Sermon February 4, 2006 : Mark 6:30 - Part 2

Posted in Sermons
  • Presenter: Dr. Roberto Miranda
  • Date: February 4, 2006
  • Location: Congregation Lion of Judah, Boston MA

We were talking last Sunday about resting in the Lord. I have to learn a lot about that. Many times I tend to want to do everything right and be in control of everything and God says time and time again, ‘rest in Me. Let Me carry you. Let Me do my part as you do your own part’. So thank you for being here tonight and I want to ask you to go to the Gospel of Mark and what I’m going to do, is I’m going to continue with the message that we started last Saturday.

I thought of maybe changing the text and just leaving it where we left off last Saturday and beginning something new, but you know, the word of God is so rich, so wonderful, I think we can build up towards something. To Mark, chapter 6, beginning with verse 30.

I just want to build on some of the concepts that we discussed last Saturday and continue building the momentum of this wonderful, very rich passage. It’s very well know to practically all of us who have been in Christianity for a while. The feeding of the 5000, that miraculous multiplication of the bread and the fish. And there’s so much there for us to grab on to.

Let me just to return to verse 30, chapter 6, Mark. It says “The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to Him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, He said to them: ‘come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest. So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place but many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them.

When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd He had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So He began teaching them many things. By this time it was late in the day so the disciples came to Him ‘this is a remote place,’ they said ‘and it’s already very late. Send the people away so they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat’. But He answered ‘you give them something to eat’. They said to Him ‘that would take 8 months of a man’s wages, are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?’. ‘How many loaves do you have?’, he asked ‘go and see’. When they found out they said ‘five and two fish’. Then Jesus directed them to have all the people sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties. Taking the 5 loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, He gave thanks and broke the loaves and He them to His disciples to set before the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. They all ate and were satisfied and the disciples picked up 12 baskets full of broken pieces of bread and fish. The number of the men who had eaten was 5000”.

Father, we relinquish this word to You, who’s the original owner and Lord, we do pray that you will break that word as Jesus broke the bread. And break it before us Father and distribute it to each one of us. We come needy just like that crowd right now, including myself. I need to hear from you and be ministered by you Father. So speak to us, teach us now and we give you all the honor and all glory thankful in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Well, last Saturday we talked about 3 points that emerged out the first few verses. The first one was about being Christ centered in our lives. If we want to have successful, fulfilling, fruitful, productive lives, we need to be Christ centered. We saw the disciples leave at Jesus’ commands to go and minister to the villages around them and preach the word and minister healing and peace to the community and then it says that they came back to Him, as we see that very first verse that we read. ‘They gathered around Him and shared with Him all the experiences and I imagine that Jesus sort of, debriefed them, that’s one word that we use in modern times, and interpreted for them what had taken place.

And I said that we need to be doing that in our lives. We need to live God, Christ centered lives. Jesus has said that if we remain in Him in He in us, that we can bear much fruit. Really you cannot go too much deeper and much more basically into the mystery of the Kingdom of God than to the fact that we need to be centered on the life of Jesus, on his word, on His example, His figure, the principles that emerged from His mouth. And there lies the secret of healing, of emotional health, of productivity in the Christian life, of strength, success, all the things that we crave in life, they emerge like yoking ourselves to the power of Jesus. And as the power of Jesus courses through our being, we are able to do the things that Jesus does. So that’s very important.

And the second point that I mentioned was the fact about finding rest in Jesus and I was preaching that sermon to myself more than to anybody else, because I’m kind of an A-type personality, always seeking to be in control, always seeking for things to be right, always looking at the details, and Jesus is always telling me and particularly in this time of my life, He has been saying, I want you to find rest in me. I want you to enter into my Sabbath.

And you know that many of us, I know that many of you lead very demanding lives, you’re productive people. Some of you are graduate students, others are in college, high school. I mean, some of you are leading important institutions and we….. and some of you are aspiring to become powerful people. You may be a housewife leading a large family, and you want your family to be doing well and you want to provide for your children. You want to be perfect. Perfect as a mother, perfect as a wife, perfect in taking care of the house, perfect in working in the church. And you know we have this drivenness towards perfection, control, performance, and we live in a society that is so geared to performance that so much of our self esteem depends on that. And we are slowly trained by this culture to live in anxiety and to always be seeking the next mountain to climb, the next performance measure. Always seeking to exceed ourselves like an athlete, always looking at the time, at the clock, just to shave off that extra .5 seconds.

And Jesus, and the hole word of God invites us to rest. This is why I think God invented the Sabbath, because He knew that human beings, just by their very biology, by their very inclination of the psyche we tend to seek more and more control and we tend to think that the world depends on us. If I take my hands off the steering wheel the whole thing will crash. And God engineered the Sabbath forcing the Israelites and us indirectly, to take time away and to just remember, ‘the world doesn’t depend on me. I have to take time to relax. I have to take time read the word. I have to take time to pray. I have to take time to breath in the presence of God in my life and to seek direction from Him, because I know that if I do that, those minutes, that half hour, those 45 minutes that I take away to be separated in Him, will be returned to me in terms of greater strength, more energy, greater lucidity o mind, more clarity of our making decisions, more power in the things that I do. And somehow also God himself engineered the circumstances around me in such a way that things will happen so much more quickly, because I’m finding my rest in Him.

Rest in Scripture is not a passive thing, it’s not a vacuum, it’s not at the absence of. I think rest is a heroic thing in Scripture, something that we enter into despite ourselves, despite our biology, despite the inclinations of our mind and of our emotions that say ‘stay in control, do, continue acting, continue learning, continue doing this, and this and that’. And God says ‘no, rest in me and let me be the source of your power’.

Jesus calls his disciples to rest. He says after all the turmoil ‘come, and let’s have a vacation. Let’s take time. Let’s just have fun. Let’s be normal’. That’s the other aspect of this teaching, you know. Let’s not be so spiritual, let’s have a good time, let’s enjoy life. How many know that God has called us to a fulfilled life, to an abundant life?

Jesus said I have come so that you might have life and that you might have it more abundantly. So let’s not forget the fact that we’re not entirely spiritual. We also have those needs for just sheer fun and rest in the Lord and also just physical rest, as simple as that.

The third point that emerged from our first few verses is the fact that compassion is such a crucial thing as well in life. The ability to…. In a sense it’s related to the other two and it’s interesting that as I think about it now, those 3 points lead us to one thing, which is other centeredness, not being centered so much in ourselves.

The first point says, be centered on Jesus. The second point says rest in the Lord and do not try to be in control yourself. And the third point speaks about compassion which means orient yourself towards others and love others. Think about the needs of others. Do not always be so concerned about yourself, your own needs, your own situation in life, how you’re feeling at this point. Do not gaze at your neighbor so much that you become obsessed that you don’t see the world around you.

Jesus had an idea. He said ‘let’s go and rest’. And what happened? People flocked to Him anyway. They didn’t know that He had a holiday written in his agenda so they came and they interrupted his plans and, how did He react? It says that He saw them with compassion. He saw their need, He saw that there weren’t too many good teachers around. It was a sterile time in the life of Israel overtaken by Pharisees and by rationality and humanism with the Sadducees and it was a time of turmoil in the life of Israel.

And Jesus was able to get in touch with that. And so He set aside His own needs for the moment and ministered to the people. It is so important, brothers and sisters, that we learn, and I have learned in my life, and more and more as time goes by, that the more I forget about ministering to myself, and I love others as best as I can, many times I fail utterly, but when I have my moments of great control in the Lord and I’m able to transcend my own needs and to love others and to give to others and to share my life, my time, my talents, to put aside the fact that I may be tired or sleepy and make one extra phone call, or stop to greet someone, you know, the Lord has such a wonderful ways of returning every one of those gestures back to me.

You know, live a life of as seeing yourself as a minister of God’s grace. We live in a world, just like in the times of Jesus, in America that there’s so much need out there, there’re so many broken people. You have an entire community drinking from the spoilt waters of rationalism, of humanism, of distance from God, of self centeredness, of promiscuity that weakens you mentally and physically and destroy the very fabric of the spirit. And so there are thousands and thousands of people roaming this city, sometimes inhabiting in very expensive condominiums and driving shiny cars and yet broken inside and needing compassion, needing ministering, needing for you to set aside your own need, your own brokenness, your own thirst and take a moment to minister to others. That’s what Jesus did. Compassion is such a powerful thing.

And so we enter the story at this point where it says that Jesus ministered to them. He took His time, taught them. He did what a pastor does, He preached to them. He spoke to them about the principles of the spirit and then I think the story goes into a second stage, but it’s all really connected here. Jesus exercises compassion and now in a sense He is teaching the disciples something that is powerful about their own identity, I think, about their own potential and their own calling as servants of the Lord.

In what the disciples say to Jesus, there’s a revelation already of how they saw themselves and also how we see ourselves. When the time had passed, Jesus had ministered for the congregation, it was late in the afternoon or evening, and you can imagine a desolate place, there were no lamps anywhere to light the countryside. When night descended it was utterly dark. People had to be groping around the stones and the roads to get to where they had to go, so the disciples had a genuine concern. ‘Hey, Jesus, it’s getting late here. Let the people go, let them go and make dinner for themselves’. In the statement there is a suggestion, again, about and absence of the completeness which Jesus wanted them to see themselves.

They’re saying ‘Jesus, we have fulfilled our role here. You have done what You had to do. You’re a preacher of the word. You’re a spiritual teacher. You’ve done what You had to do, now that’s…. the spiritual realm, which is your domain has been taken care of. Now they have a material need, and so therefore they abandon them to that dimension, which is not our province. You see that was the implicit conclusion in their mind.

And Jesus wanted to break that paradigm. Jesus wanted to destroy that artificial membrane between the spiritual and the material. And so that’s an important moment there. He wants to expand their consciousness. He wants to expand their paradigm about what the church is, what the domain of God’s power is. What God’s capability and His willingness to work through us in whatever domain of life. And so He poses a kind of a riddle and He says ‘no, no, you feed them’. And I think He said that with a twinkle in His eyes.

And I think it is in the book of John that it tells us something about what was in Jesus’ mind. It’s not said here in the gospel, that’s why I love the complementarities of each of the gospels. It think it is in the book of John that it says that He said this to test them. He didn’t tell them all that He had in His mind, but He told them the basic assignment. ‘You give them something to eat’.

And, again, sometimes we, as Christians, we believe, we want to put God in a certain box. We want to limit God’s province of action and society out there certainly wants to do that. And Jesus is always telling us ‘no, my word, my principles, are to invade every dimension of the human situation’. The Gospel, the word of God, the revelation of Scripture is not just for the spiritual realm.

If you go today out there in the street, you will find many people in government, in the area of the law, in business, in science, certainly in science, that say ‘you know, your faith, your Christianity you keep it within the walls of your church. You limit your Christianity to the values realm, to the realm of the spirit, but do not try to bring your faith into the realm of the law, of government, of science, because it doesn’t belong there’. And Jesus says ‘I will not allow that kind of break. My revelation, my power, my word, my principles are to invade every aspect of life, the spiritual and the material.’

Now, why do people, want to do that? Because it’s very easy, you know, when you maintain faith in the spiritual realm, let’s say the private realm, what your are doing effectively you is neutralizing it. You are nurturing it, you are emasculating it, because it remains within the confines of the person, or within the confines of a very small minority that sort of dwells within itself. And so even as they try and pretend to legitimize faith, by saying ‘well, you know, it’s a private thing and so on and so forth, then we won’t get into that’. But in a sense what they are seeking to do truly is to say ‘keep Christianity inoffensive, keep it innocuous, keep it out of the realm where really with the big boys play, where laws are made, where government effects its deliberations, where scientific understandings of reality are determined on and on and on. And so as Christians we must understand that we can not allow that to take place.

Our Christianity, our life is to permeate every aspect of our being. That is the agonizing dimension of the Christian faith. How easy would it be if it’s just, you know, the pride that that spiritual realm. Unfortunately for us, Christianity wants to enter into my studies, the kind of life that I lead in the university or high school, my work, the behavior that I portray before my fellow workers, my finances, the way I do business, the way I administer the institution that I lead, or the department that I lead in my job. Christianity permeates all of us and that’s the agonizing thing. It permeates my sexuality, it permeates my emotions, it permeates my intellect, it permeates my relationships, it permeates my bank account and how I distribute my money, the way I relate to my wife, my children, my friends, whether I speak honestly or not. It’s everywhere and we are called by Jesus to not draw these artificial boundaries, not to compartmentalize life so much as we want to do and to allowing free reign in every area of our life, and not to allow society, either, to consign us or confine us to one particular dimension. Because Christianity is as Nancy Pierce has said in her book “Total Truth”, it is just that, it is total truth. It is a truth that lays a claim on every area of life.

And I think that also touches our understanding of the church as well. Because many times we tend to spiritualize the role of the church and we tend to limit, we want to limit the role of the church, again, to just the spiritual things. And Jesus is saying ‘no, no, you are the mother of the nations. I have asked you to disciple the nations. I said preach the gospel and make disciples.’

What is it to make a disciple? To make a disciple means that you imbue someone with your artistic or intellectual or personal DNA, through a process of influence and complete penetration of their consciousness until they become sort of a reflection of you. That is what a disciple is. In Medieval Times certainly when somebody was mentored or apprenticed by a master, they became sort of a copy of that master’s way of doing a cup or medal object, or painting a picture or playing an instrument.

And so when Jesus said make disciples of the nation, He was saying ‘hey, let the spirit of the gospel, let the principles of the gospel, let the teachings of the gospel, permeate every aspect of society and do not be still until that has taken place’. Now that also means that Christianity, and this also means in a very direct way we can interpret this passage. You know, here we are for example in Roxbury, I mean, we are actually there are two very needy communities here, we have Roxbury with all its financial, material needs, ignorance, some violence, poverty certainly and then across the street from Mass Avenue you have the South End with all its affluence, all its money, all its intellect, all its chicness, its nice cafes that are growing every day and its expensive condominiums but spiritual sterility, distance from God’s word, rebelliousness against the teachings of scripture and brokenness as a result. And a trajectory directly on to an on coming train, and they both need, perhaps in different ways what we have to offer as a church, as a church of Jesus Christ.

To Roxbury perhaps we can offer what the higher education resource center represents, a place for a Latino and African American youth to become better versed in academia and to be prepared for college and to be mentored in the values, in Christian values and to be prepared to be functional people and to break the chains of ignorance and of bondage of a lack of identity and a lack of parental role that can mentor them into what it is to be a man or a woman.

And to that other side of the community I think we are called precisely to preach, you know, total truth, to become proficient enough in the language of the intellect to…. and anointed enough to retain the principles of Scripture, to speak to that domain with credibility as well. And not be intimidated by shiny objects because they’re as dead as the lack of them on the other side as well.

And so we need to feel that we are called to all of them and we need to asking the Lord for strategy and understanding and for access to these different communities because God has called us to minister. Whatever it is, I think Christianity has a complete declaration of war against anything that impedes the free flow of life. Whatever form it might be, whether it is economic, spiritual, intellectual, social, whatever it is. We have declared war against darkness. We have declared war against the powers of hell and of death. In whatever manifestation those power take, they are giant and we’re going to go after them. And we have to ask the Lord, give us the strategy, give us the wisdom, give us the discernment, give us the anointing, because we have been called, we have to give them something to eat. Whatever type of hunger presents itself, whatever absence, anything that impedes the complete realization of God’s absolute intention for human beings to come to their full measure, is our enemy. Whatever name it takes, whatever form it takes. We are called to minister to that area.

I see in Scripture so many times people being prevented from entering into the full glory that God wants us to inhabit because of low self esteem and a deficient understanding of who they are in Christ and of the power that has been made to inhabit us. And more and more I understand that the basic frontier for us Christians is to break the small, confined spaces within which we have enclosed God’s anointing in our lives and to begin to see ourselves as dynamos. Just huge depositories of power walking around in flesh, just like Jesus was.

And so we need break that, you need to break that down. You know, I see sometimes, as I look in my congregation on Sundays and even here many times, we minister to people on Sundays, we preach to them, we offer programs of all sorts and all kinds of things and I have come to the conclusion that a good portion of our congregation doesn’t even feel themselves alluded to as we make these announcements. They have turned off the capacity to believe that we are speaking to them, or life turned it off for them many, many years ago, perhaps even in childhood. As the capacity to dream, believe great things, to yearn for glory and to say ‘I have great potentiality within me. Now all I need to do is to polish it, nourish it, develop it and I could become a giant.’

But for so many of our people the ability to believe, to envision, to dream, to believe great things about themselves has been killed. And so, you throw a seed into their lives and it bounces until it stops, because the capacity to believe that they’re speaking to me, that discipleship class maybe is for me. But many people they may have a wall that doesn’t allow them to believe. I’ll take that class, I could become some day a teacher or a sharer of God’s word. I may be even able to minister to young women. But they say ‘well, implicitly back in their conscious, in their subconscious, they say ‘oh, I’m a single mom, I never went to school, no one in my family ever graduated from high school, on and on and on.

And there’s a program there that prevents them from entering into the full glory of God, and we need to break that. We need to tear that wall down. You, if you have Christ in you, if Jesus Christ has come into your life, and the Holy Spirit is dwelling in your life, you have something much more powerful than an atomic bomb inside of you.

I wish our young people in the ghettos of Roxbury and Mattapan would understand that truth. Oh my Lord, it would revolutionize their lives. The sheer potentiality just because Jesus, the spirit of Jesus inhabits them, inhabits you, you can do much greater things than that little domain that you think is all that you have been made to inhabit.

I’m always haunted by the words of the apostle Paul in Ephesus, Chapter 1 and I use them often when I speak about these topics in particular. But the apostle Paul in Ephesus, Chapter 1, beginning with verse18 says to the Ephesians “I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints and His incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of His mighty strength.”

You know, Jesus is telling you and telling me ‘hey, I will exert all my influence to enlighten your mind, to take the cob webs of your limited intellect out of you, so that you might be able to understand, because I think ultimately, for us to be able to understand the power of what God has made to dwell within us, requires a spiritual supernatural transaction.

Our psyche, our biological brain cannot understand that, because it’s not within the purview of the brain to understand the fact that God has made us to be depositories of his infinite power. And that as we believe, and as we expand our capacity to believe that that power is within us and we undertake great, daring things. In one of my favorite books which is “Built to last”, it talks about big, hairy, audacious goals: ‘behags’.

Now, we need to undertake big, hairy, audacious goals because we have the power of God within us. And so we need to go out there and test things that seem threatening to us. I believe that as Christians we need to always live a certain amount of deficit. And what I mean by that is that we should always be undertaking things that are a little bit or maybe a lot more demanding than our present capacity to execute.

If you are only moving in the zone of the comfortable, what you know you can process and achieve, you are undervaluing yourself in the light of Christ’s indwelling of you, and you are cheating yourself because you are preventing yourself from entering into that zone where God says ‘ah, yes now I can work. Now you give me something that’s a real challenge for me.’

And so the apostle Paul preaches to the Ephesians or he says to them and says to us by extension ‘my brethren I am praying that your eyes will be open to understand the hope to which He has called you. Lord have mercy just the beauty and the life that is ahead of me and particularly and the eternity that God is just opening up for me.

I live in hope. I want to live in hope. And when I live in hope, hope is like a dampening mechanism that kills the sting of failures and wounds and the treatury of life, the loses of life and the loss of beauty and youth and all of the things that take away the brightness of our being. As we dwell in that hope it enables us to flow to the different stages of our life. And when life takes away a part of us that we treasured as we were in a certain stage of it, we can go on to the next one and enjoy it because there’s hope, blessing and enriching everything that we do all the transactions in life.

And he says I want you to understand also the riches of this glorious inheritance, the Bible says that God has blessed us with every beautiful thing, every spiritual blessing in Jesus Christ, we have Him within us, so we can live lives of great challenge and great undertakings because we have a vast reservoir of resources that God has given to us as his children.

And then he says that the human understanding incomparably great power, Paul was given sometimes to high verbally and sometimes he gets a little too baroque in his language, so he wanted to be redundant, the incomparably great power. It’s not just the power, it is the power that is beyond…. You know, God wants you to understand that so that you do not limit yourself to just the comfortable parts of the life, of life. He wants you to understand who you are in Christ as you dwell in that….

I ask you and I ask myself every day ‘Father, let me spend some time, just looking at You, more than looking at myself, looking at your power, your incomparably great power dwelling in me, and not look at the puniness of myself, so that I can dare to undertake great things.’

And he tested them, he said to them ‘you give them something to eat’. You know, the way they reacted, again, is very revealing because they reacted by looking at the negative, they reacted by looking at the limitations in the circumstances. That would take 8 months of a man’s wages, are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?

In another passage it says ‘you know, even if we had the money, I mean, what stop and shop is there around here? Where is the Mc Donalds that’s going to produce all the hamburgers for this huge crowd of people? So, it was even worse, you know, we don’t have the money, but then their doubt was so immense that they said, even if we had the money there are no resources. Isn’t that the way we think many times in life?

Even if this thing came about, even if they gave me the job, I don’t have the training, I don’t have the capacity. God wants to bless us many times and we put all of these artificial barriers in front of his blessing and often this is why we do not get blessed. There’re all this implicit barriers that we have in our psyche that tell us ‘God doesn’t do miracles any more’.

How many people in America are receiving that barren bread from their teachers and their pulpits many times? The time of miracles is passed. That was for two thousand years ago, when people didn’t have the Bible, but now we have the Bible and therefore we should not seek the gifts, we should not seek the miracles and we kill the capacity of people to believe that Jesus is the same today, yesterday and forever; and that He wants to perform the same miracles, He wants to perform the same power to flow through his people. He wants the same heroic actions to be carried out by us. He wants the same power that his disciples showed in converting the multitudes.

He wants that for us. He wants that for me. And we must say ‘Lord, help me to inhabit that supernatural paradigm where I can believe that, yes, angels can come and stand before me as they stood before that Roman centurion and give me revelation; like Peter and his friend I can stand before the lame man and I can say ‘well, listen, I don’t have any money but what I have I give to you. Stand and then walk’.

We have that. We have to break from the mold. I know that the church has lived many decades and decades without seeing too many genuine miracles, but I tell you God wants to do it and He needs us to prepare a space for His visitation, and that begins in taking away that incapacity to believe and to begin to have a supernatural outlook. I want to celebrate God’s power in my life.

I want to say ‘Father, thank you because yes, you’re going to make those miracles and You are going to show me how to enter into that supernatural life, and before I die I shall see the power of Jesus’.

I want to cultivate that child-like capacity to believe great things. Don’t you want to do that also? Don’t you want to expand your space? Don’t you want to stop thinking about why this cannot happen? We must teach our congregation and we must teach ourselves to expect the unthinkable from God, to not live yoked to observation of external circumstances. It kills us when we do that.

Peter, as long as he was focused on Jesus, he was able to walk over the waters, but as soon as he started thinking ‘what is this! Nobody has ever done this! I’m violating every law that I know of nature, I mean, yes, maybe I’ve been able to walk until now but I know that the next step I’m going to sink in’. And then he heard the wind and he heard the thunder and all these different things and he was so overcome by circumstances, and his brain entered into relationship with the outer as the brainess want to do, and so he cut off the spiritual transaction that was taking place, and he started sinking.

This is what happens to us. You see, we need to remain focused on what God has declared through His word so that His power can then truly enter into us. Do not ever be, I’m telling you, do not ever be possessed or overly focused on what I call that mentality of scarcity. Why I cannot do this?

You know, and I’ll finish with this, this English service is my declaration against the mentality of scarcity. Because as I’ve said before, we undertook this in the worse time to undertake something like this: little time, everybody is overworked, big projects that are upon us, few resources, lack of knowledge of how to minister to an English speaking community, my own lack of time and so many other things pressing on myself, on and on and on. The fear of entering into something that you cannot take back once you begin.

And I have been dreading this moment for many, many months, but always feeling the push of God to do this. And again, God saying ‘you know, you are Latino congregation, you’re a Spanish speaking congregation but again, give them something to eat, you’re not just called to minister to Latinos, I want you to minister in English as well. Do it perhaps not perhaps as well or as elegantly as you want, but do it anyway.’

There’s a lot of stuff that could have taken place, a lot of planning, a lot of waiting for the right opportunity, for the right moment, for the right time, for the right circumstances. And you know, there’s a time when you’ve got to stop looking at the limitations and say ‘Father, I’m going to take a journey of faith and I believe I’m not going to make a fool of myself because I’m choosing to trust in You. I’m doing it for Your glory. I’m doing it out of love and compassion, so Father, you meet me half way. I’m going to take this journey, just like they took a journey. They didn’t know how the miracle was going to take place. Physically it could not happen, but Jesus had the answer. Jesus knew what needed to take place. And the answer came out of the most unexpected, totally counter intuitive domain, the domain of the supernatural, the domain where Jesus had the answer.

He took the loaves, raised them to the Father and even the process in which those loaves came to His hands is very enlightening, but we won’t go into that. But there’s so much.

I think that the essence of what God wants us to understand tonight ‘do not limit God’. Do not put God in a box and do not put yourself in a box. Do not impoverish the gospel. Do not limit God to what your reason can process. Do not limit the gospel to the domain of values or spirituality or whatever. Be courageous enough and have enough integrity to let the gospel just permeate every pore of your being, every aspect of your soul and let God turn you into an instrument.

God wants to use you. God wants you to give people to eat in college, in your high school, in your place of work, in your neighborhood and you need to be trained. Your mind needs to be transformed, you need to be imbued of the compassion of Jesus. You need to know that you are a minister of God. You’re a nazarite. You’re being called to be a priest of the living God in this generation, and you must give up this idea of being a normal human being. You’re not a normal human being. You are a mysterious incarnation of Christ here on earth, because He is dwelling within you. You’re like a coal within a smoky glass, you may not be able to see the specific light within it, but you…. People as they look to that smoky glass, they know that there’s something in there glowing, the spirit of God. That’s what you are.

And God is saying ‘I want you to be turned into an instrument of my grace, of my life, of my power, so don’t hold me back, don’t limit me’. Prepare to be used. Lay yourself before the altar and give yourself all to Me and live for Me. Let me turn you into an instrument of my grace, my compassion, my love, my power. God wants to do that. There’s a needy multitude out there, needing your life, your gifts, what God has invested in you.

Are you willing to say ‘Lord, yes’? I will enter that journey. I will explore how with you I will go into the multitude and find out what is thee, just like Jesus did. I will enter into that journey, it may take me months, it may take me a few years, but yes, I will accept your call to give the people what they need to eat. And I embrace that now.

Would you stand with me for a moment? Would you embrace that truth right now? Would you internalize it? Would you own it? Say to yourself right there, deep inside your spirit, ‘Father, thank you because I have been called to minister to the multitude. I have been chosen to be an instrument of your grace and you are willing to endow me with your power. You are not calling me to perform some impossible deed, because You are committing your power, your knowledge of yourself, your gift to the agenda that you’re setting up for me and I embrace it.’

Embrace it now. Repent of your, just as I do right now of my own limiting, understandings of how wide is God’s intention in my life and the life of this society, how beautiful are His purposes for this time that we are living. God is not through with this society, let me tell you. The best times are ahead for the church. Wonderful things are going to begin.

I believe that I live for that, I savor it, I celebrate it and I want to be a part of it, and I want to make sure than when God is looking for somebody to pour His power, I want to be one of those people that God says ‘yes, he’s ready’. If you want to be one of them also, open your spirit, open your chest and let and the Lord and his consciousness invade you. Let His absolute confidence in Himself permeate you as well. You are a depository of God’s power, his hope, his riches, his power inhabits you. Now go out into the world, feed that multitude and do it in the power of Jesus Christ.

Father, we embrace your truth tonight. We embrace your call, forgive us for impoverishing, for limiting you, for diminishing your greatness. Forgive us, Lord. Forgive me for my doubts. Forgive me because I could express so much more in you, sleep so much better, have less anxiety. I only trust in what I preach and what I see in your word, but I want to honor you Lord. We want to honor you, Father. We want to die. We need to die. We need to empty ourselves, Father, of our agenda, our preferences, so that you can come and fill that vase with your oil. Come Holy Spirit. Come spirit of God. Come now visit your people, Father. I take the veil off our consciousness right now and I proclaim faith, vitality, child likeness, enthusiasm, courage into our lives, Father, by the power of your word in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Sermon delivered by Dr. Roberto Miranda taped February 4, 2006 at Congregation Lion of Judah Listen | View (100K) | View (400K)

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