Do You Remember the 1st Car You Owned? *Pastor Matt@ 1ST SERVICE of church plant*
– My first car was a 1978 Opel Manta (see picture). $125, cigarette smoke, torn seats, faded paint, barely ran, but I didn’t care.
– It was MINE. I spent all summer polishing, cleaning, primering, dozens of air fresheners…
– Contrast: “friend” drove parents car, didn’t wash it, etc… “It’s not MY car.”
– His was more valuable than my car, but he didn’t see the value, because he didn’t OWN it.
* Romans 12:11, Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.
– You have enthusiasm because what you are doing has value.
– You are willing to work hard because you care about the outcome.
– I worked hard and with enthusiasm on that first car, not because of its worldly value, but because it had value to me.
– I was the owner, and proud of it, no matter what the world thought of it.
* Are you “owning” this CHURCH, or just “borrowing” it?
– Do you recognize its value, and take pride in its outcome?
– Or are you just renting its services, and seeing it as someone else’s property?
– If everyone had an “ownership mentality”, how different would the life of the church be?
- “Owner” vs “Renter”
– This is a mindset, not the difference between having your name on the title or not!
* An Owner has a committed mindset. A Renter has a temporary mind set.
– Example: The Fire House, Floater vs Assigned to a station. You look at things differently.
– Floater: You bring everything you have with you, and take it when you go. Like a substitute teacher for the day. Just keep “the machine” running.
– You are just visiting for the day. (Goal: Don’t make it worse.)
– Assigned: You have a locker, and unpack because you know that’s where you will always be. You invest in the people you work with, and the station.
– This is your HOUSE. You live there! (Goal: Make it better.)
– This CHURCH is like Your Fire House. Serve here, and take care of it. Be committed to its success!
– Col. 3:17, And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.
* An Owner cares more about the mission. A Renter cares more about them self.
– John 10:11-13, (Jesus says) 11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep.12 A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming. He will abandon the sheep because they don’t belong to him and he isn’t their shepherd. And so the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock. 13 The hired hand runs away because he’s working only for the money and doesn’t really care about the sheep. (Jesus is always the example!)
– An owner is willing to make sacrifices for what they find value in. They stay during hard times, and do the hard work when others won’t.
– A renter leaves when there is work to do, because they don’t see how it benefits them.
* An Owner counts the cost. A Renter ignores the bill.
– Example: When we lived in Georgia and always had the A/C cranked! We weren’t paying the bill so who cares? 100 degrees outside, sweatshirts and quilts inside.
– Now, when the house is cold, we don’t want to turn on the heat because WE have to pay the gas bill! The kids get cold we just say, “Go put on a sweatshirt!”
– An owner is accountable for the outcome:
– Romans 14:12, Yes, each of us will give a personal account to God.
– You will be held accountable to God for how you lived your life, and how you have used your time and resources.
– A renter maintains plausible deniability: (Well, how was I supposed to know??)
– James 4:17, Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.
- This is God’s house, but we are the family that lives in it.
– FVC purchased this building one year ago. Before, that we rented space in the warehouse.
– In the warehouse, if something broke, we would say, “Let’s get Randy to fix it.”
– Now we OWN the building. It’s on US to figure it out! No more “Randy” to dump our problems on. An owner has to step up! (Like the moles, or plumbing leaks, the bills, etc…)
– We invested A LOT into the warehouse. (Built stages, backgrounds, and sound booth, had annual church clean up days, painted walls, and constantly rearranged and straightened the chairs!)
– In the “ownership mentality”, it doesn’t matter if you actually own or rent the house. It’s all about how you approach the things that YOUshould be taking care of.
– Example: Borrow someone’s car, bring it back washed with a full tank of gas. Treat it better than your own car.
– 2 Tim. 2:15a, Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed….
– When the party is at your house, YOU take out the garbage.
– The Host answers the door, finds more chairs, cleans up spills, comes early and stays late. (The party is at their house after all.)
– The Guests simply enjoy themselves. They arrive and leave when it is convenient for them. The guest is not expected to take out the garbage.
– Church is not a party! It is more like “Family Dinner Night”.
– At “Family Dinner Night”, the frequent guest becomes part of the family.
– Family helps out, cleans up, does the dishes, and takes out the garbage. Everyone helps!
– If this is your “church home”, you are not a guest. You are family.
– Feel free to help out, straighten up, pick up litter, take out the garbage…
– Guests are always welcome! But eventually we have to become more than just guests in the house of the Lord.
– Eph. 2:19-21, 19 So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family.20 Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself. 21 We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord.
– “The Church” is the people, not just a building, but how we take care of the building reflects our attitude of ownership in this life of faith, and as a body of believers.
– Example: On vacation this summer, Thad and I helped at church we visited. They asked for volunteers after service to help move some things to get ready for VBS.
– It wasn’t “our church”, but we are committed to the global church, and our Family in Christ!
– This IS Your church! Fell empowered to serve here. You are family!
- Be the Hands, not the Gloves. (*Bring in your work gloves as a visual*)
– Ever notice how you can go through many pairs of work gloves, but your hands never wear out?
– The gloves seem tougher, leather, resilient, but their damage never heals.
– Gloves look like hands, ready for work, but they are just a shell, and have no life in them.
– The hands heal because they are connected to the body. Be the hands!
– Hands are the ones that sweat, blister, and bleed for the mission.
– But with the Spirit of God they will be healed and renewed and ready for more work.
– John 15:1-4, (Jesus says) “I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. 3 You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.”
– “The Hands” are connected to the body, of which Christ is the head. Their strength is renewed as they work because they have the blood of Jesus flowing through them, bringing healing.
– Hands are Owners, connected and committed, they can’t leave!
– “The Gloves”, like Renters, are not connected to the body. They just hang on loosely.
– Gloves end up getting lost, and wear out when used for too much work.
- So today, Are you “owning” this church, or just “renting” it’s services?
– Are you treating it like your 1st car? Or like a car you borrowed from your mom?
- Are you going to take some ownership over this building and its care? Or make Randy do it?
– You aren’t a “guest at the party”, you are part of the family!
- Be the “hands”, and stay connected to this “body of Christ”.
– Allow yourself to be healed and renewed by the blood of Jesus, and the power of the gospel!
– Col. 3:23-24, 23 Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. 24 Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ.
I’ll close with this:
* Pastor Ginny Wolf-Davis (TBCF) said this, “The vison that God gave your Pastor is not just their vision alone. You have to own that vision so that the ministry can continue. Don’t just come to church, BEcome the church.”
– prayer –