You want to be used by God. You want your life to count. You want to change, grow and make a difference. You want to be able to make a difference in other people’s lives.
You need to know that what you say and do really counts. And, you know that, until you know these things, you’ll never be truly happy or fulfilled. There is nothing more miserable than an unhappy, unfulfilled Believer.
So, what can you do to get more happiness, more OOMPH, more juice in your life? What can you do to help your friends find the only One who can fill their inner emptiness? How can you make a difference in the lives of your friends?
First, keep excited about life. One of the first things that helps you to help others is for you to demonstrate that YOU have been helped; they want to see that it works in YOUR life, before they want to get what YOU’VE got.
Jesus had a lot to say about this, about keeping full of wonder. It’s part of what comes from walking close with God every day. When you walk close with Him, life isn’t drab, boring or “same old same old.” Jesus said in Revelation 21:5, “Behold, I make all things new.”
In Matthew 18:3, when he said, “Except ye be converted and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.” See, most people aren’t thrilled about their lives anymore. They’re tired, bored, scared and disappointed. They need to have the seeds of Heaven panted in them so they can become child-like again.
Part of the childlikeness that Jesus was talking about included the friendliness that comes naturally to most small children. It’s only as we get older that we become self-conscious, anti-social and withdrawn.
Many Christians and most churches have lost this quality of childlike happiness and exuberance. In fact, in my experience, ALL Christians and churches THINK they’re friendly. Actually, they’re just marginally friendly, and even THAT’S just to each other! Jesus said that even the publicans, tax gatherers do that.
The moment we become “same old same old,” we’re drifting away from God. It’s a sign that we’re not being renewed, not being transformed, but that we’re conforming to the world (Romans 12:1-2).
If ONE person is left without God, then Jesus says we still have work to do. It’s only NATURAL to share good news and new discoveries. We all like to tell others when we get a new car, or discover a new restaurant. If you’re not telling people how great Jesus is, you must not know.
When you meet Jesus as Lord and have Him in your life, amazing things begin to happen. You always have SOMETHING going on that He’s doing! And, you’ll naturally find yourself telling other people!
The only way to keep a church full of people like this from growing is to get them to be unfriendly and cold. That’s the ONLY way!
God wants our church to keep growing. There are six things to do. None of them are very hard.
First, YOU begin to REALLY believe the Gospel and apply it in your own life. You’ll be trans-formed! Then, you’ll be energized, enthusiastic and caring.
You’ll find that participating in the services, the Men’s Ministry, the Women’s Ministry, Sunday school and other gatherings, are so life-changing, that you won’t WANT to miss them.
You’ll discover that, through your participation, you’re having a hands on opportunity to change someone’s life. That’ll get you feeling alive again.
Remember Andrew, one of Jesus’ first disciples? He got so excited after hearing John the Baptist that he went and got his brother, Peter. Peter ended important disciples.
What generates this kind of enthusiasm? It’s when what’s happening is so life-changing (not just fun), so meaningful, that you want to come back. Your needs are met. Or, you see a real change in someone else. Even if nothing happens to YOU, just knowing it’s happening for someone else makes you want to come back. If you know that you can contribute to someone else’s life, you’ll get excited.
According to 1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4, and Romans 12, EVERYBODY has some sort of ministry. Giving of your time, energy, effort and money to benefit someone other than yourself will actually cause you to grow closer to God and help you to be happy and fulfilled in life.
We have a name for those who just want to get fed, fed and fed. We call them gluttons! That’s not what the Kingdom of God is about. There are no free loaders in the Kingdom!
Second, PRAY for God to send growth. Matthew 9:28, “Pray ye therefore to the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth laborers into His harvest. (Also, part of that prayer is being willing to BE one of those laborers!)
Ask God to show YOU opportunities to make it grow. It’s not praying, “God, send twenty visitors this week. It’s more like, “God, guide my mouth.” Pray for the Pastor, the teachers, the programs, the worship – for them ALL to meet the needs of people.
Third, PREPARE yourself to receive new people. Ask God to remove pride, selfishness and even territorial feelings…”Hey, that’s MY pew!” These pews, and these different jobs in the church aren’t OURS, they’re GOD’S.
Fourth, LOOK around you. Are there any little things you CAN DO, or that the church can do to neaten things up? To make it more inviting? To make it the kind of place a person could feel at home in?
You probably already have some of the answers, and just haven’t realized it. You might be like the little boy doing his homework. He’d been adding on his fingers and getting the right answers, until he came to 10+2. He asked his dad how to do it. His dad said, “Use your fingers.” The little boy says, “I can’t.” Dad, “why not?” Little boy: “Because then I’d have to have 12 fingers!”
Fifth, SUPPORT the church with your faithful attendance and participation. Support the church financially. The only way to get the excitement of serving God is to serve!
You’ll NEVER know the songs and newer hymns if you’re not here enough to get to KNOW them! You’ll never know the thrill of how God is working in people’s lives, unless you’re here and getting to have relationships with finances of the work, until YOU have a heavy investment in it. “Where your treasure is, your heart will be also.”
People in the community really don’t care about our theology (WE do, they don’t.) They care about this: “What do I feel when I come into this congregation?” A recent nationwide survey shows: 1 come because they like the Pastor. 15 come because the Bible is preached. 75 come because they like the ATMOSPHERE in the church. What makes up the atmosphere? YOU do! See what an impact you can make, just by being one of those who are faithful?
Six, ENJOY watching your church grow, and knowing people’s lives are being changed.
Here’s a true story I heard, I think it was reported in a Colorado paper. Chippy, the parakeet, had an accident. His owner was vacuuming the cage, and got a phone call. While on the phone, she heard a “slurp,” and looked at the cage. No Chippy! She got off the phone, opened the vacuum bag, and there was Chippy.
He was alive, but dusty, and looking stunned. So, she ran him over to the sink to get him rinsed off. Of course, the water out of the tap was cold, and Chippy started shaking and shivering. To warm Chippy up, the owner got her hair dryer to blast him dry.
The reporter who covered the story called Chippy’s owner a few days later to check on how Chippy was doing. She said, well, he sits there in his cage, but Chippy doesn’t SING much anymore!” Do you ever feel like Chippy?
Jesus wants to renew you and fill you with His joy and love. Love for God, love for God, love for yourself and love for other people in your life. Then, you can be one of those who makes a difference, a real difference in the lives of others…and in the life of the church!