Growing Pains - Growing Plans: Anointed Church Administration

so if i could have invites you to open

to Acts chapter six last week we were

talking out of Acts chapter 5 we shared

a very sobering story about a couple

that came and offended the Holy Spirit

and were judged right then and there and

struck down right at that moment and so

it was a very sobering message for us

about the holiness of God if you were

not here I invite you to look for that

on the internet we have a youtube page

it's linked to the line of Judah webpage

and all of our sermons are catalogued

there and please i invite you to see

that because those are the kinds of

messages that provide important balance

for our message of seeing the holiness

of god and the mercy but also the

severity of our God acts six opens up an

interesting window into the life of the

earliest Christians does anyone know

that in church sometimes there's drama

anyone know that anyone know that

sometimes in church sometimes people can

maybe annoy one another maybe there can

be conflicts there can be grumbling well

you know I find it comforting to know

that that is as old as the Apostles in

the Bible it really as old as the Lord's

Supper if you think about it Jesus at

the Lord's Supper you know though this

is my body broken for you you know when

Jesus instituted that you know what the

disciples were doing during the dinner

anyone know they were arguing about who

was going to be the greatest when Jesus

so Church fights arguments ego conflicts

difficulties administrative problems is

as old as the Twelve Apostles it's as

old as the early church and we need to

face this and see what God would speak

to us about it in Acts chapter six we're

going to read about some church drama

I'm going to see how God's power was

manifest in the midst of that very human

situation so Acts chapter six in verse 1

it

says in those days when the number of

the disciples was increasing the Grecian

Jews in other words greek-speaking Jews

among them complained against the

Hebraic Jews Jews that spoke Hebrew

because their widows were being

overlooked in the daily distribution of

food so the twelve gathered all the

disciples together and said it would not

be right for us to neglect the Ministry

of the word of God in order to wait on

tables brothers choose seven men from

among you who are known to be full of

the spirit and wisdom we will turn this

responsibility over to them and we will

give our attention to prayer and the

Ministry of the word this proposal

please the whole group they chose

Stephen a man full of faith and of the

Holy Spirit also Philip procuress

nicanor timon par- and Nikolas from

Antioch a convert to Judaism they

presented these men to the apostles who

prayed and laid their hands on them so

the Word of God spread the number of

disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly

and a large number of priests became

obedient to the faith let's pray dear

God I thank you so much for the way you

speak to us from your word lord I thank

you God that your word has everything we

need for life and godliness your word

has everything this ministry needs to be

healthy and to grow and to become what

you want us to be so lord I pray it

would be your word that speaks to us

today father that your power would be

perfected in my weakness and God that

together our eyes would be open to see

how you would give us wisdom and that we

would grow and become the mature

community that you want us to be in

Jesus's name Amen at that time the

number of disciples was increasing

growing pain

means growing pains I could title the

sermon growing pains growing plans this

is a pivot for God's growth there were

too many people anyone ever lived in a

house with too many people know anyone

ever been crammed into a space maybe you

didn't choose all those people who were

there maybe there aren't enough

bathrooms to go around what usually

happens in a small house with too many

people in it everyone lives peaceably

and shares and waits their turn right

that's what happens right growth usually

brings problems usually people get

annoyed with each other as we grow as we

multiply we step on each other's toes we

annoy one another and problems emerge

well that happened in the early church

their numerical growth had outstripped

their administrative capacity in other

words they just weren't ready to handle

all these people too many people what do

we do balls get dropped things don't

work the way they used to when it was a

small group when things are small things

can function very informally people just

you know figure out how to make things

work in a church as things grow there's

too many people some important balls can

get dropped people there can be

administrative problems in using the

space how about parking there's no

parking no there are no seats that's you

know this is a problem we're going to

start having very soon praise the Lord

suddenly you got to be jammed in a

little bit something you got to move

over and make space for somebody

sometimes we need to grow as a church to

adapt to our numerical growth and catch

up with ourselves I compare it to end an

adolescent teenager whose physical

growth has gone quicker than their

coordination right so they're tall and

gangly but they're tripping over

themselves their voice is cracking they

don't quite know how to coordinate their

big body well churches can have that

happened to leaders can get burnt out

during this time underlying areas of

tension that you could live with when

everything's okay suddenly they come to

the surface and you realize just how

annoyed you are no there can be

different misunderstandings people can

feel disappointed and let down leaders

can feel criticized and pressure because

I just can't take care of it all right

am I saying that from the gut maybe a

little bit too much just today you know

what happened just today I came here

nice bright and early praise the Lord

the moon's up box playing on the radio I

come here hi hi up there god bless you

we love our balcony too there's lights

shining but I know you're there god

bless you we came here and the platform

was entirely empty there was nothing and

the thing was open because there had

been a baptism here yesterday another

church not our church another church had

asked to use the church we said yeah

sure you can use it so they came

everything they got moved and nothing

got put back right and I was like oops

so I texted all our guys and I was like

huh you know you gonna come is gonna be

a lot of extra work to do and that uh a

ball got dropped I don't know who

dropped it but I have a vague feeling it

was me i don't know but i think i'm the

one who probably should have known and

should have told somebody and i don't

know i had to see these things happen

now can you imagine now just imagine if

the people who left everything empty

yesterday happened to have been part of

an ethnic group that you in your

ethnicity had had tension with for many

years right and you come and you find

that they didn't put everything up again

what's the first thing you're gonna

think right well they just don't care

about us do they hey just say that's

well that's what happened here only it

was even worse it wasn't just forgetting

some instruments which by the way i do

think i'm the one who dropped the ball i

think i shouldnae it it's not we're not

just talking instruments that can be set

up you see in the early church we read

about how people would make donations

major donations

would sell properties and lands and they

would put the feet at the disposal of

the Apostles the Apostles would then

distribute to members of the church who

had needs it was amazing there was

radical generosity radical sharing the

people were together it was amazing an

amazing time in the church now the

people especially who needed donations

were the widows of the community these

were women who had no other options they

couldn't get a job because widows didn't

do that back then in that society they

couldn't they didn't have any family to

take care of them and there wasn't a

government that had any kind of programs

that could help them they were helpless

widows older ladies and these are ladies

who the Bible in the Old Testament says

one of the main signs of your righteous

devotion to me is that you will take

care of widows and orphans in their

distress the by your taking care of the

widows you're going to show that you

love God and on top of it just think

about widows ESO no hablo alitas de la

comunidad no these are the grandmothers

these are the most precious members of

the community these are the matriarchs

who who lived and died for you who gave

their lives who serve to raise their

kids and families like officially all

these years and now they happen to be

alone and there's no one to take care of

them and they are given food every day a

massive benevolence program but some of

the widows got overlooked now it gets

worse if you can believe anything worse

than a widow not getting food and going

hungry well it gets even worse because

the widows who are being overlooked

happened to be the Greek widows now to

us that might not mean a whole lot but

in that community the main racial and

ethnic divide in the early church would

be between Hebraic Jewish Christians and

Greek speaking Jewish Christians okay

now let's just do a little background on

this see at this time there were many

Jews who were born and raised in

Jerusalem they spoke Hebrew correctly

they practiced their faith properly the

way it was taught in Jerusalem right

sort of like a Catholic growing up in

the Vatican right that's where it's

happening but then there were other Jews

who lived throughout the Roman Empire

called the Diaspora they were spread out

throughout the Roman Empire they were

still Jewish ethnically and religiously

but they were raised in other countries

maybe they were raised in Greece maybe

they're raised in Syria maybe they were

raised in Turkey it wasn't called that

back then but it is now that area maybe

they were raised in another country so

they still spoke Hebrew but their

primary language was the common language

of the time which was Greek that was the

language they were comfortable speaking

so they probably spoke Hebrew a broken

Hebrew or Hebrew with a thick accent

some of them may have mixed ethnically

and married some converts to Judaism

from the countries they came from so

they may have become ethnically and

racially mixed with the nation's so they

may have looked different they have may

have picked up some of the cultural

practices of the countries they were in

and so even though they were religiously

Jewish they may be really felt more

Greek for more Syrian or more whatever

so in and yet they had come to Jerusalem

they had met Jesus and they were part of

the same community with the Hebrew

speaking Jews are you following me can

you see how there could potentially be

tensions between these two communities

could you see how there could be a

natural elitism of the Hebrew speaking

Jews looking down on the greek-speaking

Jews right can you see how that happens

so not only were some widows overlooked

going hungry Abuelita going hungry your

grandmother or not your grandmother you

be taking care of her so somebody's

grandmother who can't take care of her

right now but they're going hungry and

it happens to be members of a particular

ethnic group within the church and so

there's tension and it makes sense

doesn't it no I think tensions different

types of tensions that come from the

society around us are naturally in the

church and that's why the

church needs to be not just a

multi-ethnic community but to multi

ethnic community right where we don't

just worship the same God but we worship

the same God together not just in the

same building but where friendships form

our community forum where we learn to

love and understand each other right as

a light in the darkness we declare

there's a new kingdom on earth well it

doesn't matter what a person looks like

or where they come from that we are all

one in Christ we are citizens of the

kingdom of God that's an amazing thing

to be part of but in the best of

families their problems and difficulties

right so the grecian Jews started

grumbling against the Hebrew Jews now of

course they thought what do you think

they thought they thought you didn't

feed our widows because they're Greek

and so because they're Greek you don't

care about them it's a natural

assumption isn't it when there are

ethnic tensions it's natural to assume

discrimination it's a very natural toxic

situation in my seminary experience at

gordon-conwell there was a significant

group of Korean American students and

Korean students and one of them once

told me they said you know whenever

someone is a jerk to me I just assume

it's because I'm Korean and and they

even told me a specific experience and I

won't name names because all of this is

recorded and I don't want to get in

trouble right but there was a particular

member of the administration who

apparently was a rather grumpy

individual even at a seminary right and

so they're dealing with this person a

part of the administration and this

person is being who she is she's being

obnoxious with them because that's just

what she does you know and what do they

think they think is because I'm Korean

they hate me cuz I'm Korean that's it

but then the next week they noticed wait

a minute she was obnoxious wait a minute

she's just it she's just obnoxious it's

not but at first there's that feeling

you can see how maybe this accident

happened no in he in Jerusalem the

Hebraic widow

were probably known by the Hebrew

Christians who were naturally in

leadership because they were part of the

dominant community and so they just knew

each other things were done informally

they didn't know perhaps they didn't

know who the Greek widows were and

things fell through the cracks but there

wasn't just things it was people people

falling through the cracks so they had

to do something about it now there was

grumbling and complaining that was

happening and I believe that this moment

of internal conflict was a bigger threat

to the growth of the church than

anything else you know a friend of mine

spoke here a few weeks ago was a

missionary in a very dangerous part of

the world where people are literally

being they're losing their lives for

their faith and he is surrounded by some

of the most grave dangers the church has

ever faced and I worry about him a lot

you know pray for him and his wife and

two daughters right but you know in his

prayer letters what he asked for prayer

about is problems internal problems with

some of the truth some of the team

members there's one in particular who is

very very conflictive a very troubled

person who's just making his life

miserable and they're trying to work it

out and there's legal issues involved

because they're managing an english

center and there's money involved and

he's like God deliver me so in other

words the persecution doesn't make them

lose sleep at night it's the internal

conflict and that's the way it is when

there is conflict in a church that can

derail a movement of God even more

powerfully than outer persecution think

about it when Peter was thrown in jail

we studied this a few weeks ago it

should be on the internet when he was

thrown in jail and they threatened to

kill him did he look all intimidated and

said okay I'm going to quit preaching

remember what he said they said you

shall not preach in the name of Jesus

member what Peter said full of the Holy

Spirit he said judge for yourselves is

it right for me to

obey God or you you tell me they got

together they prayed the earth shucks

where they prayed and they preached the

Word of God boldly in the church spread

in other words persecution was like

pouring gasoline on the flame no so even

worse than persecution is conflict in

the church the grumbling the word used

here for the complaining of the Grecian

Jews is the word grumbling it's gone

Guzman and you know how sounds like your

Congress mas Coco's Bosco's comes it's

meant to sound like whispering dong goos

Moscow's cosmos usually if you have to

whisper something no usually you

probably shouldn't be saying it right

when you say that if it's got to be

whispered and mumbled it's probably not

something to be repeated it's not always

that way sometimes you know there's

different reasons you know but they were

mumbling and grumbling the Bible talks

about grumbling what kinds of things do

you think they were grumbling that you

don't don't care about our widows do

these Hebraic Christians maybe could

there have even been some grumbling

against the Apostles themselves right

they were the ones running the show

these apostles peter john they don't

care they don't care about it the

grumbling the Bible says that grumbling

and mumbling is as severe a sin as

sexual immorality and as idolatry when

the people of Israel came out of Egypt

in Exodus 16 they just been delivered

from slavery God had separated the

waters of the Red Sea and done amazing

miracles it was amazing at that time

they went into the desert and they got

hungry and do you think they said don't

worry about it our God is a great God

he's with us Moses is a great leader

he's anointed by the Lord do you think

that's how they handled it when you're

hungry what do you do you complain when

you're uncomfortable you complain look

at what they said it said the Israelites

in the desert the whole come

he grumbled against Moses and Aaron the

Israelites said to them if only we had

died by the Lord's hand in Egypt there

we sat around pots of meat and ate all

the food we wanted but you have brought

us out into this desert to starve this

entire assembly to death how about that

they had just been delivered from

slavery and they're whining they're

whining anyone here do any whining

sometimes know that whining tone of

voice anyone familiar with that whining

tone of voice no I am intimately

acquainted in these days of my child's

development of that whining tone of

voice and then you say stop whining

they're like I'm not whining and they

whine even louder like how do we how do

we deal with us what are we gonna do

right whining well grown-ups wine

sometimes too and there's an accusation

behind it Moses you don't love us you

want to kill us you saved us from

slavery to kill us in the desert they're

accusing Moses I think there was

probably in this grumbling a little

accusation against the Apostles you

don't care about Abuelita no don't you

care aqui no I amor there's no love here

you just preach but you know her know

what's going on there's grumbling

there's complaining there's this

conflict going on people's eyes are off

the mission and they're on each other a

church conflict can turn people's

attention and consume their energies

like nothing else persecution is no

problem persecution comes and the church

is strong in jesus but when there's

internal conflict we can be derailed but

you know what there's an even bigger

threat here the biggest threat to the

growth of the church at this time is

that the apostles would get sucked into

the situation out of guilt would roll up

their sleeves and try to

fix it themselves because if they try to

do that they're not going to have time

to do what Jesus told them to do in the

first place when he said go and make

disciples of all the nations baptizing

them them in the name of the Father Son

and Holy Spirit and teaching them to

obey everything I have commanded you to

do jesus said you will receive power

when the Holy Spirit comes on you and

you'll be my witnesses your job is to

preach and to teach not to take care of

widows that doesn't that sound bad but

the widow's had to be taken care of God

wants the widows taken care of what are

we going to do somehow there's got to be

a solution that doesn't keep the

Apostles from doing what they're called

to do but that the widows don't go

hungry either this is a major thing I

get the feeling Peter and Paul could

handle Herod and and all these evil

leaders trying to throw them in jail i

think they weren't afraid of them but a

hungry widow forget about it yeah it's

gonna break their heart right because

these are the most precious people in

the community these are the people you

want to take care of you love them you

care about them and on top of it you

know some you know some widows can be a

little tough little strong about how

they express themselves I don't anyone

there was a hermana anastacio i'll never

forget anyone know it hermana anastacio

she passed away at the age of 99 and a

half several years ago she was Cuban

Cuban i'm on a mother's day she took a

tumble down these um these wooden stairs

in the back I'll never forget she

tumbled down on a mother's day they

called me she was 98 years old I'm like

what's what am I gonna find she was

laying there saying I'm fine let me up

let me up I'm fine and but we said no

don't move don't move we put her in the

stretcher take her to the hospital and

spend all of mother's day with her then

let me go home let me go home the

doctors like no and she went Cuban on

him she just really let him out of

achieving excuse me but she really let

him out

she didn't have a you know what she

scraped her finger and that's it no

injury no nothing and she was proud

about it she was like she said oh they

como una goma I rolled like a tire and I

was fine and her daughter took a fallen

like broker her jollies as a yes diet

that's a romp a pedo jaw roll a comb

we're not going my said my daughter is a

whim she gets hurt when she falls but

not me I don't get hurt she was a tough

cookie and as and she really adopted me

early on in my time here we felt really

close I loved at Mauna anastacio dearly

and her daughter mere now who is still

very much with us praise the Lord and

but I'll never forget as the church got

bigger and and I got busier and I wasn't

able to see her as much as I used to and

then I got married and then things got

even busier and did that I'd see her in

church sometimes and once she said to me

and she would talk really loud remember

that ah that loud voice no matter what

was going on the pastor will be up here

preaching and I would be coming in and

she would just grab me from behind I

feel that you know oh and it was her and

she would say mate tienes botao is which

means you got me thrown away in the

garbage so let's just put it this way i

think persecution ain't nothing like abu

aletta like the grandmother and I did

but the thing is that they had to be fed

these were the precious people in the

community they needed to be taken care

of the Apostles can you imagine the

guilts oh the Guild's anyone here who is

there anybody here feels guilty a lot

feel guilty some guilt is very good

sometimes we feel guilty because we

should feel guilty because we did

something wrong amen but if only we

would feel guilty about the right things

you know usually we don't feel guilty

about the wrong things we do and we feel

guilty why else do we feel guilty we

feel guilty because maybe we let someone

down or we didn't fulfill an expectation

that someone might have on us and maybe

God doesn't maybe he's not angry with

you but we feel guilty about it when we

shouldn't even right so there's

different kinds of guilt there's

god-given guilt and there's neurotic

guilt now it

very interesting the apostles say

something very interesting as they

answer the accusation by the or the

complaining by the Grecian Jews they say

it wouldn't be right for us to leave off

praying and preaching the word to wait

on tables I don't think they mean that

in a negative sense like to wait on

tables I don't think they mean that I

think they just mean to do this task of

managing this food program they say it

wouldn't be right you know I study this

text in the Greek and I don't usually

see anything significantly different

from what's in the English text the

translations we have are all excellent

they really are I really haven't met a

translation I don't like but in this

case there's an interesting Greek word

that's used when they say it wouldn't be

right for us to leave preaching the word

to do this I'm expecting the typical way

in Greek you would say it's not right to

do something the word that is used is

the word for pleasing they say it

wouldn't be pleasing for us to do to

take care of this problem rather than

preaching the Word of God it's a very

unusual use of that word it's usually

the word used for trying to please a

king what is pleasing the eyes of the

king it's the word that's used when it

talks about trying to please your spouse

and do what your spouse wants and needs

you to do to please your wife to please

your husband it's saying it wouldn't be

pleasing I don't think they're saying it

wouldn't be pleasing to us I think

they're saying it wouldn't be pleasing

to God for us to take care of this

problem and neglect preaching the Word

of God now here's what I'm going the

real question that they're asking is how

can we solve this problem in a way that

pleases God first and foremost not

pleasing the people okay now here's

where I'm going with this I think in

ministry it is legitimate to care about

what people want around you right in

evangelism the Bible says I become all

things to all people so that I can win

them

we should care about what people want

and need when I make decisions about my

lifestyle I shouldn't just think about

what's going to please me but what

should please the people around me if

I'm going to do something that's going

to hurt the feelings of the people

around me I shouldn't do that right so

we should be aware of pleasing people

around us but if we let that dictate all

of our decisions if i only make

decisions based on wanting to make other

people happy I will not serve God do you

see where I'm going the first question

we need to ask is what does God want me

to do not the people around me not now

don't get me wrong if your boss wants

you two to do a job and it's not against

a commandment you please your boss but

if your boss wants you to do something

that's going to violate the Word of God

then the ultimate question is what's

going to please God here even if it's

going to cost me even if I might feel

guilty because I'm letting a person down

I need to do what God wants me to do and

God had called the apostles to preach

the word the word was not negotiable it

is very easy as a church to get tied up

and busy with all kinds of different

things and trying to make everyone in

society happen happy and to forget about

preaching the Bible but the Bible is

living and active it's sharper than a

double-edged sword the Word of God is is

the seed that will cause any church

community to grow and take on life the

Bible God says as the rain and the snow

comes down from heaven and wha and does

in waters the earth and brings forth

seed for the solar and food for the

eater so is my word that proceeds from

my mouth it will not return to me void

it won't return to me empty but it'll

accomplish the purpose for which I sent

it the Apostle Paul said I am not

ashamed of the gospel because it is the

power of God for the salvation of

everyone who believes if Peter and Paul

Paul wasn't in the picture if Peter and

John but

say had decided you know what let's take

a break from preaching for a few a

couple months so that we can really get

involved and lead this distribution

program they would have failed and what

Jesus called them to do the church

fizzles and none of us are here today

amen they needed to stay focused on what

God had called them to do you know Jesus

had to do that one of a story that

really speaks to me in the Gospels in

the Gospel of Mark early in Jesus's

ministry when he had just begun

preaching he went over a Peter's house

he healed his mother-in-law people

brought him all the sick from all the

region and jesus healed them healed them

healed them too late at night remember

the story early the next morning the

Bible says that Jesus snuck off and hid

in the woods or hid somewhere and it was

still dark and he was praying to his

father then as the Sun was coming up

Peter and everybody came looking for him

they all came looking for him and

Peter's the first to speak and says

Jesus everyone's looking for you why do

you think they're looking for him

there's more people to be healed let's

go back to the town and finish healing

there's still some sick people you know

what Jesus said to them he said we must

go on to the next town and preach the

good news because that is why I have

come can you imagine how difficult that

must have been but there's still sick

people back here I can't Jesus didn't

respond to the need he responded to the

mission his father had given him amen

now i can imagine some guilt don't you

care but there's a sick person I gotta

do what God has called me to do the

Apostles had to do what God had called

them to do every yes we say involves a

know and we need to focus on saying yes

to God and sometimes by saying yes to

something that God doesn't want me to do

I'm saying no to something God does want

me to do you know I think of that when

people

say yes to sin and have fallen away from

the Lord and have left the church there

are some people in our church who have

recovered from terrible situations or

still in recovery and when they come

here to church it makes a difference

their life touches people here just this

morning I was remembering an individual

who had come for about a year and has

since back slit and then gone you know

gone back to the streets and I was I was

looking out the window just saying oh

lord what I would give to see that

person walking down the sidewalk again

coming back to church I miss him so much

but right now he's not he's not there

right now I miss him he is saying yes to

the world is saying no to all of this

say no to me saying no to the Lord

saying no to what God wants them to do

now that's saying God's gonna bring him

back and I know I'm not worried don't

get me wrong but what I'm saying is our

yes to one thing is a no to something

else every now and then people will

invite me to speak in other churches and

every now and then I feel like God wants

me to say yes to that but when I do I

don't do so lightly because saying yes

to that means but I can't be in two

places at once right so it means I won't

be here so it means saying no to hear

being saying no to the to the to the

classes i'm teaching you mean saying no

to something else now sometimes God

wants me to do that and then someone

else preaches who does a much better job

anyway and the co teacher teaches the

class and everything's good because it

was God's will for me to say yes to that

invitation and no to this but we need to

make those decisions not saying well a

person's asking me to do something I

don't want to let them down you know I

don't want to disappoint them no it

needs to be what does God want me to do

now don't get me wrong I don't want us

to be ruthless now and uncaring about

our Greek widows right there Greek

widows who need to be fed and they have

to be fed somehow there needs to be a

solution and praise the Lord there is a

solution now if you would look with me

again we're back in chapter six they

have their first congregational meeting

you ever heard of a congregational

meeting or a church business

meeting some of you were like uh-uh el

Senor Brenda I don't want any others of

you like yeah let's get down to work

right a lot of yucky things can happen

in church business meetings but a lot of

beautiful things can happen in church

business meetings to the English me

ministry we really haven't had many

church business meetings here

everything's so new and growing that we

really will I hate to break this to you

we're gonna have to have some church

business meetings coming up in 2015 we

got doubts get some organization going

here right you know up to now we haven't

had as much and that's okay but we're

going to need to change well they have

their first business meeting and look at

what happens it says the 12 gathered all

the disciples together and they told

them now they said it would not be right

or pleasing to God for us to neglect

this Ministry of the word of God in

order to wait on tables and then they

propose a solution brothers choose seven

men from among you who are known to be

full of the spirit and wisdom we will

turn this responsibility over to them

and we'll give our attention to prayer

and the Ministry of the word one thing I

want to point out the church business

meeting was not a meeting for everyone

to get together and grumble and complain

right it wasn't an airing of grievances

session that had already happened there

had already been plenty of complaining

going on and now it was an issue of of

just needing to solve the problem the

Apostles don't come and in this context

and try to solve the problem with all

the believers together if you try to

solve a problem with hundreds of people

in a room some of you is we try to do

that sometimes alright it's not the

place you got to work on it in a smaller

setting and then bring a proposal to the

larger group ok so the Apostles clearly

had already met and thought and prayed

and sought wisdom administrative

institutional wisdom and they came to

this meeting with a proposal now I

shouldn't use the word proposal because

these are the apostles of the risen Lord

Jesus anointed with the Holy Spirit who

shadows heal they had a solution that

they were this was not a democracy well

that's said this was the Lord Jesus

ruling through the Apostles but if you

notice the solution that they bring

isn't saying we're going to fix it it's

saying we're going to find people to

delegate this responsibility to so that

they can fix the problem in other words

they are going to empower those closest

to the problem to solve the problem amen

now this is why this gets real important

sometimes people want to bring a problem

to pastor Roberto that deals with a

ministry issue that he he just he's not

informed about all the details and the

intricacies of the situation it's not

fair dad someone who is distant from us

it was the people who know how to fix

the problem are the people dealing with

the problem every week amen there any

people at work who deal with problems

every week and you know look just let me

I know how to do this if people would

just listen to me if you're in the

situation you've got something to say

well that's what the Apostles do another

thing I want to point out the Apostles

don't pick the seven leaders who are

going to fix the problem they take

nominations from the community that is

affected now that's very important to

point out the Apostles don't impose

leaders on the community they recognized

leaders that are already recognized by

the community and then they install them

to take care of this task very important

okay so in other words even though it's

not a democracy they're taking the voice

of the people involved into account

they're listening they're involving

people and it's very much a partnership

in solving the problem another thing I

want to point out they do set the

guidelines they say these are the kinds

of people you should pick you should

pick people who are full of the Holy

Spirit and a faith and of wisdom and

have a good testimony in other words

even though

this is an administrative task they need

to have spiritual credentials amen

because people without good character or

good spirituality even if they're for

saying overseeing something that is

administrative they can do a lot of

damage everything is holy in the Church

of God the physical plant is holy the

practical components the administration

can you imagine what our church would be

life if our administrative secretary

were not filled with the Holy Spirit

bible-believing Christian it would be a

disaster that person needs to be

anointed needs to be full of the Holy

Spirit so they give the guidelines and

then people propose the leaders the

Apostles install them in the task now

many people think that these are the

first deacons but they're not called

deacons here and it's really important

they are assigned a specific task

they're saying take care of this project

and it's a good thing that they don't

over define their role because

everything is new everything is in

formation and all the seven people they

pick if you notice I don't know if

anyone knows what a Greek name sounds

like I didn't really know before but all

of these names are Greek in other words

the leaders who take care of the problem

are members of the community that feels

marginalized and abuse so they're fixing

their own problem but they end up being

a couple of them end up doing something

very different you see when new leaders

emerge God raises up people who do

things you never would have expected and

it's interesting i'm just thinking of it

now isn't it interesting timing that

today was the day of the discipleship

graduation for level four in the interns

and we're talking about this because

this text is all about God raising up

new people with new ministry and new

anointing to do the ministry of God and

that's what God is going to do here in

the English ministry we are moving out

of an embryonic phase out of and into a

young face and it's going to be time to

organize ourselves and God is going to

raise up people for different tasks and

different things and it's going to raise

up people in authority and some of those

people are going to surprise you on this

list there are two individuals that

we're going to get to know in the next

chapters one of them is named Stephen he

started out as someone responsible for

this project he ends up becoming a

preacher that is so anointed and so

powerful that he becomes the first

martyr in the Christian Church there's

another member of this list named Philip

who becomes one of the wildest anointed

evangelists the early church ever saw

God used him to do miracles and did some

of the most dramatic signs and wonders

through Philip so they just they started

administrating this program but then

other gifts and callings emerged there

may be people who start doing a very

specific administrative task and a new

anointing emerges in them and they do

something very different that's why we

need to allow a lot of flexibility at

this stage this problem ends up becoming

a pivot for growth because out of this

God raises up new leaders and the

English ministry needs new leaders we

need people that God will raise up now

we're in a very different place then

this community was which was very large

we're in a very different place but we

are a very diverse community and just as

we wrap this up I want us to think about

some of the challenges that we face and

I thought here they had Hebraic

Christians and grecian Christians and i

thought this english ministry thing that

God is doing is highly complex it's not

a church separate church but nor is it

just a ministry it's sort of a church

within a church it's a community within

the church there's a Spanish church and

then there's here English there's people

from a lot of different

from a lot of different walks of life

all mixed in together in the same place

and you know I did a little

brainstorming and I was thinking about

the variety of people that God has

thrown together here we have among us

many people who are struggling or in

transition who are homeless who are

fighting to survive we also have among

us people were very established in their

fields and I was thinking about it we've

got plumbers school principals we've got

EMTs small business owners child care

providers carpenters economist doctors

speech therapists chefs missionaries

lawyers cab drivers grandmother's

substance abuse counselors investment

analyst scientists mechanics the list is

kind of I'd like I started to get

excited as I wrote this we have a radio

personality among us administrators

nurses custodians full-time moms high

school teachers personal trainers high

school students college students grammar

school students graduate students

kindergarteners seminarians techies who

do stuff I can't even explain paralegals

pastors missionaries maintenance

supervisor security officer social

workers musicians dental hygienists a

molecular biologist and a cop whose

identity will remain secret we have

people from all over the United States

right here we have people from the

Midwest who like to wear cowboy boots

and square dance and I'm not

exaggerating we got a dude from Texas we

got people from Los Angeles we have

people from New York Hawaii Wisconsin

Louisiana Alabama Connecticut

we have a variety of ethnicities we have

african-americans we have asian american

italian american native american we got

immigrants do we got immigrants we have

people and i did some Counting we have

people from guatemala el salvador

dominican republic puerto rico poland

haiti honduras nigeria jamaica dominica

tortola Taiwan Ghana Japan Ecuador

Barbados Columbia Vietnam Panama

Nicaragua France Peru South Korea

Jamaica Italy st. Croix Canada and you

know i was saying god why don't we have

kenny cape verde ins we got a cape

verdean visiting today praise the Lord

could stick a pin in Cape Verde Barbados

folks we are quite a hodgepodge of

people we're quite a mix we're gonna

need leaders our challenge is is is God

raising up leaders that will help

provide context for community for

cohesion for us to come together the

problem isn't that we're too ingrown

because everyone's the same the issue is

because we're so radically different and

we're united by the Holy Spirit and

that's why the worship is so important

because here at the altar when we drink

from the same wine that bonds us

together because what else is going to

bond us it's got to be Jesus it's got to

be the Holy Spirit and we're gonna need

leaders who can come and flow with that

and help people discover one another

we're gonna have to grow up this year we

have been in an embryonic phase and in

embryo when an infant has bones that are

very flexible and pliable that's why we

it's a temptation to try to over

organized too soon and set things up too

quickly that's not healthy the bones

need to be flexible and minimal and

cartilage II I don't know the word for

that but we are going to need to begin

to develop infrastructure this year and

I would challenge you to view this text

as a promise from the Holy Spirit that

is we do this the widow's will be better

taken care of the Apostles will preach

with more anointing and freedom I don't

there's no apostles but there's some of

us except for baptized

again but we just preach but the

preaching will continue way men and God

will raise up Stevens and Phillips and

Nichkhun oars and Timaeus God will raise

up people to do different things and

gifts that are hidden some of you are

called to do amazing things and you

don't know it yet but once you start

rolling once you start serving God and

being faithful God leads you from one

thing to another thing and the next

thing you know you're preaching and

God's using you to do big big things it

starts by being faithful with the little

things and then God brings us forward

two different things and shows you what

he's called you to do we are going to be

called to grow up this year at a

different way to go to another level and

today as we read this text I want to say

yes Lord yes Lord give us wisdom give us

guidance we're ready to grow in the ways

you're calling us to grow amen so i

invite you to stand with me and let's

let's make this commitment to the Lord

let's pray this prayer to the Lord if

you are here you are not here by

accident and I mean that for everybody

there are people who are brand new maybe

you've come maybe you don't even know

Jesus yet or just barely you just

started maybe you think with all the

very severe issues in my life he can't

be talking to me I'm talking to you some

of the people here that we would least

expect it are the ones we're going to

have the biggest impact on this ministry

if you are here you're not here by

accident you may be young you may be in

grammar school you are an important part

of this community and you've got

something to contribute we need you we

need you God has called you the harvest

is plentiful and the workers are few

listen to what God would say to you in

this year let's pray dear God I thank

you I thank you Father that in your

awesome wisdom Lord God you raise up men

and women and children Lord God to serve

you in powerful ways god I pray Lord

Jesus that as we as a community deal

with our complexity as a community the

complexity of being a church within a

church the complexity of internally of

who we are

God that you would bestow on us wisdom

the way you gave wisdom to the Apostles

at that time Lord you promised in your

word that if anyone lacks wisdom he

should ask God who gives freely without

finding fault God we know that we are

babes that we don't know the best thing

to do with each situation but you do I

pray God that you would give us wisdom

to discern what is pleasing to you even

as we seek to please people also out of

love but pleasing you first god I pray

in Jesus name that you would give wisdom

wisdom wisdom to us in this community

and then we would grow and we would go

to a new level in this year a new level

of maturity a new level of

administrative excellence God a new

level of organizational competence a new

level of spirituality god I pray in the

name of Jesus for the Stevens and the

Phillips that are hidden among us god I

pray for the the time wars and the

Nicholas's and the ones who are called

to serve in the in the practical

administration of the affairs of the

church I pray for people who are hidden

god i pray lord of the harvest that you

would raise up harvesters for your

harvest Lord God Father you raise up men

and women and kids who preach and serve

you and love people and find their

calling in their destiny in you Lord God

do this for us we pray in Jesus name

Amen amen