On Your Mark! Get Set… – Kenny Rader

kennyGO!!!

Here we are, ready for this year to end and another to begin.  Are you glad this one is about done?  Are you glad to get it behind you and now you are looking forward to next year?  Or maybe you have had such a blast in 2015 that you hate to see it go?

As we welcome the New Year, sometimes we feel like a runner in the starting blocks.  We are crouched in our stance, just waiting for the gun to go off.  The clock ticks down on December 31st.  And then it happens!  The clock strikes midnight and we burst out of the starting blocks ready to run a sprint or maybe a marathon through 2016.  We are ready to make a difference in 2016.

Ho hum

Maybe that is how you start every year.  We get all excited about the New Year being different, yet we don’t make much effort to impact the outcome of the year.  Do you remember when you were a child and everything was exciting? You were thrilled with the dawn of the coming year.  You stayed up late and rang in the New Year.

And now?  Have you stopped partying?  Is the New Year just another year?  Are you tired of all the hoopla?  Are you out of energy?  (This sounds like a commercial for a super-duper vitamin, doesn’t it?)

Do you know that most of the time, the amount of energy we have is dependent on our attitude and outlook?  When we are not excited about something happening each day, we run low on energy.  Ho hum.  It’s just another boring year beginning.  Nothing will change.

What about this year?

Can this year be different? This year let’s begin dreaming of what God really wants of us.  Are you tired of things as they are?  Then let’s do something about them.

Most people go through life and only wish things were different.  They change what they can change with money and hard work, but God warns us against putting our trust in material treasures.

19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. – Matthew 6:19

Rather, Jesus tells us to shoot for the stars.  That is, aim for heavenly things.

20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. – Matthew 6:20

We have lost our focus. Most American Christians have lost our focus, yes our focus.  Read the Bible, and listen to what God tells us.

We have lost our focus.

Most American Christians have lost our focus, yes our focus.  Read the Bible, and listen to what God tells us.

One day, Jesus’ disciples failed to heal a young boy, but Jesus had no problem healing him.  This confused His disciples and they wondered why they could not heal the boy.

20 He [Jesus] replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” – Matthew 17:20

Do we believe it?  That is the question.  Do we believe what Jesus said about moving mountains?  Okay, so He didn’t mean that we are to move a physical mountain.  But Jesus did teach His disciples to put more trust in Him to accomplish what needs accomplished.  We don’t have the need to move a mountain, but we do have the need to grow His Church. In that, we have lost our focus.

He never said it would be easy.

Jesus said that it would be the opposite of easy.  It would be difficult.  With the image of a runner in mind, we might picture the runner tripping and falling.  But dedicated runners want to win the race so they pick themselves back up and run again. The race is hard.  Life in Christ is to be hard.  Following Christ might even cost us our lives, but that is not how American Christians live their lives as a Christian.  We teach it, but we don’t really live it.  Do we even believe it?

Jesus predicted His death.  He said He was going to die and Peter said, “Never Lord” (Mt. 16:22).  Jesus turned, looked at Peter and told Satan to get behind Him (Mt 16:23).  Here is what follows in that conversation.

24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. – Matthew 16:24-25

The bottom line

American Christians only talk about taking up our cross and following Christ.  You and I are American Christians and we’ve lost something from the true meaning of the Bible and its purpose.  We have told Jesus that we are too busy to truly follow Him.  We have told Jesus that we are more interested in worshipping than obeying Him.  We want to follow, but not to the extent of cross-bearing.

Many people here at RCC are too comfortable.  Several here at Rousculp have stated that they like a small church.  Really?  Is that what the Bible teaches?  What Bible are you reading?  Let’s get more pointed. IT IS NOT BIBLICAL TO BE A SMALL CHURCH!!!

Several people here are afraid that they will not know everyone in a large church.  Those same people don’t know the person who sits across the aisle from them now, so why are so many worried about not knowing another 100, 200, or 5000 people?

Let’s read the words of Jesus.

19 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.”- Matthew 28:19-20

Jesus said, “Go.”

If we go, people will come.

When they come, we will grow.

The bottom line is that we have to grow in numbers.  Spiritual growth certainly cannot be left out, but spiritual growth without action is dead faith (James 2:17).  We need more action outside the doors of this church building.  We need more action outside the doors of our homes. We need more action at sporting events and at work.

Let’s not make this another typical year for ourselves or for us here at RCC.  We are in the starting blocks of the New Year. So, what is your attitude?  What are you expecting of yourself this year?  Jesus expects us to grow spiritually, but equally, He expects us to grow in numbers.

On your mark!  Get set . . . GO!!!

Love you & God Bless

Kenny

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