Sermon August 27, 2016: Wake up and go

Posted in Sermons, Women
[Valerie Gonzalez]
  • Presenter: Valerie Gonzalez
  • Date: August 27, 2016
  • Location: Congregación León de Judá, Boston MA

So today’s message will be “Wake up and go” and there are 4 things I would like to share with you in regards to wake up and go. First we need to wake up and see that we are the Church. I would like to speak to you about a story that is very well known and due to time I will not be able to read the whole chapter, but I will be speaking about Jonah chapter 1.

Many of us know the story of Jonah, he was a prophet, a prophet is someone that listens and obeys the Voice of God, a prophet’s job is to know the heart of God and to lead others to understand it, he lives and depends on the wishes of God.

And when we find Jonah in chapter 1 it’s important to recognize that he was not a new believer, he was not trying to find his place in the Body of Christ or who he was in the Church, he knew the purpose of his life, he knew his identity, he had been active already as a prophet. As Jonah the Church is not a new institution, we know our identity, we are the bride of Christ, we submit and obey our husband, we are the body that carries out and demonstrates what the head is who is Christ.

We also need to know who is Christ, the Church lives and depends on every word that comes out of the mouth of Christ, Jesus is our foundation. Many of you know that Christ is our foundation, we are founded on the rock and He gave to us as a sacrifice so that we can live as a Church depending on the Word of God, that is the Church, to live from the Word of God and to depend on it’s grace, and with great joy we accept the changes that grace brings to our lives.

The Grace of God allows is to be like Christ, it transforms our image as Jesus did when He did so to be with us and we live according to God’s Will by His Grace just as Jesus did when He was on Earth living by His Father’s Will, and that Grace is what turns us into an instrument for the transformation of others, as when Christ came to His disciples to say: Go and transform other people.

But somewhere in our christian life and I am not speaking in particular to the women of Lion of Judah, I am speaking to you but not only of you because we are a part of the Body of Christ, and there is great worry over the Body of Christ, because there are some people in the Body of Christ that are so in love with Christ, with the beauty of Grace to us, that it gives us a new image, and it makes us so beautiful that we are in front of the mirror saying: oh wow look what He did for me, and we are so in love with what Grace does for us that our ego starts to distract us, and we start turning into people that are afraid to go out and tell other people of the graces that we have received.

When we believe in the power of Grace and we start thinking that grace is applied to our lives selectively we start to lose the effective and active power that it is to be the Church because we have been called to be an effective and active Church going throughout the world telling everyone that Christ is alive, that Christ changes and that Christ is coming back, that is the power that is found within the Church of God.

But as America is obsessed with plastic surgery and with being young forever we become addicted to grace so that I am always fresh and we don’t want to become a part of anything that drains us or anything that takes effort, we don’t wanna sweat, we want to live fresh, but Grace didn’t come so you wouldn’t sweat.

Just like Jonah the Church today wants to flee from the things that we know. In Romans 8:28 the Bible says that this is what we know, we focus so much in saying that everyone turns out well to us to those who love the Lord and have been called to His purposes, we always say that part but we forget that the verse starts saying: “this is what we know”, we have to be fundamented or based on what we know that we are but many people want to go to the uncertainty of an unknown world, even the Church has adopted the posture where salvation is very near but the demands of that are very far from us and that is what Jonah was trying to do.

He didn’t want to run from God, he wanted to keep his God but he wanted to flee from God’s demands, because what God demanded from him was something that was going to make him sweat, something that he did not want to do, something that he did not expect.

You know there was a time in history when people knew that the Church was the place where they needed to go when they were in difficulties and problems, when they were sick people didn’t think of hospitals, they thought of the Church, the Church was a place of refuge. The Church was the place that Christ said was going to be the house of prayer and in the Church there were warriors who effectively activated the power of prayer, there were there who knew how to start conversations with God that ended with a physical manifestation of the amazing power of Jesus Christ, the mercy and the grace of God was as a fountain that was open by the prayers of the saints.

But today if you look at the Church it is being criticized, being attacked, it is not a place that is presented as a place to go for refuge and there are many things to blame for that but it is important to understand that we have allowed many of our own desires to enter what the Church is, we have allowed our ego to come between what the Church truly is and what the world is seeing, and this is what happens when the Earth comes in between us and the sun that is Jesus and the moon which is the Church that was supposed to bring light to darkness, when I who is the Earth and my flesh and desires comes in between the sun and the moon, that’s when we have a lunar eclipse where there is darkness everywhere, that is why we need to be truly founded in who we are, we are the moon and we do not reflect our own light. The moon reflects the light of Christ, the light of the sun is what we see on the moon and we can’t allow “the south” to come in between us. Jonah was reflecting the light until something came that he didn’t certainly like.

And the second thing is that we too wake up and go to wake up and see that our priorities have to change, we need to first wake up and see that we are the Church. The beauty of it is that even when there is a lunar eclipse the sun is still the sun, the moon is still the moon, the Earth is still the Earth, our purpose is still there, we simply need to place ourselves where we need to be and we need to wake up and see that our priorities have to change.

It was the God of the storm that came to show Jonah that his faith was unstable and his priorities were out of place. At some point in Jonah’s life the prophet that lived for the service of God, without even noticing it, Jonah’s desires started to be more important that God’s desires, but since the beginning of the world God made us a pager in between heaven and earth.

There is a great theological debate on what happened in Genesis 1:2 because God created everything beautiful in the first verse and in the second everything was upside down, it was empty, it was shapeless and we may not necessarily see the answer to that theological debate until we get to heaven, and what really catches my attention is that it seems that there was a storm that changed everything, it took things out of place, and when things are out of order they become almost unrecognizable.

Genesis says that the darkness that was supposed to inhabit the bottom of the sea now is at the surface of the waters, in other words they were upside down, God had created something beautiful and in order but now it was upside down like Jonah was, like some of us are today, we are a little bit upside down, almost unrecognizable to ourselves, we can’t even pinpoint the place where things start to change but we know we are not aligned, and how do we know that? because we are not being the moon that reflects the light of the sun, we are not in a place where people used to like, they saw Ana and said: that light can let me shine this way.

Jonah’s personal feelings about Nineveh took precedence over God’s desires for us and that’s easy: if you don’t like what telling you then go somewhere else, at that time Nineveh was in a far away place of the world and that’s where he wanted to go. If you know me you know that I love to travel and I’ve been to cruisers, and when you have to go on a cruise you started putting your luggage together and I needed about fifteen pairs of shoes to go on the cruise, but when you are packing you can’t take your whole closet, all of your beauty products because you need about twenty of them to make up a normal face and all the cosmetics, your favorite things you can’t take them all.

So you start packing and you are like: no I’m not going to be able to close this luggage and I can’t take seven pieces of luggage so I start to compare and see what are the most important things and you say to yourself: well I think I can live without this so let me put it aside and take this instead. So when the luggage goes to the cruiser it has gone through a process of choosing priorities and saying that what you are taking with you is the most important thing for that journey.

I’m sure that all the fishers on that boat went through the same process of taking things off the boat and when the storm comes, and when the winds start to roar, and you are in the middle of the boat the winds start to change our priorities because the truth is that the only way to help the boat survive is to throw overboard the things that you thought were so important, you now find out that you don’t need heels to swim, that that blast heel you definitely exchanged for your life doesn’t really match anything that you will be wearing, because when the storm comes we have to be evaluating and the thing is that we need to realize that we have been carrying weights and burdens that are not as important, we have given priority to things that are not as important as the Church of Christ.

In a moment in time Jonah had thought that he had found his refuge on that boat but you need to know this morning that even if you feel comfortable with all your possessions God always has a plan so that we can reach the priorities that He has for our lives and many times that includes a storm. Some of us have to reevaluate today and throw overboard things that we don’t need to be carrying. Some of us are complaining about the storms in our lives but God sent them so that we can ourselves ask a question, and the question is: how much do I really need this? do I need this to achieve my purpose or will this lead me to sink?

Our priorities need to change Church, we need to focus on the values of the Church that God says that defines us as a Church, we need to wake up and see that we are the Church of Christ, we need to be proud of being the Church of Christ, we need to wake up and see that our priorities have to change, we need to see that our God is the God of the storm.

The Bible tells us that the devil comes to kill, to destroy and steal and when the storm comes it just makes a mess that brings death and disorder, and destroys, and as soon as we see the storm we are blaming the devil for everything, sometimes I feel bad for him, because he says: I didn’t go by there and everybody blaming the devil; today you need to know that the beautiful God that you are seeing in His Throne He not only speaks authority over your life but over the winds that He also sends to us, He is the God of the storm and He uses the storm to show His control and power over all things because to our sight things seem out of order but God is always in control, He is the one showing His power and authority.

In Genesis when it speaks of the disorder what impacted me of verse 2 is that even though we don’t know what caused the mess, many people thing it’s the devil but I think God is the God of all things, it says that even though darkness was on the waters, even when things were upside down the Spirit of God was moving over the waters, because the winds come the waves may attack you and they may move all things but your God is an unmovable God, nothing can move your God if He doesn’t want to move.

The truth is that God is the God of the storm and that is why in good times I give Him glory and in bad times I give Him glory because He is the God of the storm, as He is the God of sunny days when He sends that storm He allows it to show us truth about ourselves. If the storm would not come we will not know which ones are the unmovable things and which ones are the ones that move swiftly, we don’t know those things that could be manipulated by the storm and those things that are eternal in our lives, without a storm you don’t know if you are over the rock or over sand but glory to God for the storms that don’t come to kill us, but they come to let us know that there is a merciful God that is looking at each one of us and He is willing to rescue us and to bring about in ourselves the condition in which we are truly.

God through the Scripture has established that there are purposes in the storm, with Noah He could show that there could be a storm to bring about justice from sin, He could help realize the reality of Peter’s faith because Peter thought he was very mature in the faith but God wanted to show Peter that you only need a little bit of faith so that God can be glorified. Jesus used the storm to reveal peace that transcends all understanding and with Paul He used a storm to reveal His faithfulness because Paul was a believer in the midst of many unbelievers, and when He spoke the Word of God no one listened, but when God sent a storm everyone wanted to know who Paul’s God was, they were saved.

With Jonah God sent the storm to show that God can restore someone’s faith that is lost. This story is not for us to criticize Jonah, is that so we can see that good sheperd, that when we want to leave the flock God uses even the storms to return us to the flock where He heals us, where He fills us with joy, He fills us with His peace because He is a good sheperd, we have to wake up and see that God is the God of the storm, how many can give glory to the Lord for the present storm in your life?

And finally we have to wake up and see that this world is desperately asking for prayer. You say: oh no, no that is not here in America, people go for prayer, they want to take it out of every place. You know that your good and bad decisions affect others? We are called to be lifesavers, fisherwomen and men, and when we walk away from the Will of God we are not putting our lives only in risk, we are putting others’ lives in risk because we are called to go and save others.

Jonah when he put his feet on that boat, at that moment is when he put that storm in action but he was not the only one who was going to be affected by it, it was going to affect all the ones around him, so we need to be careful when we take decisions based in our own emotions. The fishermen on that place, they were afraid of that storm, they were not new sailors, they knew what it was to be a sailor in the middle of the storm, they had experience about what to do in the midst of the storm, but even in that storm they were able to discern that that wasn’t a normal storm, there was something different to that storm, math doesn’t add up in that storm, so they started praying to their Gods praying and when no one answered they said: this is someone else’s fault, they knew it had nothing to do with anything on the outside but with something that was on the boat and they started to ask: who is at fault? and when they found Jonah he was asleep not with the same sleep that Jesus had because Jesus slept because He had peace in Him, Jonah was sleeping because he took a pill to not know of the world around him.

And today I come to speak against the spirit of depression, and God doesn’t want you to be asleep but to be awake in this life because you have life and He wants abundant life for you woman.

Jonah wanted to forget this world, and when the sailors found him, and what they said will shock each one of our hearts, the questions they made to him I hear them today, they sound like accusations, that’s why they see us and they criticize us as a Church, but we have to understand the reason, they are criticizing us because they know that we have the answer and there is nothing more frustrating than to see something that has been called to be light hiding below the table, we have a beautiful Church but it’s not to hide it within this building, we have all these beautiful lights but in a world of darkness that needs to see some of that light.

But when the sailors found him the captain asks him: how could you be asleep? how can you not know what is happening around us? all these terrors, all this violence, all things that are happening, what can you do, what can I do?

The Bible says that God’s love is the answer, that it never fails, it never fails against terrorism, terrorism is not greater than the Love of God, violence is not greater than the Love of God, we have the answer, and the captain asks: how can you sleep? the unbeliever tells the Church how we can move forward, “get up and call to your God, wake up and call to your God” wake up woman and call to your God, I saw an announcement that said that women were going to pray, it’s time to wake up and call to our God.

Politicians don’t have the answer, the world doesn’t have the answer because the answer is that we call for our God and it can be, if you call to your God He notices us and we won’t perish. All that violence is a world telling us that if we really call out and pray to God we will be saved because no one wants to die, we want to live but if you call out, cry out to God it could be that God has mercy upon us.

The Church is the best institution over the face of the Earth, we live against sin, we serve the only God that can get rid of sin but we can’t sleeping giants, we need to get up, we can’t sleep at this time, we need to wake up and we have to cry out to God, and God has all the answers for the times we live.

Later they ask: who is responsible for all these troubles? and if you ask that same question to the Church the Church points to history and all of the issues that this time has brought for the Church but we need to figure out that we have been responsible: what have we done to stop doing that? we have to stop doing certain things so that the sun is the sun and we need to realize that we need the moon.

They ask him: what is your heritage? because you know, we have to ask ourselves: where are you from? so that we know who we are. I know it’s not the captain that was asking, I know God chose these questions so that we can have the clarity that He is the captain of our lives, He was orchestrating all of these things and the questions were not made because the answers were not known, they were made because Jonah forgot and he decided to sleep at a time when God wanted to save and He wanted to heal.

Make yourself the question: Your God is still looking to save and restore? your God wants to use you to restore and save? We have to wake up and see that we are the Church of Christ, to ask God to help us change our priorities to understand that God is the God of the storm, to wake up and see the world desperately is asking for prayer.

There are people who are saying that the revival that has been promised for many years to New England that it will never happen here, because people, especially in Boston are too intellectual, you are too intellectual, you try to understand God in such detail that you are missing, all the schools I believes started trying to understand God and finally they said: oh I think there is no God and people say that the revival will not come by here because you don’t look like people who will bring about the revival, and while someone very intellectual in his wisdom was trying to explain to me why God won’t bring a revival to Boston, as he was speaking I was getting excited, I was saying: oh yes it’s coming! and he was saying: I’m much more intellectual than you let me put it in words you can understand, and the more he said: oh, the more I was excited.

I was not able to get angry at his ignorance because he didn’t know what was happening in me, while he was saying that I was remembering that God always comes up in places where He needs to be, I was saying: oh, he is confirming that God will be here as I expected, but to bring revival we have to wake up, we have to wake up and see, revival doesn’t happen to sleepwalkers.

God sent me today to be your alarm and many here don’t like alarms, but God wants us to wake up. We are so involved in fears of what we don’t want to do and of what the storms have done that we have missed our focus. Today I come in a day when our hearts are heavy but this Word is very appropriate because pain can’t take away your focus, the focus of what God wants to do.

Ana was faithful in what she wanted to do, we are called to be the light and we have to awaken to our light and shine wherever we go, so that God can turn us into light that saves others. The Grace of God isn’t for me even though it’s mine, grace comes to me so that I can give freely what I have received.

How many of you are ready this morning to open your eyes? Please stand, this morning I’m going to pray for these four groups, if you don’t feel like the Church of Christ and you have never received Christ as your Lord I ask you to come forward so I can pray for you. As I was speaking earlier if you realized that your priorities are not in their place, that there is certain luggage that you need to drop, it’s not easy to say goodbye to things you thought were important but God today wants you to pray and do it this morning, if you are one that has blamed devil for the storm that has come to your life, put your attention to important things and I want to pray for you.

If you are that person that has noticed that the world does want to hear of Christ because the greatest lie that the devil has brought is that people don’t want to hear of God, so when the storm comes what they do is to call, call and that emptiness never goes away, it’s there in everything created, God is in each one of us and throughout the world and those tracks leave an empty space if you don’t know God.

May God give us grace to reach those that want to know Him, those are the prayers that we need to bring in front of the altar today. My prayer is that of all the things we have learned today, this is the first chapter of a series that I’m writing about prayerwalks because I think people who believe in God need to speak with Him, a big mistake in the Church is that people believe that praying is optional but we depend on our conversations with God and these prayers will help us ignite His power among us, that is why prayers are very, very important, it’s not to be taken lightly.

If there is someone this morning we can pray, if we don’t do a general prayer, please raise your hands where you are: Lord I give You thanks for these women, You know us Lord and as Jonah You pursue us, Lord from here to their seats or where their minds have gone, You can measure the distance and You can reach them wherever they are, You know their needs, You know the purposes and destiny they have, God thank You for not giving up on us, thank You because our wills can throw us but not steal the destiny You have for us, as You return us to Your Will You pursue us with Your purposes.

I ask You this morning that we can wake up and see that You are calling them to cry out and see that there is a world that is in the middle of a storm because of the decisions that we have made. We can’t forget the Lord of the storm, we need to wake up and cry out but not only for our salvation, but so that those who have fear for things around us can find salvation through these steps in this place, use them Lord for Your glory, use them Lord so that this place is full of new souls, so that two services aren’t enough, that thousands come to Your house knowing that this is the house of prayer, that there is heart, that there is answer, that there is healing, that there is freedom, here and it is in them as they walk this world.

Help them to resist the temptation to flee and to stand firm in Your Word, thank You Father, we bless You in the Name of Jesus.


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