NOMINAL OR PHENOMENAL 

LOOKING AT BELIEVERS … (Their life – not their ministry)

As a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ

As a disciple of Jesus

As someone who is following the way of the Lord

You can choose to be nominal and thus insignificant in impact and a Christian “in name only”

Or – You can choose to be phenomenal – extraordinary, exceptional, unusual and out of the ordinary – having a major impact for the King and Kingdom on those around you

You choose …

The box that you have created for yourself to live in with self-imposed limitations and boundaries

OR

The adventure that God calls you to live which is without limitations because all things are possible with God (Luke 1:37)

 

Your choice – Nominal or Phenomenal

 

Here is what I know for certain:

 

God wants us to be phenomenal and not nominal

 

God desires His people to be supernatural and not to just walk in the natural

 

God wants believers to be extraordinary and not simply ordinary

 

THE BIBLE STATES that when we are born again:

 

2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

 

Totally new creature – unseen before on the planet

Domain of darkness to the Kingdom of light (Jesus)

Walking by sight to walking by faith

Living in the flesh to living in the Spirit

 

When we are born again…

 

From nominal to phenomenal

From ordinary to extraordinary

From natural to the supernatural

 

But this does not seem to always be the case … not always an apparent reality in our lives

 

LOOKING AT THE PROBLEM:

 

  • We have built a comfortable box for ourselves within which we live a comfortable, safe and secure life

 

  • We have allowed the world to so influence us that it has literally formed our pattern of thinking and thus our lifestyle

We have allowed the world to define what is “normal”

 

  • At times, we have permitted the Church to impact our lives and mould us into its religious image

We have allowed religion to tell us how to live

 

  • As a result – we have boxed God in and limit what He can and does do in and through us…

 

The Bible says:

 

“Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould, but let God…” (Romans 12:2 Phillips Version)

 

I always add – in my mind – “Don’t let the world around you or the church squeeze you into its own mould…”

 

When we allow our own desire for comfort, safety and security…

When we allow the world’s ways…

When we let religion (the Church) dictate how we live…

 

We end up as a nominal believer and not a phenomenal disciple of the Lord

 

Our actions – our thoughts – our words – our attitude – our lifestyle must be formed by God’s Word and led by God’s Spirit

 

Our lives must be built upon the rock and not upon sifting sand (Matthew 7:24-27)

  • The rock – God’s Word
  • Sifting sand – Our desires, the world, the flesh, the culture, the church…

 

 

Here is what God says in His Word…

As He addresses this issue in the lives of His people

 

Here is what God says as He encourages disciples of the Lord to live a life that is phenomenal and not nominal…

 

Here is what God is saying as He addresses this problem…

 

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life–your sleeping, eating, going to-work, and walking-around life–and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.     (Romans 12:1-2 The Message Version)

 

Regular version: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind…”

 

God wants each of us to be shaped and formed by His Word

 

Not by our desires, the world’s ways or the rules of religion

 

God wants each of us to be radical revolutionaries for Jesus

Not just followers at a distance

 

But someone who will not settle for normal

 

Normal is a setting on the dryer

 

Someone who is passionate about Jesus and “seeks first the Kingdom of God…” (Matthew 6:33)

 

Someone who…

  • Won’t give up, let up or shut up
  • Until they get up, rise up, and take up all who Christ wants them to be

 

A follower is going to be phenomenal

And never nominal

 

The world and religion will call you a fanatic – this is good

 

Fanatic – someone more in love with Jesus than you are

 

However, you will be phenomenal and no longer nominal

 

Extraordinary – exceptional – unusual – out of the normal and not ordinary

 

Jesus wants each of His disciples (followers, apprentices) to be phenomenal

Extraordinary

Exceptional

Different

Unusual

Unique

Powerful

 

And impact the world – yes, the world – for Jesus

 

 

 

BUT, you can chose not to be phenomenal and to be simply nominal (normal by the world’s standards)

Ordinary

A fine citizen

A nice person

 

David Du Plessis – known as Mr. Pentecost (phenomenal disciple of the Lord…)

 

“I’d rather tone down a fanatic than to try to raise the dead.”

 

My comment…

“It is easier to tame a wild stallion then drag a dead horse.”

 

LOOKING AT THE CHURCH (in general)

 

Today’s Church has been given a strain of Christianity that I would call “almost Christian”

 

Masquerades as genuine Christianity

 

But is simply nominal Christianity

 

Christian in name only

 

As a result many see today’s Church as somewhat

Insignificant

Irrelevant

Worldly

Powerless – impotent

 

What we would call ‘normal’ as it is all that many have ever known

 

What God calls ‘nominal’ as it is certainly not phenomenal in any way and not what He planned for the Church

 

BUT the Church could be phenomenal

 

Extraordinary, exceptional, unusual, different, out of the ordinary, spectacular, supernatural

 

The hope of the world – the light in the darkness – life-transforming

 

AND Christians could also be phenomenal and no longer nominal …

No longer insignificant in impact and a Christian “in name only”

 

 

 

 

 

 

LOOKING AT THE FUTURE:

 

God is looking for a group of people who want to be phenomenal for Him

 

➢ People who want to redefine normal

➢ People who want to go from nominal to phenomenal

  • People who are not happy with “almost Christianity”
  • People who want to live with passion
  • People who want to change the world one life at a time

 

“Almost Christian” is not going to work

 

You know – almost is never good enough:

Soccer

Lottery

Marriage

 

You go to your doctor’s office because of a serious medical issue in your life

The certificate on the wall states: “Almost passed his medical exams”

Not good enough

We need to move from “almost” to “altogether”

 

We would say – “get it together” / “get it altogether”

Pass the exams and then call yourself a doctor

 

Christianity today needs to get it altogether and then call itself a force to be reckoned with…

 

The Church needs to, once again, become phenomenal as it first was as recorded in the book of Acts…

Extraordinary

Supernatural

Unusual

Powerful

Out of the ordinary

Fanatical

World-changers

Radical

Revolutionary

 

A phenomenal Church filled with phenomenal disciples would be:

➢ Hearing God’s voice daily

➢ Following Jesus with passion and purpose

➢ Walking by faith and not by sight

➢ Able to “speak to the mountains”

➢ Moving in power

➢ Walking in miracles, signs and wonders

➢ Speaking the truth in love

➢ Witnessing to non-believers

➢ Winning the lost

➢ Making disciples

➢ Preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom

➢ Walking in authority

➢ Healing the sick

➢ Casting out demons

➢ Raising the dead

➢ Rescuing the lost

➢ Loving the unlovable

➢ Moving prophetically

➢ Speaking truth into situations and circumstances – individuals and nations

➢ Going into all the world

➢ Filled with and flowing in the Spirit

➢ Knowing the mind of Christ

➢ Overcoming fear and walking in boldness

➢ Working the Word

➢ Taking up their cross daily

➢ Living sacrificially

➢ Challenging convention and what others consider normal

➢ Uninhibited

➢ No longer people-pleasers

➢ No longer fearing man – what others think

➢ Not politically correct

➢ No longer insecure

➢ No longer denying the truth / living a lie

➢ Not silent in the face of opposition

➢ Not fearing failure – willing to try

➢ Working as ambassadors of Christ

➢ Ministers of reconciliation in the world

➢ Part of the priesthood of all believers

➢ A royal priesthood honouring God

➢ A holy nation within the nations

➢ Phenomenal Christians

➢ Fanatics

➢ Believers loving one another and embracing the world

 

A TRUE STORY…

 

It was September 15, 1999. There was a church in the southeast that had a “See You At the Pole” rally. At this rally, there were multiple churches that had gotten together with predominately youth, along with some parents and pastors. A man walked in on the rally with a gun. Someone yelled, “Get down!” The gunman shot the guy who had shouted and soon four others. Two were dead immediately and three were critically wounded.

 

As he was walking through the crowd with his gun, he said, “Your religion is blankety-blank.” All of a sudden, one young man named Jeremiah stepped out. The moment the man spoke against Jesus Christ, this young man, Jeremiah, said, “No sir, it isn’t!”

 

Then the gunman walked right over to him and said, “What did you say?” and put his gun right up to the young man’s head.

 

Jeremiah answered back to him, “What you need is Jesus Christ.” As the gun was still on Jeremiah, he continued to say, “You can shoot me if you want. I know where I am going. I’m going to Heaven. And you will still need Jesus Christ.”

 

Jeremiah’s youth pastor was on the ground grabbing his leg, as if to say, “Get down, get down!” All of a sudden the youth pastor heard a loud shot. BAAAAMMM! He was fully expecting that Jeremiah would fall right there into his arms. He lifted up his head, and what happened was tragic. The gunman took the gun off of Jeremiah and, sadly, he used it on himself.

 

Here’s the truth about this kid Jeremiah. This is astonishing. He had only recently given his heart to the Lord and become a born again disciple of the Lord Jesus.

 

Phenomenal

 

100 years ago the missionary John Mott prophesied, “The worldwide proclamation of the gospel awaits accomplishment by a generation which shall have the obedience, courage, and determination to attempt the task.”

 

➢ Those who, like Jeremiah, want to be phenomenal and not just nominal

 

 

LOOKING AT THE PROBLEM:

 

I think the issue is that believers today do not want to appear different than their neighbours

 

They want to fit in with the world in which they live

 

They live as people-pleasers

 

They are afraid to appear to be different

 

We seek – want, need – approval and acceptance

 

            We want to be politically correct

                        Tolerant of everyone’s views and beliefs

 

So, we compromise our Christian beliefs to cater to other people’s demands and preferences

 

Living by the world’s standards

 

We cause our message to have little impact because our lifestyle does not line up with our words

 

I have discovered that people who live by the world’s standards and for worldly approval cannot be anything but nominal Christians – Christians in name only

 

Living for worldly approval and to fit in means you are what the Bible calls a People-Pleaser. 

People-Pleasers believe:

  1. That they must be popular and well-liked by everyone – an issue of acceptance Instead of resting in the knowledge and assurance that God accepts them unconditionally
  2. That they must not upset people as they want everyone to be happy and like them

Folks, only God can do that

  1. That they must have people think well of them or else they have failed – people’s possible opinion of you is all important

Only God’s opinion matters 

  1. That they must do everything possible not to be rejected

Even Jesus didn’t succeed in doing that and He was certainly rejected

 

To be phenomenal for God and not just nominal Christians we must not focus on…

            Being popular and well-liked

            Trying to make people happy

            Having people think well of us

            The possibilities of being rejected

 

All of these tendencies need to be overcome and forgotten

 

To be phenomenal you must refuse to stay in normal mode

Don’t let the world’s cultural wisdom squeeze you into its mould

 

“Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould, but let God…” (Romans 12:2 Phillips Version)

 

I always add – in my mind – “Don’t let the world around you or the church squeeze you into its own mould…”

 

To be phenomenal you must not allow the world’s politically correct agenda influence you

 

To be phenomenal you cannot allow others to tell you what to say or do

 

To be phenomenal you must base your life on this book – the Holy Bible – and become what it says you are to be

And do what it states you are to do and actually can do as you partner with the Holy                     Spirit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LOOKING AT OUR CHOICES:

 

Nominal or Phenomenal

Living, passionate stones (1 Peter 2:5) or stone cold

 

Matthew 24:12 “Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love (agape) will grow cold

Stone cold – Nominal

Living stones – Phenomenal

 

Satan wants us to be “stone cold” towards God as that means believers will be Christians in name only

Nominal

 

Satan wants us to become the temperature of the culture that surrounds us…

Cold hearted and spiritual dead

 

God wants us to be living stones – spiritually alive and active

 

1 Peter 2:5 you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

 

The Message: Present yourselves as building stones for the construction of a sanctuary vibrant with life, in which you’ll serve as holy priests offering Christ-approved lives up to God.

 

 

There are only these two choices – you can’t be halfhearted

You can’t park in the middle between hot and cold

Tepid

Moderate

Indifferent

Unenthusiastic

Lackadaisical

Lukewarm

 

Revelation 3:15-16 ‘I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. ‘So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit (vomit) you out of My mouth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LOOKING AT THE SOLUTION:

 

  1. Each believer needs a FRESH EXPERIENCE with the living God

When you were born again you encountered God in the words and actions of Jesus Christ

You discovered love, acceptance and forgiveness

 

You need a FRESH, NEW ENCOUNTER with God

Seeing Him in a fresh and new way

New spiritual ears and eyes

 

You need to fall in love with Jesus all over again but better than it was the first time

A FRESH ENCOUNTER / Experience

 

 

  1. Each believer needs to take a FRESH LOOK at who they really are in Christ – the REAL YOU that God created you to be

A new look at yourself without all the religious trapping / societal influences

 

A new look inside your heart to reveal your true identity to YOU

Who God created you to be

What God created you to do

 

You need a FRESH VISION of how God sees you

So different than what’s being lived on the outside right now

 

  1. You need to make some key decisions and step up to the plate – ready to go to bat for Jesus with FRESH FAITH

Step out in faith believing God

Being obedient to everything He speaks

FRESH FAITH must rise within you as you follow Him who is the “Author and Finisher of your faith.” (Romans 12:2)

 

Fresh Encounter / Experience

Fresh Vision / Look

Fresh Faith

 

Then you will never again settle for being a nominal (normal) believer

Insignificant in impact and a Christian “in name only”

 

You will be a phenomenal believer

Extraordinary

Supernatural

Exceptional

Unusual

Out of the ordinary

Radical

Revolutionary …           Even peculiar to the world

 

1 Peter 2:9 KJV But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that you should show forth the praises of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvellous light

 

His own special people

A people for God’s own possession

A people belonging to God

God’s very own

A people acquired

 

There are many things we don’t have control over in life

 

But we can control the passion – the intensity – with which we live our lives and Who we live our lives for

 

We can decide to walk away from ordinary to become extraordinary

 

We can decide to no longer settle for normal which is far below the life God has planned for us

 

We can decide to walk in the supernatural while living in the natural

 

We must walk away from complacency and pick up the challenge God has placed before us

To win the world one person at a time

 

We must make a decision – and only we can decide for ourselves

Nominal or Phenomenal

Like the world or different than the world

Normal or Infectious

Cold or passionate

Status-Quo (the mess we are in) or world changers

Resting on our sanctified backsides or onward Christian soldiers

Regular, nice people or radical revolutionaries

 

Nominal or Phenomenal – each of us must choose and God is asking us to do just that….

 

9 Questions for Sleepy and Nominal Christians

  1. How real has God been this week to your heart?
  2. How clear and vivid is your assurance and certainty of God’s forgiveness and Fatherly love?
  3. Are you having any particular seasons of sweet delight in God?
  4. Do you really sense his presence in your life?
  5. Have you been finding Scripture to be “alive” and “active”?
  6. Are you finding certain biblical promises extremely precious and encouraging? Which ones?
  7. Are you finding God challenging you and calling you to something through the Word? In what ways?
  8. Are you finding God’s grace more glorious and moving now than you have in the past?
  9. Are you conscious of a growing sense of evil in your heart, and in response a growing dependence on and grasp of the preciousness of the mercy of God?