Tonight’s message was birthed out of a last year reflection. It was a busy year for my family and I, conferences, and other travel, ministry, seemed to be in spurts, and as I took time to reflect, I questioned myself in that, was my time well spent? Since I am hard on myself, maybe more than I should be, when I looked back, I felt there was inconsistency. As a player in this life, I like to be in the game so to speak always pressing in, and at times I felt I didn’t do that.
Yes we need times of rest and refreshing, that’s biblical, but as a pastor and leader, I like it when I see the kingdom moving forward and I am in that forward motion being used to move it along. When I am not in the game so to speak, I get restless. I’m like “Lord get me back in!”
So as I look back, I ask my self the question, “am I fulfilling my assignment?” If I am standing on the sidelines watching the game, am I focused on the plan God has called me to fulfill? Do I have a plan?
Looking at all of us, our assignments are all different. Gals and us older guys know that, and yes like-minded people may move along together, but there are different gifts, and different focuses given. We are all in full time ministry when you think about it.
The Great Commission was given to all, not just the select. How we do it is not always the same.
Getting back to my reflection and thinking I should have done more, when I sit and really listen, I find that more is not always what He is looking for. The Lord may have called me to just be quiet and sit and listen. Because that’s okay. We have been hitting on Mary of Bethany the past three weeks, so if it is His will for me at the moment to sit, then out of obedience, I sit, because I know that He is working on my character, my heart, my attitude, and whatever needs to be worked on so I will be prepared for what He puts in front of me next.
I was just talking to a good friend who is a missionary taking an extended furlough here in the states, and we just happened to touch on this subject. I was already half way inot this sermon done, and I was like “wow Lord’, talk about timing, but this missionary is waiting for his next placement, when he can go back overseas and minister.
He didn’t want to come back here, and was quite comfortable and happy at what he was doing, doing the work of the kingdom, but God brought him out of the jungle so to speak, because He needed to do some more work on this missionary’s heart. Now this missionary knows what he has been called to do. He knows his assignment, and its real dirty work. He pulls young children out of the sex trade in foreign lands. How would you like God to call you to do that? He is a tough guy, because he runs into tough people doing what he does.
But as we spoke for a good hour and a half, I listened to him and his struggles, and how it coincided with mine actually, but with different twists and turns, he’s been reflecting too, it is hard for him to do “nothing”, which is our human perception, but for today, his assignment is to sit at the feet of Jesus, and allow Jesus to renew His mind, and his heart in preparation for the work ahead.
We spoke about our assignments, what God has called us to do, but to fulfill the assignment God has given you; you need vision and focus to fulfill it, even if God does not have you in the middle of something. It brought me to:
Proverbs 29:18, “Where there is no vision, the people perish. But he who keeps the law is happy.” NKJV
What the verse is actually saying when looking at the Hebrew is, when there is no revelation from God, no dream, the people do not move forward, the word for perish, paw-rah, means in this instance to dismiss, and begin to go back, avoid, refuse, as to not move forward. But he who hears the voice of the Lord who follows His word, they are happy. They know the way. Even if they are not in the thick of it, where they may want to be. The ESV says,
“When there is no clear prophetic vision, people quickly wander astray. But when you follow the revelation of the word, heaven’s bliss fills your soul.” I like that. Bliss fills your soul wherever your at.
So for our assignment, we need revelation from the Lord, and it may be just to know what the assignment is. It may be just the beginning, but to receive revelation, we have to be at the feet of Jesus asking and listening. For the church as a whole, like the Furnace we have to go to God on what our assignment is.
For a church, the assignment may come out of a Vision, the revelation given about why they are in existence, and what their focus should be, and that focus, may vary on execution, but the end product should be the same. Jesus did lay out a model for our lives, and the church, and there is a beginning to that model; one that came out of the beginning of creation.
So when I was pondering all this stuff, I was thinking, Lord what is our assignment as a whole here in this church and prayer ministry this year, and overall?
1. Fulfill the Greatest Commandment
When Jesus was asked, “which commandment is the greatest of all?” It wasn’t go out and save the lost and evangelize, it wasn’t about healing people and setting the captive free, or be missionaries, or setting up new programs in the synagogues, no, Jesus said in,
Mark 12:29-30, “Jesus answered him, “The most important of all the commandments is this: ‘The Lord Yahweh, our God, is one!’ You are to love the Lord Yahweh, your God, with every passion of your heart, with all the energy of your being, with every thought that is within you, and with all your strength. This is the great and supreme commandment.”
Yep! It was God first, in everything, before everything. We will foremost and in all of our strength, love the Lord our God, as a family by giving Him honor through our worship, and ministering to Him not only in a corporate setting, but to strive in it personally, so we can know Him…….. deeply.
We will be those who will be like Mary of Bethany in Luke 10, who are known to be those people, His children who sit at the feet of Jesus, who listen to His voice, but a people who can hear Him. And we are to be a people who not only hear the Lord and what He says, we will also speak what we hear and be a voice of God even if that word goes against the norm of society today. We will not back down from the prevailing culture of death, and immorality.
2. Function as One
As we are a family that is growing in the love of Jesus together, the outcome is that we should function as one.
John 17:22, “I pray for them all to be joined together as one even as you and I, Father, are joined together as one. I pray for them to become one with us so that the world will recognize that you sent me. For the very glory you have given to me I have given them so that they will be joined together as one and experience the same unity that we enjoy. You live fully in me and now I live fully in them so that they will experience perfect unity, and the world will be convinced that you have sent me, for they will see that you love each one of them with the same passionate love that you have for me.” This goes along with what I said for the 1st Commandment.
Oneness creates unity in the Spirit, and that supernatural unity means we hear the same words from the Spirit, and act accordingly together, because we have the mind of Christ.
1 Corinthians 2:12-15, “For we did not receive the spirit of this world system but the Spirit of God, so that we might come to understand and experience all that grace has lavished upon us. And we articulate these realities with the words imparted to us by the Spirit and not with the words taught by human wisdom. We join together Spirit-revealed truths with Spirit-revealed words. Someone living on an entirely human level rejects the revelations of God’s Spirit, for they make no sense to him. He can’t understand the revelations of the Spirit because they are only discovered by the illumination of the Spirit. Those who live in the Spirit are able to carefully evaluate all things, and they are subject to the scrutiny of no one but God. For who has ever intimately known the mind of the Lord Yahweh well enough to become his counselor? Christ has, and we possess Christ’s perceptions.” Passion Version
We as a family having oneness in the Spirit together will receive Spirit-revealed truths with Spirit-revealed words. So we as a family of believers together will possess Christ’s perceptions, or as in some versions state as I did earlier, have the mind of Christ. Let it be a testimony.
3. Meet as a Family, and BE Family
To fulfill the greatest commandment and be one in the Spirit we have to gather together. We have to be Acts 2:42, and be devoted to the teachings of Jesus, share communion, break bread together, and pray.
We will meet in this regard in a large gathering to worship our Father in Heaven and the Son, learn and do the teachings of Jesus, and as we are able, meet in homes, down at the beach, where-ever to fellowship and be family, and break bread together. But above all as a House of Prayer, in our prayer sessions, Worship and Glorify the Lord, connecting our hearts to Him, and as Watchmen, Intercede for the people. This will be in the DNA of this fellowship, our family.
And we are not going to exclude people because they don’t believe exactly like we do. That’s not Jesus. We are not going to say, since you don’t believe in our tenets to a “T”, there are other people you can hang with, or other churches or fellowships. That’s just wrong. If you professed believe in Christ as your Savior, you are welcome because we are all in the family of God. Yes there are tenets that stand out for us, don’t get me wrong, there is sin we will not tolerate, but as people get into the presence of the Lord and He begins to work on their hearts, old divisions melt away, and Christ Likeness begins to come into play and we find how close we really are in Jesus.
4. Be a Family with the Community of Believers in Kenosha
As a mission given to us by the Lord through the vision and prophecy, and really by a mandate through the Apostle Paul, we want to connect with other believers leading them into their divine calling because of the oneness we have, and not in an arrogant way.
Ephesians 4:1-5 “As a prisoner of the Lord, I plead with you to walk holy, in a way that is suitable to your high rank, given to you in your divine calling. With tender humility and quiet patience, always demonstrate gentleness and generous love toward one another, especially toward those who may try your patience. Be faithful to guard the sweet harmony of the Holy Spirit among you in the bonds of peace, being one body and one spirit, as you were all called into the same glorious hope of divine destiny. For the Lord God is one, and so are we, for we share in one faith, one baptism, and one Father. And He is the perfect Father who leads us all, works through us all, and lives in us all!”
There is a desperate need for the church to be one to be an example to those that do not know Christ that in the bonds of the love of Jesus we show our love to one another. Those outside the church only see division much of the time. It is time that they see love and agreement. Real love, because we know it and live it because we know and have experienced the love of God. As we love each other here in many different expressions, family relationship, through healing, and setting captives free by the power of the Holy Spirit we will love others in other fellowships.
5. Be a Community that Displays the Love of God through Oneness
And I will explain this. We as a family that is covered with the same Blood should operate in the Spirit as different pieces of intricate machinery to display the love of God.
1 Corinthians 12:12-19, “Just as the human body is one, though it has many parts that together form one body, so too is Christ. For by one Spirit we all were immersed and mingled into one single body. And no matter our status—whether we are Jews or non-Jews, oppressed or free—we are all privileged to drink deeply of the same Holy Spirit. In fact, the human body is not one single part but rather many parts mingled into one. So if the foot were to say, “Since I’m not a hand, I’m not a part of the body,” it’s forgetting that it is still a vital part of the body. And if the ear were to say, “Since I’m not an eye, I’m not really a part of the body,” it’s forgetting that it is still an important part of the body. Think of it this way. If the whole body were just an eyeball, how could it hear sounds? And if the whole body were just an ear, how could it smell different fragrances? But God has carefully designed each member and placed it in the body to function as he desires. A diversity is required, for if the body consisted of one single part, there wouldn’t be a body at all! So now we see that there are many differing parts and functions, but one body.”
Within the Body of Christ there is much diversity, and diversity is good. It is part of God’s plan. That is why we who are created in the image of God, are created uniquely. He didn’t want clones. There is no one like us individually, and there is a purpose for that. We have uniqueness so we can use our differences and special talents physically, and spiritually together to create perfect outcomes designed by the Spirit. Uniqueness working together brings out the full expression of God. It is fully God in us creating divine moments.
The church is the same way. When you look at the churches in Kenosha, they are all unique, well most of them anyway, because God’s plan was that they should be. We pray; we minister to the Lord, we will teach others in that, or they can join us. Others minister to people in other unique ways, they teach others or have them join them. Some are the hands; some are the feet, etc. But we need all to properly minister as the church as a whole for Kenosha to be fully and entirely ministered to. That’s where unity comes into play, oneness in Christ.
6. A Church that Operates in the Supernatural Fullness of God through His Holy Spirit
This may be a thing that separates us from other churches, but we are going to be an old school Book of Acts Jesus church.
When Jesus said, “ even greater miracles will you do” in John 12. We’re going believe it and do it. Jesus said,
“I tell you this timeless truth: The person who follows me in faith, believing in me, will do the same mighty miracles that I do—even greater miracles than these because I go to be with my Father!
For I will do whatever you ask me to do when you ask me in my name. And that is how the Son will show what the Father is really like and bring glory to him. Ask me anything in my name, and I will do it for you!”
We’re going to ask, and boldly ask in faith. We do it now, that won’t end, but I believe that the door is going to open soon to greater miracles here. I believe it and out of that, I believe that we will be an example to other believers to not only have faith in what Jesus said, “Ask me anything in my name, and I will do it for you!” They will do it.
But above all, we will operate in the gifts of the Spirit more than we do now. We are open to the Spirit’s moving in our lives, and we will not have fear to speak or do what the Spirit will have us do. Babies learn to walk and learn to talk. They may make funny sounds until they talk, and they may crawl before they walk, but they are actually doing something to get to their goal. They fall sometimes, but they get up and go. People in need will look to us to bring Jesus in the fullness of the Spirit and we will do it.
I believe we will be a training ground here and people may bumble as they learn, but they will learn and when they have confidence and will operate in those gifts God has given them, no matter what they are. We will be teachers and mentors giving Spirit led guidance to those new to manifestations of the Spirit.
I want to see 1 Corinthians 12 in operation here and in the city and in the church.
“It is the same Holy Spirit who continues to distribute many different varieties of gifts. The Lord Yahweh is one, and he is the one who apportions to believers different varieties of ministries. The same God distributes different kinds of miracles that accomplish different results through each believer’s gift and ministry as he energizes and activates them. Each believer is given continuous revelation by the Holy Spirit to benefit not just himself but all.”
In the ESV, it says, “To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”
It would be for the common good for all in Kenosha and those in need.
7. Church of Divine Purpose
This is an easy one. We will be a praying church; it’s in our name. We will see strongholds broken. We already have. But because we are a hearing church, we will only operate when led by the Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit led groups of people moving only as purposed by God. Fulfilling every assignment put before them, and fulfilling the over all assignment He has given us individually, and corporately. Testimonies come out of that. God’s grace and mercy come out of that. People are healed and the captive is set free, and people come into a place of having a Spirit-to-Spirit relationship with their Father in Heaven.
We are going to serve God on His terms, not our own. We are not driven by denominational ties that make us do this program or that one. We will do what we do under the inspiration and direction of the Holy Spirit in unity and oneness.
And I pray that this year, as we follow the Holy Spirit and our hearts become as one together in Christ Jesus, the vision that God has given for this body of believers will begin to unfold, and the assignments He has given us will be fulfilled. Amen!