Working on a Dream




Monday, June 9, 2014

Fight for the heart of your KING!

We consider this the birthday of the church.

Yesterday, I had the great privilege to preach at a community Pentecost service and during the sermon I built upon the "Birthday theme" by talking about how every great birthday party has 5 common elements. I would like to share one of those elements with you now -after the birthday party is over, you are left with a mess on your hands.

IF you have ever read through the book of Acts, you will certainly pick up on the mess that I speak of. There are people in prison, people falling asleep; then falling out of windows, snake bites and ship wrecks. You have guys being lowered out of baskets from windows and people being stoned to death.  Church work has been, is, and will always be messy!
Similarly, when the fun is over at a birthday party, and it is just you and a handful of people left to do the nitty-gritty, behind the scenes work you quickly understand just how messy party's can be.

Friends, church work is messy. Let's start with these 2 simple facts: The Church is a non-profit, all volunteer organization.
Also, It is made up of folks that generally work 40-50 hours a week, have families of their own, goals of their own, hobbies of their own. People are tired, burned out, and stressed out. Things rarely go perfectly. It is almost impossible to find all the volunteers you need. And the 80/20 rule is more like the 90/10 rule ...

YET in spite of this mess, the church goes on. It progresses.
It moves forward.

The reason it moves forward despite the mess are three-fold: 

1) Behind Us are a cloud of witnesses that serve as our muse. They sit prodding us forward. Some kings, some servants. Some liars, some thieves, some adulteress, some murders, yet we move forward.
Some were queens and some stood next to hungry lions. Some killed giants, while others drove chariots to heaven. Others spoke to dead bones, while others almost sacrificed their son. And then there were others that left their fishing nets behind and let’s not forget about that peculiar fellow that set the world on fire after meeting Jesus on the Damascus Rd. Church history is filled with those that met their end by hungry lions, were starved and persecuted … yet we are still here and we move forward.

2) Behind us lay a cloud of witnesses, but around us all are those that live and breathe and serve as our role-models in the faith.
Here we get to actually see, touch and feel sainthood. We are being lifted up and prodded forward by their faithfulness. The example of perseverance and prayer are before our eyes. Their model of courage and conviction teach us. And godly living is on full display as our tutors.

Finally, behind us is a cloud of witnesses and around us are the living, but in front of us is Jesus Christ. He is the Alpha & Omega, the resurrection and the life. He indwells our hearts and is the One that will return again! The Church joins Him with the task of the single greatest mission that humanity has ever known. Our Leader has been given full authority from heaven and earth and has charged us to spread the Gospel that we may co-labor with Him and save souls.

Yes, friends, the church moves forward because it looks to the future; it is on an onward and upward mission.
Despite the mess, we move forward.

IF you are like me, one of your top 5 favorite movies is Braveheart. Braveheart tells the story of the Scottish warrior William Wallace. In the movie is a Scottish noble named Robert the Bruce. We learn that Robert the Bruce betrays the hero Wallace, yet eventually has a change of heart and continues in the same vein as William Wallace by fighting to liberate Scotland.

What is not known is the sort of historical / legendary ending to his life. The story goes that he died in 1329 at the age of 54. But shortly before his death, Robert the Bruce requested that his heart be removed from his body and taken on crusade by a worthy knight. One of his closest friends, James Douglas was at his bedside and accepted the responsibility.

So the heart of Robert the Bruce was embalmed and placed in a small container that Douglas carried around his neck. 

In every battle that Douglas fought, he literally carried the heart of his king pressed against his chest.

In the early spring of 1330, Douglas sailed from Scotland to Granada, Spain, and engaged in a campaign against the Moors. In an ill-fated battle, Douglas found himself surrounded, and in this situation death was both certain and imminent. 

In that moment Douglas reached for the heart strapped around his neck, flung the heart into the enemy’s midst, and cried out, “Fight for the heart of you king!” 

Today I issue a similar charge ... 
Church, FIGHT for the HEART of your KING!

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