Hello Friends, welcome to Sunday2Monday. The place where we say it again! As my pastor says: Repetition brings revelation!
This week, I had the privilege of speaking at my church, where I serve as the NextGen Pastor, a message called The Process of Preparation. If you want to watch that click here.
I opened up with a dream of how I thought life would be when I was a kid:
“When I grow up I am not cleaning my own house. I won’t have to work. I won’t have to cook and I will have someone to drive me around.”
My Mom and my Sister love to cook. They always have. Since I was a kid I have watched them look for the best ingredients in the grocery store. They would gather the goods to make the best food, picking out the best cheese and bread. They enjoyed the preparation process. I didn’t ask to help. I was very content to just sit back and watch. I wanted the benefit of eating what they made but I didn’t want the work it took to make it. I think that is how we are at times in life when it comes to growing into our calling and destiny. We often just want the benefits of maturity. We want the end result but we do not want to go through the process it takes to get there. It’s work!
My end result of this immature dream and not participating in the process was that I burned things. I made suddenly charcoal out of suddenly salad. I didn’t really learn how to cook. I didn’t get the results I expected. One of my first jobs was as a janitor of a school. I learned to clean and work hard. I also ended up having to learn how to drive. My husband eventually stopped taking me places. He told me to get my license. I told him in a very snotty tone, “get me a car and I will get my license.” He said, “I don’t think so, you get your license and I will get you a car.” He was telling me that I was going to have to do the work to get the payoff. Sometimes we really need some tough love and learn how not to just expect everything to be given to us.
Maturity comes when we become a willing part of the process. God had to get me out of my childish thinking & unrealistic expectations.
Pastor Lynn last week talk about fruitful suffering.
So what is fruitful suffering?
- It is suffering that results in a fruitful life.
- It is walking the daily steps of obedience.
Romans 5:3-5 we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
He also said, “Fruitful suffering is the process of learning how to handle adversity.Will you allow God to grow your character to match your call?”
God is preparing us, so how do we partner with Him? Even when its hard. Even when it hurts.
-2 Ways God prepares us – Circumstances & People
Circumstances: Positive and Negative. We need both!
A circumstance is simply the situation you find yourself in. Sometimes that is a physical place but most often it is the state of your soul. How you are being affected by circumstances? We often run from uncomfortable situations. We get new friends. We change jobs. We might even move states or cities. Even when we don’t run away physically, we run internally. We choose to stick to ourselves, we “mind our own business” but in our hearts, we are becoming hard and callous toward people because of the circumstance we have encountered in life. One catch: “wherever you go, there you are!” You will still have to deal with you and the way your heart is responding to the circumstances of life.
Joseph dealt with all the same emotions and thoughts, as we do, in his circumstances. We can imagine how he felt about his brothers throwing him into a pit and selling him into slavery. We can sympathize with him when being lied about and being accused by Potiphar’s wife and being thrown in prison. We can understand the hurt of being forgotten by the cupbearer. Despite the thoughts and emotions through these circumstances, Joseph continued to do what he knew was right even when it was hard.
The scripture, however, does not tell us how he felt only what he did. The one time the scripture tells us of his emotional reaction was when he burst into tears when the dream that God gave him was happening right before his face. His brothers are bowed before him. All that had happened to him, I’m sure, came flooding back and Joseph runs out of the room. When he returns he has an unnatural reaction to them, he forgave them, choosing to believe that what they meant for evil, God meant for good. Joseph had 2 children, their names were Manasseh and Ephraim. Manasseh means God has made me forget my hardship. Ephraim means God has made me fruitful in my affliction. We get an idea of the outcome, the end result, of the trial Joseph had walked through by how he named his children who were the fruit of his life. Joseph made it through the hard situations in his life. How? By what He chose to do. He practice his faith even when it was hard, even when it hurt!
The way through uncomfortable circumstances is by right action. – Tweet This!
NOTE: I gave a word of caution about Proverbs 10:25 and the way that “seems right” when it comes to going through hard circumstances by right action. More about that in my Wednesday post called The Watering Hole.
People: Those who are for you and those who are against you. Both are good for us!
Jesus said in Matthew 5:11 Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.
We are blessed when these things happen to us on account of living like Jesus Not living our own way! So don’t be discouraged in well doing. God knows how to handle your enemies, leave them to Him. Look at the example of Saul before he became Paul. He was an enemy of the God’s people. God turned him into an ally. He goes on to become one of the greatest of the Apostles, writing a good chunk of the New Testament.
Mentors: Spiritual Mothers and Fathers. We are all in the process. Everything that we have ever learned in this life we have learned from someone else. What are people learning from you? Are you paying attention to what your life is teaching?
1 Timothy 4:14-16 do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the Council of Elders lay their hands on you. Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.
Paul became a champion of people and was a mentor to Timothy. You can become a mentor and be mentored too, teaching and learning through this life.
A Word For The Older Generations: If you think of the younger generations and say, “Wow, what an entitled bunch of brats who think they know so much and are all about themselves.” Remember you are called to Champion them. Older Saints are to help prepare the character of the next generation.
IF YOU WANT TO BE CHAMPION:
- HAVE CONFIDENCE IN THEM: Give them a challenge. Give them opportunities to do what you do and to lead under you in ministry. Tell them that you have confidence in them and they are going to have to find their confidence in Christ as they do it.
- LISTEN TO THEM: Ask them their opinion and really listen to them. They are incredibly smart! They know more than you think they do!
- BUILD RELATIONSHIP: If you want to be able to correct them with a fruitful outcome, then build the relationship bridge with them and they will want to hear from you.
A Word for The Younger Generations: If you think of the older generations and say, “I can’t learn anything from them. They are not relevant anymore. I want to figure this thing out on my own.” Remember that God has been used the older generations to help unlock the destiny of young people and prepared them for what the Lord Has for them since forever.
- Prophet Samuel that David received the king’s Vision
- Moses that Joshua entered the promised land
- Elijah that Elisha received a double portion.
- Missionary Amy Carmichael taught Writer and Speaker Elisabeth Elliot the shape of godliness.
YOUNG PEOPLE IF YOU WANT TO BE THOUGHT OF AS ABLE AND CAPABLE:
- DONT ASSUME: Be careful that you don’t assume that the older generations don’t get it. Realise that they have lived life. They get it. They know more than you think.
- GET CURIOUS: Ask their opinion about what is going on in life and really listen to them. Their stories of how life used to be and where they have been can inspire you.
- ASK QUESTIONS: When you ask questions it shows that you have humility, that you have teachability and that you don’t think you know it all. A good question to ask is, “what do you wish, that you knew at my age, that you know now?”
The way we build character is by keeping our eyes on destiny! We have to get the long view because generations are at stake! I have has many mentors in my life and grown as I allowed them to teach me.
Here are some things I have learned:
- They can see in me things that I can’t see in myself.
- When I submit to them – I honor God, I honor them as elders and God lifts me up into my calling without me having to push or plan.
- When I serve with a good attitude even when I am emotionally upset. I gain character and favor with God and man. Humility gets God attention.
You can’t be thin-skinned if you want to get to the place that you’ve been called. – Starla Smith – Tweet This!
I’m sure that Joseph, in his immature character, thought that the dream just meant that one day his brothers would bow down to him and he would rule over them. I’m sure he never thought that he would go through what he did and develop the kind of character it would take to be over all of Egypt under Pharaoh to save an entire Nation.
The way we build character is by keeping our eyes on destiny. – Tweet this!
WHAT’S THE POINT:
Each one of us must partner with God through the process of preparation. What is the point of progress and preparing? Is it so that you can have a platform? So that everyone knows your name? Is it so that you can be in a history book or on Wikipedia?
NO! It is to declare the goodness of God. It is to point to JESUS!
He is our hope! Circumstances will continue on – life goes on – the world still turns. You can get through it but will you do it with hope? People will still be around – saying and doing things – you are not on this planet alone. You may learn how to navigate socially and relationally to survive but will you become a hope carrier? Will you take Jesus to this world?
Paul said : Philippians 1:19-20 for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
I am in awe of the goodness of God in my life and how He can take immature little girl dreams and make them come true:
I didn’t have to clean my own soul house, Jesus did! He washed me clean by his blood!
I don’t do the work. It is God who works in me, to will and to work His good pleasure!
I don’t have to cook up some hospitality and love, He washed my feet and gave me bread and a cup! I am so thankful that I want to give that same thing away to others.
I have someone to drive me around. I live in Christ! His Holy Spirit has the wheel.
What is The process of preparation
Endure: How do you get through the uncomfortable circumstances? Through right action! Do the right thing even when it hurts. Jesus is being formed in you!
Build Character: How do you have a longer view than what is happening right in front of you?! Keep your eyes on the goal! Learn from others. Then pass it on. Shine Jesus through your life!
WHY: Because Endurance produces Character, and Character produces Hope.
Hope is confidence in God’s promises. Jesus never fails. Lean into Hope! Hope in God generates confidence in His promises. Confidence in God does not shame us but it reinforces the certainty that He will do what He has promised. He is faithful!
Thanks for Listening,