And our technology has other limits as well. Paul Harvey reported this week that a man in Hong Kong is suing his surgeon. It seems the man operated on him with one hand, while negotiating the purchase of a car from his cell phone with the other hand.
We are displaced people. We need a purpose which matters.
Most of all, many of us feel that we are failed people. Nearly 60% of Americans think that declining moral values is the greatest problem facing our society.
Every one of us has a story like Peter’s—a time when we failed morally. And so we’re not sure God can use us, or even help us.We are failed people, and we need forgiveness and fulfillment.
Now, here’s the amazing good news: Jesus will forgive us, and use us. If he would forgive and use Peter, he will us. He has a call for us which will give our lives the community, purpose, and fulfillment we yearn to experience. How do we find it?
Listen to Jesus
First, see the sheep. Everywhere you look, you can see people who need Jesus.
Our culture is lost. This postmodern society has no sense of objective values or truth any more. A fashion photographer who worked for Playboy is auctioning models’ eggs over the Internet at up to $150,000 apiece, and we don’t know if this is right or wrong. We have no objective sense of truth or morality.
And we’re not seeking help in churches. 40% of Americans say they go to church, but only about 20% actually do. We’re not sure what they learn when they do go—four out of ten self-professed Christians are unable to name the four Gospels.
As a result, only India and China have more nonbelievers than America.
And our community and state are changing quickly. Do you know the most popular baby’s name in Texas this past year? Jose.
Look around you—what lost sheep can you name?
Decide to help them. We don’t know the future, so we must act with urgency today.
Whose future looked more secure last Sunday than Payne Stewart’s? Winner of the United States Open golf championship, multi-millionaire, recent convert to Jesus, with a wife and two children and the world on a string. After winning the US Open he said, “I’m proud of the fact that my faith in God is so much stronger and I’m so much more at peace with myself than I’ve ever been in my life. Where I was with my faith last year and where I am now is leaps and bounds” (from the PGA web site).
I’m so glad someone saw him, and decided to help him.
We will help you. In this church program year, Park Cities Baptist Church will be more apostolic than ever. More like the church of the apostles, where leaders were equippers, members were ministers, and the entire city was the field.
In this next year:
Our leaders are creating a disciple-making strategy for every age group. They will be evaluated not by how well they did the ministry, but by how well you did it.
We are developing our new member ministry, enabling every member to find and use his or her spiritual gifts, interests and passions.
We are creating a comprehensive strategy for personal ministry training—Bible study, historical foundations, theological and ethical issues, practical evangelism, ministry, and missions. We’ll use the Sunday school, Wednesday nights, Thursday mornings, and the Internet.
We are constructing a media ministry to take the gospel to our community. And we are forming a global missions strategy, helping to build and support apostolic churches across the world. Partnerships in Cuba, Puerto Rico, Mexico are the start.
Perhaps the most exciting of all is Saturday Night, our new worship service which begins in less than three months. Then we’ll have both traditional and contemporary worship, each reaching people the other could not.
Now, know that reaching our community will come at a price. The best is always costly. Peter died upside down for Jesus; we will sacrifice to follow him as well.
Many years ago, Southern Seminary was nearly dead for lack of students and finances. The trustees met, and one said, “I move we let it die. But we die first.” There is sacrifice in following Jesus. But the result is worth its cost.
Are you Peter before breakfast? Jesus calls you to follow him. Are you Peter after breakfast, after a life-changing encounter with the risen Lord? He calls you to help people follow him.
Just one can change the world.
Consider Ron Bronski. Ron was a member of the Bel-Air gang in Chicago. He shot a rival gang member, and would have killed him except his gun ran out of bullets. So he and his girlfriend fled to Canada, and then emigrated to Portland. Ron got a job in a metal shop there, where Christian co-workers saw him and decided to help. Over time they led him to faith in Jesus, and his life was radically transformed. He married his girlfriend, and they had a little girl. Years passed; all was well.
But Ron knew that while he was right with God, he was not right with society. So the fateful day came when he left his family in Portland and returned to Chicago to turn himself in. An atheist Chicago Tribune investigative journalist named Lee Strobel heard about him, and checked him out. He was amazed at his life transformation and sacrifice.
So was the judge, who told him, “I could sentence you to twenty years in jail for what you did, but I’m convinced you’re a changed man. I want you to go home to Portland and your family.” Lee asked Ron what this freedom felt like, and Ron said, “Lee, the judge’s grace is a little like the grace Jesus gave me when he died for me.”
That witness deeply impressed Lee. In time he came to Christ, and then into ministry. Then one day he decided to check on Ron. He called his pastor in Portland, and was distressed to hear that Ron was no longer with his church. But then the pastor explained: he’s pastoring his own church today in the inner city.