Summary: Going back to the place where we first encountered the Lord can lead to spiritual renewal.
How many of you this morning are thirsty for renewal in your life? I’ve been praying for you this week in a way I’ve never prayed before. I’m asking God to make you thirsty for Him. I’m asking that God will make you restless for renewal and revival. Everyone one of us needs to come to the place where we ask God to renew us in our walk with Him.
After years of living in halfhearted obedience to God, Jacob is ready to renewal in his life and not only his life, but also his family. I’m excited about God bringing renewal to your life and also the family of God at CWBC. Are you ready for renewal?
I. Get Serious About Obeying God
Genesis 35:1, “Then God said to Jacob…” I want you to think about something for just a moment. Are you serious about hearing from the Lord? Do you want Him to speak to your heart? Renewal is all about hearing a fresh word from the Lord. There came a time in Jacob’s life when he was fully ready to listen to God and follow His leadership. Renewal comes to those who are serious about hearing and obeying the voice of the Lord. Often times renewal comes to one and then spreads as others are motivated to follow the Lord anew.
The Christian Index ran a great article this week about a Pastor Harold Chandler from Pine Bluff, AR. It’s entitled, “Arkansas pastor aims to be half of his former self.” It seems last year at this time Pastor Chandler was up to 349 pounds – 2 whoppers away from 350 lbs. His blood pressure was at an all time high and he didn’t have the energy to do those things he needed to do. With encouragement from his wife, daughter and granddaughter, he got serious about obeying God with his health. This was not an easy task, but with support from his family and church, in one year, he lost 170 pounds. Pastor Chandler also made a spiritual point about this comparing his weight loss to a lost person who needs Christ. He says, “There has to come a desire in the seeker’s heart to do something…something has to happen to hit a person’s life. Something has to happen to make you seek what you need.”
I wonder, what’s it going to take for God to get your attention in life? Is it going to be through a period of health issues, family problems, financial turmoil, etc. Whatever it takes for God to get your attention, it’s worth it!
II. Return To The Sacred Place
Then God said, “Arise, go up to Bethel and dwell there; and make an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you fled from the face of Esau your brother.” Gen. 35:1 What is God doing here? He’s calling Jacob back to his where they had their first encounter. That’s where renewal begins…it’s going back to God – to the place you first met Him! And notice the invitation God gives to Jacob – an invitation to dwell at Bethel. Sometimes, God wants to take you and I on a journey to Calvary – and we need to dwell there until Jesus restores our lives and renews our faith in Him!
You may recall several chapters ago that Jacob was fleeing for his life from his brother, Esau. God spoke to him in a dream one night and it was so awesome that Jacob said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it…he called the name of that place, Bethel.”
Jacob had spent years in a backslidden condition away from the presence of God and now God says these words, “Arise, go up to Bethel and dwell there.” Don’t move out of my presence anymore! Revisit often the place where you first met the Lord and it will fire you up to worship Him once more! Every single Christian has a Bethel in their life. It may have been the day you met Christ as your Lord and Savior. It may have been when He met a need in your life you thought never would be taken care of! Revisit your Bethel often!
For some of you, Colonial Woods Baptist Church is your Bethel. This is where you meet with God week in and week out. Rekindle your fire for the Lord of the church. Remember why you come here! I like what the Psalmist said, “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name, For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations.” Sometimes, it’s good thing to remember why God placed this church here. God placed us here so we could come together in worship of Him and also encourage one another – to be stirred up to do those love and good deeds God has called us to! Revisit your Bethel, your sacred place and get the fire for worship once more!