What can we do to reach this community for Jesus Christ? This is a burning question on my heart as we enter 1998. We have not even come close to attaining the potential Jesus spoke of when He said, "These same works that I do you will do, and greater works also." What is it going to take to do the same works? What is it going to take to do the greater works.
In Mark 16, after the death of Jesus, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome went to the tomb to anoint Jesus body and on their way they asked, "Who is going to roll the stone away?"
That is the question we are asking today? Who is going to roll the stone away? The people have to roll the stone away so Jesus can do the resurrection power. If we don’t roll the stone away, if we don’t take away the grave clothes, if we don’t meat the conditions of doing greater works than Jesus did in his day, then God will never do what He can do, and that is to bring Lazareth alive.
And when they arrived the stone was already rolled away although it was very large. There must come a time when we acknowledge that we can never solve our problem on the level of our problem but that we must look at our problem with a different perspective. To look to another point of view. With this in mind, I want you to turn to Psalm 121.
How many of you have seen the hologram pictures in the mall? When you first look at them, you see a two dimensional image, but when you learn where and how to look, you discover behind the two dimensional image is a third dimension you don’t see at first. Now the Bible says the whole earth is filled with the glory of God, but in most instances, we only have a two dimensional view and what do we see is that sin abounds. And to say there is no sin would be to live like an ostrich with out head in the sand.
And I know what we see around us, and I see it as proof of what Paul said in the Book of Romans 1:21: " For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened."
It is not as though the whole world is not filled with the glory of God, the problem is there is a veil that lies over our hearts, and because of that veil we see through a glass darkly.
Have you ever been sitting in your house at night, and the rain is pouring outside your house, and you look out your rain spattered windows out into the dark and everything outside is distorted, it seems eerie, even spooky but when daylight comes and the rain stops, the sun comes out and everything that seemed distorted is now seen in its proper perspective. And Paul says when you return to God, the veil will be removed and we will soon see things from God’s perspective.
Now the experts on these holograms tell us the best way to see the third dimension is to put the picture to close to see the whole picture, that is, to put it up right next to your nose so what you see is blurred. Our natural tendency is to see things at infinity to search for a lost horizon that might be there. Infinity is the distance setting of a camera where everything will be seen in focus. Is it possible that when you lift your eyes to the infinite one that everything else comes into focus? But until we lift our eyes to the I AM, who is God, the infinity awesome one, we will never come into focus.
How many of you believe it is time that we bring the dreams and visions of God into focus? How do we do it? It is in Psalm 121, "I lift up my eyes to the hills" My Bible calls this a song of ascent, a song of lifting my eyes up. There is a perspective we must begin to look at, and it is God’s perspective, different than what we see in the natural.
That is what Joshua could say give me the land. He saw things from a different perspective and was ready to acquire what God had for him. It is time to sing the song of ascents, it is time to look at things from a different level, it is time to go a little higher in our Christian life.
It is time that we lift our eyes above the hunger crowd like Jesus did when he saw the crowd that was hungry and thirsty and about to pass out, where there was only a few loaves and fishes, and he lifts his eyes above what he has, and he sings the song of ascents, Thank you God for what you have given.
The Psalmist asks, I lift up my eyes to the hills, where does my help come from? He knows his help does not come from the mountains and hills that are around him, but he writes, "My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of the heavens and earth." I don’t want to live in a two dimensional world, that is where the devil lives, in what I see all around me that is wrong, I want to live on the third dimension, that is where the Lord lives. Don’t you?
Until you start with the Lord who made the heavens and the earth, you haven’t begun with God, "He will not let your foot to slip--he who watches over you will not slumber;" When I think of the vision God gave me for this community when I came here, it is overwhelming, and some nights I am sleepless with the thought of the finances, and the lack of people willing to accomplish his work here, and the questions come is it from God, I do what the Psalmist said in Psalm 123, "I lift up my eyes to you, to you whose throne is in heaven." I lift my eyes to His vision and then I can sleep knowing He is in control.
And when are we as a church going to learn to start at the top. We have access to the top, we have access to God.
People will let you down, don’t trust anyone no matter who they are, unless they point and lead you to God for your answers.
Look at Psalm 123, (READ 1-2) In those days, at a banquet, the eyes of the servant looked to the hand of the master. If the master made a slight hand gesture, the servant would know what he meant, and would coming running with the request of his master. He watched so he could take care of every beckoning need the master wanted. The same is true of the handmaidens who looked to the mistress. Where is God’s people who look to God to reveal what they can do for Him? "If you abide in me, and my word abides in you, you can ask what you want and it will be given."
The guards at Buckingham Palace if you have seen them, they stand straight, looking forward and people come and try to get their attention, to try and get them to laugh, but they are trained to look straight ahead and look slightly over the head of the crowd. And 90% of our problems are nothing but distractions.
You have heard the fable of the serpent and the bird in the tree. The serpent was charming the bird and the bird was mesmerized by the serpent that was moving in, the bird was paralyzed by fear, but suddenly there was a movement to the side that distracted him from the serpent, and the bird that always had the ability to fly away, now with his attention off the serpent, flew.
And some of you have been distracted by Satan, the serpent has mesmerized you, and fear has caused you to be paralyzed. Do you remember Elisha who followed Elijah. He was attentive to him, he did not allow things to distract him from serving Elijah, He said I will not leave you, I will follow you, I will not let you go, but then there came the final test. Elijah said if you see me when I am taken from you, then you will receive a double portion of my spirit. Now here is the problem, there came a chariot from heaven, the chariot of fire. And there was fiery horses and fiery horsemen, but Elijah was not take up in the chariot, he was taken up in the whirlwind. Can you see us there, fiery chariot, fiery horses and horsemen, look at those fiery horses, wow, hey, where is Elijah. While we were distracted, a whirlwind took him up and we missed it.
A Swede waiting for the bus in Seattle stepped on the scale at the depot and a paper came out that said he weighted 195 lbs and was going back to Sweden in two days. An Eskimo stepped on next and it said he weighed 159 lbs and was Pt. Barrows Alaska. The Swede thought this was unique so he asked the Eskimo man if he could put on his coat and see if they could fool the scale. He stepped on and the note said, while you were putting on the Eskimo’s jacket, you missed you bus.
And how many of you have discovered while you were messing around with come other attraction, that you missed you bus. God’s people can become so distracted. There are some who only follow signs, wonders and miracles, but if I were never to see another miracle, it would not stop me from knowing God, and doing the work of ministry, getting people saved and discipled for the kingdom. I am not saying anything against signs, wonders and miracles, but I must not allow that to be a central focus, to distract me from serving the master.
The point is, we are to give our attention to God, to be still and know God. To have that be our focus and not be distracted from doing the will of God, and if we are able to not be distracted, then God is going to give us a double portion.
Our greatest problem is not what people say, but that we are distracted by what people say. It is not what people do, but that we are distracted by what people do.
We need to not have our eyes on men, but to have our focus a little higher. If you are on the right road, and you know you are on the right road, what does it matter if 200,000 people tell you that you are on the wrong road? It shouldn’t.
John said that all things came into being by him and apart from him nothing came into being, so where should we put our attention? All power belong to God. We have to lift our eyes to infinity where everything will be in focus.
We need to see a different perspective than we have seen if we desire to have revival come to our community. We need to lift our eyes a little higher. Our community needs help, and that help comes from the Lord. It is time to move a little higher, God wants his church to be center stage in this community leading people to Christ, and lifting them from the problems they have into the glory of God.
It is time that we move a little higher. We are doing great with our children’s ministry, but we can move a little higher. We are doing great in BGMC giving, but we can do better, we can move a little bit higher and we can say the same for everything that we do.
It is time to get pregnant with new dreams, new visions, new vitality, new ministry, enough so that the city fathers will say we are literally turning this community up side down. We can move a little higher.
If we want to see the glory of God we are going to have to move a little bit higher. Over the years this church has done much, but we haven’t rocked the community as I know we are able when we lift our eyes,
How many of you tonight are ready to move on up.