Apr 24, 2016 | message-slides
One Hit Wonders
Chuck Allen, Lead Pastor
Radio stations have been filled with songs affectionately known as “one-hit wonders.” From The Safaris’ “Wipe Out,” to Jeannie Riley’s “Harper Valley PTA,” to Vickie Lawrence’s “The Night the Lights went out in Georgia,” music history is littered with singers who thought they’d stay in the spotlights once they got there. For hundreds of musicians with one-hit wonders, however, the glory was short-lived.
Short-lived glory is child’s play compared to our task as fruit-bearing FOLLOWERS OF JESUS. The fruit we produce as followers of Jesus can’t fade away like a dusty Album, 8-Track or Cassette. (If you’re wondering what an “8-track” is, you’re proving my point.) Jesus asked his followers to bear “fruit that remains.”
John 15:5-8 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”
John 15:16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit – fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.
BEARING FRUIT IS HEALTHY, WEALTHY & WISE
It’s a job, because we have to work at it with intentionality, but it’s a joy because we are the recipients of that blessing!
Ask any farmer, and certainly, any vineyard owner. If you’d like grapes during the harvest season, you’ll have to work hard in every other season. The vineyard owner who decides to take a week off, or sleep in every morning, shouldn’t plan on seeing much of a harvest.
And so it is with our walk with Jesus…If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life – As an individual, and as a church body, We must realize that Jesus commanded us to a process of diligent work that will last our entire lives. If we ever expect to fulfill his command to “bear fruit,” we can’t be sporadic in our labor. On the other hand, if we’ll be about the process, the harvest will be unforgettable.
The key is remaining in Christ (John 15:5). That’s where the work is. It’s the work of reading the Bible, understanding the Bible, setting up a regular routine of authentic prayer, and being involved with a dynamic church fellowship on a regular basis. It’s the hard work of trusting God with your time, treasures and talents. It’s the hard work of actually doing what the Bible commands us to do, and bearing the fruit we were designed to bear.
A vineyard owner’s work is never done. Instead, a vine keeper works a cycle of tasks. In the winter, correct pruning will determine the size of the harvest months later. Repairs must be made to the guiding trellises. In the spring, wayward vines have to be cut free from ground, and placed back on the trellis. The summer requires the proper amount of rain, sunshine, and patience. Disease and insects are natural enemies that must be battled in every season. In the harvest season, the work is long and hard – although very rewarding. Immediately after the harvest, the preparatory steps for the work of the winter begin.
“Bearing fruit” has often been applied to evangelism, but it is certainly not limited to winning people to Christ. It’s a freeing thought to remember that each of us is created differently, with a unique blend of spiritual and natural gifts. You’ve got a spiritual “thumbprint,” so to speak, that’s different from mine, and my spiritual thumbprint is certainly different from the next person’s. Add to that thought the development the spiritual fruits of Galatians 5:22-23, and it’s suddenly clear that every effort of producing patience, gentleness, or self-control can be part of my life’s harvest.
It’s a shame to see long-time Christians who have given up developing the gifts of love, joy and peace, patience, kindness or goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. If that kind of empty basket is unsatisfying to us on earth, imagine how frustrating it must be from God’s point of view!
Casual Commitments Deliver Fruitless Lives.
You know why I’m fully committed? You ever seen those dead possums lying in the middle of the road? Those were partially committed possums!” And as he said, “I don’t want to be partially committed.” A casual commitment produces problems in a lot of areas!
In this last teaching, Jesus said it clearly, “apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. (John 15:5b-6)
Churches, including this one are filled to capacity with Casual One Hit Spiritual Wonders
The Greater the Commitment, the More Fruitful our Lives
There are different levels of commitment. When Dr. David Livingstone was working in Africa, a group of friends wrote him: “We would like to send other men to you. Have you found a good road into your area yet?” Dr. Livingstone sent this message in reply: “If you have men who will only come if they know there is a good road, I don’t want them. I want men who will come if there is no road at all.”
The ultimate form of commitment will produce the most incredible fruit imaginable. “If you abide in me,” Jesus told those disciples (John 15:7), “and my word abides in you, ask what you will, and you shall have it.” Is that possible? Sure it is. “Abiding” is “staying.” It’s where you live. If we choose a lifestyle that has constant connection with Christ, the abiding happens. It’s as natural as a vineyard owner working his crop on a year-round basis. There’s nothing extraordinary about a hard-working farmer. It’s normal, actually, to expect that a farmer would plan his entire day, and the entire year, around the farming process. That farmer knows: The greater his commitment, the greater his harvest.
It may take seasons of preparation, planting, watering, cultivating and fighting the enemy, but like a farmer doing the same thing in his fields, the harvest is a natural part of such a process. A church making an increased commitment to bearing fruit will, in due time, see amazing things happen.
Isn’t it interesting that One Hit Wonders are often remembered, but we rarely know the creator of the song? The fruit that we leave in our wake – belongs to God – Jesus made it clear right from the start. He’s the vine, and we’re the branches. The fruit may appear from the work of our lifetimes, but just as a branch has complete dependence upon the vine, we have complete dependence upon Jesus. Never has a branch owned the vineyard, and never should any Christian boast about his or her personal harvest. The branch produces fruit for the vineyard owner. Our fruit is produced for the glory of God.
Imagine that moment when you stand before the God of all the universe, clothed in the grace provided for you, so delighted to stand in a place so perfect, so heavenly, so eternal. The weight of our sin that once felt so great will have been taken away by the gift of the cross. The “fruit” of the life of Jesus will be his gift, in that first moment of eternity, to you! Can we really comprehend the slightest inkling of what that moment will be like?
Imagine one more thing in that same moment. Perhaps the fruit of your life will be prepared, symbolically, for you to present to the Savior who gave everything for you. He gives you the gift of eternity, and you’ll give him the gift of your life’s work.
Our lives are to be so overwhelmed with the power and presence of Jesus that we would never be seen as One Hit Wonders!
You see, a One Hit Wonder is determined by the external source of how people around the globe respond to the music…and music is always subject to the ear of the listener…In our choosing to walk, rest and rely on Jesus, His response is al that determines if we are a hit!
A weekly email from Pastor Chuck. Learn more by clicking here.
Apr 10, 2016 | message-notes
How to Not Quit
• King Solomon built an amazing temple for God.
• After Solomon died, the people drifted from God.
• In 587 BC King Nebuchadnezzar took Israel captive and destroyed the temple.
• For 50 years the Israelites wanted freedom from Babylon and to rebuild the temple.
• 50,000 returned home. They stopped working on the temple after two years.
• They spent the next 14 years building their own houses while neglecting the house of God.
• God stirred them up and they started working on the temple again.
• They stopped again after only 30 days.
“Then Haggai, the messenger of the LORD, spoke to the people with the LORD’s message, ‘I am with you, declares the LORD.’ And the LORD stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people. And they came and worked on the house of the LORD of hosts, their God…” (Haggai 1:13-14 ESV)
They got started. Then they quit.
Before you quit…
1. SPOT THE FIGHT
Identify the thing that is causing you to want to quit. The is power when we face up to it and declare what it is.
“Who is left among you who saw this house in its former glory? How do you see it now? Is it not as nothing in your eyes?” (Haggai 2:3 ESV)
Comparison is when you judge your life or your worth against some standard that God never intended for you to judge it by. For them, they were comparing their current progress with Solomon’s completed progress. It just didn’t compare.
B. A Lack of Progress
They weren’t making progress quickly enough. It had been less than a month – of course there was little progress.
Anything that’s meaningful takes time!
Don’t compare your beginning with somebody else’s ending.
This life is not about competing; it’s about completing the Will of God.
2. STAY FAITHFUL
God is really practical.
“‘…Is it nothing in your eyes? Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, declares the Lord. Be strong, O Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land, declares the Lord. Work, for I am with you…” (Haggai 2:4 ESV)
What do you do when you feel like quitting?
What do you do when you’re discouraged?
God says, “Be strong and do the work.”
Be Strong + Do the Work
Extraordinary people do consistently what normal people do occasionally.
Show back up and do the work. Put down another stone.
The problem is we often quit too early. There are unfinished dreams. There are unreached people. There are ministries that need to be started. There’s a hole in destiny because we haven’t been strong and we haven’t done the work.
Keep showing up. Keep laying the bricks. Keep doing the work.
3. SURRENDER YOUR FUTURE
“The latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former, say the Lord of hosts…” (Haggai 2:9a)
Behind God’s call to “Be Strong” is his promise that He is with us. Not only is he “with us”, he is in us!
You don’t have to rebuild a temple or go to a temple – you are a temple!
“What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God…” (2 Corinthians 6:16 ESV)
“Consider now, for the LORD has chosen you to build a house for the sanctuary; be strong, and do it.… Be strong and of good courage, and do it; do not fear nor be dismayed, for the LORD God—my God—will be with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you, until you have finished all the work for the service of the house of the LORD” (1 Chr. 28:10, 20).
“Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘Let your hands be strong, you who have been hearing in these days these words by the mouth of the prophets” (Zech. 8:9).
“…Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD of hosts. Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain. And he shall bring forward the top stone amid shouts of ‘Grace, grace to it!'” (Zech. 4:6-7)
A weekly email from Pastor Chuck. Learn more by clicking here.
Apr 10, 2016 | message-slides
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- Pastor Chuck
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