Summary: I want to challenge you to expand your expectations in three areas. 1. What church is all about. 2. What God can do through you. 3. What Grace is all about.
Expanding our Expectations
And pursue those expectations with anticipation
Psalms 42:1 As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.
Ephesians 3: 20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, 21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.
This message was birthed out of prayer week. Specifically, when we gathered to pray concerning our church and church ministries.
As I began, to pray I found myself praying, “Lord expand my expectations of what church is about.”
I then found myself praying Lord help me to pursue you so that I might realize my expanded expectations.
It is all about pursuit. Productive pursuit is pursuing Him in obedience.
I.E. Trying to hunt a deer in downtown OKC. You can buy all the latest gadgets and guns but you will never find a deer in downtown cause its not the deer’s environment. You can have the prettiest voice and give the most in the offering and still miss God. God operates in the environment of obedience and if you want to catch Him you must pursue Him in obedience.
Once I am pursuing Him in obedience my expectations will begin to expand and continue to expand because verse 20 says
He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.
Said another way my expectations will never be so great that God is not able to more than meet them.
Matthew Henry adds this commentary
“There is an inexhaustible fullness of grace and mercy in God, which the prayers of all the saints can never draw dry. Whatever we may ask, or think to ask, still God is still able to do more, abundantly more, exceedingly abundantly more. Open thy mouth ever so wide, still he hath wherewithal to fill it.”
Considering the fact that no matter how big you dream (I use dream cause most ask far below what they dream) but if we would be so bold to ask for or seriously think about what only we dare dream about even that is far below what God can deliver. For the Bible says He can’t do a little bit better or even a whole lot better but ABUNDANTLY better. In fact the word exceeding implies that abundant is not even a word big enough in meaning to describe what He is able to do.
But our expectations limit what we receive from God. I didn’t say that our expectations limit God’s abundance because God’s got it whether you or I are getting it or not.
Before I go into specific areas I want to look at the two words expand and expectation so we are on the same page.
The word expand means to enlarge or spread out.
The word expectation means eager anticipation.
When I expand my expectations I am enlarging my anticipation.
I want to challenge you to expand your expectations in three areas and I believe that number will expand, if you will, as you explore other areas of your life.
First, I challenge you to expand your expectations of church. Now lets be honest for a moment and ask yourself about what you were thinking about before you got here and don’t try to make yourself feel good by thinking of the standard so called Sunday school answer. I suspect you as well as myself might have thought about or even said some of these things…I wish so and so would hurry up or I’m going to be late. I hope the doughnuts are good and the coffee is ready. I hope we sing this song and don’t sing that song. I wonder if so and so will be there and who will I sit by. I sure hope the pastor quits by noon and if he expects me to pray he better make it 11:45. Perhaps you came to church arguing or even thinking I would rather just stay home tonight and try to find something wrong with us or our kids to give us an excuse.
The list goes on and on but how many came anticipating somebody getting saved or healed. Now again I am looking for honesty not a pat answer to impress the pastor.
How many of us came tonight anticipating folks breaking through the roof lowering a lame man and the power of God touch and heal him.
In the story of the lame man in Acts chapter 3, one of the thing that stands out most to me is the fact the word says the man was laid there daily.
Every day the church crowd went right on past this man on their way to church to sing about how God is able to heal.