Perspective Changed My Life
I need to confess that the past three weeks have been the most up and down rollercoaster I've ever been on. Extreme faith highs, and extreme faith lows. I found breakthrough the morning of the second week of our launch and I want to tell you why.
If you were at church that day (this past week at the time of this writing), you heard me describe the revelation of vertical and horizontal church movement. I originally heard this explained by one of my favorite ministers but it might as well have been straight from the mouth of God in regards to our church and where He had us. You can go back and listen to that specific sermon here. To summarize, our success, as a church, will always be based on the vertical growth of our people.
This was HUGE for me because every church planting "expert" told me the second week of our church launch would be the worst of any week. Me, in my natural, positive tendency didn't want to believe them. Then, the second week hit and I found myself crippled in fear at the thought of having 50% + less people this week than we had last week.
"What will everyone think of me?"
"No one will want to follow me anymore."
"My wife will think I'm a huge failure."
These were the thoughts I allowed to take root in me the entire second week of our church. Then, on the morning of November 12 (our second Sunday service), I was at our theatre laying out cables for our stage equipment, listening to a podcast, and asking God to fix me. He then began to give me the shift in perspective.
I had preached for months that a lot of the church of today has sold it's soul because it has gone after large crowds rather than the presence of God. Now, I had become the very thing I preached against. God began to take me back to the early days, when He first called me to start Dream Church. I remember spending morning after morning laying flat on my face, calling out to God and Him pouring out His spirit in me in such a way that sometimes, it was hard to breathe. I remember driving to the meeting that I was going to tell my old church, "I'm leaving to step into the unknown of starting something new," and listening to the lyrics, "you're never gonna let me down" over and over and over on the way, crying my eyes out in the presence of God.
Then, it hit me, standing on that stage all by myself, early in the morning. I didn't do all that to settle for numerical success and people telling me, "good job"; I did all that because I believed God wanted to "pour out His spirit on ALL flesh." Where our "sons and daughters will prophecy; our young men will see visions, and our old men will dream dreams."
A peace that was beyond all understanding flooded my soul and in that moment, God set me free from what I now see as the fear of man. At the core of that entire week was a fear of man that I had failed to kill earlier in my ministry career. God was allowing me to feel it in such a way that I shot it dead, once and for all. I asked God that entire week to kill it for me but He allowed ME to kill it myself because He knew the enemy would try to let it take root in my soul again in the future.
"The testing of your faith develops perseverance." - James 1:3
God was allowing my faith to be put to the test, so as to grow perseverance within me. Perseverance, according to James 1:4, makes us mature and complete, not lacking anything. It wasn't comfortable and was possibly one of the worst weeks of my spiritual life, but it created in me a perseverance that will bear fruit called "mature and complete."
Why do I tell you all this?
Because I want you to see I'm on the same journey as you. I'm trying to follow, to the step, everything God wants to do in me and this church. God wants to correct our posture BEFORE He gives us weight. This morning God spoke this exact word to me and I wrote it down:
"I'm working on your posture before I allow you to carry a heavier weight (influence)."
"Weight plus BAD form (or posture) will cripple you. Weight plus GOOD form will make you strong."
Too often we want the weight of influence but refuse to go through the process of God aligning our posture with His will in such a way that when HE exalts us, we will be able to leverage the weight to strengthen the authentic move of God. Weight before posture results in a perverse movement that will "look" like success but will actually manifest narcissism.
We're going after posture. We're going after vertical movement. Then, and only then, will God allow us to steward the weight of influence.
As I was writing this blog posts I said to myself, "I finally feel like myself again." Why? Because "who the Son sets free is FREE INDEED."
Don't miss this Sunday as we talk about THANKSGIVING! I promise you, this will be the most monumental sermon I've ever preached. See you then!