Monday, October 10, 2011

Bethany Bullet - October 10, 2011

My Success is All About HIM

Text: 2 Corinthians 3:18 and Philippians 4:4-13

How well do you know the following people and organizations?

  • Jack Tinker and Partners
  • Doyle Dane Bernbach
  • BBDO
  • Foote, Cone, and Belding
  • J. Walter Thompson

How did you do? Not too good? If not, then the ones on the list are pleased. Advertising agencies do not exist to make a name for themselves; they exist to make a name for others. While you may not be acquainted with the companies, you are probably familiar with their work.

“Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is.” Is the work of Jack Tinker and Partners for Alka-Seltzer in 1976.

“We Try Harder.” Doyle Dane Bernbach created this slogan for Avis Rent-A-Car in 1962.

“M’m! M’m! Good! M’m! M’m! Good!” Credit BBDO with the catch phrase Campbell’s Soup has used since 1935.

What about this one from Foote, Cone, and Belding: “When you care enough to send the very best” is Hallmark’s signature phrase since 1934.

You don’t hum the name J. Walter Thompson, but have you ever hummed the jingle his agency wrote for Kellogg’s, “Snap! Crackle! Pop! Rice Krispies”?

We could learn a lesson from these companies. What they do for clients - we exist to do for Christ; as Paul says in our text from 2 Corinthians, “…to reflect the Lord’s glory.”

As one division of heaven’s advertising agency, we promote God in every area of life, including success. That’s right! Even your success is intended to reflect God.

But the world says, “Take the credit yourself.” When good things happen then we must have done something right. It makes sense, right? If everything in this world is simply a case of cause & effect, then it would stand to reason that as long as you work hard enough, strive to be the best, and don’t let anything get in the way then success will come.

Our society and the world, in general, rejoice in personal success. We celebrate achievement and we glorify personal gain. We become anxious about everything and we think about the next thing that will bring us fame or fortune. We run after power, position, profit, and pleasure and seem to never be content no matter the situation. We love to grandstand and navel gaze and when success comes, we like to take the credit and put faith in ourselves.

If it is not in our hard work, perhaps it is just a matter of good luck. Our success is just a matter of fortune. It is fortunate that you were born when you were or where you were to who you were. It was dumb luck that you stumbled into that job. It was lucky that you did not contract that disease or that the tumor was found when it was. Sometimes we put our faith in our circumstances.

Even in our success we have issues. Just ask Nadab, Elah, and Omri. Or interview Ahab Ahaziah, or Jehoram. Ask these men to describe the problem of success. I would, you might be thinking, if I knew who they were. My point exactly…These are men we should know. They were kings of Israel. They ascended to the throne but something about the throne brought them down. Their legacies are stained with blood spilling and idol worship. They failed at success. They forgot both the source and the purpose of their success. King Nadab symbolized them all, “He did evil in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the way of his father and in his sin which he made Israel sin.” (1 Kings 15:26)

You won’t be offered a throne, but you might be offered a corner office, a scholarship, an award, a new contract, a pay raise. You won’t be given a kingdom to oversee, but you might be given a home, employees, students, money, or resources. You will, to one degree or another, succeed.

And when you do, you might be tempted to forget WHO helped you to do so. Success sabotages the memories of the successful. Kings of the mountain forget who carried them up the trail.

Success begets amnesia. It doesn’t have to, however. God offers spiritual ginseng to help your memory. His prescription is simply, know the purpose of success. Why does God help you succeed? So you can make HIM known.

In January of 2009 the Arizona Cardinals beat the Philadelphia Eagles (32-25) to win the NFC championship and secure a place in Super Bowl 43. During the post game celebration on the field, Cardinal quarterback Kurt Warner was interviewed. As Terry Bradshaw asked him about the Super Bowl, Warner says the following, “You know everyone’s gonna be tired of hearing this, but I never get tired of sayin’ it. There’s one reason I’m standin’ up on this stage today, that’s because of my Lord up above. I got to say thanks to Jesus.”

Now, do I think God is a Cardinal fan? Do I think God hates the Eagles? No. If you know what happened in the Super Bowl that year, you may think that God is a Steeler fan, (right PK?) I don’t think that Kurt Warner actually believes that God helped his team win, but what I do believe is that Kurt Warner knows to give God the glory in all situations. Before talking X’s and O’s, before talking about the blitz reads or the two deep zone, he rejoices and gives glory to God.

From Philippians Chapter 4, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all...Do not be anxious about anything…I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation…I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

Unfortunately it is rare in this day and age. In fact, many have panned Kurt Warner for all his talk about Jesus. For some it just doesn’t sit right. I wonder why? Scripture paints a different picture than the world. Rejoice in the Lord…always! Our successes are really about Him!

When success comes, we must be careful not to take the credit ourselves or count it up to good luck, but to put our faith in Jesus, rejoice and give God the glory.

God’s glory was made evident one Friday afternoon as He ascended a hill, not for a coronation, but for humiliation. Not to bring glory to Himself, but to bring His glory to us. Jesus, God’s own Son, took upon Himself the human condition and all the failures since the fall. He took them to the cross and defeated death so that we might succeed in life eternal with Him. Our failures have been overcome by the success of Jesus. It’s not in what you’ve done, but in what HE has done. This is the faith we live in!

We see this in the wise words of King David, “Praise be to you, O LORD, God of our father Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Yours, O LORD is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours O Lord is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all. Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name.” (2 Chronicles 28:10b-13)

Regarding the success of the people of Israel David again wrote, “It was not by their sword that they won the land, nor did their arm bring them victory; it was your right hand, your arm, and the light of your face, for you loved them.” (Psalm 44:3)

I know a frog that needed those verses. He had a real problem. His home pond was drying up. If he didn’t find water soon, he would do the same. Word reached him of a vibrant stream over the adjacent hill. If only he could live there. But how could he? The short legs of a frog were not made for long journeys.

But then he had an idea. Convincing two birds to carry either end of a stick he bit the center and held on as they flew. As they winged toward the new water, his jaws clamped tightly. It was quite a sight: two birds, one stick, and a frog in the middle! Down below, a cow in a pasture saw them passing overhead. Impressed, he wondered aloud, “Now who came up with that idea?”

The frog overheard his question and couldn’t resist a reply. “I diiiiiiiiiiiii…”

The scriptures tell us, “Pride goes before destruction and haughtiness before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18)

Why are you good at what you do?

  • For your comfort?
  • For your retirement?
  • For your self-esteem?

No. Deem those as bonuses, not as the reason.

Why are you good at what you do?

  • For God’s sake.

Your success is not about what you do. It’s all about Him!

-Pastor Seth Moorman


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