Yesterday I was given the opportunity to serve as the worship leader at my church. On a side note, this is something I still struggle with because I feel like I am not as “good” as other worship leaders are… my prayers are short and just ask God to show up in our service… and that’s what I did yesterday. I had researched a scripture to bring forth for the opening and I decided on Psalm 47:1-7 because we had all survived 2018 and that psalm was a psalm of praise to our Ruler God. I did my research for the scripture the night before and then yesterday I just continued to pray that God’s Spirit would inhabit the place. That was my prayer on Saturday night, my prayer on Sunday morning during my alone time with God, my prayer on Sunday as I drove to church, my prayer during other prayers… point blank, it was my heart’s prayer. I wanted His Spirit to reign free in the church and in our hearts; I wanted us to break free from chains and bonds through our praise. I humbly asked God’s Spirit to move from heart to heart and breast to breast; I asked God to have His way. And He did.
After a powerful selection by the praise team, one member gave his testimony and the church was [figuratively] on fire. As I looked through tear-stained eyes, I could see God’s Spirit moving in that place. It was truly a beautiful sight to see.
If that wasn’t enough, when our church’s executive pastor got up to preach (because the Spirit had shifted the “order” of the service), he began with a demonstration that caused us to look around the room, face our individual hardships of 2018, and then boldly declare that we had survived it. Everything leading up to the sermon yesterday was simply God-driven and I am so grateful that I was able to be a part of that powerhouse service.
You may be wondering what all of that has to do with this Monday Message… well, here you go: our pastor spoke about FAITH. Ok, let me explain.
On December 5, 2018 I delivered my second sermon and the topic was something that I did not originally plan to talk about. I had begun research for a different message, but eventually yielded to the Spirit when He told me to preach on FAITH. He had led me to Hebrews 11 and even told me to begin my sermon with an apology to the congregation because my message would be brief…but they would hear more about it in the future. So imagine my heart’s surprise when I saw that God was resuming His lesson on FAITH through the pastor. Oh Beloved, it brought my heart so much joy! I sat there listening to pastor speak, nodding in agreement with a smile on my face. Like I hope I said when I preached, that lesson on faith was for me just as much as it was for the congregation.
That day (and every day) I needed to be reminded that “without FAITH it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6).” I needed to know that FAITH was a matter of trust AND obedience. I needed that then and yesterday God needed me to learn another definition of FAITH.
“Acting like what God said is true.”
Reverend Dr. Keith R. Harris, Executive Pastor of Hope Christian Fellowship Church, MD
Beloved, do you act like what God has said is true? His truth, as found in His Word (the Bible), will never return to us void. We must continue to live every day of our lives trusting His word, obeying His word, and acting like what His word says is true.
As we enter into this new year of 2019, it is truly time to do away with the old fear that clouded our judgment and blocked us from freedom in Christ. Fear exhibits itself in many ways, and not just the common ways that we often think of….
Fear can be:
~ Settling for a relationship that we know is not healthy and/or outside of the will of God
~ Staying at a job or in a position because it is familiar…even when God told us to move
~ Constantly using credit/credit cards and racking up debt
~Overindulging in food
~Having a drink or two, just to loosen up, before performing any act
Fear is not just running from a black cat or poisonous animal… fear is believing that God will not provide for us as His word says He will. Fear is when we place control in our own hands and try to “compensate” for what we think we are missing. Fear is also selfish and cannot coexist with FAITH.
So, as I sat in service yesterday, thinking about the message and the day as a whole, I realized that I still had so much growing to do. All of those examples of fear that I mentioned earlier are areas that I personally struggled with within the past three years… one is something that I am STILL praying through. But don’t misunderstand me, Beloved, fear is not something that completely disappears when we accept Christ into our hearts; it is something that decreases as we continue to place our FAITH in God above our ability in self.
I want to leave this message fairly short so that you have time to watch these two videos (yesterday’s church service and my sermon from 12/5/18). I pray that they both bless and encourage you on your individual walk with God.