TAKING GROUND: Journeying from 'NOW' to 'THEN'
  • Genesis 37:5, ESV NOW Joseph had a dream…

  • Genesis 41:39–40, ESV THEN Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has shown you all this, there is none so discerning and wise as you are. You shall be over my house, and all my people shall order themselves as you command. Only as regards the throne will I be greater than you.”

God reveals land He has for you VIA: Bible, Rhema, prophecy, dreams, visions, leaders, preaching, things in your heart that grow into conviction.

Once land is revealed, there is a journey to be taken, preparations, plans, work!

The from ‘NOW’ to “THEN’ Journey

  • Dream 1 - Genesis 37:7, ESV Behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and behold, my sheaf arose and stood upright. And behold, your sheaves gathered around it and bowed down to my sheaf.”

  • Dream 2 - Genesis 37:9, ESV Then he dreamed another dream and told it to his brothers and said, “Behold, I have dreamed another dream. Behold, the sun, the moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to me.”

  • His dream happened when He was 17 years old

  • That same year he was sold to slave traders, landing in the house of Potiphar

  • He served Potiphar 11 years, when he accused of rape by Potiphar’s wife

  • At 28 he was thrown into prison two years

  • At 30 he interpreted a dream for Pharaoh and was released from prison and elevated to 2nd in command in Egypt.

  • 9 years later, at age 39, his brothers arrive in Egypt, he remains unknown

  • For the next two years his brothers journey back and forth, and after Joseph reveals his identity, the bring their father.

  • At age 41, almost 25 years later, he is reunited with his father who bows down with his brothers to Joseph

Why does it take so long to take the land God has for us? There are a number of reasons, but THE BIGGEST? the WHO YOU CURRENTLY ARE must journey to the WHO YOU NEED TO BE, so that the OPPORTUNITY can MATURE and the OUTCOME can be HIS BEST

  • most ground promised is conditional - are “if you do X, then I will do Y…” therefore “if you don’t do X…

  • Samson was promised great ground, but it was polluted by his failure to BECOME the man who could live out the vision.

  • too often we often think our greatest obstacle to us taking our promised land is our CIRCUMSTANCES when in reality, the greatest obstacle is actually WHO WE ARE.

TAKING HIS GROUND WILL REQUIRE YOU TO BECOME SECOND

  • We see ourselves as the center of everything!

  • Joseph’s 1st Dream: “MY SHEAF AROSE, YOUR’S GATHERED AND BOWED DOWN.”

  • Joseph’s 2nd Dream: “I HAD ANOTHER DREAM! YOU WERE ALL BOWING DOWN TO ME.”

    • the fact that he told family

    • the way he told family

    • how he celebrated a second dream

  • He was filled with PRIDE – improper assessment of self; measuring yourself with a standard other than God’s (over value or under value).

    • Proverbs 16:18, ESV Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.

  • PRIDE will always place self at the center of the vision (I can’t do it, or I can do it)

    • God’s has called me to do great things vs. God wants to do great things for others and he is allowing me to play a role.

  • Situations have a way of revealing our PRIDE so it can be dealt with:

    • no opportunity offered when you feel like you should have one

    • an opportunity “beneath you” is offered

    • someone else gets the opportunity you should have gotten

    • when you struggle with feeling overlooked, under-appreciated

    • when you feel like someone holding you back

    • when you feel like you should be in charge instead of them

  • Joseph saw himself as center, but:

    • in the end, the real story was the people that would need his help

    • in the end, his role was never more than second:

      • we will only ever be stewards

      • Genesis 41:39–40, ESV THEN Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has shown you all this, there is none so discerning and wise as you are. You shall be over my house, and all my people shall order themselves as you command. Only as regards the throne will I be greater than you.”

      • his FIRST-SHIP and our SECOND-HOOD must be established or our entire lives will be out of alignment.

  • Joseph’s transformation was remarkable in this arena – the way he honors his family and brothers in remarkable.

TAKING HIS GROUND WILL REQUIRE YOU TO SOW/REAP HERE FIRST

  • there is an exciting piece of ground in your future, but before you get there, the piece of ground you stand on now matters!

  • Here is not a circumstance you are passing through, it’s the foundation that the building will be built on.

  • Faithfulness on this piece of ground is the stepping stone to future pieces of ground. (this job, this ministry, this income, this house, etc.)

    • Matthew 25:21, ESV His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’

  • Here is also the training ground for there - crawl, walk and then run

  • Here matters!

    • Joseph was not out in the field with His brothers

    • Joseph was not part of the harvest or it’s solutions

    • Joseph was not building rapport with the team

    • Joseph was looking to the day when all would bow down.

  • part of sowing/reaping is doing so in spite of pushback - failed with Potiphar’s wife, but quickly learned in prison.

  • you cannot allow someone’s wrong actions to keep you from right action

TAKING HIS LAND WILL REQUIRE YOU TO WIN OTHERS TO YOUR CAUSE

  • early on, Joseph’s greatest weakness was his people skills

  • all ground is taken via favorable relationships

  • relationships of today will lead you to the army you will need tomorrow to accomplish all that God has called you to do.

    • The seeds of good deeds become a tree of life; a wise person wins friends. Proverbs 11:30, NLT

  • Fifteen years from now you will need the references of someone in this room.

  • There are no unimportant people in your world!

  • Winning your enemies is critical

  • Josephs greatest transformation was his people skills

Joseph was clearly one of the most flawed people to start with, but he allowed the process of God top shape His life! During your journey, you are in His process of being transformed from who you are into who He’s called you to be! Surrender to His Process!!!

  • Isaiah 49:1–3, ESV The Lord called me from the womb, from the body of my mother he named my name. He made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me a polished arrow; in his quiver he hid me away. And he said to me, “You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will be glorified.”

TAKING GROUND: Strengthening Your Faith

In order to possess the land God has for you, you are going to need to many things such as favor, opportunity, resources, wisdom, help, etc. The list is long. But on that list, you will find that there is one essential that you cannot do without called faith.

Whether you know it or not, you already have faith inside of you. God put it there. It exists. But the truth is, in order for you to take possession of all God has for you, the faith that you currently have is not enough. But there is good news. Your faith can grow!

FAITH is the process of hearing, believing and acting upon the things God says, causing the supernatural release of things promised.

FAITH: EVERYONE RECEIVES A PORTION FROM GOD

  • Ephesians 2:8, ESV For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,

  • Romans 12:3, ESV For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure (GK – metron) of faith that God has assigned.

FAITH: MEASURED IN TERMS OF STRENGTH

  • some function with no faith: Mark 4:40, ESV He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?”

  • some function with little faith: Matthew 17:16–20, ESV And I brought him to your disciples, and they could not heal him.” And Jesus answered, “O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him here to me.” And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and the boy was healed instantly. Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”

  • some function with great faith: Matthew 15:25–28, ESV But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” And he answered, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly.

FAITH: IMPACTS YOUR ABILITY TO TAKE THE GROUND

  • Hebrews 3:19, ESV So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.

  • Matthew 9:29, ESV Then he touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith be it done to you.”

  • Mark 11:23–24, ESV Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

FAITH: CURRENT STRENGTH NOT SUFFICIENT TO TAKE FUTURE GROUND

  • Matthew 17:19–21, NASB95 Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not drive it out?” And He said to them, “Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you. “But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”

FAITH: CAN BE INTENTIONALLY INCREASED

  • Luke 17:5–6, ESV The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.

    • the disciples wanted Jesus to increase their faith

    • their request was out of alignment with kingdom principles

    • the kingdom functions like a seed

    • the process of faith increasing is in the process of faith functioning

  • seeds planted create more and more seeds and faith exercised increases faith!

EXERCISING FAITH TO INCREASE FAITH


1. INGEST THE WORD

  • Romans 10:17, ESV So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

  • clarifies God’s character and will

  • clarifies your prerequisites and methods

  • define the things that are actually in your lot

  • read and listen to it

  • listen/re-listen to preaching

  • read books

  • reread/listen to prophetic promises

2. TELL OBSTRUCTIONS WHERE TO GO

  • Matthew 21:21–22, ESV And Jesus answered them, “Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen. And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”

  • asking has a place - whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith

  • declaring plays a key role in faith-filled prayer - if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen.

  • let mis-alignment be a magnet

  • be bold to pray

  • be persistent

  • partner with others


3. FAST

  • Matthew 6:16–18, ESV “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

  • fasting is not a hunger strike to convince God to do something

  • fasting intentionally creates a difficult moment for you to rely on God to sustain you through the discomfort.

  • the pain of fasting is the same as the burn of lifting weights – it’s the evidence of stretching to the next level.

4. LEAN IN TO MOMENTS REQUIRING FAITH

  • Matthew 14:28–29, ESV And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus.

  • Romans 12:6, ESV Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith;

  • step out a little farther

  • don’t look for a substitute – trust God!!!

5. TITHE, GIVE, REPEAT

  • Malachi 3:7–12, ESV From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from my statutes and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts. But you say, ‘How shall we return?’ Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of your soil, and your vine in the field shall not fail to bear, says the Lord of hosts. Then all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a land of delight, says the Lord of hosts.

  • Luke 16:10–12, ESV “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?

6. SPEAK LIFE OVER THINGS THAT ARE CURRENTLY DEAD

  • Ezekiel 37:3–6, ESV And he said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord God, you know.” Then he said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord God to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. And I will lay sinews upon you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live, and you shall know that I am the Lord.”

  • 1 Corinthians 10:10, ESV nor grumble (onomatop – to mutter, murmur, complain), as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer.

CLOSING:

Genesis 12:1,4, ESV Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. So Abram went,

TAKING GROUND: Surveying Your Land

If you are going to see the land God has for you, if you are going to begin to take possession and occupy it, you are going to need REVELATION (unable to be seen with the natural eye) from God for ground He has for you!

Biblical Surveys of God-Given Land:

  • Garden Of Eden: Genesis 2:8, ESV And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. (gan – and enclosure, garden - from ganaan – to cover, surround or defend)

  • Promised Land - Deuteronomy 11:23-25,

  • Land Assigned To 12 Tribes - Joshua 13-21

  • David’s Lot Lines: Psalm 16:5–6, ESV The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance

If My Life’s Lot Lines…

  • Have been planned for me - Jeremiah 29:11, ESV For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

  • Have been prepared for me - 1 Corinthians 2:9–10, ESV …what God has prepared for those who love him”

  • Are mine to possess - Philippians 3:12, NIV …but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.

How do I know where my lot lines actually fall?

1. My Lot Lines Are Delineated In The Word of God

  • Psalm 119:105, ESV Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

Read God’s Word:

  • consistently

  • methodically

  • for facts

  • for revelation

As you read, learn to trust the survey lines - God has your best in mind!

The Word Reveals Key Things That God Has Or Your Life:

  • Salvation - 2 Peter 3:9, ESV … not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 2 Peter 3:9, ESV

  • Forgiveness - 1 John 1:9, ESV If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

  • Resources - Philippians 4:19, ESV And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

  • Good Things - No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. Psalm 84:11, ESV

  • Healing - James 5:14–15, ESV Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.

  • Holy Spirit - Luke 11:13, ESV …how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

The Word Reveals Key Things He Wants You To Avoid:

  • Forgiveness - Ephesians 4:32, ESV Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

  • Theft - Ephesians 4:28, ESV Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.

  • Words That Kill - 1 Peter 2:1, ESV So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.

  • Drunkenness - Ephesians 5:18, ESV And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit,

  • Sex Outside of Marriage - 1 Corinthians 6:18, ESV Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.

2. My Lot Lines Are Unearthed By Spiritual Leaders

  • Ephesians 2:10, ESV For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

  • Ephesians 4:11–12, ESV And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,

3. My Lot Lines Are Disclosed By The Holy Spirit

  • 1 Corinthians 2:9–10, ESV But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”— these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit.

  • inspired written word

  • inspired spoken word

    • Rhema

    • Prophecy

    • Word of Wisdom

    • Word of Knowledge

  • spiritual dreams

Life often creates distance between what God has spoken and what we are experiencing – DREAM AGAIN!!!

Joshua 21:43–45, ESV Thus the Lord gave to Israel all the land that he swore to give to their fathers. And they took possession of it, and they settled there. And the Lord gave them rest on every side just as he had sworn to their fathers. Not one of all their enemies had withstood them, for the Lord had given all their enemies into their hands. Not one word of all the good promises that the Lord had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass.

4. Marked By My Surrendered Heart

  • Our Heart Is Wicked - Jeremiah 17:9, ESV The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?

  • Our Heart Can Be Cleansed - Acts 15:9, ESV and he made no distinction between us and them, having cleansed their hearts by faith.

  • His Desires Become Our Desires - Psalm 37:4, ESV Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

People who have surrendered hearts to God shouldn’t be afraid to make decisions about what’s next or what to chase after if it’s in their heart.

TAKING GROUND: Accessing Your Land

1 Corinthians 2:9–10, ESV But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”— these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit.

Jesus came and gave his life to purchase the good things that He has prepared to build your life out of. In fact, He has better for your life than you’ve seen. He has better for your life than you’ve heard. He has better for your life than your heart believes. He has better for your life than mind has imagined!

The average person struggles to believe this because:

  • They don’t believe God is that interested in people in general

  • They don’t believe God is that interested in them specifically

  • They don’t believe that is part of His character

  • They don’t believe it’s on His calendar

  • They don’t believe God is that good, or wants to be that good to them

  • They don’t see it in their past, so they believe it’s in their future

  • They don’t feel qualified or even worthy to receive that level of a life

  • They think that type of life is for heaven only

I am believing for a revelation to open your eyes about the days and weeks and years ahead that He has prepared for you. A revelation is critical because if you don’t see it, you won’t journey to it, you won’t take possession of it, you won’t occupy it, you won’t thrive in it, you won’t share it with others, and their lives will go without, and a large part of why Jesus died for you will not be activated in your life!

To Access Your Land, You Must Follow Jesus.

  • Your best life is only possible as you follow Him.

    • Mark 2:14, ESV And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him.

    • “Follow me” an invitation to start something new. It’s a proposition to stop following your current leader so that you can begin follow a new leader.

  • John 10:10, ESV The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

    • The difference good land and less than good land is ultimately in WHO you follow.

    • Some people have a decent life without Him, but it’s less than what it could be!!!

To Access Your Land, You Must See It In Advance.

  • You can’t invent your own land, nor can you possess someone else’s.

  • 1 Corinthians 13:12, ESV For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

  • You need a REVELATION!!! He wants to show you!

    • Jeremiah 33:3, ESV Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.

  • His revelation of your land will include every aspect of your life including your relationship with Him, your relationship with others, your purpose, your fruitfulness, your provision

  • What you look at determines your direction and destination!

  • SEE THE FORESHADOW OF YOUR LAND

    • Eden - Genesis 2:8 (Eden = luxury, delight

      • Genesis 1:31, ESV And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. (very – meod – muchness, force, abundance) (good – tob – pleasing)

      • Genesis 1:28, ESV And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (barak – to kneel before to bless)

    • Canaan - Exodus 3:8, ESV and I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. (flowing zub - to flow, gush)

    • David’s Kingdom - Psalm 16:5–6, ESV The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.

    • Jesus Kingdom - John 10:10, ESV The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have (echo) life and have it abundantly.

    • Heaven - Revelation 22:1–5, ESV Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.

  • See your land for what it is – VERY GOOD!!!

To Access Your Land, You Must Take The Next Step.

  • It’s not going to appear!

    • Philippians 3:12, NIV Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.

  • It’s been provided but you must appropriate it

    • Joshua 1:11, ESV …pass over this Jordan to go in to take possession of the land that the Lord your God is giving you to possess.’ ”

  • It will also require wisdom

  • It will require OTHERS

BETTER TOGETHER: Fear Not
  • Exodus 14:4 ”And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them, and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, and the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD.” And they did so.”

God told Moses about the plan because He knew this was not going to be easy for them. He knew what they would see with their eyes. He wanted to assure them that He was aware and they just needed to follow the plan. He would take care of the rest.

  • Exodus 14:10 As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the Lord. 11 They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? 12 Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!”

They forgot that God had plan! Their focus was on what they saw.

  • 13 Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. 14 The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

Do Not Be Afraid:

The Egyptians represented the past. Did the Israelites really desire to live a life of slavery? No! That’s why they took the step of faith onto a new path. What they knew and were “comfortable” with had to be left behind.

Fear focuses on what we see.
Faith focuses on what God has promised.

Fear intimidates, cripples, lies, manipulates, steals, divides, doubts

God has given us His promise in times of fear:

  • Isaiah 41:10 (NLT) Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.

  • Isaiah 41:10 (GW) Don't be afraid, because I am with you. Don't be intimidated; I am your God. I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will support you with my victorious right hand.

I was reminded of a promise I had from God. I picked up my phone and listened to it again:

“You are fully equipt and fully ready for battle. God is going to take you into a new season. You will do things that your personality has never allowed you to do before.”

Why do we fear? Because the unknown is uncomfortable!

“Be comfortable with being uncomfortable.” - Moriah Williams

Don’t focus on what you see or don’t see; focus on God’s promise. You might say, “God did not give me a promise like He did you.” To that I say, “Yes, He did!” (Bible)

Stand Firm:

God spoke to their posture in facing fear. How were they to stand? Firm!

Firm: to become stronger; immovable, stable, unyielding, unaltered in spite of pressure or force

Fear causes us to bend under pressure.
Faith enables us to stand firm.

God had a better plan for the Israelites in spite of what they saw. It was the perfect plan. He redirects them:

  • Exodus 14:15 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on.16 Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground. 17 I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them. And I will gain glory through Pharaoh and all his army, through his chariots and his horsemen. 18 The Egyptians will know that I am the Lord when I gain glory through Pharaoh, his chariots and his horsemen.”

Stand firm people!

  • James 1:3-4,”For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” (NLT)

Be still:

  • “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

Fear convinces us to trust in ourselves.
Faith encourages us to trust in God.

Instead of surrendering to fear because of what you see, stop; be still and take a look at what God is doing.

God did what He said He would:

  • Exodus 14:19 Then the angel of God, who had been traveling in front of Israel’s army, withdrew and went behind them. The pillar of cloud also moved from in front and stood behind them, 20 coming between the armies of Egypt and Israel. Throughout the night the cloud brought darkness to the one side and light to the other side; so neither went near the other all night long. 28 The water flowed back and covered the chariots and horsemen—the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed the Israelites into the sea. Not one of them survived. 29 But the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left. 30 That day the Lord saved Israel from the hands of the Egyptians, 31 And when the Israelites saw the mighty hand of the Lord displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord and put their trust in him “

Through the years, there have been times that fear has challenged my faith in regards to that promise.

Closing: “What do you fear?”

  • “Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

BETTER TOGETHER: Transformed In The US

Sin is not something we do or don’t do, but a condition that enslaves our heart and becomes the steps we take in life.

  • We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Romans 6:6–7, ESV

  • And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. 2 Corinthians 3:18, ESV

 

THE CRUCIFIXION OF JESUS WAS FULL PAYMENT FOR OUR SIN, BUT HIS RESURRECTION OPENED THE DOOR FOR OUR TRANSFORMATION.

Transformation is one of the least known and most misunderstood aspects in all of Christianity.

  • most Christians only the experience forgiveness for sin. Little else changes so they continue to struggle in the same actions requiring more and more forgiveness for the duration of their lives, leaving them feeling defeated and lacking any real measurable growth or fruit.

  • many Christians mistakenly see transformation as the process of stopping sinful behavior, which becomes a treadmill of trying to stop again and again and again.

 

TRANSFORMATION IS NOT THE NATURAL ACT OF CHANGING BEHAVIOR. IT IS A SUPERNATURAL CHANGE OF HEART THAT LEADS TO NEW ACTIONS.

metamorphoo (GK) – to change the core nature of something, to become completely different

Transformation is not about doing. It’s about becoming. Too often we focus on fixing behavior, when behavior is the result of something internal. Too often transformation becomes about stopping sinful behavior. Transformation should focus on becoming the righteous man/woman the God intended! Transformation is one of the greatest ongoing gifts of Jesus – becoming more like Him!

 

TRANSFORMATION IS A FUNCTION OF “THE US”

  • Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17, ESV

  • And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Hebrews 10:24–25, ESV

Isolated transformation stalls because it relies on the un-transformed to encourage transformation. Spectator transformation struggles because it is a one way comparison with a romantic view

 

Tranformation is:

  • byproduct of worship

    • most people struggle to worship in a way to encounter God’s presence

    • in the presence of God we are able to see Him, and we begin to reflect Him

    • learning to access His Presence regularly puts transformation on steroids

  • impacted by prayer

    • prayer changes things

    • being around other and learning to pray in faith – sets a high watermark

    • often we can’t experience breakthrough alone - healing

  • impartation via preaching/teaching

    • different than reading the word – only see through your glasses

    • different than a word online – this is for you!!!

    • impartation

  • prophetic moments

  • the call to action

    • we often struggle to walk out private decisions

    • there is a reason why baptism is public – power that exists

    • there is a reason why wedding vows are public

  • accountability

    • confess fault to one another – you will be healed

  • submission to others/leaders

    • good leaders used by God to direct our lives

  • the inspiring transformation of others (over time)

  • the act of serving

  • the act of giving

 

Conclusion:

• Say yes to Jesus – the best you will result that experiences the best life possible

• Lean in to transformation – God is speaking to you about something – confess

BETTER TOGETHER: Building The US

Hebrews 10:24–25 (ESV) 24 And let US consider how to stir up ONE ANOTHER to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to MEET TOGETHER, as is the habit of some, but encouraging ONE ANOTHER, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.



Key Words:

  • LET - encouragement to intentionally do something

  • US - the you and me as we meet with Him

  • CONSIDER - thoughtful preparation

  • HOW - the various methods

  • STIR - to combat entropy

  • ONE ANOTHER - the you and me as we meet with Him

  • LOVE/GOOD WORKS - right actions with the right motives that lead to the best US

The author of Hebrews wanted put this on their radar, because, it just wasn’t. For the average church attender and the average church, this is not on their radar either. But we are not building the average church.

 

the building of US:

 

1. work to make the US possible

  • US doesn’t just happen

  • Ephesians 4:15–16 (NIV) 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

  • the US is not a spectator sport - It’s a family

  • WORK: pray, serve, give

 

2. prepare for key interactions in US moments

  • 1 Corinthians 14:1–4 (ESV) Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy. 3 …the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation. 4 …the one who prophesies builds up the church.

  • before the US gathers, prepare to build up others

  • pray for the gathering

  • consider/pray for specific people and ask God for a word for them

  • arrive early and stay late so you can have key interactions

  • make a deposit (encourage)

  • get one or two names and interact during the week and repeat next week

 

3. stir up good works in every US setting

  • Matthew 22:37 (ESV) 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.

  • 1 Corinthians 10:31 (ESV) 31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

  • prep team - SMILE, interact, encourage, roll with the punches

  • worship with all that is in you to honor God and inspire others

  • pray out loud to show participation, to influence hearts and change situations

  • preaching - lean forward, take notes, encourage the speaker and those around you

  • altar calls - participate, support others, pray, prophesy

  • lobby - arrive early, stay late and interact with others.

BETTER TOGETHER: Journey To The Promise

Joshua 2:8-11 (ESV) Before the men lay down, she came up to them on the roof 9 and said to the men, “I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that the fear of you has fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land melt away before you. 10 For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you devoted to destruction. 11 And as soon as we heard it, our hearts melted, and there was no spirit left in any man because of you, for the Lord your God, he is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath.

The Exodus is one of my all-time favorite OT stories. It is so clearly a depiction of God’s love, grace, mercy, leadership, forgiveness and hope in our own lives. It is hard not to see the Israelites as hard-headed, stubborn, and forgetful. About the time God rescues from one calamity the find themselves in another. It is our Journey from Slavery to Promise.

The Journey to the Promise

  • The spies (Joshua and Caleb)

  • The unbelieving nation

  • Rueben, Gad and the ½ tribe of Manasseh

  • Rahab

  • Jericho

This is not unlike us. As we are learning what it means to be a people together, there are those that will fall somewhere on a spectrum. Where you place yourself will determine if you will enjoy the promises

Those Who Are On The Journey:

  • The Doubters – The spies did not believe God or that He was enough (Numbers 13:1-14:9)

  • The Scared – The nation did not Trust God (Numbers 14:10-25)

  • The Satisfied – Were satisfied “Land flowing with milk and honey!” (Numbers 32)

  • The Curious – Was in awe of God (Joshua 2; 6:17, 23, 25

  • The With – Followed God (Joshua 6:7)

  • The Leaders – Carrying the Presence of God (Joshua 6:8-9)

  • The Dreamers – Speaking the Vision of God (Joshua 6:17-19)

Separate held some back from the promises of God! Together allowed them to experience God’s best!

HOW DO WE MOVE INTO THE PROMISES GOD HAS FOR US AS C3 CHURCH? PUSH – Pray Until Something Happens!

2 Corinthians 10:3 (ESV) For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.

1. The Power of OUR Prayers

2 Chronicles 7:14 (ESV) IF my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

“This is not the prayer of a single person. It is a prayer of a people. “If” we get ourselves together in prayer, united for the same purpose, then we unleash the greatest power of the Kingdom. Entire nations will be healed in these days through the power of humble, united prayer, from the gathered church.” Ps. Phil Pringle, “The Art of Prayer” (p. 7)

2. The Position of OUR Prayers

James 5:16 (NKJV) The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

Ps. Jurgen Matthesius, in his book Push, suggest that if there is effective prayer that avails much, then there must also be ineffective prayer that does little. PS Jurgen suggest 3 Influencers of our prayers:

  • Belief about who God is

  • Belief about who we are

  • Belief about what we have been given (spiritual authority)

Jesus said “ALL authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples…” Jesus gives to us the backing of heaven as we carry out His plans for our lives. When we understand who He is, who we are, and what He has given, we will be unstoppable.

3. His Presence Surrounds OUR Promises

Matthew 19:26b (ESV) WITH God all things are possible.

As Joshua marched around the walls of Jericho, it was the Ark, the presence of God that was drawing a circle around the very thing he had promised! Our prayer partners with the Holy Spirit to lead us to what He has promised. Hint: If God’s presence isn’t there when you reach your “promise”, then He probably wasn’t the one that gave it to you.

Practical Steps:

  • Learn to Pray – It is a skill to be developed.

  • Pray with Others…OUT LOUD! – We pray from a position of victory!

  • Pray with Lists – Pray with focus.

  • Track Your Prayers and Answers – Celebrate God’s gifts and provision.

  • Fight First with Prayer – It should be your most used and closest weapon.

  • Join the Fight – Join us for our NOW! March around our promises!

BETTER TOGETHER: Immanuel, GOD IS WITH US

Matthew 1:20–23 (ESV) 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).

Isaiah 8:8,10 (ESV) 8 O Immanuel... 10 GOD IS WITH US.


GOD... not the idea, not the essence, not the force, not a messenger, not even an angel, GOD!

God IS... not God was, not God will be, active, now, GOD IS!

God Is WITH... not missing, not lost, not unfindable, not far off, not around the corner, not even near. Neither theoretical nor conceptual. Practical. Present. His is not an absentee owner, a distant manager, or a casual observer. GOD IS WITH. Previously,  WITH was impossible . Our ability to be with God had been stolen by the Devil and we were separated. BUT God, 1 John 3:8 (ESV) 8 ...The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil - so that once again, anyone and everyone could experience WITH. And as if WITH was not enough... John 14:17 (ESV) ...he dwells with you and will be IN you. GOD IS WITH!

God Is With US! God is not with me. God is not with you. GOD IS WITH US! US was made clear from the beginning! God existed, but created man. “It’s not good enough,” so He created the woman. GOD IS WITH US. Later, Jesus could have shown up by Himself - no woman required! But He arrived within Mary. He could have shown up to Mary alone - clearly no man was required! He wanted Adam & Eve. He wanted Mary & Joseph. He wants you & me. Immanuel, GOD IS WITH US!

Immanuel is more than a name, and more than a person. .

IMMANUEL describes the right here and right now relationship that connects me to you, and you to us, and us to Him, making everything He died for within our reach!


Immanuel: GOD IS WITH US

Immanuel is the right here and right now relationship that connects me to you, and you to us, and us to Him, making everything He died for within our reach! Stepping into the Immanuel experience impacts every nook and cranny of our lives, Immanuel, among other things, impacts the following:


1. Unlocks Destiny 2. Launches Ministry

  • The moment mary became pregnant, destiny was unlocked & ministry launched!

  • Joseph knew what why his life mattered - Matthew 1:20–21 (ESV) 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

  • Mary - Luke 1:30–32 (ESV) 30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.

  • Most people are unsuccessfully searching to discover why they are here and what they should be doing

  • Destiny is revealed most often in the experience of US - preaching, prayer, prophecy.

  • Ministry is unlocked immediately as we experience Jesus and step into his functioning family and you begin to play your part.

  • It opened the door for Jesus as a child - Luke 2:46–47 (ESV) 46 After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.

  • It created the moment for Jesus as an adult - John 2:3–7 (ESV) 3 When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” 4 And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” 5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” 6 Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. 7 Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim.

  • It created the moment for the disciples - Mark 6:7–13 (ESV) 7 And he called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. 8 He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in their belts— 9 but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics. 10 And he said to them, “Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you depart from there. 11 And if any place will not receive you and they will not listen to you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.” 12 So they went out and proclaimed that people should repent. 13 And they cast out many demons and anointed with oil many who were sick and healed them.

  • It launches you. Your moment begins here.

  • You begin to fulfill your destiny and launch your ministry like Mary and Joseph, one diaper at a time.

  • Get started, text “team” to  360.727.0603

3. Exposes Threats

  • Magi - Matthew 2:12 (ESV) 12 And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.

  • Joseph - Matthew 2:13–14 (ESV) 13 Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” 14 And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt

  • Without Immanuel, the average person is ignorant to the reality of an enemy because its death by a million cuts over a lifetime.

  • Immanuel exposes that there is an enemy.

  • YOUR enemy - 1 Peter 5:8 (ESV) 8 ...Your adversary the devil...

  • Luke 4:13 (ESV) 13 And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time.

  • God is faithful to reveal, even if we are too distracted to see

  • Our church family helps us to see, warns us, strengthens us.

4. Transforms Lives

  • Immediately, Joseph and Mary’s life began to change

  • Mary/Shepherds - Luke 2:15–19 (ESV) 15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.

  • Mary/Simeon - Luke 2:34–35 (ESV) 34 And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed 35 (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”

  • We are transformed by Him - 2 Corinthians 3:18 (ESV) 18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

  • We are part of transforming one another - Colossians 3:16 (ESV) 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.


5. Releases Resources

  • Matthew 2:10–11 (ESV) 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. 11 And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.

  • Matthew 13:55 (ESV) 55 Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas?

    • Tekton - craftsman - one who uses various materials (wood, stone, and metal

  • Stepping into Immanuel releases resources, usually labored for but many times  sometimes unearned, all of it favored

  • Philippians 4:19 (ESV) 19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

  • James 1:17 (ESV) 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

  • 1 Corinthians 4:7 (ESV) 7 F...What do you have that you did not receive?

  • Without/With Immanuel - John 21:3–6 (ESV) 3 Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. 4 Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5 Jesus said to them, “Children, do you have any fish?” They answered him, “No.” 6 He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, because of the quantity of fish.

John 15:5 (ESV) 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

BETTER TOGETHER: Shifting Into Heaven

SHIFTING INTO HEAVEN

Luke 1:26–27 (ESV) 26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary.

Everyone in this room is involved in at least one earthly shift - we are a new church family! You will engage in many earthly shifts throughout your life, for all of the good benefits attached, and rightfully so. In those moments it’s important to see beyond the natural and into the supernatural realm so that you recognize Heaven’s agenda that is part of the shift you make here on earth. Shifting through the natural and into Heaven’s agenda will allow you to experience all that God has for you!

  • Don’t shift only into the natural: new location, additional leaders, cool new signs….

  • Shift beyond the natural agenda into heaven’s agenda for you - faith, ministry, etc

1. Earthly Shifts Pull Emotional Triggers

Ever had someone shift unexpectedly and dump your coffee all over your lap? Earthly shifts will always attack your emotional weak spots in an attempt to derail God’s best in your life.

  • Mary is experiencing an earthly shift, and likely all the emotions attached!

  • Leaving family to marry a man

  • Likely an arranged marriage to an older man

  • Moving from her family’s home to his home

  • She was a virgin…


It is likely that everyone has experienced some uneasiness during a shift. What really makes it unsettling is that most shifts happen void of an audible voice from heaven - that would give everyone 100% confidence

  • Earthly Shifts Happen: 1) Commanded To Shift; 2) Get To Shift; 3) Forced To Shift

  • Mary is likely shifting, likely for reason 2 or 3


Remember, MY EMOTIONS MAY BE REAL, BUT ARE OFTEN NOT BASED ON GOD’S TRUTH. THEY TEND TO BE MY NATURAL RESPONSE TO THE ENEMY’S LIE!

FAITH is not the absence of uncertainty or doubt! It’s the decision to take steps in spite of those feelings into the better future that God has for you!


2. Shift With 100% Confidence, IN HIM!

Psalm 37:23–24 (ESV) 23 The steps of a man are established (FIRM) by the LORD, when he delights in his way; 24 though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the LORD upholds his hand.

  1. Following after The LORD is always the RIGHT path forward (HE IS GOOD, HE IS FOR ME, MY BEST IS IN HIS HEART!)

  2. FALLING is an earthly reality - poor choice, unforseen circumstance, attack,

  3. He Is Committed To Upholding Me!


Make the best choice you can, and be all in! Circumstances beyond your control? Run through the flames - He Is With You!

3. Shift Fully Into Heaven’s Agenda!

  • Mary was shifting into marriage on earth, but her shift unlocked heaven’s destiny!

  • Angels appeared, Martha prophesied, the priest recognized!!!

  • See beyond the natural as you shift

    • New job

    • New school

    • New church

    • New community

    • New church

  • Fight to see the tomorrow impact


Closing

Mark 1:17 (ESV) 17 And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.”

  • Shift Into Following Jesus

  • Shift Into Heaven’s Agenda

BETTER TOGETHER: Embracing "Suddenly"

(AUDIO NOT AVAILABLE)

Acts 2:1–4; 41 (ESV) 1 When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. 41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.

SUDDENLY in the Bible speaks of:

  • The normal course of life

  • Interrupted by God

  • With an unexpected experience/opportunity

  • Requiring an individual response

  • That leads to His supernatural outcome

SUDDENLY for Acts 2 Believers:

  • 120 disciples on day 10 of a prayer retreat taking place in secret

  • SUDDENLY - a sound like wind, filled the house

  • God’s Presence entered the room - the Holy Spirit rested upon them!\

  • They leaned into the moment with a resounding YES!!!

  • The supernatural outcome: the Spirit filled them, empowered them, theywent downstairs into the marketplace, 3000 were saved/baptized

Today is a SUDDENLY moment for YOU, for US, & THEM

A SUDDENLY For You

Acts 18:26–28 (ESV) 26 He began to speak boldly in the synagogue, but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately. 27 And when he wished to cross to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him. When he arrived, he greatly helped those who through grace had believed, 28 for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, showing by the Scriptures that the Christ was Jesus.

Acts 2:3 3 And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them.

While they were together, there was a SUDDENLY

In that SUDDENLY there was a a personal impartation.

God will impart a new level of anointing, influence, capacity and grace in the SUDDENLY

What God wants for you always requires a SUDDENLY

To embrace the new you must let go of the old

Your SUDDENLY requires your will. A choice and a decision.

Nobody can make the choice for you.

It not just that WE are BETTER TOGETHER… YOU are BETTER because WE ARE TOGETHER!

A SUDDENLY For Us

When SUDDENLY happens, it’s rarely just a you moment. It’s almost always an US moment.

Act 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.

The SUDDENLY was a corporate experience.

Their SUDDENLY created a unifying experience that bound people together.

Just imagine being one of those that choose to stand by and miss what God was doing in that moment!! - REGRETS!

Yet in that moment those that Stepped into their SUDDENLY together experienced something that had never been seen before

Vs 10 “we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.”

Together they were speaking EVERY LANGUAGE. They couldn't do it alone!

There impact was far greater because they stepped into their SUDDENLY together!

Together, those that received the SUDDENLY became the foundation of His Church - emboldened and empowered by the Holy Spirit.

It not just that YOU are BETTER because we are TOGETHER… WE are BETTER because WE ARE TOGETHER!

A Suddenly For Them

Acts 2:41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.

It wasn't just about what God wanted to do FOR them, He had an even greater plan THROUGH them.

In embracing their SUDDENLY, thousands of peoples lives were impacted.

Our SUDDENLY today isn't just about us … it's about what God is doing through us. In our Community.

It not just that YOU and I are BETTER because we are TOGETHER… Our Entire Community will be BETTER because WE ARE TOGETHER!

Your Response:

Every wedding has tons of preparation but it requires a SUDDENLY moment: Do You? Yes! Do You? Yes! They kiss and then I say “I now pronounce that you are…”

Our Executive Team has had a SUDDENLY moment, and we leaned forward in faith with our public declaration that we were leaving who we were so that we could become BETTER TOGETHER.

Then, our church families had a SUDDENLY moment. And they leaned forward in faith with their public declaration that they were leaving who they were so they could become BETTER TOGETHER

Today is your SUDDENLY moment.

  • You were simply doing the good thing that you do

  • Your world was interrupted with an unexpected announcement one day at church

  • Here you are, with us, in God’s Presence!

  • We want to invite you to respond to to your SUDDENLY moment - we want to invite you to lean forward in faith and make your public declaration that you are leaving who you were so you can become BETTER TOGETHER.

As you do, BETTER TOGETHER will be BETTER for YOU, BETTER for US and BETTER for THEM!

Tribal Stew

TRIBAL STEW

  • Psalm 34:8 (ESV) 8 Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him

  • Genesis 25:29–34 (ESV) 29 Once when Jacob was cooking stew, Esau came in from the field, and he was exhausted. 30 And Esau said to Jacob, “Let me eat some of that red stew, for I am exhausted!” 34 Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew, and he ate and drank and rose and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.

  • 2 Kings 4:39–41 (ESV) 39 One of them went out into the field to gather herbs, and found a wild vine and gathered from it his lap full of wild gourds, and came and cut them up into the pot of stew, not knowing what they were. 40 And they poured out some for the men to eat. But while they were eating of the stew, they cried out, “O man of God, there is death in the pot!” And they could not eat it.

TRIBE: a group of people with common values and a common language that develops a common culture (flavor) as they gather.

There are many NATURAL TRIBES: groups of friends, clubs, teams, causes, work, etc.

  • As they function they create a STEW enjoyed by TRIBE that attracts.

  • The STEW created hopefully makes life better for everyone involved.

There is one SUPERNATURAL TRIBE: the Kingdom of Heaven, the local church.

  • As they function they create a STEW enjoyed by TRIBE that attracts.

  • The STEW created does more than make life better for everyone involved.

  • It gives life.

  • It gives abundant life, concentrated

  • The abundant life it give is so strong it eradicates death!!!

1. GOD Is Experienced In OUR In Tribal Stew

As we TRIBE, we don’t just make any stew. We make THE STEW.

Our stew doesn’t make life better. It injects life abundant and eradicates death

It does this because the TRIBAL STEW super-ingredient, is HIM

  • John 10:10 (ESV) …I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

While HE is the only ingredient necessary, HE has decided to make himself known to others as TRIBE gathers and as STEW is cooked.

  • Matthew 1:23 (ESV) 23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).

He is experienced as we TRIBE!!!

  • John 12:32 (ESV) 32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”

To see this any other way is to limit the impact of our TRIBALNESS!

Illus: Ponce de Leon/Fountain of Youth - always looking but never satisfied!

HIS value is so obvious once HE is tasted by those who have never tasted before!

Isaiah 55:1–2 (ESV) 1 “Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. 2 Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food.

As a first generation Christian, HE was so convincing that every decision post-taste has been impacted by that taste, and has produced, as promised, LIFE!!!

2. Your Participation Creates The Supporting Ingredients

Regardless of role, each of our lives significantly add to the stew as we participate.

Darren: “Your Thereness Matters”

While HE is the only thing people really need, HE has decided to make himself known as TRIBE happens and as STEW is cooked.

Jesus is the super-ingredient. In order for people to TASTE HIM, you have to see yourself as one of MASTER CHEF’s in the kitchen, critical to making the stew!

  • Matthew 14:15–18 (ESV) 15 Now when it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” 16 But Jesus said, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” 17 They said to him, “We have only five loaves here and two fish.”

It’s critical for you HIM as the super-ingredient HE is

It’s also critical for you to recognize yourself as the Master Chef HE says you are.

3. “How We Cook” Is The Flavor That Attracts

Attractive Stew - Genesis 25:29–34 (ESV) 29 Once when Jacob was cooking stew, Esau came in from the field, and he was exhausted. 30 And Esau said to Jacob, “Let me eat some of that red stew, for I am exhausted!” (Therefore his name was called Edom.) 31 Jacob said, “Sell me your birthright now.” 32 Esau said, “I am about to die; of what use is a birthright to me?” 33 Jacob said, “Swear to me now.” So he swore to him and sold his birthright to Jacob. 34 Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew, and he ate and drank and rose and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.

Unattractive Stew - 2 Kings 4:39–41 (ESV) 39 One of them went out into the field to gather herbs, and found a wild vine and gathered from it his lap full of wild gourds, and came and cut them up into the pot of stew, not knowing what they were. 40 And they poured out some for the men to eat. But while they were eating of the stew, they cried out, “O man of God, there is death in the pot!” And they could not eat it. 41 He said, “Then bring flour.” And he threw it into the pot and said, “Pour some out for the men, that they may eat.” And there was no harm in the pot.

I am 100% confident in the super-ingredient, HIM!

I am 100% confident and the supporting ingredients, YOU!

I am 100% confident that we can COOK in a way that is attractive with the following:

  • A Spirit Of Yes - Ephesians 4:29 (ESV) 29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

  • A Passion That Leans In - Mark 12:30 (ESV) 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’

  • The Sine-Cera Sticker: NO WAX - Matthew 6:2 (ESV) 2 “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.

  • Whistling While WORKING - Genesis 1:28 (ESV) 28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

  • Fruit Of The Spirit - Galatians 5:22–23 (ESV) 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

  • Love - 1 Corinthians 13:4–7 (ESV) 4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Closing:

We are stepping into a new season of cooking, in an even better kitchen to make an even better STEW!!!

Our churches have cast a huge vision that we have already started to step into, the pots our stew will be delivered in:

  • Coming Together As One

  • Community Events

  • $2.5 million facility project

  • Fill our new room that can hold about 500 people and start a second room, and a third, and a fourth

  • NOW - prayer that is the engine to fuel it all!!!

This will all be possible as:

  • You see who God says you are in the kitchen, not who you were.

  • You don’t need to do more. You need to have a bigger view of God and a better view of who He says You are in the kitchen, and as you do, you need to get to stepping into that.