Thoughts on “If I Could Tell You One Last Thing”
Our senior pastor of sixteen years, Todd Lester, gave his last sermon today during his farewell service (October 1, 2017).
It has been a great sixteen years with Todd, Kim and their family. They have contributed significantly to this past wonderful season in the life our church, our congregation and to so many of us individually.
But that’s not the reason for this note.
On September 3rd, I was intrigued by the title of his last sermon series. He was calling it “If I Could Tell You One Last Thing.”
He knew that he only had five more teaching sessions in front of the congregation. Over the years he has grown to know us very well as we’ve travelled through many adventures together in this little corner of the world.
He’s also a thinker and planner. What had he planned to tell us in these last five sermons? The topics must be important. He knows it’s the last time he’ll have the opportunity to impact us in this way.
What will rise to the top of his list of import to tell us?
I was not disappointed.
In fact, I thought I’d summarize the main points of his “If I Could Tell You One Last Thing” series right here. For me, I think it’s a good list to review periodically.
I’ll inject the sermon notes I took while listening. I don’t often write down notes, but when I hear a good point that resonates with me, I jot it down in our sermons app. Often the act of writing it down helps me to remember it later.
Topic 1: NEVER STOP GROWING
6 Things That Stop You From Growing:
- You stop growing when you stop changing (Doug’s note: Always keep learning, changing. Never lose your spiritual passion.)
- You stop growing when you stop trusting
- You stop growing when you stop caring (Doug’s note: Listen to people in your lives: It will encourage them and you will learn from it.)
- You stop growing when you become complacent
- You stop growing when you become arrogant
- You stop growing when you become distracted — I liked this related verse: But Jesus told him, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62)
Topic 2: NEVER STOP CARING
Great verse: For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” (Galatians 5:14)
3 Possible Attitudes Toward My Neighbours:
- I can be an AVOIDER
- I can be a BYSTANDER
- I can be a HELPER
How Do I Start Loving My Neighbours?
- I must see their NEEDS
- I must sympathize with their PAIN (Doug’s note: Listening is the key to sympathy.)
- I must seize the moment to HELP
- I must spend whatever it TAKES (Doug’s note: What I am determines what I see, and what I see determines what I do.)
Topic 3: NEVER STOP GIVING GOD YOUR BEST
Lessons from Soldiering — Like an effective soldier, I must:
- Define what I’d DIE FOR
- Sacrifice my COMFORT
- Eliminate DISTRACTIONS
Lessons from Sports — To win the prize, I must:
- Be DETERMINED
- Be DISCIPLINED
- Be FOCUSED
Lessons from Agriculture:
- To reap a great harvest, I must plant GENEROUSLY in FAITH
“I assure you that everyone who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or property, for my sake and for the Good News, will receive now in return a hundred times … — along with persecution. And in the world to come that person will have eternal life.” (Mark 10:29–30)
Topic 4: NEVER GIVE UP FAITH
According to your faith let it be done to you.
It is impossible to please God without faith.
Faith is seeing from God’s point of view.
What Happens When We See With Eyes Of Fear?
- We exaggerate our difficulties (Doug’s notes: The majority of people view things with eyes of fear, negative. Seeing with eyes of faith is often only done by a minority. There are consequences to not seeing with eyes of faith.)
- We underestimate our abilities
- We get discouraged
- We start to complain
- We give up and blame God
What Happens When We See With Eyes Of Faith?
- Faith shrinks our problems
- Faith opens the door for miracles
- Faith moves God to act on my behalf
- Faith unlocks the promises of God
- Faith turns God-given dreams into reality
- Faith gives me the power to persevere
(Doug notes: I loved the verse that went with the point about perseverance. It was one of the verses that my late wife, Rosemary, and I claimed and repeated many times during our last battle with cancer. The verse is 2 Corinthians 4:8–9 “We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.” Amen.)
Topic 5: NEVER STOP LOVING
Three things will last forever — faith, hope, and love — and the greatest of these is love. (1 Cor 13:13)
The most important commandment is this … you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these. (Mark 12:29–31)
- The best use of life is LOVE (Doug’s notes: Life is about relationships — loving relationships. Our biggest temptation in life is the temptation to be distracted with less important things.)
- The best way to love is TIME (Doug’s notes: Love is a risk yet it has the highest risk/reward ratio. Focused attention is the greatest gift you can give someone. Your time is yourself. Give your spouse and kids the time they need, aka yourself. Sacrifice of your time (yourself) is the best thing you can provide; the best way to love.)
- The best time to love is NOW (Doug’s notes: You don’t know how long you have to show love to those around you. Circumstances change, often without warning.)
I hope you found these points contemplative, instructive, and/or encouraging. I did.