Pastor John was away for the first Sunday of the New Year so this will be his first message to Grace Chapel in 1992. He believed we needed to look at our priorities as individuals and as a church because time to time it is especially important to refine our direction and purpose. We must have long-term goals.
You and I should use opportunities along with the rest of the world to focus and refine our direction, but first we have to pay attention to what time it is.”
The Bible says there is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven. This simply means there is a space cut out in God’s agenda for everything that needs to get done and accomplished. There is also a correct priority for each task and things we are involved in. So prioritization is important. In Matthew 6:33 Jesus’ beginning teaching was:
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
What God is saying by His word is there’s an appropriate time and priority for us to live our lives by. When we understand the times and seasons then apply Jesus’ priority system to life in our time, we have a formula for true success according to the Bible definition of what success is. But if we endeavor to establish our own way and timetable we will be subject to the folly that would produce.
You cannot sow to the flesh without from the flesh reaping its corruptio
At this time Pastor John claimed we need to know our calendar because 1992 will be a big year. There is urgency in Pastor John’s heart and awareness that this is a very important time as far as the Lord’s coming is concerned.
I sense that we may be in the very last days of the world so it is time to apply our hearts to wisdom and to bring our lives into correct priorities.”
For this message Pastor John will be reading from the Book of Haggai, one of the last books before Matthew. Some of the Old Testament books are very appropriate to look at when consider time and priorities. In reading from Haggai he wanted to deal with 2 issues; A people who did poorly with their time, and a man who did well with it. What we find in these two stories is to those who purpose and care about God’s building, God seems to care about what they are building. But to those who build their own kingdom first, find God interfering with that kingdom.
You are extremely expensive. You cost Jesus everything. Therefore, do you really bring your life to God and lay it down for His building or are you one of those stones that won’t let Him build you into a house? Are you building your own way and your own thing or are you becoming a building block in the house of God? Are you an occasional block in the house of God or are you one that could become a pillar? You are a costly stone, but are you allowing God to build you into something different?
We have simple building blocks and materials that we can bill to God. Our own lives as living stones laid down to be paved with His glorious character and person as we seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness.
The past few weeks leading up to this sermon we had been calling out to the Lord for revival, renewal and all kinds of things. As Pastor John prayed the more it became apparent that the Lord wanted to speak to us in this sermon as a father. He wanted to speak to us about guidelines for the revival, some understanding about what we are going to be involved in, and where we are going in the Lord. Pastor John encouraged us to release and abandon ourselves to the Lord at this time, completely and totally giving ourselves to Jesus.
I believe that this is a great time for us to be alive and a monumental time that will be in the lives of many people if we follow the Lord in a correct fashion.”
In the Bible study during the first service we looked closely at the revelation of Jesus as the Good Shepherd and Pastor John wanted to talk to us about that in relationship to the revival and renewal that God is pouring out across the country. As Pastor John was praying over this service the Lord spoke to him more strongly that He wants his body to be a shepherding body. He wants His body to become a people that know how to love, care and extend themselves. A people that know how to give time, resources, encouragement and blessings. A people that recognize what God is doing in the earth and is there to be part of it giving their lives towards it.
It is in that vain Pastor John will speak about the reasons for the revival we are asking God for, what does it look like and what does it feel like. He will also speak on what deposit should it leave in our lives and what we should be getting out of the moving of the Spirit that is coming.
I’m praying today that we will not only hear it but we will sense it. So when one of those sheep walks in this door that we won’t look at them just as a person who walked in as a number or a non entity, just a face. But we will realize that the Good Shepherd has run another one our way. He’s pulled them out of a thicket. He’s taken them out of a situation and He’s brought them here for us to care for, for us just to welcome, for us to love, for us to hang on to. And I am telling you this is the heart that God wants to leave in us in this revival.”
In this sermon Pastor John talks about how we are always trying to establish in each one of us a shepherd’s heart. He hopes that God would cause us to understand our participation in the shepherding of His flock and that we are not just sheep alone, but because we are His body we become part of the shepherding process. So our care for each other, our respect for each other, our understanding of each others needs, our willingness to surrender our lives for other peoples benefit is all based upon understanding the heart of God and having that heart imparted to us as His people.
Pastor John says that because we live in a day of specialization in an industrial society that too often we miss some of the basic issues of life that God would bring to us because we are so specialized in what we do. We do our jobs; leave work and we are no longer involved with people. But you see the Church is all about people and God’s love for people. It’s all about peoples love for each other because not only did He say he loved us, but He commanded us to love each other just the same way that he loves us.
That was a command of Jesus as he sat at the last supper table with them leaning over the table and looking them right in the eyes saying, this is a new commandment I give you that you love one another as I have loved you.”
To set the foundation for this sermon Pastor John looks at Jesus’ own statements we find in the Book of John 10, Jeremiah 23, and Ezekiel 34. Pastor John prayed that the Lord will impart it to us that as we handle His word, looking at it, trying to draw its meaning that God by His Spirit will take that Word and make it alive in us.
So I am asking you to pray to that end this morning that God will do something in your heart that you will begin to sense His heart, the shepherd’s love for his sheep.”
There is so much in the Church today that is of damage to each other. God’s flock are a wounded flock and many of the wounds from the flock are from within the flock itself. With many of these wounds coming from shepherds themselves. We are going to face this issue but first we are going to go to the words of Jesus. There are two main issues in mind; the first is we need to understand our own part in shepherding the flock. The second is for us to fully understand Jesus’ own heart regarding the sheep of his pasture and by understanding His heart that helps us do our jobs better.
God wants us to go beyond the ranching style of ministry where it is more like a business. He wants to impart the heart of a shepherd in each one of us. So when a wondering sheep finds its way into our relationship that we realize its responding to God’s voice. That it is hearing the voice of the master shepherd and we get the chance of binging up the wounds, of hearing, of loving and caring until there is healing in His flock.”