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Measuring success

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Celebration talk Sunday 28th July 2002

Jeremiah 7:1-8 ; Philippians 3:1-4:1


work on Sundays for church?

Last Sunday I was slumped in front of the French Grand Prix.

Podium Looked like nearly every other race.

Schumacher won race, 5th championship/ 8yrs, celebrating.

Contrast on the podium at the end

Kimi Raikonnen driven superb race, leading till –4laps, oil , despondent in 2nd.

Celebrating is a funny thing – freak sending off, mark higher, wedding.


How do we measure success?

What should we be celebrating?

* building project

  • female youthworker
  • lots of people at fun day

all things to be thankful for.

but what about when things aren’t working out?

  • kids at jucos has to be banned
  • key member of church dies
  • Turkmenistan
  • Azerbaijan

Can we still rejoice?

Depends how we measure success?

I wonder whether people thought Jesus’ ministry was successful.

  • people didn’t follow his teaching
  • got into trouble with authorities
  • disciples deserted him
  • crucified common criminal.

Jesus’ ministry wasn’t successful if we think of success as being popular or having an easy time.

But from God’s perspective a total success – never disobeyed God, faithful even to death.

What’s more - possible for us -- relationship with God.


Jeremiah, preaching to a people who thought they were successful.

Slogan “This is the temple of the Lord”.

Malcolm – Josiah – lot of good things had been done

But the changes hadn’t reached their hearts.

Do not trust in these deceptive words!

You think you’re successful- swanky new temple – but in God’s eyes…

! Danger we fall into same trap

Nicky Gumbel: Church/ Xian ; McDonalds/Hamburger

How do we measure success as the church today?

World measures success very differently to God. sucked in.

Image* – looks good is good?

  • Popularity – how many people at this youthgroup what people think. p65 the quest.
  • Competitive. Successful is to be better than the people next door. Better than the church down the street – got it sorted?
  • Achievement. What we’ve done. Matt 7:21-23

! Paul writing to the Philippians 3:7-9

All I once held dear built my life upon. All this world reveres and wars to own. All I once thought gain I have counted loss. Spent and worthless now compared to this:

Knowing you, Jesus.”

old way / new way of life

throwing out all the bad behaviour and replaced it with going to church and being respectable.

testimony: drugs, sex, armed robbery, found jesus.

But that’s not what Paul’s story

Always was religious

Paul – all his religious past was “worthless”

Is he saying we shouldn’t bother going to church or trying to be good?

No! success NOT what we’ve done or our circumstances.

Many of those things that are good.

If I were writing my list:-

  • brought up in Christian home
  • baptised confirmed
  • go to church every week
  • been accepted to train to be ordained.

If we measure success in terms of what we’ve done, we’re missing the point.

Worldy terms v God’s terms

Christian isn’t surgically removing bad bits.

WHOLE NEW WAY OF LIFE includes how we measure success.

Phil Paul’s happy letter

What is Paul celebrating?

v8 “knowing Christ Jesus my Lord”.

Knowing Christ mean – not some airy fairy idea but concrete.

Not Pie in sky.

v10 “I want to know Christ in the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death and so somehow attain the resurrection of the dead.”

  • No surprise that churches where there is persecution often a lot of joy.

Wedding a celebration but nonsense without marriage

p68 the quest.


Celebration is important, but always our celebration should be J focussed.

God’s success.

How have I been measuring success?

How am I being like Jesus Christ?

Sharing faith – fruit; compassion weeping/weep; faithful even when no results

How am I being like Jesus Christ?

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