Paul instructs us to pursue love and desire spiritual gifts, not just allow or tolerate them. The church is called to use our gifts to build up the body and to bring the lost to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. We're all called to be Holy Ghost preachers and prophets — proclaiming the Word of God in love so that it brings holy conviction.
Through the Exodus story, Pastor Gary Wilkerson paints a picture of two houses. One is in doubt — not sure if they're safe. They question whether they did everything they were supposed to, and if they did it correctly. The other house stands in quiet confidence, secure in what God has promised. Sometimes we have to be silent and let the Lord work on our behalf. Moses stood and lifted his rod in faith. God did the rest.
Jesus said that His house would be known as a house of prayer. Charles Spurgeon said that the prayer meeting drove his church. Prayer must be genuine, authentic, focused and Spirit led. When we intercede for others we have one hand on them and one hand on God. We become the wiring connecting them to God. There is no situation or circumstance that is too big for God.
The preacher's message must be conviction of sin through the law, coupled with sharing the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ. The methodology must be full dependence on the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Our motivation must be genuine Christ-like love for people — not money, fame or recognition. The American church needs a fresh baptism of love.
* We apologize for the music over the beginning of the sermon. It will stop after five minutes.
In Exodus, Pharaoh shows us a picture of how our life and ministry can be limited by the boundaries imposed by ourselves and others. Sometimes we limit God to only the things we can accomplish with our own abilities, when God often desires to use us beyond our own strengths. Many of us learn to do ministry still wearing the chains of bitterness, anger, addiction, etc. — not walking in the full freedom of Christ. We'll often hold back if something seems too extreme, radical or fanatic. Some of us limit God by keeping our faith to ourselves or making it just about us.
The church is to be a place of healing and restoration, but we often find fighting and bickering. A lot of us are engaged in war, but with the wrong enemy. It isn't uncommon to find more compassion in the local bar than in the local church. We must lay aside our differences, forgive each other, love each other and seek out the lost. There are many backslidden believers longing to return to the church, but they fear the judgment they'll face if they do. It's time for the church to open its doors and hearts to the lost and hurting that desperately need healing.
Pastor Claude Houde of Église Nouvelle Vie in Montreal, Quebec, Canada shares about "The Spirit of Expect." God's workmanship in us can only be accomplished by Him. He is a creating Spirit that wants to create something in and through us. Much of the modern church walks in so little of the Spirit. They have no spiritual inertia and are reduced to powerless imitators. In the end, only the supernatural works of God will survive.
It is time for the church to return to the supernatural. Some of us try to build the supernatural with the natural — planning, reasoning, flesh, etc. Others of us are in a place of hopeless and discouragement — a powerless and prayerless place. God wants men and women that will get up, fight back and stand in faith. Jonathan and his armor-bearer only took a half-acre of land, but their faith shook Hell. Moses was an old man with a stick and a one-line sermon, but he had faith.
Pastor Gary Wilkerson opens up the EXPECT 2011 Church Leadership Conference with a message about holy confidence. In an age when the media has headlines of pastors and leaders failing and falling, there is a temptation to muster up some spiritual gumption and declare that we won't mess up. This can be a prideful self-confidence worked up in our flesh. In truth, there was only one Shepherd that never failed — Jesus. It is through Him that we acquire the perfection required by God.
In Zechariah we see a picture of a people who are called to rebuild Solomon’s Temple — a place where God had previously glorified Himself — but as they set out to build the new temple they get discouraged. It doesn't become what they thought it would. Many of us can say the same about our life and ministry. We don't mind small beginnings, but we have great vision and expectation of ending big. Your piece may seem small, but God's puzzle is big. Some of us may not know just how important our “small” piece was until we get to Heaven.