This message was preached at the RegionsBeyond India Leadership conference 2016.
This message was preached by Franco Lonnapan who leades Onenation church Mumbai.
For the audio please click here
God wants to make us people who are encouraged.
Eccl 10:10- “If the ax is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed, but skill will bring success.”
When the axe is sharpened we will see success. This is going to be time of sharpening our spiritual axes, and increasing our effectiveness in God’s kingdom. We are going to be motivated by each of the sessions.
The topic- Being faithful to his call and vision
In the book of Kings there is a story. There are so many things to distract us these days.
2 kings 16: 10- 15: model of the pattern in all of its details.
King Ahaz is faced with a battle against his own brothers- the king of Israel and a group of other kingdoms. So he makes a treaty with the king of Assyria. He sees this amazing altar in Damascus and ordered Uraiah the priest to make an exact copy. Uriah does it. Ahaz completely lost it towards the end of his life. He lost the vision. The high priest had lost the vision. The king and priest missed the call of God, and fancied the worship of other gods. In a place where God dwelt by his spirit, where the whole world was looking to, a hope of the nations, and where people come to worship God-
4 aspects or non-negotiable as Christians and church leaders:
1. The call of God: knowing that God has called you is the starting point. Ahaz was anointed to be the King of Judah. Maybe by birth he knew, or at the coronation ceremony- he ought to have known that he was called. But somewhere, he forgot that. Even the priest was called to honour the worship of God. He was called to minister to God. But here they just lost the call of God.
Was it the pressure to succeed, desire to please man, be famous or victorious? Today there are tremendous pressures as church leaders to succeed, to perform- other than to pursue the call of God. When we see other churches growing in large numbers, we want to find out the formula.
This is also in our personal lives. That is why we have to go back to God and say, God, you have called me.
Peter and John’s encounter with Jesus changed their lives. Moses, Paul, they were all changed when they encountered God. God has called us, not man. We have encountered God and that changed our lives. Nothing else will keep us in the kingdom of God, except the call of God.
Knowing God’s call satisfies you. At this one prayer meeting, I knew clearly that God had called me.
It’s the call of God that will keep us.
In Gal 1:1 Paul refers to himself as called of God!!! God will keep reminding you of the call, again and again. If Jesus had to hear it again and again, we do too. God is faithful to keep speaking to us, to reassure us of the call on our lives.
The call of God backs us.
2. Vision for life: Ahaz was supposed to represent the king of heaven. The priest was supposed to bring down God’s presence. They lost the vision for their lives. They were fascinated by other gods. Peter, John and James were told- I will make you fishers of men. They left everything for this. That vision was so captivating. Jesus had a vision. John 17:4- “I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do”
We need to be clear for what God has called us, what has he called us to be and do. But be clear that it’ll be tested by fire.
Q. What is the vision that God wants you to achieve? What is the vision he has given you?
Peter and Paul were called to be apostles, but the call of Peter was different from Paul’s. Peter to Jews and Paul to gentiles. Their visions were different.
When God calls, he will give us a vision. He doesn’t call us into obscurity, but to achieve something for him. We live in a land where we want to do hero- worship. But we need to ask God, what do you want me to do? All of us have to answer that question.
Overcoming your shadowed vision- everyone has a vision and a shadow vision. There is a vision that God gives us, and there is a vision that we have for ourselves.
Having success for the sake of success is one of the biggest shadow vision. I was like that. I did things to please man, wanting to have success for the sake of success. We need to succeed so that he may be glorified.
Q. Why do I want my church to grow, to see healings, and miracles?
Not for the sake of success- we need to do it with a purpose.
In 2008-09 was the worst time of my life. A lot of people left the church, and I had to answer before God. It was well! 26 April 2009 was the last straw. In Gen 37- Joseph had a dream- hold on to the promises . God told me to take a paper and write. Things turned around. God doesn’t want to us to take.
Jesus could have been a leader without the suffering. That’s what Satan was offering him. But he chose not to lose vision of what he was called to do.
Let’s be people with a vision. We have come as individual churches, but God will give us a vision together.