This text is a word of praise from the apostle. He is praising God for all the amazing and astounding things that God has done, can do and is doing. God is able, he affirms, to do immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine.
I think our imaginations are large enough to accept that. We can accept that God is able to do anything, yes? We can accept that God is able to do more than we could ever ask, yes? We can accept that Gods power and ability is off the scale, yes? I dont think we are the sort of people who would dare to limit Gods power or somehow believe that there was something just too difficult for God.
But can we accept that Gods power works within us? Think about that. The God who is able to do immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine is working among us, through us, within us. Will we accept that? It is part of the praise: according to his power at work within us. Its one thing to sing out strongly that God is so big, so great and so mighty, theres nothing our God cannot do! But to also contend that God is at work within me? That makes it personal and real.
Weve been saying for some weeks now that God is doing great things among us. I, for one, have been telling you this. I believe it. I see it. I want you to see it as well. There are a couple of men I want you to hear from . . .
When Gods power is at work among us, its at work in the church. The power and the gifts are shared. They are for the common good and the building up of the body.
The power of God at work among us serves Gods purposes in the world. It is power because it is energy to do something. God is redeeming and saving the world. What He started through Jesus is still continuing. Here we are the church we are the recipients of that saving power. (God didnt contract any one of us. We were all saved and added to the church. None of us were here before God. We have all been gathered in). His power is at work within us, so we are the recipients of the saving power but we are also those sent out to share that power at work within us.
Have you ever wondered why we call our closing prayer the sending out prayer? It affirms that we, the church, are not the senders. Christ is the sender we are the sent. It also affirms that the worship service doesnt end here. Rather, we are sent out to continue our worship in love and service to the world. We are sent out with his power at work within us.
His power is at work within us ...
Giving - I see it and believe it when I look at a financial record and see that we are growing in generosity and giving. Thats God doing immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine. His power is at work within us.
New Members - I see and believe it when I meet so many new people whove come to fellowship with this congregation. In the last six months we have had no less than 50 people, just like the Vancil family, added to this congregation. And it is such an encouragement when I hear them say how much they appreciate the spirit and love of this church family. Thats his power at work within us.
Welcoming - I see it when you open your homes and invite new members to a meal. Greeting people and helping our guests and visitors find their way.
Hope Chest - I see and I believe it when I see the opportunities that God is creating for us to give to those who are in need. God has been doing immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine through the ministry of the Hope Chest. Recently an opportunity to serve foster children at the emergency shelter opened up. Youll hear more about what that involves tonight, but now we can minister to some really good kids who are in some really bad situations. How? By acting on the opportunity God has given us. Can we do it? Yes, because his power is at work within us.
Missions I see Gods power at work within us around the world. Our mission works and local evangelism efforts stand out as fulfillments of the mission to make disciples, but they also remind us that everything we do is really outreach. When Gods power is at work within us, his purposes are accomplished and everything we do is for our sake and the sake of the world at the same time!
Lions for Christ Did you see the news recently that UAFS is partnering with colleges in Asia? The Far East is literally across the street! Our ministry to the UA Fort Smith Campus continues to grow. And now as some of our first students graduate and begin their careers we have been blessed by God to form a growing 20-Somethings group. We did not accomplish this, but Gods power at work within us did more than we could ask or imagine.
Youth Group and Childrens Ministries Our youth group is growing in numbers and in faith. Our teens returned from a mission in Duluth, MN, yesterday. When school starts we will work with elementary students who are blessed by your nurturing and guidance. Our Youth and Childrens ministries reach out and reach within not to serve our kids or other kids but to serve all of Gods kids. They are all Gods children and his power is at work within us to care for his children.
CURE I know that Gods power is at work within us when I hear the how encouraged you are to get word from some thankful soul whose life is changed by the shipments they send overseas. Stacking racks, loading trucks, driving trucks and it is changing lives. Gods power is at work within us.
Overcomers Outreach We are overcoming the power of addictions through Gods power at work within us. People are overcoming the power of shame and self-incrimination through Gods power at work within us.
Just caring for people you have been visiting those who are sick. Sitting with those who need care. Giving a ride to those who want to be here; driving the vans. Taking the time to pray and phone that pager. These are not small things. Nothing is small when Gods power is at work within us.
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