Connecting Point – August 2, 2023

What are you excited about these days? That was a question I recently posed to our Church Staff as we came together to celebrate what the Lord has been doing in our Church's ministry, look at some upcoming events and emphases, and pray for and encourage one another.

Our Staff and I talked about how we were excited about: 1) the re-opening of our Kenner Worship/Ministry facility (see more below), 2) an excellent Kidztown/Midpoint Camp and its impact on the lives of our Celebration children, 3) the growth of our Church's ministry so far in 2023, 4) the numbers of people we baptized the past several months (including 3 people this past Sunday at our Iglesia Celebration Metairie/N.O. service), and more. But we also reflected on some verses written by the Apostle Paul many years ago, where he shared how enthusiastic he was even though he and the Christians in his day were experiencing difficult times.

Paul wrote in Romans 15:17-19: "It is right for me to be enthusiastic about all Christ Jesus has done through me in my service to God. . . . I have brought the Gentiles to God by my message and by the way I lived before them. I have won them over by the miracles done through me as signs from God - all by the power of God's Spirit. In this way, I have fully presented the Good News of Christ all the way from Jerusalem clear over into Illyricum."

If I were to ask you, "What are you enthusiastic about in life?", I would receive a variety of answers. Some people are enthusiastic about their careers, while other people are enthusiastic about the schools they attend or the hobbies they are involved in. Some people are enthusiastic about the relationships they are in or are pursuing, while other people are enthusiastic about their accomplishments in life. When you consider what brings you joy, happiness and excitement in life, what would you say you are really enthusiastic about?

It is good to be enthusiastic about all of the above. However, Paul said in Romans 15:17-19 that he was enthusiastic about what is most important in life. He was enthusiastic about the great work Jesus had done through him in his service to God.  When he was referring to his "service to God," he was referring to the personal ministry he had been involved in, and the people's lives he had influenced. When he looked back at the life he had lived, the ministries he had been involved in, the messages he had shared with others, and the miracles God had done he was really excited and enthused about what the Lord had done in, for and through his life.

What are you enthusiastic about in life?
Let me ask you another question - "How have you served the Lord, and what has Christ Jesus done through you in your 'service to God'?" Have you been regularly involved in serving others as they came to worship? Or have you been involved in serving others in your community or city throughout the week? Have you been consistently involved in sharing your faith with others? Have you been regularly involved in discipling or mentoring others, helping them to become fully devoted followers of Jesus? Have you been serving the Lord by serving others, and what has Jesus done through your service to others? Has He brought help, healing and hope to the people you've ministered to? Has He brought strength and Christ-likeness to the people you've mentored? Has He performed miracles in the lives of people you've prayed for, prayed with and ministered to? Has He brought people into the kingdom of God through the faithful witness of your life and lips? If you can consistently answer "yes" to the above questions, like Paul you have much to be enthusiastic about.

I have discovered that when we are involved in serving God by serving others, and when we are involved in sharing our faith with others, that God will perform miracles in, for and through our lives, and He will utilize our witness and ministry to bring transformation to others lives.  And when God is working mightily through us in the lives of others, we, like Paul, will be enthused, excited and full of joy. I have also discovered that we will be mightily used of God in His service when we serve him and others as Paul did - "in the power of God's Spirit." When we serve the Lord and others in our own strength and ability, we will have little or no success, influence and joy.  However, when we fully and completely surrender our lives to the Lord and are empowered by God's Spirit, He will perform incredible miracles through us in the lives of others - and we will be just as enthused and excited as Paul was.

So, do you need some more excitement and enthusiasm in your life? Get involved in serving God and serving others through the ministry of Celebration Church. And get engaged in sharing your faith with others. The same God who worked mightily in, for and through Paul's life wants to work mightily in, for and through your life in today's world.

One exciting thing our Staff and I celebrated recently was the re-opening of our Celebration Kenner primary Worship/Ministry facility that was significantly damaged by Hurricane Ida in 2021. We are grateful for the leadership and determination of Pastor Manley Miller along with our Celebration Kenner Staff, Leaders and Volunteers these past several years. And we're grateful for our Church Business Director, Allison Konur, who worked tirelessly with the insurance and construction companies to facilitate the rebuilding of our Celebration Kenner Worship/Ministry facility.

That means that 4 out of 5 Campuses that were significantly damaged by Hurricane Ida have been repaired and/or rebuilt. Pray that in the next couple of weeks we will be able to begin building out our Celebration Westbank facility, as we continue to strive to reach all of Greater New Orleans with the message and ministry of Jesus.

On August 13 we're having our annual FRIEND SUNDAY at Celebration. On that day we are asking all of our members/attendees to bring some Friends with them to our Worship Services, as we begin our Friendology Sermon series. We all have people in our lives that we love and care for who are struggling in some sort of way - people who need encouragement, people who need help in some way, people who need to learn how to overcome the struggles and strongholds of their lives.  FRIEND SUNDAY will be a great time to bring those friends and family members with us to our worship services so they can be encouraged by the Lord's people, by God's Word, and by the Holy Spirit. I can guarantee you they will be encouraged and excited about coming back with you in future weeks. And as a bonus, we're going to have special activities for Children and Pre-Teens in and around our worship services.

Sometimes people ask me about the best ways to invite friends and family members to come with them to Church services. One way is to simply call and talk with your friends and family members, and then ask them to come with you to FRIEND SUNDAY. A second way is to send them a message via text or social media. You may want to use the following message to send to your family members and friends.

  • Hey, August 13 is FRIEND SUNDAY at Celebration Church. And since you're one of my best friends, I want you to come with me. I believe you will enjoy the service, and our Pastor is beginning a new series titled, FRIENDOLOGY, where we can learn how to be better friends to one another and to others. It would encourage me greatly if you came with me, and I believe you will be encouraged by attending. Message me back and let me know if you can come with me.

The Lord wants to use your witness to help your friends experience the transforming power of Jesus in their lives, circumstances and relationships. So be sure to reach out to them this week in some kind of way, asking them to come with you on FRIEND SUNDAY.

Be sure to join us this Sunday as we conclude our Connect More sermon series. We will be learning from God's Word and God's Spirit how we can be utilized by the Lord to make a great impact in the lives of the people around us.

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