Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Come Out of Your Shell (Part 1)

Ephesians 3:14-21 ~ For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.
We all have a call on our lives...but there are some of us who are reclusive and don't step up to the call that God has placed on our lives. We're like turtles who never come out of our shells. We hide away because we're afraid of hurt. But we have to realize that life is not ours to live. If we are reclusive and hiding away, then God cannot accomplish through you what he wants to.

You can't do it on your own but the Spirit is alive in you. God wants to use you and your past to accomplish much. The things in your life are enough to encourage unbelievers. If an unbeliever looks at the church (us) and all they see is happy people who don't seem to be struggling, they aren't going to feel like they belong. But God gives us challenges to overcome in our lives so that one day those challenges can be used for his purposes.

When you understand who's power we live for, when we understand that he lives in us..there is no obstacle that is greater than you. The Bible is the essence of life, you won't do anything substantial with your life until you realize whose power is in you. Anything you do in your own power will fade away. God's power will never fail and never fade away.

We play it safe even though we know that God has called us. We care too much about what other people think...so we end up not doing what God has for us. We are satisfied with playing it safe. Anytime we are bold enough to come out of our shells and act on God's word...we will be met with resistance...but it will change someones eternity.

When a turtle is scared, it flees...it worries...and it hides. The enemy's number one tactic is fear...to make us afraid to share, to take a stand...because the enemy knows that fear is overwhelming. But we have to stop talking about it and start acting...if you feel like you don't know what to do...ask yourself: "When was the last time I listened...when was the last time I was seeking Him?"
Ephesians 4:4-7, 11-13: There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.
In Ephesians, it tells us that there is a 5 fold ministry. This was given to us by God for the perfecting his church...the body of Christ. We cannot put our lives on cruise control. We aren't saved and redeemed to take up space and be shy. We are saved and redeemed to let our purpose, our call, speak through us. Salvation isn't the end of the road for us. Salvation isn't just for you...it's for you to use to show God to a hurting world.

The church in general is constantly being beat down and struggling against the enemy who will stop at nothing to tear us apart. But we don't realize who we are or who has placed a calling over our lives so we don't step out and let God use us. We have to take our place in the church, in our own lives and stop complaining about what churches are and aren't doing "right". We are the church, if there is something that isn't happening...then you need to step up and let God work through you.

A lot of times we just skip over verses 11-13 and say "oh that's not me...I'm not a prophet or a pastor or a teacher or any of that" but we don't realize that the verse is speaking directly to us. It's not talking about a job title or a position in a church or ministry...it's talking about a lifestyle...it's talking about our hearts. The first step to coming out of your shell is knowing who you are - what God has given you that you can use for others.

The 5-fold ministry is made up of Pastors, Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists and Teachers.
  • A Pastor isn't just a position...it's a calling. It is a gift and a talent...but it's not a title, it's an action. To pastor people.
    • John 10:11-14 The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—" 
    • The hired hand is not the shepherd...the shepherd is a pastor. A pastor is a leader, an influence. A pastor speaks, guides, cares, longs for, and desires, hopes, encourages and lifts up, makes sure everything is okay and generally just cares a lot about people. A pastor values other peoples' lives. A pastor cares about where you spend eternity and what you are doing with your life. A pastor doesn't need a microphone or a stage...all a pastor  needs is to love and pastor/lead the lost.
Dare to let God use you - you have to make a decision to hand your life over to God. Let him use you...he wants to use all of you!
  • An Apostle is someone who is sent - a carrier of God's presence or spirit, a visionary, and a messenger. An apostle sees potential in any situation or in any human being. They see what isn't there yet and believes that someday God can reach all of UNCC, all of Charlotte, all of the world. They have a vision for other peoples' lives...and are able to encourage and lead others.
If your vision glorifies God and aligns with scripture, then let God use your vision...step up. If everyone was afraid to fail then nothing would ever get done anywhere.
  • A Prophet is someone who speaks before or on behalf of... Someone who is a prayer warrior...someone who intercedes.
    • There is nothing more powerful that you can do than to learn how to pray
    • A prophet is crucial...you can know a lot about the Bible and God - you can know facts and memorize verses...but if you don't know how to hear his voice when he speaks to you - then you don't know him.
    • A prophet is someone who communicates with God
As Tyson talked about these 3 points, it really struck me how much I'd skipped over this verse before. It was one of those "lightbulb" moments when I realized that even though I'm not a great leader of a church, I can still "pastor" my friends. I care so much about the people in my life and it was such an eye-opener to realize that having that love for people is actually part of God's calling for my life. So don't look at the 5-fold ministry and think "Oh that's not me, I can't do that" because that's not true. He chose you to be a part of his plan...he wants you to step up and realize the call he has placed on your life. It helps to know that He is Holy and I am nothing...but to him...he chose me to use in his plan. It is an honor and a privilege to be chosen to convey his message. I don't know anyone who has regretted embracing their calling...letting God use them. Come out of your shell...let God use you.

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