In order to pioneer, we must reclaim ground that has been lost. The hardest ground to take is the ground we once had victory over and somewhere along the way lost it. When we have the courage to reclaim what we lost it becomes even better than before. In the end, it doesn’t matter why we lost ground, it matters what we are going to do about it and how we are going to move forward. Following Jesus is how we pioneer new ground, steward the ground we already have, and take back the ground we lost. Stop running, start reclaiming. In Jesus’ name, it is time to take things back!
Our theme for this year, as a way of reminding you, is to pioneer. If you’ve been with us since the beginning of the year or maybe you’re just showing up or maybe you jumped in somewhere along the way, it doesn’t really matter, our theme for this year as a church is to pioneer. You say, “That’s a big word. What does it mean?” Oh, it means that we are moving into the unknown for the good of others and the glory of God. And in the process, we’re finding freedom for ourselves. See, this is a year where we’re moving forward, where we’re taking ground, where we’re going on an adventure, where we’re refusing to settle because we believe that within every one of us is the spirit of a pioneer, that God has made us to increase and advance, not to decrease and retreat. We’re made to fight giants, and move mountains, and walk on water, and move forward into the unknown and that’s what we’ve been doing this year together.
And if you think about what pioneers do, pioneers go and take new ground. But to truly pioneer and take new ground means you have to maintain and steward the old ground. And as we’ve been journeying this year and learning about pioneering, one of the things that I’ve realized is, some of the hardest ground to take is not the ground out there that we’ve yet to discover, it’s the ground we once had victory over, and somewhere along the way, lost. But if you think of what a pioneer does, if a pioneer loses old ground and takes new ground, that’s not pioneering. That’s nomading. That’s going from place to place whatever is good for the moment. No, no. Pioneers keep the ground they’ve got, and then they increase and advance, and take new ground. They don’t lose what they’ve got to go get new stuff.
And so, I want to start a new series today called Reclaim. And for the next few weeks, I want to talk about taking back what I’ve lost because let’s be honest. As you walk through life, there’s some things that get lost. There’s some things that get stolen and misplaced. There’s some things you lose. It’s time to take it back in Jesus’ name. You see, I would bet if you’re anything like me, if you look back over your life, there’s some areas that you used to have victory over, some areas you used to have authority over, some areas you used to walk in freedom in, and some areas you used to have joy in. But somehow, somewhere along the way in your life, that ground got taken back. You lost.
And so, we’re talking about pioneering and taking new ground. But you have to understand you can’t pioneer until you reclaim. You can’t go get new ground until you take back the ground that you already have, that you have lost somewhere along the way. And if you think of the concept reclaim, the world loves the concept of reclaiming things. It’s a kingdom concept, so it resonates in the human spirit and the human soul. That’s why when you turn on pretty much anything on TV right now, it’s about reclaiming something that was lost. Whether it’s cars or houses or fixer uppers or whatever it is, right, I mean, come on, that’s what TV is right now. It’s like, “Oh, look at this thing. It’s old, and junky, and broken. But we’re going to make it new again.” Then, everybody cheers, you know, like why? Because we love that concept of something that used to have purpose, that got lost, but now is brought back and it becomes even better than it was before.
Like maybe the simplest example is just think of reclaimed wood. Reclaimed wood is like all the rage right now in like decoration, and in building, and all of this stuff. You take reclaimed wood and you said, “What is that?” Well, it’s wood that once had a purpose, and it was new, and it was good, and it was beautiful, and it was hung up on the side of a barn somewhere, and then accomplished its purpose for a while. But overtime, storms and weather and pressure and life used and abused that wood until eventually, it kind of falls apart. Everyone forgets about it. And then, one day, a carpenter comes walking along and he sees it and he reclaims it. He takes it back, he cleans it up, he repurposes it, and all of a sudden, that wood that everybody thought was lost now has a character and a depth and a richness and a beauty and it costs like 100 dimes what it would have cost when you first had it. You know what I’m saying? Come on.
You can’t manufacture what it is today because it was the journey of life that gave it depth, and richness, and beauty, and purpose. And the same is true with us. Here me. As you walk through life, storms and pressure and people and things will use you and abuse you and break you down. But when you have the courage to go reclaim what is lost, it becomes even better than it was in the first place because it has a richness, a depth, and a beauty to it. Like come on, just think of somebody that you know that was married and went through a painful divorce and they either were able to reconcile that marriage or they get married again to someone else. They have a totally different perspective of marriage than anyone else because they know what it’s like to lose marriage, and reclaim it, and get it back.
Come on, think of somebody that had a heart attack and was on the table, about to go. And somehow, they reclaimed their life. And when they get back out of that hospital, they look at their life completely differently than before they had that heart attack as they reclaimed it. Come on, think of somebody that had a best friend and loses their best friend for some reason in life. When they get a new best friend, when they’ve reclaimed what best friendship can look like, they value that thing unlike anything else. And the same is true with our journey with Jesus. When we take it back, it’s even better than it was before. And so for the next few weeks, here’s what I want to do, I just want to talk to your heart. A little bit of a different tone, we want to invite the Holy Spirit into this room, because it’s time to take some things back in Jesus’ name. Are you with me on that?
So Holy Spirit come and speak to us, open up our eyes and our heart and our ears and give us courage to take back the things that we’ve lost somewhere along the way. Do you remember Peter? One of Jesus’ first disciples. And what I love about Peter is he is the most unlikely person for Jesus to pick to be a part of his team to change the world. Peter is arrogant, he’s insecure, he’s brash, he’s abrasive, he’s very undependable in life and yet Jesus picks Peter, which gives me great confidence to know that if he picked Peter, he’s going to pick me. Like I feel really good that I’m going to get picked because Peter got picked, you know? Like — and one day, Jesus is walking along, Peter’s a fisherman, he’s fishing on the side of the Sea of Galilee and Jesus walks up to Peter and in Matthew 4, he just says, “Come and follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” He says, “Come on Peter, let’s go pioneer. Let’s go take some new ground together. I don’t want you to fish anymore, I want you to come on this journey with me.”
And so Peter says, “I’m in.” He leaves his net and his life and his boat and he starts journeying with Jesus. And for the next three years, everyday Peter’s pioneering. He’s taking new ground. For three years, he takes incredible ground in his prayer life, in his understanding of the scripture, in his relationship with God, in his identity, in his purpose, in his servanthood, in his leadership, in his revelation. He’s taking ground in his mind, in his heart, in his body, in his purpose, in his life. I mean it’s like day after day for three years, he is pioneering and blazing new trails and taking new ground. He didn’t know he’s getting right, he made mistakes, but for three years he pioneered.
And then Jesus is getting ready to go to the cross. And he tells all the guys, he pulls them together after three years, he says, “Guys, I’m going to go to the cross, I’m going to die and you’re all going to deny me.” And Peter in the only way he can says, “Oh Lord, not me.” And Peter says, “I know, but — I know you’re going to try,” but listen to this, Luke 22, he says, “Peter, I have prayed for you that you would stay faithful to me no matter what comes.” If I’m Peter, I’m like, “Could you just eliminate what was going to come instead of praying for me?” That might be easier. He says, “Remember this: after you have turned back to me and have been restored, make it your life mission to strengthen the faith of your brothers.”
In other words Jesus says, “Hey Peter, you’re going to lose some ground here in the next few days. And when you reclaim it, it’s going to be even better than it was before and it’s going to empower you for your purpose and your destiny and the rest of your life. But you’re going to lose some ground. And when you do, I need you to reclaim it and go get it back.” Peter’s like, “No, I’m not going to lose any ground with you Jesus. I love you Jesus. These guys, they’re all good, I know me — okay, okay.” And then what happens? Jesus gets arrested and Peter denies Jesus to a servant girl three times, the rooster crows, Jesus looks at Peter, he’s devastated, he realized what’s happened.
And he turns around, he hightails it, he runs back to the Sea of Galilee and he starts fishing again. Jesus died, is buried, put in the grave and we find Peter in John 21, he is fishing and he has lost all the ground he took in three years in one day. That’s what I’m trying to tell you, for three years, he took ground and in one day, in one failure, he loses all of that ground and runs back to his old life and goes back to fishing. He lost his prayer life and his leadership and his servanthood and his identity and his security and his revelation and his belief and his faith, and his hope and his love, in one day he loses it all. And he’s not the only one. If you look at the story of the people of God all throughout scripture, you’re going to find story after story of that same thing. Think of the Israelites, I mean, they get set free from Egypt and they take this amazing ground and watch God do these amazing things
And within just a few short days, they build a golden calf and start worshipping it. They lose all the ground they took in a matter of a few days. Or how about the next generation of Israelites that goes in and actually takes the Promised Land, defeats all the giants, tears down all the walls, goes and takes the new land and within just a few short years, they start worshipping other gods. And just like that they lose all the ground that they had already taken. Or how about the 1st Century church? The guys that actually saw and touched the resurrected body of Jesus? Within just a few short years, they go cray-cray and they lose all the ground that they took. Okay.
So how about you? Have you lost ground on your journey with Jesus somewhere along the way? And if you have, what ground did you lose? Have you lost your desire to pray? Have you lost your interest in the word of God? Have you lost your passion? Have you lost your purpose? Have you lost your desire to keep moving forward? Have you lost your willingness to serve or to lead or to give? Have you lost your identity? Have you lost revelation or passion? Have you lost some of your thought life, some of the beliefs in your heart? What have you lost along the way with Jesus?
In fact, here’s the question that I just want to ask you in this series is just simply this, how’s your relationship with God? Like, right now, let me show you this. Like, look at this scale, like if you just — this is just between you and God right now, like how is your relationship go with God? On a scale, kind of, from 0 to 10, 0 being non-existent, 10, the best it’s ever been, where would you place yourself? It’s just you and Jesus, you don’t have to worry about anybody else. Like just where would you say? Is it like literally, today, you walk in here and it’s non-existent, is it the best it’s ever been, or is it somewhere on this spectrum?
See, I would guess, for a lot of us, we’re somewhere in this spectrum. And if it’s anything except the best it’s ever been, then that means somewhere along the way, you lost ground. Because that means somewhere in your past, your relationship with Jesus was better than it is today, which means you’ve lost ground somewhere along the way. So where are you? And maybe a better question is where do you want to be? Right? It’s easy to put, “Okay, maybe this is where I am.” Where do you want to be? And if you’re not sure what you’ve lost, ask the people in your life, say, “Can you just look at me and tell me, like, what do you think I’ve lost somewhere along the way in my spiritual journey?” You see, I love what Paul says to the Galatians, a good church, they were moving forward, they had this great relationship with God, and then he calls them out and he says, “Hey, guys, you were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth?”
In other words, Paul says, “Hey, guys, you were doing so good. You were on fire, you had passion, you had purpose, you showed up, you were engaged, you wanted to be there, you were leading, you were serving, you were giving, you were on mission, you were sacrificing, it was so incredible, but what happened? Because all that ground we used have, it’s now gone. Where did it go?” You see, if Peter was answering this question, what Peter would say is, “Well, I failed. I denied Jesus, that’s what happened to me.” That’s why Peter went from the best that it ever been to non-existent in a single day. How about you? If you had to answer the question, what has caught in on you? What has gotten involved in your race that’s kept you from moving forward? How would you answer that question? Maybe like Peter, it would be a failure. Maybe it would be really practical things like, “Hey, my kids got involved in select sports. And it’s amazing how much energy and time that took out of my life.”
Maybe it was you made a bunch of money, maybe it was you lost a bunch of money, maybe it’s you got a new job, maybe somebody offended you, maybe your circle of friends changed, maybe somebody hurt you, I don’t know. But if you’ve lost ground in your relationship with God, what happened? And sometimes you will sit back and will be like, “Well, I know this, kind of, got in the way of my relationship with God but this is important stuff, like, I got to make money, and I got to get my kids to select sports so they become, you know, the next superstar, and I got to do all of these things. Okay but look at this next verse, I love how it says, “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet lose his soul?” It says, “Who cares if you take ground in every area of life and yet lose your relationship with God?”
Come on, who cares? Who cares how much money you got? How killer of a ball player your kid is? How amazing your girl is at dance? Who cares what kind of house you drive, what kind of car you got, what kind of awards you’ve won, what kind of vacations you take, how many followers you have on Instagram? Who gives a rip if you’ve lost ground in your relationship with Jesus? Come on. It’s time to reclaim some things in Jesus’ name and say, “I’m taking back what I lost.” Because I don’t like the fact that it’s even gone, and I haven’t even been aware that it’s gone until right now. Thank you, Holy Spirit, for showing me. That maybe I’m not where I was, but I don’t have to stay where I am. I can take it back in Jesus’ name. You see, the question is it’s like, “Where does it go? Why? Do we lose these things?” I think everybody of us in this room we can sum up why we lose ground in our relationship with God in four really simple things. The first thing is it’s just things we do. Choices we make.
If we’re honest, we have this propensity oftentimes in our flesh to disobey, to do our own thing, to go on our own direction. We choose the ways of the world, we get caught up in the traps and the seduction of it all, and the promises that the world gives. Just these things we do, we often are the ones that walk away. This is why Peter says in 1 Peter, he says, “You were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the shepherd and overseer of your souls.” If anybody could pen this verse, it’s Peter. He says, “I know.” He says, “Because it was me.” I lost three years of ground in one day and went back to the one place Jesus told me to leave. So I get it. But what I love is that the Bible tells us that Jesus is the good shepherd who leaves the 99 to come find the one who wandered away. So even if you wandered away, guess what? He’s wandering after you. And it’s amazing how oftentimes the very gifts of God become the very things that take us away from God.
It’s the gifts of God like your family, your talent, your finances, your resources, your ranch, your lake house, all that stuff, the gifts of God, it’s amazing how they can become the very idols in our life that take us away from God. We have to be aware of that and say, “Is the things in my life enhancing my relationship with God or detracting from my relationship with God? And then I have to make a decision on what to do with it.”
Second thing is not just things we do. It’s things other people do. The truth is as we’re running our race with God, there’s other people that, like on a road, cut in on us. Maybe it’s the spouse that says, “I don’t want to be married to you anymore,” or the boss that fires you seemingly out of nowhere, or that church leader that hurts you or loses your trust. I don’t know where in your past, I don’t know where that thing is. But the truth is other people do all kinds of things in our lives and sometimes we allow them to stop our movement with God.
In fact, look at this next verse. It says, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good.” I hate to break it to you. There are a whole bunch of people in this world that want to hurt you. And if you’ve walked in the world for any period of time like a board on the side of a barn, you’ve been beat up. But God is always intending for good. So don’t let their failures keep you from his freedom. They do not have the authority to take away your relationship with God. You have to decide, “I refuse to allow you to take it even though the way you’re treating me.” Okay? Things we do, things others do. The third thing is circumstances beyond our control. How many of you know there are all kinds of circumstances beyond our control? Come on, storms, chaos, crises, cancer, sickness, brokenness, all kinds of things that we can’t control. And that’s why Jesus tells us in John 16, he says, “In this world, you will have trouble.” You’re going to have all kinds of circumstances you can’t control. “But take heart, for I have overcome the world.”
In other words, he says, “Hey, don’t let the storms, and the chaos, and the pressures of life take you away from me. Let them drive you even deeper with me.” Don’t let what you can see by sight take the ground you took by faith in Jesus’ name. That’s what we do. It’s the things we see by sight, that pain, that frustration, that storm, that chaos, that busyness. We can see it and all we do is look at it and we allow it to steal what we took by faith. Come on, in Jesus’ name, take it back. And then the last thing is just simply this. Disappointment with God. I would bet some of you in this room are here today and you’ve lost something on your journey with God because you’re disappointed with Him. You understand disappointment is just unmet expectations. Here’s my expectation, here’s the reality, this is my level of disappointment.
And we often have these unhealthy and unrealistic expectations on God. This then is reality and then we allow this to become our level of disappointment in Him. And if anyone understood this, it’s John the Baptist, the guy who gives his whole life to pave the way for Jesus to come and then John gets thrown in jail and Jesus is out doing amazing things, changing the world and healing people, setting people free, casting out demons and John is hearing all about this and he’s in jail and he’s like, “Bro, number one, I’m your cousin. Okay? So don’t make me call my mom.”
“Number two, I’ve given my whole life for you. So if you’re getting anybody out of this dungeon, it’s me.” And Jesus sends word back to John and he says, “Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.” In other words, he says, “Blessed is the man who doesn’t walk away from relationship with me because I don’t do for him what he thinks I should do for him.” See, here’s the problem. We have these expectations on God. This ends up being the reality of life and then we say God isn’t good. The truth is God is always good. So maybe my expectations just weren’t right.
This is what happens. And something cuts in on us and takes us out of our journey with Jesus and then we like to give lip service like, “Oh, it’s all good. Me and Jesus, we’re still bros.” But we’re really not and we kind of know it, but we don’t want to tell anybody about it. And here’s the crazy part. It doesn’t even matter why. We want to know why. Like why has my relationship with God — it doesn’t even matter why. What matters is what are you going to do now. Genuinely, like this is all real stuff and like it matters, but like who cares. Like what do you want to do now? And how are you going to move forward in this moment? That’s the decision that has to be made in your life. See, can I just tell you something? Like it’s amazing for me and what I do and how sad it often is watching people’s journeys because it’s like, man, people come in and they find Jesus and they take off like a rocket.
“It’s incredible. Oh my goodness. I just discovered God is good. Jesus has forgiven me. I am loved. Everything is possible. Never heard it. Mind blown.” Come on. And it’s like it’s amazing and they start running and it’s incredible. And then all of a sudden, it’s like a year, two years, three years go by and all of a sudden, you’re like, “What happened, bro? What happened?” Come on, we’re the people of God. We’re supposed to go from glory to glory and victory to victory, from the best that’s ever been to the best that’s ever been. See, here’s the problem with the church of Jesus at large is we lose more ground than we take. We want to say, “Why doesn’t the church change the world?” Because we’re always trying to take new ground by giving up our old ground.
Come on, we go on this journey and it’s like, “Oh, I’m excited. I’m going to start serving.” And instead of growing from serving to leading, we go from serving to sitting. We’re excited about our journey with Jesus so we start giving and instead of giving or growing, instead of going from giving to tithing, we go from giving to not giving. We get excited on our journey and we’re forgiven and instead of going from being forgiven to forgiving others, we go from being forgiven to being offended by others. Instead of going from community to uncommon unity or supernatural alignment, we go to being offended or individual in the world around us. Instead of taking our gift and developing it and fanning it into flame, we bury it so no one else can see it. We go from receiving and instead of moving to contributing, we go back to consuming. And then we wonder why is the church of Jesus not changing the world? Because we’re giving up more ground than we’re taking sometimes. And this is real stuff.
I guess in my life, too. I’m not like being like, “Hey.” Like I get it, man. In fact some of you are sitting there and you’re like, “Oh, bro, like, no, like, I still do all those things, like I do all those things.” Okay. No one really cares if you do them out here. What really matters is what’s going on in here. In fact, this is why in Matthew 15, Jesus says, “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” You know what that means? He says, “I don’t really care what’s happening out here. I really care what’s happening in here.” Because you can do all that stuff out here and be losing ground in here. And here’s the problem, your behaviors will always catch up to your heart. Your behaviors will always catch up to your heart. For seasons, you can hide it and cover it and nobody knows that you’re losing ground in here but eventually, it will show up in your behaviors.
And so the question is this, have you lost some of your belief? Have you lost your belief in the goodness of God? And who you are in Jesus. And what this journey with God is all about. Have you lost some of your belief? And if you have, maybe like the dad with a demon possessed boy, you can just say, “I want to take it back. So God, I do believe but help me in my unbelief.” And watch what He’ll do. So jump back in our story, Peter is sitting in a boat, he’s fishing, holding an empty fishing net because whenever we go back to the things God has invited us to leave, they will always be fruitless. He can’t catch a fish because he went back to the place God told him to leave.
Can I just tell you something? You won’t catch a fish if you go back to the place that God told you to leave. It’s fruitless. And yet, as he’s sitting there, the resurrected Jesus comes walking down the shore of the Sea of Galilee and I love this, when we’re running from grace, grace is still running to us. When we try to hide from love, love is still seeking us out. And I’m just telling you, you can hide all you want but he is really good at fighting lost things. So Peter’s lost and he’s sitting there with an empty net and Jesus shouts out, “Have you caught any fish?” They say, “No.” He’s like, “I know because I told you to not go fishing anymore, but that’s okay. So throw your net on the other side of the boat.” And they do and as they pull it in, it’s so full of fish the net begins to break. Kindness. Kindness that leads us to repentance. He’s not there to shame or to be mad or to be angry, he’s there to be kind. You know why you’re here today? Because he’s kind.
It don’t matter where you are on your scale, if it’s 0 or 10, he doesn’t care. He’s here to say, look, Jeremiah, he’s here to say — nope, Jeremiah, he’s here to say — nope, Jeremiah, he’s here to say, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.” He’s constantly drawing us with love and with grace. And when Peter realizes it’s Jesus, he jumps out of the boat, swims, they have a little meal on the side of the Sea of Galilee and then Jesus takes Peter for a walk and see if you can catch this in John 21, here’s the whole thing. Jesus says, Simon Peter — or Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon Son of John, do you truly love me?”
“Feed my sheep.” Then he said to him, “Follow me.” So catch it. Jesus takes Peter who lost all the ground in his relationship with God for three years in on e day and he takes him for a walk to reclaim and restore everything. And he says to him, “Simon Son of John.” Pause. That has driven me nuts for years. Do you know why? Because that’s his old name. He’s referring to Peter’s past. Jesus is the one who gave Peter the name Peter. Peter used to be called Simon Son of John until Peter met Jesus and then Jesus changed his name, because when you meet Jesus, your identity changes. So I’ve always hated this. I’m like, “God, take that out of the bible. You got it wrong.” Peter messed up, but his identity didn’t go back, I know.
And then this week as I was studying it, I felt like the Lord was saying to me, “You know what He’s saying to Peter in this moment? He’s saying Simon Son of John, in other words — no come back.” He’s saying, “Simon Son of John” you know what he’s saying? He’s saying, “Hey Peter, do you remember when we first met?” “It was my grace that reclaimed your life in that moment and it’s my grace that will reclaim your life again in this moment. It was grace that took all of that ground in the first place and it’s my grace that can take back all the ground you just lost over these past few days.” That’s why I think he says it that way. And then he says, “Do you truly love me?” He says, “Peter, do you still love me? After everything, do you still love me? Because I still love you.” Then he says, “Feed my sheep.” In other words, Peter stop fishing. Go feed sheep. That’s why I’ve created and called you to do, let’s take your life back. And then he says to him, “Follow me.” Follow me is the way you get the ground back. And what I love in this moment is that Peter receives grace, he gets backed up again, and he starts following Jesus because “Who” is the “How”. Who is how we get the ground back.
You say, “How do I get my relationship with God back?” You don’t need the “How”, the how is the “Who” and his name is Jesus. That’s what he says, “Just follow me.” So catch this. So catch this. This is you and me today, okay? Wherever you are in your journey with Jesus, here’s what he’s saying, “Simon, son of John”, he’s saying, “Hey, you, do you remember when we first met? Do you remember that it was my grace that took all the ground in the first place?” He wants to say it to you today, “It’s my grace that will take all of the ground back today in Jesus’ name.” Then he says, “Do you truly love me? Do you still love me? After the failed marriage, and the disappointing job, and the school you didn’t get into, and the last church you were a part of that didn’t work out, do you still love me? Because I still love you. And if you don’t love me, that’s okay, I want you to know I love you.” And if you don’t love him today, that’s okay, 1 John 4:19 says, “We love because he first loved us.”
Receive his love in your life and you will have this desire to start giving it back to him. And I feel, like, the Lord was literally wanting — I feel like, this is a weird word for me to use, I feel like, the Lord is giddy for some of you today. And if you’ve been here, you know I would never use the word giddy, it makes me feel like it’s from the Lord. I literally feel, like, God is saying, “I’m getting some of my lost children back today.” I literally feel, like, the Lord is saying, “I still love you.” Because we’re taking it back.
He says, “Feed my sheep. Stop doing that thing I’ve called you out of. Let’s go get your purpose and your destiny and follow me.” The “Who” is the “How”. I am the way, the truth and the life. Follow me, we can get back everything that you lost. See, following Jesus is how we pioneer new ground, steward our current ground, and take back the ground that we’ve lost in Jesus’ name. No shame, no guilt, no condemnation, no rebuke, no where have you been all these years, no what’s been going on with you, no why did you do it, just “Hey, I still love you. Let’s go take back that ground that we lost and it will be even better than it was before.”
This is why I love the next verse, Revelation says, “You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen. Repent and do the things you did at first.” In other words he says, “Hey, you’ve lost some ground. So remember what it used to be like with me.” Repent. Just press reset. Reset. It’s the best button in technology. When the pinwheel of death, or the hour glass of destruction, when either of those starts spinning, you press reset and you get everything back. Listen, if you have no idea how to walk with Jesus, repent is your best word. It just means to change your mind and change your direction and say, “Jesus, I’ve gotten off track, I want to go back and take the ground that I’ve lost.” And he’ll help you take it back. And he says, “Do the things you did at first.” Go back and start doing the things that you used to do somewhere along the way.
See, what I love about reclaiming things is when we take it back, it’s even better than it was before. Think of Peter, for three years he took ground but he was still had issues, and struggles, and problems, and yet, when he loses all that ground and he takes it back, Peter goes on to preach the gospel and 3,000 people get saved. He becomes the church leader of the first century church. He changes the world. He moves forward with such a grace and a victory. Why? Because it was lost and he took it back and it was better than it ever was before. That’s why in 1 Peter 5, Peter can write, and he can say this to us, “The God of all loving grace will personally and powerfully restore or reclaim everything that you have lost and make you stronger than ever.” Better than ever. He went from a — it’s really — go to the scale for me.
Peter went from the best it had ever been to non-existent, to the best that it had ever been, which was even better than it used to be. Just like that. And I think that’s what God offers you today. Everybody that I’ve ever known that has lost ground in their relationship with God and has had the courage to go take it back, they have a depth, and a character, and a beauty, and a richness that you couldn’t buy in a million years. Because they know what they had, they know what they lost, and now they know what they got back. And the pressure, and the storms, and the brokenness, and the life, it created a depth, and a richness, and a beauty, and a purpose. Remember what Jesus says to Peter in the beginning? He says, “Peter you’re going to lose some ground, but when you go reclaim it and get it back, it’s going to be a part of your destiny.” “It’s going to be part of my purpose in your life to change this world.” When you lose ground and you go take it back in Jesus’ name, it now makes you a hundred times even more powerful than you were before. That’s why there’s no shame, and no condemnation, and no heartache, and all of a sudden, it’s like, no, today is the day. Come on, today is the day. Try to preach to somebody in this place today that today is the day to get it back. Today is the day.
See, here’s the interesting thing. It’s harder to reclaim old ground than it is to pioneer a new ground. You know why? Because you have to admit that you lost it, it requires humility. And you have to go back and get it. That’s why it’s easier in life, in marriage, in relationships, in business, in job, in church, in our walk with God and everything in life when we lose some ground to cut and run. Because it’s easier to go take new ground than it is to try to take back the ground you already lost. But the problem is you’re not actually taking new ground, you’re nomading. Your life is staying small. It’s not increasing and advancing, it’s decreasing and retreating. It just feels fresh because you’re just moving to a new space for a few hours, days, weeks, months, seasons. Come on, are you with me on that?
If you’ll go back and get what you lost, it will launch you into your future. So hear me, stop running and start reclaiming in Jesus’ name. Let me close with this. Just this past week I was sitting in a living and my little girl, she was — she lost a toy in the living room and she was looking for it. And I watched her for about two minutes, looked around and she couldn’t find it and then she stops and she came over to me and she said, “Hey, dad,” she said, “I lost one of my toys and it’s really important to me.” And she said, “And you know, I lose a lot of things and you’re really good at helping me find the things I lose. So could you help me find my toy?”
And I sat there and I thought, that’s the kingdom of heaven. We lose a lot of things that are really important to us. And he’s really good at taking them back and helping us find them. So maybe you just got to ask Him. Jesus, would you help me reclaim my walk with you? Can you go to the scale me? Thank you. Where are you? No shame, no guilt, no condemnation. But a God that says, I want it to be the best it’s ever been. Let’s go from victory to victory and glory to glory in Jesus’ name. Let’s let Him restore the joy of a journey with Jesus, in a world that wants to steal it, kill it and destroy it. Jesus says it’s time to reclaim it. So close your eyes with me. Wherever you’re at, whatever campus you’re at, here’s the question. What — just, man, what is God saying to you? It doesn’t even really matter what we just said for the last few moments. What really matters is what is the Holy Spirit trying to say to you in this moment? Here’s the interesting part for all of us, we all know when we’ve lost ground with God. But we try so hard often times to pretend like it’s not. But in Jesus’ name, it’s time to take it back. It’s time to say, “You know what, man, I might be here, I might be walking, I might be going, but it’s not the best that’s it’s ever been and I’ve lost some things.”
“Maybe I’ve lost serving, sacrificing, engaging the scriptures, passion. Maybe I’ve lost my identity. Maybe I’ve lost revelation that God’s given me in the past. Maybe I’ve just become apathetic. I’m not even sure why.” I don’t know. Have you lost something in your walk with Jesus? By faith, let’s take it back by simply following Him today. So here’s what I want to invite you to do. If you’ve lost something in your relationship with God, your walk with Him, if there’s some ground that you’ve lost, I want to invite you to by faith stand up to say, “I’m taking it back.” If you’re in this room right now, if you’ve lost something in your relationship with God, no one’s looking at you. This is you and God, man. If you don’t have the humility to stand up, then you’re kind of missing the point of that. But you don’t have to stand up if you — you know, if you’re like “I’m good, I have nothing to take back,” or, “I don’t want to take it back,” then that’s okay.
But if you’re like, “I’ve lost something, I’ve lost something. And maybe I don’t even know what it is, but in Jesus’ name, I’m taking it back. I want it to be the best that’s ever been.” See, faith always has action. It always works itself out. And that’s why even standing up and saying, “You know what, Lord, I’m getting out of the fishing boat. I went back to a place you told me to leave. I went back to a thought process you told me to give up on. I went back to a heart posture you asked me to leave behind. I went back to doing some things, thinking some things, living in some ways, doing some stuff. I just got — Lord, I’ve just got lost along the way a little bit. But today is the day I’m getting out of that boat. And I’m going to follow you again on the shore. So by faith in Jesus’ name, I’m standing up and I’m taking it back.” So Lord, I pray for every person that has had the courage and the faith to stand up. You know what’s been lost. And you’re here whispering to them saying, “I still love you, so follow me.”
“And let’s go to a new place together.” Lord, in Jesus’ name, I pray that whatever has been lost will be reclaimed in your name and then that it will be a hundred times better than it was before. I pray for a story of richness and depth and character and beauty and anointing and power to be written into the lives of every person that’s standing up to say I’ve lost something, but I’m taking it back. So by faith, even open up your hands and like even reach out and like, I’m taking it, I’m literally, I’m taking it back. Because guess what, no one has the authority to take it from me and no one has the authority to go get it for me. So I’m the one in Jesus’ name saying today is the day I’m taking it back. So everyone else, will you just stand up with us, whatever campus you’re at. Lord Jesus, thank you that you are the God who reclaims all things in our lives.
Thank you for hope and faith and life and purpose. Thank you that today, I believe today is an incredibly significant day in a lot of your spiritual journeys because today is the day that you’re saying, “I’ve been sitting in that boat for way too long and I’m getting out and I’m starting to follow Him. And my pioneering in this season is reclaiming what’s lost. I’m closing the gate behind me so Satan can’t get in and steal, kill and destroy what’s mine in Jesus’ name. I’m mowing the weeds, I’m cleaning the edges, I’m taking back my boundary lines. It’s mine in Jesus’ name. I want my faith and my hope and my love to grow. I want anointing and purpose and purity and power. I want to live in victory and authority and freedom in a world that is chaos, lost, broken, in bondage. And in Jesus’ name, I’m taking it back at every campus. So Lord, we love that you are the God who restores all things. In Your name, we pray, amen.