Over the last few weeks we have had lots of spiritual activity at Courts of Praise. I had the opportunity to be at the yearly Foursquare Convention in Canmore. Sue Weiler preached an awesome message on Ruth for several Sundays. And then over the past weekend, some of our ladies enjoyed the Weekend with Jesus retreat; thanks to all the volunteers that made it a great success. Belma Vardy, Johanne Spencer, Nancy McPhee and Arnolda Bowes all shared various aspects of their journey with Jesus that brought inspiration and healing to many. It was a great blessing for Becky to connect once again with Lecia Goerke as they led in worship of Jesus. And then last Sunday, we were blessed with Belma sharing part of her testimony and then leading us in the River of Healing. The feedback from many was very positive and there are thoughts and plans for future events.
I have observed what God was doing at the Foursquare Convention and now the last few weeks here in Saskatoon. There are several thoughts I want to share with us this morning and have your participation as well. One of the most important messages I have taken away from the Spirit of God is this – we have to learn how to thrive in this abundant life provided to us through Jesus Christ.
Thrive 2018 – The Foursquare National Convention
There were many opportunities to connect with fellow pastors and leaders as well as listening to various convention speakers. I want to share with you some of the key thoughts I came away with from convention this year.
The idea of thriving is both positive and inspiring; it speaks of doing well, blooming and flourishing, developing and prospering, growing and succeeding. There are both practical and spiritual applications; family, farming, finances, spiritual growth (personal and corporate), and health to name a few. Jesus often asked questions to those he came in contact with. These questions were meant to lead the person closer to a genuine and thriving relationship with God. This requires change on our part as God’s Kingdom grows in our lives. Steve Falkiner shared this verse – “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow” (1 Cor 3:6). Growth is good, requires work like planting and watering, and God will supply the growth.
In order to Thrive we must understand some basic spiritual truths. Firstly, fulfilling the Great Commission is the will of God (Matt 28:18-20). This is the foundation of Kingdom growth. Secondly, the church (ekklesia – people) is the will of God (Rom 12:1-8). The church is to express the fullness of the life and love of Christ by allowing all the gifts to be manifested in the church. Thirdly, faith is the will of God (Hebr 11:1). In order to Thrive, believers must engage in faith; God blesses the faith-full. Lastly, generosity is the will of God for believers. Not just financially but in love, acceptance and forgiveness.
Thriving is all about growing and sometimes growing is messy. In Luke 5:17-26 we see Jesus teaching a group of Pharisees and teachers of the Law and we are told the power of the Lord was present to heal the sick. Some men bring a paralytic and try to enter the house but are unable to, so they decide to make a mess but opening up the roof and lower the man down to Jesus. When Jesus sees their faith he forgives the man’s sin. Now things get even more messy. The religious leaders begin thinking Jesus about blasphemy. Jesus knowing their thoughts (this is messy in another way), questions them about which is easier, to forgive sins or to heal a paralyzed man. In the end, Jesus does both forgives and heals.
Thrive – The River of Life
Last weekend we were blessed with a messy service on Sunday that was the climax of the ladies Weekend With Jesus. The weekend was a lot of hard work, but we were blessed in so many ways. One of the verses I memorized several years ago is – Rev 22:1-3 – “Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.” On Sunday we were blessed with the opportunity to spiritually and symbolically walk through the river of life. We were encouraged to wash in the river, to be anointed in the river, to forgive others, to confess our sins and confess our love for God. It was a powerful time.
Following on the theme of Abundant Living – Learning to Thrive, I want to take some time this morning and allow us to share our thoughts and experiences from the Weekend With Jesus and our Sunday morning service with Belma Vardy.
It is God’s desire for his people to enjoy an abundant life in Jesus. This life is all about thriving and growing and becoming all that we are created to be. The Bible tells us we are God’s workmanship and are created to display good works in life; this is all about thriving in abundance.
Here are some of my applications from the last few weeks.
· We have to be willing to grow. This means we must accept change…
· We have to be faith-full. We must put our faith on display for Jesus…
· Don’t worry about making mistakes. We learn and grow in the midst of mess…
· Confession is good for the soul and attractive to the Holy Spirit…