Tuesday, September 24, 2013

An Apostolic People |Keeping Jesus at the center| Steve Oliver 1

This is part of a series of messages that were preached at the Regions Beyond  India Leaders meeting at Igatpuri . This message was preached by  Steve Oliver who leads this apostolic sphere Regions Beyond, which is a part of Newfrontiers Intl. You can listen to the audio by clicking here.

It is important that we continue to make progress and we thank God for that.

The landscape before us is enormous. U.P is just a small part of what God is doing and wants to do in the nations.

We are not far off from some of you being sent off into the other nations. We cannot take this lightly and there will be a cost to it.

In a long time I had time to reflect on what God has been doing over the years. We realized that once again we would have to fit into God’s program. God’s plans for us are many and the people working with us are many. We must pay the price. We will have to make adjustments to abandon ourselves to His purposes.

When you see God going ahead and his obvious favor it can be both exciting and terrifying. That’s how it must have been for the disciples with Jesus.

There is a big thing that we need to be careful of i.e our vision and opportunities do not become the thing that captivates our attention. It’s very New Testament but that cannot be the thing that captivates us. It has to be Jesus. Having time to be rather than do, I realized that the vision can be exciting. Jesus should be our joy and what captivates us. If we replace Jesus as the center of what we are called to do and if he only becomes a part, we will produce an army of leaders that are striving for success and breakthrough. Opportunity and success can then become the greatest challenge. We need to have a balance in all that we do.

Joshua 5:13 Between the Jordan and Jericho we find encounter. That needs to be our lifestyle and the kind of leader we should be. In all the business there has got to be an encounter where meeting with Jesus must take us face down. If we lose that we will lose everything. God arrested me in this. “Your time with me, where you allow me to smile on you will be the making of your success” We have been given freedom to get on but we get to stay true to the very thing we’re here for.

One of the things that marked Joshua is the altars where it was all about God.
Matt11:25-28 Jesus is very busy and facing all kinds of challenges and suddenly this word comes- “come to me…”Our life in the church and at work can drain us. When we bring this scripture into a leadership context I realized that as a leaders the very things that God has called us to can become a burden. And you are pressing on and trusting God but it can become a burden if not carried in the right way. In a leadership context, those laboring which we are all doing for the kingdom, the good thing becomes a burden.

Jesus’ answer is come to me – and we find that He is big enough for all of it.
Eugene Peterson in one of his messages asked this- Are you tired? Anyone who is worn out? Anyone burnt out by religion? When Jesus asks if we are burdened, he means, burnt out to the point of exhaustion. Are you in that place today?

The Message – Matt 11:28-30 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

When ministry replaces Jesus it becomes dead religion. It’s scary. Jesus calls us to get way with him. “Learn the unforced rhythms of grace” The Message.

What is rest? It is a release from burdens. How do we get rest we come to Jesus? Jesus is meek i.e where he is totally surrendered to the purposes of the father. So it’s not something more to do but something we cease to do. It’s a place of saying “God without you it will not happen”. Allow Jesus to build his church and not try to stir up a momentum with one meeting after another. Our faith rests in his ability to do things. Jesus knew that the Father will go before him and stand with him.  

To look at this practically, God raises the humble. I have learnt a lot the hard way.

1.    Learn that it’s all about Jesus at an early stage. Never let anything substitute him. Learn to fellowship with him and see his smile over you. Your personal time with Jesus is right at the core of your development and success. If at any stage it becomes even a small measure about you it can be painful. The more you carry as a leader the important that time with Jesus becomes. If you are struggling to pray on your own, find someone who really prays well and join them once a week for a while.

2.    Be satisfied, faithful and obedient to the measure of anointing, gifting and talent that has been given to you. WE are in a culture where there is so much pressure to keep up with the others. You have to settle before God what is your measure. When you compare it, it will kill you. Honor other gifts around you.

3.    Maintain sober judgment about yourself. Romans 12:3. When you compare yourself with yourself you look good but when you compare yourself with the Jesus you will see clearly. Find a good friend who will tell you things truthfully.

4.    Raising up of others and seeing them fly and succeed is more rewarding that your own success. Ask any mum or dad. We need to be like that with God’s people. The most releasing scripture is “You will do greater things than these” When we hear the prophetic over people we should see how we can help them fulfill that.

5.    Take on the inconvenience of serving others or just serving. It’s a part our development. Serve, serve, serve!

6.    Wait your turn- you have promises over your life. You pray about them but you wait for God to release you into them with faith and patience you will inherit. When you get older you can see God’s purposes being fulfilled and how faithful God is. God is faithful – we rest in Him to do his work in us. Wives, stand firm.

7.    Treasure the relationships God gives you. We are not called to do things alone. Its team and groups of us. I am excited about the future. I wonder which other nation I will live in. New friends and opportunities. But even more than all this it’s got to be Jesus. When you look up you see Him smiling over you. Let’s stay true to what He has called us to.

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