I have prayed and thought very hard about what to preach on this week. Nothing was coming easy because there was so many disconnected things I wanted to say as we prepare for next week to be our last week at Oswego Christian. And so, I decided to just go with it. I’ve looked through the cabinets of my heart and these are 5 things I wanted to bring out of those cabinets to share with you. I hope it challenges and encourages you. Need prayer? visit my.oswegochristian.com/pray to post a request.Subscribe to our podcast on your phone to automatically have new messages downloaded weekly: in iTunes (http://my.oswegochristian.com/iTunes) or Android (http://my.oswegochristian.com/Google)
OPENINGILLUSTRATION: Husbands, have you ever been looking for something and your wife says this, “it’s in the cabinet?” I think there is a secret wife handbook about how to frustrate your husband because in our house there are literally 25 cabinets. I will even try to clarify, “which cabinet” and she will say, “the one in the kitchen…” Are you serious? Ladies, we are not smart people. All we require as men is steak, a recliner, and a tv – we are not complicated. I will finally give up looking through the cabinets and I’ll say, “babe, I can’t find it…” and in that moment, she comes in and opens the right cabinet and “ahhh, there it is…” and they always end with “that wasn’t that hard, was it?” You know, I always act like it wasn’t, but lets be honest, I’ve been looking for 30 minutes tearing apart every inch of the house looking for that, it wasn’t really easy…
I have spent all week looking through my spiritual cabinets to try and decide what to preach this week. The reality for me is this is not easy. There is so much that comes to my mind, and most of it doesn’t connect into one cabinet…
So, if you would allow me, I just kind of want to talk to you all, I want to open some different cabinets and share my heart…
The First Cabinetso, I’ve learned that in the church, if you leave a fill in the blank empty in leadership that people will fill it in with whatever they want.
I’ve had people say off hand things like “I hope we didn’t mess something up” or “we must have done something wrong”BI need to tell you, that’s just not the caseBCabinet 1: I’m not running from something, I’m going towards something – the call of God
Let me explain what I mean and hopefully fill in the blank
ILLUSTRATION: About a year ago we went on our yearly retreat out to Wyoming. We were driving home that day and everyone in the Suburban was knocked out cold. I was in the flat plains of Colorado on the Eastern side and it was beautiful, the sun was hitting the yellow of the cut wheat and I was just praying. I can’t tell you what it was, it wasn’t like I heard a voice, but I felt very much like God was telling me that my time at OCC was not long. I literally started crying while I was driving. When Jenni woke up I told her about it, but I didn’t feel like I had a next step or what I was supposed to do. So, I came back home and tucked that away and just pressed on in ministry.
There have been a ton of ways God has confirmed for us that we are making this move with His blessing, did you hear we got a buyer for our house in less than 24 hours?
We know it’s hard, but I believe God has something and somebody incredible for our church here and that He is preparing that person right now as we speak. B We deeply love Oswego Christian Church and will always look at this place and each of you as our family
The Second CabinetI want to speak for a moment to those of you who have just become disciples of Jesus in the last 5-6 years. It has been SUCH an honor to be your first pastor and to get to baptist so many of you. I love you all dearly.
But I need to tell you something, if you love me and want to honor me, the best way you could do that is not to leave or go find another church or worst of all, stop going to church at all.
When Paul was speaking to the Corinthian church he said these words talking about the type of ministry a pastor builds with…
1 Corinthians 3:12-1512 If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 14 If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.
Some of you have already gone through fire in your faith and it has been a true honor to stand beside you as you followed Jesus through it. My plea to you is
Cabinet 2: Don’t give up doing good for God and being a part of the body of believers. B The church is SO much more than hearing a sermon and worshiping. The church is the power of God on earth – His people, unified around His mission B Don’t forsake being with God’s people.
My work here is about to be tested and my prayer is that it will be shown to have been built to last that test – you are the work of my heart, and I’m begging you, keep following Jesus, He’s who you need.
The Third CabinetNow to those of you who were here before I came and have allowed me the privilege of being your pastor, I want to speak to you.
ILLUSTRATION:Last Sunday after I shared the news with you all, I had a hard time keeping it together. Miss Annetta Henry came up to me and said something that was really powerful. Annetta said to me, “We don’t need a pastor, those of us who’ve been here for ever, we need someone like you who would go after the younger people who aren’t going to church.”
Annetta, I love that you get it.
One of the things I’ve been so impressed with this church is your willingness to embrace new experiments for God.
To those of you who have embraced Oswego Christian as your church for a long time, let me challenge you with something.
Cabinet 3: Don’t stop giving up your preferences to reach those without a spiritual reference
They need you. I wonder, when you get to eternity and you stand before the judgement throne of Jesus, do you think He says “well done my good and faithful servant,” because we made sure nothing ever changed and we hung onto what He had given us? Or do you think He says that to those who have given it all, left everything on the floor, left no stone unturned.
I believe Jesus is going to look at some of you and say, I know that was hard to accept those crazy changes, and then He’s going to turn you around and show you a multitude of generations that were changed because you made way for the next generation of believers.
My advice would be, don’t get out of the way of change, but get on board and invest in the next generation.-there are young moms in here that would love to sit down for coffee with some of you older ladies and just talk life – no pressure, just talk -Men, there are younger men in here who would LOVE to go fishing with you and ask you questions about being a dad and a husband – guarantee it.
The fourth Cabinet Cabinet 4 – Be prepared for what’s next.I said it last week, are you praying and stepping out in faith with God? God has someone ready for this position. Don’t expect them to be me, actually, you don’t want another me. Nic and I were talking the other day, I think God called me here to plant some seeds, to expand some thinking, to prepare some Ground.
1Corinthians 3:8-98 The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. 9 For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.
I believe my job was to plant seed, my gut tells me your next pastor will water and as always, God will bring the growth!
The fifth cabinet
Let me just say this. Some of you have been coming to church since I started here, or have been watching online for years and have never actually taken a step into a relationship with Jesus. Has life not taught you that you can’t control everything, that you can’t fix those things that haunt you at night, that your life and the purpose that is missing apart from Jesus?
ILLUSTRATION: Jenni and I have someone very close to us that is going through a terrible time and I keep praying that they will turn to Jesus. Jesus says:Revelation 3:20“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.”
We are praying like crazy that this person will stop trying to be the God of their own life and will turn to Him.
If you aren’t a Christian, can I let you in on a little secret – there are a lot Christians praying the same thing for you, right now… It’s not a mistake you are in a church and God is speaking to you.
Cabinet 5 – Give your life to Jesus for everlasting life and to be a disciple (follower) of Him.
CLOSING ILLUSTRATION:I guarantee this, if you come to Jesus today and you really seek Him with all your heart, He will be found. And here’s the deal, you will turn around from the other side of that decision and you will say, “that wasn’t that hard, was it?” Because when the Son sets you free, you are free indeed. If you want new life, if you want to be forgiven of your sins, if you want to be made new and find an eternal relationship with God, come forward during this next song.