September always brings a sense of celebration with the arrival of spring and Heritage Day, yet our country is in crisis. We've had unprecedented levels of load shedding, unemployment stats are shocking at close to 34% overall and much higher for those in their early twenties to mid-thirties, and the murder rate (at least for the first quarter of this year is close to one murder every twenty minutes.
The Church has incredible potential to change things. The Church is God's plan A - people that will make a difference until Jesus comes back Over three-quarters of our country claim to be Christian. Could you imagine if all of those Christians actually did what Jesus said?
Ephesians 1:20-23 (Msg) All this energy issues from Christ: God raised him from death and set him on a throne in deep heaven, in charge of running the universe, everything from galaxies to governments, no name and no power exempt from his rule. And not just for the time being, but forever. He is in charge of it all, has the final word on everything. At the center of all this, Christ rules the church. The church, you see, is not peripheral to the world; the world is peripheral to the church. The church is Christ’s body, in which he speaks and acts, by which he fills everything with his presence.
We can either be a mediocre society that hangs out now and again to give Jesus a bit of a shoutout or will we can be a movement that dares to change the world.
This is a preparation season for all the things to come. Things that God wants to do IN YOU FOR YOU, BEYOND YOU, THROUGH YOU, and AROUND YOU as part of His Church.
It’s time rise up. To find your vision. To Regain your edge, regain your enthusiasm and regain your courage.
Hebrews 6:7-12 (TPT) 7For men’s hearts are just like the soil that drinks up the showers which often fall upon it. Some soil will yield crops as God’s blessing upon the field. But if the field continues to produce only thorns and thistles a curse hangs over it and it will be burned. 9 Even though we speak like this, beloved, we are fully convinced that there are more beautiful and excellent things, which flow from your salvation. 10 For God, the Faithful One, is not unfair. How can he forget the beautiful work you have done for him? He remembers the love you demonstrate as you continually serve his beloved ones for the glory of his name. 11But we long to see you passionately advance until the end and you find your hope fulfilled. 12So don’t allow your hearts to grow dull or lose your enthusiasm but follow the example of those who fully received what God has promised because of their strong faith and patient endurance.
Ecclesiastes 10:10 (CSB) 10 If the ax is dull, and one does not sharpen its edge, then one must exert more strength; however, the advantage of wisdom is that it brings success.
Proverbs 27:17 Iron sharpens iron, and one person sharpens another
To regain your edge you need to be connected relationally.
When you feel like you have lost your edge, the best thing to do is to put yourself in the company of people that believe for the impossible. The worst thing to do isolate yourself.
Here's a practical step to take: volunteer to serve on the Dream Team. There is truth in the adage "'f everyone does a little, a lot will get done", but that's not the reason to serve. Here's what serving will do:
Serving will put you in the company of people that believe for the impossible. People that live the "I believe in you" life. People that will sharpen you.
Serving will pull you into a bigger story. Setting out seats may seem mundane, but when you understand that setting out seats helps save lives, it gives meaning to the mundane.
Serving will position you for growth - it is a training ground for faithfulness. If you're not faithful now, why would you be faithful then?
Enthusiasm comes from en-theos, in essence: God inside you.
Ephesians 5:18 (CSB) And don’t get drunk with wine, which leads to reckless living, but be filled by the Spirit:
In this verse, Paul is saying be continuously filled by the Spirit. There are all kinds of things - good and bad - that we can fill our hearts with. When we are so full of other things, our enthusiasm, real enthusiasm, leaks out, a bit like a balloon that loses it's helium.
To regain your enthusiasm you need to be connected spiritually
That means to yield to the Spirit. Here's a prayer that I came across recently - you can make it your own, but praying something like this daily will position you to be continuously filled with the Spirit, and suddenly you will find your enthusiasm return.
God, I consecrate my plans, intentions, ideas, and strategies. I consecrate my gifting, ability, resources, and influence. I consecrate my fears, doubts, expectations, and desire to do things independently from you. I set it all aside, declare it for your purposes, and ask you to give it back to me on your terms and under your guidance.
I break the agreement with the idea that things will never change, I know they can and will. I know that you are with me, for me, and that you have surrounded me with others who understand and support me.
I declare that I serve at Your hand. You are the author and perfecter of my faith and everything else. I will seek your direction in challenges and acknowledge and glorify you in success and prosperity. It is all about you. Your Kingdom come and will be done, in me and through me.
Joshua 1:9 Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
It seems like we always lose our courage when there is new land to take. It's in times like these God says be strong and courageous! The Bible full of stories like this. We read about people who set exampels of strong faith and patient endurance - and they do so by trusting in God's word.
To regain your courage you need to be connected biblically
That means to meditate on God's word; to get it inside of you. Faith comes through hearing,
and hearing by the word of God (Rom 10:17). So, when you hear the word of God, your faith will rise, and with it your courage. Faith changes faces!
Here's a verse to memorize
Heb 6:9 TPT we are fully convinced that there are more beautiful and excellent things, which flow from your salvation.
This is a powerful reminder of all the more beautiful and excellent things that God wants to do in you, through you, for you, around you, and beyond you. All the Things to Come.
This life is too short, God's vision is too big, and our country is in too much of a crisis for you to just stay in survival mode, hanging on until Jesus comes back. It's time for your to find your place in His grand narrative.
To regain your edge you need to be connected relationally. Practical step: serve
To regain your enthusiasm you need to be connected spiritually. Practical step: pray
To regain your courage you need to be connected biblically Practical step: memorize a verse
I'm dreaming of a church where all the rows are packed with people whose hands are held high as hearts are engaging with heaven, reverberating in unreserved worship. I'm dreaming of a church filled with people who are constantly looking to step out of the comfortable. I'm dreaming of a church filled with people who believe this is a movement that needs to go. People who have an expectation of the miraculous, and believe God for the impossible. People who dare to change the world. Sharp, enthusiastic, courageous.
Are you in?