Prayer for the Christmas Play
Without God, the Christmas program on Friday and Sunday will be not much more than a nice show.
What a shame that would be.
So, let’s pray.
Pray this week for souls. The next pages includes the first name and last initial of every guest registered, and no one but God knows the condition of each person’s heart.
When you pray, you’re a “pipe”—a vessel that carries something from the source to its use. When we say, “Let’s reach the world for Christ,” what we should be saying is, “Let’s tell John and Lisa, my neighbors, about Jesus.”
Remember the story about the pastor who invited the lesbian activist over for dinner? She said that she spent probably 500 meals with that family.
Think you’re investing in a lost cause—that friend that you think you’ll never break through to?
Maybe. But don’t limit God. He can do anything.
By the Grace of God I Am What I Am
And it’s not about us, anyway. “But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed.” 1 Corinthians 15:10-11
God is the living water; we are the pipes. God is the way; we’re just trying to be a map. God is the truth; we’re just declaring it.
“I’m Probably the Only One Who…”
It’s human nature to inflate our own role and overlook others’.
“I’m probably the only one who cares about…” and we fill in our strengths: souls, preaching, serving, teaching, giving, needs, people…
But any good we do is by the grace of God:
“Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament…” 2 Corinthians 3:5-6
From Last Sunday’s Morning Sermon:
A friend of mine said this week:
“Everyday evangelism is still going to be better than big day evangelism.”
This big day is what we’re building toward, of course, but it’s your neighbor, it’s your friend, it’s your dad, your stepmom, your uncle, your coworker —those are the people we’re looking to impact with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
How do you expect to change the world if you don’t change the people right next to you?
Who’s “the world?” Some nebulous eight billion people “out there” somewhere?
It’s the kids on Abe’s volleyball team and their parents. It’s Cor and Kristen, Jim and Tanya (they’re already saved), Joe and Lisa, Vaplava and Shrina, Alex and Debbie, Trevan and John, and Rene.
THAT’S the world.
My wife and I want to coach volleyball next year just to be able to rub shoulders with people in our community. It’s a volunteer position that people in our church are doing right now (Rose) with this and other sports.
You might coach your kids softball or baseball or basketball or soccer. Imagine the impact you can have on people!
I had a soccer coach, Coach George, when I was in junior high. He had no clue how to even kick a soccer ball. He was the coordinator of the league and they didn’t have enough coaches, so he filled in.
What a nice guy! I still remember the sound of his voice and some of the nice things he said.
What if Christian moms and dads could be out there in the community making a difference in people’s lives like that?
Imagine if ALL of us were loving others the way Jesus loves them. That’s the grace of God working through you.
For the people in your everyday life:
- You sit next to them every day at work
- You chat over lunches to them about every topic
- You bowl with them
- You have family meals with them
- They are at the same meetings as you
- They teach your kids in school every day
- It’s the neighbor that plays his music a little too loud at night
- It’s the neighbor that parks his car partly in the grass, and it kind of annoys you
- It’s the neighbor that you compete against to have the nicest yard
- It’s the neighbor with the kids about the same age as your kids
- Or your grandkids
- Or your great grandkids
- It’s the people we see every day at the gas pump
- The plumber who fixes our drainage problem
- The electrician who installed that new outlet
- The tile guys who redid your bathroom last year
It’s about people.
Where is your hairdresser going to spend eternity? (Bro. Russo? Just kidding!)
Where is the lady who does your nails going to spend eternity?
Where is TONY from TONY’S SMOG going to spend eternity? I like Tony a lot—I go to him every time I need something smogged. He’s smogged our church vehicles and always remembers us. He has three daughters—all of whom have worked for him over the years—and his last daughter is just finishing up school.
Where is Tony going to spend eternity?
How about your car mechanic? Mine is already a dedicated Christian—Mike and Karen—they are devoted followers of Jesus, honest, and always testifying of Jesus.
Where is your mechanic going to spend eternity?
By the grace of God, you are who you are in their lives.
You don’t want God’s grace to be bestowed in vain. What’s that mean?
Well… God has blessed you. Wouldn’t it be a waste if we just let that END on us? If the river flows to ME and then STOPS—oh what a selfish mentality to know the truth and hold it, but never spread the good news of Jesus Christ to others.
I don’t want God’s grace to ME to be wasted So “I LABORED MORE ABUNDANTLY…”
The grace of God should MOVE us to action. It’s not so that we can GET the grace of God—that’s not why we serve—but because God has shown us his grace. THAT’S WHY we move; that’s why we serve.
If you are doing a lot, remember… I’m nobody special. This is the GRACE OF GOD working in me.
If you are not doing a lot, remember… The grace of God on me should move me to share it with others.
Sermons In Action
Being a doer of the Word and not a hearer only means that you find yourself in the sermon.
I just trust that in an assembly of believers, no one should have to BEG or PROD people to be involved. I trust that when God’s grace truly works in people, it will work through people.
We’ll continue to present the needs and pray for laborers, and I believe God will provide.
Your job, then, is to see the needs and take action as God leads you. If we become a church of The Pareto Principle—where 80% of the results come from 20% of the people—we’re doomed to failure.
The body model of 1 Cor. 12 means we all play a part—albeit different parts—but we all must be doing something.
May we say, “By God’s grace, I can come down and paint some sets, clean up parking lots, bake some cookies, set up tables…”
That’s a good labor for the Lord.
But Just So We’re Clear…
“Yet not I, But the grace of God which was with me.” V. 10
We’re just PIPES carrying HIS grace to others.