It’s Not A Spectator Sport

Within the first month of being born again and entering the Kingdom of God 40 years ago I made an important discovery which led to an even more important decision

I discovered that Jesus was more than my Saviour

Saviour from my sin and from going to hell when I died

I discovered that he was and is also Lord

In fact, He cannot be your Saviour if He is not your Lord

Lord and Saviour go together in the Bible and cannot be separated

And, if He is Lord than I am here to serve Him and help Him fulfill His plans and purpose

Or, as Paul states, he is a bond servant of the Lord…. Ephesians 2:10

So, I discovered that Jesus was more than my Saviour from sin and hell – that He is also my Lord – Master – Ruler – Leader – Boss

This led to a major and permanent quality decision … to say “yes” to anything and everything He would ever ask me to do for Him and with Him

In fact, I decided that the answer would always be “yes” even before I heard the question or knew what the assignment was going to be all about

For me, this is what Jesus being Lord meant in my life

This has led me into many situations and circumstances that have changed people’s lives – especially my life

This has enabled me to influence and impact many people for Jesus

In spite of, at times, feeling insecure, uncertain, fearful, insignificant, powerless, and less than qualified

It seems to me that the Lord places a choice before us when we get saved…

We can be a spectator or we can choose to participate – be a participant

Yes, if we choose to participate in what the Lord is doing we can: Fail, falter, fester, fall…

BUT, it is worth the risk and we can enter one very exciting adventure in life if we are willing to walk with Him and risk failing

We are called to walk by faith and not by sight (circumstances, situations, feelings) … So, it can be a bumpy ride at times

We are called to walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh… Gradual learning process

So, early in my Christian walk – day one in fact … I refused to be a spectator and just watch

As I travel to minister…

People are hungry for God’s Word … and they are engaged when someone teaches

I also do a lot of praying for people and prophesying over individuals, couples, churches

And, as soon as the ministry time begins you can sense a click in the spirit realm

People are turning off … disengaging

They become spectators and go into “watch the expert” mode

As I minister prophetically I try to engage them in what is happening

I tell them that this (the prophetic ministry) is not a spectator sport
That I am nor special … Just a disciple of Jesus who read the Bible

In fact, if truth be known, the whole of the Christian faith and our walk with. Jesus is “not a spectator sport”

You cannot just get saved and then sit – Jesus said, when you are saved, we are to “go” and “do”

In Yaroslavl, Russia – Armenian church plant

In six months – had 120 … and then due to some internet preacher fell to 20

Now growing again and is already past 100 in attendance growing from 20 in three or four months

There was an elderly man in the front row …

After prophesying over several young worship leaders and a young couple I stepped off the platform and ministered prophetically to him

A powerful word about his ministry for the next decade – the impact and influence he was going to have among young people

The next night I was in a city 125 Km away from there and he was in attendance

He got right into the service and served and ministered touching young lives

Starting to walk in what he had heard the night before

Participant and not spectator…

He was so excited about what the Lord had spoken over his life that he spent hours finding out where I would be and wanted to come and work with me … and thank me

My point … Jesus is calling each one of us to engage

To no longer watch but to become actively and solidly involved in what He is doing no matter the cost or the inconvenience

AND, to become actively engaged … to no longer be a spectator … each of us needs a fresh vision for our lives and ministry

We need God to give us a fresh understanding of what He is asking us to do – participate in

FACT: Each of us has gifts with us

Natural talents – learned skills – supernatural spiritual gifts of the Holy Spirit

And, I believe, He is asking us to “stir up” those gifts AND the call of God on our lives

And there is a call on the life of every disciple – every Christian

Paul wrote to a young leader of the church in the city of Ephesus – 50,000 members strong

A young man who was insecure and in way over his head

2 Timothy 1:6 “Fan into flames the gift of God, which is in you.”

This is what God did for the Armenian senior citizen in Yaroslavl… stirred him up

Paul was saying to Timothy and is saying to us:

“I want you to get your fire back. You need to get your hopes back up. Don’t waste the one life you get to live.”

Paul wrote to Timothy to inspire him to ask one question:

How do you discover a fresh vision from God for life and ministry (service)?

Glad you asked – let’s look at this….

1> REALIZE WHAT’S AT STAKE

So, what is at stake? Everything!

New Testament teacher in Scotland wrote: “The threat to Christianity is not atheism, materialism, or communism. The greatest threat to Christianity is Christians who are trying to sneak into heaven incognito without ever having shared their faith.”

The eternal destiny of every person on the planet who is not born again is at stake

The future of your loved ones is at stake
The future of the church – this church – is at stake

Let’s not kid ourselves … the born again Christian faith is in trouble around the world because we have simply sat back and let the experts do it

I understand … most of us feel like Timothy

He was young, insecure, overwhelmed, tired, and in way over his head

The fire in his soul had gone out

From all indications, Timothy had lost the passion he once had for Jesus

He was worn down and worn out – and had lost his passion, his confidence, his vision, and his nerve

The fire in his inner being that had been motivating him and helping him to make a difference got replaced with apathetic indifference

He stopped caring because it was simply easier to not care

He stopped believing that God wanted to do anything significant through him because it is safer not to believe

He stopped serving, because it takes less effort not to serve and no one every says thank you anyways – no one appreciates what you are doing

So, Paul writes to him and is basically saying:

You need to take a fresh look at what is at stake… Everything is at stake!!!

2> STOP BEING A SPECTATOR

A football coach in the United States described the game as:

“Twenty-two boys on the field badly in need of rest being watched by 40,000 people in the stands badly in need of exercise.”

That could also be a great description of the Church …

“A few people (badly in need of rest) frantically run around, while the vast majority of people (badly in need of exercise) sit in the stands and watch.”

We have become a “spectator culture”

We watch movies
We watch television
We don’t play sports – we watch sports
We go to school and watch teachers teach
And, to live our faith, we go to church and watch preachers preach

Note: You do not grow and mature by simply learning truth (spectator) – you need to get involved in applying the truth as you live life and minister (participator)

You grow more mature through experience and being actively engaged in ministry

We need more passion-filled participants and fewer apathetic spectators

The priesthood of all believers … (1 Peter 2:9)

3> STOP THINKING EVERYTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE

George Dantzig was a student at the University of California, Berkeley

One day he arrives late to Jerzy Neyman’s graduate-level statistics class.

Written on the board were two equations that George assumed was the class homework assignment. He copied them down.

A few days later, George handed his assignment to Professor Neyman

“I’m sorry for taking so long to complete the work,” George said. “The proofs seemed harder than usual.”

“Just throw it on my desk,” Dr. Neyman said. George hesitated to throw the difficult assignment on Neyman’s messy desk because he was sure it would be lost in the stack of papers.

Sx weeks later, George and his wife were awakened on a Sunday morning by Dr. Neyman banging on their door. George opened the door and Dr. Neyman rushed in, his hands filled with papers.

“I’ve just written an introduction to one of your papers!” the professor said. “Read it so I can send it right away for publication!”

George soon realized his mistake.

What Dr. Neyman had written on the board was not homework, but two unsolvable problems.

They were two famous unproved statistical theorems, and George had just solved them with written proofs.

George was awarded the US Medal of Science in 1975 for his work.

Imagine if George has been on time for class and heard that the problems on the board were unsolvable.

He may not even have written them down

Even if he did, he may not have kept trying to solve the problems when he noticed that they were difficult

If he had been like most people, he probably would not have even tried thinking it was totally impossible

Turn to the chapter in the Bible where God calls anyone to something easy

Don’t bother looking – That chapter doesn’t exist

David was called to fight a giant-sized problem
Joshua was called to a military maneuver with impossible odds
Nehemiah was called to rebuild a wall that for 92 years had proved impossible to build

Jesus has plans for us that are bigger than we think

If you ever think that God can’t use us…. THINK AGAIN

Moses was a stutterer, but God used him to speak
David’s armour didn’t fit, but God used him to defeat the giant
John Mark abandoned Paul, but God use him anyway
Hosea’s wife was a prostitute, but God used her
Jacob was a liar, but God used him
Solomon was rich, but God used him
Abraham was old, but God used him
Samson had long hair, But God used him (and his hair)
Timothy was young and insecure, but God used him
Peter was impetuous, but God used him
Paul was a murderer, but God used him
Jonah ran from God, but God used him
Gideon and Thomas both doubted, but God used them
Jeremiah was depressed and suicidal, but God used him
Elijah was burned out, but God used him
John the Baptist was a loudmouth, but God used him
Martha was a worrywart, but God used her
Lazarus was dead, and God still used him!

So, stop thinking everything is impossible

And, stop thinking God can’t use little old you …

4> START LIVING FOR SOMETHING

Listen – it is not how long you live that matters

Many people live longer and simply live long and miserable lives

It is not how long you live that matters

It is HOW you live that matters

Jesus said, “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” (Mark 8:36)

The average person in North America will live 28,708 days

The sum of those days is your life

And every single one of those days is going to be exchanged for something

Every person gives his or her life for something!

Some give their life away for a career

Some people give their lives to attain power, popularity, possessions

Some people give their lives away for money

Remember: He who dies with the most toys, still dies!

Too often we trade making history with making money
Substitute building a life with building a career
Sacrifice living for God with living for the weekend
We forgo significance for the sake of success
Pursue superficiality of a big house and a new car or truck, over a life lived large
We become saved, but not seized
We are delivered but not driven.

The Bible urges us to “live a life worthy of the calling you have received” (Ephesians 4:1)

We only get one shot at life – this is not a dress rehearsal

You and I are going to give our lives for something

The question each of us must ask ourselves is this:

Is what I am giving my life to actually worth it?

How do you discover a fresh vision from God for life and ministry (service)?

1> REALIZE WHAT’S AT STAKE
2> STOP BEING A SPECTATOR
3> STOP THINKING EVERYTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE
4> START LIVING FOR SOMETHING

5> REDEFINE GREATNESS

Some people think greatness is connections and influence
Some people think greatness is power and possessions
Some people think greatness is being popular
Some people think greatness is fame and fortune

But God has a whole different definition

Jesus redefined greatness

He said, “Many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first” ( Matthew 19:30)

God says whoever wants to be great must be a servant of others

Jesus said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all” (mark 9:35)

Again Jesus said, “The Son of Man (Jesus) did not come to be served, but to serve, and too give His life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28)

Two words best define the Christian life: serve and give

If you want to be great in God’s eyes … serve and give

Although you may claim to be a Christian and have all the doctrine down, you are not an authentic Christian until you learn to serve others and give your life away for others

With the only motive being to serve

6> REALIZE GOD CREATED EVERYTHING (INCLUDING YOU) TO BE USED

During a recent issue with my car on the side of the road late one night – I was prepared

Three yeas ago I bought a new flashlight, put new batteries in it, and stored it in the back of the car

I had never needed it, but I knew exactly where it was

When the problem hit one night while driving, I felt well prepared – “I’ve got this”

I got out the still-brand-new, never-been-used flashlight and turned it on

And … nothing happened

I thought that was strange, because it had never been used

The flashlight was new
The batteries were new

I started unscrewing the top and heard a grinding noise

I opened it and rusty flakes started flying everywhere

The batteries were totally corroded

Batteries are made to be used
So are people

Human beings are made to serve a purpose – and when we are not serving other people, we get corroded and rotten on the inside

And that stops the light of God from shining through us

Everything was created to be used

We were created to be used by God
We were gifted to be used by God
We were designed to be used by God

When we are not, we end up filled with toxic emotions

Maybe that is why as so many people get older, they get less fun to be around

After you become a Christian, you’re going to end up in heaven, so why doesn’t God just take you right then?

Why are you still here?

It’s because He has something for you to do

And that is your calling, your mission, your purpose

And that will keep you happier and healthier than any other pursuit

How do you discover a fresh vision from God for life and ministry (service)?

1> REALIZE WHAT’S AT STAKE
2> STOP BEING A SPECTATOR
3> STOP THINKING EVERYTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE
4> START LIVING FOR SOMETHING
5> REDEFINE GREATNESS
6> REALIZE GOD CREATED EVERYTHING (INCLUDING YOU) TO BE USED

Last but not least…

7> SOMEDAY IS TODAY

The very first response to Jesus from His disciples was this:

“Immediately they left their nets and followed Him” (Mark 1:18)

The Bible is filled with stories of Jesus calling people to follow and serve Him now

Jesus said to come now

A guy once asked Jesus about how to be a Christian

Jesus said to him, “Follow Me.” But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father” (Luke 9:59)
Implied in Jesus’ comment: Follow Me right now!

The word ‘but’ contradicts the word ‘Lord’

You cannot call Jesus “Lord,” and then say, “me first.”

Jesus was basically saying four words: “If not now, when?”

An unused gift equals a wasted life

You don’t have a day to waste before you put your gift to use

As a believer – don’t procrastinate – “If not now, when?”

Procrastination could lead you to end up like Pharaoh at the time of Moses in ancient Egypt

He said, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey Him?” (Exodus 5:2)

God, being God, of course, overheard this and gave Pharaoh ten audiovisual presentations called plagues

Pharaoh’s answer to everything was “tomorrow.”

The result – one more night with the frogs … Finally, his army was annihilated

So, make today the day when you will give fresh fire to your vision for your life

A life lived for God and with God

Today is a good day to do so – don’t procrastinate

2 Timothy 1:6 “Fan into flames the gift of God, which is in you.”

How do you discover a fresh vision from God for life and ministry (service)?

1> REALIZE WHAT’S AT STAKE
2> STOP BEING A SPECTATOR
3> STOP THINKING EVERYTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE
4> START LIVING FOR SOMETHING
5> REDEFINE GREATNESS
6> REALIZE GOD CREATED EVERYTHING (INCLUDING YOU) TO BE USED
7> SOMEDAY IS TODAY

Remember, the Christian faith is not a spectator sport….

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