Wednesday, February 27, 2002

A Study Of The Miraculous - Part VI

A Study Of The Miraculous – Part VI


Recap: Read 2 Kings 4:1-4

* Miracles are not mad rushes and anxious attempts.

* Do not run off half cocked

* You do not have to know the whole journey to take the first step … but you do need to know the first step

* A time of proving is almost always required

* After you take the first step, wait on God to give you the next step

* Leaving does not equal going somewhere … don’t mistake process for purpose

* Trust God and begin your journey on faith

We must stay on the protected pathway of God to receive and conserve our miracle. Sometimes it comes in stages or seasons. Little by little. Line upon line. (Isaiah 28:10)

* Remember Matthew 12:44: The ultimate purpose of casting out devils is not so that the person can be empty and clean, but rather so that they can be filled up with God and occupied with the Kingdom. Empty and clean are a part of the process to get to the purpose. The purpose may require more work and come after the miracle moment. There is a purpose to the process, but the process is not the purpose.

* At times miracles can require hard work.

* John 2:6 And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece.

7 Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim.

8 And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it.

> One Firkin equals about 9 gallons

> 3 Firkins equals about 27 gallons

> Six waterpots equaled about 162 gallons

> Filled to the brim?

> Now draw out and carry?

> there was a wedding celebration going on … it was time to join the party crowd, not the working crowd.

> no work … no miracle

5 So

* So What?

* Psalms 107:2 Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy;

5. So she went from him,

* A break through may require a break with or a break from

* Abram was told to break with his family, his friends and break away from his homeland to receive a miracle from God. He first broke away from his homeland but not with his family … he got nothing but delay. He then broke with his father but kept his nephew … he got nothing but famine. Then he finally obeyed God and received his break through and his name was changed to Abraham, his wife’s name changed to Sarah, he was given a promise of the stars and every thing he could see from the mountain and given a son in his old age.

* Not all breaks with are breaks from bad people or places. Some times, like in 2 Kings 4, or in Abram’s life, a break through can at times require a break with good things, good people and things that were God’s will yesterday, but not God’s will for tomorrow. What you are going through may well be positioning for your future, not punishment for your past.

* You don’t have to tear down one thing to build up another.

* You can be happy about where you are going without being ugly about where you have been. This is why a vision is so important and why just leaving somewhere does not equal going somewhere. (not talking about leaving or fleeing sin)

* Remember that Elisha was endeavoring to get her eyes off of the arm of man and onto God. Elisha would not be present for the miracle. He did his part and now she would have to do hers. This made her responsible to God for the outcome. Even though she had always depended on her husband, now she would have to face new territory and take the lead herself for her, her family and her future.

* Sometimes you have to do what you have never done before to get what you have never gotten before.

* Miracles may require walking on some new ground doing some new things.

* She had a God too!

> Elisha was not her savior

> Elisha was not her God

> Elisha was not her answer

> Elisha was not her provider

> Elisha was just another messenger of God

* one sign of a mature messenger of God is that they can deliver the message from God without getting personally offended if it is not received. Many Christians give counsel and advice in the name of Jesus and then feel responsible to make the person do it or to make them feel guilty if they don’t do it or to judge them for not doing it right or on time. This is a poor and immature quality of a messenger’s life.

* A true messenger separates himself from the message. He realizes that he is not the judge, jury or executioner but merely the witness.

* A mature messenger is not personally offended when people don’t receive the message. They derive their value from having carried and delivered the message … not necessarily how many people heard it or obeyed it. Certainly they feel more satisfied if the message is received, but not defeated if it is not. I have found this to be a trait of some people whose messages are not really from God but from them. God’s messages are filled with salvation opportunities and may also contain damnation realities but are never smug or fulfilled with the destruction of those damned. We should never be happy with the hurt of others.

* This woman took her first step toward her miracle … She went from Elisha … She moved herself to depend on God and not man.

* She became a doer of the word and not just a hearer.

>James 1:25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

Wednesday, February 20, 2002

A Study Of The Miraculous - Part V

A Study Of The Miraculous – Part V


1 ¶ Now there cried a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets unto Elisha, saying, Thy servant my husband is dead; and thou knowest that thy servant did fear the LORD: and the creditor is come to take unto him my two sons to be bondmen.

2 And Elisha said unto her, What shall I do for thee? tell me, what hast thou in the house? And she said, Thine handmaid hath not any thing in the house, save a pot of oil.

3 Then he said, Go, borrow thee vessels abroad of all thy neighbours, even empty vessels; borrow not a few.

4 And when thou art come in, thou shalt shut the door upon thee and upon thy sons, and shalt pour out into all those vessels, and thou shalt set aside that which is full.

Go Back Over:

Verse 1: … cried a certain woman … unto Elisha …

* At times people can be left in sudden and certain trouble

* It’s wise and beneficial to seek Godly counsel

Verse 2: … What shall I do for thee?

* Perhaps he knew that there was nothing he could do for her

* This would require a miracle

* He needed to move her into position to receive actively a miracle

> many may receive miracles without asking …

> but when we ask … a greater responsibility comes to us

1. He motivated her to depend on God and not the arm of man.

2. She needed to offer what they had to God for His touch.

3. Be obedient and follow the prescribed course of action required.

4. Use the blessings & benefits received for God’s intended purposes.

Verse 3: empty vessels; borrow not a few

* There is such potential in an empty vessel

* Don’t limit the miracle by your limited need

Verse 4: She poured

* sometimes we need to keep our hand on our miracle

* some things will work for a particular person and not another

* some miracles are keepers

* Even the miraculous can be hard work

* God often demands we participate in our miracles

> from Noah, to Abraham, to Shadrach to Peter to you

Now For The Rest Of The Story:

and thou shalt set aside that which is full.

* There is a process to the miraculous which is often very practical and logical. Here the widow is admonished not to get so caught up in the spiritual that she gets distracted and wastes the natural potential of the miracle. Miracles are not a mad rush and an anxious attempt. There will be time in a miracle to stop for a moment, take care of necessary business at hand, and then continue with some reasonable expectancy. She does not have to hurry or be hasty or afraid.

* Thus far she has not been told what to do with the oil other than set aside the full vessels. These full vessels will be used by God later to complete the miracle but for now they too must be patient and wait for further instructions from God. Sometimes God does not give the full picture upfront. Here the prophet stops his heavenly instructions and leaves the woman to complete what she has been told to do before he tells her more.

* Sometimes we must act in faith with what we have. The headlights of a car do not shine light on the whole journey before you must begin, unless you are going nowhere. This woman would be asked to do things later which will require more energy, perhaps some hard or undesirable work. God does not burden us down with the details of things we are not ready to tackle. The job at hand is usually enough. If one does not trust God to begin the journey on faith, they will not move themselves into miracle territory.

* When the widow asked for help, the man of God gave her work to do without promising her any miracle. A time of proving is almost always required before God releases his precious pearls to people. If one will not be faithful to simple, small, seemingly out of the way acts, miracles will continue to escape them.

* I have seen many take control, take charge, take ownership of their situation and douse the miracle of God. Most likely this was not Elisha giving this woman a test of faithfulness but rather it was God administering this time of proving. It is possible that even Elisha did not know what would be later required of the woman. Maybe God had not given the man of God the full picture yet. This is a place where people can get frustrated with pastors and counselors who clearly hear from God. It can seem as though they are stonewalling information when it is very possible they just don’t know the future, but they do know the next step and without taking the next step, without driving the next mile, the lights of the vehicle will never illuminate the further pathway of God’s will. Anyway, she did not complain, she took what she knew and did what she could. She had enough to get started.

* Remember some principles from a recent sermon:

> You must use what you have to get what you need.

> You must start where you are to get where you want to be.

> You must attempt what you cannot do to accomplish what you can.

* You don’t have to know the whole journey to take the first step.

* You should, however, know the first step before you strike out on the journey. If not, you could be going the wrong way and taking yourself farther from the miracle.

* There is a difference between a word of knowledge and a word of wisdom. Noah was told that it was going to rain. Well what good would that actually have done him if he had just run off with that much information. He could have preached rain and doom and damnation and destruction, but not salvation and neither could he properly have prepared for the miracle God wanted to give him and his family. He had a word of knowledge and that was good but not enough to go on. Half-cocked is a position on the hammer of some guns which disables the gun from firing. One that is only half cocked can neither on purpose nor by accident do anything of consequence. It is a place of safety that greatly disables, not enables. What Noah needed was more information such as what to do about what he knew. So God begins the word of wisdom. Noah, build a boat! Wow … but what is a boat? And how do I build one? And out of what and how big and on and on. We Must - Wait for instructions from God. Don’t take off before you have something to do.

* Going somewhere requires leaving where you are. Often the first indication you are going on a new spiritual journey is a desire to depart … even a restless spirit. Leaving is not the purpose or the goal, but the process to accomplish the goal. Leaving is only God’s will because of where He wants to take you. Many times knowing where to go comes after the stirring to leave. Do not take a stirring to quit or leave as the will and purpose of God. It’s preparation not purpose. Leaving does not equal going somewhere. Have God’s vision for your future before you leave the productive past or the place of God‘s last word to you.

Sunday, February 17, 2002

Standing & Falling

Standing & Falling


Key Scripture: Proverbs 24:16 For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.

I. Acts 13:49 - 14:28

A. Some won’t stand for anything but find it easy to stand against many things

1. Devout and honorable women

2. Chief men of Iconium

3. The Religious Jews of Paul’s Day

4. Many today seem to be more passionate and committed to what they are against than to what they are for

5. Even some preachers, churches and denominations teach more about what they do not believe and what they stand against, than what they do believe and stand for.

6. Just the common people of the day who stoned Paul in Lystra

B. Others stand and fall and find grace to stand again.

1. David, Jacob, Ester, Samson, Bathsheba, Peter

A. Denied the Lord 3 times, once with cursing

B. Was recovered and sent to preach the gospel

2. Just the common people in Lystra who:

A. first believe that Paul & Barnabas are gods deserving of worship

B. next they stone Paul and drag him out of the city for dead

C. then allow him to preach at least twice more in the city

C. Still others seem to stand and just keep standing, even after being knocked down time and again.

1. Ruth, Naomi, Job, Joseph or Paul:

2. Joseph went from a pit to a prison to a palace

3. Daniel stuck to his convictions even when faced with buffeting

4. Job, regardless of the afflictions, kept his stance with God

Note: Our hope is that we fall not, but if we have fallen, then our hope is to stand and not fall again.

Question: What makes one stand when others fall?

* We are all men of like passions

* We all go through pressures and afflictions of life

* What makes some stand so heroically?

* What makes the difference?

III. The Things People Fall For

A. Fear

1. King Saul was afraid of being alone

2. Jacob was afraid of being poor

3. King Ahab was afraid of Jezebel, and so was Elijah

4. Peter was afraid of dying

B. Lust

1. David lusted after Bathsheba

2. Judas after the treasury of Jesus & the 30 shekels of silver

3. Simon the sorcerer lusted after the power of God

4. King Herod lusted after the praises of the people

5. The mother of James & John after positions for her sons

C. Anger

1. Moses got angry with the congregation and sinned against God

2. Elijah’s anger skewed his perception of reality (7000 not 1)

3. Peter slashed off the ear of one coming to arrest Jesus

IV. The Reasons Some Stand

A. Focus

1. Vision

2. Purpose

3. Not on people and process

Note: People and process can change, vision and purpose remain the same.

B. Commitment

1. To God, not to a man, a marriage or a mission

2. Until Death

3. Regardless of cost

4. Anything less will fail

C. Sanity

1. Live a loving, compassionate and merciful Christ-centered message

2. Joseph, Job, Ruth, Daniel, Naomi and Paul all:

A. Served a real God, with real help, for real people in real life

B. They were kind and caring, serving and giving

C. They weren’t demanding pre-Madonna’s

D. They weren’t so spiritually minded that they were no earthly good.

3. Paul taught:

A. Acts 14:15 And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein:

B. Acts 14:22 Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.

4. Paul Was Not Afraid To Be Weak or Real

A. 1Corinthians 11:24 Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.

25 Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;

26 In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;

27 In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.

28 Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.

29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not?

30 If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities.

31 The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for evermore, knoweth that I lie not.

32 In Damascus the governor under Aretas the king kept the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desirous to apprehend me:

33 And through a window in a basket was I let down by the wall, and escaped his hands.

B. 1 ¶ It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.

2 I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.

3 And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;)

4 How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.

5 Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities.

6 For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me.

7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.

8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.

9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

VI. Conclusion

A. Do Not Base Your Decisions On

1. Fear

2. Lust

3. Anger

B. Rather

1. Focus on the vision and purpose of God for your life

2. Make your life commitments to God

3. Live as a sane Christian witness

A. we are all subject to the same passions & pressures

B. let’s not fall again

Sunday, February 10, 2002

One Life

One Life



After the French and Indian war ended in 1763, the British had gained control and claimed sovereignty over nearly all of France’s empire in North America.

The British attempted to restore their authority over the American colonies and thus began to tax them more heavily than before.

During the next ten years organized American colonist refused to pay many of these unfair duties. Taxes such as the Stamp Tax in 1765 and the Townsend duties on imports in 1767 were protested. In 1773 revolutionaries dumped incoming tea into the Boston harbor rather than pay taxes levied by the British government.

Great Britain responded by sending more troops to support it’s authority.

On April 19, 1775, a group of colonist assembled to fight the British soldiers at Lexington, Mass. Just hours later in Concord, American revolutionist fired the ‘shot that was heard around the world’.

Over a year afterward, The Second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, breaking ties between the American colonies and the mother country.

Britain launched a great offensive to crush the rebellion. The American Revolutionary War had officially begun and would last eight years ending on October 19, 1781, when British General Cornwallis’ army surrendered at Yorktown.

John Adams, the second president of the United States of America, later wrote: “The revolution was effected before the war commenced. The revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people.” (The World Book Encyclopedia, Cywrt 1983 by World Book. Inc. Q-R. volume 16. p 254)

The years leading up to the war were marked by historians as the period of the “Great Awakening”, earmarked by a series of religious revivals.

The movement began in the middle colonies in the 1720’s and spread both north to New England and south to the lower colonies.

Leaders of the Great Awakening included such men as Jonathan Edwards, and George Whitefield. The messages they preached and the lives they changed set the stage for great men & women of God to emerge.

This period produced a new and exciting form of preaching never before experienced by the colonist. The structure was such that allowed more involvement and participation by the common Christian and the laity. The revival message focused more on the individual experience of salvation rather than on the religious doctrines of any particular church.

The issue of personal experience of salvation verses church membership split many congregations and created a platform for supporters and opponents alike.

One belief in particular of those revivalists was that God was no respecter of persons. This unsettled the upper class, so called in their day as ‘gentry’ to which pastors and church leaders belonged. This message brought fear that equal status in God somehow lessened their authority and right to rule.

The message of equality in Christ appealed to the lower classes and gave them hope that no matter their economic, academic or social state and status, they were still accepted by God and could freely obtain salvation through Christ right along with everyone else and also at the same identical price. All it would take is faith which was free to all.

Born out of the wake of those revival years were men who went on to become renown figures of the American Revolutionary War. Men such as:

Ethan Allen John Paul Jones George Washington

John Adams Benjamin Franklin John Hancock

Patrick Henry Thomas Jefferson Paul Revere

And one other man, a man whom we understand placed great and valued importance on the bible, whose message will speak to us this morning, this man, a patriot of the American Revolutionary War, a hero, a martyr for his cause and country, Nathan Hale.

Nathan Hale born on June 6, 1755 as one of 12 children to a Connecticut family, was a strong bodied athletic type, educated under the tutorship of the Reverend Joseph Huntington as a student of the classics. In 1769 at age 14, Nathan entered Yale College where he distinguished himself for his interest in reading and for his physical skills.

In 1773, after graduation, Nathan moved to East Haddam, Conn., where he taught school for one year before moving on to New London, Conn.

In July of 1775, one year before the signing of the Declaration of Independence, he left his teaching job to take a commission as a Lieutenant in the Connecticut Army. He even fought in the siege of Boston where he was recognized for his courage under fire while capturing a supply-loaded vessel right from under the guns of a manned British war ship.

Later at the rank of captain, his outstanding service awarded him a position on a small ban of elite fighting men called Rangers. The Rangers were responsible for the completion of dangerous, secret missions.

On such a secret mission of spying behind the enemy lines which Nathan had unhesitatingly volunteered for, he was disguised as a Dutch schoolmaster. During his return trip to General George Washington with the mission’s information, Nathan was captured and sentenced to hang the next day.

Many believe that a member of Nathan’s own family, a cousin, sympathetic to the British cause, contacted the British Army and told them of Nathan’s secret spying mission.

In New York City, near what is now 66th Street and Third Ave., Nathan Hale was taken by Major Cunningham of the British Army to the place where he would be hanged. Denied his last request, to have a bible, Nathan Hale made his last speech at age 21.

The final words uttered before his martyrdom were reported to be with remarkable calmness of mind and spirit on September 22, 1776. He said, “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.”

(Source: James Kirby Martin, "Hale, Nathan," World Book Online Americas Edition,, February 9, 2002. )

One Life

I. You have only

A. One Life to Live and

B. But One Life to Give

II. There are but two types of people

A. Those who read history

B. Those who make history

III. Allow me to speak to you this morning as though it were my last message.

A. As a dying man to dying men

B. As a mentor to a martyr

IV. 1 Corinthians 1:1 ¶ Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,

2 Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:

3 Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

4 I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ;

5 That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge;

6 Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you:

7 So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:

8 Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

9 God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

A. Called to be

1. Paul was called to be something special for God much like:

A. Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, David, Deborah & Jael

B. Perhaps Nathan Hale was called to be what he became

2. Maybe you too are called to be

A. If you are called to be …Then you are called to become.

B. Matthew 22:14 For many are called, but few are chosen.

Note: Many are called to be but few become what they are called to be.

C. What is your calling: If it is from God, It’s Out Of This World!

B. Called

1. Greek Word: klhtov kletos klay-tos’

1) called, invited

1a) invited (by God in the proclamation of the Gospel) to obtain eternal salvation in the kingdom through Christ

1b) called to (the discharge of) some office

1b1) divinely selected and appointed

2. Modern Definition: Selected, Invited and Appointed

C. God did not call His extra son, but His Only Son

1. Jesus experienced disappointment

A. with friends and family

B. with co-workers

C. with the preachers of His day

D. with organized religious groups

E. with people who He came to help

2. Jesus experienced frustration

A. with His calling

B. with His followers

3. Jesus was crucified by the people He came to help

4. But Jesus never abandoned His calling

A. Jesus became all that He was called to be

B. He had but one life to live, one life to give

C. He showed us that One Life Can Get The Job Done

V. We Have All Been Selected, Invited and Appointed To Live and To Give Our Own ‘One Life’ It is with purpose that:

A. You are saved from the world (2 Peter 2:20 escaped the pollutions)

B. You are called out of the world (2 Corinthians 6:17 come out )

C. You are chosen to go into all the world (Matthew 28:18ff)

D. You are anointed to overcome the world (1 John 4:4 overcome)

E. You are destined to rule the world (Revelation 5:10 kings & priests)

VI. Your Part

A. Acknowledge and Accept the Call

1. Selection

2. Invitation

3. Appointment

B. Become What You Are Called To Be

1. Give priority time and attention to preparation

A. commit to daily prayer, praise, bible and service

B. weed out the old man and his habits of life & thought

2. Set goals for yourself in the basic areas of life

A. make a living

B. make a life

C. make a difference

C. You have but one life to give and one life to live … live it for Jesus!