What's Your Agenda
Good Evening Parkside. Tonight we will continue our discussion “A Biblical Perspective During Trying Times.” We are going through some trying times right now, that’s for sure. It is important as followers of Jesus to navigate these times with a biblical perspective. While it may be our best intention to navigate these times biblically, the reality is it is very easy to stray off course. As a pastor the last couple of months have been extremely challenging. Closing the church was not an easy decision. Opening the church back up is even more difficult. For myself and any other pastor it is of the upmost importance we lead our churches from a biblical perspective, that includes opening up the church. You see I’m just like most other people. I see the news and all the stuff floating around on Facebook. However, I cannot be led by the news, Facebook, or by the opinions of others and neither should you. Agendas will be the topic of tonight’s discussion. If you would open your Bibles to Act 8:12. There is an account in the book of Acts that highlights the importance of having the correct agenda.
In Acts 8:9 we discover a man named Simon. The Bible tells us he amazed the people in the city and Samaria with his magic. Lots of people paid attention to him. Some even said “This man is the power of God that is called Great.” Simon seems to be a person of influence. Lets pick up the rest of the account in our text.
But when they believed Philip as he proclaimed the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Simon himself believed and was baptized. And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw. When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to Samaria. When they arrived, they prayed for the new believers there that they might receive the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit had not yet come on any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money and said, “Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” Peter answered: “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord in the hope that he may forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.” Then Simon answered, “Pray to the Lord for me so that nothing you have said may happen to me.”
Simon had an agenda. It seems that his agenda may have been driven by his pride, maybe because of his need to please or entertain others, or maybe his agenda was driven by how he grew up. We may not know exactly what his agenda was but according to God’s Word we know it wasn’t a good agenda. So let’s take sometime to talk about agendas.
What we know from our account is that Simon became a believer, then he saw the power of the Holy Spirit and wanted that power, so much so, that he was willing to pay money for it. According to how Peter answered Simon’s request to purchase the power of the Holy Spirit we can know that Simon’s heart wasn’t right before the Lord. Simon had an agenda that didn’t line up with God’s agenda. And that can happen in our lives if we are not careful.
I can tell you that over the last couple of months I have been overwhelmed by my own thoughts, by others questions, by media, by government officials on the topic of when we can re-open the church. See how many agendas are in play, at least 4, but many more, I just categorized them into 4. I have an agenda, other people have an agenda, all the different media sources have an agenda, even the government has an agenda. We are called to have God’s Agenda. While other sources have lots of information to offer, our number 1 priority is to seek God and follow Him. My question to you is whose agenda have you adopted?
Sometimes we adopt a self promoting agenda. This agenda really center around us getting what we want. This can be very harmful not only to us, but others as well. This agenda will have us try to get others to notice us. When we self-promote we are led away from God every time. Self-promoting doesn’t lead us or others toward God, it does the opposite. What we take in has an effect on us. When we listen to the media or others who say things like you have the right to do what makes you happy. While that is true, if I only do things because they make me happy, I can easily be led astray from God and cause others to stumble. It is important that we adopt God’s agenda.
The victim agenda is a complaining agenda really. You can easily detect this agenda in others while it can be hard to detect in yourself. This agenda states all the reasons why you can’t have or do something. It never looks out for other people. It always puts me first. And it always looks to blame others or something for the troubles in my own life. When Jesus died on the cross he gave us victory. We are not victims, we are victors.
This agenda always puts things off. This is another agenda that is easily detected in another person but very difficult to detect in yourself. This agenda keeps it’s subject stuck. Steps that could be taken to make forward progress are rarely if ever taken at the appropriate time. The person with this agenda will say things like “I’ll do it tomorrow.” “I’m tired.” “I don’t feel good.” These statements are made on a regular basis. To be a friend to a person who has been overcome by this agenda will take some serious commitment and determination. To help someone overcome this agenda you will need to come alongside this person and work with them as a team. Make the tasks team tasks. Meaning you don’t do it for them, you do it with them. As believers we are not called to sympathize we are to empathize. The difference is empathy does something with the feelings of sympathy while sympathy is just a feeling.
There are plenty more kinds of agendas that could be mentioned, these are four major agendas I have seen in my own life and in the lives of others. It’s important we have a biblical perspective to be able to discern God’s Agenda.
God’s agenda is the agenda we want to have. You see God’s agenda is the best for me and it’s also the best for others at the same time. God’s agenda calls us to love. To love others and ourselves. God’s agenda call us to action. While some of things He calls us to are challenging and seem difficult, if we truly are seeking and depending on God, He will give us the strength. God’s agenda will lead us to life and life more abundantly. God’s agenda will give us peace and rest.
I want to take a moment to discuss opening the church. This has been very difficult for me but God has been faithful the entire time. I want you to know I am continually seeking God as to when we open the church. I am being led by His Word and the Holy Spirit. I seek counsel from my mentors who are godly leaders. I pay attention to the news, and then I take that before the Lord and allow Him to lead me into action. I am setting aside my agenda and the agenda of others and am seeking to fulfill God’s agenda. If it doesn’t line up with the will of God it’s not happening. I will not compromise and set God’s agenda aside. I encourage you to do the same. Don’t set aside God’s agenda for anything. In the end you will be glad you didn’t.
Here’s the good news. Jesus loves each and everyone of us. We can have relationship with Him. If you realized you have been serving an agenda other than God’s , there’s good news for you. Just like Simon in Acts 8 you can repent and ask for forgiveness. Repent means to turn away from. You can turn away from the wrong agenda and toward God’s agenda. If that’s you don’t wait a moment longer repent and ask the Lord to forgive you.
Tonight I want to spend some time praying for all of us as we continue to navigate this difficult time.
Pray for people to repent and know Jesus
Pray for leaders(government, spiritual) for wisdom and direction
Pray for the community
Pray for children
Pray for missionaries
Pray for health
I hope you were blessed and encouraged. God bless you and have a good night.