Isaiah 60:1-5 Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people; But the Lord will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you. The Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. "Lift up your eyes all around, and see: They all gather together, they come to you; Your sons shall come from afar, and your daughters shall be nursed at your side. Then you shall see and become radiant, and your heart shall well with joy;"
A new day is coming upon us for C3 Sydney. A new day of increase and enlargement. God has plans for a bigger life for you. It's imperative that we become larger people. Our big dream was to have a congregation of 500 people. That happened after just three years. today we have a congregation around 5000 people. In Sydney, C3 numbers around 10,000. In the movement we number around 100,00. We started training a small class of people in a part time bible college that grew and grew until we realised we needed to make it a fully accredited Training College that it is today. We have now graduated around 10,000 ministers.
We felt God telling us to plant ten churches around the world. I thought that would take a life time, but it only took four years. Now we have over four hundred churches and growing at the rate of nearly two a week. We started a small television program believing we could reach Sydney with television, but soon it became obvious that God was wanting us to broadcast around the world. Not only are we growing bigger, we are growing faster. This means faster change. We must own the ability to change, to transform, otherwise we get stuck where we are and the world changes around us and before we know it we are smaller, slower and irrelevant. This has so often been the problem with the church - her inability to change. This is because her leaders have been resistant to change.
How do we become bigger people? How do I change faster? How can I transform into being the kind of person in my dreams? Glad you asked, heres two points:
The first step to transformation into being a bigger, faster, enlarged person is to leave who you have been. We need to make an exit from the past, from last year. Abraham had to leave the comfort of his home town if he was ever going to become a possessor of what God had for him in Canaan.
Repentance is the ability to admit you're wrong, to admit you're small, to admit you're moving too slow, to admit you need to change. The Christian life isn't just about encouragement and affirmation. Sometimes a sharp piece of discipline will help us see the light better. If you're carrying sins and hindrances to spiritual progress in your life then you need to repent from those things. You may have done this many times before on the same issue. Don't give up. Noone gets free immediately. Look at Moses setting the Israelites free. It took multiple attempts and even when they were free, the enemy chased them, trying to recapture them. Repentance breaks the hold the past has over you.
Repentance is the one characteristic I see so very absent from so many people - especially believers. People are so sensitive, defensive, insecure because they cannot admit they're wrong. It's everyone else's fault. We need to embrace that emotionally uncomfortable feeling of humbling ourselves, of admitting fault and we will find that is the key to moving forward to growing bigger.
Repentance is forgiving people. Forgiveness is the ability to let go words and offences that are holding you back. Resentment will keep you small. If your mind is constantly dwelling on the wrongs done against you, you will transform into that image. You will become like the people you hate. Unforgiveness is a blockage between you and God and you and people. It will stop you from progressing any further in life.
Repentance is forgetting. Mental health is about what you think about. You will change into your dominant thoughts.
Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Sometimes it's not so much what you think about but what you do not think about. I choose not to think about things every day. There are some thoughts that really want to invade my mind - fear, anxiety, crushing & discouraging thoughts, angry thoughts, hateful thoughts. I have to choose not to dwell on these otherwise I will transform into those thoughts.
2. The New You
2 Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the gory of the Lord are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.
When we look in a mirror we see ourselves. We are to see the glory of God in ourselves, as we look into the Word and what it says about us. The Word is the mirror, James says. The principle here is that what we look at we transform into. The entire transformation doesn't take place immediately. We change form one degree of glory to another as we keep our eyes upon Jesus and continue to follow HIm. The Holy Spirit transforms us from weakness to strength, from foolish to wise, from unclean to pure, from depressed to joyful, from doubtful to believing, from sinful to righteous. The beginning of our transformation is the unmasked face.
We are on a journey of transformation as individuals and as a church. What does it mean to become a bigger person? It means that little things don't bother me anymore. It means I have a broader acceptance of a wider range of people. It means I'm not so judgmental of others. I don't have so many opinions that exclude others. It means I get involved and don't stand on the sidelines. It means I have a greater faith that things will work out. I can see the answer. It means I don't give up so easily. It means I cope with greater pressure without falling apart. It means I can handle defeats and discouragements with a great attitude. It means I believe in people and what they can achieve. It means I adapt quickly to the world changing around me.
See with faith and you'll eventually see the reality. What do you see today about your future? What do you see for next year? Lift up your eyes. Today we are lifting up our eyes. We are not looking back. We are not looking down. We are looking up towards a future that is bigger, brighter, grander than anything seen before.
See you in church!