Passion That Passes the Test of Time
Just as our commitment to loving Christ is for a lifetime, so is our commitment to serving him. God is looking for those who will stand the test of time.
[REV 13:10] … But do not be dismayed, for here is your opportunity for endurance and confidence. [TLB]
[REV 14:12] Let this encourage God’s people to endure patiently … for they are his saints who remain firm to the end … [TLB]
Most things that attack a believer’s ability to serve are not obvious but subtle. They are like a parasite, small and insignificant at first, but when left unabated, sap us of our energy and passion to enjoy our life in Christ and His work.
It is my desire that as fellow River of Life believers, you will experience that greatest joy, the most fulfilling rewards, the realization of your innermost dreams and the legacy of a lifetime of lasting fruit as you serve together on Jesus’ team.
I want you to be a person of passion in the things of God. I don’t believe we need to burn out for God, but like Elijah, we can go out in a blaze of glory.
[2KI 2:11] … and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.  And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. [KJV]
Is Your Passion For Service Passing?
Jesus was a teacher, healer, evangelist, prophet, discipler to name just a few of His perceived roles. He spent days in some places and moved on rather quickly from other places, leaving perceived needs unmet and questions unanswered at times. He seemed to know when to stay and when to leave. He had an internal blueprint, a road map that seemed to guide Him where He went, how long He stayed, what He did, and with whom He spent His time.
He knew when it was time for rest and time for work. He accomplished more in 3½ years than many do in a lifetime.
He never seemed to be in a hurry or “be driven onto a reef of frustration by other people’s demands.”
He was well-balanced, well-paced and well-prepared as each new day dawned.
In Jesus Christ CEO, Laurie Beth Jones makes the following observation about the varied-but-focused ministry of Jesus:
“Jesus had tremendous energy, and He knew how to direct it. He was so clear about His mission that He avoided many real and potential energy leaks.”
1. BIG PICTURE THINKING VERSUS THE TEMPORARY FIX -- Trusting In His Sovereignty
Proverbs 3:5,6 (NIV) "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight"
I Timothy 6:17 (Phillips), "God who is the blessed controller of all things."
We are often so wired up that we want to know the "why" of things and we want to know it NOW. Come to the place where you sweat neither the big stuff nor the small stuff.
2. LETTING THE ULTIMATE WIN OVER THE URGENT -- Watching Him Work
God is at work all around us. Put on your spiritual eyes -- eyes of faith, and eyes of vision -- to see where He is at work and to discern where He wants you to join Him.
Take adequate time to carefully observe, think, and pray before going into action.
Learn how to listen, watch and pay better attention (in conversations, meetings) to ascertain where He is working and where He wants you to join Him (and where He doesn’t).
Move away from doing and then asking Him to bless what you intend to do, to watching for where He is already blessing and joining Him there.
Proverbs 24:32(NIV) "I applied my heart to what I observed and learned a lesson from what I saw."
3. WAITING FOR HIS TIMING
Taking matters into our own hands as Saul did when he was told to wait seven days for Samuel to show up (I Samuel 13:7-15) can be disastrous.
Leaders are often proactive by nature and have a tendency to practice "fire, ready, aim."
Someone observed that when you walk with God He seems to walk awful slow.
James 5:7,8 (The Message): "Meanwhile, friends, wait patiently for the Master’s arrival. You see farmers do this all the time, waiting for their valuable crops to mature, patiently letting the rain do its slow but sure work. Be patient like that. Stay steady and strong. The Master could arrive at any time."
4. EXPECTING HIS MIRACLES
I am tired of "business as usual."
I don’t like to think thoughts like: Well, that’s about what we expected. This is what the board projected for this year. This is the norm for our area.
Status quo is not good enough. I believe in a God who can do the unexpected, the unusual, the totally radical off-the-chart kinds of things.
Pray for the, "Great and mighty things which you do not know." Jeremiah. 33:3.
God’s plans will always be bigger than we are. If your dreams are only what you are able to do, then they are only your dreams – not God’s dreams.
Psalm 42:11 (TLB): "But O my soul, don’t be discouraged. Don’t be upset. Expect God to act! For I know that I shall again have plenty of reason to praise Him for all that He will do. He is my help! He is my God!"
5. INVESTING OUR TIME WITH PASSION BUILDERS
It is easy to spend time, but the wise invest time for maximum impact.
People we spend time with can either be passion builders or passion stealers.
The tendency is to be need-oriented while Jesus models the purpose-oriented ministry style.
Invest in the following kinds of relationships:
1. People who fuel our passion. These are our mentors, our models; people we can spend time with or those who’s writing, thinking and speaking expands and deepens our passion and purpose in life. Someone has observed that what we are tomorrow will be a result of the people we meet and the books we read today.
2. People who catch our passion. These are the teachable, the moldable; the people who are hungry for God, hungry to make their lives count. They want to grow, to learn, to see God at work in their lives. They will take what we give and pass it along to others, multiplying our investment many times over.
Jesus had an ability to know when to say “yes” or “no” to a perceived need
[MAR 1:35] The next morning he was up long before daybreak and went out alone into the wilderness to pray.  Later, Simon and the others went out to find him, and told him, "Everyone is asking for you."  But he replied, "We must go on to other towns as well, and give my message to them too, for that is why I came."  So he traveled throughout the province of Galilee, preaching in the synagogues and releasing many from the power of demons. [TLB]
Oswald Chambers says, “The need is not the call.”
To prevent “energy leaks,” I need to determine the good things I am not going to do as well as what are the best things to do.
Guard that spiritual energy (passion) and prayerfully dispense it, not portion it out on a first come, first served.
Jeremiah 42:3, “Pray that the Lord your God will tell us where we should go and what we should do.”
6. SPEND TIME PRAYING, DREAMING AND PLANNING – NOT JUST DOING
We have all heard the expression, "Just don’t sit there, do something."
BUT, we need to practice, "Just don’t do something, sit there."
Balance out doing and dreaming, active and quiet, energized and hibernating.
Have less on the "to do list" and free up time to "just sit there" and not be always chasing your own tail light in the traffic of life.
[LUK 5:15] Now the report of his power spread even faster and vast crowds came to hear him preach and to be healed of their diseases.  But he often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer. [TLB]
Many Christians are entirely too busy with the day-to-day issues and spend comparatively little time in creative dreaming, and time alone with God.
Peter Drucker says that action without thinking is the cause of every failure.
[2KI 2:11] … and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.