1 All Blow and No Go
I was reading an article this week about a technology company that had
finally moved from the boardroom to actually building something, the
president of the company made a simple remark that got me thinking. He
â€œWeâ€™re not a PowerPoint company anymoreâ€¦weâ€™re a hardware companyâ€¦â€ 1
I was struck immediately with the significance of what he said as it
applied to more than just his company but to me as an individual;
really to all of us – not as a congregation or a group – but as
individuals. The concept of moving from a PowerPoint company to a
hardware company was meant to convey that until this moment of product
testing, for the last few years everything they had done existed only
on paper. They had attended meeting after meeting, and endured one
â€œcollaborative designâ€ session after another but hadnâ€™t yet
produced a product.
How long can a company remain a company if all they ever do is meet in
the boardroom? At some point in time, the idea swapping and focus
sharpening that happens in the boardroom has got to translate into a
product coming off the factory floor or the investors are going to drop
you like a hot potato.
As Christians if all we ever do is talk about what we need to do, or
talk about Love or talk about forgiveness, or talk about faith –
weâ€™re going to start noticing that the culture that surrounds us is
beginning to ignore us because weâ€™re not delivering any real goods in
keeping with the hours and hours of church service deliberation. My
cousin used to refer to people that always talked big but never
delivered on their talk as being full of
â€œall blow and no Go.â€
The importance of actually living the Christian life is illustrated in the life of the famous author Mark Twain.
Church leaders were largely to blame for his becoming hostile to the
Bible and the Christian faith. As he grew up, he knew elders and
deacons who owned slaves and abused them. He heard men using foul
language and saw them practice dishonesty during the week after
speaking piously in church on Sunday. He listened to ministers use the
Bible to justify slavery. Although he saw genuine love for the Lord
Jesus in some people, including his mother and his wife, he was so
disturbed by the bad teaching and poor example of church leaders, that
he became bitter toward the things of God.
With the rapid availability of instant gratification in everything from
fast-food to technology, we live in a world which grows bored very
quickly. We cannot afford to be the reason for people growing bored
with the message because they only hear it from us and never see it in
us. I want to challenge you this morning to step out of the boardroom
of the typical church service and the standard â€œquick-readâ€ morning
devotional and get into the work of visibly applying Godâ€™s word in a
display to the watching world.
2 Looking In the Mirror: Are you a PowerPoint Christian?
best primer for such a move might very well be in the book of James
1:21-25. So Iâ€™d like you to go there and take a read with me this
Just like James suggests itâ€™s time to look in the mirror and ask
ourselves, â€œWhat do I see there?â€ The inference of the text is that
we need to remember what we look like when we look in the mirror. And
weâ€™re talking about more than personal grooming here, weâ€™re talking
about looking at Godâ€™s word and letting it impact our life.
The question of the text is â€œAm I a PowerPoint Christian?â€ Is the
limit of your faith confined to the four walls of the church sanctuary?
Or do the words of God impact what you do on Monday? If there's no
Monday impact, your faith is a fraud and you're really just fooling
A PowerPoint Christian, might open Godâ€™s word and read it, and might
even enjoy it from time to time, but they donâ€™t see anything in
Godâ€™s word that tells them personally what they ought to do. In other
words the reading they do, doesnâ€™t affect the activities they do.
A PowerPoint Christian might go to church every week and walk out
saying with complete sincerity, â€œGood sermon pastor!â€ But a
PowerPoint Christian will leave the church, leave the sermon, or leave
the bible reading and will never again give thought number one to what
the message of Godâ€™s word was.
For the PowerPoint Christian, the sermon isnâ€™t judged on whether or
not it showed you something to work on in your own life, or whether or
not you learned something new about God that helped you to love him
better or helped you to trust him tomorrow. A PowerPoint Christian
judges the sermon on whether or not it sounded good. Did it flow
linguistically? Did it avoid putting you to sleep? Did it tickle your
If upon exiting you recite: â€œgood sermon pastorâ€ meaning that you
were entertained, than I have wasted my time completely and you have
fooled yourself. But if â€œgood sermon pastorâ€ means youâ€™ve had
your heart broken by Godâ€™s word in a way thatâ€™s going to make a
difference on Monday, or if it means that youâ€™ve been lead to
surrender to God an area of your life youâ€™ve been struggling with or
holding back; than youâ€™ve managed at that point to move out of the
board room and onto the factory floor of real life production.
One of the cardinal rules of handling a gun is that you must always
assume itâ€™s loaded. Every year people are maimed or killed because
they â€œThought the gun was unloaded.â€ Like pointing a pistol,
opening the Bible is a dangerous exercise. When you flip the pages you
should expect to find something there that demands a life response.
King Louis the 16th would attend his ornate chapel both to worship and
be worshiped. There he would often hear the preaching of a man named
Jacques Bossuet, one of the most eloquent French Catholics. The two men
couldnâ€™t have been more different. When Bossuet discovered the Bible
he opened it to Isaiah and was gripped. Running to his father, he read
him chapter after chapter. In time, Bossuet learned the Bible almost by
heart and gained a reputation as an orator, keeping his fellow students
in rapt attention.
Eventually he was appointed court preacher at Versailles. It was said,
â€œBossuet is the most powerful, the most truly eloquent speaker that
our language has ever known.â€
He was also blunt. In some sermons, he addressed the king by name; and
on one occasion he earnestly implored Louis to abandon his adulteries
and return to his wife. Unfortunately, Bossuetâ€™s eloquence did little
good. The nobility sat listening to him, dressed in powdered wigs,
high-heeled shoes, and gaudy costumes. They wept during Bossuetâ€™s
messages, but left unchanged.2
It is not enough to cry at Godâ€™s word, unless those tears water the
soil of a changed life.
When you look into the mirror, what do you see? And when you see
something you donâ€™t like, do you take corrective action?
3 Knowing Demands Doing
Later in the chapter James
says, â€œRemember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not
do it.â€ (James 4:17 NLT)
My dear friends, my heartâ€™s goal for you is that when you hear
Godâ€™s word you listen for its challenge. But more than merely being
challenged I yearn for you to humbly accept it and let it sink into
your heart. And I long for you to hear Godâ€™s word and make the
conscious effort to live in obedience to what you have heard.
I have a computer program that I use for my Bible study which has more
than thirty translations of the Bible. In fact there are well more than
thirty translations of the Bible out there, and every year it seems
thereâ€™s a few more released – itâ€™s as if the publishers all think
we need â€œjust one moreâ€ translation.
I happen to agree with them. We really do need one more translation of
the Bible; and I donâ€™t mean another translation with pen and ink. We
need a translation of the Bible in flesh and bone.
Are you willing to be that translation? It really doesnâ€™t matter if
itâ€™s a first time committal or a recommitment to give your life over
to Godâ€™s control – in obedience to His word; either way – are you
willing today to surrender your life and body to live in obedience to
whatever Godâ€™s word says?
This morning as we close, I want to close with a prayer of commitment.
And if you want special prayer for Godâ€™s help I welcome you to come
forward for a season of prayer after the service. Either way I ask you
to join with me in your heart as we pray this prayer to our Father
I confess to you that I havenâ€™t always responded to your word in
obedience. And I ask for your gracious help to respond today and every
day to your word with a heart bent towards obedience. Today I offer my
life and my body to you Dear Lord, to hear your word and to obey it.
And I ask for both your forgiveness and your help in the name of Jesus
Christ your Son and my redeemer.