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“Think Big, Start Small”

June 01, 2014

Acts 7:55-0 1 !eter 2:2-10 J"hn 14:1-14
Have you ever watched the television show “Shark Tank”? On the show, a group of wealthy investors (the
“sharks”) listen as various entrepreneurs and inventors show off their ideas in hopes that the sharks will choose
to invest in the! The hope of ost people appearing on the show is that two or ore investors will like their
idea or product so uch that they get into a sort of "idding war against one another! #hat any people don$t
know is that any of these wealthy investors were not always wealthy "ut cae fro hu"le roots!
%ark &u"an is the owner of the 'allas %avericks, several television networks, part of a ovie theater chain,
and a video rental chain and (uite a few other things! )ut %ark &u"an was not "orn into oney! His first *o"
was selling gar"age "ags door to door at the age of +,!
)ar"ara &orcoran owns a -. )illion real estate "usiness "ut "ounced fro *o" to *o" and held ,/ different *o"s
"efore she was ,0 years old! She got her start in real estate while working as a waitress in 1ew 2ork &ity "y
"orrowing -+/// fro her "oyfriend!
'ayond 3ohn grew up playing in the streets of 4ueens 1ew 2ork as the son of a single o who worked
several *o"s *ust to get "y! #hen the stylish hat that he wanted was too e5pensive to "uy, he convinced his
o to teach hi to sew on the faily sewing achine! He not only ade his own hat, he "egan selling the
on the streets in the afternoons and that "usiness grew into what is now known as 67)7, an international
sportswear copany!
8side fro the Shark Tank investors, we can find the sae sort of aa9ing growth in other places! :n +;;/
the "ishop of the <reat =lains conference sent a young pastor to plant a new church! There was enough oney
in the "udget for that young pastor to have a salary for si5 onths "ut after that, the church would have to
support hi! The pro"le was!!! there was no church! There was *ust one young pastor and his faily who
started holding eetings with four people in their hoe! Today, the &hurch of the >esurrection, led "y =astor
8da Hailton, has over +?,/// e"ers, averages nearly ;,/// each week in attendance, and is one of the
largest 7nited %ethodist churches in the 7nited States!
>ich people don$t always start rich! )ig things don$t always start "ig! )ig churches don$t always start "ig!
%ore often than not, "ig things start sall! 8s the old saying says, “%ighty oaks, fro tiny acorns grow!” #e
see this sae story played out in scripture! :n Acts 7:55-0, we hear of the death of Stephen, one of the first
e"ers of the early church in 3erusale@
But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the
right hand of God.
“Look, he said, “! see heaven open and the Son of "an standing at the right hand of
$t this they %overed their ears and, yelling at the top of their voi%es, they all rushed at hi&,
dragged hi&
out of the %ity and (egan to stone hi&. "eanwhile, the witnesses laid their %oats at the feet of a young &an
na&ed Saul.
*hile they were stoning hi&, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, re%eive &y spirit.
,hen he fell on his knees
and %ried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against the&. *hen he had said this, he fell asleep.
Stephen was not one of the apostles "ut was a follower of 3esus! He was preaching in the streets and was so
full of the Holy Spirit that he had a vision of heaven, the glory of <od, and 3esus standing at <od$s right hand!
8s he spoke the truth, those who opposed 3esus and who continued to oppose the followers of 3esus, rushed at
Stephen and stoned hi to death! 8s they did so, Stephen surrendered hiself to 3esus and forgave the very
people who hated hi!
The followers of 3esus did not start as a egaAchurch! :t started with 3esus and a handful of followers! These
followers of 3esus were known for their truthfulness, even in the face of opposition, even when their essage
was in conflict with the governent, and they were known for their forgiveness, copassion, and love of
others! They even loved and cared for those who opposed the and hated the!
This is the lifestyle that 3esus taught and odeled! )efore 3esus was arrested "e reinded his followers that he
was leaving, "ut would return for the@ #J"hn 14:1-14$
“.o not let your hearts (e trou(led. /ou (elieve in God0 (elieve also in &e.
"y 2ather3s house has &any
roo&s0 if that were not so, would ! have told you that ! a& going there to prepare a pla%e for you4
$nd if ! go
and prepare a pla%e for you, ! will %o&e (a%k and take you to (e with &e that you also &ay (e where ! a&.
/ou know the way to the pla%e where ! a& going.
,ho&as said to hi&, “Lord, we don3t know where you are going, so how %an we know the way4
Jesus answered, “! a& the way and the truth and the life. 7o one %o&es to the 2ather e8%ept through &e.
you really know &e, you will know &y 2ather as well. 2ro& now on, you do know hi& and have seen hi&.
9hilip said, “Lord, show us the 2ather and that will (e enough for us.
Jesus answered: “.on3t you know &e, 9hilip, even after ! have (een a&ong you su%h a long ti&e4 $nyone
who has seen &e has seen the 2ather. How %an you say, ;Show us the 2ather34
.on3t you (elieve that ! a&
in the 2ather, and that the 2ather is in &e4 ,he words ! say to you ! do not speak on &y own authority. <ather,
it is the 2ather, living in &e, who is doing his work.
Believe &e when ! say that ! a& in the 2ather and the
2ather is in &e0 or at least (elieve on the eviden%e of the works the&selves.
=ery truly ! tell you, whoever
(elieves in &e will do the works ! have (een doing, and they will do even greater things than these, (e%ause !
a& going to the 2ather.
$nd ! will do whatever you ask in &y na&e, so that the 2ather &ay (e glorified in
the Son.
/ou &ay ask &e for anything in &y na&e, and ! will do it.
3esus said, ““! a& the way and the truth and the life. 7o one %o&es to the 2ather e8%ept through &e. Here
3esus says “: a the way” and you will recall that two weeks ago we heard 3esus say “: a the gate!” 3esus
really eans that no atter who gets into heaven, they have to go through hi to do it! )ut 3esus also says
that if you know hi, then you already know the 6ather! #e often say, that “the apple doesn$t fall far fro the
tree!” #hen we eet soeone and get to know the, we can often learn a lot a"out their parents and even
their si"lings! The character of a father and son is often so siilar that if you know one, you can assue that
you know the other!
)ut as we talk a"out starting sall we ree"er that no atter how you start, it helps to travel in the right
direction, and so 3esus gives us an iportant instruction! “
=ery truly ! tell you, whoever (elieves in &e will
do the works ! have (een doing, and they will do even greater things than these, (e%ause ! a& going to the
2ather. #e are called to do the work of 3esus! #e are called to do the sae sorts of things that 3esus did,
and ore! #e are called to do greater things than 3esus did "ecause we too are a part of the faily and@ the
apple doesn$t fall far fro the tree!
)ut few of us start out like =aul! 6ew of us start out as theologically educated, highly trained, politically
connected, and socially adept pu"lic speakers! %ost of us start out a lot ore like =eter! #e$re not fro the
"est neigh"orhood, not the ost wellAconnected, not particularly educated, not particularly good in pu"lic, not
particularly good at (and reasona"ly afraid of) pu"lic speaking, and soewhat prone to putting our foot in our
outh! )ut =eter didn$t sta% that way! =eter was like that when he et 3esus, "ut less so when 3esus was
arrested, and when we eet hi years later, he is the fearless leader of a ultinational church!
=eter ay have started sall, "ut he grew!
#e can do the sae and =eter teaches us how! :n 1 !eter 2:2-10, he says thisB
Like new(orn (a(ies, %rave pure spiritual &ilk, so that (y it you &ay grow up in your salvation,
now that
you have tasted that the Lord is good.
$s you %o&e to hi&, the living Stone>re?e%ted (y hu&ans (ut %hosen (y God and pre%ious to hi&>
also, like living stones, are (eing (uilt into a spiritual house to (e a holy priesthood, offering spiritual
sa%rifi%es a%%epta(le to God through Jesus @hrist.
2or in S%ripture it says:
“See, ! lay a stone in Aion,
a %hosen and pre%ious %ornerstone,
and the one who trusts in hi&
will never (e put to sha&e.
7ow to you who (elieve, this stone is pre%ious. But to those who do not (elieve,
“,he stone the (uilders re?e%ted
has (e%o&e the %ornerstone,
“$ stone that %auses people to stu&(le
and a ro%k that &akes the& fall.
,hey stu&(le (e%ause they diso(ey the &essage>whi%h is also what they were destined for.
But you are a %hosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God3s spe%ial possession, that you &ay
de%lare the praises of hi& who %alled you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
Bn%e you were not a
people, (ut now you are the people of God0 on%e you had not re%eived &er%y, (ut now you have re%eived
=eter says that "a"ies need ilk! 1ew"orn, spiritual "a"ies need spiritual ilk so that they can grow! 1ew
"a"y "elievers in 3esus cannot "e e5pected to *up into deep spiritual water and swi with the sharks! )ut
*ust as we e5pect "a"y huans to drink ilk and grow, we also e5pect "a"y "elievers to drink spiritual ilk
and grow up in their faith! :f you et a five year old that was still drinking fro a "ottle you would know that
soething was clearly wrong! Cikewise, when we eet "elievers who are still suckling spiritual ilk and
haven$t grown in five years (or twenty years), then we ought to reali9e that soething is clearly wrong! #e
are e5pected to grow and to take on ore responsi"ility and ore aturity as we do!
3esus descri"es us as “living stones” that are "eing "uilt into a spiritual house! #e have often spoken of how
we are the “"ody of &hrist” "ut here, instead of descri"ing us as a "ody, 3esus descri"es us as a "uilding, a
spiritual house, a teple or a church, "uilt for the purpose of worshipping <od! 1one of us can do this alone
"ut, with 3esus as the cornerstone, and all of us working together, we are "uilding soething greater than any
one of us!
3esus has called us to greatness "ecause we are a part of <od$s faily and@ the apple doesn$t fall far fro the
)ut ighty oaks don$t grow in a day! )a"ies do not "ecoe adults overnight!
)ut oak trees and "a"ies are e5pected to grow!
:f living things aren$t growing, there is soething wrong with the!
:t$s okay to start sall, "ut as individuals and as the church, we are e&'ecte( to grow!
2ou are called to greatness! <reatness is e5pected!
:tDs okay, even noral, to start sall!
)ut you have to grow!
)a"ies grow when they drink ilk and eat food!
)a"y &hristians grow when they drink spiritual ilk and eat spiritual food!
:f you are not eating, you are not growing!
#hat$s on %"ur enu?

2ou have "een reading a essage presented at Trinity 7nited %ethodist &hurch on the date noted at the top of the first
page! >ev! 3ohn =artridge is the pastor at Trinity of =erry heights in %assillon, Ohio! 'uplication of this essage is a part
of our %edia inistry, if you have received a "lessing in this way, we would love to hear fro you! Cetters and donations
in support of the %edia inistry or any of our other pro*ects ay "e sent to Trinity 7nited %ethodist &hurch, 0F.F Cincoln
#ay G!, %assillon, Ohio EEHEH! These essages are availa"le to any interested persons regardless of e"ership! 2ou
ay su"scri"e to these essages, in print or electronic forats, "y writing to the address noted, or "y contacting us at
su"scri"eItrinityperryheights!org! :f you have (uestions, you can ask the in our discussion foru on 6ace"ook (search
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Scripture references are fro the 1ew :nternational Kersion unless otherwise noted!