·         Matthew 21:43

o   There are natural laws you can depend on

o   This verse is a principle of Christ you can depend on

o   He has ultimate authority over His Kingdom.

o   What this verse says to us is:

§  We own nothing.

·         It’s His Kingdom

·         He gave it so we can bear fruit

·         We don’t bear fruit, He will take it.

·         This is not your church, this is not your turf, this is not your city – this is not your thing at all – it’s His.

·         We have to be free from the delusion that we own anything – as men, as churches, as a movement.

§  God needs nothing

·         Including us

·         There has never been a time in the history of the planet where there has not been a voice for God’s Kingdom, where there hasn’t been a clear manifestation of the Kingdom of God.

o   The Kingdom of God has non-exclusively been given to us, that we might bear fruit.

§  The fruit does not come from the kingdom of man

§  God desires for the fruit to continue

§  He is not dead, He is not done

§  He loves humanity, and He has chosen to work through you to love them.

·         It is up to us to be faithful to allow Him to bear His fruit.

o   It’s not time to be mellow about the Kingdom, about what He’s given us.

o   Until everyone hears,  until everyone sees the manifestation of the Kingdom, until they’ve been given a legitimate expression of the power of God, the job’s not done.

·         Instead of complaining of how bad things are in our culture, understand that it’s a huge opportunity.

·         Our world is in a major crisis – there is a vacuum

o   People don’t know where to turn, ultimately.

o   If there’s ever been a time to evangelize, pray for the sick, etc. – it’s now.

o   Anybody, to anybody.

o   Anyone can be radically transformed by the Gospel

o   Look for the most lost people and love on them.

·         Do you believe the Kingdom of God can heal a tortured mind?

o   We live in the most dynamic time in the history of the human race

o   Not the time to be rearranging the furniture on the Titanic while it’s sinking

o   Get serious about eternity, about what will last!

·         To be able to bring the Kingdom of God to a world that’s sinking – how awesome is that?

·         ACTS 6

·         The deacons in Acts 6 probably outdid all of us combined.

·         What kind of a spiritual environment for a Philip or a Stephen to arise out of our fellowships?

·         Remember: you are not the only one who has weird people in your church.

o   Listen: you’re the pastor – people hardly ever rise above their leaders.

o   If I am a pastor or a father, I can’t complain about my children, I have to complain about my pastoring, about my fathering.

o   I should look at my life, and ask, “Lord, am I creating an environment that is conducive to the Kingdom of God.”

o   I need to learn to live in the dimension of the Spirit.

·         The Kingdom of God goes wherever we go

o   It changes your life to consider that

o   I don’t have to wait for funding, for advertising, for church buildings…I have the Kingdom of God

·         Those “messed up” people are our opportunity

o   We get to watch the Kingdom of God come in power to bring conviction, healing, restoration.

·         The power of the age to come invades our present world in the preaching of the Gospel

·         We live in a spiritual world, we are citizens of the Kingdom of heaven – that is our reality.

o   If we choose not to have eyes to see that, we will not build the Kingdom of God.

·         Bob used to get all worked up about the people who leave

o   God spoke to him, “you can only pastor the people who want to be pastored by you”

o   so lighten up.”

o   Love the people you have and just bear fruit.

·         Jesus is the King of a Kingdom – and that means something.

o   He is a King – we are His subjects.

·         In the environment of Acts 6, it makes sense that two of the men raised up to be deacons, one would become a martyr, the other one of the greatest evangelists

o   Why?  Environment of prayer, reality of Jesus’ continuing presence through the Spirit, committed fellowship.

o   They gave themselves continually to prayer and ministered the Word of God.

·         Prayer needs to be a primary course for the preparation of the ministry.

o   The disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray

o   “The way You pray, Jesus, is so far from where I’m at – I need help.”

o   Samuel: “God forbid that I would sin against God and not pray for you.”

o   Wonder how many pastors are worried like that…

§  so you’re not doing porno anymore? Great.”

·         But are you praying?

o   Not driven by guilt, legalism…but by love, desire to know Him more, draw closer to Him, be filled more with Him.

·         Want to be a better pastor, better father?  PRAY.

·         Bob would find young guys, take them up on Fridays to fast and pray – to develop them.

o   Without computers, without cell phones, without iPods.

o   Bob’s pro-iPod – but not when it drowns out the Spirit.

o   It’s hard for many pastors to pray for 2 hours

o   Their attention spans can’t handle it

o   Because they’re spiritually weak.

o   {{I think God’s really trying to tell me something…}}

·         The Bible talks about the need to exercise our senses to discern good & evil

o   How to do that?

o   Read the Bible?

§  Yes, but also to PRAY.

o   When your spiritual resources are weak, you’ll turn to natural resources.

o   So when you turn to natural resources, that’s a great indicator of what’s going on with your spiritual resources.

·         When I’m tapped out spiritually, I will try to grow my church with natural wisdom.

·         Every church like every relationship goes through down times

o   The answer is not to try to revive by natural means, but to re-hook-up with the Spirit through prayer & the Word

o   You can’t wait for the people – you’re the leader.  Lead in this area if in no other area.

·         David had many problems – but he knew God

o   David sinned more than Saul – but David had a heart for God, and so God continued to use him.

o   If you don’t have the heart of a David, change your schedule to spend time with the Lord – because you’re sick and need to be healed.

o   How do you learn more about Jesus: pray more, and meditate on His Word.

o   You do that, you learn more about God, He’ll be faithful to bring others to you who want to, as well.

·         When you become a friend of God and want to know Him, God will honor that.

o   I want people who aren’t hungry to not like my church

o   I want people who want to know God.

·         What are you so hung up for?

o   Teach the Bible

o   Rely on the Holy Spirit

o   Do whatever He tells you to do

o   Don’t worry about those in the church at large – if they flake out, un-flake-out and upgrade your own walk with the Lord

·         The needs & problems that you see in your context are the opportunities that the Lord is putting in front of you.

·         “If you don’t push your church, I will fill this place with people who want to know Me.”

o   It’s not about your church – it’s about the Kingdom of God.

·         How do you begin to find & meet needs?  PRAY.

o   PRAY

o   PRAY

o   …and then, PRAY.

·         There’s a need, you pray, and God does something sovereignly.

o   I don’t have to produce that which He has not ordained

o   I just need to be faithful to that which He has ordained for His purposes

o   The burden to do and produce is off me

o   I just need to be faithful and fruitful with what He’s given

·         “Bob, I can do in a day what you can’t do in a lifetime, so relax. Just let me make you, let me mold you.”