Expectation vs Realization (The Year of Movement in Review, pt 1) – March 26-27, 2023 (89-90/365)

Here’s a combined message I shared for today. I preached in the morning in place of a pastor who had other things to do, before preaching in my usual service. Since most of the folks who I spoke to in the morning were also folks I spoke to during the first Sunday of this year, I thought I’d give them an update.

But first, my thoughts on the previous message they posted. The speaker was the senior Pastor’s son, and he gave his perspective on the unforgivable sin – or rather, what he heard from other speakers. I say that latter part because it sounded familiar – the unforgivable sin was the sin of unbelief. According to him, unbelief is the sin that grieves the Holy Spirit – and I suppose I agree. But I think it’s goes a whole lot further than just us saying that we don’t believe – no, unbelief to me is a deliberate decision, an intentional refusal to believe that God is who He says He is, no matter what proof is presented; it’s one’s deliberate decision to refuse to change his or her mind regarding God even if His goodness was clearly seen and beheld.

As such, to say that we are Christian is to say that we have intentionally and deliberately chosen to believe that God is who He says He is; consequently, we believe when God says that He loves us, and we believe that this was proven and guaranteed by Christ and His finished work. I felt this had to be said before I go for another point that the speaker mentioned – that is, that we in the body of Christ now have the option to choose our heart at every given moment that we live in this reality; It’s either we go at it on our own, meaning we face our problems with our limited strength and knowledge… or we go boldly before our mountains, knowing that the Lord who made the mountains is on our side – all because of Christ.

He wraps it all up by mentioning how one composition by Hillsong had so much impact upon him: the song was Another In The Fire, and he was pretty inspired and comforted by what was mentioned in the chorus:

There was another in the fire

Standing next to me

There was another in the waters

Holding back the seas

And should I ever need reminding

Of how I’ve been set free

There is a cross that bears the burden

Where another died for me

From here I opened with a word of prayer, before jumping into what we’ve talked about, that literal first day of 2023:

We talked about how 2022 was a year when we would be overwhelmed by God’s love, and how we found that this was absolutely necessary for us to get back to, especially considering how we were slowly transitioning to what normal was before the pandemic. In the process, there was a need for us to rediscover our foundation – that is, how we have been so loved by God that Christ was willing to let everything go for us to be reconciled to Him. I expressed how even if I just spent the entire year last year reminding people of the love they have in God through Jesus Christ, it seemed as if my congregation could not get enough of it, no matter how I assumed it would be repetitive, monotonous, and counterproductive; This expectation was certainly far from the reality. They – we ALL liked to hear about it, week in and week out.

Eventually, at the beginning of the year I proclaimed that it was about time for us to move, propelled by this overwhelming love that has been lavished upon us. We thought that Christianity was not merely to be known as a religion, or a mere belief system, but an actual movement – as such, we were brought to believe so as to overflow, and to overflow by moving. In other words, Christ makes us move, and as we move, we see more of Christ’s work in and through us.

And so we were moving, but not only were we merely moving, but we were moving forward. I quoted the original Scripture we had in our minds before the rest of this year happened, in 1 Samuel 17:41-47:

Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the LORD saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the LORD’S, and he will give you into our hand.”

I told them that at the beginning of this year, we could look forward to mountains and paths ahead of us, and we would be bold to take steps forward, if only with the same confidence that David had – recognizing how those who would want our downfall are not only filled with hate but very well equipped, but not being intimidated. No, instead of us being threatened, we would press on even harder, knowing that the Lord of Hosts is on our side. Instead of us being fearful – and it’s not to say that we absolutely WON’T be afraid – no, we CAN be afraid but the fear will not last longer than the peace and the confidence we have, knowing that the God of the armies of Israel is on our side.

We also talked about how we won’t just be moving, and we won’t be moving forward, but we would be moving wider; That is, to say that the Holy Spirit has its hand in our moving to cover more territories to our left and right, by the power of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:1-11 tells us more:

Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.”

And to be honest, at the time we first shared about it, we didn’t know much about moving wider, more than it involved the Holy Spirit.

Finally, we weren’t just talking about how we move, move forward, and move towards wider territories… we also move higher. I recalled how Compassion International had slow but sure progression since they started around 70 years ago, but when they literally added the name of Christ into their mission – that is, from ‘Releasing Children From Poverty’ to ‘Releasing Children From Poverty, In Jesus’ Name’ – they experienced parabolic progression, or an exponential increase in their numbers. I emphasized that it’s the same way with us – we commit our works to the Lord, and acknowledge how He is the power and peace behind all we do, and we would see what it means for us to move from glory to glory.

Now, what we actually drew out as we looked through each aspect of movement… well, it was eye-opening in a way.

And he said, “Listen, all Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: Thus says the LORD to you, Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God’s.

2 Chronicles 20:15

We talked about David, and how he approached Goliath in the name of the Lord, but we also saw the example of King Jehoshaphat. We learned how we could come to the throne of mercy, just as he did, in our times of being overwhelmed and outnumbered.

We also learned about how we can lead ourselves out into the fray, in worship; and in our worship, we shouldn’t be surprised if our enemies fall before us, without any effort on our part – that is, beyond our just focusing on the goodness of God, despite all the darkness and evil surrounding us. In fact, it was pretty dramatic, how things turned out with Jehoshaphat – He put the worshippers in the front line, and the armies that were supposedly united against them fought themselves, and killed each other.

It’s the same thing with us – we approach danger and darkness with worship, and we watch as the light splits through the night.

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”

Colossians 3:1-2

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.

Psalms 1:1-2

Initially we were talking about the potential for exponential increase and parabolic growth as part of our life in Christ. In the process of our talking about the inevitable heights we would find ourselves in, we also came to the agreement that the higher we do go, the more we see we need Christ, and the more we depend on Christ, the more we see ourselves moving higher and higher – from glory to glory.

However, we also explored how it’s not necessarily guaranteed that we would only be on an increase, especially in the chaos of this reality. We saw how we are not necessarily exempt from the folly of this world, and how it does lead us to the darkest and lowest of valleys. But even during these times we see that Christ is with us – As He is with us in the heights, so He is with us in the depths. But did we also catch an additional insight here? That’s right – no matter if we move higher or lower, we certainly grow deeper in our knowledge of the One who loves us. We see more and more perspectives of Christ and His finished work and how it all figures into our own lives, whether we win or lose, whether we stumble and fall, or step up and rise.

Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

Genesis 1:28

We didn’t really talk much about moving wider beyond our needing the help of the Holy Spirit – but as time passed and as we devoted more focus to this aspect of movement, we find and appreciate that of all the things we are to do pertaining to movement, moving wider was something that was tasked to us since the beginning of time. See, we move wider by way of subduing the earth, and I’m led to believe that our being fruitful and multiplying is connected to this.

And actually, we see here that our having offspring automatically sets us up for subduing the earth, and the reason for our subduing the earth is not only for ourselves, but for our offspring as well. We went into further detail regarding this, because as it stands, not all of us will have children, nor will all of us have as much real estate as we would like. No, we see that Christ has set us free from being fruitful, multiplying, and subduing the earth according to our limited understanding, but fully relying on the Spirit to bring us to testify. For see, the uneducated Galileans received the Spirit in Acts 2, and they immediately testified in the marketplace; and while there was no increase in their literal real estate holdings, they certainly touched and subdued more than just soil – entire NATIONS were brought to the knowledge of the Gospel of grace! And as they received the Spirit, not only did they subdue entire nations to the Gospel, but they also produced offspring – literally? No, when they brought those who asked into confessing Jesus Christ as their Lord, there were no mere babies born that day – but THREE THOUSAND were baptized and received the Holy Spirit.

What an amazing revelation! I’m still pretty psyched about it.

And this is how far I’ve gone, as to sharing with our Ohana church family. I will follow this up with what I shared to the Aces.

Until the next post, God bless you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: