“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23 (NIV)
Joel Munoz cited that verse after worship to remind us the importance of our hearts and how we need to be aware of what we let in our hearts. The goal is to keep our hearts pure because our hearts are reflected in our words and actions.
Pastor Josiah reminded us that the LORD gives us visions, ideas, dreams and inspirations. “We have the ability to reach out to what is available to us. We need to be a people that grasp what He has available for us.” Then iPastor Josiah invited us to dream with him.
First, “I dream of a church that puts Him at the center of its pursuit and never changes the bullseye.” The LORD should be the center of our focus. Instead of Jesus being the appetizer, He needs to be the main dish. That analogy speaks to all of us who love to eat. When I go to dinner, I look forward to the entree. “We need to keep the main thing the main thing.” That is Jesus. Matthew 6:33 makes the point clearly. “But seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (NKJV) Seeking the LORD first makes Him the central pursuit of our hearts. Pastor Josiah shared about two sermons he gave. The first one people responded to with a lot of verbal support. However, when he got to his office, the LORD spoke to him that the message was all about him. The second sermon was somber, and the response was quiet. When Pastor Josiah arrived in his office, the LORD encouraged him. Thus, the “LORD’s approval is crucial.”
When Jesus spoke to the disciples He said,”Follow me.” That is what He invites us to do too. How do you follow Him? You take up your cross daily, die to self and surrender your ego, desires and time to Him. Is it easy? No, we have so many distractions, but God…. He is the Creator of the Universe who loves our souls. What a dichotomy. He is holy, perfect and loving. We are small, limited and broken, but He relentlessly loves and pursues us. What a Savior! How can we do anything but follow Him who has our best for us?
Second, “I dream of a church that understands who they are and what they’re called to do.”
2 Corinthians 6:18 reminds us who we are. “And I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the LORD Almighty.” (NLT) I have a t shirt that says “I am a daughter of the King.” When I need to be reminded, I can wear that shirt that He is my Abba Father. I can trust Him, and you can too.
Also concerning “what we are called to do,” Psalm 138:8 states
“The LORD will work out his plans for my life—
for your faithful love, O LORD, endures forever.” (NLT)
He has plans for us, and His plans are so much better than ours are. He is omniscient, omnipresent and beyond time. He spoke, and the world came into existence. Why would I want anything less than the LORD, El Roi (The God who sees) and Jehovah Jireh (The LORD provides) planning my life.
Also Esther 4:14 Mordecai, Esther’s uncle, encouraged her to think about the desperate situation the Jews were in.
“For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance
for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your
father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have
come to your royal position for such a time as this?” (NIV)
Just like Queen Esther, you may be “here for such a time as this.” What has He called you to do? Be saturated in the LORD.
Next, “I dream of a church that thinks generations beyond them.” Psalm 78:4-7 reminds us
“We will not hide these truths from our children;
we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds
of the LORD, about his power and his mighty wonders.
For he issued his laws to Jacob; he gave his instructions to
Israel. He commanded our ancestors to teach them to their children,
so the next generation might know them-
even the children not yet born-and they in turn will teach their own
children. So each generation should sets its hope anew on God,
not forgetting his glorious miracles and obeying his commands.”(NLT)
Saturday at the FC workday we had young, middles, and olds working together to take care of our house, the house of the LORD. It was glorious to see us painting, cleaning, weeding! We are a family, and family is composed of all ages. It is imperative for us to actively serve the LORD and share Jesus with our children and grandchildren.
Also, “I dream of a church that makes disciples.” Jesus gave the disciples and us the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20.
“Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing
them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you.
And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (NLT)
How do we make disciples? Just as when you love someone, you want to spend time with that person. To grow in your relationship with the LORD, you need to spend time with Him through His Word, sit quietly with Him, get in a small group that is focused on Jesus, make Him your priority, and even ask some one to walk along side you as you learn to walk with Jesus more.
Finally, “I dream of a church filled with power.” 1 Corinthians 1:18 states
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those
who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the
power of God.” (NKJV)
The power of God is that He transforms. Jesus when He walked the earth changed people.
Matthew 11:5 captured what He did.
“The blind see, the lame walk, those with leprosy are cured,
the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News
is preached to the poor.” (NLV)
For me “He restored my soul.” That is the power of the LORD God Almighty. He is the LORD I know and want to know even more.
May each of us know Jesus more intimately and choose to make Him a priority each day so that we can be salt and light in this challenging world.
Larry & Annette Linthicum