We went to Flatland with my mother and sister Sunday. It was fun talking about the sermon during lunch. Although my mother has heard Pastor Bart preach, my sister hadn’t. To say the least, the sermon elicited some interesting discussion. Yes, that is Pastor Bart standing on the high dive that was on the platform of our church. And yes, it was shaky and needed people holding it. And now, my sermon notes:
High dive requires a longer climb and a longer fall. It has more risks but you can do more and reap greater rewards. Where the low dive involves ministry within the church the high dive is ministry to the lost.
Less than two months after Peter had denied Jesus three times he is standing before a huge crowd preaching and three thousand believe in Christ. Only weeks after being terrified of being known as followers of Christ we find them preaching Christ to the world.
We need to be willing to go off the high dive. It is what Jesus calls us to do, to fullfill his mission, Luke 19:105
Get your friends – never dive alone. Act 1:12-13 the disciples stayed together.
Next climb the ladder – you need skills, courage, and a desire to climb the ladder. It is often harder to make the decision to climb it than it is to actually do the climbing. It is the Holy Spirit who equips us and provides us with the courage to climb the ladder. Acts 2. It took the Holy Spirit to get Peter to be able to preach to the crowd. The Holy Spirit empowers us to do things we would never expect to do or have the ability to do.
Only we can climb the ladder. Our church can provide us with all kinds of tools to help us climb the ladder. But we have to climb the ladder ourselves. It is through the spiritual disciplines that we can.
Once we are up there we have to take the plunge.
The low dive relies mostly on our natural abilities whereas the high dive requires the Holy Spirit.
So we need to receive the Holy Spirit, climb the ladder once empowered, and take the plunge.
The high dive allows incredible things. So its time to climb that ladder and take the plunge.
Several things came up during lunch. The first of course was Pastor Bart’s clothing. My mother really doesn’t like to see a minister in blue jeans. I can appreciate her concern although I don’t share it. She worries that people will not take him seriously. Of course I shocked her by saying I trust someone in blue jeans way before I would trust anyone in a suit. I distrust people in suits. I wonder what they want to weasel out of me. From my perspective, people either wear suits because they are forced to or because they want to fool me into thinking they are something they may not be.
The second thing discussed was based on the idea that we should not go alone into ministry. My mother pointed out that there are times like at work where we may be the only Christian, but we are still called to minister to the lost there. I don’t believe pastor was saying we couldn’t or shouldn’t do ministry solo. Rather, he was saying that we need support. Others can encourage us to face our fellow workers when we are by ourselves. Others can rejoice with us when we see victory or support us when we face defeat. There is strength when there are two or more that just doesn’t exist when we are by ourselves.
You know, I can’t remember what else we talked about but looking over my notes, there were a couple things I thought about during the sermon.
I never had a problem actually climbing the ladder to the high dive. But once up there, jumping off really scared me. It always took me a couple deep breaths to get the nerve to get out on the board and jump. In the same way, sometimes we rush into ministry only to suddenly be facing the actual time to make the jump and it can be very frightening. At that point, only the Holy Spirit can help, encourage, comfort us to make that dive.
OH! I remember one of the things that my sister asked about, “What about Love? Don’t we have to have love for the lost to even want to dive in?” You know, I am sure in previous sermons our pastors have said something like that but it really is important to point it out. We need to pray for God’s Love for the Lost, that John 3:16 becomes our reason as well. When we love the lost and desire to see them rescued, it makes it so much more easy to be willing to climb that ladder and take that long plunge into the pool.
Finally, back to some of my thoughts. Pastor Bart pointed out that ministries that are like the low dive can allow us to rely on our own skills and abilities but the high dive type ministries require the Holy Spirit because they stretch us way beyond our own abilities. I don’t believe he was saying we don’t need the Holy Spirit to minister to do even the little things. He knows 1 Cor 12-14 as well as I do and that is all about the gifts of the Spirit for ministry within the Body of Christ. Peter in his first letter says similar things.
No matter what ministry we are involved in, we need the empowering of the Holy Spirit to do that ministry if we want to be effective for the Lord. And that is our challenge for this week. To seek the Holy Spirit and His power that we may become more effective in all we do for the Lord.
- Dive In: Holding Your Breath
- Dive In: Platform Diving