with and caring for people is at the leader’s heart.
Our Commitment each Sunday
Remember Team – It’s a Privilege and opportunity to serve. It’s never asking too much of people to serve.
1. Each person I encounter today is loved by God & needs to feel special.
2. I need to make a personal impact through a smile, a word of kindness or an act of love.
3. I will remember what it feels like to be new.
4. My responsibility is not simply to carry out a task but to engage each person individually.
5. I am vitally important to impacting lives today.
6. I will be in a great mood on Sundays & will not let anyone or anything Hijack my great mood
7. I will be ready to meet any need that arises
8. I will have a sense of responsibility for everything that happens on Sunday
9. I will focus on People and processes
10. During service I will be alert, take notes & be an example in Worship
Exodus 17:8-13 NIV The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim. 9 Moses said to Joshua, “Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands.”10 So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. 11 As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. 12 When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset. 13 So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.
Everybody needs Somebody. Ministry is never meant to be done alone.
All Good Things Flow From Relationship
•When God found you…he found you alone
* When He saved you…he saved you alone
* But He called you into the family of God
* 2 are better than 1
Andrew Carnegie said, “It marks a big step in your development when you come to realize that other people can help you do a better job than you can do alone.”
Helen Keller said, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much”
As an organization and leader we should encourage Flexibility, Change, and Innovation
One of the things that separates winning and losing teams is how the team’s good players are placed. Take a look at what I mean:
The wrong person in the wrong place = regression
The wrong person in the right place = frustration
The right person in the wrong place = confusion
The right person in the right place = progression
The right PEOPLE in the Right Place = MULTIPLICATION
The Power of Partnership
“God is look for people through whom He can do the impossible – what a pity that we plan only the things we can do by ourselves.” AW Tozer
Partnerships at GraceTown will not be a preference but a Requirement!
1. Partnership UNIFIES for Strength
•Partnership works together to support God’s leadership and win the battle – Aaron & Hur
2. Partnership IDENTIFIES opportunities
•Partnership ignores the nay sayers and claim God’s promises – Joshua & Caleb
3. Partnership INTENSIFIES commitment to one another
•Partnership commit to journey together and be spiritually linked – Ruth & Naomi
4. Partnership PURIFIES motives
•Partners trust unconditionally and take risks unreservedly – David & Jonathan
5. Partnership SOLIDIFIES new alliances
•Partnerships take on daunting tasks and refuse to stop until the work is done – Nehemiah and the wall builders
“The main ingredient of stardom is the rest of the team” John Wooden
One person can be a crucial ingredient on a team, but one person cannot make a team. The team player is the one who makes things go – the one who is willing to do and sacrifice whatever it takes to make the team successful.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 NIV – Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor:10 If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. 11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?12 Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
Romans 12:4-5 NIV – For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others
“You can do what I cannot do. I can do what you cannot do. Together, we can do great things.” Mother Teresa
“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9,10)
As a leader, your most valuable resource is the people that you work with. And now, more than ever, an excellent leader must be an effective team player. Here are some important things to remember in order to develop into a quality team member:
1. Demonstrate reliability. People should be able to count on you to do your fair share in working hard and meeting commitments. Consistency is crucial. Your team should be able to count on you to deliver good performance all the time, not just some of the time.
Proverbs 22:1 NIV – A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.
”Action springs not from thought, but from a readiness for responsibility.” – Dietrich Bonhoffer
2. Communicate constructively. To be a valuable team player, you must be able to express your thoughts and ideas clearly, directly, honestly and with respect for others.
Proverbs 13:2-3 NIV – From the fruit of their lips people enjoy good things, but the unfaithful have an appetite for violence.Those who guard their lips preserve their lives, but those who speak rashly will come to ruin.
”The most important single ingredient in the formula of success i9s knowing how to get along with people.” – Theodore Roosevelt
3. Function as an active participant. You must fully engage yourself in the work of your team if you are to be an effective team player. Take the initiative and help make things happen with an attitude of “What contribution can I make to help the team achieve success?”
Proverbs 20:18 NIV – Plans are established by seeking advice; so if you wage war, obtain guidance.
4. Share information. Be willing to share information, knowledge, and experience. Take the initiative to keep other team members informed both formally and on a day-to-day “touching base.”
Proverbs 12:15 NIV – The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice.
“It’s not what you tell your players that counts. It’s what they hear.”- Red Auerbach
5. Pitch in to help. Teamwork involves working with others and acting together to accomplish a job. Good team players figure out ways to solve problems and get work done in spite of differences they may have with one another on an individual level.
(Proverbs 12:24 NIV – Diligent hands will rule, but laziness ends in forced labor.
“There is no more noble occupation in the world than to assist another human being – to help someone succeed.”Alan Loy McGinnis
6. Practice flexibility. Change is the norm when you’re working in a team environment. Good team players flow and adapt to these conditions. They don’t complain or get stressed out because something new is tried or some new direction is being set.
(Proverbs 24:10 NIV – If you falter in a time of trouble, how small is your strength!
7. Work as a problem-solver. An effective team player is willing to deal with all kinds of problems in a solutions-oriented manner. Instead of being a problem-dweller, problem-blamer, or problem-avoider, valuable team members choose the approach of a problem-solver.
(Proverbs 22:29) Do you see someone skilled in their work? They will serve before kings; they will not serve before officials of low rank.
“The best way to escape from a problem is to solve it.” – Anonymous
“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 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, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” Acts 2: 42-47
GraceTown Church purpose statement
“Connecting Seekers to God and to a Community of Christ Followers”
PEOPLE MATTER TO GOD!
People who matter the most:
1. The un-churched (spiritually disconnected)
“”For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
2. The hurting and wounded
Luke 10: 25-37 (Story of the Good Samaritan)
3. The Children
“Then little children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked those who brought them. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:13-14
4. Those who cannot help themselves
“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’” Matthew 25: 35-40
The poor, the stranger, the sick and elderly, and the condemned
FOUR KEYS TO WINNING WITH PEOPLE
1. Caring for people should always precede confronting people.
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? Matthew 5:13
Salt adds something rather than take away something!
“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”
Light doesn’t attack darkness; it replaces it!
2. Do for others what they can’t do for themselves.
“But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.”
“If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?” 1 John 3:17
3. Be the first to help.
Give with no strings attached!
Giving tests the sincerity of my love for God.
Since you excel in so many ways–you have so much faith, such gifted speakers, such knowledge, such enthusiasm, and such love for us–now I want you to excel also in this gracious ministry of giving…This is one way to prove your love is real. 2 Cor. 8:7-8 NLT
4. Common Ground is the best “platform” to preach from.
(Paul) “I have been all things to all sorts of people that by every possible means I might win some to God.
I do all of this for the sake of the Good News.” 1 Corinthians 9:22-23 (Ph)
“…Yes, whatever a person is like, I try to find common ground with him so he will let me tell him about Christ and let Christ save him.” (Living Bible)
FOR PERSONAL REFLECTION THIS WEEK:
WHO WE ARE DETERMINES HOW WE SEE OTHERS
FOUR QUESTIONS WE MUST ASK OURSELVES IF WE WANT TO REACH PEOPLE:
1. Readiness: Am I prepared for relationships?
2. Connection: Am I willing to focus on others?
3. Trust: Can I build mutual trust with others?
4. Investment: Am I willing to invest in others?
Ephesians 2:10 NIV For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
I. God has a call for every person. It’s indispensable for the Christian life
1. The Call to Salvation
a. I Timothy 6:12 NIV – Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
b. I Peter 2:9 NIV – But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
2. The Call to Self Denial, & sometimes Suffering
a. I Peter 2:21 – To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.
b. This is not popular amongst people today. We live in a self preservation society.
1. SELFISHNESS – devoted to or caring only for oneself; concerned primarily with one’s own interests, benefits, welfare, etc., regardless of others
2. Am I willing to put others first? (Mark 9:35) “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.”
a. Matthew 16:24 – Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.
b. Romans 8:16-18 – The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
3. The Call to Serve
a. Isaiah 6:8 – Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
b. The Big Idea: In the world, greatness is determined by how many people SERVE YOU; but, in God’s kingdom, greatness is determined by how many people YOU SERVE.
c. We accompany God on His mission. We are not called alone.
1. John D Rockefeller said, “I believe that the rendering of useful service is the common duty of mankind, and that only in purifying fire of sacrifice is the dross of selfishness consumed and the greatness of the human soul set free.”
a. Salvation call us to “Come unto Him”, But service calls us to “Go”
b. Matthew 28:19-20 – Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
II. When We Serve we live beyond ourselves
•“In my view, people are never closer to living out the teachings of Christ than when they are adding value to someone else’s life. And people who are far from God are rarely more impacted than when they see 21st-Century Christ-followers behaving as Christ behaved.” ~Bill Hybels
•Our nation is fueled by service. The basis of capitalism. Providing of a service
1. Serving others is your ultimate calling.
(John 13:14) “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.”
(Mark 8:35 NLT) “If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will find true life.”
•God will not look you over for your medals, or your degrees, or for your diplomas, God will look you over for your scars of service.
2. Serving others brings absolute fulfillment.
(Hebrews 6:10 NLT) “He will not forget how hard you have worked for Him and how you have shown your love to Him by caring for other Christians.”
(John 13:1) “It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.”
•The Value of serving on a Sunday / It’s a BIG DEAL / changing a life
(Matthew 25:21) “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things so; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”
•Dave Thomas, founder of Wendy’s, once appeared on the cover of their annual report dressed in a knee-length work apron, holding a mop and a plastic bucket. Here’s how he described that picture: “I got my M.B.A. long before my G.E.D. At Wendy’s M.B.A. does not mean Master of Business Administration. It means Mop Bucket Attitude.”
“This is a story about 4 people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody. There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did. Somebody got angry with that because it was Everybody’s job. Everybody thought that Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody would not do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done.” Are you content to let Somebody Else serve?
(Luke 18:29-30 GW) “I guarantee this. Anyone who gives up
anything for the kingdom of God will certainly receive many times
more in this life and will receive eternal life in the next world to
(Luke 6:38 Message) “Give your life away and youʼll find your life
given back. But not merely given back. Given back with bonus and
(Titus 3:8) “I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.
”Do all the good you can, In all the ways you can, To all the souls you can, In every place you can, At all the times you can, with all the zeal you can, As long as you can.” John Wesley
(Proverbs 3:27-28 Message) “Never walk away from someone who
deserves help; your hand is Godʼs hand for that person. Never tell your
neighbors to wait until tomorrow if you can help them now.”
3. I must seize the opportunity & Participate
(Galatians 6:10) “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good
to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of
(Colossians 4:5-6) “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders;
make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be
always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how
to answer everyone.”
(Matthew 9:35-38) “Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
What can you do in your everyday life to help someone? What can you do here on a Sunday to serve ? •”become the glove into which Christ inserts his divine hand.”
•You don’t have to be a seminary graduate, or a college graduate, all you have to be is you and willing.
•I am asking you this morning, step out and make a commitment to be a part of what God wants to do in our Church.
Starting this Sunday at GraceTown Church we will be launch a brand new series called, “HEROES – Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things”. Some of my earliest childhood memories are of the old tv shows of Batman & Robin, Superman, Spiderman, etc…..I’d even put on the costumes and pretend I was them. We all have a fascination with Superheroes. But what will discuss in this series is that ultimately all Heroes have one thing in common, they become heroes when they do something with every ounce of their heart and soul that makes a positive difference for someone else. That is what the Church is all about. What can we do to make a difference for someone else?