My final night in Sao Paulo, Brazil and I was given the great honor of preaching at their church service tonight. I spoke to their church about “Pursuing Greatness” as God has really shown me the greatness that the Brazilian people have in them.
While there were people of all ages at e3 Brazil!, the majority were young men and women in their 20′s; just the age to take on the world and lead this next generation to greatness for God. It was so exciting for me to see their passion for learning and their love for Jesus. I have such a great hope for what God is going to do in this part of the world!
My message focused on the 4 ingredients to pursue greatness- getting the vision, making the effort, identifying the people God has called you to walk with and remembering Him as your resource. Here were my comments on the effort that greatness requires:
With the acquiring of greatness there will always be a cost. Greatness does not come without a price tag. Jesus told his disciples this in Luke 14
“Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”
Now that is a pretty heavy order there- hating your family, and even your own life. I’d say that would count as a pretty stiff price tag. Of course when Jesus said hate, He didn’t mean it the same way we do. He was not talking having negative emotions about our family or our life. He instead meant that we can’t allow anything to come before Him and His fathers will. If we want Him and all that He has for us- the greatness He has put in us- then that is the price. He has to be number 1. As does his will for our life. There is another cost as well. It is going to require a great effort for us to be great. We have to always be willing to work harder than anyone else to achieve the greatness that God has in store for us. Greatness comes at the end of a hard day’s work- not before.
But the good news is that hard work is something that you can control. You may not be strongest, smartest or most talented but that doesn’t always matter. Because one thing that you can control is your work ethic. It doesn’t always feel good; matter of fact often times this effort comes with pain and sacrifice. Those are a couple of the byproducts of effort. But is it worth it, if at the end of that pain, that sacrifice, that work is the fruit of greatness? The Apostle Paul said in 2 Timothy 4:6 that he was being “poured out like a drink offering.” He understood the sacrifice that it took to accomplish the will that God had for him. And He is remembered as one of the greatest servants of God in history.
What if we all had the same attitude of being willing to empty ourselves out completely all for the greatness that God calls us to? What if we were willing to sell out and go all in to pursue the greatness that has put in each one of us?
I am believing the people of Igreja Presbiteriana Independente and the young people of Sao Paulo, Brazil are. And I look forward to hearing the many reports of greatness about them in the very near future. Although my time here feels as if it has been too short, being with my Sao Paulo family has been one of the great honors in my life.