Archive for March 2nd, 2015

Living large

from JO’s sermon tonight:

we weren’t created to live a small life, with little goals, little dreams, little influence; God created us to live an abundant life. no matter what level you’re at, you’re not supposed to get stuck and stay there; God is a God of increase. He has something bigger in your future. if you’re going to live this large life, it starts in our thinking. Jesus said:

Luke 5:37 (NIV)
37 And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined.

wineskins were made out of leather. when they got old, they became hard and stiff, and wouldn’t expand; if you put new wine in, they would burst. Jesus was saying, “you can’t have a new life with old thinking.” you can’t go around thinking you’ve reached your limits, you’ve gone as far as you can, you never get any good breaks; limited thinking will cause you to live a limited life. get rid of that old wineskin; start thinking bigger, believing bigger, expecting bigger. you are full of possibility; you have seeds of greatness. there is untapped potential in you right now.

one of the biggest battles that we all face is the battle of containment; the enemy can’t do anything about the ground you’ve already gained, he can’t make you go backwards, but he’ll do everything he can to try to keep you from going forward. his goal is to convince you to settle where you are. he’ll tell us things like: “you’ll never be able to afford that house you really want, just accept it.” “you’ll never get well, you saw the medical report.” or, “you’ll never meet the right person, it’s been too long, this is as good as it gets.” don’t believe those lies; he wouldn’t be fighting you so hard unless he knew God had something amazing in your future. you may not see how it can happen, but one touch of God’s favor can catapult you to a new level. Paul said:

2 Corinthians 6:11-13 (MSG)
11-13 … I long for you to enter this wide-open, spacious life… The smallness you feel comes from within you. Your lives aren’t small, but you’re living them in a small way. I’m speaking as plainly as I can and with great affection. Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively!

notice, God’s dream is that we live a wide open, spacious life. but even though God has this big life planned out, if we have limited thinking, we can live it in a small way. it’s easy to get stuck in a rut, just going to work, coming home, dealing with the daily pressures of life; we look up, and we’re not expecting anything better, not releasing our faith, thinking, “this is all there is.” but compared to what God has planned, we’re living small.  on a regular basis, you have to stir up your faith, gifts, passions. you have not seen your best days;  God has a wide life for you, much bigger than you’re living. whatever level you’re at, don’t get stuck and stay there; it may feel big to you, you’re blessed, you’re content, but in God’s eyes it’s a small place. He has new horizons for you to explore; new dreams, talents, opportunities. the scripture puts it this way:

Proverbs 4:18 (ESV)
18  But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn,
    which shines brighter and brighter until full day.

God’s idea is that our lives get bigger and bigger; more influence, more opportunity, more resources. you may feel stuck, you haven’t seen this happen, but this is a new day; things are about to turn in your favor. if you’ll get your hopes up, start expecting God’s goodness, you’re going to come into a bigger life, a new level of your destiny. God’s idea of living large is much different than ours. you may have seen God’s blessings in the past, but you need to get ready, you haven’t seen anything yet. where God is going to take you, the doors He’s going to open, the people you’re going to meet, the promotion, good breaks, influence, is going to supersede anything you’ve imagined. God’s prepared a wide, spacious life for you.

my challenge is, don’t live with a small mentality; don’t water down your dreams, accepting less when you know God has created you for more. “I’m doing ok, can’t complain, got a roof over my head, got a job, I’m making it”; that’s good, we should be grateful, we should be content, what I’m saying is, don’t settle there, don’t let that become permanent in your thinking. if we live in mediocrity long enough, it can become normal to us, to where we think that’s all there is. if you see lack, dysfunctions, struggle, addictions, on a regular basis, it can become ingrained in you, to where you think that’s the way it’s supposed to be.  we adapt to our environment; if you take a fish that’s supposed to grow to be 2 feet long, and you put it in a small aquarium, that fish will never become what it was created to be, not because there’s something wrong with the fish, but because of the environment that it’s in.

you may be in a limited environment right now; perhaps you can’t do anything about that, the key is, don’t let the environment get in you, don’t let mediocrity become the norm. that may be where you are, but that is not WHO you are you are; you are a child of the most high God. the Creator of the universe has breathed His life into you. let these words sink down into your spirit; a wide open, spacious life.  that means a life free from addictions and bad habits, a life where you’re happy, healthy, whole, fulfilled. a life of abundance, more than enough, an overflow life. the enemy wants to contain you, but God wants to enlarge you. break out in your thinking; stay open to new possibilities.

one time, in the scripture:

Luke 5:1-5 (AMP)
5 Now it occurred that while the people pressed upon Jesus to hear the message of God, He was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret (Sea of Galilee).
2 And He saw two boats drawn up by the lake, but the fishermen had gone down from them and were washing their nets.
3 And getting into one of the boats, [the one] that belonged to Simon (Peter), He requested him to draw away a little from the shore. Then He sat down and continued to teach the crowd [of people] from the boat.
4 When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon (Peter), Put out into the deep [water], and lower your nets for a haul.
5 And Simon (Peter) answered, Master, we toiled all night [exhaustingly] and caught nothing [in our nets]. But…

Luke 5:5 (YLT)
5 … at thy saying I will let down the net.’

(I switched to the Young’s Literal Translation, which is considered the most accurate translation of the old languages into English, for that last phrase because almost all of the other translations say “nets,” plural, which we can see would be incorrect. This is an excellent example of how a seemingly trivial alteration, which was probably made with good intentions because the translators thought that only using one net didn’t make sense, can change something meaningful in the final wording. When in doubt, look it up!!)

net, singular. in other words, Jesus said, “Peter I’ve got an abundant life for you. I’ve got a wide, spacious life.” but Peter thought, “it’s not going to happen for me, there’s no fish out there, I never get any good breaks.” so he went out and let down his net:

Luke 5:6 (NKJV)
6 And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking.

a lot of times, we’re like Peter; God says, “I want you to live a big life, an abundant, fulfilled life where you’re gaining new ground. I want to take you where you’ve never been, show you influence, favor, good breaks that you’ve never seen.” but there is a catch; you have to let down your nets. you have to make room for it in your thinking. you can’t think small, believe small, expect small, and expect to live this large life. if you just let down your net, thinking, “God, help me survive, help me to make it through this month, help me to live with this addiction, help me to maintain where I am,” you will miss the fullness of what God has in store. why don’t you start letting down your nets? why don’t you say, “God, I’m in agreement with You. I believe You have a wide open, spacious, abundant life in store for me, so I’m going to believe that my whole family is going to serve You. I’m going to believe that I’m going to come out of debt and be a blessing to others. I’m believing to start my business, to build that orphanage, to meet the person of my dreams.”

if you’ll start letting down your nets, God will open doors that you could never open, bring the right people across your path. He’ll take you where you’ve never dreamed.  but too often, we let how we were raised, what we saw modeled growing up, set the limits for our life: if our parents had addictions, bad habits, the people that raised us lived in lack and mediocrity, we think that’s our lot in life. people tell me, “I’ve gone as far as my parents, I’ve accomplished as much as my grandparents, I’m doing good enough”; no, God is a progressive God, He wants every generation to increase.  your parents and relatives, they laid the foundation; you’re not supposed to settle there, you’re supposed to build off of what they did. that’s not a resting place where you can put down your stakes, that’s a stepping stone for you to rise higher, a launching pad for you to go farther. don’t get comfortable and settle there.

yes, you may have seen some mediocrity growing up, but God is counting on you to be the difference-maker. in other words, maybe nobody in your family made good grades in school; you be the one to make good grades. maybe none of them went to college; you be the one to go to college. they didn’t live in a nice house, that’s ok, they did the best they could with what they had, but don’t you settle there; you have more advantages than they had, you have more wisdom, you have more opportunity, there is more available to you. your relatives may have let down their net, singular, but the good news is, you know better; you can let down your nets.  you can dream bigger, you can believe bigger.  start living large, start taking steps of faith, stretching, growing, learning. there’s a wide, spacious life prepared for you.

if you were raised in a limited environment, don’t make the mistake of letting the environment get into you. don’t let how you were raised, or even the environment you’re in right now, convince you to settle where you are; get rid of that old wineskin. God has a big life waiting for you. He has a purpose for you to fulfill, an assignment for you to accomplish. He’s put the right gifts and talents in you, He’s already lined up the right people, the right opportunities; don’t let your heredity stop your destiny. don’t let what was passed down to you keep you down; break out of a limited mindset. there is greatness in you. your destiny is calling out; it’s time to start living large. if you’ll start throwing out your nets, having a bigger vision, believing that you’re well able, like Peter, you’ll come into a great haul; God will amaze you with His goodness.

don’t let people put their limitations on you. you can be the one to break the cycle of lack and defeat in your family. you can break the addictions, the bad habits. you can rise to a new level and go where no one in your family has ever gone. there’s a large life waiting for you; don’t stay contained. don’t talk yourself out of it; if you’ll think bigger, you’ll live bigger. sometimes, we don’t know why we can’t do something great, accomplish a dream, break an addiction, all we know is nobody in our family has done it, now they’re puling us down, telling us how we can’t be successful, throwing water on our passion.  generation after generation, being limited, pulled down because of wrong thinking. my message today is very simple; go get your dreams.

somebody may have told you that you can’t do it, nobody in your family did it, daddy didn’t do it, granddaddy didn’t do it, great-granddaddy didn’t do it;  that’s ok, this is a new day, you’re the difference-maker, rise up and go get what belongs to you. quit letting people pull you down; your friends, relatives, coworkers, they may mean well, but God didn’t put the dream in them, he put the dream in you. don’t let them talk you out of it, don’t settle where you are because everybody around you is stuck; go get your dream. you’ve got to learn how to encourage yourself; you can’t rely on people to keep you built up and cheer you on. sometimes people will let you down, try to keep you at the same level; they may not see what you can see. Paul said:

Romans 3:3 (WEB)
For what if some were without faith? Will their lack of faith make of no effect the faithfulness of God?

Romans 3:3 (NKJV)
3 For what if some did not believe? Will their unbelief make the faithfulness of God without effect?

Romans 3:3 (CJB)
3 If some of them were unfaithful, so what? Does their faithlessness cancel God’s faithfulness?

just because somebody doesn’t believe that you can do what God put in your heart, that doesn’t change anything; you don’t have to have everybody on board. you’re never going to get all your relatives, friends, coworkers to cheer you on and support you; in fact, sometimes they’ll tell you, “do you really think you can do that? do you really think you can break that addiction, start that business, write that book? I don’t think so.” your attitude should be, respectfully; “so what if they don’t believe? I don’t need their encouragement, their support, their prayers. I know this; God and I are a majority. if God be for me, who dare be against me?” start encouraging yourself; “I’m strong, I’m talented, I’m well able. I’m coming into my wide open, spacious life.”

who told you that you can’t do something great, accomplish your dreams, overcome that illness? don’t let anyone keep you from your destiny. if you’re going to live a large life, you have to delete the negative things that were spoken over you. you are not who people say you are, you are who God says you are. don’t let what they said contain you: “you’re just a C student”; delete that, you’re an A student. “you’ll never get out of debt”; delete that, you will lend and not borrow. “you can’t accomplish your dreams”; delete that, you can do all things through Christ. “you’re not talented, you’re not attractive”; delete that, you are fearfully and wonderfully made. people don’t have the final say, God does, and He says, “I’ve prepared for you a wide open, spacious life.” get rid of the old wineskins, start throwing out your nets, this is a new day. God wants to take you where you’ve never been. He wants to show you something that you’ve never seen. if you will start living large, you’re going to see new doors begin to open, new talent come out of you, new friendships, new opportunities, a new level of your destiny.

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