Sermon Title:  The amazing shrinking Christian 

Summary:  Jesus displayed his power by becoming poor and weak.  He didn't
come as a charismatic, polished public figure with remarkable credentials or
upbringing.  Like Jesus, we must be small in order to stand tall.

Function:  To motivate the hearers to ministry with the disadvantages by meeting
them at their level.

Text:  John 7:1-31

Scripture Reading:  1 Cor 1:26-28

1.  Woman came to talk to preacher about a sin in her life
	a.  At church, I look around and realize Iím the prettiest one
	b.  Preacher said, - ďThatís not a sin, thatís just a mistake.Ē
2.  When you stand tall, you become very small
	a.  When small, youíre tall - This was the Jesus method
	b.  Phil 2 - He poured himself out, came as bond servant
	c.  Title:  The Amazing Shrinking Christian
	d.  Only by shrinking will God work through you in a positive way
3.  Examining the Jesus method of ministry
4.  Will see how shriking makes you grow  (John 7:1-31)

I.  Be Authentic
	A.  Jesus didn't fit the image of a public figure
		1.  Own family did not believe in him
		2.  They knew he was a teacher and miracle worker
		3.  But they didnít believe he was the Messiah
	B.  They tried to coach Jesus
		1.  A public figure has to ďcampaignĒ
			a.  Got to be out front, shake hands
			b.  Go to Judea, thatís where crowds are
			c.  Get most media attention there
		2.  Imagine if speech writers, campain managers coached him
			a.  Got to change image
				- Keep circumstances of birth and upbringing a secret
				- New clothes, hair style, get rid of accent
				- Move base from Nazareth to Rome
				- Get rid of 12 Apostles, they smell like fish
				- Donít hand around sinners, family values man
			b.  Need to get interviews with Larry King Live
				- Do a couple of miracles while cameras on
				- Hold child for the camera
				- Donít every say anything offensive
			c.  No education?  
				- Spin it - He prestigious private instituation
				- Actually a home school, but not say it that way
			d.  Do not let people see your weakness
				- Donít show emotion, donít cry
				- No more getting angry in temples
	C.  ILL:  My brother told about meeting a guy on staff at large church
		1.  All he talked about was trying to be next pulpit guy there
		2.  Whenever people around, white smile, outgoing
		3.  But another person in private, turned my brother off
		4.  That was NOT Jesus - He didnít put up a front
			a.  He was authentic
			b.  When children in arms, not for camera
			c.  He didnít try to manipulate people
			d.  Jesus didnít take brotherís advice
				- That was not his style
				- He was trying to win hearts, not votes
	D.  For Us:  We need to be authentic
		1.  Take off our masks
			a.  We are we under our suits?
			b.  What if we dressed like we feel?
				- Some in hospital gowns
				- Some in sackcloth and ashes
			c.  It means being vulnerable, but...
		2.  The Church is strongest when it is truest
			a.  Early church saturated the world
			b.  Not because of public relations campaign
			c.  They often were outcasts, and ridiculed
			d.  Authenticity helped them to be strong
		3.  Application - Confession as a lifestyle
			- This is a reflection of authenticity
		4.  Pride destroys strength
			a.  When you become tall, you become small
			b.  When you become small, God makes you tall

II.  Be Humble (Authenticity and humility go hand in hand)
	A.  Everything about Jesus was humble
		1.  Didnít have a prestigious education
		2.  His town - Nazareth, the armpit of the world
		3.  His name - Jesus
			a.  It was a very common name, Bob, Joe, Dave, John
			b.  Not, The great Prince Stanford Charles III
			c.  He was humble, comfortable with a guy like ďBobĒ
			d.  Result - He was approachable
		4.  If not humble, not very successful
	B.  Pride and Ministry donít mix
		1.  Some things that potentially bring pride
			a.  Prestigious education
				- Some churches require an M.Div. minimum
				- Some people take pride in titles
				- Same in Jesus day - Rabbi, Doctor 
				- You can be uneducated and yet effective
			b.  Charisma
				- Sparkle, white smile, dynamic, young, energetic
				- His power not in oratory, looks, personality
				- His power was in his faith and conviction
			c.  Power/Image
				- Got to have proffesional ministry staff
				- Got to have building with awesome architecture
				- These things nice, but not necessary
				- Early church had none of these
			d.  These types of things can contribute to pride
		2.  Donít see this pride in ministry of Apostles
			a.  Consider Peter
				- 3 Years trained under Jesus
				- Inner 3 with Jesus, upper management
				- Received gift of toungues
				- Keys to the Kingdom (Executive Washroom)
				- Never mention any of these in 1 & 2 Peter
			b.  Consider Paul (Phil 3:3-8)
				- Didnít use prestige in ministry
				- Counted these things as rubbish
				- (Phil 3:10) - Fellowship in Christs suffering
		3.  The Jesus movement lived at the edges of society
			a.  Oddballs, misfits, weirdos at best
			b.  Traitors, disloyal at worst - Jesus is Lord
			c.  Yet Church was healthy and grew
			d.  Mustard seed grew
		4.  Jesus movement was strongest when marginalized
	C.  ILL:  Church truly in trouble when moved into mainstream
		1.  Two emperors that unwittingly contributed to church troubles
			a.  Constantine made Christianity legal
				-  Appointed church leaders to government post
				-  Beginning of church bueracracy
			b.  Theodosius - Outlawed all religion but Christianity
				- Church leaders began to have a lot of political clout
		2.  Some elders began to take title of ďUniversal BishopĒ
		3.  Gregory I, 6th century Bishop of Rome
			a.  Had right attitude
			b.  When John IV, partriach of Constantinople took title
			      Gregory said that no one, not even Peter was called this
			c.  When someone called him ďUniversal Bishop,Ē he wrote
			     ďI have said that neither to me or to anyone else should 
			      you write anything of the kind.  Away with words that 
			      inflate pride and wound charity.Ē - Perceptive
			d.  In his struggle with pride, he chose the monastic lifestyle, 
			      living simply and humbly
		4.  Others that came after him were just the opposite
			a.  They reveled in praise of men
			b.  They gloried in their high position
			c.  Inflated with pride, the church spiraled downward
	D.  Pride and Ministry do not mix
		1.  God will not bless you if you are puffed up
		2.  Jas 4:6 - God opposed to proud, grace to humble
		3.  When you stand tall, you become small
		4.  When you kneel small, God makes you very tall

III.  Application
	A.  Be humble and honest - Take off the masks
		1.  Confession as a practice
			a.  As Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another
			b.  Eccl7 - Two are better than on
		2.  Have a dark checkered past?  
			a.  So what, Jesus blood washes it away
			b.  Thatís why men like Paul not ashamed
		3.  Have a dark sin struggling with?
			a.  As long as your pride keeps it a secret, it will plague you
			b.  When you kneel small, God will make you tall
	B.  Be supportive
		1.  Make church a safe place
			a.  To be among brethren is to be among family
			b.  It is okay to confess here
			c.  We donít shoot our wounded, but nurture them
		2.  Build each other up
			a.  Express love and appreciation
			b.  Use touch, even Jesus used touch
	C.  Express honor for other people - root idea of honor is value
	      ILL:  JOhnny Lingo bargain for price to marry daughter
		1.  Usual payment was cows
			a.  People used to like to talk about how many cows
			     a young woman might bring
			b.  4 cows average, 6 cows good.
		2.  A father had haggardly looking daughter, Sarita
			a.  Johnny decided he wanted her
			b.  Villagers thought father would settle for 1 cow
		3.  Johnny offered 8 cows!
			a.  No one every paid that much before
			b.  Some thought maybe the father tricked Johnny
		4.  Sarita underwent a gradual transformation
			a.  Not stooped shoulders, looked beautiful
			b.  People said she lovliest and happiest woman
			c.  Johnny wanted 8 cow wife, and got one
	D.  Thatís how you build others up
		1.  Jesus valued prostitutes, tax collectors, sinners, changed them
			- Jesus paid more than 8 cows for them
		2.  We have an 8 cow church, Jesus died for it
			a.  We have 8 cow elders, deacons, teachers
			b.  We have 8 cow teens, kids, ministry leaders, ladies
		3.  Your lost neighbors are 8 cow people
			a.  The drunk on the corner, the poor neighbor
			b.  The loose woman down the street
			c.  The tatooed bikers that live behind you

1.  You can minister to others effectively if you are
	a.  Authentic, honest, real
	b.  Humble, meet people where they are
	c.  Donít need a PhD, a P.R. campaign, etc.
2.  If you kneel small, God make you tall, big enough for the job
	a.  *Thatís why we need to be the amazing shriking Christian
	b.  Pride get in the way of ministry
	c.  Canít build up others if you trying to build self up
3.  There are a number of opportunities for ministry
	a.  Benevolence opportunities
		- Sometimes you get taken advantage of
		- Thatís okay, they did worse to Jesus
	b.  Prison Ministry
	c.  Some have taken in Foster Children
	d.  LTC - I challenge you to take evangelism or service challenges
4.  ILL:  Doesnít matter if you have education, charisma, or an ďimageĒ
	a.  --- Letter from JOrdan Management Consultants
	b.  Jesus knew what he was doing when he chose the 12
	c.  Jesus knew what he was doing when he accepted you!