Making A Difference 

Pastor Stephen Lebar
Mt. Zion Church

John 1:1-7
1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. 2 The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. 3 We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4 We write this to make our[a] joy complete.

Light and Darkness, Sin and Forgiveness

5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all[b] sin.

How can I change the culture where I am at?
Do I huddle up in church and be a secret Christian or do I do something different?
Life and Light is a key theme in the above scriptures.
God is light
It is based on who Jesus is and we can impact people and live with confidence
Jesus lived with a deep purpose
It was the cross and he was committed to his mission
Some expected him to be a reactor.
Some expected him to challenge the religious people of the day.
He was a difference maker.

People who make a difference for Christ in their culture have certain common characteristics

1) They live life with PURPOSE.
We are to be proactive
Don’t live like being in a pinball machine
Don’t live a reactive life

Philippians 3:13-14
13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Not discounting the past but focus on the future
Here is a letter about staying with the status quo

Dear President Jackson:
The canal system of this country is being threatened by the spread of a new form of transportation known as ‘railroads.’ The federal government must preserve the canals for the following reasons:
One. If canal boats are supplanted by ‘railroads,’ serious unemployment will result. Captains, cooks, drivers, hostlers, repairmen and lock tenders will be left without means of livelihood, not to mention the numerous farmers now employed in growing hay for the horses.
Two. Boat builders would suffer and towline, whip and harness makers would be left destitute.
Three. Canal boats are absolutely essential to the defense of the United States. In the event of the expected trouble with England, the Erie Canal would be the only means by which we could ever move the supplies so vital to waging modern war. As you may well know, Mr. President, ‘railroad’ carriages are pulled at the enormous speed of fifteen miles per hour by ‘engines’ which, in addition to endangering life and limb of passengers, roar and snort their way through the countryside, setting fire to crops, scaring the livestock and frightening women and children.
The Almighty certainly never intended that people should travel at such breakneck speed.
Martin Van Buren
Governor of New York

2) They change the FLAVOR of the things they touch.
Matthew 5:13-16
They focus on the light “Salt and Light”…
13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Salt changes the flavor
We are called to change the flavor where we work study and play
It only takes a pinch to make a difference!

3) They bring LIGHT to others.
We are a reflector of the light of Jesus
As we gaze and study Christ and his life the light is kicked off

4) Those that make a difference THRIVE under pressure
The world is trying to back us into what the world is doing
Romans 12
Don’t conform to the patterns of this world but be transformed by the renewing of our minds.

What shaping forces are molding my life?
What are we reading, studying, looking at?
Do we conform or transform to the world around us?

1 John 4:4
We have the Holy Spirit in us and we can be a great force
We are not called to live a life of comfort or convenience
We are called to live a live of purpose and make a difference
Set the tone
Be a thermostat not a thermometer to the world.
A thermostat sets the temperature, it just does not take a temperature.



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