Isaiah 6:8-9 And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.” And he said, “Go, and say to this people..”
God is looking to and fro across the earth for people he can use to accomplish specific assignments in the building of his kingdom. Before Isaiah became a prominent prophetic voice to Israel, he firstly was an everyday believer in God who made himself available. Availability is the first prerequisite for being used mightily by God. Isaiah 1:19 says, “If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land“. To answer God’s call on your life, you must be first willing and secondly obedient. Not only did God call Isaiah but he counselled him in what to say. Too often we are attempting to come up with something inspirational that will connect with people, rather than simply sharing out of the well of what God has already revealed to us. If you want God to call you and use you mightily, first examine your heart and ask, “Am I available? Am I willing? Am I going to obey what he’s asked me to do? Selah!
Joshua 21:45 “Not one word of all the good promises that the Lord had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass.”
Everyone of us knows the feeling of wanting to give up on a delayed word God has spoken over our lives and into our hearts. We don’t see the reality of it in our expected time line and we conclude its not going to come to pass. Israel must have felt like this for hundreds of years. Centuries before Israel’s conquest of the Promised Land, God spoke to Abraham about the land of Canaan being given as a possession to the nation that God would raise up from Abraham’s seed. Several generations had passed since that word, including 400 years of slavery in Egypt, and yet towards the end of the book of Joshua we read of God’s faithfulness to his promises to Israel. Not one word of all the good promises that the Lord had made to Israel failed. They all came to pass. God is true to his word. Heaven and earth may pass away but his word remains forever. Whatever promise God has given to you and however long ago you received it, it will not fall to the ground empty but will accomplish what God has sent it to you to perform. Stand your ground, hold onto God’s promise and trust in God’s faithfulness. Every word will come to pass. Explosive Insights!
Genesis 16:1-2 “Now Sarai, Abram’s wife had borne him no children. She had a female Egyptian servant whose name was Hagar. And Sarai said to Abram, ‘The Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Go in to my servant; it may be that I shall obtain children by her.’ And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai.”
I love the story of Abraham and Sarah’s journey of faith because it mirrors what many of us go through in our own lives. When we face the delay of Gods promises being fulfilled, most of us take matters into our own hands. This is exactly what Sarai and Abram did after 10years of not seeing the fulfilment of God’s promises. When Abram should’ve kept listening to the voice of God, he listened to the voice of doubt and retreated from the life of faith. When we can’t see in the natural what we are expecting from God in our timeline, we often look for other options to bring the promise to pass. Unfortunately, our efforts to secure what God wants to secure for us indicates our lack of trust for Gods timing and purposes. 2 Corinthians 5:7 calls us to “walk by faith, not by sight.” Faith hears the rhema inspired word of God and stays focused on it regardless of what the natural circumstances might be indicating. When Abram took matters into his own hands, he only delayed what God always intended to bless him with, the promised son Isaac. Whatever your Isaac is, God wants you to trust him with the timing of the promise. Guard your heart from doubt and run back to the rhema word of God. Your Isaac is coming your way. Explosive Insights!
Matthew 6:34 “Do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
The future is filled with uncertainties. Many people fear the future and live with anxiety over the unanswered questions of what tomorrow may hold. Truth is, your future will be a reflection of what you are sowing into your life today. Today is the day God has made for you and I encourage you to live it to the full and be mindful of the moment that God has you in rather than anxiously waiting for tomorrow. The key to making the most of your tomorrow’s is maximising the opportunities that are infront of you today. Many of us suffer from destination disease. We’re so desperate to get to a place called there, that we miss the place called here. I understand for some of us, life may be so painful today that we’re just holding on for tomorrow, hoping it will take away the pain we feel. But God is not only in your tomorrow, He’s in the pain of your today. He wants to bring you closer to himself and he wants to speak words of life into your spirit that will give you strength for whatever it is you are facing today. Don’t believe the lie of anxiety about your future. The same God who’s with you in your today will sustain you in your tomorrow. Time is the most precious resource we have. Focus your attention upon Jesus and make the most of today. Tomorrow will take care of itself. Explosive Insights!
Proverbs 13:11 Wealth gained hastily will dwindle but whoever gathers little by little will increase it. Many of us want to increase ‘much by much’ but for the majority of us, this isn’t the reality of how we grow. Most of us experience increase in life one increment at a time. It’s the day in and day out of pursuing the basics that brings ultimate increase and fruitfulness to our lives. Little by little may not be sexy but it works. As the old adage says, “you eat an elephant one bite at a time.” Break your big goals down into small steps and tackle them little by little. Whether it be a financial goal, like purchasing your first house or a fitness goal, like running a marathon, you have to begin with the end in mind and then work backwards, tackling your goal, little by little. It’s amazing how much you can accomplish by doing little by little, day in and day out. You will build momentum and what may seem slow at the start will eventually become an avalanche. Don’t be hasty and don’t be impatient. Focus your energy on building your life little by little!
“You will hear a voice behind you saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it.” (Isa 30:21)
Contrary to popular opinion, God’s Spirit is communicating far more to us than we care to acknowledge. He’s at work far more than we care to notice. God doesn’t leave himself without a witness. He uses any and many means to inform the paths we should take but we have to pay attention to the signposts he positions for us along the path of our life’s journey. God’s always speaking, it’s whether we are listening. God’s always revealing, it’s whether we are seeing. Just as a freeway has signposts directing you from where you are to where you want to be, God gives us signposts to help guide you from where you are to where you want to be. His signposts range from people we bump into, to the circumstances we face, to the opportunities before us, to the words we receive, to the impressions in our hearts and everything in between. What are the signposts God maybe using to lead you right now in your life? Pay attention and you’ll get to your destination!
Ecclesiastes 3:1 ‘For everything there is a season and a time for ever matter under heaven.’
Life is filled with times and seasons. Just as there is summer, autumn, winter and spring built into the cycle of seasons in nature, there are spiritual seasons of pruning, preparation and productivity, among others that make up our lives.
One key to being fruitful in life is knowing and embracing the season you are in. A lack of awareness of your current season could result in you trying to make something happen in your present reality that’s more suitable for your future. We need to match our expectation and application to the time and season God has us in.
There are 2 dimensions of time – Chronos and Kairos. Chronos time is the ticking of the clock and the turning of the calendar. Kairos time is the divine window of opportunity that God presents to us to accomplish something powerful and unique. Most of life is lived in Chronos time but we have to be aware of the Kairos moments God is presenting to us, if we’re going to seize the season we are in.
Seasons don’t last forever and so we need to be able to transition into a new season with grace and wisdom. Seasonal transitions can occur through a change of location, job, career, calling, relationship or financial circumstances. But seasonal transitions can also occur in your life in less obvious ways, while you are still in the same job, same location and same circumstances. God works in mysterious ways and is always at work in us, regardless of the circumstances we find ourselves in.
Embracing transitions in life effectively requires lots of prayer, God’s grace, input from wise counsel, paying attention to the sign posts along the way and not holding onto anything so tightly that we actually have no room for the new thing God wants to do in us and through us. What season are you in? Are you in the middle of a transition? Gods with you and will instruct you in the way you should go!
Ecclesiastes 3:1 ‘For everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven.’
There are two dimensions of time that God has appointed – Chronos and Kairos.
Chronos time is measured by the ticking of the clock and the turning of the calendar. chronos time is based on the motion of the rotation of the earth around the sun. Kairos time is that God appointed moment when an opportunity appears before you and you seize it and as a result a breakthrough in your life occurs.
When a space shuttle returns to earth, there are windows of opportunity that they must wait for and ultimately seize if they are going to return into the earths orbit.
Fulfilling your calling isn’t determined by simply living in chronos time but by your insight into the kairos moments that God brings your way. If all you’re doing is waiting for hours, days, weeks and months to pass by before something happens, you may miss the kairos signposts God is trying to give you. Start looking at your life from a kairos perspective. If you do you will be much more prepared for the kairos moments God is leading you to and momentum will result.
When young David went to the battlefield (1 Sam 17) to deliver food to his brothers, he didn’t realise that he was about to find himself in a kairos moment where everything in his life would change. He seized it and as a result, his calling came into high definition. Kairos opportunities can be cloaked in giant challenges but nevertheless be Gods invitation to you to step onto the stage of your calling.
Several times the words, see and perceive appear in Ecclesiastes 3. I’ve observed that Gods kairos becomes discernible when we look and listen to God and his signposts in our lives. Gods speaking a lot of the time but unfortunately we aren’t always looking or listening.
Are you looking and listening to God and for his kairos time in your life? Discern it, seize it and breakthrough!
There will be no surprise confessions today but simply a call to come out of the closet with the gifts that God has given to you. Stop hiding them away and use them.
The manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. (1 Corinthians 12:7)
Your gifts and talents are not given to you for private admiration but public demonstration. The Greek word for manifestation is (phanerosis) and it means revelation or manifestation. When we use our gifts publicly to serve others, we are revealing or manifesting the presence and power of God to the world around us.
Spiritual gifts aren’t God giving something external to himself, like you would give a present to someone at Christmas time. Spiritual gifts are God himself manifesting an aspect of his presence through your life. God manifests himself through us in a variety of ways and we are to celebrate the unique way God has wired us up.
Unfortunately, the western church has privatized God. We have made faith in God a private matter. Rubbish… The gospel is meant to be heard and God’s power is meant to be witnessed to (Acts 1:8). Stop being a secret agent for God and start being the city on a hill God has called you to be. The church is the Spirit’s public. You are the mouth, hands and feet of the Holy Spirit sent to the world.
As a preacher, I’m called to proclaim the whole counsel of God, not just the bits that will attract a crowd or keep the polls heading north in my congregation.
In the last 12 months I’ve committed to preaching through books of the bible as the norm, rather than the exception. Many pulpits are filled with life-application, therapy sermons that avoid the tough texts of Scripture. However, my authority for preaching must come from the Scriptures alone (not my personality or influence) and all Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, rebuke, correction and for training in righteousness that the man of God may be competent and equipped for every good work (2 Tim 3:16). I am an expository preacher committed to letting the text speak for itself.
The more I preach the bible, the more my congregation take the bible seriously and the more they listen, weighing the ramifications of what God’s Word is commanding. Preacher, whatever you are excited about, the people will get excited about.
Preaching through books of the bible follows the story of the Scriptures but it also forces you to deal with issues in the text that you would never have dealt with, had you adopted a pick and choose method of reading and preaching. Some of the tough texts of Scripture include: Romans 9; Phil 1:12-30; Ephesians 4:22-33; 1 Timothy 2:8-15; 1 Timothy 3:1-7; 1 Cor 6:12-20; 1 Cor 9:1-14; 1 Cor 11:1-16; 1 Cor 14:26-40; 2 Cor 8-9; Revelation (all of it)… to name a few.
I make no attempt to convince you that I’ve got all these texts covered or neatly packed away in my theological tool box but these have been some of the key texts that I have wrestled with over the years in my ministry and I’ve observed others doing so as well.
Here are 5 reasons you should preach the tough texts of Scripture:
- People are curious about what ‘that’ text really means
- People need help understanding how to apply the tough texts
- People need assurance that the bible is God’s truth to us in this age
- People need to hear what God says about things that displease him
- People need to wrestle with the mystery of God