We are hopeful for a new building sometime in our near future...And though I want it more than anyone here...And it will benefit us greatly...I do not believe that God is nearly as concerned as us...About having a new building...He is much more concerned…About having a NEW CHURCH!
Much more concerned about the work we do to renovate...THE TRUE PLACE THAT HE INDWELLS... OUR HEARTS! Because if we can learn to walk and love as Jesus exemplified while on earth...It will attract, heal and save many more people than a pretty new structure! So let's take a mindful, hungry look at how Jesus walked and loved...And then learn how we Scripturally, can do the same!
YOU... Are His Chosen Vessel! Let's start at the ground floor...What did Jesus have which helped Him to so deeply touch and change others?
Did He use attractive programs and events? No.
Did He join some big ministry? No.
Did He go off to Seminary? No.
Did He start a Social Media Group and post His Journey every step of the way?! Nope.
Realize this... Jesus started His ministry to others... COMMON AND ALONE!
If we will stop and reflect on Scriptures...We will see that almost every person God ever used before Christ...Started the same way... Common and alone!
If they weren't that way in the start...God usually made them that way before He used them!!
Moses was brought from power and fame...
To Common and Alone...
Joseph was brought from favor and honor...
To Common and Alone...
Gideon was called from the lowliest family of Israel...
Common and Alone...
David was an overlooked shepherd boy...
Common and Alone...
Peter was a single fisherman...
Common and Alone...
Paul, the great Pharisee...
Was made Common... And Alienated by all!
We so often watch & wait for God to do Great things around us...Wait for God to create Revival... Or grow our Church... Or change society... Or even change someone's heart!
We even get frustrated at HIM…Because we don't see HIM moving and working…In the Awesome ways we see in Scriptures!
But what we miss is that…The way God moved in each of the stories these people represent...Is EXACTLY the way He still moves THIS DAY!
Listen to Gideon... As he asks the same question...Has the same doubts and frustrations... We have today!!
Judges 6:12-13 (NKJV)
12 And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him, and said to him, "The LORD is with you, you mighty man of valor!" 13 Gideon said to Him, "O my lord, if the LORD is with us, why then has all this happened to us? (Ever asked THAT?) And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, 'Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?' But now the LORD has forsaken us and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites."
NOW… Please grasp the reality…Of this Angel's reply to Gideon...An Angel Who turned out to be a theophany...Or pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus Himself
Judges 6:14 (NKJV)
14 Then the LORD turned to him and said, "Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?"
Jesus told Gideon..."Stop waiting on ME to make a Way... YOU… ARE MY WAY!"
When God did Wonders for the Israelites... He worked through Moses!
When God saved the Hebrews from drought and starvation...He used Joseph...
When God needed to defeat Goliath and the Philistines...He used David...
When God wanted to build a Church...He used Peter...
When God wanted to spread the Gospel to all nations and times... He used Paul...
Since God wants to touch and save our lost society around us...Guess who He wants to use in doing it?!
We constantly complain about the crazy world around us...About the terrible times in which we live...And we want God to turn things around... Heal our society, but no one is willing to leave their personal agenda long enough...TO BE THE SOURCE OF GOD'S WORK IN OUR TIME!
Either because we are too self-absorbed...Or we don't feel qualified and capable...(I'm just one person!)
Just like Moses felt in the desert... Just like Gideon felt!
Judges 6:15 (NKJV)
15 So he said to Him, "O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house."
Judges 6:16 (NKJV)
16 And the LORD said to him, "Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat the Midianites as one man."
Jesus answered and said... "You will do it because I will be with you!"
So... In order to walk and love like Jesus...The first life-changing epiphany…We need to accept is this...WE ARE THE WAY... WE ARE THE HAND... WE ARE THE HEART...OF GOD FOR CHANGE IN THIS WORLD!
God has always involved His people in His Work...And always will... NOTHING has changed BUT US and our passion for Him! EVERYONE OF US HAS A PART IN HIS WILL! So in order to walk like Jesus... We have to say what Jesus said...
John 4:34-36 (NKJV)
34 Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work. 35 Do you not say, 'There are still four months and then comes the harvest'? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! 36 And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together.
As surely as God called Gideon to save Israel from the Midianites...Jesus has called us to harvest lost and abused people today!
The second life-changing epiphany…We need to really alter our lives is this...Once we accept that God wants to use US... That WE are His Vessels of Power and Love to this generation...We need to start where all of these people we mentioned started...Start where Jesus started...Common and Alone!
We need to grasp the TRUTH that our work does not depend...
Upon the church...
Or a program...
Or an education...
Or a movement...
IT DOESN’T DEPEND ON US, but One Thing and One Thing ONLY...The SAME THING Jesus relied upon in His Ministry on earth...God working IN and THROUGH Him!
Now that Jesus has made us clean and Sanctified...He, Himself... Has JOINED with us intimately as ONE!!! Of all the places GOD could choose to dwell… It’s IN YOU! HE is ALL we need... To accomplish our Calling! HE is the ONLY WAY... To accomplish our Calling!
John 15:4-5 (NKJV)
4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. 5 I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do NOTHING.
Galatians 5:22-25 (NKJV)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
Jesus is not only OK with us starting as Common and Alone...It is required!
You won't experience more of Him...Until you come to Him this way... MEANING…Nothing to give... Everything to receive...No one else to rely upon… But HIM!
You and I then take hold of the Wonderful Truth...That God Almighty...Doesn't just see us...Doesn't just walk beside us...HE DWELLS INTIMATELY IN US... AS ONE WITH US!
EXAMPLE: You can watch a neighbor and learn a lot...
Where they work, family, favorite hobbies, cars, pets, etc...But if you spend evenings at dinner... Take a trip together...You finally KNOW them intimately!
Take this incredible Promise and literally…BEGIN TO WALK IN IT'S MEANING!
Renew your mind to realize…He is there with you all of the time! He is actively interested…In everything that touches your life!
Don't walk with this Incredible Gift…Under the pretense that you have a Genie in your pocket...But in the understanding…That YOU are here to do His Will... He Died for you... Now you LIVE for HIM!
He is here to Guide you... Speak to you... Empower you with all of the gifts we just read about! "Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control..." THESE are the Gifts you need to covet… FIRST...Or any other “spiritual gift” you receive would be meaningless!
When you walk in conscious expectation of God's…Attention, Empathy, Strength, Approval, Joy, Desire, Fellowship and Guidance and Power...You will not give up... Will not despair... Will not sin as easily...You might say... "If I do that, it will consume my whole day...""It will be a constant thing!"
Galatians 2:20 (NKJV)
20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith IN the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
Christ does not live in us just to condemn us constantly...But to encourage, fellowship...And wake us up to His Reality...IF... We will be aware... If we will walk in obedience!
Here is the Key... To walking as Jesus Walked...Jesus genuinely, deeply CARED for every person He was in contact with! He changed lives because… They saw His interest and love for them! When He looked at them... He saw their story... Their pain... Their fears... Their VALUE to God...And they KNEW He truly cared!
Which is why He saw such promise in common fishermen...
Why He called a dirty, back-stabbing tax-collector...
Why He walked 20+ hours to share a jar of water with a loose Samaritan woman... Hated by all...
Why He secretly came to a crippled sinner at the Pool of Bethesda...To bring him a new chance in life!
Why He honored a filthy prostitute in the presence of Pharisees...
Why children and women felt so accepted by Him...
Why He dined with rejects...
Why he spent hours healing broken and sick people...
Only to retire to the mountains in prayer for more strength to go on!
For you and I to WALK like Jesus...To WALK in the real, accepted Fellowship and Presence of Jesus...We must rely on HIM... To help us put SELF aside in every encounter...And stop to see the treasure we are WITH…At that moment...Be all about THEM for that brief time...Care about their lives, pains, excitements, fears...In this cold, hard world...People will come alive in warmth and acceptance of you...When they know you are interested!
YOU HAVE TO GENUINELY LOVE PEOPLE...BEFORE…YOU CAN CONVINCE THEM…OF CHRIST'S LOVE AND SALVATION!
If you will open yourself to His Spirit in you...HE WILL give you a love for others that is beyond self...And then... We can walk as Jesus did... BECAUSE… HE… Is doing the walking!
We have to completely focus on…Loving, healing and winning…ONE SINGLE PERSON AT A TIME! Not worried about how much we accomplish...How big our ministry gets...How annoying they are to us...How undeserving they seem...Just sharing the expression of Love that only Jesus can place in your heart... Genuinely!
The world is NOT HERE FOR YOU…YOU ARE HERE FOR THE WORLD!
Romans 12:14-21 (NKJV)
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble...
To walk as Jesus Walked... Is to EXPECTANTLY watch and listen for every opportunity…To touch another in the simplest of ways!
To show people their worth...Even... And especially those that seem to deserve it least! It is to walk in complete reliance on Him...For your performance in life...For your strength in temptation...For your faith in times of uncertainty...It is to KNOW that God has chosen YOU TO DO HIS WORK...IN CHANGING THE WORLD...THROUGH YOU... NOT FOR YOU...AND ACTUALLY LIVING AS THOUGH YOU HE IS THE GOD...TO WHOM YOU HAVE GIVEN YOUR LIFE TO FOLLOW!
Scriptures do NOT just casually or occasionally hint…Towards this sacrificial life...They are solidly, completely ROOTED in this FACT!
John 15:12-13 (NKJV)
12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends.
John 12:26 (NKJV)
26 If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.
Matthew 5:13 (NKJV)
13 "You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned?..
Matthew 18:5 (NKJV)
5 Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.
Matthew 4:19 (NKJV)
19 Then He said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men."
1 Corinthians 11:1 (HCSB)
1 Imitate me, as I also imitate Christ.
If you ever wonder what possible difference…YOU ALONE could make for Christ...Consider this...
Moses freed and birthed the Nation of Israel...
Paul transformed the entire Non-Jewish world for all ages...
Peter built the foundation for the Church that still exists today!
Joseph saved the known world from starvation...
A simple, uneducated 13yr old brought the Savior to the world!
How close could you get to Christ? What could He do with your life?
What could this church begin to look like? If we will truly surrender our lives... Walk in His Presence... And accept that He will not move... Until WE DO!
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