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The Enemy Of Great - A sermon thought for you... -

The Enemy Of Great – A sermon thought for you…

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“Here is a message I have preached at several churches.  It’s one of those messages I wish I could preach everywhere I go.  I feel the message is more important than my preaching it, so I give it to you in the hopes that it may be of help to the congregation you minister to.  Feel free to use it as your church would best benefit.  Please forgive the personal references, I’m sure you have plenty of your own that you could insert in their place.” 

“Good Is The Enemy Of Great.”

“That’s what makes death so hard – unsatisfied curiosity” – Beryl Markham

Like Lewis and Clark, it would be deeply satisfying for me to climb into a boat, and head West saying, “we don’t know what we’ll find when we get there, but we’ll be sure to let you know when we get back.”

I love adventure.

  • I like eating at restaurants that I’ve never eaten at before.
  • I like going places I’ve never been before.
  • I will often take a wrong road intentionally just to see what is there that I’ve been missing.
  • I want to see countries I’ve never seen before.
  • I want to enjoy what is just ahead.

I want to enjoy some things in the spirit realm too.

  • I look into the Bible and I see the Apostolics in the New Testament having an all night prayer meeting for Peter.
  • The miracle to me was not Peter getting loosed from prison.
  • The miracle to me was a body of believers putting their agendas, and personal motives aside long enough to agree that something had to be done about Peter’s condition.

In his book Good to Great, Jim Collins states Good to Great companies do not focus on what to do to become great; they focus equally on what not to do and what to stop doing.

  • We in Pentecost are continually seeking the next gimmick or program that will take us to where we are wanting to go in the terms of church growth or revival. 
  • The problem with that is we start new things constantly but never do perfect them, only to go on to start something else without burying what we just gave up on.
  • As a result of that we have our interests and labors so divided that many of our churches are dysfunctional with regards to evangelism instead of being the driving evangelistic force that our Lord desires us to be.

You see there are a few things we can stop doing that would bring us closer to having Great evangelistic moves instead of simply good moves.

  • I believe we would go from having good church to having Great church if we would stop trying to entertain one another. 
  • Too many of our musicians are all hung up trying to entertain the crowd instead of entertaining the presence of the Lord.

See we got it all backwards.

  • We think if we sing good enough…
  • We think if the choir ever gets it all together we will really have church…
  • We think if we hit the right note…
  • We think if we gesture correctly as we sing…
  • We think that somehow the crowd will be impressed enough to give their hearts and lives to Jesus Christ.
  • Let me let you in on something…. You can’t sing good enough to give someone salvation.
  • You can’t sing good enough to heal a broken body.
  • You can’t sing good enough to give deliverance to a drug addict
  • You can’t sing or play or act good enough to save even one person’s soul, so why don’t we just entertain the Lord with our singing….It might be that we could draw His presence closer with our sincerity and hunger to worship Him.
  • And if He came closer there is no telling what could happen in this place before we leave here tonight!

See we don’t have Great church because we have been satisfied with good church.

  • We don’t have Great worship services, because we are satisfied with good worship services.
  • We don’t have Great results from our evangelistic labors, because we are satisfied with good results.
  • We don’t have thousands come in, because we are satisfied with a dozen or two per year.
  • Just enough to make up for the ones we lost this year.
  • We don’t have Great moves of God because we are satisfied with good moves of God.
  • We don’t have a Great walk with God, because we are comfortable with having a good walk with God.
  • Are you hearing me tonight?

Hear me now…

To go from good to great requires transcending the curse of competence

What’s wrong with competence?

Competence is GOOD!

  • Just because we had some measure of success, it shouldn’t satisfy us to the point that we don’t want to experience something far greater.
  • Just because we had a little growth.
  • Just because we had a little move.
  • Just because “we liked what we felt in the service” is not enough.
  • We have to expect far greater things from a God of the miraculous.
  • We can’t be satisfied with a few being added to the church in a year…
  • We have to expect something far greater than that to happen…
  • We can’t say that one or two per month is good enough…
  • We have to expect one or two dozen per week…

You say, there’s no way.

  • You say there is no way this church could have that kind of revival.
  • And I would say to you…you are right!
  • IF you are thinking with mans wisdom.
  • But IF you are thinking by FAITH, then anything is possible!!!

In his Book from Good to Great, Jim Collins said this,

All companies have a culture, some companies have discipline, but few companies have a culture of discipline.  When you have disciplined people, you don’t need hierarchy.  When you have disciplined thought, you don’t need bureaucracy.  When you have disciplined action, you don’t need excessive controls.  When you combine a culture of discipline with an ethic of entrepreneurship, you get the magical alchemy of great performance.

I would put it this way however.

All churches have a culture, some churches have holiness, but few have a culture of holiness.  When you have a holy people, you don’t need a hierarchy.  When you have a holy thought, you don’t need bureaucracy.  When you have a holy action, you don’t need excessive controls.  When you combine a culture of holiness with an ethic of evangelism, the result will be a great outpouring of God’s Spirit and an end time harvest of souls.

You see folks…Holiness is more than the clothing you wear or the places you go.

Holiness is our attitude and our spirit as well.

  • Yeah, I hate to break it to some people,  but some of us dress holy, but our attitudes and our spirits are far from Holy.
  • We devour one another with our conversation.
  • We destroy each other’s potential with our criticism and our constant critiquing of how other people are living for God.
  • We annihilate any possible likelihood of even a budding promise of potential in someone’s life to defend our position in the church or our place in the Kingdom.
  • Like the mother of the two brothers seeking a place next to Jesus when He takes his throne, we scramble for positions in the church like people in the world clambering for positions on the corporate ladder, only to find that the way up is not up – the way up is down.
  • If you want to be Lord of all, You have to be servant of all.
  • If you want to rule many, you have to serve more.
  • If you want to be the guy at the top, you first have to be found faithful over the things at the bottom.
  • Holiness is also a hunger to see others come to Christ.
  • Holiness is also our desire to see those around us excel in the things of God.
  • There can be no room in our churches for competition.
  • There can be no room for attitudes that say, “I’m better or I’m more important.”
  • We’re living in the last days, and we don’t have time to try to figure out who is the better preacher or who’s song sounded the best, or who looks more spiritual or who acts more potentate.
  • Hey, we have to move on past the mediocre mindsets that would hold us back from the things God would want to do in our lives and in our churches!

It’s time to move from having good church to having Great church!

  • It’s time to leave the norm –
  • It’s time to move out of the ordinary –
  • It’s time to move on into the promise of revival that the Lord has promised this end time generation.
  • God has always offered a measure of revival to every generation.
  • I believe if He promised His generation with it’s population of millions a great revival, how much more would He offer this generation with over 6 thousand million people – a great end time harvest of souls.

If we are talking about revival, what are we really talking about?

  • Are we talking about pew running services?
  • Are we talking about the choir getting one right.
  • Or the preacher hitting one out of the park?
  • No!  We are talking about people being converted and filled with the Holy Ghost and then becoming an intrical part of the revival that would then ensue upon the church.

Do you know who the most important person in this house is tonight?

  • Do you know who I value more than any other person in this church?
  • Do you know who I believe is the greatest among us here this evening?
  • Are you ready for this?
  • Can you handle it?
  • The one who brought visitors with them to church.
  • The ones who thought enough of their family and loved ones to say, hey, would you come to church with me tonight.

Listen, the world is not going to get saved by sitting home on a Sunday night watching TV!

  • Somebody has to bring them so a preacher can preach to them, so the Holy Ghost can fill them and heal them.
  • The least among us are actually the greatest of us.
  • Where are those who keep the house of God looking beautiful?
  • Where are those who drive the Sunday School buses?
  • Where are the ones who teach children’s Sunday school?
  • Where are the Bible Study teachers?
  • Where are the people who share their testimony with anybody who will listen?
  • “Here are the unsung heroes!”
  • Here are the ones who are making a difference in this world.
  • Here are the ones who are adding to the Kingdom!
  • These are the people whom Jesus will say, “Well done my good and faithful servant.”

I am invited from time to time to speak to the leadership teams of churches.

  • I have to tell you, I wish I could get in front of just one leadership team who was more concerned about the lost and perishing souls of their city than they were about their own political advantage in the church.

Oh, don’t get me wrong, there are many people who truly know what this is all about.

  • There are some who realize it’s more important to serve than it is to rule.
  • But I have to admit.
  • I nearly go out of my mind sometimes when I see someone who is dripping with potential for the Kingdom only to be drug down by their personal ambition to be better or more valued than someone else.
  • It drives me nuts to see people who would be infinitely more valuable than myself to the Kingdom of God be destroyed by the spirit of competition in the church.
  • Young preachers who think it’s more important to get their preaching license than it is to teach someone a Bible study.
  • You know what church?  We really need to move on…
  • We really need to move out of this place of “what’s in it for me” to the place of, “I love the church and want to do anything I can to see it have growth and revival.”
  • “God baptize us with a spirit of humility all over again.”

What is it about our flesh that keeps causing our carnal ambitions to destroy our potential for the Kingdom?

  • I know a man who is a principal of a public school system.
  • Do you know what he is doing in the church?
  • A head of the Sunday School Department?
  • Running the outreach program of the church?
  • No, he’s assisting in a Sunday school class. – So much potential wasted.

I know a man who is a millionaire many times over.

  • He has started businesses many times and sold them for their profit.
  • Everything this guy touches turns to profit.
  • Do you know what he is doing in the church?
  • Is he a head of the outreach program?
  • No, he’s doing his best to cause grief to the pastor about the new building the church is building.
  • He could run the whole operation, but instead, he’d rather sit on the sidelines and complain about everything the pastor is trying to do to bring growth and increase to his church.
  • Forgive me ladies – like some bitter old lady with nothing to do but complain – the guy is useless to the Kingdom.
  • He knew how to show a profit for the corporation, but he can’t even show one ounce of profit to the church?
  • Why?
  • Because of personal ambition.
  • If he can’t run it, he’ll ruin it.
  • That’s the mentality of the World folks!
  • That’s not Holiness!
  • That’s not Godliness!
  • That’s not conducive to revival!

I don’t know about you, but I want to have a right spirit.

  • If God never calls me to preach again, I want to have a right attitude about my place in the Kingdom.
  • Do you know what qualifies me to preach here tonight?
  • Is it my degree in Theory?
  • Is it my many thousands of hours of self study that has developed my ministry?
  • Is it the over 15 years I gave benefiting other men’s ministries?
  • Is it the fact that I’ve pastored a successful Home missions church?
  • Is it because today I am a part of a ministry that indirectly influences thousands of pastors and ministers all over the world?
  • No, What qualifies me to preach to you tonight is none of those things.
  • What qualifies me to preach to the church is that I love the church with all my heart!
  • I would die for the church.
  • I have given my life and career to see the church move forward in the things of God.
  • I don’t hurt the church because I love it.
  • Pastors know that Brother Smith won’t hurt their congregation because he has a deep love for the church that manifests every time he preaches.

I love it when people get healed.

  • I love it when they get the Holy Ghost.
  • But do you know what excites me?
  • Do you know what motivates me as a preacher?
  • When people come together in unity.
  • When people love one another.
  • When I see them encouraging each other in the altar.
  • Because I know that if a congregation ever got it together and really loved each other and this world the way Jesus does, there is no city that could not be won.
  • There is no community that would not be impacted by their generosity and kindness.
  • Hear me church!
  • We are a city set on a hill tonight!

Collins said … he found that when a corporation got the right people on the bus per se, and the right people off the bus, then the right people in the right seats, they would then figure out where to drive it – and as a result those corporations went from being good companies to being great corporations.

Listen church, our only assets in the church are not the pews we sit on. 

  • They are not the buildings…or properties.
  • Our only assets are the people who walk into our doors and who allow themselves to become invested into the Kingdom of God.
  • Somehow we have to get the right people to get the right attitude in the right positions.
  • If we could do that, there is no telling what could happen with regards to revival and growth in our congregations.

God deliver us from the spirit of Self Exultation.

  • Lord set us free from the attitude of me! me! me! me!
  • Lord send us a burden for the lost like we’ve never had it before.

I know this is not a Holy Ghost message.

I know this is not a Healing message.

  • But I’m smart enough to believe what one old preacher told me once.
  • He said, “Jim, you get what you preach.”
  • I would like to see someone get the Holy Ghost here tonight.
  • I would like to see someone get healed here tonight.
  • But listen, I know that the potential for revival is not what happens as a direct result of this particular service. 
  • But I know that if I could somehow cause even one person in this place to know their potential in Christ, the result for the Kingdom would be many thousands times greater than 1 or two who will get the Holy Ghost in this place tonight.

Last Sunday night, I was preaching a message just like this.

  • I was talking about the Apostolics of the bible. 
  • I was talking about how much they loved their community and how much their communities recognized them for their Godliness.
  • In that message, I barely mentioned how the Apostolics of the Bible gave to the church. 
  • And as a result that congregation started bringing offerings up to the pulpit as I preached for their building program.
  • As a result, when I stopped preaching, over $7,300.00 had been brought to the front in a congregation of less than 70 people as a seed offering to pay off their existing building and begin a new one that would house more souls on a Sunday morning.

They just moved into a beautiful little building,

  • but it’s not about the building to these people,
  • it’s about moving into the next dimension of revival that the Lord would take us to if we would only believe him for it.
  • By the way, even though I was trying to encourage that church to move into revival, someone did receive the Holy Ghost for the first time that night.
  • What thrilled most me however, was the determination I felt from those people after the service to do more for God than they ever did before!
  • That’s what it’s all about!

Listen church, I’m preaching to someone’s potential here tonight.

  • I’m preaching to a church that could very well go from being a good church in it’s community to becoming a great church that would ultimately affect every dimension of its surrounding area.
  • From its churches,
  • to it’s schools,
  • to every level of government.

Listen, if you think it’s impossible to win a Judge, you need to talk to Anthony Mangun. 

  • He has a couple of them in his church.
  • If you think it’s hard to win a mayor, you’re wrong. 
  • We have many churches in our movement with mayors sitting in their pews.
  • God is not powerless when it comes to man’s government.
  • God can convict any hungry heart.
  • He can touch anyone who will let him.

I believe this congregation has a potential for exponential growth.

  • One that would go from a level of maintainment to a level where containment would be an issue.
  • Are you hearing me?
  • Do you see the potential of this church?
  • Do you feel it when you drive through the streets of this city and it’s surrounding communities?

I believe this church and this doctrine is exactly what this community needs.

  • I believe this church has what this community longs for.
  • I believe if we could ever get past ourselves, there is no telling what could happen in our neighborhoods and in our schools as a result of the evangelistic labors and anointing of the Holy Ghost that would go before this church.

I don’t think our pastor would mind one bit if we had an extra 2-3 hundred people here next Sunday night.

  • I doubt that a single Sunday School teacher in this place would get upset if they had an extra 10 kids to teach to next Sunday morning.
  • I don’t think the bus drivers would mind a whole lot if they had to make two trips or call in the reserves to pick up an extra 200 kids next week.
  • I doubt the choir director would mind a few more tenors and a couple more altos and maybe another baritone or two.
  • And I know the Lord would love to have a dozen or so get the Holy Ghost in these altars every Sunday night every week for the next year or two.
  • You know that’s right.
  • I don’t care who you are, you know that’s right.

You’ve got to know that there are at least 500 people in this part of this county that the Lord would want to fill with the Holy Ghost.

  • I know there are.
  • I ride around with my brother who is a policeman from time to time in this city.
  • I see it’s perversion.
  • I see the drug dealers.
  • I see the child abuse
  • I see the messed up homes.
  • He’s arresting them, and I’m fighting off laying hands on them to pray for them.

Listen church…

  • There are at least 1,000 people in this city who would want what we have if they could see that we truly have it.

Invitation to come to front as a congregation to pray earnestly for their city and to become a Great Church.


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·         What happens when people tithe?

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·         What happens when you don’t tithe?

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