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We all come across crooked bends in the road, challenges and difficulties that turn our world upside down. They are painful, but not without purpose. In this powerful sermon, Gary Wilkerson reminds us that God has a plan for and wants to use these seasons for our good and his glory.
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There is a major difference between being conformed to the world and being transformed by God. Every day, Christians come up against thoughts and ideas that are not in line with God’s truth. Pastor Tim Dilena walks us through what it looks like to have a renewed mind and explains how to navigate the thoughts that try to lead us astray.
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When life isn't going as planned or we face trauma and pain, we get angry at God. However, at the core of this emotion, we aren't actually mad because there is a defect in Him, but because there is a defect in our own heart. Tim Dilena shares a powerful message for those traveling a dark tunnel. He reminds us that, while God is faithful, ultimately, our view of God must change even when the circumstances don't.
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We're facing a restlessness in our country and voices abound on what to do. God wants our country changed, but how? In this powerful sermon, Tim Dilena addresses the danger of acting too quickly and moving without the direction of God, sharing three light posts to follow in our pursuit on what to do in difficult times.
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The enemy is doing everything in his power to keep us in subjection to a feeling of mediocrity and to cause us to forget who we really are in Christ. He will never stop accusing us this side of Heaven, and his whispers of your failures will be constant. In this powerful sermon, Carter Conlon reminds us what God says about himself and who we are as his children. It's time to stop listening to the enemy and live in the promises of God.
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Fear is something we all experience but with the current pandemic, it's taking over hearts. And when we fear, we take our eyes off of God. When fear is felt, it is an indicator that we are focusing on the wrong thing—the big waves and mounting trials. Ultimately, it's really a faith issue, and ultimately, a God issue. In this powerful sermon, Tim Dilena reminds us of God's character that warrants our worship and faith.
Father, we thank you that you are our strength. You are our hope. You are, Lord God, everything we need in this time. Though our country is facing an unprecedented time, ground that we've never been on before, I thank you that nothing takes you by surprise, oh God. There is nothing that is, that your arm is too short to extend mercy, kindness, salvation, and even as Ivory sang, amazing grace can be extended to our country and to countries abroad.
We pray, Lord God, that you would begin just to guide us today. May the Holy Spirit just continue to lift up, Lord God, the people that are affected and infected with this, affected with fear and infected with the virus, but most of all let them turn their eyes upon Jesus who is the healer, the sustainer, and is our hope. Holy Spirit, be with us in these next few moments. Let the word of God begin to come and challenge and change us today. Let the word of God begin to go way down deep, that Lord, when things seem to be forgotten in the midst of fear, let us never forget God is with us. God is with us, and we thank you for this in Jesus' name. Amen. Hallelujah.
Well, once again, all the way from Times Square Church right in the heart of Manhattan, we want to welcome you to our live service here. Though the building is empty, these amazing volunteers have come today to encourage and to bring hope by focusing on Jesus today, I've heard for many years in the church that the Bible says these words, "Fear not" 365 times. That means it says I don't have to fear, think about this, one time for every day of the year. Fear not 365 times in the Bible. How awesome is that for us for what we're facing today?
But it's interesting. In 30 years of preaching, I have said this, but I've said it without checking it out. I've said, "Fear not" is their 365 times. And I thought, "What an amazing thought." So I decided to investigate it myself to see if it is actually there 365 time. Well, here's the real story. Really depending upon the kind of version of the Bible that you have, it doesn't say it 365 times. In fact, it's not even close to saying it 365 times. In fact, based upon the version that you may have, it may be even less than a hundred times in the Bible. But it doesn't really matter, and I want you to listen real closely because here's the fact. If it was only in the Bible once, that's all we need to hear it so we would never fear again.
Why? Because with God, once said is enough said. If he says "Fear not" once, I don't need it 365 times. How come? If our God who cannot lie said it once, that's it. Because God says, "Fear not" over a hundred times, boy, what an encouragement to every single one of us. I believe and don't need it 364 times. I just need to know God said it once and that becomes enough for me.
See, our country and even our planet is faced with a pandemic right now with this virus, with the coronavirus. People are afraid. Not only is the MLB and NFL, the NHL, the NBA suspending seasons, colleges are canceling classes and telling students not to come back even to the fall, from Broadway to literally entire countries that are on lockdown today, and many of it being done to be proactive. None of it's being done without fear that's being instilled in many people's hearts.
And here's the fact: people are afraid and are afraid everywhere. Even when I was flying in and coming into New York City yesterday, the person that I sat next to, they scrubbed down that seat, they scrubbed down the armrest, they scrubbed down the tray table, and I thought I was going to be next that they were going to begin to scrub down at that point because of fear. They are doing everything they can to take precautionary measures. See, the disposition of a Christian and everyone else should be different because we have a God who told us at least once, we don't have to fear.
In fact, I love the story of the woman who was on a plane en route from Boston to Los Angeles, and after being airborne and hitting really bad weather for almost the entire trip, everybody on board was panicking because of the tossing and the jostling of the plane, worrying of whether they were actually going to begin to reach Boston. In fact, everyone was concerned for their safety except one old senior citizen who knitted a sweater the entire time on this transcontinental flight.
People would yell at the number of drops from the turbulence, but she just kept on knitting. And one of the passengers noticed that it seemed never to bother this old lady. So finally somebody when it hit just a little bit of a moment of some clean and clear air, someone went over to this old woman who was knitting again at the time and said, "Why aren't you bothered? Why don't you seem to be fearful while all of us are fearful of this plane and hoping we're going to make it in safety?" Here's were her words. "Young man, I am on my way to visit my son in Boston, but I used to have another son who was a Christian and died not too long ago and went to heaven. So before this day is done, one thing I know. I will see one of them and it doesn't matter which one of them I will begin to visit." That means that woman does not fear and if there's ever a disposition we need as the body of Christ and as Christians, it's really not to have that kind of fear.
I'm so grateful for our President and I'm so grateful for Washington, DC that called a National Day of Prayer. I'm grateful that our nation and churches all around the country are beginning to pray. That first National Day of Prayer was called by our 16th President Abraham Lincoln, and he said these words when he called the very first National Day of Prayer. Listen to what he said. He said, "I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go." That's exactly what's happening today. We are under a conviction that we have nowhere else to go, but to God himself.
So that's why we're believing today that through the worship, through the word, and through our service and the services that are being simulcasted all over the country and all over the world, that you're going to be inspired to realize, there's nowhere else to go, but to our knees and calling upon God. Not only are colleges and Broadway and sporting events shutting down, but churches all over America and around the world have had to shut down because of rules that says no more than 250, no more than 500 could meet. But here's the question. Can we with an empty theater right here on Broadway with many of you having not even being able to go to church today, are we still able to worship with fear even all around us?
I want to teach you something today at the end of these few words on how to worship when fear tries to come and take over our hearts. I want to teach you, in fact, we're going to close worshiping with this brand new way that is going to inspire and challenge your heart today. Let me just say a few things I want you to write down because I want to challenge you as we begin to weather the storm through this that I think it will be important for us.
Number one I began to realize is this. Fear is a revelation. What do you mean? When we are afraid, it's showing something about us. See, fear makes us focus on the wrong thing. Let me read to you a passage from Matthew 8 where there is fear but there is and there is focus but there is focus on the wrong thing. This is Jesus and his disciples that are about to hit a storm, and their focus is forgetting who is with them and seeing the situation on the outside. Listen to this from Matthew 8:23. "When he," Jesus, "got into the boat, his disciples followed him, and behold there arose a great storm on the sea so that the boat was being covered with the waves, but Jesus himself was asleep." In fact, one version says that a storm came up, that the waves were higher than even the boat itself, which we many of us feel like today.
It goes on to say in verse 25, "And they came to him and woke him, saying, 'Save us, Lord. We are perishing.' And he said to them," listen to these words, "'Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?' Then he got up, rebuked the winds and the sea, and it became perfectly calm, and the men were amazed and said, 'What kind of man is this that even the winds and the sea obey him?'" One version says the storm came without warning.
It almost seemed like these disciples who were with Jesus, going with Jesus comes without warning, comes up suddenly almost like a pop quiz for them, those pop quizzes that many of us experienced even when we were in school were really revelations about us. Not the teacher, not the material, but about us. If we knew the material, if we knew the stuff, and if we were keeping up with what we were being told and what we were being taught from pulpits and from lecterns and from even from professors all around the country. Think about this. I hated pop quizzes growing up. I was one of those guys if I knew there was a midterm and a final, I could prepare for that, but when it was a pop quiz, it meant that I needed to keep up. I needed to know what was happening.
See, Christianity doesn't work on a midterm and on a final, but usually it's pop quizzes that seem to show up suddenly during lots of suddenlies that begin to come from without and without warning because stuff happens and these disciples were not prepared for this storm just like many Christians who are walking in fear today. But here comes the revelation. It's in verse 26 because the revelation is this. Jesus was telling them this is not a fear issue, but it's a faith issue. It's not the thing that's the problem that's causing the fear, the waves, but it's the little faith in the midst of the waves that is beginning to affect you. Listen to this closely. Let me say this again. It wasn't big waves, but little faith that caused the fear. It wasn't big waves, but little faith that begin to put fear inside of the people that shouldn't have been fearful.
Here's a note. When you have big waves and little faith, you're going to have a fear problem, but if you have big waves and big faith, then you know God's got this for all of us, and that's where God wants to begin to come and help us. So when we're in a turbulent moment, whether it's on a plane or a boat in Matthew 8, it could even be a cruise ship that can't even find a place to dock around the world, don't bind fear. We just need to get faith increased inside of our hearts. That's what God is beginning to ask us to do.
Think of the perplexity, think of the fear that came on the faces of those disciples not knowing what's going to happen in the next few moments. I have a friend that even faced that. His fear began to bring this look upon him that he didn't know what was going to happen with his job, with ministry, with everything that was getting ready to take place in his life, and he wrote to me this and said these words. He says, "My wife and I were meeting in a meeting here right here in New York City, and I was hoping," these are his words, "that the meeting would go differently. After while my wife and I were walking to Whole Foods right in midtown Manhattan," he said, "there was fear all over us.
"And as we're walking, there was a lady begging for money, and I guess my face said it all and said a lot of the fear and I was thinking about the scary future because of what would happen to me just in the meeting, just literally minutes before, and this woman who is homeless begging for money with a cardboard sign literally looked at me and yelled, 'Fix your face. God is good.' I knew at that point I was just rebuked by a homeless woman and realized I can fix my face because God is good, and because God is good, not only should our faces be fixed, but our faith should be full that God can help us through every storm and wave that we begin to affect."
Fear is a revelation. It makes, it reminds us that are we focusing on the right thing? But here's the second thing. Fear is not from God. Second Timothy 1:7 says this: "God has not given you and me a spirit of fear, but of love, power, and a sound mind." Think of that again. When fear comes, it removes those three elements that are so important that we need every single day. We need power, we need love, and we need a sound mind to walk every day, to walk through this crisis that's happening, to walk through this pandemic. I need power, I need love, and I need a sound mind. But what's interesting is when fear comes, it removes those three things. It removes power, removes love, and sound mind.
Think what's the opposite that happens because I believe fear when it infects us, it takes those three things away. Think about it. What's the opposite of power? But it would be weakness. What's the opposite of love? Listen. Not hatred. It's selfishness. That's the opposite of love. When I'm fearful, I'm weak. When I'm fearful, I'm selfish. And think about this. What's the opposite of a sound mind? But it's crazy thoughts, crazy narratives that begin to come and begin to infect us. That's the opposite of power, love, and a sound mind that we're always facing and we're always dealing with.
I had somebody a few years ago that was coming to our church that was located in a very, very dangerous area of Detroit, and as they were coming for the very first time, invited them to come, they were looking for a place to park, and because the area was dangerous where the church was, they said fear started to strike them. They saw people on the streets and places that they knew that they'd have to walk a long way, and thought to themselves this fear that was there and the fear that came over them, they literally kept their car going and took off and went back home.
And then they asked me this question. They said, "Do you think God was telling me and warning me that it was too dangerous for me to park and walk those two blocks to the church?" Think about what you just said. Was fear, was the fear and the concern that I had, was that God warning through fear, through fear that I wasn't supposed to go to church and I wasn't supposed to park there and I wasn't supposed to walk those blocks? And my words to her were this: "Fear is never the language that God communicates with." God does not communicate in fear. If fear is not of God, 2 Timothy 1:7, then why would God choose a method of communication to begin to bring warning to our life?
God will speak to us from this pulpit through Pastor Carter, Pastor Patrick, Pastor David. He will speak through wisdom of people, the elders. He will speak through the Holy Spirit. He'll speak through a sermon. He'll speak through the word of God, but listen to me close, beloved, he will never speak through fear. That is not a language of God. God begins to communicate with his people as a father begins to communicate. Fear is a good indication that what is being spoken to you is not true. In fact, many times it's the complete opposite of what God is trying to communicate and reminds us that this is not even God.
Jesus, went after the root of the issue, the root of fear was not the impossible situation needed to be fixed, but it was their faith. It was something internal, not external that God was going after. That's what Jesus always rebukes. As people were trying to, as people could try to fix waves and fix a virus, to try to fix an economy, and to try to fix Wall Street, God goes, "I want to fix your faith. I want to fix your focus on me. I want to fix what's happening in you."
Let me read just a few of these verses from a paraphrase of this passage. Listen to verse 25 of Matthew eight. "The disciples woke him up saying, 'Save us, Lord. We're going to die.' But Jesus reprimanded him. 'Why are you gripped with fear?' He says, 'Where is your faith?' Then he stood up, rebuked the storm and the sea. 'Be still,' and instantly became perfectly calm." And then listen to verse 27. "The disciples were astonished by this miracle and said to one another, 'Who is this man?'" It seemed that Jesus was trying to fix them before he fixed the sea. Jesus was trying to fix the "Who is this man" inside of them. The disciples who have traveled with Jesus, seeing the miracles of Jesus, heard Jesus, are still asking the question, "Who is this man?" Could we actually be sitting in the sanctuary singing the songs off a screen in our churches across this country and still asking the question, "Who is this man that we're singing about?" Think about that.
Because when fear strikes us, then usually we're not understanding who the person that we're actually singing about and worshiping. Who is this man and they're speaking to the man that's right in front of them. See, faith that God was going after, that Jesus was going after in this passage, faith doesn't rest simply upon promises and the words that are spoken, but rests upon the character of the one making the promises. See, big promises with low character really causes us to have no faith. If we don't know the character of the one that is speaking, then really our faith begins to get lower and lower and lower.
A promise is never better—think about this—a promise from a person is never better or worse than the character of the one who's making it. A believer's faith can never rise higher, and listen, listen to me close, a believer's faith can never rise higher than who he sees God to be. And if we're sitting here singing songs that we're going to see a victory, then the blood shall never lose its power. And if these are songs that we actually believe, that these are words we actually believe, because we believe in the character of God, then our faith begins to rise up with that. An inadequate view of God has to result in weak faith because faith depends upon the character of God, and that's why this is so important.
So listen to me close. Listen to me close. If I have a fear issue, remember, fear is a revelation, it reveals to me that I'm focusing in on the wrong thing. I'm seeing waves, that I'm not seeing the man that's in my boat, which is Jesus, and if I know fear is not from God, this is so important, if I have a fear issue, fear of flying, fear of a virus, fear of death, fear that begins to just, that I'm going to be single, fear of failure, whatever that may be. If I have a fear issue, then according to Jesus I have a faith issue. This is what Jesus is saying. "Why are you fearful, you of little faith?" He's connecting those two. Let me say this again. If I have a fear issue, then I have a faith issue.
And here it is. And if I have a faith issue, then I have a God issue. This is what's so important because my faith is connected to how great I see God, and if my belief that God is great, it not only begins to increase my faith, it begins to dissolve my fear. This, listen to me close. If I have a fear issue, Jesus says, Matthew 8, it's because I have a faith issue, and if I have a faith issue, the disciples kind of revealed what it's there for and they said it's because I don't even know who this man is that's on our boat, if I have a fear issue, I have a faith issue. If I have a faith issue, I have a God issue.
But if I see God for who He actually is, my faith begins to rise with how I see God, and then my fears begin to dissolve at the same time. As faith begins to rise, fear begins to start dissolving. See, the goal is not to fix our situation because we can't. There is no one in this place. There's not a church in America that can fix what is happening around this pandemic around the world, but we can keep our focus on God at this moment and say, "God, we trust you in the midst of this." So how great is your God? How great is your God? And that's really the question.
So let me close with this because I want to teach you. I want to teach you a new way to worship. I want to teach you a way to remind you how great God is. Because if there's fear, then there's a faith issue, and if it's a faith issue, then I've missed how great God is. And I want to remind us. I want to go all the way to the beginning that says, let me show you how great God is. In the book of Isaiah, the prophet tells us that fear was beginning to fill the land. And Isaiah the prophet, knowing that the kings, that the men that were stepping into power, that so many of them were corrupt, the people didn't know what to do, backsliding was taking place in their nation. They were being faced with even outside enemies from the Assyrians and the Babylonians coming in and the people were starting to fear.
And then in Isaiah chapter 40 he teaches us how to deal with this fear issue. Remember, if it's a fear issue, it's a faith issue, and if it's a faith issue, it is a God issue that we're not seeing God for who he is. And what Isaiah 40 does, he begins to deal with this fear issue. Let me read this to you. This is Isaiah 40:9. He says, "Lift up your voice with a shout. Lift it up." Here are the words. "And don't be afraid or fear not, Oh Israel and say to Judah," listen to this, "Here is your God." Did you see what just happened? He says, "I want you to say this loudly. For those that fear, here is your God." This is who he is. This is what he looks like, and what Isaiah does, friend, in the next 20 to 25 verses is he begins to unpack the greatness of God.
He says, "Are you afraid? Here's your God. Are you in trouble? Here's your God. You don't know what tomorrow holds? Here is your God." What he was saying is if you don't know what the future holds, what the next weeks holds for you, businessman, for you, pastor, for you, church, for whoever you are, if we don't know what happens with our job at a college university because it seems to be shutting down, I want to just give you some hope today. Here is your God.
And this is what Isaiah does. Listen to what he unpacks and we'll just do one of these and find a way to worship when fear wants to begin to control us. Listen to this. That was verse nine. Let me read just a couple verses. "See the sovereign Lord comes with power. He rules with a mighty arm. See his reward is with him and his recompense accompanies him. He tends his flock like a shepherd. He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart. He gently leads those that have young," verse 12, "who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand or the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens, who is held the dust of the earth in a basket and weighed the mountains on the scales and the hills in the balance." And then from verse 13 down, he goes through constantly, over and over again, how great God is, how great God is, how impressive God is. Remember what he says in verse nine. "Do not fear. Here is your God. Do not be afraid. Here is your God."
In fact, can I just show you one of those phrases or two of those phrases to show how impressive your God is and why you don't have to fear for what's ahead for us? In Isaiah 40:12, listen to these words again. "He has measured the waters in the hollow of his hands and marked off the heavens by the span of his hand." Listen to those words again, verse 12. It says, "He has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand and marked off the heavens by the span of his hand."
I want to close by giving you a reminder in worship on how impressive your God is today and why you don't have to fear. Let's just take the first one. He says, "He has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand." Okay. Listen for just a moment. Do you know two thirds of this planet that is facing this pandemic? Two thirds of this planet is covered with water. Two thirds. Some places, the water goes eight miles deep. The total volume of water on planet Earth according to scientists listen, is incalculable. Incalculable. Even if you can compute it in gallons, they say that the number is too large to even express.
So let's realize how impressive God is, and this is what it says. Listen to these words. He says your God has measured that water, you ready for this, in the hollow of his hands? Do you know what to the Jew the hollow was? It's when you put your hand like this. That little crevice in your hand is called the hollow of your hand. You know how big God is? He takes the incalculable number of water on planet Earth and your God says, "I hold it like this. I hold it here." So the next time you lift your hands up and you look and see that little hollow in your hand, you go, "I've got a big God. He holds all of this together. This is the God that I ... so the next time Greg Thomas or Ivory are leading us in worship and you lift those hands up and you open up your eyes and see those little hollows, you go, "My little hollow means nothing, but God can begin to take numbers that doesn't even exist. He can hold it all together. That's how impressive God is.
Hey, let's do one more. You ready for this? New way to worship. That means when I'm lifting those hands, I'm reminded. It says this. "And with the breadth of his hands," stay with the hands, "And with the breadth of his hands, he has marked off the universe." Okay, get ready, now. There is no instrument that can calculate the distance across our present universe. There is none. We try to send a Hubble telescope, we'll try to send all. We can't even calculate from the distance of our universe, from one end to the other. The nearest, listen to this now, the nearest star, the nearest star other than the sun is four and a half light years away. How far is that? If light travels at 186,000 miles per second, that means the nearest star, get ready for this, is 26 trillion miles away.
Get ready, now. When a Jew talks about the span of his hand, he is talking about from the top of the pinky to the tip of his thumb. That's the span of his hand. Get ready, now. He holds all the water on planet earth in the hollow. He says, but when I'm about to measure your universe that you can't even calculate, that your nearest star is 26 trillion miles away, you have a God that says, "I measure. I'm so big, I measure the universe from the tip of my pinky to the tip of my thumb," and we actually think that God is that big. I'm telling you, he is that big. He is a God that goes, "I hold it here. I've got it here." Which means that as Greg and the team come back to those instruments right now, when they lead us as we're getting ready to close in a song and you lift your hands up, you go, the span of his hand says the universe is small. The hollow of his hand says that the water of our planet can even fit into the hollow of his hand.
So when the enemy comes in like a flood, Christians, do the hollow and the span. When the enemy comes in like a flood with fear, maybe you need to do both. Maybe you need to just worship like this once in a while and realize he's got it all together. When I lift my hands and fear comes in, the span and the hollow, say what am I afraid of? God is bigger than anything thrown at me. What if someone coughs on the plane? Hollow and the span. What if someone wants to shake my hand and not do the foot kick? The hollow and the span. What if I have a fever today? The hollow and the span. Our God is greater. Our God is greater, and my word to you is if someone has flu symptoms, even if you test positive for the coronavirus, I want you to listen to me close. God is bigger than a virus. God is bigger than a pandemic.
If he's bigger than the oceans, if he's bigger than the universe, corona ... let me just tell you something. They're talking about the crown that goes on this protein and all that stuff. There is a crown that says he is the King of Kings, he is the Lord of Lords, and he is able to overcome every single one of these things.
We're going to get ready to close in worship as Greg Thomas and Ivory get ready to come. I want us to go back to this song. We're going to see a victory. We're going to see a victory, and I just want to encourage you today as we get ready to close, as we get ready to believe that no matter what happens, no matter what begins to take place, we don't know what tomorrow holds. We don't know what the next few weeks hold. We don't know what the next month holds. Some of you students are out of college. There's some students listening around the country that are out of high school, right now out of elementary school. Parents and thinking, "What am I going to do? I have a job. What am I going to do? I'm going to have kids at home. I can't even afford daycare. What am I going to do?" There's a hollow and there's a span.
God is able. Because the fear wants to come in, that fear wants to come, and we want to believe today that as we sing this last song, maybe you're at home, maybe you're sitting in your car, maybe you're outside, wherever you're at, you're watching on a phone or on a laptop or on a TV, as we sing this song, would you lift your hands and just go, "The span of the hand. You've got the universe. You've got this, God, and you've got me, God." Lord, we're going to see a victory. And maybe you're going to worship with the hollow of the hand today. Your hands are up and you're going to go, "If you have all the water on this planet, trust me, God, I know you've got me. You've got me protected here."
I want to pray for you. I want to ask God's protection upon you. I want to ask no more fear. No more fear. Fear is a revelation. It tells me that I'm focusing in on the wrong thing, so today we're going to focus on the right thing. Fear doesn't come from God. It's not a language he communicates with. And when we realize that when I have a fear issue, it's a faith issue and when I have a faith issue, it's a God issue. And Isaiah chapter 40 tells us, "Here is your God." You don't have to fear anymore. And that's just one verse. There's over 20 more verses that talk to you about how big your God is.
Would you close your eyes and bow your head just before we sing and let me pray for you? Father, I thank you that you are a father. You need to reveal that to some that are listening today. Show people the greatness of God today, the span and the hollow, that God, you have it all together. Father, I'm grateful that you're going to give our leadership wisdom, from Washington, DC to New York City and around the globe and around the country. But I'm also thankful, Lord God, that we can't do this without you. We need you, Lord.
God, if our hope is in man, we're going to have fear, but if our hope and trust is in God, then we are going to see a victory. We are going to see a victory. Our hope is in God, and we say as we sing this song, we say along with Isaiah, shout it, shout it, "Here is your God." We do what Isaiah 49 says. "Do not be afraid. Here is your God." And so, Father, today as we get ready just to sing and worship, I pray let God become bigger. As God becomes bigger, increase our faith and let the fear begin to leave us today.
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Many of us often miss the best God has for us because of a hindrance. Because we have some sin or stronghold we refuse to deal with. While those who has flourished in accomplishing the fullness of God's purpose are the ones who have refused to allow a hindrance get in the way. Gary Wilkerson challenges us to ask this very important question today: who or what is hindering you?
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Many of us have experienced discouragement and lost a passion for the vision and calling God has given us. But God wants to restore the passion and do a miracle, but He wants us to participate in it. Gary Wilkerson challenges us to be the person that will willingly stand up and say, "I'm not going to settle, I'm not going to be passionless. I'm going to ask God for more."
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Perhaps things have or are going well in your life. Then, a "but now" threatens your stability and you feel as if you don't have enough to make it through the difficulty. Worry, anxiety and fear overwhelm your faith—your jar has become empty. Pulling from the life of the widow in 2 Kings 4, Gary Wilkerson inspires us to stir up our faith to overflowing when a "but now" interrupts life.
A sermon by Gary Wilkerson spoken at Refresh 2020 in Riverside, California.
Second session here. I want to talk about 'Bursting Limitations'.
'Bursting Limitations' or if you need a second title like I did this morning, 'Full to the Brim'. Full to the brim, bursting limitations because you're so full. So full of Jesus, so full of life, so full of encouragement, so full of faith, so full of dynamic inspiration that you're just full to the top. I want to pray for us first and ask God to bless the teaching of the word here in this second session. Father, we thank you for speaking to us this morning. Just how you cause our mat to be our message. You give us strength to stand up and walk and be healed and come into the fullness that you have for us.
Lord, we thank you that you're the God of more than enough. You're the God who's faithful always. You want to burst our limitations, our self-imposed limitations, our cultural limitations, our talent limitations, our giftedness limitations, our financial limitations, our hope, aspirations limitations, all of these things, God. You just want to burst them and fill us to the brim of new things and new hope, of new confidence. We give thanks for this in Jesus' name. Amen.
Amen. 2 Kings Chapter 4. I want to just read seven verses. In 2 Kings 4:1-7. One day, the widow of a member of the group of prophets came to Elisha and cried out, "My husband who served you is dead and you know how he feared the Lord but now, a creditor has come threatening." Everybody say threatening, would you?
Threatening, all right? "But now, a creditor has come threatening to take my two sons as slaves." "What can I do to help you, Elisha," asked, tell me. "What do you have in your house?" "Nothing at all," she says, "Except the flask of olive oil." Elisha said, "Borrow as many empty jars as you can from your friends and neighbors then go into your house with your sons and shut the door behind you." It sounds like prayer there, doesn't it? "Shut the door behind you. Pour olive oil from your flask into the jars setting each one aside when it is filled." She did as she was told.
Her sons kept bringing jars to her and she filled one after another. Soon, every container was full to the brim. Everybody say full with me, okay? Full.
Full to the brim. Not half, not partially, full to the brim. How many jars were full?
Every jar. "Bring me another jar," she said to one of her sons. I like this. Her faith is starting to get increased. She's seeing some victories now. She's starting to look at her past victories and giving her confidence first and future victories. She says, "Bring me another one." That's faith. "Bring me another giant." "We just slayed one." "Bring me another giant." That's confidence in the Lord. "Bring me another jar," she said to one of her sons. Uh oh. Look at this. She has faith now for more. There aren't anymore. That's an "Uh-oh" there. "Uh-oh. Wait a minute. There aren't anymore," he told her.
Then the olive oil stopped flowing. When she told the man of God what had happened, he said to her, "Now, sell the olive oil and pay your debts and you and your sons can live on what's left over." I think she was thinking, "I wish I had a little more left over." On retrospect, I could have had more. I set my own limitations. My faith moved me ahead of what I had but it didn't move me as far as it could have. Faith, not threats determines your future. She says here, "My husband was one of your prophets, Elisha. He worked with you. You know him."
Some say there were 50 or so prophets with Elisha at that time in the school of prophets. He was maybe a younger prophet. He had a fairly young family. Obviously, because there's two sons who were still living at home with their mother. Not at the age of getting married and not on their own yet. Her two sons say to Elisha, "Everything's going pretty good. My husband was in the ministry. He was one of the 50." In this land that defeated the prophets of Baal, in this heritage, in this line of Elijah, the prophet and working now the great prophet, Elisha, maybe my husband might be in line to be.
We had Elijah and then you have Elisha and now maybe my husband could be one of the next great prophets of the nation. She was full of confidence. She was the type of woman I imagine when she woke up in the morning, she would be proud to be next to her husband who was a man of God. I'm sure she prayed with him. I'm sure she went and walks with him and heard some of the prophetic words that he was getting from the Lord. She'd be so pleased that this husband would father their two boys around her and...
...begin to speak prophetically into their life about who they could be and what God had for them, what God was going to do in the nation. Maybe he was designing them, arranging and believing for them to become prophets as well. She had a house. The Bible says she owned her own home. She was living there. She had a family. Obviously, she's now being afflicted by creditors. Before that, she must have had a fairly good financial stability. She was at that place where you might say she almost had a dream life. Things were going really good. Your family was healthy. Kids were serving the Lord.
She was at the church prophetic services every time they met together. Just couldn't get better, couldn't get better except there's this thing. There's these two words. You see them time and time again in the Bible. It's these two words here we read in the first verse here. It says, "But now." Anybody have a 'but now' in your life? It was going well but now. Kids were doing great but now. Marriage was amazing but now. There used to be a fire in my soul when I preached the word of God but now. I used to love to shut that door behind me in that prayer closet and just seek the Lord's face day in and day out.
Just me and the Lord were just like that but now. I'd go to the doctor and then the doctor would say, "You're just a picture of health time after time, report after report but now something's different." All of us in this room have faced these but now's. Some of you lost a spouse or a child. Some of you have faced pain and sorrow in your ministry and difficult situations far beyond your comprehension. You see, everything can be going good but then we experience this 'but now' in our life. We don't expect it but it comes. You discover things that you never imagine you would have had discovered.
Things begin to spiral out of control. Fears begin to arise. Things that you would have never imagined having to spend her nights on her bed now alone, wondering. Here's the word she comes with is these creditors come. The word used here, "But now, a creditor has come threatening to take my two sons away." She seems to believe she doesn't have enough to meet this challenge. There are threats that are affecting her life. The 'but now' always has a threat attached to it. There's some fear that's trying to arise in our heart. I just want to real briefly talk about three types of fear that these but now's.
Things are going good but now they're not going so well. Therefore, there's a threat. They're going to take my sons away. These creditors are going to take my home away. I'm going to have nothing. The first one is crisis. Let me have a cup if I could. Somebody got a glass? Thank you. She has this cup in her house. When she's faced with this crisis, she thinks to herself, "I don't have enough in my own cup, in my own anointing, in my own power, in my own prayer life, in my own faith. I don't have enough to meet this crisis. I don't have enough to meet this 'but now' head on."
You're looking at me like you're preaching to a people that never had any problems. Am I in the wrong room here? I don't know. I think this is the cup is full room. Let me preach it to your future. You've never had a 'but now' but you're going to have a 'but now'. Your but now might be 'but soon'. Okay? Listen to me. In this jar, I don't have enough resources for me to meet this threat. I wouldn't need Elisha if I had the oil in this jar that I could go sell and pay for my own debt that I owe. My sons wouldn't be but is seen as a threat. Being overwhelmed is the second threat.
I'm just overwhelmed by too much, too many things pressing in my mind. I got to do this. I got to accomplish that. My to-do list is far greater than my energy resource to be able to do this. My cup is not full enough. I don't have enough energy, resource, power, authority, anointing to accomplish all that needs to be accomplished to meet this need in my life. I am under resourced. The resources aren't sufficient to meet the need that is at hand. Number three is inability to overcome negative life patterns. What I mean by this is when threats come into your life, you have a good life. Something happens.
There's a 'but now' and then you find yourself threatened by this thing. The crisis comes into your life then there's this insecurity in us. It's called fear. You know what fear does? I don't know the reality behind this story. When she was talking to Elisha, I'm not sure what was real and what was imagined. Because I know in my life, when I have a 'but now', my mind takes over. Particularly at 3AM in the morning when I wake up and at 60, I'm waking up a whole lot more now in the middle of the night. There's more opportunities for that mid-morning, late night worry and anxiety.
For me, my fear always takes the threat and exaggerates it so far. I wonder if this woman was like, a creditor knocked on her door and said, "Hey. You owe us $50." She goes, "I don't have $50. Come back next week." She goes back to her room thinking, "He's going to take my house. He's going to take my two sons. They're going to become slaves. I'll become homeless then. I'll be on the streets by myself. Men will beat me up and abuse me on the streets and I'll die a homeless beggar, alone with two sons who are slaves."
Maybe all's that happened was somebody said, "You owe us $50." We take our 'but now' and we make it a 'BUT NOW'. Right?
Fear, anxiety, stress begins to multiply the doubts and the discouragements and the worry and the words. They become cyclical. We begin to worry about what we're worrying about or get anxious what we're anxious about. It builds. It's like a small 'but now' and then it becomes worse. We imagine how bad it's going to be. We lose faith. The jar becomes even more empty. The faith jar, the hope jar, the belief jar, the confident jar. The God can do anything jar becomes empty. We really are stuck into a 'but now' we have nothing. The answer to your threat interestingly, what Elisha's asked her is amazing.
He says to her in her lack, in her doubt, in her discouragement, "What do you have in your house? What do you already have? Do you have anything in your house?" The answer to your threat is already in your home.
It's not something you're looking for to get out there. God, if you will only get me this, if you'll only do this, then my 'but now' could become a solution, have a solution to it. God is saying through prophet Elisha and they're saying to us here in this house today. "You already have what it takes." He's already placed in you faith. It just needs to be stirred up. He's already placed in you belief to overcome this threat. It just needs to be stirred up in you. Stir up that gift of faith in you. Stir up that fire that was once in you. Stir up that passion in your heart. Stir up a confidence in God.
Stir up those things that seem to be lost. Every time that voice of 'but now', doubt, threat, fear begins to build a scenario in your life that seems to be overwhelming you, you put on the mind of Christ. You put on that confidence in the Lord. You begin to speak to yourself because there's already a voice speaking to you really loud, isn't it? That voice of the enemy is going to be speaking at you. You can't do it. You're not going to make it. The cup is empty. You're going to get your sons in slavery. You're going to become homeless.
There's another voice and that voice is saying to you, "I am the Lord, God your Maker. I go before you. I walk before you. I will keep you. You are secure in my hand. The enemy has nothing formed against you that's going to prosper. You're going to make it through this. You will not be defeated. You will not be overcome by this. You will not be overwhelmed. You might go through the fire but you're coming out of the fire.
You might go through the Jordan River but you're coming out on the other side. You might have to go into the Red Sea but you're coming out the other side of the Red Sea. You have something in your house. What do you have in your house? You have gifts. You have salvation. You have a call of God. You have a destiny. You have a word. You have a promise. You have a hope. You have a dream. These are all things you have. It may seem empty right now but they're already there. They just need to be filled. They need to be filled up once again so that you could have that. I like what she says. Tell me what do you have in your house?
Her next three words were this. "Nothing at all." When you allow a 'but now' to become a 'BUT NOW' and you're asked the question, "What do you have?" You're always going to come up with this answer. "I have nothing. I can't do it. It's impossible. No way out of this. It's hopeless. I prayed. I've cried. I've been to counseling. I've doubled up my efforts. I've done an all-night prayer meeting. I have nothing." The enemy is here and my resources are here. I have nothing at all. I like what she says next. This is where the Holy Spirit just gave her a little bit of room for the Holy Spirit to move powerfully in her life.
She said, "I have nothing at all except." You may think that's not a big word in the scripture but that's a powerful word. The word except is the most powerful word to combat your 'but now'. Because you're thinking I'm under too much threat, too much crisis, too much horror, too much pain, too much sorrow, too much suffering. I don't have anything except, I have an 'except'. If you just have an 'except' then all of a sudden, it begins to change the trajectory of your crisis. I do have this. Maybe there's a little bit of hope. I have a little bit of a prayer life left.
Every once in a while when I wake up at 3AM and I'm worried and I'm under these threats and crisis, all of a sudden, this song comes into my heart. Great is thy faithfulness, oh, God, my Father. There is no shadow of turning with him. Great is thy faithfulness. All of a sudden, that song becomes your 'except'.
Just every once in a while, you're just crying yourself to sleep and you're wondering where your kids are. If your home's going to make it, if your church is going to fall apart. You're just worried and anxious. That 'but now' is bigger than the resources you have then all of a sudden, that tear rolls over off your cheek and onto the pillow. All of a sudden, this becomes a tear of joy instead of tear of sorrow.
Just begin to say, "God, you can do this. God, you can make it through. Yeah. God, nothing's impossible for you. I believe even when it seems like I have nothing at all." You see, the Bible's full of this concept of the 'except'. Excuse me. Wow. That woke you up. The Bible is full of this concept of the 'except'. I have nothing except a mustard seed of faith.
That's not too bad. I have nothing except a desire to keep praying when I'm in the storm. I have nothing except a little bit of the revelation of the heart of God. He can help me through this. I have nothing except this little gift to speak the word of God when he calls on me to speak. I have nothing but this gift of singing. I have nothing but this gift of intercessory prayer. I have nothing but this gift of counseling and discernment. I have nothing except the reality is you don't have nothing. You have something.
You have an except and that except is the best thing about you.
I may not can do this except I can do that. I may not have this but I have that. I have faith. I have confidence. I have boldness. I have a stirring in my heart. I have a passion for Jesus. I can speak a little bit. I can share the love of Jesus with lost people a little bit. I can pray for the sick and on occasion Some of them will get healed. I got a few 'excepts' in my life. I want you to glory in the 'excepts' that God's given you.
It's the starting place of the supernatural.
If you'll get a hold of your 'except', I don't have a lot but I got a little something in the cup. Then God begins to use that to multiply. It's the mustard seed that begins to multiply in your life. God can do so much with our little but all's you need is to hold on to your 'except'. I got a little bit of 'except' in my heart. How many of you in this room today have a little bit of 'except' in your heart? I got this is going on but except I got this going on. I feel threatened about this but except I got this going on. There's a big 'but now' in my life but there's an except in my life.
This 'except' is going to set me on the course that God has for my victory, for my destiny, for my overcoming in the name of Jesus.
Amen. From her perspective, she lost her husband. Maybe her home, her sons taken, she's feeling homeless, helpless, hapless. It's an unbelief perspective. It's all what's wrong. It's rehearsing over and over again what's wrong. Oftentimes, even our prayer life starts off with, "Lord, would you please help my finances?" It's a prayer of faith. Help, Lord, we need a breakthrough miracle in our finances. Because right now, I just got that bill and it's more than my next paycheck. Maybe if in two weeks from now, I could call the creditor and ask him to do that, you know what?"
"If I could borrow from my 501ck, whatever it's called, the 401k, I could borrow some money from that. My church has a benevolence fund." Are you still praying? No. It started praying, right? Sometimes, I wonder what God's thinking up there. He's like, "Hello? [knock knock] Hello? Anybody there? Was this a conversation because it stopped? Now, it's not a conversation. Now, it's just you worrying. I'm siting here listening to you worry." God doesn't want you to offer your worries to him. He wants you to offer his faith, offer belief, offer a heart of trust towards him.
That's what I'm saying to you that faith, not threats determine your future. Your future is not determined by the threats around you. Your future is determined by your faith. If you'll put your confidence that the Lord is going to take the 'except' that you have and he's going to be doing miracles with it very soon. Number two. Faith not lack determines your favor. Faith not lack. She thought she was lacking. Excuse me. I want to cough again. Hold your ears. Excuse me. Can I have a little bit of water? Faith not lack determines your favor. You already have what you need.
The prophet says to her, "You have what you need. What do you have?" She says, "I have nothing except." What she had is a little bit of oil in a jar and a jar to fill it up with. The prophet says to her, "Okay, good." Elisha says, "Well, that jar is empty. There's not a lot. Why don't we pray over it and see if we could get it filled up." She goes, "That'd be good. That might take care of one week of the creditor's debt that I owe." Sometimes, we ask for too little. Sometimes, our faith is just enough faith. It's just enough to get me through this week.
But God is wanting something more than that for us and you see. She was looking at her lack and she was thinking that determined her favor. If she was looking at her faith, that could determine her favor instead. Does that make sense to you?
Her favor was going to come out not of her lack, it was going to come out of her faith. She could have a confidence in God. That's what Elisha tells her in Verse 3. Elisha said to her, "Borrow as many empty jars as you can from your friends and neighbors. Then go into your house and your sons and shut the door behind you. Pour olive oil into the flask, into the jars, setting each one aside as they were filled." I've got a couple of Elisha's sons here today. They're going to come and help me. I'm the widow. Do I look a little bit like a widow? Excuse me. All right.
Elisha, the prophet has just told me that I've got a little bit of oil here. I'm going to drink a little bit of it first then we'll pour the rest of it in the cup. Elisha, the prophet said, "Borrow as many empty jars as you can from your friends." Can you guys go and borrow and maybe get four or five, six jars each from the table? This will be our jar table here. These are glasses. Obviously, they're not jars. That'll be close enough. That was an exercise mat I was using this morning, not an actual bed mat. Thank you. Thank you so much. Borrow as many as you can. She takes her flask of oil. She did as she was told.
Her sons kept bringing jars to her. She filled one after another. Soon, every container was filled to the brim. Now, this is not a magic trick. This is not actually going to work. You have to use your imagination. Some of you are wondering like, "Wow. This is going to be great." That's perfect. Yeah. That's good. She's got one flask. She's got one container of oil. Now, Elisha has just started to say, "You don't just have this anymore. Now, your potential has really skyrocketed and you can take this flask of oil that you have and begin to fill each one." She takes this when she fills the first one.
Some of you are still looking like, "Is it going to fill it?" Hey. We could try it if you want. Let's see what God does. Fills that one, fills that one. This thing, it doesn't run dry. The resource never ran dry.
The place she gets the stuff to overcome the 'but now' is an unending source. It's an unending source. It never ran dry. It has enough for every 'but now'. There's nothing in your life that God doesn't have the resource to pour into and fill it up. The desires that seem empty now inside of your heart, the family that you'd hope for, the dreams that you had, the destiny that God called you to. The church that you're trying to build, the ministry that God has designed just uniquely for you, the gifts and calling in your life. Man, this just feels so empty right now. There's threats about them.
It's just not working. God's saying to you, "How many jars do you have? Fill them up. Bring different jars. Bring different jars. Bring a jar of preaching. Bring a jar of intercessory prayer. Bring a jar of working miracles. Bring a jar of starting Teen Challenge centers around the country. Bring as many as you want, as many as you can." Somebody's looking at me like, "You're going to break those glasses. Those don't belong to you. Those belong to Teen Challenge, Gary. Put those down. I support Teen Challenge and I do not want glasses broken." You're missing your miracle. Borrow as many as you can.
Prepare, believe, work as hard as you can. Not for just enough but more than enough.
Don't just work to get satisfied. Get work to get satiated. Get work to get to the cup overfloweth. My cup runs over. These jars, they represent our needs but they also represent things that God is ready to fill. Things that the Holy Spirit is about to do. And it says here, she went in and the prophet told her, "Shut the door behind you." That's that representation of prayer. Man, just pray over these things. God, you called me to touch my family. You called me to touch this city. You called me to touch this nation. You called me to set drug addicts free. You called me to preach the word of God.
You called me to intercessory prayer. You called me to pray for the sick. You called me to meet all my needs financially. You called my marriage to be strong. You called me to be a good father. There's a lot of cups to be filled in our life. There's an unending source.
She shuts the door. She seeks the face of God. All of a sudden, she starts pouring and she starts pouring. She goes, "This is brilliant. This is amazing. Look sons, it doesn't stop. Look, every jar you brought me is full. I'm so excited. Bring me another jar." But there are no other jars in the house. This is the most frustrating part of this chapter for me. Because she still had this and now she just didn't have a place to put it. She just ran out. This is her container, containers of faith, containers of hope, containers of confidence, containers that the future destiny that the expectation for. No offense to you, guys.
You have great faith. Let's put our hands together for our two sons. They did a great job. Not trying to offend you here but I might anyway. She pours the last one and then the oil ran out. It ceased to flow. The container of faith could have gotten more. Now I know you're thinking you're getting to that American hype culture where everything's about more and bigger and better. I don't mean it for self-grandeur, self-glory, selfish ambition but I do mean it for the kingdom of God.
I do mean it for your children. Your children can see more faith in your life. Your marriage could become more a shining example. The more in the sense of more love for Jesus.
More prayer life, more faith just fill all these jars. Fill them to the brim to where they can't anymore. This is the horrible word. "Bring me another jar," she said to one of her sons. "There aren't anymore," he told her then the olive oil stopped flowing. That's number three. Faith, not limitations determines your fullness. You see what I'm saying? Your faith determines how many jars you're going to bring. Maybe you're a five-jar person, a 10-jar person, a 20-jar person but what God is saying to you is there's more. He has more for you. He is a God who wants more for you.
That's why he talks about the words like abundance. The abundant life, it's the more life, more of him, more of faith, more of boldness, more of confidence, more anointing. He wants you to have that more than you want to have it yourself. What do you have in your house? I don't have anything. I don't have any anointing. I don't have any faith. I don't have any prayer life except I have a little bit. Go get more. Go gather more. Get as much as you can. Her sons kept bringing her jars. You will get filled up to the degree your faith'd up. You'll get filled up to the degree that your faith'd up.
Being faith'd up is how many jars are you going to bring to the Lord? I'm going to bring every jar that is imaginable to the Lord. Every threat that I have in my life, every sense of being overwhelmed, every battle that is on the horizon in my life. I'm going to bring to that to the Lord as a jar and say, "Lord, you're going to fill it up. You're going to fill it up with overcoming power against that thing that's threatening me. You're going to supply all the resources that I need. Hallelujah. Somebody shout amen.
All the resources that you need are available. It's an unending supply. You hear me?
Nothing, nothing at all hinders you from receiving everything that God has for you.
He is not holding back. He is not withdrawing his power, his presence.
The need that you have, the 'but now' in your life is a small thing compared to the glorious power of God. He's not going to leave you stuck in that. He's asking you this one thing. How much will you bring it to me?
How much will you let me fill it? Are you going to stop and just get worried and anxious and stressful and fearful and rehearsing the things until the fears begin to explode? Are you going to bring that cup to me? When you bring that cup to me, I'm going to fill it and it will have no limit. Could you imagine the reality of what this message is telling us? That in Christ Jesus, you have no limitations.
Jesus is bursting your limitations.
The only limitation you have is what you are willing to bring to the Lord. Because sometimes, we withhold things from the Lord. This is me. I got to worry about this. I got to work this out. I got to fix this. I got to make this better. That's just called the flesh. Jesus is saying, "Bring it to me and I'll fill it. I'll fill it to the full. I'll fill it to overflowing. You'll have more resources, more than you ever dreamed or imagined in your life. Far beyond what you think, what you dream, what you believe, what you imagine. I'm going to take it. I'm going to increase."
God is the God of increase. Bring me another jar.
I love that phrase. I want to have another jar.
Sons, how many jars are left out there? A lot. You don't have to go anywhere. It's too late now. Do you get the picture? This is what they have in the house now. What could they have?
Every one of your jars could have been up on this table. Of course, I told them not to get them all because the illustration would not have worked if they were all up here at the table. It's not your fault. This table could have been full. We could have had some up here on the stage. We could have had some on the side. The resources that we would have had and you know what's so interesting about this? There are some people that actually go get all the jars. You've seen them. I've seen them. One of them was my father.
When I looked at my father's life, he was just the guy who says, "If God said get as many jars as you can." Go out and get as many jars as you can. As we said, go out and get as many jars as you can. I'm not getting six jars, 12 jars, 20 jars, 80 jars. I'm getting every jar I could find. You're not going to have any jars left. I'm going to get them all. You can go get your own jar somewhere else but if God told me to go get jars, they're coming off your table and on my table.
You'll find your own. God will give you a supply but I'm getting all that I can.
I'm getting all that I can. It's not greedy. It's not selfish ambition. It's a godly hunger.
You can have as much of Jesus as you want. Give me all of Jesus. You got a little bit of Jesus over there. Give me that one. Get all the faith that you want. You can be a man or a woman of faith, of unbounded faith. You can have it. It's all here. Just fill it. The more things you bring to Jesus to fill, the more he fills them. It gives you abundance. This is the abundant life that he has for you. In closing, you don't have to live rehearsing these things, these threats this woman was rehearsing. When I travel, I travel around the world. Oftentimes, when I visit a new place, I'll be in Budapest next week.
A lot of places like that, I go there and the bishop or the leader will come to me and maybe pick me up from the airport. Take me to the hotel and they begin to describe their city or their ministry. Oftentimes, you probably notice this, Brother Ron as well. They tell you all the bad stuff. We have the number one drug rate in the world. We're number three in suicide. We're number five in homelessness. We're number seven in low income families that are suffering from divorce. I'm going like, "Don't tell me all that's wrong. Tell me all that God's doing."
Tell me the miracles. We're two pastors who are sitting in a car. We don't need to spend this whole next 30-minute drive to the hotel talking about all the bad things the devil's doing because we don't serve the devil. We serve the Lord.
Tell me what God is doing. The cup of homelessness is empty but God's filling it.
We just started a shelter. The cup of drug addiction is full in your city. It's getting full with the power of transformation of the glory of Jesus Christ. Some mats are becoming messages. Some lives are being transformed because that's what God wants to do. He wants to fill us so we're not living from a sense of 'but now'. We're not living from a sense of trauma, of terror of night, terror by day. We're not living by a sense of crisis in our life. We're not living by a sense of what can we do. We're not living on a sense of we don't have enough. We're not living by any of those things.
We're living by the sense, "God, we're putting our faith in you. We're going to bring every need, every 'but now', every trauma, every crisis. We're going to bring it to you. You're going to fill it. That problem is going to be solved. There's going to be an anointing." I am going to pray for you right now. Whatever your need is, whatever your fear is, whatever the 'but now' is, whatever the crisis is, I'm going to pray right now that you would not be by the power of the Holy Spirit, I demand in the faith by the Holy Spirit that you are not going to be allowed.
The Holy Spirit is not going to tolerate. You're not going to be allowed to leave here with fear and worry.
The Holy Spirit is saying, "I'm not going to tolerate. You're going to get up here and you're going to walk out those doors tomorrow. You're going to go, I'm still a little bit worried about." No, no, no, no, you're not. You don't live by your 'but now'. you live by that full cup.
You live by that full cup. He has a full cup for you, church. He has an abounding, overflowing, overwhelming, unending resource from heaven. A supply that never, ever, ever stops. Offer that to the Lord. Say, "God, I give you all my cares. I cast all my cares upon you."
Father, I bring my cup to you and I ask you to fill it up now.
Father, not just an external cup of ministry or family but my own cup. The cup of my own heart, God. I'm asking you to fill me with faith, with grace, with power, with an anointing, with a clarity, with vision, with discernment. God, I'm asking you to give Holy Spirit power when we're faced with confronting issues that just are so difficult. We feel like all's we can do is worry about them but we believe we've heard from the Holy Spirit prophetically now. That you are requiring from heaven and wherever you present a requirement, you always accompany it with a power to accomplish it.
You're requiring us to leave here casting all our cares on you, all of our anxieties, all of our vain imagination that says things are going to get worse. My health is going downhill. The church is falling apart. The elders aren't going to do this. My prayer life is fading. All those worries that we have, we offer them up to you now as a cup, as a jar. We say fill it now, Jesus. Fill it right now, Jesus. Fill it, fill it. Leave me with no but now's. Leave me with no but now's. God, you're preparing something. You're preparing something, a fresh wind, a fresh fire, a new faith.
You're preparing in us in these two days, preparing in us a new confidence to go out of here as Christians who truly believe in the word of God and the God of the word. Hallelujah. We thank you, Jesus that you're faithful. God, you're faithful. Hallelujah. Lord, we just take a moment to offer all of our cares, all of our anxieties. We place them on you. Church, here's the good news. Look at me just for a moment here. Here's the good news. God is not just an absorber of the negative. Sometimes, that's how we see him. Lord, I got all these problems. Please, take them. Good, you took my problems. Now, I feel better.
He's not just the absorber of the negative. He's the giver of the more. Sometimes, we're satisfied with take away my worry, my fear, my anxiety, my stress. God's saying, "You're not asking enough." That's just the beginning. That's just step one. I want to take away your fear, your worry, your anxiety, your thoughts of the future. I want to take that away. Not just so you have an absence of fear but that you have the presence of power. That you have the presence of faith, that you have the presence of boldness. You're moving out of something so that you could come into something.
It's not enough to come out of something. He wants to bring you. Come out of Egypt but he wants to get you into the promised land. That's the cups that's getting filled. You take two minutes right now. Just cry out, "Jesus, fill my cup." Cry out to him. Fill my cup now, Jesus. Pour out your Spirit. This is the pouring out of your Spirit, God. I ask you to fill it now in Jesus' name. Every problem turns into power. Every conflict now turns into confidence. Every enemy formed against me shall not prosper but we're going to see the hand of the Lord. We're going to see the might of the Lord.
I thank you, Jesus for seeing it. I see it in faith. I believe it. My worries, my fears are just flying out the door. In its place comes godly confidence, godly faith, godly boldness. In Jesus' name, we believe. Let's put our hands together. Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Jesus. Bless you, Lord.