Last night my family and I went to the dedication of New Horizon's Church where my friend Eric Wiggins is the Senior Pastor. Five years ago, Eastern Star Church sent out Pastor Wiggins to start this new church, the third church they have launched. Yesterday, New Horizons church gathered to dedicate a debt-free, 400-seat worship space at 7315 East 75th Street, Indianapolis, IN 46256. A month ago the church occupied what used to be a former Luthern church. In that one month the congregation has doubled in size and a third Sunday worship service is being planned. Eric is an outstanding man of faith and leadership.
Pastor Jeffery A. Johnson, Sr. of Eastern Star Church preached the dedicatory message and it was one of the greatest sermons I've heard in my life. Here are 12 great ideas he developed from Genesis 22:
So Abraham called that place, "The-Lord-Will-Provide" ... God is not just your provider.
- There is a place where God provides. Often we don't get what God has for us because were are not in the place where we are supposed to be. Wayne Gretzky's secret of success was that he honed his skill of anticipating where the puck was going to be and getting there ahead of it. You have to get to the place of God's provision.
- You only get to the place of God's provision when you obey His direction. You have total access to His mercy and grace right where you are, but if you want things to change, if you want to receive the blessing he has for you, you need to do what He tells you to do. Conversely, if you are not experiencing His blessing, are you following His directions? Are you doing what He's already told you to do?
- Don't be discouraged about how long it takes...it is, after all, a test. Are you trusting Him to provide? Do you love the Giver of the gift more than the gift? Are you caught up with the Blessor or the blessing?
- Obey all of God's directions immediately. When God spoke Abraham immediately obeyed and began to prepare to go where God told him to go and to do what God told him to do. He did not procrastinate.
- Go to the specific place God tells you. He is specific. Not every place is for you. The place you are being called is at another level.It means you will probably need to leave others behind that are holding you back. Tell them, "You stay here with the donkeys, be we are going up to the place where God is calling us."
- Bring your own fire with you. When you come to the place of worship don't expect others to have to fire you up. Light your own fire and come prepared. Don't be an idle spectator, waiting for others to inspire you. Maturity is when you do the work to inspire yourself.
- But fire alone is not enough. There are a lot of churches with a lot of fire and, "no lamb." They have the tools, they build their platform, and they are on fire...but where is Jesus?
- There is no worship without sacrifice. But when Issac said, "Where is the Lamb" he was not talking about Jesus...to him, his question meant, "Where is the offering?" There is no worship without an offering. Until you sacrifice something, there is no authentic worship. In the first worship service ever recorded, there was no music, no singing, no liturgy, no sermon...but there was an offering.
- You are the sacrifice God wants. Issac, 17 years old could have overpowered his 117+ year old father...but he layed himself down on the altar. He chose to be a living sacrifice, trusting his father because his father was trusting his Father!
- What are your eyes focused on? God saw two willing hearts, ready to obey, ready to sacrifice everything,...and he said, "Stop!" I see your hearts...and that's all I've ever wanted. I don't need your sacrifice...I've already PROVIDED the sacrifice. While you were so focused by your fear of what was coming, the altar of sacrifice and what it was going to cost you, I had your back!
- When God provides it's always better. Look behind you, before you even came up the mountain...I provided, not a little lamb, a big ram! I know how to bless you exceedingly, abundantly above and beyond all you could ask or think!
- Get to to the place of God's provision, obey His directions, don't look back, because He's got your back!