Sermon January 5, 2014: Year of consolidation (Part 2)

Posted in Sermons
[Dr. Roberto Miranda]
  • Presenter: Dr. Roberto Miranda
  • Date: January 5, 2014
  • Location: Congregación León de Judá, Boston MA

I want to connect with the sermon that I started on New Year's Eve and I think it's a vision inducing sermon that provides a framework for us. We wanted to talk about some of the things God has for us, some of the things that God wants to do in the life of our Congregation so, you know? I started and I know there are still many things that God wants to speak to everybody, those who were not able to be here to also be able to participate. So you know, I really wanna take a little more time this morning to continue developing the sermon.

We want all of you to participate in the vision that God has for us so I'm gonna go back a little bit and reinforce some things and develop some new things as well. So let me just go quickly, Genesis chapter 13 verses 1 through 4, in this passage we have a moment in the life and the journey of Abram, it's a moment of consecration, it is a moment of going back to ancient places, revisiting places of consecration and visitation.

And Abram returns from Egypt after a long journey there and then comes to this place where he had been before. And it says: "So Abram went up from Egypt to the Negev, he and his wife and all that belonged to him, and Lot with him. Now Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver and in gold, and he journeyed on from the Negev as far as Bethel to the place where his tent had been before" mark in your reading there "where his tent had been before", "between Bethel and Ai, to the place of the altar which he had made there formerly; and there Abram called on the name of the Lord."

Imagine in your minds, I mean it is like, when Abram comes to this secret place where he had worshipped before and establishes an altar to the Lord, and then he wanted to journey to Egypt because they had been hungry in the land, and so he goes into Egypt and we don't know how long he stayed there but he stays until there is food again.

So he comes back and that secret place where God had spoken to him and where he had raised an altar now he comes there and it's almost as if he wants to kind of reconsecrate himself, he wants to kind of return to something he had begone before there was this interruption because of the hunger in the land, but it wasn't an interruption, it was part of God's Word in his life, it was part of God building character and making him experience certain things as he did in Egypt and even failing, and learning some things about himself.

In my sermon on New Year's Eve I spoke about consolidation, consolidation. I don't know if that word really exists in English, I think it does, to consolidate, to solidify something. I had to ask the Lord for a Word of framework for the next part of the journey of our Congregation. Now that we have finished this extraordinary and strenuous journey of finishing our sanctuary and entering and occupying it, you know, it's a new time. I've known that we needed to do this in order to go to the next stage.

And the word consolidation is a strange word. You know consolidation is a word that is used in Latin America, especially in South and Central America in the sense that people are converted and evangelized and they listen to the Word, then you proceed to solidify them by discipling them, by teaching them doctrine, by making them turn into disciples and so there's a process of consolidation making sure that those people don't leave through the back door; they came through the front door but we wanna make sure they don't leave through the back door so we consolidate them, there's a process to consolidate what has been gained. So that word came to my mind, consolidation.

And, you know? it's funny because on New Year's day I spoke to my wife who by the way is in Puerto Rico, that's why you don't see her here, you haven't seen her lately because she's visiting her parents there. She asked me: what did you preach about on the 31th? that was New Year's day. And by the way this is another thing: I doubt sometimes because I don't know until the very last minute what I'm going to preach on so I asked Meche in Puerto Rico: hey, do you have a message for me? something you can suggest, a theme for the sermon on the 31th, I'm really not clear on what I should be preaching; sometimes I wait until the very last minute, not that I wait, I think the Holy Spirit sometimes waits to give me the positive at the very last minute.

So I said: you know, can you suggest a theme? and she said: I don't really have that much, I don't really have anything. So she asked: what did you preach on? well I preached on consolidation and you know, there was a moment of silence and she said: you know? it's amazing. When you asked me the other day and I said I don't really have anything the word that came to my mind out of nowhere was consolidation, but she didn't say; woman of little faith.

Sometimes you have to believe and you have to just order the words. I sometimes stand here, I wasn't one sure a hundred percent about consolidation really but I just felt that was the Lord because it kept coming back to me over and over again for several hours. And then she just said: I can't believe it. She said the same thing: when I thought about the word consolidation when we were on the phone, because I told her: I kept seeing the letters in capitals and she said: you know? that's exactly the way that I saw them, in capital letters. So I think that's pretty much clear confirmation in terms about what God has you know, in terms of this word consolidation.

And I think the reason they were in capital letters is because it is a firm Word, it's like the dream of pharaoh that he had it twice and Joseph says: it's because, you had it twice because the purpose is firm on the part of God. That's what God wants and it connects with this passage.

Again because you know: sometimes we wanna run ahead to the next stage of what God has for us and God is saying: No, I want you to stand where you are, I want you to actually return, go back a bit, strengthen what you have, affirm what you have, work a little bit deeper, establish deeper roots in what I have already given you, digest and process what I've given you and then, to the next stage that I have for you.

So this idea, I think that is the main image that God wants for us, it's to look back like Abraham, going you know to Bethel and returning to the place of anointing where God spoke to him years before and re-establishing roots and worshipping the Lord, and receiving fresh anointing before, then he continues on to many different things that happen to him in the following chapters.

So again: we need to sometimes go back before we go forward and I think what God is telling us as a Congregation: I want you to revisit some of the places where I've taken you over the years, I want you to revisit this experience that you've had in this building, the construction of this building. It's taking us more than three and a half years from the moment we broke ground; we broke ground three years and nine months around June of 2010 I think it was, three years and nine months whatever that is.

It's been a journey and before that, one and a half years of a financial campaign and before that, all kinds of preliminary stuff with the city, with the neighborhood, with all kinds of hostile groups and so on and so forth to get to this point, it's been a long, long journey. Many years of hard work and before then the planning of this building. It's been twenty years of building continually and establishing the foundation and infrastructure for the Kingdom of God in this place.

It's been like Egypt in a way, it's been an interlude, it's been an intermediate point. Even as we continued laboring but there was a time where you know, a lot of things were held in suspense. It's like a time of, yes a time of waiting, of travailing, of establishing roots, establishing an infrastructure, establishing certain basis because God is a God of order and also of going through experiences, spiritual, emotional, personal myself, the Church as I was saying in New Years Eve.

So you know God has been taking us through a journey like Abram went through, physical journey through Canaan and it was a prophetic journey that would later on be reenacted by the people of God when they went into Canaan four hundred years later, but Abram was taking the land, was marking places and he was also involved in an emotional, internal, micro-journey as well into his own being, God shaping him and forming him like He has been shaping me, forming me, crushing me, humbling me, humiliating me and humiliating the Congregation and humbling us as well, teaching us things; how to give, how to serve, how to wait, how to be patient, how to be persistent, how to not give up easily, how to believe God for great things that seem impossible, all of these things God has been teaching us.

If you want believe that this has been a journey of teaching and of impartation and instruction, and formation that God has been taking us as His people because God wants to create a people that He can work through, as through those physical journeys that are also inner journeys.

When I think of the word consolidate to my mind come images like: to strengthen, to assure and affirm that which has been attained, to stabilize something, to stop and deepen roots and foundations before we go on to something. When an army conquers a territory it consolidates that territory before it proceeds on to conquering new lands, but if it doesn't do that then the effort is worthless.

You know another image came to my mind in this idea of what God wants us to do, Luke chapter 6 verse 38, it talks about a measure. It's related to something different but it's applicable as well, God is saying this to us, it's a different thing and that's not really what I'm interested in but it is there, it says: "Give and it shall be given unto you" but this is what I want to fixate your mind on.

"And it shall be given unto you good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over shall be given into." It's this idea of emergent, giving a solid measure to his client and it takes grain, rice or weed or whatever it is, flower and he shakes it just to settle it so that he doesn't give the client less than really he deserves and then he presses it down, and then he puts more not just enough to be flat but also to just run over, make an additional mound on top.

This is what God wants us to do: He wants, those impartations to this Congregation over the past few years, all the things that God has deposited in this Congregation, in our lives, in my life, your life, our ministry, the gifts, the calling, the promises, the anointing that God has given this Church and the mission He has called this Church to fulfill in the city; all of those things that have been developed over the past few years God wants us to take them and to shake them, ok? to press them down and then to make sure they are running over before we extend them out like a merchant extends to his buyer, that's what we need to do.

Instead of just adding more and going to more often wasting stuff let's press down, let us consolidate things. What are some of those elements that God has been imparting to this Congregation? And these are the things that I've spoken to you over the many years which I think are part of what we, you know specifically, and I'm sure it's applicable to the whole body of Christ, but this is the particular configuration, the particular cluster and kind of a constellation of elements that God has imparted to us. These are the themes, the DNA that make up this Congregation I believe and this is why I speak about them, preach about them.

And God says: Now return to these things, don't go around just adding new things and declaring, you know? no. Take what I've given you and develop it fully fleshed out and fully developed. What are some of those things?

One of them is: supernatural mentality, what we experienced this morning. You know, many congregations, I go all over the place and I see this: twenty percent of the people they sing, they worship, eighty percent are just in lala land; they are very good at singing that part: lalalalah that we were singing, they are very good because it's very natural to happen. You know, God wants a Church that has this war-like mentality, that understands the dynamics of the spirit and the mechanics of the spirit.

Many people don't enter into the move of the Spirit of God because they don't understand how it works, they believe that God comes and supernaturally opens your mouth like an eagle and just kind of drops a little bit of meat in your mouth and then He closes it and chooses it for you as well, that's not the way the Spirit operates. God declares things and you grasp them, you hold on to them, you develop them, you fight for them; He gives you authority here on the Earth and He is pleased to see His people developing personality and strength and power, and using what He has declared on them, and if they don't use it that's too bad because He has given them what they need and they gotta use it, He will wait until they learn how to use it.

That's the supernatural mentality, there's many things more about the supernatural mentality, I've spoken about it and I will continue speaking about it. So God wants us to press into that supernatural mentality, to develop it, we are not there yet.

Another thing that is related to this: to manifest the power and the gifts of the Holy Spirit they way you manifest them. God wants to do things in our services, I will not be content until miracles become a daily manifestation of the life of our Church and we have to fight for that. But hum, you know the Spirit doesn't just exist in a vacuum in theory. There is no light that doesn't emit heat or dispels darkness, there is effect when there is cause, there is not a cause without an effect, there is no Spirit without manifestation and so we have to seek that manifestation and if it's not there then we have to ask: why is it not there? and we have to keep seeking and travailing until we receive it.

I'd love to see a kid this morning jumping up and making noise and doing all kinds of things, that's, I love that. And you know, it has to be done in a certain way. You'll see me also when I think people are not mindful of certain things that I impart order as well but it is beautiful when we do that, I don't mind that at all, I think it's wonderful.

This is very complex but, you know? God wants us to incarnate and personify and incorporate the excellence and the prosperity of the Kingdom in our life as an institution, that's a very key word, as an institution, our life as a corporation, our life as an organization; so that means you know, the way we manage and administer the properties our programs, the system, the physical plant, the protocols and principles that we follow, the practices that we follow, in governments, in leadership training, in Evangelism, in the maintenance of our physical plant, our finances. All of these things have to personify the excellence of the Kingdom of God, amen?

Because this community needs a Congregation that is a bless and prosperous so they can believe that God can do great things even among the weak and the poor supposedly, where the Spirit is there, there is prosperity, there is blessing, there is growth, there is intellectual development, there is greatness and we have to personify this as a witness of the Kingdom of God. Everything that we do needs to be done well.

Excellence is everything as I was saying this morning about: you know, don't bring a couple of donkey donuts coffee, spill it over the chair next to you and then you say: oh I'm sorry about that, you know? and then you go home and everything is cool because some usher will come and clean it up for you, that's not excellence. We have to be a people of order, everything we do has to be excellent, because sometimes our background is not of excellence, our people often have not been taught that culturally for whatever reason too long to discuss but we need to acquire that. Where the Spirit of God is there is excellence, there is beauty, there is power, there is prosperity.

People from the outside look in and if they see poor people strengthening themselves, lifting themselves, doing great things for God, their children studying and developing intellectually and their homes crystal clear, and their marriages functioning well and then people will say: something must be happening there because that's not the norm. And I believe that when you are in the Kingdom of God you are called into excellence, you are called into greatness, you are called into the order of the Kingdom of God. The works of the enemy flee, darkness flees, disorder flees, death flees, violence flees and the army of order of the Kingdom of God enters into your life and you have strive for it, you have to believe that that is gonna happen and you have to cooperate, and incorporate yourself into that moving of the Spirit.

So we have to do that. God says: I want you to incarnate the greatness and the excellence of My Kingdom as a Congregation, you have heard me speak about that over and over again but it has very concrete consequences and expressions.

You know: God wants us to combine wisdom with science, I spoke with the English Ministry about that the other day, wisdom with knowledge, the supernatural with the concrete and specific, the left side of the brain with the right side of the brain, meaning: left side, linear thinking, mathematical thinking and it's more than that, it's more complex than that, believe me I understand that, and the right side of the brain which is instinctive, perceptualist in the context and the global; the left side is specific, concrete, detailed-oriented, the other one is more about the general context.

But it's about you know, combining things that are abstract and the grand in the scope with things that are specific and lineal, mathematical. These two elements of life, the evangelical, pentecostal world really doesn't know how to keep these two together generally, they go from one extreme to the other, to great cost and loss. God is saying: keep it in balance.

A little bit of what I've been speaking, particularly to the Spanish Congregation about turning your dreams and visions into reality, the specific interventions and procedures is part of what I'm talking about, combine these two.

So let me just recap: supernatural mentality, manifest in the power and the gifts of the Spirit, incarnate in the excellence and prosperity of the Kingdom in our institutional life, combining wisdom with science and the supernatural with the specific. There's a fifth thing.

You know I've told Omar many times: yes, towards the end of the service come, stand there and be ready; that's part of the whole thing of procedures and excellence in what we do. This is a fifth element: to be a prophetic element in the city and in the region, emphasis on prophetic; that our life, our congregational life, our values and our biblical teachings be assigned onto this city and this region that I believe in many ways is abandoning many of these teachings, and they are becoming incredibly almost counter-intuitive even among the people of God.

It is an extraordinary breakdown before our very eyes of the orthodoxy of the Church of Jesus Christ in our time and I think there are people who are required to stand, stand their ground and be assigned and encouraged to say: don't abandon, stay until this wave of demonic hypnotism or whatever it is dispels, and this craziness and incoherence passes, rolls over.

There are people that are called to be a sign to others so they can look and say: oh yeah, that's where I need to go, that's where the trumpet is sounding, that's where we need to rally and gather and we have to be that kind of people in this moment, in the city and in the life of the Church.

We don't deserve to be a leader, we don't deserve to be like the tribe of Judah which was the leading tribe, it was the head tribe, we don't deserve it; we are the weakest but God needs those people, if the sophisticated and the well educated, and the theologically advanced will not do it then He will choose whoever He wants, praise the Lord, amen. We have to be that prophetic presence and God says: "Dig deep into that, establish yourselves, affirm the foundations."

It doesn't mean that we don't contextualize the Gospel, it doesn't mean that we are not modern because that pertains to the other part, the scientific part, the culturally aware part and so on. It doesn't mean, actually we need to become as modern, as intelectually gifted and advanced and administratively, but we need to do it in the way of the Kingdom, according to the principles of the Kingdom. Because the principles of the Kingdom work let me tell you, oh my Lord they are the foundation, and when you use the counter-intuitive principles of the Kingdom believe me: you can do exploits, you can do things that science cannot do, culture cannot do but it has to be the Lord's way.

I feel the Lord, every fiber in my being God says: stay the course, do not abandon My teachings, do not modernize My principles. You can modernize the form, you can modernize the shape but you cannot modernize the structure. Do not modernize the foundation, do not modernize the content. The content was given once for all; keep it and then tweak the outside.

So God says: Be a prophetic presence in My city and be a sign onto the culture of people who are remaining and at the same time advancing, that's the funny part. Another thing: God wants us to be moral, social and spiritual agents of transformation or, agents of moral, social and spiritual transformation.

Listen: we have a long way to go before we can feel that way. We have done some things, you know? through our high education resource center, Alfa Ministries, Vale Esperar but we are not there by any means. I am hungry for radical, fundamental foundation and transformation, and I don't know what God is gonna do in the future but I'm really open to whatever it is that He wants to do, I'm not content with what we are reaching, what we are achieving. He wants to perform a hard transplant not a tweaking of the valves.

You know? God wants us to work with the homeless, I'm so delighted to see the homeless coming here now on Saturdays and doing Evangelism with those who are homeless. They are worthy, they are wonderful people but the devil has had his way in many of their lives and they need the real, transforming Power of God.

Gang members who have been perverted with violence and disrespect for authority, they need to be impacted by the Power of the Holy Spirit. We want action, we want really some heavy spirit-induced activity to be a transforming agent in this city and I pray for the day when the homosexual community will be impacted by the Spirit of God. Instead of fashioning us to them let us fashion them to us, let us provide them with ways that they can transform themselves, they can break the yields of the Enemy and they can bring themselves into the Kingdom instead of our aculture ourselves to them which is really what's happening in the Church, in society.

"Do not conform to them" says the Lord "conform them to you" says the Spirit of the Lord. But for that we need a Church that we are not, we are far from it let me tell you, we are far from it, we are in our way but we are far from it. So we need to be agents of transformation. I got a couple more, maybe I'll continue next Sunday. My problem is that sometimes I feel I have enough material and when I get here the Holy Spirit takes over and then it's too much so the problem becomes: how do I cut stuff?

You know: God wants us to become a people that incarnate the harmony and diversity that only God can make possible in the city, where african americans and europeans, and whites and blacks, and latinos and south americans, and central americans and caribbean people, and the poor and the rich, the homeless and the highly, intellectually educated, Harvard or whatever other community college they all come here and they live in harmony, and work together and they compliment each other, and they reach each other mutually; what a beautiful sight before the eyes of the Lord.

We are as one family, united by the Spirit of God, we can proclaim the unity that only God makes possible. Out there people are always speaking about unity and diversity but they don't know, they have not achieved it truly, America is still the most divided nation in the world ethnically I would say and it's hard to find churches that are really not only multi-ethnic and multi-economic but also truly coherent, unified in one spirit of mutual respect. It takes a lot of work and God is saying: you've had that, you've done some of that but like Abram go back, consecrate yourselves to that purpose, ask My Spirit to come down and to make it possible, and commit yourself to the long, arduous effort that it requires.

God wants us to be a true Pentecost Day Church. Different languages: germanic languages, romance languages, all of them together, islamic languages proclaiming the greatness of the Lord in one beautiful multi-layer of God's own complexity and diversity within Himself and His harmony as well, so we have to consecrate ourselves to that.

God wants us to develop a people that are radically committed, the emphasis there: radically committed to the Kingdom of God, you have heard me preach many times about that over the past few years. Can you say amen to the fact: my house is not mine, my money is not mine, my wife is not mine, my children are not mine, my profession is not mine, my dreams are not mine, everything belongs to the Kingdom of God, I'm a mere storer of the energy and the power of God. Whatever God asks of me I shall give it to Him, I shall serve him radically. My whole life is a radical cry: Lord do as you want with me.

Do not say amen to that, don't you dare unless you accept this and you are willing to at least enter into the journey of appropriating that because, you know? that is a costly thing and very few really achieve it in their lifetime but you must strive for that, that is what God wants. He doesn't want you to put on a religious hat on Sunday when you enter and leave it and become a secular being, He wants you to be twenty four hours a day an instrument of the Kingdom of God, completely saturated to the molecular level with the energy and the principles of the Kingdom of God.

If you are merely lukewarm and half-committed let me tell you, it doesn't palatable, it doesn't sound politically correct but if you are only halfway committed to the Kingdom you are deeply, I was going to say abomination but I won't go that far but you are truly unpleasant like lukewarm water is to the taste; God says: I will vomit you from My mouth, read it it's in Apocalypse. God wants people who are white-hot for the Spirit, who want Him and who are dying for Him and who are crying when they offend Him, and who say: Lord I will try again until I get it right.

And finally, say amen with me: powerful, effective Evangelism, that is the last element, powerful, effective Evangelism. We have done some wonderful things, several hundred people have come forward over the course of this year, we've kept statistics.

You know: many times I don't like callings. We have to be serious. I believe that when you say: Lord I marry You, I receive You, I commit, it's not just like: ok commit to cheap grace and then God, you know somehow will bring you to Heaven no matter what you do. It is a travailing, it is a journey, it is a struggle, it is an agony, it is a dangerous journey. We declare war against Hell and we have to grab the Hand of the Lord and He will grab your Hand. You have to seek Him.

We have advanced in Evangelism, as I say: hundreds of people have come forward, many of them, you know come once in a while and we have to find ways to disciple them, to enter them deeper; we can't do it for him, they also need to also react. We call them, we invite them, we provide all kinds of services, they have to do their part as well, it's not all just the Church.

Sometimes the Church says: oh what can we do? we do this, we change our hairdo, we comb ourselves to the left, to the right, we change our dress and hopefully people will then continue coming; no, there's something they have to do, there's a part that people have to do. They have to become aware, they have to be conscious of what the Kingdom is and they will give ten percent, thirty percent, sixty, a hundred? not everyone is called to give the same offering, we have to do our part and we will have to be a Church that does effective Evangelism.

God is telling us like Abraham: come back to those things, I've been speaking to you about them over the past few years. Now after this journey, the strenuous journey of all these years, now come back, reconsecrate yourself.

Let's stand all of us here, just receive what you can from this teaching today, receive what you can right now. Can you say in your spirit: amen to one or two of these things? can you just let the Lord work in your life in respect to some of these elements that I've spoken about and say: Lord I want that, I want that for myself. Supernatural mentality, power and gifts from the Spirit, excellence and prosperity of the Kingdom, wisdom and science, being a prophetic presence wherever I go, being an agent of moral and spiritual transformation.

Also to be a harmonious presence, yes a gentle presence in the city and the region, an agent of reconciliation, committed to the Kingdom of God and to be an evangelist wherever I go to bring others into the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, to share my testimony, my experience, these things Lord we ask for a Congregation.

I want you to focus a moment where you are right now where the Holy Spirit is saying to you: bring these things into your life, commit to a change, commit to something new, something different, something more powerful this year and the coming years as we do as a Congregation. Father: make this place something different not just one more box which we call Church but really a place where Your Spirit can be processed and generated into something truly transforming in the city, change us; begin with me Father. Thank you, thank you Lord receive it, receive it in the Name of Jesus, Father forgive us for not being more for You, we wanna do more Lord, we are not content. We want more of you Father, thank you Lord.

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