In this message, we learn why God wants to awaken us to our destiny.
Alright, good stuff. Good stuff. Is anybody excited today?
God is moving. We’re creating space for Him to move in our lives. Man, it’s always exciting to meet and see our leaders and people that want to make disciples. You realize if you are a follower of Jesus, he has called you to make disciples too. And we’re on this journey of learning what that looks like together and taking next steps. Listen to me. When God is moving, just jump in the river. So what I would tell you – there’s just certain seasons and times when God moves differently than others. And when he is moving, don’t think about it. Don’t logically process it. Just jump in the river and let Him take you wherever it is that he’s going, because He is moving right now. And so we’re in the second week of our 21 days of praying and fasting, which means you’re making it. You’re still alive. You’re surviving. It’s all still okay [Laughs]. Just kind of there’s a way of help for maybe some of you that are new to it. Usually the first week is the hardest week. It’s kind of when you’re trying to reshape your lifestyle, and you’ve got all your cravings.
The second week is usually the quiet week. You’ve kind of got into a rhythm and a routine, but it tends to be quiet. The third week is usually the breakthrough week. So if you’re on praying and fasting with us this week and you kind of feel like you didn’t hear all that much, don’t give up and go get a cheeseburger after service [Laughs]. Press into the third week, because it’s usually the third week where you experience the breakthrough that God has in store for you. We’re creating space, church, and I’m telling you He is moving. Okay? So by faith just believe that. So one quick announcement before we get into it. For everybody who is part of our all-in community, don’t forget; this Friday night we have our first ever all-in community gathering. So let me encourage you. Go online. Make sure you register. It’s kind of part of what it means to be part of the all-in community coming to things like on a Friday night. We’ve got some great stuff to share with you. We’ve never done this before. We want to start doing it about once or twice a year, just getting the all-in community to gather, to just talk about where we are as a church and what God is inviting us to. As a way of reminder for everybody else, here at Valley Creek we don’t have traditional church membership. Okay? And it’s very intentional.
Usually traditional church membership, it’s just a list of things you have to do or don’t do. Like, do this, do this, do this or I won’t do that, I won’t do that, I won’t do that. And unintentionally, church membership can also often create an exclusivity and a spirit of entitlement. Like membership, I’m either a member or I’m not. I’m either in or I’m out, and we never want that for people that are coming from our city to join us. We never want them to feel like there’s members like an elite status. And it can also create a spirit of entitlement. If you are a member in a country club or a gym, you have an expectation that there’s benefits and privileges and rights that you get by being a member. Well, when you read the Bible that’s never how Jesus was building the church. He was building it with a group of people that were all in with him and that were all in with his church. That it’s not a list of things I’m doing to do or not do. It’s about becoming someone. And all-in is just a commitment and it’s a posture of the heart, which means anyone can do it at any point in time when they decide, “I’m all in with Jesus and I’m all in with this church.”
And so there’s a lot of you who have been here, journeying with us for a long time. Maybe this is your next step. It’s time to be all in with Jesus and all in with Valley Creek. And if that’s you, go through the Pathway classes. They’ll explain it to you. They’ll get you all set up. And if you’re sitting there thinking, “I’d like to do it, but I just don’t think I can. I think I’ll mess it up.” Listen; always remember, Jesus’ grace will empower your willingness. Jesus’ grace will empower your willingness. Nobody is talking about being perfect. What we’re talking about is have a posture that says, “I’m all in with Jesus and I’m all in with this church.” Okay? So for some of you that’s your next step. Alright. If you’ve got your Bibles, 1st Samuel 14. We’re in our series called Awaken. We’re talking about living with a whole heart and a passionate life. We started the first week by talking about awakening our hearts. And then last week we talked about awakening to His presence. And as you awaken your heart and you awaken to the presence of God in your life, then you can awaken to your destiny, which is what I want to talk about today.
I want to talk about destiny, that big mysterious word that most of us have no idea what to do with. That word that often makes us feel kind of discouraged and defeated, because most of us feel like we’ve missed our destiny or it’s passed up by, or we’re not sure what it is. We’re not even sure how to find it. So when we hear a term like destiny, it kind of can make us feel ashamed and defeated and discouraged. You know what I’m talking about? Anybody ever feel like that? I’m the only one that ever feels like that?
Okay. It was going to be a long message for you. If you’ve never felt that, I just can go ahead and say it right now [Laughs].
Let me go ahead and just try to bring that all down. Here’s the simple reality of destiny. Your destiny is found in a thousand small steps, not in giant leap. Your destiny is not found in one moment of divine favor, but in a thousand moments of choosing to trust God. It’s not a destination. It’s a way of life. It’s not about trying to find tomorrow. It’s about walking with God today and seizing the divine opportunities that come in to your life every single day.
The divine opportunities that glorify God and engage your heart. And if you want to awaken to your destiny, you need to start seizing those divine moments, those 1000 little moments of trusting God. That’s what your destiny is all about. And in 1st Samuel Chapter 14, there’s a great example for us. So let me set the stage of the story for you. The Israelites and the Philistines are lined up for battle, okay? The Israelites, people of God. Philistines, the enemies of God. And they’ve come to battle and it says, “The Israelites are quaking with fear.” The army is fleeing. They’re hiding in holes and caves. They’re disappearing. And Saul is the king and his son, Jonathan, is with him. And it literally says out of the whole Israelite army they only have two swords. Saul has one and Jonathan has one. Nobody else has a sword. [Laughs] So those are not good odds when you’re fighting an entire army. They’d all have swords, okay? And so it says that the Israelite army becomes apathetic. They hide under a pomegranate tree. They’re starting to take a nap, and in the midst of all that Jonathan sees a divine opportunity and he takes it.
Pick it up with me in Verse 1. It says, “One day Jonathan, son of Saul, said to the young man bearing his armor, “Come, let’s go over to the Philistine outpost on the other side.” But he did not tell his father.” Verse 6 – “Jonathan said to his young armor-bearer, “Come, let’s go over to the outpost of those uncircumcised fellows. Perhaps the Lord will act in our behalf. Nothing can hinder the Lord from saving, whether by many or by few.” “Do all that you have in mind,” his armor-bearer said. “Go ahead; I am with you, heart and soul.” Okay, pause. That’s the definition of friendship. If you want to know what friendship looks like, it’s that. It’s someone who chooses to pursue Jesus with you. A friend is not someone you like to hobby with or hang out with or who watches your kids with you. A friend is someone who says, “I’m pursuing Jesus with you. I am heart and soul in this thing.”
Do you have friends like that? Because that’s friendship. It goes on. Verse 8 – “Jonathan said, “Come then. We will cross over toward the men and let them see us.” Wait, what? “If they say to us, ‘Wait there until we come to you,’ we will stay where we are and not go up to them. But if they say, ‘Come up to us,’ we will climb up, because that will be our sign that the Lord has given them into our hands.” [Laughs] I think it’s at this point the armor bearer is like, “I don’t want to be friends anymore, Jonathan.”
“You obviously know nothing about warfare. You want to let them see us? Like, if we’re going to find victory, we’ve got to go for the stealth attack. We need the surprise attack. Like, we don’t want them to see us and know we’re there. We want to sneak in on them. [Laughs] And not only that Jonathan, but the Philistines have the high ground. And if you know anything about warfare, victory comes from the high ground.” In fact, that’s what the world will always tell you, that victory comes from the high ground. The world will tell you that victory comes when you have the seat of honor. The world will tell you that victory comes when you are being served.
The world will tell you that victory comes when you are getting promoted. But Jonathan knew something that we often forget. In the kingdom of God, victory always comes from the low ground. Jesus says, “The least of these will be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. The greatest servant of all will be the greatest among you. That victory is found in hiddenness, not in self promotion. See, Jonathan knew victory comes when we humble ourselves because God will exalt us, but if we exalt ourselves, God will knock us down. And so Jonathan knew it was all about humility, not arrogance. And if you’re here and you’re in a battle of some kind in your life, can I tell you; victory in the kingdom of God always comes from the low ground. Choose the route of humility and God will exalt you, will lift you up in that situation. Verse 11 – “So both of them showed themselves to the Philistine outpost. “Look!” said the Philistines. “The Hebrews are crawling out of the holes they were hiding in.” The men of the outpost shouted to Jonathan and his armor-bearer, “Come up to us and we’ll teach you a lesson.”
So Jonathan said to his armor-bearer, “Climb up after me; the Lord has given them into the hand of Israel.” Jonathan climbed up, using his hands and feet, with his armor-bearer right behind him. The Philistines fell before Jonathan, and his armor-bearer followed and killed them behind him. In that first attack Jonathan and his armor-bearer killed some twenty men in an area of about half an acre.” Okay, that’s a good story.
Oh, come on. That should inspire you. That’s a good story! I mean, think about it. The Israelites and the Philistines, they’re at battle and the odds are totally stacked against Jonathan. They have two swords for the entire army. He’s got one of them, which is good news [Laughs]. But they’ve got two swords. And Saul has decided he is not going to go and fight. The Israelites are apathetic. They’re sleeping under a pomegranate tree. And in the midst of all that Jonathan sees a divine opportunity and he decides to take it. He is awakened to the potential that’s right there in front of him.
See, Jonathan knows that God has already promised the Israelites victory over their enemy. So he decides he is going to step into the space, trust God, and watch God move. And what Jonathan does is he decides he’s going to act on his passion regardless of anyone else. Jonathan refuses to allow their apathy to keep him from his destiny. He refuses to allow the apathy of the Israelite army to keep him from his destiny. So he goes for it and he glorifies God. Listen; can I tell you something today? Don’t let other people’s apathy keep you from your destiny. Don’t let other people’s apathy keep you from your destiny. In fact, one of the greatest barriers you will ever have to face in stepping into the fullness of your destiny is the apathy of the people around you. I mean, listen to these verses. John 12:42 – It says, “Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in Jesus. But because of the Pharisees they would not confess their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue, for they loved praise from men more than praise from God.”
So catch this. Leaders, Pharisees, they believe in Jesus. They’re passionate about Jesus. They want to follow Jesus, but the apathy of the Pharisees around them keep them from following. There’s a whole group of people that wanted to follow Jesus, passionate and excited about, but the apathy of those around them kept them in a posture of fear, because they loved the praise of man more than the praise of God. And I wonder how many times did those verses define our lives. How many wives want to follow Jesus, but don’t because of their husbands’ apathy? How many students want to follow Jesus, but don’t because of their parents’ apathy? How many men want to honor Jesus in the marketplace, but don’t because of the apathy of the coworkers around them? How many people in church service want to worship, but don’t raise their voice because of the apathy of the people sitting around them? See, Satan will use the apathy of others to suppress your passion.
It’s like a bucket of cold water on a burning flame. But you have to make a decision to say, “I’m not going to let fear of man keep me from passionately following Jesus and stepping into my divine opportunities.” In fact, there’s a really simple statement that all of us we’ve got to get in our mind and get in our heart, and it’s simply this. “I can’t let your response to God determine my view of Him.” All of us have got to get that in our hearts. Like Moses refused to let the rebellion of the Israelites determine his view of God. The disciples refused to allow the rejection of the crowd to determine their view of Jesus. And you’re going to have to decide to not let the apathy of those around you determine your view of God. In fact, to be real honest with you, when I first got into ministry I really struggled with this, because ministry it’s a lot about getting people excited to follow Jesus and help them take the next step and point them in the direction.
And I thought people would just be as passionate as I was and it would be that easy, but I don’t know if you know this or not, but not everybody wants to follow Jesus.
You know that? Not even everybody in church wants to follow Jesus.
And so you’re trying to help people and you’re kind of looking at their responses. And I remember there was this season where other people’s responses were changing my view of God. I started to question God. I started to think, “Maybe you don’t move like that anymore. Maybe the gospel doesn’t have this incredible power.” And all these different kinds of things until I got to this point where I realized; whether people accept Him or reject Him, He is still God. Exodus 34:6 – “Regardless of how we respond, He is The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate God, slow to anger, and abounding in love and faithfulness.” Our response does not determine who He is. It determines a lot about who we are. And if you’re here and you’re involved in ministry, you lead a small group of serving team and you just want to follow Jesus, you’re going to have to get this in your heart because I’m telling you, the apathy of the people around you will discourage you to a point where you’re going to want to give up.
I mean, in this series we’ve talked about this word, passion. It’s come up a couple of different times. Just simple definition for passion is that what you’re willing to suffer for. So passion literally means that which you’re willing to suffer for. Like, if you’re passionate about the Cowboys, you are willing to suffer through a whole lot of fourth quarter heartbreaking defeats.
Yes? Yes, okay. It’s passion. You suffer through it. If you’re passionate about working out, you’re willing to suffer through getting up at 5 in the morning and go to the gym when the rest of us are sleeping [Laughs]. If you’re passionate about your kids, you’re willing to suffer through driving them to all different kinds of places to get them where they need to go. And if you’re going to be passionate about Jesus, you’re going to have to suffer through the apathy of the people around you. You’re going to have to suffer through their apathy without it making you apathetic. 2nd Corinthians 5:14 – “For Christ’s love compels us to step into divine opportunities regardless of what anyone else thinks.”
I mean, think about it. The goal of this life is not to play it safe and to just hold on. It’s to go for it for His glory. And the great danger of success in your life is fear of losing that which you’ve gained. See if you can catch this for me for a second. The great danger of any type of success in your life is fear of losing that which you’ve gained. As you become any measure of successful in this life, you start to acquire things and you gain things. And as you start to get stuff, all of a sudden we now have this fear of losing that which we’ve gained. In fact, the more established you become in life, the more resistant you are to change. You start allowing divine opportunities to pass you by because you can’t risk it. You can’t step into it because you’ve got to protect that which you’ve established. That’s what you’ve built up in your life. And you know it’s true because you remember before you had anything you were willing to risk. You’d jump into divine opportunities. You would just go for it because you didn’t have anything to lose. All of a sudden you have something to lose and like, “Ah, I don’t know.”
And so success can unintentionally create apathy in your heart. Without even realizing it, the blessings of God in your life can actually make you apathetic when you became afraid of losing them, because you want to hold on to them for yourself. So the question that you have to ask is, is that even a definition of success? To be enslaved to the very thing that I’ve been trying acquire in my life? I don’t know if I would define that as success? And that’s when you are alive, but you’re not really living. You see, you have to remember, in the kingdom of God there’s no such thing as neutral. There’s no pause. It’s not like a DVR. You don’t get to just pause your kingdom life. “Well, I think this scene. Pause if right here.” Bloop! No. You’re either moving forward or backwards. You’re following or you’re drifting. Jesus says you’re gathering or you’re scattering, which is a hard one and we’ll deal with it somewhere in the future. But there’s no in between. And we like to say things like this, “I’m just neutral.” Like, “I’m paused. I’m okay. I’m good. Yeah, I’m not doing a lot of stuff right now, but I’m not doing evil.”
“I’m not doing a lot of the bad sins and all those other kinds of things. So I’m just neutral. I’m good.” Okay well, James 4:17 says, “He who knows the good he ought to do, and doesn’t do it, to him that’s sin.” When you know the good, you should do. When you don’t do it, God calls that sin. Like, God says it’s sin to pass the divine opportunities that He brings in your life. In the whole goal of this Christian life, it’s not to avoid evil. It’s to release love. This is not how much evil you can avoid, okay? That’s what you think following Jesus is about. Reread the Bible, because Jesus already took care of all that stuff. He took care of it on the cross. We’re free. We’re forgiven. We’re redeemed. This is not about how much evil you can avoid. This is about how much love you can release. I mean, think again of your favorite football team, okay, and get to the fourth quarter. They’re ahead and they’ve got points. And what do they want to do in the fourth quarter? They want to run the clock out, just hold onto the game, play defense, and try to get the win and get into the locker room. Right?
And every time that happens the announcer within like 2 minutes says, “Man, if all I do is play defense for the rest of the game, they’re going to lose because the other team ain’t going to stop playing offense. And they’re going to score some points and win the game.” [Laughs]. And then the Cowboys lose every time.
Right? Well, just hold on and play defense until the end. Do you know how many Christians just want to hold on and play defense till the end? I want to run the clock out. Let me hold on to what I’ve got. I don’t want to risk it. If I just hold on, I can get to the end with what I’ve got. Do you understand Jesus never invites you to play defense? He only invites you to play offense. Jesus says, “I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” You are not on defense. You are on offense. And if you hold back or just try to hold on, you’re not really living. And you lose the very things you’re trying to hold on to. The kingdom of God cannot advance with its people in retreat.
And so what happens is we become afraid, paralyzed. “I can’t lose that which I’ve acquired. I’ve got to hold on to it with everything I’ve got.” And God brings a divine opportunity in your life. You look at it and you’re like, “Ah, ah.” And then all of a sudden all the apathetic people start chirping in your ear. They start saying things like, “You can’t do that. That is impossible. Man, you’ve got one sword. How are you going to fight an entire army?” That’s the apathetic people. And then the apathetic people start telling you who you are. Start telling you you’re not this or you are that based on your past or all these different kinds of things. Okay, time out. Don’t take advice from apathetic people. Can I tell you that? Don’t take advice from people that are sleeping under a pomegranate tree, because you don’t want their advice because you don’t want to get to where their life is. This is what Proverbs calls the fool. Right? You don’t want advice from a fool, from an apathetic person sleeping under a pomegranate tree, who is going to try to tell you how to live your life. This is the moment where you say, “I can’t let your apathy keep me from my destiny. It doesn’t matter what you say, because I am not insignificant. I am not a nobody. I am not my past.”
“I am His workmanship. I am His friend, and I am His future. And I’m going to let Him tell me who I am, not you tell me who I am. And I’m going to allow His perfect love to cast out my fear. I’m going to step into my authority and believe His promises are greater than my problems.”
It’s okay to sort of get excited sometimes.
Let me just encourage you on that. Like, if we’re going to go for it, go for it and cheer. If you’re not going to do it, then don’t do it. Like, either go for it, like be like Jonathan [Laughs] and go, or don’t.
But see, here’s the reality. If you’re hiding in fear, you will never feel fully alive. You will only feel fully alive when you step into divine opportunities like Jonathan. And so what he does is he sees what’s on the Father’s heart and he brings it into the natural realm. He brings heaven to earth. Everyone else is under a pomegranate tree and he’s chasing his destiny, glorifying God and engaging his heart – being fully alive and awake in life.
In fact, Psalm 37:4 – do you remember this verse? “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Remember that one? So the more I delight myself in Him, the more He gives me the desires of my heart. Why? Because the more I seek Him, delight in Him, choose Him, chase Him, the more in alignment I become with Him and the more His desires start to become my desires. 2nd Corinthians 3:18 says, “The more you behold Jesus, the more you become like him.” So if I become like him, it means his desires start to become my desires. In fact, the word desire, if you break it down – de, sire – it literally means ‘of the father.’ De – of, sire – father. So if I delight myself in the Lord, he gives me the desires that are of the Father into my heart. Which means I can start trusting my desires and I can act on them like Jonathan did, because I know I’m delighting myself in Him and I know they’re coming from the Father. Twice in Augustine, he said this. He said, “Love God and do whatever you want.”
“Love God and do whatever you want.” Maybe an oversimplification, but when he is saying is if I love God, his desires are going to be my desires. And I can trust that and go for it. And believe I’m a co-ruler and I’m ruling and reigning with Him. And I have authority and I can believe those desires are like a guide or a compass in my heart with the Holy Spirit. And I can believe Genesis 1:28 when he says, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth, rule over it and subdue it.” I can dream with God and step into those divine moments and seize them, that the desires are coming from Him and I can go for it.
And so the question then is, what’s God inviting you to? What’s God inviting you to? It always make me laugh in church. Here’s the thing. In my whole time in full-time ministry these people come up and they say, “John, what does the church need us to do?” They’re goodhearted and they want to serve and say, “What does the church need us to do?” And I really don’t like that question, because my response back is the same every time. I always say, “Well, what is the desire of your heart?”
What is in your heart? We need the things that are of the Father, that He has put in you, to be released into this world. So we need you to do what God has put on your heart. But the reason we don’t like that, the reason we want to come and say what does the church need me to do, is because if I ask you to tell me what I need to do to follow God, I’ve just abdicated my responsibility to first delight in Him. If I expect you to tell me what it is that I need to do for the church, I’ve just abdicated my responsibility to delight in Him, because if I delight in Him, He will then give me desires of my heart and then by faith I act on them. But if I’m not really sure what the desire in my heart is, I’m abdicating this responsibility to delight in Him and expecting you to do it for Him. Does that make sense? So he says, “Delight in me and I’ll put it in you.” See, they’re everywhere.
I might be inviting somebody to church, praying over somebody, changing careers, stepping into a new season, being a missionary; walking across this room to welcome somebody we’ve never seen before; starting a group. I don’t know. You see, I think maybe the wrong question that we want to ask all the time; maybe the wrong question is, what is God’s will for my life? And maybe the right question is, what has God already empowered me to do and am I doing it? Maybe the wrong question is, what is God’s will for my life? And I know in some of you the sirens are going off like, “Boo-woo, you can’t say that in church.” Well, I just did.
But think about it. Here’s the question. What’s God’s will for my life? Who is the focus? Me. So it’s already the wrong question because it’s all about me. And then you watch people and say, “What’s God’s will for my life?” They can’t figure it out. So it paralyzes them. And they do nothing and they sit under a pomegranate tree for the rest of their life, waiting for this divine explosion to tell them their destiny when God has already promised victory to the Israelites and says, “Go and take it.” Right?
So maybe the right question is, what has God empowered me to do and am I doing it? Like, make disciples and be an ambassador for the kingdom, and co-rule with Him and represent Him and be generous and forgive those around me. In fact, if you will just do what God has already told you to do, you will never miss your destiny, because He will lead you right into it. And your destiny beings by doing the last thing He has already asked you to do. We didn’t like it when He told us the first time. That’s why we didn’t do it. We don’t like it the second time. Right? But it’s the 1000 moments of trusting Him; it’s not one divine moment of faith. And if you will value what He has revealed, He will uncover that which is hidden. If you value what He has revealed, what He has already empowered you to do, He will uncover that which is hidden; the rest of His will for your life. Like, value or honor the revelation and He will uncover for you the mystery. We need to be more concerned with what He has already said to us than what He is yet to say. Right?
Does that make sense? Are you with me?
Sort of. This half of the room, I’m not sure if you’re with me. You’re not saying anything.
These people over here are. Okay? This is a little bit like last week. I’m kind of navigating you through some places and I’m just trying to take you –and you don’t need to like – I’m not asking for celebration. I just want to make sure you’re catching what I’m saying. I want to make sure you’re getting this revelation, because this is important. Let me ask you to a question like this. Do you have a dream and a vision for your life? A vision and a dream; like a vision, a direction I’m going, and dream – something I’m believing can come from heaven to earth.. Acts 2:17 says, “’In the last days” – today, the church days – “I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, and your young men and women will see visions, and your old men and women will dream dreams.” So He says the Spirit of the Living God will come upon you when you follow Jesus. And the spirit within you will give you a vision and a dream for your life.
And He says – I love the way He says it. “I will give young men and women a vision.” Why young men and women a vision? Because young people need a direction for their lives. They’re not really sure where to go. They’re kind of navigating. They’re aimless. They drift. They wander. So God says, “I will give young people a vision and I will give old people a dream.” Why? Because old people stop dreaming. They become numb by this life. And they’ve got a certain measure of success, a certain measure of establishment, and they’re afraid of losing that which they have. So they hold on to it and they stop dreaming. But an awakened heart always dreams of the glory of God filling you. A numb heart is focused on itself. And the more a numb heart focuses on itself, the number it becomes. And so the question is, do you have a vision and dream? If the answer is no, then ask Him. This is a promise.
This isn’t like maybe if you’re lucky and the stars align you can get a vision. He says, “I promise. My spirit will give you a vision and a dream.” So some of you right now by faith you even need to grab it and say, “That’s for me. I believe Lord that you’re going to put that in me right now.” Are you young? Do you need a vision? I will give it to you. Are you old? I’m not going to define the age on that. You figure that out on your own.
That is waters I will not tread on. He will give you one. And if you do have one, what are you waiting for? You’re waiting for it to get easier? You’re waiting for the circumstances to be more in your favor? Understand; God will stack the circumstances against you, so He gets the glory [Laughs]. Like giving you two swords for the entire army to beat an entire nation.
And it’s not going to get easier. And here is what I think. I think honestly if we’re just honest, if you just broke it all down, we’re just bored in life. I think a lot of us, we’re just bored.
That’s why we change our clothes and our cars and our jobs and our houses and our look. We’re just trying to feel alive. And maybe we’re bored because we aren’t really following Jesus. Like Jesus says, “Preach the kingdom, heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons, raise the dead.” I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sound boring.
You’re casting out a demon, there ain’t nothing boring about that.
You’re raising someone from the dead, you don’t need to change your hair color. You’re not worried about hair color. You’re helping them with their hair color.
Think about Peter. Peter wasn’t bored walking on water, multiplying bread and loves, and raising people from the dead. Think of Paul. Paul wasn’t bored traveling the known world with town planning, churches operating, and signs and wonders declaring the gospel. We’re bored because we don’t step into the divine opportunities that He has given us, because we are afraid of losing that which we’ve gained in a lot of different ways.
And here’s what I’ve learned. If I will build his kingdom, He will build my life. If you will build His kingdom, He will build your life. When I build His kingdom, He just takes care of my marriage and my kids and my finances and my dreams and my desires. But when I try to build my life, I find myself stressed out, struggling and striving. Build his kingdom; He will awaken your heart. Back to Mark 8 – Jesus says, “If you would come after Him, you must deny yourself, pick up your cross, for whoever wants to save his life will lose it. Whoever loses his life, will save it.” Build my kingdom or build your life. “What good is it for man to gain the whole world and yet lose or forfeit his soul?” In other words Jesus says, “What good is it if you’re holding on to all of your success and living with a numb heart?” Okay? Now, real quick, look at Verse 15 because this is where I wanted to get you. Let me bring it all together, because this is the whole story, right here. Jonathan goes up. He steps into his passion, defeats 20 people. Verse 15 – “Then panic struck the whole army—those in the camp and field, and those in the outposts and raiding parties—and the ground shook. It was a panic sent by God.”
So catch this. Jonathan has passion. He steps into his divine opportunity. He kills 20 Philistines and in that moment Jonathan’s passion inspires God. God is moved by Jonathan’s passion and sets a panic into the Philistine army. I don’t know about you; I want my passion to inspire God. When God looks at my life, I want Him to look at me and be like, “Man, I’m so inspired by your passion I’m going to move now based on your faith. I’m going to respond – the way that you just responded to me, I’m now going to respond back to you.” God responds to Jonathan’s passion, sets the whole Philistine army in motion. And look at Verse 20 – “Then Saul and all his men assembled and went to the battle. They found the Philistines in total confusion, striking each other with their swords. Those Hebrews or Israelites who had previously been with the Philistines and had gone up with them to their camp, came back over to the Israelites who were with Saul and Jonathan.”
“And when all the Israelites who had hidden in the hill country of Ephraim heard that the Philistines were on the run, they joined the battle in hot pursuit. So the Lord rescued Israel that day.” Catch this! One man, one man has passion to follow God and step into a divine opportunity. He goes up on a hill, kills 20 Philistines, and in that moment his passion mobilizes the apathetic Israelite army. They hadn’t moved from the pomegranate tree until Jonathan steps into his passion. All of sudden they’re mobilized. They come up and get in the battle. It says, “Then the Israelites who had defected and were living with the Philistines” – who are literally rebelling against God, fighting against His people – “they see Jonathan’s passion and they come back home and join the Israelite army to fight against the Philistines. And then those who are hiding in rocks and caves and holes all over the place, who are afraid, when they saw Jonathan’s passion they came out of hiding and they joined the war.”
Which means, Jonathan’s passion mobilized the apathetic, restored the rebellious, and healed the broken.
One man’s passion mobilizes the apathetic, restores the rebellious, and heals the broken. His passion awakened the heart. You say, “What does that mean for me?” Here’s what it means for you. Wives, your passion can mobilize an apathetic husband. Dads, your passion can reclaim a rebellious teenager. Students, you passion can literally heal the broken in your schools and draw them out of hiding into the kingdom of God. In this place, when you show up here with passion, your passion can mobilize the apathetic in this room, restore the rebellious within this room, and heal the broken within this room. Wherever you are in your life – your job, your community, your neighborhood, your school activities, your sporting teams – God has placed you there to be passionate and step into those divine opportunities to mobilize the apathetic, restore the rebellious, and heal the broken around you. That’s how the kingdom works.
And what we do is we step back and say, “I can’t do it. No, I’m a nobody. Ah, no, no, no. Not me.” That’s why this story is for us, because you catch Jonathan is just a regular dude. He has no title. He has no position. He has no influence. He is just passionate about God. And Jesus chooses to change this world with regular people who are passionate about him. So Acts 4:13 – It says, “When they saw the courage” – passion will always lead to a courageous lifestyle – “of Peter and John and realized they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished that they had been with Jesus.” Regular people with a passion for Jesus changed the world. And our church is full of Jonathans – full of Jonathans. I can tell you about a Jonathan family that gave up over $1 million to step into a ministry assignment that God was calling them to. Who does that?
I could tell you about students who are giving up their activities and their sports and their extracurricular activities to spend time pursuing God. And I could tell you about other students that see their sports and their activities as an opportunity to promote God. Who does that? I could tell you about a whole bunch of families last year that, when we started the Denton campus, sold their homes in Flower Mound and Lantana and wherever down here, and they moved up and bought a house or got an apartment in Denton, because they wanted to be in Denton to bring grace and truth with those people. Who does that? I could tell you about a family in our church right now, in the middle of their life, that’s giving it all up to move to be a missionary in De Carr. Who goes to De Carr? Do you know where De Carr is? No! That’s the point.
No one goes to De Carr. Okay? But they are. Who does that? People who believe life is about seizing divine moments, not holding on to what they’ve gained. That’s who does that.
And individual passion will create a public awakening. Jonathan’s individual passion created a public awakening and the whole nation got a victory, which means your individual passion can create a public awakening with us. You can awaken us. And so this whole talk of playing it safe – safest way to play it is to boldly follow Jesus. The most dangerous route is to try to hold on to what you’ve got, sit on the sideline with apathy, because you die a slow death every single day. And so I would ask you, are you inspired by your own passion? Does your own passion mobilize you out of apathy, restore rebellion within you, and heal broken? I mean, are you inspired by Him? You see, what I love about this whole story – catch this, and I’m done. This whole story is a story of Jesus, because you see, Jesus came and he took the low ground. He poured himself out and became a servant, and he took the low ground.
And Jesus went up a hill to fight a battle, and that hill was called Calvary. When he got to the top of that hill he was facing seemingly impossible odds. He was facing an impossible army. But Jesus had passion, that which he was willing to suffer for; you. And he stepped into that divine opportunity and he fought the battle, and he won a victory on the cross. And when Jesus won that victory, he mobilized the apathetic, he restored the rebellious, and he healed the broken. And you are that person. He mobilized you out of apathy, restored you out of rebellion, and healed the brokenness in your life. He awakened your heart and says, “Now, go do the same.” He says, “I’ve not awakened you, so you could sleep under a pomegranate tree.” He says, “I’ve awakened you so you can step into moments like Jonathan did.”
Jesus says, “Like he did and awaken the world around you.” Will you awaken us with your passion for him because of his passion for you? Okay? So you close your eyes. I know that was a lot. So let me just ask you. What’s the Holy Spirit saying to you? What do you sense in your heart right now? My guess would be that there’s some of you sitting here and you want a vision, you want a dream, you want to get out of that pomegranate tree, but you’re just not sure how.
It all starts when you choose to start seeing that Jesus stepped into the divine opportunity for you. That he was willing to suffer for you. That he was willing to awaken your heart. And when you by faith believe and receive that he mobilized you out of apathy, restored you out of rebellion, and healed your brokenness, it starts to change everything inside of you. Maybe that’s you today and by faith you just need to say, “Jesus, I receive that in my life.” Then I would guess there’s some of you here and you want a vision or you want a dream. Then let’s ask it. Right now just say, “Holy Spirit, would you start giving me a vision and a dream?” This a promise, guys. He promises he will do that.
And if you will delight in him, he will put the desires of the Father in your heart. He will awaken you to your destiny. Stop waiting for some day. Stop looking for this massive divine moment. Just start taking the thousands of little next steps of trusting Him in the divine opportunities that come every day. And so Lord Jesus, I just say would you come and awaken our hearts? Would you awaken us to our destiny? Would you mobilize every person in this room out of apathy because of the cross? Would you mobilize every person in this room? Would you come and restore us from rebellion and get rid of the resistance we’ve had in our hearts towards you? And would you come and would you heal the brokenness of every person in this room? Because that’s the cross and that’s what you did. And because of that, we can live and we can live an awakened life.
And so Lord, I pray you would release Jonathan’s spirit into us, that we would have the courage to say, “Even though I only have one sword my God is mighty to save whether by many or by few. And I will follow Him into victory, and He will move in response to my faith.” And so we say, “Do it, Lord. Come, move in this place. Awaken us to you.” I just feel so strongly, somebody in here, in particular a woman, God wants to just give you a new dream. He is speaking it to you right now and saying, “I want to give you a new dream. So you receive that from me.” So thank you, Lord. We celebrate you. We love what you’re doing. Keep doing it among us.