Here is my attempt to go back in time and retrieve the "lost blog." And this one will be long.
Growing up in church I’ve heard a fair share of sermons. Unfortunately, most of them have been less than helpful. Inside the remaining good or helpful sermons there is another grouping of sermons that have deeply impacted me. Several were from Andy Stanley, one from Charles Stanley, a couple from Louie Giglio, at least one from a Pastor I’ve heard on the radio in Dothan, Alabama and of course the one at a GLAD concert (they were rock and roll back then) in 1986 where I gave my life to Christ. Sunday, January 27, 2008, I added one more to that "Impact" category.
Pastor Steven had been out of town the previous Sunday getting some much deserved rest (if you call meeting with several other Ministry partners and preaching at his old college rest). Needless to say, he was ready to preach. Here comes the cool part, at least for me. I’m in three regular meetings a week with Pastor Steven. On top of those three I had the opportunity to be in two more specific meetings all in the same week. Through those meetings I heard each part of the sermon that was to come on Sunday. The really neat (did I just say neat? Gee, that was swell.) part was seeing how he crafted all the individual parts into the sermon on Sunday.
Here’s the meat of what was taught:
Most people underestimate the power of the promise of God,
misunderstand the purpose of the payoff,
and are unwilling to pay the price in the process.
The point is that many, many people hear or receive a promise from God. They may even believe that He is capable to bring it to completion; however, as the process begins they are unable to withstand the pressure or pain that comes. The examples Pastor Steven gave were Joseph, David and himself. There were thirteen years of process between the time when Joseph had his dreams (promise) and when God used him for the saving of many lives (payoff). In David’s life there were fifteen years of process between when he was anointed King (promise) and when the crown was actually placed on his head (payoff). If you’ve had any Biblical experience than you know some of the pains these men faced during their process. Between the two of them they were betrayed by their family, almost murdered, sold into slavery, betrayed by friends, forgotten, imprisoned, and accused of rape. How does your process look now? There have been ten years between Pastor Steven’s calling to Pastor a church (promise) and the "over night success" of Elevation Church (payoff). We all have our process.
I know there were over 3,000 other people listening to this sermon but I say with a great confidence that God gave Pastor Steven this message specifically for Anita and me. We have heard and received the promise from God. We trust that God is faithful and true and will have the victory in the end. But we have been weighed down by the pressure of the process. Physically, emotionally and financially life is draining. No one denies and God guarantees that life will be hard. The question is will you faint or will you forge on believing that "He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion?"
The days ahead will be difficult but there are great things in store. We may not even fully comprehend the purpose for which God is refining us but we "lean not on our own understanding." I’m thankful for a family and a church that carries burdens together. The process may not end until we see Christ again, but man what a payoff!