A Game of Inches
Everything In Order
Pastor Marc Johnson
In life, we don’t achieve and grow through giant and immediate strides. We grow little-by-little, over time. Football, Baseball, and all sports are games of inches – won and lost in a matter of inches. Life is no different. God gives us disciplines that, if we lean into them, we will see significant results over time as we grow slowly and steadily.
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Order is a small thing that makes a VERY large impact in our lives. Think of this as an example. Every morning, on our way to work, we put up the garage door and back our car out of the garage. Imagine if you got those 2 simple steps out of order. We are going to unpack the importance of order in our lives and in our churches.
ReCap From Previous Messages
Week 1: Find your gift and expand at the edges
Week 2: Spirit-Led Prayer
Mark 4:26-29 (ESV)
26 And he said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. 27 He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how. 28 The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. 29 But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”
Everything Requires ORDER
What are we talking about this morning?
- What was the difference between the success of one girl and the failure of the other?
- same age, both girls, roughly the same size, so what was different?
- ORDER, order made all the difference in the world
- diff. between victory and defeat
We are talking about order this morning
- Order is a small and often over-looked principle that is the difference between success and failure, growth and depletion, moving forward or falling backward
Mark 4 speaks that there’s an order to things
- seed, blade, ear, grain, ripe, harvest
- God never does things out of order.
We ALL Struggle with ORDER sometimes
HOW DO WE ALL STRUGGLE WITH THIS?
We all get in trouble when we circumvent or stray from God’s order.
- sleeping together first; moving in together first
- throw out reconciliation with our spouse in order to marry another
- We rush into a business decision without praying or seeking God
We get hurt by someone, then instead of going to that person (like we are supposed to) we go talk to everyone else…trying to build an army around our cause.
Where in our lives are we Out of Order?
Mark tells us of God’s order by painting a process and a purpose
What does GOD have to say about ORDER?
- It takes time for the seed to develop into the grain and for the grain to be harvested
- There are steps that must take place to get from here to there
- You can’t leap frog the process.
- Where are you in your process
- Have you stopped to ask God that question, “God, where am I in the process?”
- Respect where you are at in the process
- The seed can’t develop the strength to grow until it develops the strength the break through the soil
- Maybe you aren’t growing, because you haven’t developed the strength to break through!
God has a process for you – don’t subvert His process, trying to grab the product
Let’s face it. We ALL want God to answer our prayers and answer them immediately…We all want the product but we don’t want to go through the process to get it.
- Let’s face it – we all want to be millionaire’s but we aren’t always willing to do the work to earn 1 mill. dollars
- The process of the seed leads that seed to a purpose
- the process is specific to the purpose…leading specifically
- Every obstacle the seed has to overcome has a purpose and leads to a purpose
- The obstacles and heart-aches we go through ALL have a purpose
- We may not know the purpose, but we can trust that God is leading us to a specific purpose
- You and I aren’t wandering aimlessly…we are heading somewhere
- The process ALWAYS comes before the purpose
This church has a purpose and God is leading us through His process in order to achieve His purpose
1 Corinthians 14:20-33 (CSB)
20Brothers and sisters, don’t be childish in your thinking, but be infants in regard to evil and adult in your thinking.
21It is written in the law, I will speak to this people by people of other tongues and by the lips of foreigners, and even then, they will not listen to me, says the Lord.
22Speaking in other tongues, then, is intended as a sign, not for believers but for unbelievers, while prophecy is not for unbelievers but for believers.
23If, therefore, the whole church assembles together and all are speaking in other tongues and people who are outsiders or unbelievers come in, will they not say that you are out of your minds?
24But if all are prophesying and some unbeliever or outsider comes in, he is convicted by all and is called to account by all.
25The secrets of his heart will be revealed, and as a result he will fall facedown and worship God, proclaiming, “God is really among you.”
26What then, brothers and sisters? Whenever you come together, each one has a hymn, a teaching, a revelation, another tongue, or an interpretation. Everything is to be done for building up.
27If anyone speaks in another tongue, there are to be only two, or at the most three, each in turn, and let someone interpret.
28But if there is no interpreter, that person is to keep silent in the church and speak to himself and God.
29Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should evaluate.
30But if something has been revealed to another person sitting there, the first prophet should be silent.
31For you can all prophesy one by one, so that everyone may learn and everyone may be encouraged.
32And the prophets’ spirits are subject to the prophets,
33since God is not a God of disorder but of peace. As in all the churches of the saints,
Everything should be on purpose – with a purpose
The Holy Spirit has been moving in our services, both on Wednesdays and Sundays…This is good! This is exciting. I can see God stirring up long forgotten passions and gifts within people. I can see this hunger in some; not wanting to leave His presence and go home. These are all good things!
– This means we’ve been cultivating an atmosphere that welcomes the Holy Spirit
– Like Rev. 3 says, I stand at the door and knock…”
God wants to move and have freedom in our services….However, God does everything in order God has a purpose for this church and He has a process for us to walk out in order to reach our purpose
– Moving in His process toward His purpose is what keeps us in order
– When we lose sight of His purpose and process…we get out of order
What Paul is trying to say in 1 Cor. 14
1) Paul desires and we SHOULD desire the gifts and moving of the Holy Spirit when we worship together
– The purpose for EVERY gift is to bring someone close to God (v. 22)
2) Everything should be done in order and clarity
– Atheists and non-believers should leave our services hungry to know more…or at least curious. They shouldn’t run away, vowing never to return to any church again.
3) There is a difference between God speaking TO you and speaking THROUGH you
– Paul makes it very clear that not everything God speaks to your heart in a worship experience is meant for everyone else
– what God is speaking to you may be for someone and not everyone
How can we live out the Holy Spirit’s order together?
I think we all can agree that we want the Holy Spirit to continue to move in our worship experiences…I want God to move, I want people to grow in Him and feel is presence changing their hearts and lives. MOST DEFINITELY.
SO…What does this mean for us?
1) I am the shepherd of this house and God has called me to steward His presence and the Word.
– To help me, I have appointed Elders who are faithful men and women who have proven themselves faithful and responsible
2) God speaks to us equally, but not every voice carries the same weight
– If you only attend here every other month or so, your voice won’t carry weight
– Our Wednesday nights are perfectly crafted to allow the opportunity for our family to exercise spiritual gifts in a free-flowing atmosphere of love and grace
God has appointed me to be the gatekeeper of this house. We will let the Holy Spirit flow…but I will not let wolves come in and attack our family…
3) Each week there will be an Elder on the front row/Stage Left while I’m on stage
– If I’m not on stage and you feel you have a word, you come to me, not Daniel, Heather, my Wife or anyone singing on stage
Order reveals Priorities
What order we do things reveals our priorities. What we emphasize and what we treat as “precious” reveals our priorities.
– Following God and pleasing Him is my highest priority. That should come first and everything should flow from that FIRST choice.
– Stop placing God as the least of your priorities and then expect to be the top of His.
– Stop putting everything first and THEN trying to cram Him into your life
Every week when we gather together to worship God, we reveal our priorities. And in His word, God reveals the Holy Spirit’s priorities to us.
– To recap 1 Cor. 14 – it’s people who are hurt and broken and far away from Him
– We haven’t gotten SO off-track by thinking that the Holy Spirit moves in our services…for us! That’s not the case. He doesn’t move in your life for you. He moves in your life for someone who is lost and far away from Him.
What we treat as precious – we prioritize. And I treat the presence and spiritual move of God as precious…and we will prioritize Him as such.