Anyone ever feel like you are part of a quirky family? This probably isn't a good time to look around, or smile and nod.
I think every family is a little quirky! We have our ups and our downs, our ins and our outs, with characters and drama all of our own!
guess what - your family is no different than the rest of em!
It may seem different because you are closer in and get to see all the action!
The Family of God is no different.
The Bible calls us all saints - in fact that is what we celebrate today - ALL SAINTS - but I constantly look around me and go Wow! Saints?
And sometimes I hear the voice of God say back to me,
YES! SAINTS! ... BECAUSE I SAY SO!
I told a story a few weeks back of the saints who helped me with an ALPHA Course at St. George's many years back. Well that example has been repeated in my life over and over and over and over again, up to yesterday!
I got to spend an hour or so at a church in Canon City yesterday. This was a church of 8 that meets on Sat morning in a home in Canon City - led by a pastor/Realtor who is working with me in the My Hope Project for Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
Now that group of 8, are turning that town upside down! I've heard that charge somewhere before! In Acts 17:6 it is the accusation of the Jewish leaders of Thessalonica against Paul and Silas as preachers!
God is giving this small band and their leader favor to bring other, bigger churches together to reach out through the HEAVEN video to the whole city. They have rented the local theater for two showings on the 13th and the 15th of this month, and all indications are that both showings will be sell outs!
I made a special trip down there yesterday to be with this tiny church, for which they were amazed. I wanted to affirm that they are a church just as surely as any other body is one in that city. And though they are small, they are mighty. Because they have a vision for souls.
ALL MEANS ALL
On All Saints we look back at our own history and our spiritual heritage - the people who have mentored us, lived their christian lives before us, who have contributed to our walk or to the place we are in right now.
We look back through church history and see the great names of the Church - from the historical names to the names of our own particular history.
These are the 'saints' who have gone before us - preceded us in death, going to their reward. We give thanks for them and remember them today. But all means ... all!
All... Saints means All Saints! ALL here means past, present AND FUTURE.
This table is at the midpoint of history. It stands-in for the place of the Cross of Jesus - that level ground at the foot of the cross, extends to the level ground at the Table of the Lord.
On the one side of the table we look back through the generations, and at the Table we find ourselves, but in front of the table, where we walk down, each and every Sunday, is a line of those who Will Come - those yet unseen by us but known to God, nonetheless, as saints!
One of our favorite verses is Romans 8:28 and I always like to include 29 & 30 as well:
[Rom 8:28-30 ESV] 28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
Notice that this whole section is in the past tense - its written from God's perspective. Its already done, but we, friends get to see the working out of that progression in v. 30
whom He foreknew He predestined
those he also called
and those he then justified
and the ones he justified He also glorified.
Here is the glorious task of the Church, friends. We get to take part in the adventure of a lifetime, every day! We get to partner with God in this marvelous work, this progression of the Kingdom to its fulfillment - to its fullness. We get to be a part of working with God to reach out to bring those who do not know that they are predestined, or called, or justified or glorified!
I'll end with this story. Last Friday night I was with dinner with one of our young men who I'm discipling. During the course of dinner we had the Bible out on the table and were heard reading it out loud and talking about it, seen praying at our table, in fact, the Holy Spirit was so thick at our booth that it took us several minutes to get our composure back at one point.
As we got up to leave, our server, who we always meet by name and ask about his/her life, prayer needs, and who we also leave an exorbitant tip for, asked if that book was a Bible?
I said yes it was and opened it and showed it to her. Asked if she knew much about it, "NO". Have you ever gone to church? NO I DON'T GO TO CHURCH. I FEEL I'M A SPIRITUAL PERSON THOUGH.
I shared that I was a pastor and gave her a card with my name and number and our website if she ever would like to poke her toe in.
We asked if there was anything we could pray for and she said she was having stomach pains, some even right then. We asked permission to pray for her, right there and then and she allowed us to take her hand and pray for healing. She reported that she felt better after prayer. I went out to the car and got her a cc of the HEAVEN DVD that we will see later this month.
Pray with us that the seeds we planted with fall on good soil and spring up to eternal life.
Do you see how simple this is?
Friends, this Altar is the Table of the Lord and we come to it every week for the nourishment of the Sacraments. Are there others in your life that you know are hungry and thirsty for this food and this water?
In our gospel today, Jesus promises that He will bless those who hunger and thirst for righteousness - they will be filled.
God is very anxious for us to join Him in this work!! So much so that He is going to impart a special anointing this morning, as we come up to the showing of HEAVEN on Thanksgiving eve.
Some of you have been praying for particular people, but there are people out there who we do not yet know, who are to be invited to come along that evening.
Friends, God's heart - Jesus' heart is breaking for those whom he foreknows, those whom He is calling to Himself. And we can access His heart, by His Spirit.
That is what happened at the table last Friday night. We were talking about the impartations many experienced at the Mike Flynn conference and I said, "when you feel that prick in your heart regarding someone, it is Jesus letting you feel just a fraction of His heart toward that persons eternal destiny! When I said that the Holy Spirit fell on my brother and he could not speak for almost 5 minutes, in a booth at Outback!
Friends, God wants to endue us with power to see people as He sees them - as saints or saints in the making! It's not every person we see, though I believe every one has the opportunity to say yes, not all will. But God knows the ones who will - that called simple foreknowledge. That is just God's perspective of the end from the beginning.
But God wants us - commands us and empowers us to GO and to PARTNER WITH HIM in this work of catching people. HIs promise is "I will make you fishers of men."
Come follow me.
If you want - if you desire this impartation of the Spirit to be able to see people as he sees them ...
If you want this kind of boldness to ask the questions that matter for eternity ...
If you want to make yourself available to God and be obedient to His call to GO, MAKE DISCIPLES.
IF SO I want you to stand now. (If you are listening or reading this later, place your hand on your heart and pray this prayer with us)
Place your hand over your chest area right now.
Let's pray together.
Holy Spirit, come. come among us and impart your gifts.
Lord, we pray for a gift of new eyes and new hearts - eyes that see as you see and hearts that hurt as your's hurts.
Touch us Lord Jesus, with the love you have for those who do not know you. Give us eyes to see those who you are calling to yourself. Touch our minds and our lips with your boldness.
[Some of you feel the 'heart burn' that we spoke of a moment ago, some of you are experiencing a tingling sensation on your lips or on your hands or forehead. If that is so, pray aloud with me.]
Lord, I accept your imparted anointing today. Seal now to me, the presence and power of your Holy Spirit, that as I go from this place, I will know and recognize your heart and let me speak boldly, Jesus, in your Name!
Come Holy Spirit. Come and abide with Your presence and power. Clothe me, that I may reach out my hands in love to those who do not know you, to bring them to the knowledge and love of you, for the honor of Your Name.