Making a Difference- 1/5/15 Sermon at LMPC

Galatians 6:9,10; Mark 9:35?? ?A? Year to Make a Difference? 1/4/14 Lake Murray Presbyterian by Dr. J. Ben Sloan

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Let us not grow weary in well doing.? For at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.? Therefore, as you have opportunity do good to all people, especially to those who are of the household of faith.? (Gal. 6:9-10) Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.”(Mark 9:35)


Twenty five years ago now (2/14/1990), the Voyager 1 spacecraft was the first to leave the solar system.? It was turned around (at?Carl Sagan’s request)?to make a last picture of the earth from outside our solar system.? Earth looked like what Carl Sagan called ?a pale blue dot.???Sagan then began?talking out of both sides of his mouth- saying that we are insignificant and what we do makes little difference.? But at the same time he was saying we should make this the best place we can- not giving us a reason or a standard for how to do that.? On the one hand he said that this is our home and on the other hand Sagan held out real hope for colonizing another planet one day to escape our home.? An article a few weeks ago in the Wall Street Journal by Eric Metaxas (12/25/14) pointed out Sagan gave two criteria for planets having life when it should have been 200+.?Perhaps we are more significant than first imagined.? But it is not how big or bright our planet is that makes?us significant.
The good news of the Gospel- is the good news believed in faith.? It is faith that God not only made us- He sees us- and cares for us.? The message of Jesus Christ is that we are significant to God- enough to send His Son to earth.? We do not need to think we are insignificant- or that God cannot see us or care for us.? The greatness of God is that He is able to not only list us and know about us- like some computer can today- but He can and does care for us.? We are significant to Him.? He calls us to live significant lives right where He calls us to be.

  1. BELIEVE GOD CAN AND WILL USE YOU- LOOK FOR OPPORTUNITIES- Galatians 6:9,10 Weariness is the enemy of faithfulness and creativity. If we just do not give up- we will reap a harvest.? We were talking about this at the Men?s Breakfast the other day.? There were times in this church when, as one person said, they had to decide to either pay the light bill or the preacher.? The reason we have a testimony today is you did not give up . More than that you looked for opportunities to do good.? This year, God will give you opportunities both here in this church- here in this community- in your family- in your workplace- and maybe even in the world to do good for God- for His glory- for His name.? Look for them.? Claim them.? Then muster your God-power your God-given ability and do them.? Look for an advantage to serve or witness for Christ.
  2. HUMBLE YOURSELVES TO SERVE OTHERS- Go out of your way for someone else. Think- who might could use my help- maybe a nephew or niece; maybe a cousin or sibling. The Great God who is so far above us that our whole planet looks like a pale blue dot- has come down to show He cares, to humble Himself even beyond our imagination. We become closest to God in example when we humble ourselves.? Jesus said we must humble ourselves like little children.? Children must listen. When we become like children- humbling ourselves instead of elevating ourselves- ironically we become significant in God?s eyes. ???? Jesus said if you want to be great in God?s kingdom, we must learn to be the servant of all.?? Jesus was first and Jesus became last.? He was born in a manger.? He had no home.? He said foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.? He died with a slaves towel and the innocent humbled himself to die the death of a slave and was placed in a grave given to him for he didn?t have any money to buy it.? This is the example Jesus sets for the disciples and for our own officers. ???? Some of the most beautiful sights I have seen is some of you- working at GOoDWorks- helping people who cannot help you in return.? Or so many of you volunteering to help children with the children?s building.? It is in helping the insignificant that we become significant with God.? Ironically, you might think that it?s the celebrities who lead the happiest and most significant lives.? Knowing someone?s name somehow makes them ultimately significant.? But I?ll tell you this- the most significant people right now will be forgotten in history.? The Warren Buffets will be forgotten as the richest people of Persia are forgotten by most today.? The government leaders- all the cabinet leaders and supreme court members will be forgotten.? How many of the smartest of us cannot remember the supreme court members just 30 years ago- in our own lifetime?? We act as if the significant to the society will be the significant for eternity but that is not true.? Some act as if we can change law for the worst as well as for the good we will be significant.? What counts is what you did for the name of Jesus.? Are you significant in God?s eyes.? Jesus took the widow who put in her last mite and made her significant.? Jesus took the prodigals, the sinners who came back to serve Him- and made them significant. ???? Think of it like a light wanting to find a lasting power source to keep your light- your signal burning.? If you think you are plugging into a great source of energy- and you?re plugging into a battery that will last 12 hours- you will be disappointed.? If you plug into a generator that will last a week?you will be disappointed.? But if you can plug into an unlimited energy source- you will last.?? Your light burns forever when you plug into God, and serve Him.? You become a light- a significant part of the significant light when you honor God.

III. SERVICE IS WITNESS- The use of deacon- find deacons witnessing everywhere. ????? This year, 2015, as a church we will be talking about how to make a difference for Christ in our world.? We will do this in many different ways, but we will specifically focus on service and witness.? These two things go together.? As we serve God and each other- we are witnesses for Him.? As we are witnesses for Him we are serving God.? As we help others in Christ?s name we are witnesses.? As we speak and invite we are serving the people we speak to and serving God.?? ????? There was a blogspot that came out last week that said that being homeless is going to be illegal in 2015.? It said the government will be shipping the homeless to a shelter outside the city limits that it built that would hold only 250 when the population of the homeless is over a thousand in Columbia.? I read the comments the public wrote to this article.? A couple of them were caring about the homeless, some were defending the government.? Then I was shocked to see that one person said, ?Let?s take away the tax dollars from the churches and that can fund the homeless shelters!?? I thought- that person has no idea- that the only alternative to the small government shelter are the church shelters- like the Oliver Gospel Mission and the Salvation Army shelter or Christgate.? Do you know we (LMPC) have been paying the mortgage for the Christgate Shelter for many years and this year we also paid the insurance?? People don?t know this.? Where are the atheist shelters? We have Christgate- but where is atheistgate? The church is important for many reasons- but one reason is we help people- we serve people.? We help them physically but we also help them spiritually.?? ????? I want to encourage you to plug into church- join the church- give to the church- serve with the church- for the glory of God.? Make a commitment to Christ as a part of your service to Him.? Give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, make the most of every opportunity.

Whether we see ourselves as a pale blue dot or speck in the universe or whether we look at ourselves as a huge conglomeration of atoms and molecules makes little difference.? The truth is God calls us to do something right where we are. The world and people may (and will) tell you that you are insignificant.? But do not believe them.? God made you in His image.? Christ came for you and died for you out of love.? This means life has purpose, meaning and hope.? What we do, when we do it for the higher cause of God’s glory makes a difference for eternity.? Look for those opportunities to do something for God in 2015.? Join us here as we try to make a difference in our community, in our world and in our lives.

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