What Do We Do and How Will We Do?

We have spent the last several months praying and working on defining our major thrusts as a church. One of these is Worship.

There has been local youth movement designed to pull the younger generation away from Easter.

Young people are gathering to worship Jelly Beans. They sit in a circle and have a bowl of Jelly Bellies. The communion starts with a person taking three jelly beans of a combination of flavors and giving them to the person on their left who closes their eyes and enjoys the taste and attempts to receive the spiritual blessing from the flavor experience shared with them. The bowl gets passed to the right and the whole process repeats until the bowl is empty.

Yes, it is better that sitting around doing drugs, but it is damaging spiritually. Worshiping jelly beans is idolatry.

The PACC Worship Team has decided to hit this movement head-on as part of their ministry, and since 3/5 of the worship team is missing today, I will break the news.

The Palo Alto Church of Christ Worship Team solemnly presents the Easter Lamb!

multi-colored sheep[Slide of multi-colored lambs]

I could not resist this. So now that I have everyone’s attention, we will look at something totally different.

When I was growing up, one of my favorite TV shows was Dragnet staring Jack Webb as Sgt. Joe Friday.

[Slide]

For those of you who are of a younger generation, let’s say 45 and under, this is not the movie starring Dan Aykroyd and Tom Hanks where they are seen jumping up and down in sheep costumes trying to infiltrate the P.A.G.A.N. crime syndicate.

With the Los Angeles Police Department badge number 714, Sgt. Friday and his partner Bill Gannon would track down everyone from robbers and murderers to drug dealers and other miscreants.

From the time I could talk coherent sentences until I was nine, I begged my parents to allow me up beyond my bedtime to watch the detective show.

From the open voice saying “The story you are about to hear is true; only the names have been changed to protect the innocent” through Friday questioning a witness “All we want are the facts, ma’am” through the closing sentencing of “imprisonment the State Penitentiary, San Quentin California” or “executed in the lethal gas chamber at the State Penitentiary, San Quentin California” I saw hundreds for criminals meet their just punishment.

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As I got older my attention was drawn to Superman who could leap tall buildings in a single bound. He could stop bullets and fly into the sky, stop an out of control airplane and bring it gently back to earth, thus saving everyone aboard.

Superman’s sensitive ears could hear the cry of a damsel in distress in the middle of a high-rise building from 100 miles away and fly to her rescue. His x-ray vision could see through walls and he knew the quickest way to bust his way through walls to save people and catch the criminals for the police to haul away.

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Batman finally took over my attention. Accompanied by his assistant Robin, his animated fist-fights put the criminals in check, allowing most to be collected by the police.

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Sgt. Friday was just a normal Joe who happened to be a very effective LAPD officer who operated on “just the facts.”

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Superman could leap tall buildings with a single jump.

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And Batman drove a really, really cool car.

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[Set up chart titled Sgt. Friday – Superman – Batman]

Now, I want to put everyone to work and gather “just the facts.”

I ask you: What did these people have in common?

[List all the common points]

[Set chart aside when done]

In the past few months, we have been through a lot of praying and soul-searching in choosing a focus for our church. And by the word “church”, I do not mean this building or even the corporate church. I mean everyone here: you- you – you – me – ALL of us here.

We have chosen three areas in which to funnel our resources as our major thrusts.

[Slide]

Naturally, one is Worship. That is why we gather here every Sunday.

So what are the other two?

[Write Camp and FriendSpeak at top of new chart as people mention them]

[Slide]

Now, I ask you what are the commonalities between Camp and FriendSpeak?

[Write down the common points on the chart and set next to the first chart.]

Now here is the hard part: What are the commonalities between these two charts?

[Have discussions and write down answers on third chart]

Let’s look and find the common root. Paul can help us with this task.

Let’s read from Paul’s letter to Titus Starting in chapter 3.

Titus 3:1-11 (NIV)

1 Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good,

2 to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men.

3 At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.

4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared,

5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,

6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior,

7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.

8 This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good.

Surprise, surprise!

[Slide]

And the common root among all of these is – drum roll, please…

[slide]

Doing What Is Good.

Now, as we do good, we need to remind ourselves to do the following:

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We need to obey the laws and authorities. [Slide]

It would not be a good example to pull our car into the camp site and park in the handicap parking spot, unless of course you have a handicap tag. We do not want to give the children something to talk about behind our back. Also, it’s a really long walk back to Palo Alto when we find our car has been towed at the end of the week.

This is also a great time to put into practice the followership principals that Susan presented to us. Our Elders are our leaders.

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We should not slander or defame anyone. In fact, it would be harmonious not to speak ill of anyone. If you need to address a real problem, approach the person gently and work out the differences.

[Slide]

Keep the peace – we can accomplish a lot more when in a peaceful spiritual environment than a cacophonous one.

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We can show consideration towards others.

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And also we should be humble.

Following all of these things should help us as we set out to do what is good. In spreading our love for Jesus we will come across people who may be rough around the edges. We should treat them with respect, understanding and kindness.

Paul reminds Titus and us from where we came. He reminds us of when we lived in sin before we accepted and followed Jesus. We need to make sure we do not fall back into our old way when we are doing good.

We also need to recognize where we were so we can see this in others who are now where we were before we accepted and followed Jesus.

We need to remember that God showed His love for us by giving us His only Son. We need to show our love for others when we are doing good.

We need to remember we were cleansed by the blood of Jesus who gives us the power of the Holy Spirit. We need to introduce others to Jesus so they too may receive these gifts.

We need to remember that we are not saved or given everlasting life in heaven by these good deeds. We are saved by God’s grace alone.

This brings us to the second part of the question:

[Slide] How Will We Do?

Let’s revisit Titus 3:8 and read the entire verse.

[Slide]

8 This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good.

[slide]

These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.

To me, “excellent and profitable” sounds like success to me!

Isn’t it absolutely amazing that Paul’s advice to Titus gives us a blueprint for success?

So, we go back to our question.

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We will do just fine.

We will succeed.

We will do good.

Let us pray.

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