Faith with Patience

“Faith with Patience” <Heb. 11:1-12:4>

Story of Jonathan:

The fascinating story of Jonathan (1 Samuel 14) happened in a very critical time of Israel’s newly developing kingdom. Israel was in chaos because people of Israel refused to be ruled by God, but wanted to conform the pattern of the world by continually demanding a king for them. So, Saul became their king.

But the problem started as soon as an unfaithful and self-centered king took over the responsibility.  Rather than faithfully pursuing God’s missions as a newly installed king, king Saul broke all commands that God placed in his leadership. He had no idea, no clear direction of how to lead the Israelites. He didn’t pray to seek God’s wisdom. Rather than waiting for prophet Samuel to come and give offerings to God, He offered it by himself. Not only he didn’t follow the command but also he was very impatient. Instead of seeking wisdom from God, he hid under a pomegranate tree during the most critical time. He did nothing!

However, his son Jonathan acted out faithfully in the life-threatening situation and saved the people from the hands of Philistines. Jonathan knew that God only can solve the problem. He trusted God through his strong faith by saying to his young armor-bearer:

“Come, let’s go over to the outpost of those uncircumcised men. Perhaps the Lord will act in our behalf. Nothing can hinder the Lord from saving, whether by many or by few.” – 1 Sam. 14:6

It was a proactive action! It shows us that when we align ourselves with God, God aligns the entire universe with us to give victory! God was very pleased with Jonathan’s faith! I want God to be pleased with your faith as well.

Jonathan’s ultimate purpose of life was nothing more than to please God. He knew that it is impossible to please God without faith (Heb. 11:6).

Learning By Exercising Faith:

We are learning a lesson that faith is not merely a journey for the feet, but it is a journey for the heart. Faith tells us that no matter what lies ahead of us, God is already there. Faith tells that as we please God with our actions, God will act out with unimaginable miracles.

Romans 8:31 says, “If God is for us, who can be against us?”

The story of Jonathan gives us 3 important lessons:

1. Instead of focusing on your problems, focus your eyes to God.

2. Live something worthy to die for with faithful action to please God.

3. The limitations you are willing to accept establish the boundaries of your existence.

“Keep Our Eyes Focused on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of Faith.”

How many of you here are Apple fans?

Apple CEO, Tim Cook, on his keynote speech (Oct. 2013), dismissed the competition as directionless: “Our competition is different: they’re confused,” he said. “Now they’re trying to make PCs into tablets and tablets into PCs. Who knows what they’ll do next?”

“We have a very clear direction and a very ambitious goal. We still believe deeply in this category and we’re not slowing down on our innovation.”

We have to be faithful to God. Here is why:

– During 8 hours of our sleep, our lungs breath in and out 80,000 gallons of air. Rapid Eye Movement (REM) kicks in as our brains paralyze the movement-controlling part of brains so that we don’t fall out of bed.

– In 24 hours, blood travels more than 12,000 miles. Our heart beats 100,000 times.

– During our life time, our heart pumps 1 million barrels of blood.

Today, I would like to share little more about what faith is. Let’s open the Book of Hebrews 11.

Let’s pray.

From Genesis to Revelation, the entire Bible is filled with written testimonies of faithful journeys of God’s people. Especially, Heb. 11 tells us how faithful people lived before us even without receiving the promise. Lord, we want to learn from it. Teach us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Hebrews 11

Heb. 11:1 shows the definition of Faith: Pistis (in Greek)

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. (NIV)

The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle* on what we can’t see. (The Message)

( *our handle: touch something;  to operate or make use of something with the hands.)

What happens if the house is built on the sand rather than built on the firm foundation?

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction* of things not seen. (NRSV)

I like the word “conviction” that explains about the evidence.

( * conviction: a fixed or firm belief; firmness of belief.)

“Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see” (NLT). New Living Translation adds “will actually happen.”

For this particular verse, we can find out (as John Calvin also thought and emphasized):“Faith can be no more separated from patience than from itself.” “We shall not reach the goal of salvation except we have patience.”

Faith is directly related with patience.

The evidence is demonstration (the act of showing or making evident) of our faith.

It is well explained in Romans 8:22-25:

22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

So what is faith according to Heb. 11:1-6?

1. Faith is confidence that what we hope for will actually happen and it is our firm foundation under everything that makes our life worth living.

2. Conviction and demonstration (act of showing) of what we do not see.

3. “Without faith it is impossible to please God” (Heb. 11:6a). And to please God, it requires faith, which requires “patience.”

Hebrews 11:13 says, “All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth.”

What is “the things promised”? It is Jesus Christ, our Savior who came to redeem our sins through His death and resurrection as one-time atonement to save the world. However, the good news is that we are now able to come to our God directly through Christ, without mediator such as priests. When we pray in the name of Christ, God will listen and answer our prayer directly. This is the blessing. The blessing of coming to God through prayer and holding our Bible in our hands! This is backed up by 1 Peter 2.

1 Peter 2:9-11 defines who you are:

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 11 Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul.

Anyone here memorize the fruits of the Holy Spirit?

It is important to look the fruits of the Holy Spirit, (results of faithful life) because it is related with how to build the Godly Character.

Let’s look at Galatians 5. Galatians 5 is dealing with how we fight the war between flesh and spirit.

16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law*. – Gal. 5:16-18

What happens if we don’t live by the Spirit? If we don’t live faithfully?

19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. – Gal. 5:19-21

How can we protect ourselves from the flesh desire and the evil forces?

We can find the answer from Ephesians 6:10-18

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 

What are some of very important weapons that we can use everyday?

– belt of truth = Jesus = Word of God = Foundation “Truth will set you free.” (John 8:32)

– breastplate of righteousness = Faith “Righteous will live by faith.” (Hab. 2:4/Rom. 1:17)

– shield of faith = extinguish all flaming arrows of evils

– helmet of salvation = hope

– sword of the Spirit = Word of God

– pray in the Spirit = pray in the word of God and tongues

1 Thessalonians 5:8 also says: “But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and hope of salvation as a helmet” – 1 Thes. 5:8

It is very important to be equipped with faith, love and hope! It protects our hearts and heads!

Let’s continue reading the rest of Gal. 5.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience (forbearance), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. – Gal. 5:22-25

What is mean by “Against such things there is no law”?

*The law is summarized as: Love your God and love your neighbors as yourself. So if we live with the fruits of the Holy Spirit, we will also fulfill the law as well, “love God and love others.”

Gal. 5 surely tells us to live by faith. The Scripture clearly says, “Live by the Spirit.”

“… Your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” – 1 Thes. 1:3

“The faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven.” – Col. 1:5a

Faith, hope and love is all we need to live faithfully. As we live faithfully, we build beautiful character, fruits of the Holy Spirit.

Faith builds godly character. Fruits of the Holy Spirit is the result of your faithful life and linked with your character.

Let’s read next several Scripture passages together. These Scriptures encourage us how to live faithfully.

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” – Rom. 5:1-5

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” – James 1:2-5

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” – Heb. 12:1-2

God has perfect timing; Never Early, Never Late, It takes a little Patience. But it is worth the Wait!

God promised:

“In the last days, God says,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams.”

– Acts 2:17 (cf. Joel 2:28)

On your spare time this week, please read Acts 1 through 2 to see how the very first church started. The very first church started as faithful people waited patiently for the Coming of the Holy Spirit.

I pray that this very first revival through the Coming of the Holy Spirit to be happened again here in this place because of God’s promise:

As your faith is exercised with great actions (like Joshua, Jonathan, David, Daniel… all young warriors who acted out with their faith even before the fulfillment of the promise), God will pour out His Spirit on you and you will do the great things among your generation today and tomorrow!

There is no other name but Jesus who is the way, truth and life. – John 14:6

Acts! Live the Faithful Life with Patience!

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How To Receive Eternal Life with God

Step 1 – God so loved the world

Does God love me? The answer is in the Bible, God’s Word:

“I have loved you with an everlasting love.” — Jeremiah 31:3

God loves you, and He loves you with a love that you don’t know anything about, because there is no human love comparable to divine love. God loves you. He wants to forgive you. He wants to have fellowship with you.

God is love.” — 1 John 4:16

It doesn’t make any difference how far you try to run from God. He loves you. His eye is on you. He sees you. God loves you, and the Bible says that God sent His Son from heaven to this earth for you. Jesus Christ came to this earth to take your sins upon a cross. God has a plan for your life.

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord. ‘Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.’” — Jeremiah 29:11

God created us in His image, and you are important to God.

Indeed the very hairs of your head are numbered.” — Luke 12:7


Step 2 – That He gave His only Son

Who is Jesus? What does His life, death and resurrection mean for me?

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” — John 14:6

Many go through life unfulfilled, unfocused, searching − a blank canvas waiting for a picture of purpose to be painted on us. What does it all mean?


Step 3 – That whoever believes in Him

Can God really change my life?

No matter who you are or how you’ve lived your life, God will receive you into His family. He will change you and make you complete. Trust Him as millions of others have done and experience His mercy for yourself.

“I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me? — Jeremiah 32:27

“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in.” — Revelation 3:20

“The Spirit of the Lord will come upon you in power, … and you will be changed into a different person.” — 1 Samuel 10:6


Step 4 – Should not perish

What do I have to do to go to heaven?

God isn’t waiting to judge you. God isn’t waiting to condemn you. He’s waiting to receive you with mercy, with love, with open arms, and forgive all your sins. Will you come to Him? Will you turn from your sin and promise to live for Him?

“If you confess with your mouth, Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” — Romans 10:9

“To all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.” — John 1:12

He asked, “‘What must I do to be saved?’ They replied, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved.’” — Acts 16:30,31


But have eternal life

God knows who you are, He loves you, and He wants you to know and love Him.

How do you do that?

You must first admit that, like everyone else, you are a sinner. Being sinners means that we are imperfect and do wrong; we fall short of God’s perfect standard. It also means we are separated from Him and deserve His judgment.

But He loves us! God sent His own Son, Jesus Christ, to die for our sins. He died for your sins. He was punished so you don’t have to be. Not only that; death did not defeat Him. After three days, Jesus rose from the dead, alive again!

Trusting in Jesus’ sacrifice for you is the only way to find forgiveness from God and to begin a relationship with Him. We urge you to take this step of faith today. To do that, simply talk to God – this is called praying – and tell Him you believe in His Son. We suggest a prayer like this:

“Lord Jesus Christ,

I am sorry for the things I have done wrong in my life. I ask your forgiveness and now turn from everything which I know is wrong. Thank you for dying on the cross for me to set me free from my sins. Please come into my life and fill me with your Holy Spirit and be with me forever.

Thank you Lord Jesus, Amen.”


Did you pray the prayer to the left to accept Jesus Christ as your savior?

“Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up.” Acts 20:32



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Falling Plates

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Hillsong – Awakening Live (Lyrics) HQ

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Paul’s Testimony

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. – Titus 3:3-7

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Key Biblical X Factors / X Equals Multiplication

Key Biblical X Factors / X Equals Multiplication

A look at the Acts of the Apostles from the perspective of the multiplying church . . .

Ten Behaviors of Multipliers

  1. Wait for the Holy Spirit’s Power
  2. Trust God to Provide
  3. Anticipate Victories Emerging from God’s Control
  4. Expect and Discern Divine Appointments
  5. Observe and Join what God is Doing
  6. Stand Strong Even in the Face of Opposition
  7. Praise First – In and Out of Adversity
  8. Build Bridges to the People
  9. Empower and Release Your Best People
  10. Relentlessly Focus on Bringing People to Christ and His Kingdom

Key Biblical X Factors – The Behaviors
The first four behaviors (wait, trust, anticipate, discern) are consistently found in multipliers. These four behaviors are all about becoming aligned for God to do His work. Behaviors five thru seven (observe and join, stand strong, praise first) begin the transition into horizontal activity while maintaining a clear eye on God. The final three behaviors (build bridges, empower and release, and relentlessly focus) are deliberate focused activities resulting in fulfilling God’s purpose and commission to be His multipliers all over the world.

Behavior 1 – Wait for the Holy Spirit’s Power
Acts 1:4 – Initial instruction from Jesus himself to WAIT

  • Significance of His final words on Earth
  • Significance of power to the previously powerless
  • Significance of active waiting (see 1:14, 15, 16-26 & 2:1)
  • Significant lessons from some who tried it without THE power (Acts 19:13-16)

Bottom line . . . God’s power is not token. It is not a power occasionally available. It is not a power to be fooled with. Spiritual warfare, especially in church multiplication is real. Therefore, it is critical to wait to be empowered by the Holy Spirit! Satan will aggressively work to thwart your progress. He knows it will lead to the taking of his territory.

Don’t miss the activity surrounding the word WAIT.
WAIT did not, and does not mean be idle!

Behavior 2 – Trust God to Provide
TRUSTING can be described as the activity of WAITING

Acts 1:8-8:1 – The earliest days of the church

  • Trust God by exercising prayer (see 1:14, 4:24)
  • Trust God by hearing from God while together (see 2:1, 46)
  • Trust God by learning through the Apostles’ teaching (see 2:42)
  • Trust God by allowing Him to reveal Himself (see 5:29)

Acts 16:6 and 19:10 – God’s very specific hand of direction

  • The Holy Spirit keeps Paul and companions from Asia
  • Now the people of Asia hear the good news

Acts 5:1-11 – The antithesis . . . the couple that did not trust God to provide

  • In succession Ananias and Sapphira keep something back for personal security
  • They lied to Peter, perhaps they lied to themselves

Bottom line . . . the early church leaders always had their antennas high. They listened to God and they trusted Him for specific direction.

Today more than ever we need to hear from God and receive His direction.
This concept of trust is not easy. The sooner we acknowledge that whatever is of God cannot be stopped, the sooner we will trust Him to multiply the church.
One more note—holding back is not a good option.

Behavior 3 – Anticipate Victories Emerging from God’s Control
Acts 8:1-8 – God leverages bad intentions for His purpose

  • In fact God allowed the persecution to serve as a catalyst
  • In fact the believers were spread throughout Judea and Samaria (see 1:8)
  • In fact a growing healthy Jerusalem church becomes a multiplying church
  • In fact opposition repeatedly leads to multiplication like gas on a fire (12:1-19)

Bottom line . . . Like a Judo fighter, God flips the outcome using the weight of the opposition to His advantage and to the advantage of building His kingdom. Anticipating victory means we will trust God’s perspective. When difficult times come—look hard for the Lord’s hand. With the exception of Berea, city by city throughout Acts opposition arose after the preaching of Christ. We should not be shocked by its presence today.

As was the case in Acts, adversity often comes in theological packages. In Acts 9:32 through chapter 10 the Lord brings theological clarity regarding the extent of the gospel to include Gentiles. Tension around that issue continues until closure is established in Acts 15. But the bottom line point again, God was victorious in extending the gospel to all nations, yet without compromising of the message. Honoring God’s Word on theological matters can and should result in seeing victories emerging from God.

Multiplication attracts opposition and God leverages all of this for His purposes.
The result is victory . . . anticipate victory.

Behavior 4 – Expect and Discern Divine Appointments
Acts 5:16-39 – Gamaliel keeps a divine appointment

  • The appointee may or may not be aware that God is present
  • Here God uses a person
  • Somewhere God may use a gift
  • Other times God may use a circumstance

Acts 8:26-40 – Philip’s irresistible divine appointment

  • In this case the appointment came about from listening to God
  • In this case the recipient of the appointment was searching for God
  • In this case the appointment was successful because Philip knew the scriptures
  • In this case Philip was on the move for God and his activity put him in great shape to learn about and meet the appointment

Bottom line . . . Divine appointments can come from the most unexpected places. Proper alignment with God enhances the probability for the occurrence. Again, the first four behaviors are about becoming aligned for God to do His work. WAITING, TRUSTING, ANTICIPATING and EXPECTING. Next, God moves us closer to critical strategic active behaviors.

The church multiplier properly aligned with God is now confident to observe and go with what God is doing.

Behaviors five thru seven (observe and go, stand strong and praise) begin the transition into horizontal activity while maintaining a clear eye on God.

Behavior 5 – Observe and Join What God is Doing
Acts 9:1-31 – Saul in the middle of a firestorm of God’s activity

  • God was doing something and chooses Saul
  • God was doing something and Saul gets on board
  • God was doing something and many couldn’t figure the logic of Saul the messenger

Acts 17:16-17 – Paul was waiting in Athens for Silas and Timothy

  • From here on out Paul was tuned-in to his target people
  • Paul adjusted his approached in a culturally different environment
  • Paul demonstrates a God-given sensitivity

Bottom line . . . Henry Blackaby’s Experiencing God is life-change thinking. Henry’s profound and practical thinking is an observation of intentional and effective ministries. These ministries get to know God, observe what He is doing and go with it! Saul saw the light and followed it. Paul who once followed and watched Jesus closely took a strategy out of the Lord’s playbook and connected with people where they were. Church multipliers walk with one eye on God and the other straight ahead.

The best multipliers don’t get so lost in activity that they miss the circumstance. They have good timing. They are moving.

Behavior 6 – Stand Strong Even in the Face of Opposition
Acts 5:40-6:1 – Many examples of standing strong with a great result

  • Beaten with a whip and told to shut up they rejoiced and then proceeded to proclaim that Jesus is the Christ
  • The number of disciples was increasing

Acts 7:59-60 – Stephen’s word and strength launch world missions

  • In full recognition of the consequence Stephen proclaimed Jesus is the Christ
  • Stephen offered forgiveness for he did not hold his life as important as theirs

Bottom line . . . Pain was not a deterrent. Doctors tell sufferers to try and focus on something other than the pain. Stoning is a most painful way to die. Stephen’s last thought was his focus . . . “Lord, don’t hold this sin against them.” Redemption for all, this is what he lived and died for. For the beaten and killed, their diligence and persistence resulted in the rapid multiplication of the church.

Consider this . . . Few believers are seeing persecution like the Chinese believers. Few places are seeing the multiplication of believers like China.

Church multipliers are more influenced by the eternal than preoccupied by the temporal.

Behavior 7 – Praise First—In and Out of Adversity
Acts 3:6-10 – The crippled beggar can’t hold back

  • Peter and John gave the great gift of healing in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. The man couldn’t help but praise God
  • Sometimes praise results from a blessing

Acts 16:22-30 – Strip me, beat me and throw me into prison

  • No matter, we will keep praising God
  • Sometimes praise results from adversity
  • God gave applause to this praise and loosened the chains
  • Net result, lives are changed and people are encouraged

Bottom line . . . Always start with Praise . . . Praise First! The Jerusalem church was added to and power increased daily on the strength of worship. A healed crippled man can’t help but worship and the door is opened for thousands to come to Christ. Two physically beaten, yet spiritually alive prisoners sing praises and walls fall down.

Church multipliers recognize that praise is potent. God receives it and deserves it. He lives in this praise! He multiplies in the environment of praise.

The final three behaviors are deliberate, focused activities resulting in fulfilling God’s purpose to be His multipliers all over the world. They require a boldness that grows out of all of the behaviors already considered.

Behavior 8 – Build Bridges to the People
Acts 10:1-29 – Peter sees a new paradigm

  • An uncommon Roman soldier sought God
  • An uncommon message comes to Peter
  • An uncommon ministry request confronts Peter
  • An uncommon change of lives comes from the Holy Spirit

Acts 11:18 – Wonderment in Jerusalem

  • Church leaders praise God in amazement
  • Even the Gentiles are granted repentance unto life
  • We are now way outside the box

Bottom line . . . Following traditions can be valuable. But GOD is always creative! Here’s another key to multiplication . . . listen even if you think you know better!

Being immovably certain of how we should minister will blind us to incredible opportunities. A bold step outside of Peter’s ministry box was like a bold step outside the boat. In this case the church was and is multiplied like never before.

Behavior 9 – Empower and Release Your Best People
Acts 6:5-7:60 – Stephen, once among the unknown

  • He was once a second-stringer
  • Now he is given a new leadership role in the Jerusalem church
  • He is a man full of grace and power released to speak in the synagogue about Jesus
  • Until now only the Apostles were speaking for the church

Acts 13:1-3 – Saul and Barnabas, the best and brightest

  • The Holy Spirit gives the command
  • The Holy Spirit sends people out to do His work
  • The Holy Spirit is immediately obeyed by the Antioch church
  • The Holy Spirit initiates the ultimate . . . churches multiplying churches by empowering and sending their best

Acts 13:5 – John Mark is empowered to help Saul and Barnabas. The great reproducible model of empowering others while being empowered yourself

Bottom line . . . our churches are filled with people who given the opportunity, equipping and blessing will impact the world and multiply the church. The Holy Spirit is not shy to ask for the best. The church at Antioch continued to thrive.

Multiplying churches are the residual of multiplying leaders.
Who says so? The Holy Spirit says so!

Behavior 10 – Relentlessly Focus on Bringing People to Christ and His Kingdom
All of Acts – Every chapter gives witness to preaching Christ and His Kingdom. It all begins with the final command of Jesus, “You will be my witnesses . . .”

  • Peter gets it started in the first five chapters
  • Stephen carries chapters 6 and 7
  • Philip steps up in chapter 8
  • Saul gets started in chapter 9
  • Peter again in chapter 10
  • Barnabas in 11
  • Herod can’t stop it in 12
  • Barnabas and Saul in 13
  • Paul and Barnabas in 14 and 15
  • Silas joins Paul in 16
  • Paul continues from 17 to the end of the book

Acts 20:24 – Paul’s words . . . “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.”

  • Relentless
  • Focused

Bottom line . . . the players were many. The message was one. In almost every city the preaching of Christ was followed by persecution. Yet Christ was relentlessly preached. Opposition slowed nothing. In fact it was like gasoline on the fire. Relentlessly remember the main thing . . . bringing people to Christ. This is the X factor that gives purpose to all the rest that we do or think.

This is why we multiply leaders. This is why we multiply churches.

And you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. – Jesus



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What Is the Call of God?

What Is the Call of God?

by Steve Diehl

…What does it look like? What are you called to? The Purpose Driven Life, by Rick Warren, has been used by God to awaken the joy of connecting our passions with God’s purpose. A genuine beauty comes through purposeful living. We are fulfilled when we live out God’s plan for us. He has a call for each of us.

4 Types of Call:

The Call to Salvation…

First and foremost a call to Jesus (Matt. 9:13, Mark 2:17, Luke 5:32, Acts 2:39, Romans 1:5–6, etc.).

The Call to Holiness…

Also about a call TO Jesus, being IN Christ (Romans 12, 8:28–30).

The Call to Full-Time Vocational Ministry…

Consider how these people were called:

  • Moses called from a burning bush (Exodus 3)
  • Joshua appointed by God (Joshua 1:1–9)
  • Isaiah called in a vision (Isai 6)
  • Nehemiah (chapter 1) called through distressing news
  • Barnabas sent by Jerusalem church to Antioch (Acts 11:22)
  • Jeremiah called from mother’s womb (Jeremiah 1:4–10)
  • Apostles in Mathew 4:19; 9:9, Mark 1:17
  • Paul called dramatically (Romans 1:1, 1:Corinthians 1:1, Galatians 1:15)

The Call to a Specific Task…

  • Peter and John sent by Jerusalem church to investigate what was happening in Samaria under Philip’s ministry (Acts 8:14)
  • Barnabas sent from Jerusalem to Antioch to follow up on the church that had been planted there (Acts 11:22)

What The Call is NOT:

  • The call is not centered in a definite event.
  • The call is not always like the Macedonian call of Paul in Acts 16:9–10.
  • The call is not always through a mystical experience.
  • It is not the guarantee of success or failure.
  • It is not extended exclusively to uniquely gifted people.
  • It is not something that happens only from God directly to people.

Consider some elements of God’s calling…

When I think of calling, the image of a telephone comes to mind. Were God to connect with me using a phone, I would want to hear His voice so clearly that I’m able to say, “Yes, Lord” with the assurance that I have heard His invitation. Not that God’s calling is in any way mechanical…don’t take the analogy too far. Nor should we expect to hear an audible voice so clear that the need for faith is minimized. That said, the illustration works.

Multiple components make it possible to receive a clear voice over a phone line. The cord itself is not a single wire but multiple strands. So it is with God’s call. Consider a few strands that might help in discerning the call of God for your life and ministry.

God’s calling is rooted in Scripture and prayer

God will not call us in a direction that contradicts His Word. In the context of Sabbath rest, Hebrews 4:12 reveals that God’s Word is living and active. There is a quiet confidence that develops in the devotional life, resting upon the power and promise of God’s voice in Scripture. God speaks as we listen with an open Bible.

  • As you live out the spiritual disciplines and meditate on His Word, what is God saying?
  • What passages of Scripture are speaking to the depths of your heart in these days of decision?

God’s calling is righteous

Romans 8:28–29 reveals a central purpose for each of us: to become more like Jesus. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled…and fulfilled.

  • What decision will position you best to become more like Jesus?
  • Do you sense confirmation during times of worship?
  • Does this decision line up with God’s good purpose for you and others?

God’s calling is right

Reflection on Scripture (Psalm 139, Romans 8:28–30) builds assurance that God has wired each of us for a unique purpose. He makes no mistakes. It makes sense that He would call you to a place that is with the way He designed you. Some of His wiring might be weakness for HIS strength to be manifested, but His call will be the right fit. The following questions should clarify this component of His call:

  • Do your natural, God-given abilities indicate a right fit?
  • Has God given you a spiritual gift that suggests a right fit for a ministry decision?
  • What training have you had, and do your learned skills point to a right fit?
  • Have you taken assessments that bring confirmation of “rightness?”
  • What decision will best line up with your passions, values, and vision?
  • What are you doing in ministry right now? God’s calling is as much about the present as the future. Abundant life and ministry are for today, not just tomorrow.

God’s calling is rightly confirmed by others

This is a critical element. This means the church, which is the family environment for ministry equipping (Ephesians 4). This means leaders in your church, in the denomination, and friends in the kingdom. What are those who know you best, including family, speaking into your life? Calling comes in the context of relationship. Listen with a discerning ear to Godly counsel.

God’s calling is sometimes revealed and punctuated by providential circumstances

Although balance between the subjective and the objective is crucial, many testimonies are shared of God bringing forth pointed circumstances to identify His hand and His invitation toward a specific task or ministry.

  • What circumstances might God be using to speak to you?
  • What events might form a pattern of God’s leading?
  • What issues are your friends and coworkers wrestling with?


Of all these components, the most important truth to remember is that we are called first and foremost to a person. Jesus said, “Come, follow me”(Matthew 4:19). We, the sheep of His pasture, can hear His voice (John 10).

Active listening in a relationship of active following affirms God’s calling. It’s His quiet voice in the solitude of reflection that guides us. When all the strands of God’s leading are wrapped together, there grows a deep inner conviction that God’s voice is speaking clearly. This develops into a necessary sustaining conviction for those entering vocational ministry and missions.

Is your heart phone ringing? Is God calling? Don’t wait for someone else to answer. Be available. Be involved today. You’ll be glad that you plugged in, completed the connection, and answered, “Here am I, Lord. Send me” (Isaiah 6:8).

Thoughts on the Missionary Call

“This distinction between God’s ‘general call’ and His ‘specific call’ is very similar to the distinction between God’s ‘general will’ as revealed in Scripture and his ‘specific will’ for the individual. God’s general will (call) is that I be a witness. His specific will (call) is that I be a witness in Nepal, or Chicago, or wherever” (Thomas Hale, 1995).

Calling in the General Sense

“If we have a choice and unless there are compelling reasons to the contrary, the Christian worker should choose the place of greatest need! Failure to give adequate consideration to this factor has caused the incredible inequity in the distribution of workers” (Gordon Olson, 1998).

“No one escapes the general call to mission. No one can say, ‘Witness is not for me.’ The critical question is not whether we’re called, for we are. The critical question is ‘Where am I called to?’ The answer may be to serve Jesus right where we are already, among those we live with and work beside. That is a wholly legitimate calling” (Alistair Brown, 1997).

Calling in the Specific Sense

“Being a missionary begins with being called. You don’t choose to be a missionary: you’re called to be one. The only choice is whether to obey” (Thomas Hale, 1995).



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