Preparing for God's Amazing Work
Happy New year we welcome the year 2020!
Not only is it the start of a new year, it is the start of a new decade.
If you look back to where you were 10 years ago… think about it for a moment
Now that you’ve thought about it who among you here can say you are better off or in a better place now than in 2010?
How about if you examine the journey you have taken from 2010 to 2020
Brothers and sisters how do you describe the journey? Full of trials, challenges?
If you’re like me, you can most definitely say that the journey was not always easy.. there were mountains to climb and battles to fight. It did not bring just happy memories..
There are experiences in the journey that you did not want to think about.
Questions for you this morning? (Answer in your mind)
Did you learn something from your journey?
Growth in the faith?
Did you grow in your faith?
Did your relationship with God flourish during that period?
What did your personal journey do to you?
Ralph Waldo Emerson said:
“It’s not the destination, It’s the journey” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
It seems to make sense, because if you apply this principle daily. You would carry the mentality (when you do your job daily) that it is not finishing the task, but doing your work with joy.
It is very nice: It is not the destination, but the journey..
But you see, it is incomplete because how can the journey make sense if you do not know or care about where you are headed? Also, when we say do your work with joy, what is your source of joy? The world tells us that work is the joy itself.
Actually, the Bible is more balanced that it teaches us to be mindful of both the destination and the journey.
The Apostle Paul in
13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
So here he talks about the goal of the prize - the destination.
But then he says something else, he used two verbs:
Then he talked about his direction in life:
The “Upward” call of God in Christ Jesus.
He also talked about the “journey”.
Let me submit this statement to you this morning:
Move forward toward the goal and upward toward your heavenly prize in 2020.
Move forward and do not dwell in the past.
How do I go about this in a practical way?
Question: “Who wants to do something amazing for God?”
That is actually a loaded question.
Let’s set the right perspective in 2020..
Doing an amazing thing for God is not our job, it is God’s.
If you’re like me, you can most definitely say that
What is our job then? Our job is to consecrate ourselves and if we do that God will show up mightily and do the work.
5 Then Joshua said to the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.” 6 And Joshua said to the priests, “Take up the ark of the covenant and pass on before the people.” So they took up the ark of the covenant and went before the people.
Background on this passage. 40 years before.. the journey was hard and finally they are on the verge of getting to the promised land.. but there is a major hurdle, they have to cross the Jordan river to get to the other side, and not only that the Jordan was overflowing its banks on those days. Strong men can cross but how about the women and the children?
God did not tell Joshua to huddle with his leaders to brainstorm..
The only thing God commanded Joshua is to tell the people: “consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.”
Image of the word consecrate here. Set apart.
This is a call to prepare.
We need to prepare before a long journey. We need to prepare for a battle ahead.
When it comes to God’s work, the battle belongs to the Lord.
Our preparation for the great blessing ahead is to consecrate ourselves.
Be set apart, be made holy before the Lord.
We should pray for revival:
Alvin Reed, evangelism professor at our Southeastern Baptist Seminary, wrote a great blog article on the need to pray for revival.
His first point was:
“If we simply use prayer for revival as an excuse for our unwillingness to obey God, we should not pray for revival, we should repent. Prayer for revival is not a bandaid cure; it is a call to repentance. Have you noticed how much praying for revival has been going on of late–and how little revival has resulted? I believe the problem is that we have been trying to substitute praying for obeying, and it simply will not work.” (Alvin Reed)
You & I can pray for “revival” to break out in our lives and in our church all we want to — but it can’t substitute for REPENTING in specific areas of our lives that need to change.
Now I have not listed — indeed cannot list — every possible individual sin you might need to repent of this morning, but the Holy Spirit is able to convict of what He needs to.
Most of you know, deep down, areas of your life that need to change. Repenting, and changing your life in those specific areas is what you need to do to “consecrate yourself” that God might work wonders in your life, and in this church, in the days ahead.
We’ll take it a step further.. instead of focusing on programs, our classes
We are calling for a corporate fast.
Corporate Fast starting in January.
One meal a day (physically able)
Gradual abstinence (special cravings
Use of time (social media, TV, youtube, video games)
Pray, pray, pray.
Pray for God to do an amazing work in our church and families.
Pray for the salvation of souls in our communities and the nations.
Pray for God’s Kingdom to come.
Present yourselves to the church and give your testimonies.
If you cannot relate to what I am saying, it means you have not found the will of God.
The will of God is the glory of God.
Your self worth is not your net worth, it is the Kingdom of God in you.
Renowned pastor and author Mark Batterson said this:
“The key to pursuing your dream is doing it for intrinsic reasons. In other words, it cannot be about fame or fortune. The will of God is not wealth, health and prosperity. It is not even about winning. The will of God is the glory of God.”
Move forward toward the goal and upward toward the heavenly prize in 2020.
Let us consecrate ourselves because this year and beyond God will do wonders among us.
Dear heavenly Father.
I come to you today.
I humble myself.
I repent of my sinful ways. You know it Father, for nothing in my life is hidden from you.
Today I seek your face.
I turn from my evil ways.
I give my life to Your Son Jesus Christ.
I receive Him as My Lord and Savior.
I consecrate myself.
And prepare for the great work You are about to do.
Fill and Empower me with your Holy Spirit.
In the Mighty Name of Jesus Christ Your Son. Amen.