Tommy Sparger gave a sermon 2 weeks ago on 'The Unstoppable Church." Along with nearly 1000 other churches, ours is participating in an event called One Prayer that has been going on all June. Go to One Prayer's site to learn more.
In my opinion Tommy's best, most moving, passionate, etc etc sermons are ones where he is talking about the church. His hopes for the church local & global, his disappointments, frustrations and dreams. It's very obvious where his passion lies. It's encouraging to me and what made me realize a year ago where I need to be and what I need to be doing. Because when I hear him preach about the church, I hear my words coming from his mouth; because of this I know how aligned our passions are.
He proposed that the unstoppable church begins and ends with the people in it. That the unstoppable church is made of unstoppable people. He laid out 5 characteristics of an unstoppable person: a person who is blessed by God and then goes and blesses others. His words have been rattling around in my brain-hole for the past two weeks, and they need to get out.
So I'm going to share them with you.
Unstoppable people have a heart that breaks for the same things that break the heart of Jesus. Jesus' compassion is at the forefront of his ministry while he was on earth. Is compassion at the forefront of your faith, your ministry, your interaction with others? Compassion is more than emotion, can people tell you are compassionate by your actions?
Unstoppable people make a difference with their resources. The way God breaks the hold of materialism, greed, etc over your life is by giving money away. God doesn't magically zap you with a generous heart. Your heart becomes generous and molded by what you do. Jesus tells us that where your treasure is there your heart will follow. Generosity that changes you as a person doesn't come from your excess, it comes sacrificially. You feel it. You give up other things for it.
An unstoppable person looks at the world and wants to change what is broken about it. They are not OK with the status quo. They are giving their lives to bringing about the kingdom of God to this world as it is in heaven. They know things can be better. They know the world sucks, and they want to make it suck less. They live in the tension between the way things are, and God's vision for what the world should be.
An unstoppable person is dependent upon God, but not in a passive way. It's the example Jesus gave in John 15. We are branches of the vine. We bear the fruit, but we are connected to Jesus. Apart from Jesus we can do nothing...but connected to him, we are active and non-passive. This works hand in hand with having a healthy discontent. We are active in bringing about God's kingdom, but not through our own power. We work through the power of God's spirit.
An unstoppable person views others as more important than themselves. Servant-hood kills selfishness. Flat out destroys it, and you become addicted to it. Servant-hood is more than volunteering. You serve in your personal life, relationships, friendships, marriages, parenting your kids, professional life, etc etc. You view your administrative assistant as someone whom you need to serve, instead of being there to make your life easier. You make serving those around you a priority. You give to the relationship instead of taking from it.
So how are you doing in those areas? Is God making you into an unstoppable person?
I think that if you stop and look you will find opportunities for God to work in you through all of these aspects.