One definition of insanity is to believe that you can keep doing what you’ve been doing and get different results. We want revival. We want growth in our churches and we think that it is somehow going to miraculously happen by the methods and programs we have used unsuccessfully for the past 20 years. We think that because we did have “some” growth using manmade antiquated methods, that we are definitely on the right track.
Someone once said , “It takes all the running you can do to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that.” I’m not so sure you have to run twice as fast to get somewhere else. All you have to do is change the direction you are heading. Many of us are “running as fast as we can and yet, we find ourselves stuck in the same place”. Some of us are trying as hard as we can try. We are working very very hard and yet at the end of the day, our efforts for the Kingdom are rewarded only minimally. Why is that?
Peter and his co-workers had labored all night. Using techniques and skills they had learned over a lifetime of working on fishing boats, they toiled fruitlessly in dangerous seas. Their response to the Lord was, “We’ve caught nothing!”
Jesus who probably never spent a single day fishing on a boat tells them, “Cast your nets on the other side.” Peter must have inwardly thought, “What does this carpenter know about fishing?” “What can he tell me that I don’t already know?” “I’ve been doing this all my life!”
You know what happened. They caught a ton of fish, simply by changing the side of the boat they were casting their nets on. Now you may also say, “Well, Jesus did a miracle for them”. He may well have, however, notice that He did require them to do something they had never done before, to get the miracle. Had Peter cast his net one more time from the same side of the boat he had been casting on, he would have again, pulled in empty nets.
Too many of us have worked all the night also and caught little or nothing. We may brag that we’ve had a 10% or even 20% increase of growth to our church in the last year, but is that truthfully the kind of revival our Lord would want to give? Considering the tens of thousands of people in your city, is 10% growth in our church really what He would want to give.
The early Apostolics turned all of Asia upside-down in just 2 years. What have we honestly accomplished in our city in the last 20 years? Too many of us have only held onto the status quo. While many churches have folded up (We don’t like to talk about these.) and others have barely grown at all.
We call ourselves Apostolic. We identify ourselves and our movement with the people of the book of acts. We speak as if we have arrived at the same conclusions and understanding as those who turned Asia upside down in two years, but this preacher believes we have sadly fooled only ourselves.
Let's be honest … 20 years ago, didn’t God give you a much greater vision than what you’ve realized. Didn’t you step into this boat thinking, “I’m going to win my city!”. “I’m going to have a great drought.” “We’re going to have a great revival!”
Is it possible that we've been doing a few (or a lot) of things wrong, only because it is the only way you've seen it done before? Or possibly, because you’ve had some success by it, you capitalize on it until it becomes an engraved way of life in your congregation?
Mark Twain once said, “Take your mind out every now and then and dance on it. It is getting all caked up.” That was his way of saying, “Get out of your rut. Do something different. Learn a new way of doing things. Think outside of the box.”
When was the last time you had a bold new thought – and acted on it? When was the last time you allowed someone else to influence your thinking. When was the last night you stayed up all night excited over a new direction your ministry was taking? Think about it!
Are you stuck in a rut? Is your personal ministry stuck in a rut? If the answer to either of these questions is yes, then you are limiting God’s influence and impact on your ministry which could be holding back a great revival in your city.
David Keller who pastors a growing Pentecostal church in Fort Wayne, Indiana once told me “if there is no change going on in the church, throw a hammer through the wall.” He was serious! This man actually believes that something should be changing all the time in the church. He says, “Paint a wall. Buy new carpet. Fire somebody. Hire somebody. Stop doing what you’ve been doing. Start doing something different.” You might say, that sounds reckless, but while you may be stuck in traditional sludge, there is a great revival happening in Fort Wayne Indiana.
Thinking big takes courage. It requires one to face colleagues with challenging questions. People will doubt your motives. Some may say you’ve “lost it”. (Whatever “it” was.) Nonetheless, it is God’s will for you to think big. We serve a big God. He says he is able to do “exceeding, abundantly above what we could ask or think.” Is that the God you serve? If your answer is yes, then dream and work in the dimension He operates in. Our little mindsets do nothing to promote His cause. We must absolutely begin to allow our thinking to operate in areas He is leading us to which we have never considered before. “THINK BIG!”
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