Wed night, Dec. 5, 2018

Wed night, Dec. 5, 2018

The Gift production could potentially bring 800 people per performance. Many of these are born again but some are not. At end of production in 5-8 minutes I will give an evangelistic invitation. Many have never heard a preacher give an invitation.

Invitations in preaching are not always common. Only about 150 or more years old. When preachers preached people would linger at end to speak to the preacher, or mourners bench, or a public repentance was given.

Before all that happens God is dealing with a person in mysterious ways.

You tube scene from Sergeant York “words to live by”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kkLmLWbh1eY

God is a work in everyone’s life before they get saved. He speaks to them through nature, through other people, through the Bible.

-        Many people cannot read the Bible – yet that does not hinder God from reaching them.

-        Can you remember ways God was getting your attention before you surrendered to Him as Lord?

Then there was that moment when you said yes to Jesus. It may not be like everyone else’s way but God and you both know that precious moment of spiritual birth. Take a look again at this old movie at this man’s moment of conversion.

Sergeant York’s conversion: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ey5ANe6f2qY

Some people it is a quiet birth. Others it is loud and obvious.

How many of you would say your spiritual birth took place at a church?

Where were some of you born from above?

Me – a pic-nic table at Paris Island just inside the gate at MC recruit depot. It wasn’t loud, only one person present. It was not obvious to me until people started saying you are different- what happened to you?

Some of the ways I started noticing a difference was:

1.   I had a desire for spiritual things. – started going to churches. Reading the Bible – memorizing scripture – spending money at Xn bookstores!

2.   I had a joy I did not have before. I really loved God.

3.   IT grieved me to hear people using God’s name in vain.

4.   Started wondering about the people around me – were they saved or lost? I tried witnessing but did not know how.

How did you begin to notice the difference that you were saved?

At the end of each production I give an explanation of the gospel and then invite people to make a public stand before God and men about their faith in Christ.

-        Some respond for the first time.

-        Others respond in re-dedication.

-        Only God knows their heart about this.

I would like to have 6 people as altar counselors for each production.

These counselors would be people who would be friendly and stand up here with me at the end of the production ready to receive people who respond to the invitation given. In fact, the moment when I ask people to come forward I would like the altar counselors to begin moving to the front first and stand here ready to receive people. I will continue to encourage people to come and speak to you.

What do I do?

-        Smile and be welcoming.

-        Ask them why they came forward.

-        Ask them if they would like the pastor to call them. If so then get their name and information on a card and give it to pastor. If not then

-        Give them the materials we provide you.

-        Pray for them if they want you to.

Anything more than this I will be there to help you or better yet, the HS will help you.

I need 6 people (or couples as one) for each production night:

Friday, December 14th at 7 pm

Saturday, December 15th at 3:30 Matinee

Saturday, December 15th at 7 pm

Sunday, December 16th at 7pm

For some of you this would be a very scary thing to be an altar counselor. Actually you are the ones I and I believe God wants to do this. You will have to pray and depend upon HS to help you r

Ill. I was the youngest deacon (age 24?) in a Baptist church. The Pastor was going to be away on a Sunday night and asked any of us deacons in a deacons meeting if we would like to speak, teach, preach to the church. There would be two maybe 3 and each would have ten minutes. Pastor went around the circle of chairs asking if any of us deacons would like that opportunity. He went around the circle the first time and I said no, but in my heart I knew God was telling me to say yes. He had one but he needed at least one more. Again he went around the circle and when he got to me I still said no. I was so insecure. I knew if he asked me again that it would be God. He paused and asked me again, “Are you sure, Gary?” I hesitated but then said yes.

Little did I know that faint little yes was a start in moving in the direction God had for my life. I don’t even remember what I talked about for ten minutes that night at church but saying yes and overcoming my fear and insecurity that moment was huge in my own life. No one probably remembers that but me.  

          This brings me to a word I need to speak tonight.

In Zechariah (known as a minor prophet) in Bible.

Background: Jerusalem had been conquered and fallen to babyloniah Empire. Now Persian Empire conquered Babylonians and Jerusalem was destroyed and walls broken, the temple was destroyed.

          But now with Persian empire the Jews were allowed to rebuild Temple. Prophet Zechariah was a young man hearing the word of the Lord.

-        Man named Zerubbabel was reconstructing Temple.

-        Lot of opposition and people were getting discouraged.

Prophet Zechariah has a vision of golden oil and lampstand.

PIC of golden oil and lampstands:

Zechariah asked, “What does this vision mean, Lord?”

And He said to me: “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,” says the Lord of Hosts.  

“Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will be made level ground, and he will bring out the cap stone amidst shouting of ‘Grace! Grace to the stone!’’. . .

          “FOR WHO HAS DESPISED THE DAY OF SMALL BEGINNINGS?” Zech. 4:4-10

Nobody starts where they end. Between where you start and where you end – there is a lot of life journey to get you there.

I didn’t begin preaching that day. It was not even a thought to me but it was to God. I did not consider that day and those ten minutes of my first time even standing before a congregation as a beginning – but God said it was a start.

          You have to learn how to fit in before you can learn to stand out. Many people are wanting to stand out and be noticed before they learn to fit in and just be part of the body. 

Whenever God does something big in your life – it always is so small at first you probably didn’t even notice it.

God’s best work always starts small.

I encourage you to consider the small things God may be doing in your life that no one but you and He notices. It’s not for public display.

God has a way of moving you into your purpose: God uproots your plans and life – sometimes some pleasant things, sometimes some painful things. He knows how to get you to your place.

“Despise not small beginnings!”

Just to agree to be an altar counselor may be a beginning for you. You might not even have anyone come up to you and that is okay. As long as you say “Yes” to what God is telling you to do.

I don’t believe anyone (including me and Pam) can remember anything I said that Sunday night my first time speaking before a church for 10 minutes. But that is okay. All God wanted me to say was one thing.

“Yes Lord”.

-        He never expected me to preach with eloquence. He never expected me to be able to capture people’s attention. He never expected me to fall under an anointing and speak powerful words like Peter on Pentecost.

All He expected from me was to – Start. He may give you a vision of being up here preaching. But He seldom gives you a vision of the steps in between or how long it will take you.

-        I’ve learned not to expect success too fast. Ill. How many steps up to this pulpit? Big steps will hurt you.

-        “Despise not small beginnings.”

I’ve learned God works through a process.

David said, “It was good for me that I was afflicted.”

          Ill. I look back and now realize it was good for me to go through times we needed groceries. It was good for me to look for change to get enough gas to go to church. It was good for me to fail at some things I was not suppose to be doing with my life.

-        I’ve learned the journey is God getting you ready to handle what He wants you to have.

I am talking to someone here that God has been impressing on you that He has something He wants you to do. You are afraid. You don’t know how to even begin to do this. Here’s how. Say this to Him.

“Yes, Lord.”

Then no matter how small an act of obedience it is – just do it and remember.

“Despise not small beginnings.”

It may be so small no one even notices what you are doing. But you and God both know  - you started. You made a move in the right direction. At least you started.

Concl: Some people will respond during the Gift and all they are doing is making a move towards GOD. MAYBE THEY DID NOT GET SAVED EVEN THOUGH THEY SAID THE PRAYER. ONLY GOD KNOWS WHY THEY RESPOND TO MY INVITATION. BUT HE KNOWS.

          I may not get them to come back to church, be baptized, etc. But make no mistake God is doing something in every person who makes any kind of move towards Him.

Even those who don’t respond but at least come to the production. “Despise not small beginnings.”