How Much Do You Want?

Description

In this message, we learn that if we want more of God, we can find Him in relationships.

Alright, everybody, welcome to Valley Creek. Come on, whatever campus you’re at, let’s welcome each other together. We are so glad you are here with us. Lots of great things happening around here. Yesterday, we had our Circle Leader Summit where our Circle leaders getting ready for the upcoming semester. Our 2021-2022 VCLA class has officially kicked off and is in motion.

This week, Student Leadership Experience and Kids Leadership Experience get started. We’ve got MVMNT Night that starts this week for students. Serve the City coming up on Saturday. And we’ve been sowing hope all over this region and we’re starting to reap it in Jesus’ name. Every week now, we’re starting to get calls and notes back from people that we don’t know somewhere in our region who have been touched by the hope that you’re sowing into their lives in Jesus’ name. This is what a movement of hope looks like and you’re a part of it. And we’re on a journey together in every way, shape and form, that’s always been the heart of our church. We want to go further, we want to go farther, we want to discover more of God and so we’ve been in this series called Build: becoming a dwelling place for God.

And we’ve been talking about building the relationships that matter the most, rebuilding the relationships that matter the most because it’s in our relationships with one another where God comes and dwells and we get to find and meet Him in new and ever increasing ways. And this has been a big series. It’s been a deep series. And honestly, it’s been a challenging series, hasn’t it? Like it’s okay to agree with that, it’s been it’s been a challenging series. You see, for years we’ve talked about the importance of relationships with one another within the body of Christ, part of the community of the family of God, but we’ve almost always presented it to you for the value add it has in your life. Like we’ve talked about that you need other people so you can get rooted with them, so that when the storms of life comes you don’t get blown or swept away. We’ve talked about how you need godly relationships in your life, people that you learn about, talk about and become more like Jesus so you can continue to grow.

We’ve talked about how one puts a thousand to flight but two puts 10,000 to flight, that there is a power and an anointing that’s released into your life when you align yourself with other believers. We’ve talked about being disciples and that if we’re really going to follow after Jesus and discover the abundant life he has for us, we need other disciples in our lives. And while all those things are great, they’re all about how they benefit me. But there’s a deeper layer and the deeper reason to build relationships with one another is because we desperately long to become the dwelling place for God.

I want you to think about that invitation for a moment. I want you to think about the opportunity and the privilege and honestly the responsibility that out of all the places God could choose to dwell in the universe, He says that he not only dwells in you as a follower of Jesus but that He dwells in us at a whole another measure when we come together in relationships.

That is the ultimate privilege and opportunity. And so one more time, let me show you a couple of these verses as we get into some new stuff, but I want you to make sure you understand this because these are so important, these have been our theme verses for this series. “Consequently you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household.” He says the moment you put your faith in Jesus, you no longer are a foreigner or an alien with the citizens or the kingdom of heaven, you now are a primary citizen of heaven, you no longer belong to this world which means the primary community of your life is not supposed to be the people of this world, it’s supposed to be the people of God. In fact, if you can catch this, you have more in common with a believer sitting on the other side of the room right now that you’ve never met than you do with your closest unbelieving friend.

You have more in common with someone sitting on the other side of this room that believes in Jesus, that you’ve never met before, than you do with your closest unbelieving friend. You say, bro, you’re wrong. Come on, we went to — we went to college together. We’ve known each other for 30 years, we’ve been in each other’s weddings, we have the same hobbies, we know everything about each other. I don’t even know that person on the other side of the room. Well, yeah, the other person on the other side of the room that believes in Jesus, too. Guess what you got in common with them? The Spirit of the living God dwells in both of you. You’re a new creation in Christ Jesus. You’re both a part of the body of Christ. You’ve been awakened to new life. The kingdom of heaven is in them and is also in you. And you both are now a part of an everlasting eternal kingdom that will not be shaken.

So I’m just saying, you got a little more in common with that than your hobby. And so we got to change our thinking. We’re foreigners and aliens in this world. You do not belong in this world anymore. Why? You’re a citizen of heaven. This is why in Hebrews 11, it talks about the ancients of the faith, how they longed for a country that was better than the place they were living, like they knew this world was not their home. And so they loved the people of God because it showed them what their home was like. Why? Because we’re members of God’s household. God is a father building a family for himself and until you see God as a good father and yourself as a beloved son, you will never see us as brothers and sisters. And Jesus is the cornerstone, the foundation, the rock, the one that makes all of this possible in the standard on which we align ourselves.

It goes on to say, “In him, in Jesus, the whole building is joined together, relationships, with one another and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord, and in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his spirit.” He flat out says that it’s in our relations with relationships with each other that God himself comes to dwell, we become a holy temple where God resides. So to pursue relationships with one another is to pursue God himself. My willingness to meet with you comes from my wanting to meet more with God, not based on the hobbies we share. It’s totally irrelevant. Why? Because we’re both citizens of another realm. We both have new blood flowing through our veins. We’re both been born again as new creations. We have so much more in common than we even are aware of, even if we have never met yet. Why? Because we want God to dwell among us.

Or how about Peter? He says, “You also like living stones are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood.” You’re living stones, not bricks because bricks are uniform, they’re all the same size, shape and color. Living stones. Stones, different sizes, different shapes, different colors, different backgrounds, have gone through different processes to become with the shape and the form that they are in, but when they are submitted to the lordship of Jesus, he takes us and takes the measure of faith that we have and he starts building us together exactly where he wants us to be and we rise to become a spiritual house, a holy temple to the Lord that is so supernatural, that it catches the attention of the world because they see the glory and the goodness and the grace of God among us.

And the reason you’re not a brick is because bricks are made by man, you’re a living stone, you’ve been created by God for God’s purposes. And so I would just submit to you that if this is true then think about this.

God decided you would be alive right now in 2021, that He put you in this church family at whatever campus you’re a part of because He knows exactly where you need to fit into the wall to become the holy temple that rises to the Lord of which His spirit dwells. So don’t just think like, oh, there’s nobody in this church for me to be friends with. No, God’s put you here, you just need to align your measure of faith, submit it and surrender it to Him and watch what He will build you and us into. One more, Jesus himself says, “Where two or three come together in my name there I am with them.” Jesus flat out says, it’s in our relationships with each other that a whole another measure of his presence comes to dwell to be among us and he tells us where to go if we really want to find him. Where two or three come together. See, we have to have the faith to seek God the way He tells us to seek Him. The problem is too many of us want to seek God the way we want to seek Him.

But if you seek God the way you want to seek Him instead of the way that God tells you to seek Him, then you’re God and He’s not. If I seek God the way that I want to seek Him instead of the way that He tells me to seek Him, then I become the God. I’m in charge, I’m declaring how it is and what the reality is. No, no, He’s God and I’m not and He tells me that if I want to find Him I will find Him when I am willing to get in the lives of other people who are also trying to find Him. You got to go find God where He says He is. And so for the last few weeks, as we’ve been going through this, what I’ve been trying to do is just change our perspective a little bit, open up our eyes, bring a level of revelation that leads us hopefully to repentance to see what’s available and what God has offered to us and how we then shall respond which really then is the question, like now what?

If we’ve got to change perspective or at least we have the revelation now, now we almost have to decide like now what are we going to do with it? And my hope is that it moves our heart. My hope is that we want so much more of God and we see where God now is that we’ve kind of like figured out like a hide and seek mission. We know where he is, so now I need to go and get him, which means my heart has to desire that and lead me into that reality where my actions now change to align with the revelation that I now have. And there’s a great story in the Old Testament that I think really illustrates this well for us. It’s the story of Nehemiah. You remember the story of Nehemiah, the Israelites have been defeated by the Babylonians, a picture of evil and the kingdom of darkness. And the Babylonians have come to the City of Jerusalem and they have destroyed it. They’ve torn down all the walls, they’ve destroyed the temple, the city of God, the dwelling place of God has been destroyed, the people have been exiled and all hope seems like it’s lost.

And years later, Nehemiah, an Israelite, a Jew is a cupbearer to the foreign king. And some people come back from Jerusalem to tell him about what’s going on there. And it says, they said to me, this is Nehemiah talking, people coming back from Jerusalem to tell him what was going on. Says, “’Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down and its gates have been burned with fire.’ When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.” Nehemiah hears about what has happened in Jerusalem and it breaks his heart because this isn’t just any city, this is Jerusalem.

This is the holy city of God. This is God’s chosen dwelling place on earth. This is where the kingdom of God is not just declared but it’s actually demonstrated. This is Jerusalem, yerushalom. Yeru flow, shalom peace. This is the place where peace flows, the city of God. This is the place where peace flows, shalom, completeness, wholeness, peace, prosperity, blessing, the comprehensive flourishing of every way, shape and form, the place of faith, hope and love, the place where God resides, declares His name and dwells among his people. This is not a city, this is the dwelling place of God. And it’s broken down. And it breaks his heart. And so he asks this foreign king whom he serves, he’s a cupbearer.

He knows nothing about building. But it so breaks his heart that he asks this king if he can go back and rebuild the walls of Jerusalem and he gets permission. And so he goes back, he gets to Jerusalem. For three days he rides around the walls and all of the walls have been torn down, every stone is toppled from the other one. It is a disaster, rubble everywhere. He understands the reality, he understands what God wants it to be. He gets the people together and he reminds them, this guys is Jerusalem, yerushalom, the place where peace flows, the dwelling place of God where God chooses to dwell among us. And it is time for us to rebuild this in God’s name, for his glory. So once again, the world may know and see and these have demonstrated the kingdom of God among us. And so all the people agree to do it and they start rebuilding the wall and it says, “Each one repaired the section immediately across from his own house.”

I love it. This is a massive wall, all the way around the City of Jerusalem, super overwhelming. But the good news is you don’t have to go repair the wall on the other side of town, you just got to repair the wall that’s right there in front of your house because if you’ll do your part and I’ll do my part, in 52 days, the wall gets rebuilt. And once again, Jerusalem becomes the dwelling place of God, once again Jerusalem becomes a place where the exiles can now come back home into the presence and the peace of God. Once again, Jerusalem could become the place that not only declared but demonstrated the glory and the goodness and the grace of God. It sure sounds like now, doesn’t it?

Over the last two years, let’s flat out say it, the body of Christ has gone through a storm. Babylon, the kingdom of darkness has come in to the global body of Christ and tried to damage and destroy and divide everything that he possibly could. I mean think about all the division that has happened in the church of Jesus in the last two years. Politics. You remember that last year, the election? Yeah. And masks and vaccines and quarantines and social justice issues and all the things has brought so much division, so much chaos, so much offense, is literally like taking the living stones and tearing them down one by one destroying the whole thing. Why? Because Satan doesn’t want God to have a dwelling place on this earth. And once we become aware of that, the hope is then it breaks our heart and we realize what has happened and what’s in front of us and the invitation that God gives us to rebuild the wall, which is what relationships with each other.

But you can’t just start rebuilding, you first have to remove the rubble. And what’s the rubble? It’s the offenses, and the wounds, and the disappointments, the unmet expectations, the sense of loss, the grief, all of the stuff that’s been said and done or picked up or embraced or come against all, you have to remove the rubble. And some of us are sitting here and the reason this series is so challenging to us is because we’re like sitting there like maybe acknowledging this reality but thinking, I don’t know that I want to trust people again. But it’s not do you want to trust people again, it’s God saying will you trust me again?

Will you once again start stacking stones so that you can be a part of what I want to do in your life? And before you can rebuild the part in front of your house, you have to take the mortar off the stone. Why? Because you don’t put fresh mortar on old mortar, you got to chip it off. What’s the old mortar? It’s the old connectivity that you had with people. Some of you are here and you’re newer to our church and it’s like you had these amazing relationships in the place that you moved from and you’re almost like believing to yourself, I will never have that again. That’s old mortar. That’s an ungodly belief, in Jesus’ name it’s got to get chipped off. Some of you are still telling yourself a story about somebody that hurt you 20 years ago, that’s old mortar. You got to chip it off in Jesus’ name, so that why? So that he can put new mortar on there and connect you with new people so that what? We can once again become the people of God, the dwelling place of God, yerushalom, the place where peace flows, the place that the world gets to come into.

Because they don’t want to hear us just declare about God, they want to see the kingdom demonstrated and they want to come in not to a building because catch me, people don’t come into buildings, they come into a people, they come into a family, they come into an environment. And when we become the dwelling place of God, they walk in and say, surely, God was in this place and I was not aware of it.

A place where the exiles can come home, and what do we have to do? All we got to do is each do our own part. Here’s the good news, you don’t have to build relationships with everyone in this church and everyone said, amen, thank you Jesus. You just got to do the part in front of you.

You say, what’s the part in front of me? I don’t know, it just might be the people you sit around every single week or the people that you’re in the online community with and you see their name show up in that chat every week. It might be the people that invest into your kids or into your students. It might be that one person that you always see in the atrium. It’s not everybody, it’s just the few stones that God wants to make sure you are mortared and connected into, built upon Him, the chief cornerstone in Jesus’ name. Are you with me on this? The question is just do we want to be yerushalom. How much of God do we want and how uncomfortable are we willing to be to make that reality? See, the tower of babel structures in the world right now are being torn down. The tower of babel structures, you say what’s that? It’s the power structures, the systems, the kingdoms, the empires of this world right now are crumbling around us.

And honestly, I think that’s what’s brought so much anxiety in so many of our lives over these past two years. We’re seeing things that we thought were sure, were never going to change, were never going to be challenged and we’re watching them be torn down in almost every area of life, politics, business, sports, healthcare, education, media, technology. And if you’re like, hang on a second, what is all that? Well, the story of the tower of babel is in Genesis chapter 11 and basically people have rejected God, they don’t want Him and they say to each other, come, let’s make bricks. First time in the Bible the word brick is used. They used brick instead of stone. And they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city with a tower that reaches to the heavens so that we may make a name for ourselves.”

The people of the tower of babel, what they did is they were just the people of the world and they wanted to build a power structure, a system, an empire, a kingdom that that reached to the heaven, that built a name for themselves. And what did they decide to use? They decided to use bricks. What are bricks? Bricks are made by man for man to glorify man. All throughout the Bible, bricks are made by man for man to glorify man. They wanted to create a dwelling place for themselves. Stone is used by God for God to glorify God. This is why when God ever tells his people to build something, He always tells them to use stone, whether it was a marker stone to remind them of what He has done, whether it was an altar to represent His goodness in His grace in their life, whether it was the temple, it was stone. Even on the priest, the high priest, Aaron’s breastplate that he wore had the stones of the 12 tribes of Israel, which represented the people of God, to put stones there.

And when we think stone, when I’ve been telling you living stone, I bet in your mind you picture granite, limestone, shale. No, no, no, no, God sees them as precious stones. They were rubies, sapphires, emerald, turquoise, why? Because God sees you as a precious stone with value and beauty and purity to it. He doesn’t want you wasting your life making bricks by man for man to glorify yourself, He wants you to be a part of what He’s building and He builds with stone, which is a picture of people. And so what I love that happens in the story is they think they’re building a tower to the heavens and it’s almost like paradoxical, it says, “God came down to see.” They think they’re so great and God’s like, okay, let me come down to see. And He confuses their language, He scatters them and topples over their tower.

Can I tell you, if you just look in the world right now, the kingdoms of this world, the towers of babel, the power structures made by man for man to glorify man, to create a dwelling place for man, a tower to the heavens, a place and a name for ourselves, you’re watching them crumble. And I literally was going to give you a bunch of examples, but we’re trying so hard to remove all offenses in Jesus’ name that I’m not even going to throw one out there.

But if you’ll think about it for a second, you will be amazed at how many of the power structures of this world are crumbling at this moment and they’re going to keep crumbling. Why? Because they’re made of brick by man for man to glorify a man. But you know what’s being built up while those things are crumbling down? Jesus says, “On this rock I will build my church and the gates of hades or hell will not overcome it.”

While the things of this world are coming down, the people of God are being built up so you get to decide do you want to spend your life building something by you for you to glorify you or do you want to finally submit yourself to Jesus and say, Jesus you need to be the rock of my life, I want to be a living stone and I need you to stack me into something that’s bigger than myself that you come to dwell among me. On this rock, on Jesus, the son of the living God, the prince of peace, the light of this world, the everlasting God wants to build you into something that will never crumble. The question is how much of Him do we want. And if we really want to do this and we really want to move forward, we just really — we just have to want more of God. Like actually if you catch this whole thing, this whole series, you’re like, it’s all about relationships. It’s actually not, this whole series is about how much of God do you want. I’m just trying to tell you where to find Him.

Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and everything else will be added unto you. How much of God do you want? And if the reason you get into relationship with other people is not because you want more of God, it’s never going to work. Like hear me, for years this is what I watch with people. When they get into relationships with each other on a serve team, in a circle, just a coffee friendship, whatever it is, this is usually how it works.

A lot of people get into those relationships because they have needs in their life that need to be met. They’re desperate, they’re broken, there’s some urgency, I’ve got a parenting problem, I’ve got a marriage issue, I’ve got some anxiety, depression in my life, I need some people. That’s great. It’s in the people of God where those things are healed and restored. Or a lot of us will find relationships with each other because just honestly we’re just lonely and we’re looking for friendship or we need community with one another. That’s amazing, that’s what God does. Or some of us will get in those relationships because personal growth, we want to grow, we want to be better, we know we need other people in our life to get that.

And while all those things are great, I’m just telling you if it’s not eventually moving to because I want more of God, I promise you that relationship will fall apart. Why? Because these aren’t enough to anchor it together. When it gets tough, when you get offended, when it gets inconvenient, when it gets uncomfortable, when a life season changes it all falls apart. Why? Because no — your need has now been met and now you have other friends so you’re not lonely and you feel like you’ve accomplished that growth goal you wanted in your life. See you. And for those of you that are here and you build into people all the time and you experience that reality of the “see ya”, I’m sorry, it’s super hurtful. For every person that’s ever been wounded by somebody just bailing out and you thought we were moving together after God, I am sorry. Me too.

But my desire for more of God keeps me leaning into new relationships regardless of how many didn’t make it to where I wanted them to go. Come on, this verse that we’ve been looking at, look at what it says, “As you come to him, the living stone, rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him, you also like living stones are being built into a spiritual house.” So it says, as you come to him the living stone, if your goal is not coming to him, if your goal is not more of Jesus, if your heart doesn’t want more of him, then you will never be built into a spiritual house as a living stone. Why? Because this is the foundation. So we have to want more of God and then we have to just be willing to know and be known. It’s really this simple. Know and be known. Like initiate, pursue, go first. I hate to break it to you, but if this is going to happen in your life somebody ain’t going to come get you, you got to go get them.

Just you’re going to be waiting a long time for somebody to come get you, you got to go first, you got to know, you got to initiate, you got to ask questions and they got to be willing to be known, to be vulnerable, to be humble, to be honest, to be authentic. Listen to me, over the last two years, the world has lost the ability to develop relationships. We don’t know how to do it anymore. We don’t know how to look at each other, talk, ask questions. Again, not going to throw out anything for fodder, just use your imagination for a moment and think about humanity and how they engage with you. Okay. But we’re the people of God and we follow the God of relationship. The Father, Son, Holy Spirit, three in one. He actually exists in a relational form, so we should be amazing at relationships. So it should be really easy for us to have meaningful conversations that are progressing ever deeper with one another. Like the first question is just the most shallowest like, hey, how you doing? And the answer is, yeah, okay, bye. Bye.

Okay, that was nice. Does that count as meaningful? Hey, how you doing? Good. Hey, tell me a little bit more about you. Tell me about your family. Tell me what you do for work. Tell me about where you come from. Tell me about like your interests, like what are your hobbies? What do you like to do? Huh. Okay. Now, a little bit deeper. Hey, what’s the season been like for you? Because I’ll tell you right now, you ask a mom who’s sending a kid to kindergarten for the first time or sixth grade for the first time, to high school for the first time, to college for the first time or marrying a kid for the first time, they got a lot to say about that. But nobody’s asking them.

And then maybe a little deeper than that is, hey, what’s God been saying to you? Can I ask you a question? Have you ever asked anybody in this church, hey, what’s God been saying to you lately?

Why would that not be a normal part of our conversation? We’re all here seeking God together, trying to hear His voice in our lives, why would we not say, hey, tell me about what God’s been saying to you? Oh, I can’t ask somebody that. Really? Why not? Well, I don’t want to put them on the spot. No, I think you’re afraid of being put on the spot. That’s why you don’t ask the question. But here’s the good news, you can be put on the spot and be like, I honestly don’t know. And then hopefully it’s asked by a person of grace and they say, well, let’s seek God together. And what’s the next step he’s asking you to take, which is actually a deeper question than what’s God’s saying to you? Why? Because this is now responsibility. This is not actually something I have to do to it, but the deepest question is just simply this, hey man, how’s your heart? Have you ever asked anybody? Forget us for a second. Do you ever even ask the people in your own life, how’s your heart?

You’d be amazed at the answers that you would hear. This is just meaningful conversation progressing ever deeper. And then how to respond in a meaningful way, listen, look them in the eye, respond to what they say, ask follow-up questions like tell me more, don’t talk about yourself because it’s not about you, pray for them in the moment or later if it’s a little awkward and then follow up. Remember what they said. If they say, oh, Tuesday my so-and-so is going in for surgery. On Tuesday, text them, praying for so-and-so today. Does this make sense? Okay. So here’s the challenge, what if every time you came to this place you had one meaningful conversation before you left? That’s it. If we really want to become yerushalom, one meaningful conversation every time you come, that’s rebuilding the wall right in front of your house.

And you say, well, you mean I got to — I got to get all the way down and ask somebody how’s their heart? No, I’m just saying if you normally just say to people, hey, how you doing and they say good, just move — just the next time, hey, how you doing? Good. Hey, tell me a little bit more about yourself, just tell me about your family. That would count. The next week you might go a little bit further and say, hey, tell me about what the season has been like for you. One meaningful conversation every time you’re here. People ask me all the time, hey, we love Valley Creek. What can we do for Valley Creek? What do you need? Here’s what we need. One meaningful conversation every time you’re here, not sometimes, not when you feel like it, not when it’s convenient. I mean you’re only here for like an hour anyways, so it’s like not even like adding like 15 minutes, it’s adding like three. And all it is is intentionality, trying to be more intentional about what we’re doing and how we’re doing it. Does that make sense? See, are you with — every time you’re here, one meaningful conversation.

That’s it. Come on, man, we even made you a card. “Therefore as we have the opportunity, let us do good to all the people especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” Some of us have never seen this verse in the Bible. Let us do good especially to the family of believers. A lot of us think, I don’t need to do anything here because I’m doing it out there. Great, glad you’re doing it out there, but he says it starts in here. If you’re a believer, you have a family, you need to do good here first before you go do good out there. And the whole point is a lot of us, again, say I’m seeking God the way that I want to seek God. That’s great but you got to understand God tells you how to seek Him and it’s in relationship with each other. So before you’re worried about reading Jesus calling this week, let’s just have a meaningful conversation with each other here first. That might be the one — that might be the one that got some of you.

But that’s okay. It’s okay to be disconnected, it’s just not okay to stay that way. It’s okay to say it’s awkward, it’s uncomfortable, it’s inconvenient, not interested, get it totally, totally get it, it’s okay. It’s just not okay to stay that way. Why? Because you’re a part of the body of Christ and you need us and we need you to become a dwelling place. Are you with me? Okay, let me try to pull this whole thing together. God has always wanted to dwell among his people. He created Adam and Eve and He put them in the garden and he dwelled among them, walked in the garden with them in the cool of the day, but they rejected God and they didn’t want Him. And so years later the Israelites, God came, the children of Israel and He came and He rescued them from bondage and slavery to dwell among them and He had them build the tabernacle and later the temple, the dwelling place of God, Jerusalem, yerushalom, the place where peace flowed, the place where God dwelled among Him.

But they rejected God and they didn’t want Him. So God sent Jesus. Jesus, the son of God came to this earth, moved into our neighborhood with grace and truth. He literally tabernacled is the word, tabernacled, moved in to literally be the dwelling place of God on this earth. But he came to his own and his own did not want him. So they crucified him. And so the resurrected Jesus poured out a spirit upon his church to once again create the temple of God, the dwelling place of God on this earth. And over two thousand years, the churches some days wanted him and some days rejected him. Some days wanted more of him, some days wanted less of him. But here’s what will happen in the end. One day, Jesus is going to return and when Jesus returns in Revelation 21, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. For the first heaven and the first earth had passed away and there was no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, the new Jeru-shalom coming down out of heaven from God prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.”

“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Ready now, the dwelling of God is with men and he will live with them and they will be his people and God himself will be with them and be their God.’” He has always wanted to dwell with us. He has always wanted his dwelling place to be among us. And time after time after time the people of God have rejected Him. But when it all comes to the end, the end is us as the dwelling place of God, the new Jeru-shalom, the place where peace flows, the holy city.

In fact, if you can catch what hell is, hell is the absence of the presence of God and the people of God. Heaven is the new city where God dwells among his people, and his people have relationship with each other and with Him forever. So if this is heaven and we have the authority to bring heaven to earth, why on earth would we wait till the end to make this reality so? You have the keys of the kingdom. Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Jesus tells us to pray, “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” So the question is how serious are we about bringing the realities of heaven to this earth.

Because let’s not get lost chasing supernatural signs and wonders and completely ignore what God is ultimately trying to do, create a holy city, a place where peace flows, where God dwells with his people built in Jesus’ name. Let’s become a dwelling place for God. Come on, what’s your responsibility at the end of this series? What now? Don’t let it just be a series, don’t let it just be information. What now for you so we can become the place where God dwells, the place where peace flows.

So close your eyes with me. Come on, what’s the Holy Spirit saying to you today? What’s He nudging? What’s He pushing? What’s He pulling? The thousands of excuses that come to our mind, the thousands of reasons why not, I think the Holy Spirit is saying, if you just trust me I can help you overcome them all. The ultimate invitation in your life has been given to you by God. He wants you in your life and your family and our church to be the place where He dwells, not somewhere way out there, right here.

How much of God do we want? Holy Spirit, I just ask that you would just put within us a desire for more of you, that we would hunger and thirst for righteousness, that we would get tired of making bricks and using them to build a name for ourselves, that as we watch the power structures of this world crumbling in this season, may it remind us that whatever we’re trying to build for ourselves will crumble too but you and your people and your kingdom never will.

So Holy Spirit, I pray, I release a spirit of courage into our church, courage to start asking each other deeper questions, courage to start relating to one another in meaningful ways, courage to walk up to someone I’ve never met before but to introduce myself and start a meaningful conversation and respond in a meaningful way, that the living stones of this family would be stacked together in such a way that yerushalom, that your peace will flow, not just for us, Lord, but for the city and beyond. Lead us to a new place and give us the courage to follow in Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

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