Wednesday, January 11, 2017

It is time for "MORE" in 2017!!!

“MORE”…This is the word I challenged the FBC Lexington, TN congregation with this past Sunday. We celebrated our 175th Anniversary as a church. It is truly amazing to think that the church where I pastor every Sunday has ministered to and been an influence in its city and community for 175 years. This is quite an accomplishment. This church was leading people to faith in Jesus during the Civil War even though the Union army had taken over the then meager facilities. During the Great Depression, God’s people at FBC still gave their tithes and offerings, did ministry, fed people, and met needs. During both World Wars, men from FBC went to battle and many never came home, but all the while the church continued to do ministry. Through the turbulent 1960s, the affluence of the 1980s, and through the housing market crash in 2008-2009, FBC members showed the love of Jesus to a lost city and community. The same God who was present in 1842 is the same God who is present to day. Much has happened, both good things and bad things, in the church’s 175 year history. Still, FBC is alive, active and growing in 2017! 

Back to the word “MORE.” What I know is this fact: If FBC is to be effective in the future and if we are to fulfill our mission of taking the gospel of Jesus Christ “across the street, across the states, and across the seas,” then what we are going to need from the church members at FBC is “MORE!” The Biblical principle is found in the words of Jesus from Luke 12:48, when Jesus says, Much will be required of everyone who has been given much. And even more will be expected of the one who has been entrusted with more.” 

The principle of “MORE” is a principle that most believers had rather avoid. Far too many “followers of Jesus” come into the church not seeking to do “more” or give “more” or minister “more” or love “more.” Many come into the church seeking to do all of these things “less” and not “more.” On average across our nation and denomination, people are giving the Lord less money, less time, less ministry, and sharing our faith is at an all-time low. As Southern Baptists we are winning “less” people to faith in Jesus, baptizing, and discipling them. How can it be that we are winning less people to Jesus, baptizing less people, and how can our discipleship ministries impact less people each year? Our impact and influence in the life of our cities, families, and country are less. My good friend and former Executive Director of the Arkansas Baptist Convention always said that the purpose of the church and church people is to make sure “More people go to heaven and less people go to hell.” I am afraid this is not the focus of the average Baptist church member in America.

What is the answer? Well not to simplify this too much, but the answer is quite simple “MORE.” We need to spend “more” time in prayer seeking God’s face, sharing with Him the names of the lost, and discerning His will. We need “more” effort and energy spent to sharing the gospel with the lost, teaching them the truth of God’s Word, and teaching them how to live out their faith in Jesus. We need “more” people who will faithfully give of their resources so that needs might be met, ministries might be expanded, and the gospel might go forth. We need “more” people involved in ministry and meeting the needs of their neighbors, friends, associates, co-workers, and family members in an intentional, relevant way. We need “more” people who will start telling the Lord “yes” and start telling the world “no.”

“MORE”…I need to offer “more” to the Lord in 2017! You need to offer the Lord “more” in 2017! Jesus asks us this very pointed question in Luke 6:46, “Why do you call me `Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?” At the end of the day, real obedience to Jesus calls for “MORE!”