How was preaching?

June 21, 2007 at 2:59 pm 3 comments

I have been asked so many times how it was to be back preaching again last Sunday I thought I should write about it.  Actually maybe 2 people asked me but I still thought I should write about it.

It was a special and fun morning. The crowd was great and I guess, it is like riding a bike, you don’t really forget how.  There were some nice comments but the nicest were the ones that said “it was good to hear you again”.  Thanks to all the family and friends who came and backed me up.  It really meant a lot.  A big thank you to Pastor Mark Sartori and the Shelton Alliance Church for giving me the opportunity.

What follows is a synopsis of the message I shared.

The words of Jesus in John 10:10 are fascinating words.  They tell us He not only came to give us life but to give us an abundant life. 

Would you say your life was abundant?  If not, why not?  If Jesus said He came to bring abundance to our lives, why don’t we have it?  Since we don’t feel our lives are abundant we often explain these words away by calling them a millennial promise, or we make them metaphoric, or define them in spiritual terms.  Maybe we give them a financial definition or see them relating only to salvation and in that way we explain them away and never really believe them.  But either Jesus was offering abundance or He wasn’t.

My text for the morning was Isaiah 55, a wonderful prophetic invitation to a life of abundance and prosperity.  There are several verses in the chapter that are read a lot, for instance the verses about God’s thoughts and ways being higher than ours and the exciting closing verses that tell us the trees of the field will clap their hands as we go out with joy.

My focus was not on those more familiar verses but on the first 3:

“Ho! Everyone who thirsts, Come to the waters; And you who have no money, Come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.  2 Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, And let your soul delight itself in abundance. 3 Incline your ear, and come to Me.  Hear, and your soul shall live;

Here are a few bullet points on these verses:

  • The invitation is to come and buy milk and wine, a picture of abundance. But the invitation is to come and buy without any money.  If you don’t spend money for this abundance what do you spend?  You spend yourself.  It’s an invitation to “way more than enough,” the definition of abundance.  Come spend yourself to gain over the top abundance.
  • Gates Foundation was formed because the Gates family realized the amount of money they had was way, way more than could ever be spent, even if you worked at it 24/7. So what did they decide to do?  Give it away.  This is a prophetic picture for the Father’s kids.  We have so much abundance/prosperity available we can’t begin to use or contain it all so we must give it away. 
  • Abundance for the emotions frees us from guilt and shame.  Abundance for the mind frees us from negativity and opens us up to creativity.
  • v.2 reduces everything down to what satisfies.  We are given and obtain through our efforts great things all the time but we all know no matter how great the dinner was there is always another to be cooked tomorrow.  No matter how great the new car is and how much we longed for it, it doesn’t bring near the satisfaction we thought it would.  There is a cry in all of us for eternal purpose.  Something that lasts beyond time.  If you want to buy this kind of satisfaction you have to use a different currency.
  • Listen carefully v.2 says and eat what is good.  There is something available for our lives that will satisfy, that will last past the end of the meal, the life of the car.  There is something that does last.
  • Listen carefully, listening of course has to do with hearing.  The food that satisfies, the food we are hungry for is only released when the Father talks and we listen.  The thing you long for, the thing of fulfillment, the thing of desire, the thing of whatever, that thing is only satisfied when the Father speaks.  Listen carefully.  Jesus said it, A person does not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.  Do you see the connection?  This whole abundant life is connected to one thing-hearing the Voice.
  • In this country we are about production.  We are fixers, achievers, accomplishers,  problem solvers so we think about relationships in terms of purpose.  I listen to the Father for the prophetic Word, the life changing promise, the answer to the problem, the equation that will fix whatever it is that needs fixing.  Abundance flows when we listen to the Voice simply because He is speaking to us.  Hearing the Voice is what releases the abundance.
  • So we listen not just for answers.  Not just for the promises.  Not just for the Word.  Not just for answered prayer. Not just for dreams and visions but just for a desire to hear the Master’s Voice.
  • When the Father speaks, He creates.  He speaks things into existence.  The abundant life is created in you when you hear His Voice.
  • To listen carefully is to block out everything else.  When we are listening carefully we don’t allow our minds to wander or others to interrupt.  We focus on the Voice.
  • v.3 tells us to incline our ear and our soul will live.  How many of us have lived our lives with damaged emotions?  How many go through life with an emotional limp?  On the outside things look good but we know that deep inside in our “souls” things are broken, we are damaged.  Perhaps through abuse, disappointment, loss, betrayal or abandonment, shame or guilt, we were damaged inside and though it may not be visible to others, we know it holds us back from the abundant life.  This is the prophetic Word for those of us who know we are broken inside-Hear me and your soul will live.
  • What the doctors can’t fix, what your friends can’t reach, what the chemicals or the addictions don’t salve, can be washed over with abundance when we hear the Voice.  If you hear me your soul will live.
  • Question:  What would it be like to live, right now, having never sinned?  What would it be like to live in the Garden with no sin history?  To start fresh without the baggage of a past life, without all the hurt, the pain, the loss or the fear, what would that be like?  That life of real abundance is available through the blood of Jesus.  Don’t make the blood covering some theological treatise, don’t make what Jesus did for you only about some future event, don’t allow it to be just about the Atonement, celebrated once a month during communion.  Celebrate it every moment of every day. It is good for right now, good for what is broken right now, good for the guilt and shame right now.  It is possible to live as if you never sinned, right now.  (this is not sinless perfection it is the full removal of all record of wrong to the point of living just as if I had never sinned)  Either the blood of Jesus covers our sin, removes our sin or it doesn’t.  The Father says it does.
  • My history, my past, my failure, I have no attachments to any of that junk.  I am so forgiven.  I live as if I had never sinned.  No shame from the past, no fear of exposure, no guilt, no baggage.  All gone.  Hear Me, He says, and you will live!
  • This place of abundance is available for every one.  The story of the four lepers in 2Kings 7 is a great picture of the purpose of abundance.  They wander into the enemy camp to discover the enemy is gone and there is abundance like nothing they had ever dreamed of.  After literally starving to near death they gorge themselves on the “way more than enough” they find in the deserted camp.  When full up on abundance they realize what they have is way too good to keep to themselves and so they go back to the people who had abandoned them and let their abundance over flow on to them.
  • That is a Word for us.  We have been way too blessed, way too freed up, way too forgiven to keep it to ourselves.  We need to let our joy spill over on others, let our freedom run out on to those around us.  We have to find people in need and let our abundance over flow on to them. 

Why would the Father give us this abundance, this way more than enough, if He didn’t expect us to let it over flow?


Entry filed under: Authority, Belief, Christianity, Church, Culture, Faith, Holy Spirit, Jesus, Miracles, Revelation, Supernatural, The Father, Thoughts.

So, what did you do today? Linda’s 16 years of excellence.

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Linda  |  June 28, 2007 at 7:11 am

    The abundant life is available to us because we have constant access to God’s grace – just for the asking. Grace to handle life – joy, grief, family, work, disappointment, vacation – everyone and everything. We should do a lot more asking, shouldn’t we? I have it, therefore I have something to give others.

    This day as well as the sermon was an encouraging time for me. Thank you for helping me realize what I do have.

  • 2. Royal  |  June 25, 2007 at 11:24 am

    Thank you for posting your sermon on your blog, I was not able to attend and I am sorry for that. This definitely showed me that even though I am flawed, in many ways, God still provides more than I need. That is a wonderful feeling.

  • 3. amanda  |  June 22, 2007 at 10:38 am

    i wish i coulda made it. it still is good to hear your voice again, and to be reminded that i do have an abundance that i need to share, for the most part i am blessed by knowing of this abundance and thoroughly enjoy it, but i do forget at times and worse i don’t remember to share it. it is wonderful to be reminded of the joy and even though i get some weird looks it is even better to share it. we are all so blessed!

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