So You Want To Be a Rock Star?

So You Want To Be A Rock Star

Everyone wants to be a rock star. Well, maybe not everyone wants to be one, but I would bet everyone has had a yearning for stardom.

My early love was in sports – all sports.

I was into baseball and saw myself posing for the photographer as he took my picture for my very own Topps Bazooka Baseball Card. I played for the Gold team and had a stellar career with at least 10 runs scored that season. My batting average was not really an average as I only hit one foul ball – the entire season. I was walked and hit with the ball even more, so I was able to get on base quite a few times.

My football career was next where I played on defense. I remember the time we had a tie game and there was only a minute left. The other team had the ball and they had 4th down with 9 yards to go for another first down. The quarterback handed the ball to the left back who proceeded to run around the end. I saw this and ran on an angle to intercept the runner. I dove and managed to grab his ankle with both hands. He spun around, broke free and ran for a touchdown. This was the one near-tackle that stood as my record. No football scholarship for me.

Basketball should have been a lot better as I was taller than everyone on the team except one other player. On the first day of tryouts, they put me at center and a 4-foot 8-inch player was against me. Long story short, I was not able to out-jump him and was summarily cut from the team.

I was able to do well at track. No records and my near-record long jump was beat by that same 4-foot 8-inch student that beat be in basketball. That guy could jump!

I excelled at science, public speaking and music. I really loved music above all. I envisioned my trumpet playing would take me to Carnegie Hall. In fact, I had a standing promise to one of my friend’s parents that they would get front-row seats when I made it. Well, if I eventually get to Carnegie Hall, they will have top row seats from heaven.

When I joined my first combo as a trumpet player, I became interested in guitar and dreamed about playing that famous Buddy Holly solo in front of a crowd of thousands. I gave that up quick and took up bass.

I managed to learn one song: Midnight Hour. Thus ended my rock career.

This was long before the horn bands like Chicago, Tower of Power and Blood, Sweat and Tears came onto the scene, so I clearly was not going to be a rock star.

How many people here had dreams of being a rock star, or some type of a hero? If you still have desires of being a star or hero that also counts. Would anyone want to briefly share that with us?

Are there any people who excel in their field, that without boasting but for the good of our congregation, wish to share that?

A child was born into slavery around the year 1864. By the time of his death in 1943, he managed to save the southern farming industry that had depleted the land with cotton, developed hundreds of products from peanuts, soy beans and sweet potatoes, as well as developed methods for the poor to become self-sufficient to raise their own food. This provided the foundation for methods to grow food at the International Space Station so they could survive long periods without food shipments.

George Washington Carver did all this and received many awards. He was the rock star of his time. He always accepted the awards with humility, and he always gave credit to God for his success.

Clearly God gave George gifts and these gifts were used wisely.

So, I have some questions: Why are we not all rock stars or even heroes? Why would God make some of us capable of being rock stars and not others? Why would God not even give us the basic talents to be anything we wish?

Why didn’t God give me the talent to get my own Topps baseball card or the sports gifts to get a football scholarship? Why didn’t I have the talent to get a Nobel Prize in chemistry rather than fill my parent’s basement with nasty-smelling purple-colored smoke?

Is becoming a rock star always a good thing? Take a look at Justin Bieber or Charlie Sheen ranting at the top of a tower drinking a bottle of dragon’s blood.

There are answers to these questions in the Bible. We will also get some advice.

You see, the people of Corinth also had some questions about their gifts, talents and rock stars.

Please turn to 1 Corinthians 12. We will start at the top.

1 Corinthians 12:1-3 (NIV)

1 Now about spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant.

2 You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols.

3 Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.

The Corinthians had some problems with the rock star’s singing. Actually, it was the speaking of tongues that had their concerns.

Coming from a pagan or gentile background with idol worship, they would be worried that people speaking tongues in church could be speaking against Jesus or teaching false doctrine.

Paul puts them at ease because anyone who is speaking with the Holy Spirit cannot possibly speak against Jesus.

One more important question I would have is how can we tell the following statements and advice is true? Raise your hand if you have ever received some false or bad advice. Here is how to tell whether it is good or bad advice.

So if someone offers you spiritual advice, just ask them if Jesus is their only Lord and Savior. If they truthfully answer from their heart and do not speak against Jesus, you will get good spiritual advice. The indwelling Holy Spirit makes it impossible for them to speak against Jesus.

The same goes for advice to become a rock star.

I spoke a while back how the founders of Tower Of Power crashed and burned and just about permanently destroyed Tower Of Power’s reputation and popularity by going against Jesus and succumbing to alcohol, drugs and sins of the flesh.

I also told you how they found Jesus and started obeying Him. Someone from the outside their circle of friends heard about their transformation and eventually saw the change in their lives after they accepted Jesus in their lives. He signed the Tower Of Power to another record deal and their popularity rocketed to the top.

Let’s continue with verse 4.

1 Corinthians 12:4-6 (NIV)

4  There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit.

5  There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.

6  There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.

Let’s look closely at verse 4.

[Gifts circled slide]

Does anyone know what the original Greek word for gifts is?

Charisma is the original Greek. Now, what is your first impression of some who tells you they go to a Charismatic church or are a Charismatic Christian?

Yes, that’s right. You think of someone who speaks in tongues.

Some of the people of Corinth had such a misconception regarding the speaking of tongues. On the day of Pentecost, the apostles were given the gift of tongues which meant they were able to speak a language that they could not previously speak or understand.

For example, how many people here speak Armenian? What if I delivered the rest of this sermon in Armenian? That would be a true gift from the Holy Spirit, as I do not know a single word of Armenian.

Everyone here would have a problem understanding. In fact, some of you may think I got into some fermented Communion grape juice.

If anyone was here who did speak Armenian, they would think I had received a gift that was the most important of all the gifts, or may even think the gift of tongues is the only gift that matters.

In reality, we are all Charismatic Christians, as all of us have gifts from God.

So, let’s look further into gifts.

[different kinds slide]

Paul wrote the phrase “different kinds” three times. I looks like he really wanted to tell us that the gift of tongues is not the only gift.

[spirit slide]

We now know the Holy Spirit gives us these gifts. And we also now know the Holy Spirit hands out many gifts.

[service slide]

The gifts given to us are used for service. In other words, these gifts, given by the Holy Spirit, are used to minister to people. There are many gifts and it really does not make any difference as to what the gifts are, as our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ is using these gifts for His Glory and to teach and spread His Word.

[working slide]

God directs all of this. God provides the power for all of these gifts to work. God works all of this in us to promote and proclaim that Jesus is our Lord and Savior.

Just look at all of this. God certainly loves diversity!

Let’s go on to verse 7.

[verse 7 slide]

1 Corinthians 12:7 (NIV)

7  Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.

“To each one” shows everyone is given a gift. But the gift is given by the Holy Spirit for the common good.

Well this explains a lot. In fact, this appears to strengthen my questions I had earlier.

Wouldn’t I, being a famous baseball player with a Topps baseball card, be a great example for the youth of our country? I could have made public appearances at the malls and card collectors clubs as an example of a fine Christian baseball player who didn’t curse or chew tobacco or spit on the ground.

I could have been a football player like Tim Tebow who thanked God after a great play and showed America why a love for Jesus is so important in their daily lives.

Either of these would have been for the common good.

Why didn’t the Holy Spirit give me a gift of guitar expertise so I could be a rock star? I could have been a fine example for other musicians and maybe some of those musicians would still be around today instead of dying from drug overdoses and alcoholism.

Would that have been for the common good?

I may have an answer for that. Back then I was not, (how should I put this?) not quite overflowing with the Holy Spirit. I believed in Jesus, but I had put him on the back burner for a long time.

But what about people who do have “rock star like” talent like a great singer or even a trumpet player in a church worship setting?

I know some great musicians that play for worship services, but not all of them actually use their talents for the common good to be used to enhance the worship service.

Some think that just being good in their craft is enough to heighten the worship experience. I have seen worship services ruined by Christian musicians that are using their excellence in their craft to perform at church – not to worship.

I have also seen musicians who were not experts play for worship and really play from their heart and full of the Holy Spirit, thus helping to lead people in worship.

Many of you know Avery Stafford as he has preached here several times. He is an excellent musician, pastor and worship leader. He also requires members of his worship team to be good enough at their craft so they do not have to worry about what note to sing or play next or what emphasis to give to a particular musical phrase. However, you don’t have to be a rock star or even an expert musician.

Avery wants his worship team members to be able to use their expertise in worship, not performing. All members of the worship team lead the congregation in worship. So the main requirement Avery has is his worship team has to LOVE Jesus and have a love for worship!

They all use their gifts for the common good which is to lead and enhance the congregation’s worship. In fact, Avery has turned down many excellent musicians who were more interested in performing than worshiping.

The gifts that the Holy Spirit hands out are to be used for the common good.

Let’s look at verses 8 through 10.

[verse 8-10 slide]

Let’s read it together:

1 Corinthians 12:8-10 (NIV)

8  To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit,

9  to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit,

10  to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.

And these are just some of the gifts the Holy Spirit hands out.

Now why doesn’t the Holy Spirit make me a rock star now? I would use my international rock star presence to spread the word of Jesus throughout the world.

I know God loves diversity because of the fantastic array of gifts he directs to be used. That is why everyone cannot be a rock star. But, I still have to wonder with the billions of people on this earth, why couldn’t there be just one more rock star?

We find the answer in the following verse.

[verse 11 slide]

Let’s read verse 11 together:

1 Corinthians 12:11 (NIV)

11  All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.

Let’s read this again:

[just as he determines slide]

All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.

Aha! Now I see the light! This is why none of you are a rock star.

Yes, and this is definitely why I am not a rock star.

We can see that the Holy Spirit hands out the gifts just as he determines.

What can we say? God has plans for each of us and it may not have anything to do with what we want to happen.

I happen to know from experience that God’s plans are infinitely better than anything I could have thought up.

Let’s review what we now know.

{What we know slide]

The Holy Spirit hands out the gifts as he sees fit. God is in control, so we might as well accept that fact and move forward. It is useless to try and argue with God about His plans.

There are many different gifts. We have gifts we consider gifts of the Holy Spirit and we have what we may call natural gifts which are still gifts given to us by the Spirit.

In God’s eyes, all gifts all gifts are equal. No gift is worth more than any other gift. The gift of tongues is no more important than the gift of being able to chase out demons or the gift of serving the common good by cleaning up the communion trays or even being a rock star.

Everyone gets a gift or gifts. I have gifts in speaking in public and gifts of my music in playing trumpet. However, the band I play with has banned me from ever playing the cow bell, so my musical gift appears not to be universal.

I also have what I consider other huge gifts. One is the love of the Words of God and Jesus. Another is the love to serve God. I tell you these things not to brag or boast, but to show some examples of gifts.

Everyone here today has gifts that the Holy Spirit has given them that can be used to serve God and be used for the common good of the church.

My friend and brother in Jesus, George uses his gift of trumpet playing to help lead worship.

Our Elders and Deacons have gifts they use to serve the church. These are just examples.

Who else here has a gift that they would like to share with us a gift you use to serve God?

Finally, God wants these gifts to be used for the common good.

So, what do we do with all this knowledge?

What if you do not know what gift or gifts you have?

Here are some things we need to do.

[need to do slide]

Discover the gift or gifts that the Holy Spirit has given us in order that we can serve God.

Write down a list of things you can do. Look them over and see if you can use these gifts to serve God. Can you sing? Maybe you can join a group that sings for a nursing home.

Do you have a gift to listen? You can find someone in trouble who just needs a shoulder to cry on and have a caring person to listen to them.

There are a seemingly endless number of gifts and I can say for certainty that you have at least one. If you still have a problem identifying a gift, ask a Christian friend who knows you if they have seen a gift you have that can be used to serve God.

You can also pray that the Holy Spirit reveal to you your gift.

Pray that we will use the gift or gifts for God’s plan. Sometimes we use our gifts for our own purposes. Now, there is nothing wrong with using God’s gifts for our own purposes, but we also need to use them for service to God.

Ask for strength that we may stay on the path or paths of service that God has chosen for us. There can be many worldly distractions in our lives that compete for our resources and gifts. There may be times where our service puts us in the position of being ridiculed or even having our lives threatened.

Yesterday, a friend of mine from another church sent out an urgent message. He is on a mission trip over in a Far East country that is not too friendly towards Christians. He had people with guns and machetes fighting outside his home.

Unfortunately, the multi-unit apartment building where he is staying happens to be owned by someone who belonged to an organized crime group. A rival gang wanted to kill him. A friend’s wife nearly had her hand severed during the fighting and my Christian brother stood up and professed his faith during this mess. He showed he was not afraid to die for his faith.

He also managed to minister to a few people and shared the Word of Jesus with them! Yes, being a Christian can be difficult.

We need to make sure that we do not forget God, even in the middle of a mess in which my friend found himself.

Remember this:

[rockstar slide]

In God’s eyes, you can be a Rock Star!

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