Not My Problem
It's not that we're afraid or don't know what to say, most of us are just too busy to share our faith.
Morning. David Sorn. Lead Pastor here at Renovation Church.
Thanks to Grant for filling in for our worship pastor Zach Foty…who’s up at Camp Shamineau leading worship for hundreds of high school students this morning
Zach WILL indeed be back with us next week when we start our “Reason to Believe” series.
Well I don’t know if you heard this story in the news a little over a year ago, but I wanted to share it with you.
44-year-old Australian Glenn Ey was in the middle of a relaxing two weeks of sailing down the Australian coast when he got caught off guard by a massive wave during a storm.
The wave cracked his mast and overturned his boat.
Helpless and adrift 270 nautical miles off the coast, Ey activated his emergency beacon, and then waited… Hoping someone could find him and rescue him.
The Australian search and rescue was able to get in contact with an Air Canada flight that was flying in from Vancouver.
They had the pilot take a small detour towards the general area that the signal was coming from.
Then, the pilot lowered his plane to 5,000 feet and made a PA announcement telling passengers what had happened and to “Look out the window, and if you see anything let us know”
Sure enough, a few of the passengers using binoculars spotted the yacht, and then the coast guard was able to find and rescue Mr. Ey
Which…I think is funny…because Mr. Ey… was rescued by some Canadians “Ey?!”
But a thought occurred to me while I was reading this story. ..
I’ve been in enough situations in public now when they ask everyone to do something…that you KNOW…not everyone does it.
And you KNOW that even though this was a serious situation…you just KNOW…that there were people on the plane that said to themselves
“I’m finalizing this business proposal on my laptop…
“I’m just to the climax of my book…. (Jacob or Edward)
“I’m in an aisle seat…it would be uncomfortable for me and for others to look…
“I don’t need to look…someone else will do it. NOT MY PROBLEM.”
You KNOW that happened…because you know humans J
And this morning, as we conclude our Meology series…I want to talk about that exact…and sad phenomenon….except with something even more significant.
All series long, we’ve been looking at the sneaky sin of selfishness.
And how our natural tendency is just to put ourselves first.
But the theory we’ve been working out of in this series is: “Not only is that not what God calls us to do, it’s not actually even how we find the most life…the most joy.
And if we’re going to do a series on selfishness…I just had to talk about the most dangerous place of all to let our selfishness reign.
And that is with the Gospel.
The Good News of Jesus.
The Good News that Jesus Christ came to earth and died on the cross to take our place, and if we believe in Him, we can be forgiven of everything we’ve ever done and have a relationship with Him.
That’s the Gospel.
Problem is…in our selfishness…we love it…but then we keep it to ourselves.
We say, in affect, “Not my problem”
COME AND SEE
But that’s neither rational, Biblical, or (like we’ve been saying in this series) is what is ultimately going to give you the life you want anyway.
The Bible talks of a different way. Look at this great passage from the beginning of Jesus’ ministry in John
(John 1:35-42) – NIV
35 The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. 36 When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!” 37 When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. 38 Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?” They said, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?” 39 “Come,” he replied, “and you will see.” So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. It was about four in the afternoon. 40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus.41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter).
I love the writing here…the FIRST THING ANDREW did was to go and find his brother Peter.
He doesn’t hang out with Jesus and enjoy him for himself for a few years.
1) This is God
2) This is real
3) This is going to change my life
4) I need to tell the people close to me
And then he does.
But look at the next couple of verses…it’s going to happen again.
(John 1:43-49) – NIV
43 The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me. 44 Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. 45 Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46 “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. “Come and see,” said Philip. 47 When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.” 48 “How do you know me?” Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.” 49 Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.”
So Nathanael too meets Jesus and becomes a follower.
But lets go back to verse 46. Because Philip says something really interesting. Look at the second sentence.
(John 1:46) – NIV
“Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. “Come and see,” said Philip.
Come and see.
Andrew did the same thing with his brother Peter. He made him “come and see” Jesus.
And it’s fascinating really. The new Christians of Andrew and Philip didn’t just debate with their friends about God…
They brought them to God.
Come and see.
We can start with showing people that our lives are different because of Him.
We can proceed to maybe even talking about who Jesus is and what He means for their life.
But ultimately…they need to meet Him themselves.
HOW SELFISHNESS GETS IN THE WAY
And this is one of the main tasks of our entire lives. We are here…on earth…to glorify God with our lives and to tell other people the good news of Jesus.
(Luke 19:10) – NIV
10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
And so that is our mission too.
To help people “come and see”.
To introduce them to Jesus.
And yet…most of us do no such thing.
Well, a lot of reasons.
Evangelism is a topic we speak of often here…maybe because there are so many different reasons we avoid it…but one of the reasons is certainly selfishness.
And different shades of selfishness at that.
One of them is simply that we are too busy with our own lives.
For instance, there’s a story about Vladimir Nabokov, he’s a Russian-born novelist, and one of his visits to Utah…
Apparently Nabokov was quite passionate about his butterfly collection.
One evening, at dusk, he returned from his day’s excursion saying that during a hot pursuit of a particular butterfly, he had heard someone groaning down by the steam.
His friend asked him, “Did you go see what the problem was?”
He replied, “No, I had to get the butterfly!”
The next day, it was reported that an old prospector died out by the stream.
It’s a ridiculous story…and we can sit here and say, “What an idiot. How insensitive! All for a BUTTERFLY for goodness sakes!”
Yet, I would ask, is it any better to chase our careers, or money, or success, or popularity, or kids’ soccer tournaments, while everyone around us is dying an eternal death?
What’s the difference?
It’s like the Canadian passengers on the flight from the beginning…the few that most assuredly didn’t look for the yacht…because they were busy.
Their selfishness was covered up by an agenda.
I think so many of us are failing in the area of evangelism not because we’re afraid or poorly trained or wouldn’t know what to say…
But simply because we’re just too selfish with our own time.
We wouldn’t outwardly say, “It’s not my problem,” but with the way we’re prioritizing our schedules and life and relationships…we’re saying, “It’s not my problem.”
It’s not that we don’t think it’s a good idea.
Oh, we do!
But…we’re kind of busy right now.
And in an ironic twist, we sometimes get lost in the selfishness of our own spirituality. All at the expense of neglecting those around us who have no spirituality
I had a fascinating conversation a few days ago with a guy who was telling me about his church
He kept saying, “We do everything like they did in the Bible”
Our titles are like the Bible…elder, deacon, evangelist.
Everybody gets to share a word…like in the Bible
We share things
We meet together often…study the Bible all the time.
And a lot of it sounded really good…and even refreshing to what we see nowadays…
But I had a hunch, so I asked him a question.
I said, “Tell me about evangelism there. Do you see a ton of people coming to Christ?”
And he said… “We see a new visitor once every few months or so”
And that’s the great irony of American spirituality
We can get so wrapped up in our selfish consumerism, that even when we dive into being “just like they did it in the Bible” we can forget the main thing they did in the Bible
Tell other people about Jesus.
The only reason we have Christianity as Americans is because they told other people about Jesus!
According to new research from the “Center for the Study of Global Christianity,” (and this data is just a few months old), 1 out of 5 non-Christians in North America now does not “personally know” a single follower of Christ.”
Worldwide…and this is why we need more people willing to take the Gospel globally…the numbers are much worse.
More than 8 in 10 non-Christians worldwide do not “personally know” a follower of Christ.
We’ve got to move outside of ourselves.
The world is depending on it.
REASON TO BELIEVE
I’m becoming more and more convinced that if North American Christians only rely on the church (or pastors) to do evangelism for them, we are in serious trouble.
It is the basic mission of every single believer to unselfishly pass on the greatest news they’ve ever heard.
However, like most things, there is a balance. It’s not one of the other. It’s not “Church OR Individual.” It’s BOTH.
There is ALSO wisdom sometimes in just simply inviting people to church.
We see this in Scripture.
Many of the early Christians come to Christ because of a sermon Peter gave…or from listening to Paul lecture somewhere.
And these people were invited by friends to “come and see”
Just like Peter was invited by Andrew.
Just like Nathanael was invited by Philip.
Come and See
About 4-5 times a year, we like to talk to you about really strategic times to invite the people God has already strategically placed around you to “come and see”
“Come and see” what God is doing. Come and experience Him and His truth.
For example, next Sunday is one of those Sundays.
Next Sunday we are starting what I believe is the biggest series we’ve ever done in the history of our church.
It’s called “Reason to Believe,” and here’s the basic premise.
Over 5 weeks, I want to prove that it’s actually more reasonable to believe in God…than it is to not believe in God.
There are so many arguments out there that aim to disapprove Christianity…or paint it as unreasonable…or a fairly tale.
And over 5 weeks, I want to intellectually & systematically show that the Christian faith is actually the most reasonable set of beliefs anyone could come to.
It won’t be a set of messages on “just believe” or “just have faith.” We’ll actually be weighing evidence in the balance.
Here are the 5 topics we’ll cover. They are, I believe, 5 of the most common objections to Christianity.
Next week: Did Jesus actually resurrect and how could I trust the Bible’s account of it?
Then: Is there more than one true religion?
How could God exist if there’s so much suffering?
Can a loving God and hell coexist?
Don’t science and faith contradict each other?
These are questions and objections that SO many people have nowadays.
SO many people! You might even be thinking of some of those people right now.
I find that so many people are just one answer away of putting their faith in Jesus.
And I believe there are some people in your life, that if these questions were answered for them…if these stumbling blocks were removed, they’d put their faith in Jesus.
So who is it in your life, that you could say, “Come and see”
Because that’s a valid method of evangelism too. We saw it in the Bible.
“Come and see”
And it’s not just the topics that are going to be engaging….
In late November, right before the world froze over, we went to the University of Minnesota, and filmed street interviews where I asked all of these hard questions to people on the street.
And the footage…is fascinating. Fascinating.
And we’re going to show street interviews every single week of the series.
And to kick the series off next week…there is going to be a live Q&A after each service.
Where people can ask their tough questions.
After the first service, it’ll be in the cafeteria for those who want to attend, and after the second service, it’ll be in here (5 minutes after)
AND…The Dean of Bethel Seminary, Dr. David Clark, who is a genius when it comes to apologetics and defending the faith, will be co-leading the Q&A with me.
Man…who’s God putting on your heart right now to bring to this?
“Come and See”
If you’re not excited enough…I want to show you something.
We’re doing our first-ever commercial on TV this week…advertising for this series…I want to show it to you now.
We’ll also load that on Facebook this week. Maybe you can message that to a friend with an invite…or share it with all of your friends.
I want to say a few more things about next week before I move on.
On your way out today, you’re going to get a packet just like this.
It’s massive I know.
But it’s massive because it’s important…and our postcard is HUGE.
And in the packet, you’re going to find the following:
5 invite cards
And an instructions sheet with tips on how to invite your friends/family
It’ll tell you how to send your postcard to a friend.
About our “1 a day invite card” challenge that I want to challenge you all to do with me this week.
Don’t go to sleep until you’ve handed one out.
How to use facebook, texting, and more.
And then on top of all of this…we want to pray.
And the Bible tells us that the strongest form of prayer is fasting.
So, join us in fasting for people to come to know Jesus during this series, we’re going to do that this week.
Maybe there’s even someone in particular you want to fast for.
It’s going to be a 24-hour fast from 5:30pm on Tuesday to 5:30pm on Wednesday.
Fasting is simply just a dedicated time where you don’t eat…(you drink water)…and then take whatever extra time you have to pray (especially when you would have been eating)
And then, we’ll be breaking fast together at Davanni’s in Coon Rapids at 5:30pm on Wednesday if you can make it.
Also, if you want to try fasting for the first time, we have an informational sheet on it in the hallway you can pick up.
We’d love to have you pray with us.
Because prayer is an integral part of evangelism!
GOD CAN USE YOU
And I believe that God can use you to share His good news.
And the “come and see” method is actually one of the easiest places to start.
All series long I’ve been making this point that when you actually get rid of your selfishness, that you find what you were looking for in the first place when you were being selfish.
Cuz what are you looking for? Most of us are seeking joy, happiness, life.
Now…it’s another message…but really we should be seeking God above emotion
BUT…but…there isn’t anything wrong with those emotions. They are given by God.
And if you want them, the way to them is not through the self, but through the giving of the self.
And nowhere is this more true than evangelism.
As I’m getting ready to lead a team of people from our church to Haiti in a few weeks, I’ve been thinking about evangelism a lot…as we take teams out into the neighborhoods to share about Christ.
And when we first train people on it back here in the states (in fact, we did that yesterday)…you can see the wide eyes in the room…
“Wait…you want me to do what?!”
But, almost every year we go, it ends up being THE highlight for so many
And once again God’s upside-down kingdom wins over our world of MEOLOGY
See, the reality is, you come alive when you share your faith. You don’t die.
Because sharing about God is living with a purpose. With significance. Not just selfishly.
Selfish is safe. But it’s not life-giving.
Because you never get to see anyone else receive life.
Man, there is NOTHING…NOTHING…like seeing people come to Christ.
That’s why we exist as a church.
And I pray, that more and more, it’s why you exist as an individual.
That you could come in agreement with Romans 1:16
(Romans 1:16) – NIV
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.
That we could say with the Apostle Paul, “I’m not ashamed of the Gospel”
“This is the Good news for everyone. If they let Jesus in…it’s going to change their life. FOREVER. I want them to know that.
And you’ve got to know that when you leave the world of MEOLOGY behind…for good theology…for living in the REAL WORLD…where God is king…and life is short…and telling people about Jesus is the most important thing…
When you make that switch…you never know what God will do.
Take Edward Kimball for example. I’ve always loved this story.
In 1855, Edward volunteered as a Sunday school teacher for teenagers at his church in Boston.
One of the 17-year old boys in his class wasn’t a believer---at all.
But Edward felt like he should share Christ with him…and he felt God bothering Him to do so.
So one day…Edward started walking to Holton’s’ shoe store in Boston where the boy worked.
He walked right by it at first…nervous and afraid.
But then he writes, “I determined to make a dash for it and have it over at once”
Just trying to be faithful to God.
He went inside and starting sharing with the 17 year old about Christ and how much God loves Him and that the young man needed to follow Christ
And then right there in the shoe store, at work, the boy gave his life to Christ.
It’s a powerful story right there, but that 17 year old boy….his name was DL Moody.
One of my heroes.
DL Moody was the Billy Graham of the 1800’s…
It’s estimated he gave the Gospel in front of 100 million people before he died.
Which is no small thing in the 19th century
Millions of people came to Christ because Edward Kimball courageously followed the prompting of God…and walked into a shoe store.
And I ask you…what could God do with you?
When we’re faithful to God’s call to put others and their salvation before our own time, fear, reputation, you name it….
There’s no limit to what God can do.
Listen, I’m so excited about what God’s going to do through you and through this church in the weeks to come, but before I step down for the day, we’ve been talking for a while now that we are going to take our annual special offering for Haiti.
SO I want to do that before I step down.
If you’re visiting for the first time today, and you’re like, “Wait, there are TWO offerings?!”
We just do this once a year.
As our church, church-wide, loves to participate in our work in Haiti.
In case you weren’t here last week, let me quickly review what our special offering is for this year.
In just 24 days, we’re sending a team of 14 people to do some incredible work in Lizon, Haiti for the 3rd year in a row.
Most of our work will be out of or at “Ark of Noah by Faith” Church in Haiti
A church we began work with last year.
Our team will be doing a number of things there:
Putting on a VBS for children, doing an outreach service with the Church this year, and doing neighborhood evangelism.
We will also be a number of life-changing construction projects.
We were able to do a few touch-ups on their roof last year…but the reality is…they need a new roof
So…we are going to build them a new roof.
We have some skilled workers from our church going with us, so that’s going to be a huge blessing.
We are also going to build them a roof to their outhouse at their church (which they don’t have)
The things we take for granted, huh?
And it doesn’t just stop there…we’re going to help paint while we’re there.
And also help with their seating. This is what they have for seating right now
Mostly benches. So we’re going to start building bench pews with a back for them. Pretty awesome!
I believe this is a way that we can significantly improve another church’s ministry…and help them…now year round…reach more people for Christ.
What I love about this special offering every year…is it’s another step out of MEOLOGY.
A step that even says…it’s not just about OUR church…God’s work is bigger than that.
Having the roof they have now is both a risk for them, and a potential ministry stopper in the future if it’s not replaced.
This will allow them to continue in ministry, and some of these changes will allow them to provide an environment where they can reach even more people for Christ.
And it’s such a blessing for us to be able to partner with a church…where we can help…honestly in ways they could not do on their own.
All of the projects will cost a total of around $8,500.
The 14 people going on this trip, have already chipped in $3,500 through their trip fees. Which is pretty awesome!
So we as a church, as Renovation Church…as a people blessed by God their King…want to do OUR part to.
So our goal…today…is to raise $5,000 in 1 day.
You’re not giving just to some large organization here. This is something that WE’RE doing. That our team is LITERALLY going to do in just 24 days!
We’ll be able to show updates as we do it, bring pictures, you name it.
It’s pretty awesome.
Is $5,000 a lot of money in 1 day? Yes it is.
And I know it’s crazy, but we can do it. God can do it through us. I know He can. It only takes $20 a person, and ALL of us can help.
And many of you can give maybe even significantly more than that.
In just a moment, we’re going to take the offering, but I did want to let you know that on a logistical note, if you weren’t ready to give today, you can still give online or send a check into our p.o. box (just make a note on it) as long as you do so by Friday…the 31st.
Make checks to renovation church
And if you do want to give electronically for this, you can through our mobile website (renovationchurch.org)…or through the YouVersion App…just make SURE you select the Haiti Missions Fund when you do.
And again, you can up until the 31st.
So let’s just pray, and then we’ll put our trust in God and hope that He can CONTINUE to do incredible things through our church. Here and around the world!
Let’s pray for the offering.
Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN
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