Podcasts

Gospel Purpose (Philippians 1:18b-26)

Speaker: Brandon Cooper
January 23, 2022

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Transcript:

Are you ready? Go ahead, grab your Bibles open up to Philippians chapter one, we’ll be picking up in the middle of verse 18, although it’s likely the start of a paragraph for you. So, as you’re turning there, Philippians one verse 18. Preacher, Charles Paul Kahn, was some years ago was visiting Atlanta. And this was in the days before Google. And so, he looked in the yellow pages, which was a book, they make these out of trees, apparently. And you can find this book in a public telephone booth. If you don’t know what that means. Look on Google, it’ll tell you. So, he’s there. He’s looking for a restaurant to go to while he’s there in Atlanta, and he finds a place called the Church of God grill. You know, he’s a preacher. So, this catches his attention, right? So, he gives them a ring. And says, Tell me your story. Like how did you get this name for a grill Church of God grill, and this is what it was, it was a fairly recent church plant, they had been struggling financially. And so, they started selling chicken dinners, to help support the church plant. And people love the chicken, all of it unnecessary care for the church. And so over time, they did less and less of the church and more and more of the chicken until eventually, they just shut down the church altogether, but kept the grill and kept the name. So, churches that don’t have a clear sense of purpose, will drift toward what is easiest, or what pleases people the most. That is not usually becoming a grill. But usually, it does look like going through the motions, doing what we’ve always done. That’s just how we do it, right? Or perhaps it is getting a little bit gimmicky and kind of getting into some of the church growth stuff just so long as people are coming in the door doesn’t matter what we give them once they get here. Churches drift, not to churches, though, of course, individuals drift to what is your purpose as a follower of Christ? Do you have a ready answer to that question? Because if not, you’re likely drifting. And probably not outright sin and rebellion, but just not being and doing all that God has called you to be and do. So, we’ve given you the theme statement for Philippians as a whole. If you’ve been here the last couple of weeks, you’ve heard it. Give it you one more time, though, just so we’ve got it. So, here’s Paul’s thesis, to advance the gospel. We must emulate Christ and Paul, despite opposition for our joy and God’s glory. The purpose is in there, isn’t it? We know what the purpose is. It says it right at the beginning, it’s to advance the gospel. We talked a bit about this right as to advance the gospel in us in the church as we go deeper into the gospel and the gospel events through us as we reach more people with the good news.

This morning, we want to put some flesh on the bones of what does this look like practically this whole idea of gospel advance. And so, I get to preach through our mission statement as we do this, because our mission statement is actually taken from this text. Because this, of course, is our purpose as churches and as individuals. That’s our mission. So Cityview exists to equip people to magnify Christ and serve others. That’s why we’re here. But that explains why you are here on this earth, why I’m here on this earth as well. You are being made to magnify and sent to serve. That’s it. That’s the gospel purpose that we’ve been given. So, we’re going to take those one at a time. See it in this text here. So first of all, you are being made to magnify let me read verses 18 to 23. Paul writes, yes, and I will continue to rejoice. For I know that through your prayers, and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. I eagerly expect and hope that I will no way be ashamed, will have sufficient courage so that now as always, Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death, For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet, what shall I choose? I do not know. I’m torn between the two. I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far. It’s pause there. So, a little bit of context, just in case you haven’t been with us for the past few weeks. Paul is in prison, most likely in Rome at this point, and the Philippians are concerned about him because he’s in prison. And so Paul’s writing to say, no, no, no, it’s okay because the gospel is advancing. Still, this has been an opportunity for me to witness to my guards, for example, and I’ve been able to encourage the brothers and sisters here in Rome by my example Christ is being preached. He said last week, even if occasionally for bad reasons, we get these rivals who are trying to challenge his authority. But it doesn’t matter Christ is being preached and so he rejoices and then he picks up this week. Yes, he’s going to keep rejoicing, even though he doesn’t know how things will turn out. It’s true. He says they’re going to turn out for his deliverance. But then he makes clear in the next few verses that deliverance could mean his life or his death. So not deliverance in exactly the way we might think it means it doesn’t matter to him. The word deliverance, there is actually the word salvation. But it’s almost a direct quote from job 1316 where Job says this will turn out for my deliverance. Alright, so like I said, almost direct quote, now job is not looking to be delivered from a trial because it’s already unfolded, nothing new can happen. What is he talking about? He’s talking about vindication. And that’s what Paul’s talking about to, he’s confident that he will be vindicated in glory, not only in his personal salvation, of which he is assured, but the vindication of His ministry, as well. And that focus on ministry helps explain verse 20. When he says, because of your prayers, and because of God’s gracious provision of the Spirit of Christ,

He will not falter, he will not lack courage, he will not be put to shame. Instead, he will be empowered, regardless of the circumstances to keep preaching. So that Christ is magnified. It’s exactly what he says, right? So that now as always, Christ will be exalted in my body. Whatever happens physically, it can happen for Christ’s glory. And that’s his hope that is the single purpose to which we are called, to make much of Christ to see Christ exalted in us. Of course, this is a radical shift in our mindset, isn’t it? It should help us be very clear on our mission, to make Christ look magnificent. Now I say that sometimes we’re to make Christ look magnificent, and people go, isn’t he already magnificent? Yes, of course he is. We’re not dressing him up. He is magnificent. It’s a question of magnification though. Let’s take some examples here are we like microscopes? Which magnify of course, but what is a microscope to a microscope takes something quite small, unimpressive, at least in terms of physical stature and blows it up bigger than it actually is? We are not called to be microscopes. We are called to be telescopes. Because what does a telescope do? A telescope looks at something that is immense beyond reckoning, stars, galaxies, collections of galaxies, but that appears insignificant to our eyes. Because we’re humans, we’re limited, we’re often wrong. And so it blows it up so that we catch just even the faintest glimpse of just how grand This truly is. That’s what we are, we’re telescopes, so that people who might have overlooked the immensity of the glory of Christ, begin to see it magnified in our lives were made to magnify. Now that can happen different ways. So Paul says, Now as always, Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. It can go either way. It’s a little bit like one of your spy thriller movies and now how does the movie end? Well, he’s got a choice, he can either defuse the bomb at just the last second. Or if he can’t defuse the bomb, he can toss it in the river. So that just makes a big explosion of steam basically, either way works either way is a proper climax to the movie either way he did he accomplish his mission, right? That’s what Paul saying. I don’t know how things are gonna turn out. But it doesn’t matter. I can glorify Christ, either way, through my life, or through my martyrdom. How exactly? Well, this leads into that famous phrase that we’ve got kind of as our subtitle to the series, even to live is Christ. It’s lovely and poetic. And so, we sing it even this morning, but what exactly does it mean to live is Christ? That is not intuitive. Does it mean just to live like Christ? Sure. I think that’s part of it to live lives of, of self-sacrifice and love and service. Yes, but self-sacrifice it’s more than that because Paul’s defined it for us already. It’s Christ’s exaltation. It’s magnifying Christ. That’s what it means to live as Christ as long as I go on living. My single purpose is the glory of Christ. I made to magnify by him to live is Christ. In fact, he flushes out what he means a few chapters later we’ll come back to this and six weeks or so, in fact, he even uses the same word gain. That’s in the second half of our phrase there in in chapter three, he says this flipping three, seven and eight. But whatever were gains to me, I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss, because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus, my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things, I consider them garbage that I may gain Christ. This is what it looks like. The surest way to glorify Christ is to treasure him, above all, to esteem Him above all else, he is so valuable that I would give everything else I have just to possess him. This is the point that Jesus makes, even in the parable of the buried treasure. The guy sells everything he has to buy a plot of land. Why? Because the plot of land has within it. Treasure beyond reckoning. That’s us, with Jesus Christ is greater. Jesus is better than what money, approval, pleasure, love. Take your pick. We need to work this out in our own lives. Of course, what idol threatens us here? Where we go, I’m not willing to give that up. For Christ. I think this might actually be better than Jesus. It’s an important question for us to ask. I want so desperately for us to be a real church, where we acknowledge the fact that we’re sinners and we continue to struggle. That’s what the Cross says, By the way, remember, the cross has already exposed us. You are so bad Jesus had to die for you. So, we can stop pretending right? So let me be real for a moment. Like, I can tell you where I struggle in this area very easily, because we’ve got John Kirkby with us this morning. And John Kirkby is in he will not appreciate my saying this, but he is he’s a big deal.

You know, where my idolatry comes in, as I’m sitting here going, I really hope John’s impressed with me. Sure, because I think approval achievement might be better than Jesus. But you know, what’s better than John’s being impressed with my preaching today? Jesus, Jesus, it better I have his approval, I have God’s approval through Jesus Christ. So that in Christ God looks at me and says, Well done, good and faithful servant says, my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, Jesus is better, you could take it all away. You can take all the way whatever it is that you possess, whatever it is that you think this might actually be better than Jesus, like Paul in prison, by the way, right? He’s been stripped of everything else at this point, and you can still rejoice because Jesus was nothing is everything. This explains the second half of the phrase, then, to die is gain. Because what happens in death, you lose a whole lot in this life. But you gain Christ fully. Faith becomes sight, hope becomes reality. So, you lose nothing, you actually gain at that point. So, I get that that’s a big statement. But it’s true. And that’s why Paul says, Look, I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far. He’s like, kind of hoping this turns out with his martyrdom, because then he gets to be with Jesus. Such solace, by the way, for those of us who have lost loved ones in Christ, to know that that better by far is their present experience. But as we go on living, this is the attitude we must have to carry out the mission God has given us missionary James Calvert was leading a group of missionaries to the Fiji Islands. This was a couple centuries ago, and there’s cannibals on Fiji at the time. And the captain was trying to dissuade them from going just as they were about to disembark. And he said, you will lose your life and the lives of your team, if you go. And James Calvert responded, we died before we came here. That’s the idea. Because Jesus is better, I can give it all up on my life. I’ve been crucified with Christ, no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me. So important to note then that Paul is not at all concerned about the resolution here, whether or not it’s his life or his death, because he knows he can glorify Jesus, regardless. But the question we’re asking, since I’m guessing we’re feeling a little bit more bullish about our immediate prospects is how do we do it in life. And so, let’s look at that. And we keep reading verses 24 to 26. When we look at what it means to be sent to serve, but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and I will continue with all of you of your progress and joy in the faith so that through my being with you again, you’re boasting, and Jesus Christ will abound on account of me. So, Paul says he would rather depart but he’s not thinking of himself. What are those around him nice This by the way temper is kind of a Cavalier approach to death that some Christians have like, just can’t wait to die going home a yes. And you may be needed here for a time to minister to someone. So, it seems to Paul, most likely just an impression of the spirit here seems to him that is necessary that he remained. And so, he expects he will, that he’ll be able to continue with the Philippians. Now we got to look back at verse 22. here for a moment to make sense of that. So, he just said to live is Christ to die is gain. And then he says, If I’m to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Isn’t that interesting? So, he says to live is Christ. So, if I get to live, that is not Christ, but fruitful labor? Isn’t that interesting? To live is Christ but then he doesn’t talk about Christ. He talks about fruitful labor in life so that somehow fruitful labor must magnify Christ so that the live for it is to live for Christ’s glory. And that’s exactly what Paul clarifies here in verse 24. He says, if I remain, this is the fruitful labor, it’s going to be your progress and your joy in the faith. So, progress, that’s our spiritual growth, our maturity in Christ, which certainly exalts and magnifies Christ. But if people then can see in our lives that Jesus actually is better than all those things. We say he’s better than he’s worth more our progress, but then also our joy in faith. Because embracing Christ above all, well, that produces an abiding joy because it means the, that what you treasure most you cannot lose, so that even if you’re rotting in a Roman prison, guess what? You can rejoice?

Can the Philippians rejoice too? Can we rejoice too? That’s the question. So, he knows he needs to stick around to the Philippians are as satisfied in Christ as He is. And so, he magnifies Christ. The last verse even explains this, because he’s sticking around there boasting in Christ will abound on account of him, and what his boasting mean but to glory in Christ, their glory in Christ, Christ is better. So, we magnify Christ by glorying and rejoicing in him, no matter what we face in life or death, because he’s better than all we lose in deaths, and he’s better than all our gains in life. So, there’s our Gospel purpose, or lifelong mission, like Paul, is to see this increasingly true in our lives, and in the lives of those around us. Here’s where John Piper sums it up. He says, to live as Christ means to be the means of other people, making Christ look magnificent by finding Christ to be their supreme treasure, and their greatest satisfaction. So that we’re not only made to magnify Christ ourselves, but sent to serve others, by helping them magnify Christ to that’s the fruitful labor to which we have been called for the progress and their joy. And by the way, their progress is their joy. Right, the more we let go of the things of the world, the more we cling to Christ, the more joy we experienced, that they can boast in Christ more and more. Now, this takes many forms. Like how we play out this gospel purpose takes many forms, it could be discipleship, Paul speaking to a group of believers here. But this is the attitude that we bring into our journey groups or our community groups, or wherever we serve, explore our kids, city, city stew, or just informal conversations and what used to be the lobby. We do this by encouraging one another, to find our ultimate satisfaction, our greatest treasure in Christ. We also do this in evangelism. What does evangelism except to say that this is where joy is found. It’s in Christ, because again, it’s a joy that circumstances can’t threaten. Because we are secure in Christ. And so, this is what we do here. We try to equip you to do this fruitful labor in the lives of those around you, with your oil costs, your sphere of influence. That’s why we have explore our classes, why we even speak about the services speak the way we speak in the services is almost always some part of the service. Well say if you’re here this morning, and you’re a seeker or skeptic, here’s how it applies, because we’re hoping that this will be true of you. That you will see that Christ is better than all we gain in life all we lose in deaths. So, we do this discipleship evangelism so that the gospel the good news of Christ magnificence better than all we gain goes out in Word. And indeed, and as an illustration and application of that point, I want to invite John Kirkby founder of Christians against poverty to share because Christians against poverty is all about the gospel going out in word and deed. In fact, ultimately Christians against poverty is all about magnifying Christ by serving others. So, you can see why we wanted to partner with them. This is like lines up really nicely. So, it’s my pleasure now to introduce Dr. John Kirkby, Commander of the British Empire, which to an American sound really cool. That’s all I have to say about that, but much more importantly, a servant of the kingdom of God.

Thank you so much. Thank you so much. Yeah, wonderful. Made to magnify center serve. Absolutely. Yeah. Fantastic. encouragement and inspiration. So, let’s put a couple of things first, right first, or basically, I’m not a big deal. Okay. And basically, I prefer Johnny Boy than the old doctor and the CBE stuff. So yeah, really, really pleased to be here. I always find it a huge privilege to be able to speak to fellow believers, but also find it a huge privilege to speak to anybody here today, who’s perhaps unsure, or doesn’t know exactly what Jesus Christ could mean to them. And we’re not going to limit what God does today. Amen. So let me pray for us. Heavenly Father, we thank you, for your Spirit. Lord, it is not by my turn, it is certainly not by power, but it is by your Spirit. Father, I ask. Above all else, you will give everyone in this place. eyes to see what you want them to see. ears to hear what you want them to hear a mind to understand what you would want them to understand. And above all else, Father, hearts that will receive what you would want them to receive. Whether seeking you or having known you for their life. We don’t limit what you can do. In Jesus name. Amen. Amen. So, you’re going to hear the story of my life and the testimony of what God has done. And before I kind of go any further joy to hear this really, really loud and clear, it will become obvious, but I want to make sure you hear it. If there is anything good in my life, if there’s anything that has impacted others, if there’s any life that’s been changed, if there’s anything miraculous, any transformation in my life, it really is All Glory to God. I want to give Him all the glory and all the honor and all the prayers as you will see why I find that really easy to do because I knew what I was like, before I met him. So I was, as you’ll see, the first half of my life was very much before I found Christ in my 30s was certainly not about magnifying Christ. It was really all about me. I spent my life really about me. So here we go. So, I was born into a loving family. I had an idyllic childhood. Here’s a picture of me with my dad. We went fishing, I never caught anything. He always let me take the fish home. Because that’s what dads do. I was the son I was late I was a pleasant surprise as I was described by my mother. Yeah, just inseparable from my dad. Then age nine, our idyllic life was shattered, my father became deeply ill which became, yeah terminal over the coming years. At school, I struggled I had mild dyslexia I was deemed to have I don’t know what the phrase in America, I was deemed to have special needs. I was introduced to alcohol and drugs very young in my life and became a really lost a really lost young man.

I was harsh. I was angry. I was occasionally violent. Yeah, I left school at 16 relatively uneducated, which is rather hilarious. That I’m now a doctor just makes me laugh, sounds crazy. If only my dad could see me now.

At 18, my father died. Within seven months, my mother suffered a complete breakdown and the authorities placed into an institution. The authorities, realizing I was 18 and seven months old, closed the file and walked out of the house and left me as an 18-year-old having lost my father, and to all intents and purposes, at the time looking like I lost my mom. I had to bring myself up. And I did I had become a debt collector and a loan say salesman, which was a very difficult job. But somehow, I’m unconvinced. It was God’s grace at the time even though didn’t know him I became reasonably successful in finance. But underneath the veneer of success was a truly broken your mom is a picture of me when I was arrested many terms Yeah, this particular incident repossession went wrong ended up in a very difficult situation defended myself and was arrested for aggravated theft. This Yeah. Yeah, don’t limit the damage you can do when your life is all about you don’t limit the impact you can have. If you’re self-centered, don’t limit the damage you could do. And the damage was all around me. I lost everything. I was innocent of the charges and was eventually proven So praise God. But I lost my marriage. My business fails. My poor management ended up massively in debt. I lost everything ends up living. Yeah, just in one little room of a friend’s house. Here’s where I ended up living. This is, this is me in this one room that I lived in. And those are my two little girls, Jasmine and Jessica nine and six. Don’t ever underestimate the damage you can do. If you live a selfish life. We were very poor. As the room suggests, we were abandoned by many. And yeah, it was difficult. However, into this came a guy who made have heard your preacher. He was born to magnify God. And he lived to serve others. And he began to befriend me and my two little girls in that picture. He showed me the love of God first in his attitude and his heart, in His grace and care for me. But he also told me the love of Christ, in his overwhelming enthusiasm for the gospel. Why would he not be enthusiastic about Jesus Christ. And over the next few months, and particularly one event when he invited me to a barbecue and I couldn’t afford to take anything to the barbecue. And him and his wife so graciously made it that I could come in a different way and they could give me a small bag of some burgers so that I could go to the barbecue with some dignity as a father, that’s where we were. But that’s the love of Christ right there is magnifying Christ in serving others. You will be surprised invited me to church, I walked in. I heard about this Jesus, the huge hole in my heart was filled by his incredible grace. Here’s a picture of me being baptized. Yeah. And wonderfully in that picture, which I had no idea that it was relative captures. But can you see the blonde-haired girl looking on? That’s my eldest Jasmine. She’s looking on the beginning of a transformation. She’s looking on a dad who’s believing and hoping for his little family whose fist first time that fist. You know, was that a us in a proclamation of hoppy men? And by the way, so you don’t have to worry about me. I was miraculously healed of any violence tendencies. I just say that because people don’t come to the store wondering if they’re gonna be okay. You’re gonna be fine. Okay, okay. God is good. God is very good. And I give God the glory magnifies Him. Amen. Is he changing people? And he changed me.

So, I was probably the worst baby Christian in the history of baby Christian. So, let’s just keep it straight. I needed a lot of care. And I needed a lot of grace. And I got both from God from Jesus and from people around me. But slowly the church loved me into being and his faith and grace changed me. A couple of years after I was baptized. I met my wife, Lizzie. We were Yeah. Amazing. She was very much part of God’s just rebuilding me as a person. And this still to this day after we celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary recently, she was waiting for a knight in shining armor. And along came an old bloke on a donkey with two followers. So yeah, ladies, beware of your prayers. So, we’re about to get married, been a Christian for four years, about to get married career run a secured lending division in consumer finance, walked into work and decided I don’t want to do this anymore. Went home 80 weeks before we were married. And in essence, although we didn’t know at the time, we both decided that we wanted to live to magnify God and to serve others. So, we gave it all to Korea and everything, got married, came back from our honeymoon. So, we had given us 10 pounds, which is about 2000. US dollars. So, it was great. Okay, it’s not $2,000, is it? I’m joking. I’m just saying how strong your currency is. But I’m saying it the ironic way. So, you know, things start from nothing. But they do at the start with everything you’ve got, because you’ve got faith in Jesus Christ. Here’s a picture of me. When I started the ministry, this is me in my office, you can’t see from the screen, but I couldn’t even spell the name of the charity. I actually on the screen saver, we were Christine’s against poverty. I couldn’t even I couldn’t spell Christians. Great. But let me tell you, it’s not about how you spell it. It’s how you live it is how you reflect it is how you allow it to change who you are. And I’m still on that journey. 30 years later. So, we began Christians against poverty, I went out into the streets of my home city in the north of England, Bradford, and met people who’d been where I’d been through the experience of consumer finance. But more importantly, through the grace of God. I began to help people and it just is a miracle you can read of the more information on the miracle this story through this book, nevertheless, which rather ironically, for a young man who was told you can’t spell and you can’t write, well, maybe I can’t spell. And maybe I can’t write, but I know a man account, and 400,000 copies of the book distributed around the world that has given people faith and grew us out hope. So, this book is available free, we’ll let you know how you’ll get that. But you can read the full story. But I’ll bring you up to date. In 25 years, we’ve seen a miracle Christians against poverty in the UK, is the formal social action and evangelistic ministry. We have 600 centers now working in churches throughout the UK, we have 1000 frontline workers, we have somewhere in the region of 400 staff and about 10,000 volunteers, we help 30 to 50,000 individuals, every single year we see 1000s upon 1000s of people go debt free. And we also see 1000s of people find Jesus Christ as their personal Savior, because we’re not ashamed of the gospel. Our name suggests that we are very confident in the gospel, we are Christians against poverty, people say well, doesn’t that close the door for you? Doesn’t that close doors? Well, whatever it was supposed to do, God had other ideas, because he’s for many, many doors open. And the only doors I’ve ever been interested in a poor and needy people been open for us to have the privilege and honor of serving for Christians and churches to open their doors to partner with us because no church, no Christians against poverty that’s throughout the world. So, I forgot to tell you, we’re also across New Zealand. We’re also in Australia, and we’re also in Canada. And now we’re in America beginning another remarkable journey. We’re each desperate families and communities. Yeah. And yeah, it is. I find it very difficult to, to express the people who have not been there. And if you haven’t been there, you’ll know what I mean. But struggle to feed your kids is, is beyond painful. We often think poor people aren’t fathers like we are. I’m telling you they are. I remember putting things back on a shelf. I remember having just some sandwiches on Christmas day with my two little girls. I remember birthdays. We had nothing. I know what it is. And that’s happening in your community. And that’s not right. And that’s not what it should be on. We’re going to do something about it. And we’re on our way and journey to do that thing.

We offer to prayer with everybody. We introduce people to Christ, we bring people to church, because it’s church. That was God’s plan for my transformation and churches, his idea I mean, it’s not something we made up. It’s his plan and purpose. There is no other plan. It is the church, unfortunately, you’re it. We work in homes, we build budgets, we visit people in their homes. We have professional credit counseling here, which is always free, completely free at need. We prioritize living expenses, making sure people can pay their rent and putting food on the table and medical expenses. And then we provide sort of individual strategies, training them to manage to reduce debt over time. So, it’s very practical. And it’s very effective not just in its practical application. But in its love of people application. People need people I needed Paul. People need people who magnify God and serve have others. So yeah. As an organization, over 25 years, over 50,000 people have found faith and 30,000 families go debt free. And every year 200,000 people reached around the world through this thing called Christians against poverty. So, God is good. And I always think I like the fact that I completely messed it up. You know, it’s almost like, you know, if a half messed up, I could kind of complain sort of hours half doing okay. Yeah. Okay. But I can’t, I wasn’t doing okay. I just seen the fit, you know, I was nothing good there. Let me tell you, there’s nothing good there. So, it’s really easy for me, to give Him the glory and the honor and the prayers. But it should be really for you. wherever you’ve come from, wherever you haven’t done or wherever you are, man, we’re all fallen. Okay, and there, but for the grace of God, go I. So, magnifying God is a state of heart, not an experience that’s happened. It’s a state of heart. You can have lived a wonderful life. And you can still glorify God, amen. You can give him all the glory and all the honor for who you are whatever you’ve done or not done. And I just have the story of someone who completely lost the plot. But that’s okay. Got here for us all, because we’ve all lost the plot, in some ways. Amen. Did you offer to pray with a colleague at work? Who said they were poor last week? Are you okay to let other people know that you’re a Christian? Do you care for people in your street? Do you go and see your neighbor? Do you care for a friend who’s out of the group slightly outside of the group? Hey, you, you pick, you bet. It’s for you to choose a man. But that’s okay. I’m here to tell you. It’s really okay. Trust me, his grace is sufficient for your shortfall every day of the week. But he needs you to live more to glorify Him and live more to serve others. So, before I finish, I just want to, I’ve just finished with a couple of things, which again, I find hilarious, which they are definitely when you look where I come from. So yes, indeed, I am Dr. John Kirkby, an honorary got Nanaji read an honorary degree from and we got the picture here from my local university. And this is where it gets really, really funny. So, in my sort of family background, no one ever, ever went into school more than 15. I could have broken the record and stayed on as I should have done till I was 16. But I left a year early. So, I kept the family tradition of little education. The only time I went near university was to steal the lead on the university. Okay, so that’s where I was. And God says no.

And in doing that, I got a chance to speak, and still do, to young graduates coming through with the services, and I’m able to say, listen, God is good. And I can share my testimony, I can say, I don’t care where you came from, or what you’ve done, or what you haven’t done, there is hope. And there is a future breeze and Jesus Christ, so even in this glorifying God, and you can see the family there, but we’re going to a better picture for that. And then in 2018, I was given the honor by Her Majesty, the Queen of Commander of the British Empire, which is a second highest civilian honor. So, here’s the picture. She wasn’t there. She did actually send a letter to me in 2018, saying, very formally, that we could now let it be known that the Queen had supported us, because for many years, we weren’t able to say so she fought us for many years, I got an honorary doctorate as a commander of the British Empire. But again, I don’t know if you can see that picture but really isn’t about the CBE. Okay, it’s what that picture says. So, you can see me with Lizzy, we’ve been married 25 years, the girl in the red is my firstborn Jasmine. The blond-haired girl watched over her father being baptized. To the other side is Jessica, my four-year-old daughter. Both married, we’ve got grandkids, there’s no poverty in our family. Generational transformation, no crisis. It’s remarkable. And there we are. Lizzie, with top my son and my other two girls, Jasmine. Sorry, Abigail. Got too many girls. I’m getting confused. Abigail and Lydia, too many of them. So, it’s not about it’s not about the CVE at all. It’s about God is able to transform lives. And that’s the heart behind Christians against poverty. And that’s what we do. And that’s why we do it. So, I want to close with just a couple of things. So first of all, just to sort of kind of bring the stuff that that God has done with Christians against poverty in the UK and the reason why I share this with you isn’t, we’ve done well in the UK. I believe you can change nations, okay. I believe God is in the business of changing nations. And I happen to assume more changed so is just a couple of shots. So don’t remember this is a lad who lived in a bedsit with two kids who couldn’t feed who found Christ and 25 years later so here we are at St. Paul’s for our even song the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby is a friend and patron of our work 25 years household name, BBC Two documentary film crew followed me around telling my life story, mainstream BBC TV, business breakfast, etc. Prime Minister’s number 10 influence who said those doors will not open because we’re called Christians against poverty. Amen. Good doc, God can open any doors. Yeah. And kind of look at what God has done. I’m gonna see these pictures. They’re just, they just say all. You know, sorry, if you put the next picture up with a beautiful transformation on my days. There we go. Seriously, you would not have wanted to meet me. At that time in my life, particularly if I was, yeah, if we were in trouble, or you were in trouble. But look what God can do. And then the future queen of King of England gets to meet me. So that’s pretty cool. And he wasn’t worried at all about me was computer security. And when he met me. And again, I don’t show these pictures. You got me. You got me. I’m just Johnny Boy. Okay, I’m just allowed. I’m just an ordinary bloke who met an extraordinary Jesus. But that’s why I’m passionate about people finding Christ. That’s why I’m not ashamed of the gospel. I don’t put anybody outside of His redeeming power. I don’t look at people and go, you’ll never okay everybody and go, you could. And that’s the heart of Christians against poverty. That’s what pulsates through us around the world. We believe that our God is able to do abundantly more than you or I could dream and imagine, we’ve seen nations changed. But more importantly, we’ve seen 10s of 1000s lives, transformed by the power of God, becoming debt free and the dignity of being parents that can feed their children in homes that are secure. It’s a wonderful, amazing miracle as I start, draw to a close before I ask you to get involved and let you know your counties, God gets all the glory and the honor and all the praise.

Our vision for CAP here in America is ridiculously audacious. And before you say that can’t happen. And by the way, if you want to go on and tell me later that it can’t happen, you can’t. It will just float off me as a duck, as water off a duck. It just will just flow off me. Because I really don’t care what you think. Is that okay? For me, just to be really honest, I just like whatever I’ve heard so many people tell me God won’t and God can’t. Okay, so it’s fine. It’s fine. So, you can if you want, but it’d be a waste of time. So, we’re here because we believe God has called us here without evidence already. In our first three years, despite the pandemic, we’ve seen God begin to use us we’ve seen lives begin to get changed head about John is broken ex police officer. Hearing him now in church comes half an hour before the service just to listen to the band practice. He’s now in a community, he’s got hope. He’s beginning to change this thing is starting to happen. But it is going to be a heck of a journey. So, we have a bridgehead here bridgehead here in Chicago land, we have our four that centers we’re also beginning to spread across your nation. We already have cap work in Oklahoma, California, Virginia, South Carolina, and others. And more to come this year, churches all over your nation, just discovering about these people are known. But we’re not unknown to God, and he’s got a plan. So, we’re on a mission, to see Jesus’s glory be magnified and to serve others to and empower and help the church to do that. So, we’re really blessed that we’re here. What a joy that this is one of our first centers that you will be able to see over the years that you were one of the first cap centers and yeah, it really will be a heck of a journey. So how would I like you to get involved? Well, first of all, we have a local center here that is led by Betsy, there is always opportunity for people to get involved. We need support workers, people will go and befriend families, people will do the barbecue as opposed to the barbecue from the people who will pray people will support people who will go and spread the news of our work in their local community. We need help. So, if that’s you, please make yourself known to the team here. Please do get involved. Please get involved. Secondly, you can find more a little bit more about the story. And by the way, it does get better as you’ve seen, but don’t pause halfway through because it’s pretty grim. I occasionally get people sending me letters. How are you? I just said “Well read the end if you so. Okay, look, it just turned out okay. All right.” So don’t get lost in the grim not being paid on time for 30 years losing our home doorstep. Keep going, keep going, keep going, keep going. Amen. It turns out great. All right, so it’s a bit of a spoiler. So, we’d love to give you this book, we would ask, if you’re going to take a free book, we’d love to, we’d love to stay in touch with you, that seems a pretty decent deal. So, we’d like you to fill a form that you’ll see, all you need to do is put your name and address here with the details. And then your kind of hand that that for men as you go out. So, we’re going to have because of the way out now we’ve got somebody will be at the back here if you’re going out of this entrance, but I will be in the main entrance. Down the hallway, I’m just looking from the right place, you’ll see us. We’d love to give you a book, happy to sign it. But please, yeah, we need you. We would love you. We want your details we want to stay in touch seems like a pretty fair deal. So, no details, no book. It’s okay. It’s pretty straightforward. You know, all right. And the third thing we’d like you to do is we’d like you to consider supporting us. We’ve been astonished by the generosity of Americans been unbelievable. Another some people here today, who have already been extremely generous and supportive and encouraging. So, I want to say thank you, I hope you’re encouraged. We’re doing okay, we’re getting there. But we really do rely on what we call sustainable income. In the UK, we have over 30,000 Regular givers, these are people who give so many dollars per month to support us. And we just ask you to consider becoming a life changer, a regular donor to Christians against poverty. If you get $50 A month, $100 a month, hey, you know what, if you’re here today, you can give $5 a month, it’s all okay, man. It’s not about how much the heart behind it that counts. And again, we’d love you to do that. And if you’d like to do that you can see on the same form on this side, we’d love you to fill those details. And again, bring that to the stand. And somebody asked me recently, why don’t I wait? It’s a great oh, by the way, Christians have got the most amazing way of saying the most inappropriate things to the wrong people. Or maybe that’s not the same here in the US, but certainly sorry, you know, America, where is in the UK? So, he said to me, a few months ago, they were saying talking about why they should support us. And they’ll say, what, why don’t why would we not wait until it was really successful. And I thought, wow, that’s so encouraging. So basically, if you succeed, I’ll support you. And if you do a war, but it’s obviously a more polite way of asking a question, Christians are good at that. And this is was my reply to them. And it would be what I would say to you today.

I’ve already got three grandchildren, Rose, Jamie and Anna. And already Rose knows about Christians Against Poverty. She just knows because it’s just non thing. And it’s great for me her puppy and Lizzie. Grandma, we can tell her, we were there when there was nothing. We believed in it when there was nothing to show. And I’ve seen that happen in already in three nations that have really expanded across the nations of people. 1000 people dinners raising a million pounds in one evening. But there’s a couple of tables. And there’s some people at those tables, who didn’t need to wait till it succeeded before they got behind it. And there’s a very, very special blessing of being involved in something at the very beginning. It really is and we are at the very beginning and it is difficult but we are here we will do believe and we are going to succeed and we’d love you to get involved is that okay? So let me pray for you and we don’t grow Heavenly Father, thank you for this beautiful church. Thank you for these lovely people. Thank you for their warmth and their encouragement. Father asked that the beginning that you would give them Yeah, eyes to see and ears to hear minds to understand and hearts to receive. Heavenly Father as we now worship You. Lord, just ask. We speak to them. We speak to them about living a life that more magnifies you and will Yes help them by your spirit. To see that in serving others. We magnify You and Father for anything good in us. We give you the glory, the honor and the praise in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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