Welcome back from the summer
As we come back, it’s a very different time from last year
ReFocusing’s over; implementation just starting
New challenges – financial deficit; busyness; implementation; heightened expectations
Regrets – some mistakes; lost people; some hurt
I’ve been thinking of how to kick off this year; I believe God has led me to something he wants me to communicate today.
As I was preparing for today, my mind went back to one of the low points of my summer.
Camping – the joy of having a Sunday off
Woke up Sunday throwing up; spent the entire day sick and sleeping
Negative thought cycle – when I was sick, everything I thought of was too much to handle; wanted to die
It’s a serious thing to lose heart. When we give in to circumstances, give up, we lose our effectiveness and influence those around us.
Does anyone here have challenging circumstances? Do churches ever reach that point at which it’s easier to lose heart, give into discouragement?
It’s possible for people – and churches – to do this, and to stop living long before they die.
Personal story: wanting, at times, to give up when challenges come
Today’s passage is for you, for me. Turn to 2 Timothy 1:5-7
Timothy was a young, timid pastor in a challenging situation. He had a good spiritual heritage, and special gifts from the Spirit to enable him to serve the church. The problem was that Timothy had lost heart.
I know that you sincerely trust the Lord, for you have the faith of your mother, Eunice, and your grandmother, Lois. This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. (2 Timothy 1:5-6)
Question: Why have you lost heart?
What I know about you
God didn’t make you to lose heart, to give up
That is why we never give up…So we don’t look at the troubles we can see right now; rather, we look forward to what we have not yet seen. For the troubles we see will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)
God didn’t make you for easy circumstances.
John Ortberg: “When in revelation has God ever given a leader an easy assignment?”
I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)
Timothy’s circumstances were caused by a combination of his personality, criticism, and opposition.
When we allow fear and doubt to extinguish the gifts God has given us, we not only lose our effectiveness, but we affect those around us.
“Fan into flame” = rekindle the fire and passion of giftedness that God has given you
“The tendency of fire is to go out. Watch the fire on the altar of your heart.” (General Booth)
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. (2 Timothy 1:7)
I believe God has called us to three areas of focus this year:
“Then he said to me, “This is what the LORD says to Zerubbabel: It is not by force nor by strength, but by my Spirit, says the LORD Almighty.” (Zechariah 4:6)
The way our church will prevail is not by our abilities or strengths, but by God’s power.
“A final word: Be strong with the Lord’s mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies and tricks of the Devil. For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against wicked spirits in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:10-13)
“There are three things that will endure-faith, hope, and love-and the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13)
Recent book – “Love is the Killer App“
There is never a reason not to love. Love is the first commandment, the mark of the church.
1 Corinthians 13 was written not in the context of marriage, but of church life
“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)
“Don’t grumble about each other, my brothers and sisters, or God will judge you. For look! The great Judge is coming. He is standing at the door!” (James 5:9)
Self-discipline = the power to keep oneself in hand, free from distraction and hesitation
Often the deciding factor between and success and failure
At Richview: following through on commitments, implementation and communication
MY LIFE – ACTION STEPS
You probably already know what it takes to rekindle your flame. Most fires go out by neglect. Fanning the flame is a choice.
What specific action can you take to rekindle the flame of your giftedness?
Remember when you received the gift, discovered when you had it.
Remember when God used your giftedness.
See the situation with fresh eyes, as if it’s your first day.
Remove influences that extinguish your flame.
Get right with someone
Refuse to join with others who grumble
Give God the best; giving; refuse to give in or give up
Make a practical action step.
I am my church . . .
My church is composed of people like me. We make it what it is.
It will be friendly, if I am.
Its pews will be filled, if I help fill them.
It will do great work, if I work.
It will make generous gifts to many causes, if I am a generous giver.
It will bring other people into its worship and fellowship, if I bring them.
It will be a church of loyalty and love, of fearlessness and faith, and a church with a noble spirit, if I, who makes it what it is, am filled with these traits.
Therefore, with the help of God, I shall dedicate myself to the task of being all the things I want my church to be. (Anonymous)