jabez

Enlarge My Territory! (review)

This is the summary from Sunday’s message on Enlarge my Territory.

2. And enlarge my territory, (increase, border, coast)

Don’t think Jabez wanted more real estate, he wanted more influence. He wanted more opportunity and responsibility. He wanted more things to do, more things to manage and oversee, more challenges. So, either he was 1. bored and didn’t have enough to do already or he was 2. fed up with the fruitless stuff he was constantly doing or he 3. had tasted the glory and fulfillment of a life that matters and he wanted more of that! Maybe all three.

“This is how my Father is glorified, that you bear MUCH FRUIT.” John 15

A life of minimalism is not for me! Just enough to get by….

Somehow there had been wakened in me a passion for the essence and the main point of life. The ethical question “whether something is permissible” faded in relation to the question, “what is the main thing, the essential thing?” The thought of building a life around minimal morality or minimal significance—a life defined by the question, “What is permissible?”—felt almost disgusting to me. I didn’t want a minimal life. I didn’t want to live on the outskirts of reality. I wanted to understand the main thing about life and pursue it. (Piper DWYL pg.14)

“Give me opportunities to share your love and truth.” Then… “Give me more! ”

Jesus was full of grace and truth and He looked for places to share them.

Out of comfort zone – Stretch my capacity!

God-sized life!

2 Chron 16:9 – For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.

 

Must we always only be responders? Sure much of life (even Jesus’ life) was responding. (examples)

He rode waves yes, but He also created waves. (examples)

“This kind only comes out…” Mark 9:14-29 It looks like He is merely responding to the demonized boy, but in reality He fasted and prayed ahead for moments like these.

“And he arose a great while before day, went out into a solitary place and there prayed.” Mark 1:35 He set up the days’ encounters with proactive prayer. He knew he would need to ‘respond’ to what life brought Him, so He prayed before the day began. (Next towns also.)

He moved things. He was proactive, not just reactive.

act – do

re – again, back, backward (rebound, rework, rewind, recognize) do back, act back

pro – before, in front of (prologue, prophet) do before, act before

Are you one of these people? “Don’t move anything!” You don’t want change at all! Predictability.

This second part of the Jabez prayer is very proactive.

jabez

Bless Me!!!!

“Give a man a fish and he will eat for day, teach him how to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.” (Learning how to pray and not just eating once a week….church service)

Father, I Belong to You

Three Prayers

1. “Empty me.” – This is Fasting

2. “Fill me.” – This is Feasting

3. “Increase my capacity for You! “– This is Flowing

 Last week I made some statements – I want to help start a movement in your life today. I am going to dare you to take a step toward a life like you have never had it or remind you of the old days or take you even deeper than you have ever known!

You may not want that! (At least you don’t think you do. Or you once did– but it got lost in minimalism and maintenance.)

John Piper says it this way in Don’t Waste Your Life….

You may not be sure that you want your life to make a difference. Maybe you don’t care very much whether you make a lasting difference for the sake of something great. You just want people to like you. If people would just like being around you, you’d be satisfied. Or if you could just have a good job with a good wife, or husband, and a couple of good kids and a nice car and long weekends and a few good friends, a fun retirement, and a quick and easy death, and no hell—if you could have all that (even without God)—you would be satisfied. That is a tragedy in the making. A wasted life. (pg.45)

If I set before you two options: (think blue pill and red pill from the Matrix) A life that is Peaceful and Predictable or Passionate and Powerful, which would you choose?

I already know the instinctive, uncompromising answer you would give based on the movies you love to watch and the stories you love to read. And yet as we look at the constant goal of our days we are always aiming at predictability, safety, peace, security.

(Now when I say passionate and powerful do not assume that I define them as a large stage and thousands of followers. No, I define greatness and legacy by impact and influence. Does your life matter? Do you make a lasting difference? We are all haunted by the life of Jesus, the early church, and the scriptural definitions of a life well lived! As much as we are inspired and drawn to true greatness we avoid the Bible for its sheer weight. We avoid Christian history. We don’t want to hear of the exploits of Hudson Taylor, George Mueller, Jonathan Edwards, or Corrie Ten Boom. And yet we do! We do love those stories! But then we shrink back and say, “I can’t do that!” But as Eldredge has taught us, “The Bible is not a book of exceptions, but a book of examples.”)

God does the whole red/blue pill thing too. 

I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, [20] loving the LORD your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.” (Deuteronomy 30:19-20)

“Now therefore fear the LORD and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. [15] And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:14-15)

This next miniseries fits perfect with the three prayers we have been praying.

The Prayer of Jabez – 1 Chronicles 4

Last week we looked at it in parts: (Let me quickly review and overview)

1. Oh, that you would bless me indeed,

2. And enlarge my territory, (border, coast)

3. That your hand would be with me,

4. And that you would keep me from evil

We are praying this every day in March!

(Build first part of prayer) 1. Oh, that you would bless me indeed,

Few observations:

a. He asks for it! Matt 7:7 Need to ask!

b. He asks with desire! INDEED – 5!!!!! Capitalized, bold and underlined He is serious about this prayer! Not flippant or casual.

Seeking God’s blessing with fervency has everything to do with need and want, desperation and desire!

(From The Pursuit of God Tozer) Come near to the holy men and women of the past and you will soon feel the heat of their desire after God. They mourned for Him, they prayed and wrestled and sought for Him day and night, in season and out, and when they had found Him the finding was all the sweeter for the long seeking. Moses used the fact that he knew God as an argument for knowing Him better. “Now, therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, show me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight”; and from there he rose to make the daring request, “I beseech thee, show me thy glory.” God was frankly pleased by this display of ardor, and the next day called Moses into the mount, and there in solemn procession made all His glory pass before him.

In the midst of this great chill there are some, I rejoice to acknowledge, who will not be content with shallow logic. They will admit the force of the argument, and then turn away with tears to hunt some lonely place and pray, “O God, show me thy glory.” They want to taste, to touch with their hearts, to see with their inner eyes the wonder that is God.

I want deliberately to encourage this mighty longing after God. The lack of it has brought us to our present low estate. The stiff and wooden quality about our religious lives is a result of our lack of holy desire. Complacency is a deadly foe of all spiritual growth. Acute desire must be present or there will be no manifestation of Christ to His people. He waits to be wanted. Too bad that with many of us He waits so long, so very long, in vain.

Every age has its own characteristics. Right now we are in an age of religious complexity. The simplicity which is in Christ is rarely found among us. In its stead are programs, methods, organizations and a world of nervous activities which occupy time and attention but can never satisfy the longing of the heart. The shallowness of our inner experience, the hollowness of our worship, and that servile imitation of the world which marks our promotional methods all testify that we, in this day, know God only imperfectly, and the peace of God scarcely at all.

If we would find God amid all the religious externals we must first determine to find Him, and then proceed in the way of simplicity. Now as always God discovers Himself to “babes” and hides Himself in thick darkness from the wise and the prudent. We must simplify our approach to Him. We must strip down to essentials (and they will be found to be blessedly few). We must put away all effort to impress, and come with the guileless candor of childhood. If we do this, without doubt God will quickly respond.

Gen 32:26 (Story of Jacob… “I will not let you go until you bless me!”

“Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live; and I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David. (Isaiah 55:1-3 ESV)

c. What does he want? What does bless mean? Overuse and misuse. Bless missionaries and sneezes. God bless America! “Bless this meal to our bodies and our bodies to Your service.” “Bless the gift and the giver.”

He wants God’s supernatural favor!

Basically, “fill me!” Eph 3 and 4 “filled with all the fullness of God”

d. God’s disposition is to bless! God’s bounty is limited by us!

Psalm 78:41 Limited holy one

Matt. 13:58 Did not do many miracles

Malachi 3:10 Prove me

e. Sounds selfish!

Yet, we have to start here! I cannot fulfill my responsibility to you or anyone else until I am filled first. I can only love you out of the measure I love God and I love myself.

I am urging you you increase your hunger and thirst and desire by staying in your fast. And when you are hungry come to God alone with your need and want. Find Him and be satisfied. Seek Him fervently and He will be found by you. Then you can pray the second part of the Jabez prayer more effectively because you actually have something to give.

(Tozer again) O God, I have tasted Thy goodness, and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more. I am painfully conscious of my need of further grace. I am ashamed of my lack of desire. O God, the Triune God, I want to want Thee; I long to be filled with longing; I thirst to be made more thirsty still. Show me Thy glory, I pray Thee, that so I may know Thee indeed. Begin in mercy a new work of love within me. Say to my soul, “Rise up, any love, my fair one, and come away.” Then give me grace to rise and follow T Thee up from this misty lowland where I have wandered so long. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

jabez

Jabez part 1 (overview)

These are my notes unedited from last Sunday: Sorry for the mess!

I want to help start a movement in your life today. I am going to dare you to take a step toward a life like you have never had it or remind you of the old days or take you even deeper than you have ever known!

You may not want that! (At least you don’t think you do. And yet your heart is awakened by movies and books that inspire heroism and valor. You long to make a difference!) Or you did once – but it got lost in minimalism and maintenance.

John Piper says it this way in Don’t Waste Your Life….

You may not be sure that you want your life to make a difference. Maybe you don’t care very much whether you make a lasting difference for the sake of something great. You just want people to like you. If people would just like being around you, you’d be satisfied. Or if you could just have a good job with a good wife, or husband, and a couple of good kids and a nice car and long weekends and a few good friends, a fun retirement, and a quick and easy death, and no hell—if you could have all that (even without God)—you would be satisfied. That is a tragedy in the making. A wasted life. (pg.45)

This next miniseries fits perfect with the three prayers we have been praying. And I want us to keep praying them and obeying what we hear! And I want to add a familiar prayer to those.

The Prayer of Jabez

Some of you just sighed. You just thought, “Wow, for real? That is so old. And man that was so overused and misused. I am not interested.”

I want us to read the prayer and talk about it.

1 Chronicles 4

Let’s look at it in parts:

1. Oh, that you would bless me indeed,

Indeed – 5!!!!! Capitalized and underlined

Sounds selfish!

What does bless mean? Overuse and misuse. Bless missionaries and sneezes. “Bless this meal to our bodies and our bodies to Your service.” “Bless the gift and the giver.”

Supernatural favor

Basically, “fill me!” Eph 3 and 4 “filled with all the fullness of God”

Matt 7:7 Need to ask!

God’s disposition is to bless! God’s bounty is limited by us!

 

2. And enlarge my territory, (border, coast)

Don’t think Jabez wanted more real estate…more influence.

“This is how my Father is glorified, that you bear MUCH FRUIT.”

A life of minimalism is not for me! Just enough to get by….

Somehow there had been wakened in me a passion for the essence and the main point of life. The ethical question “whether something is permissible” faded in relation to the question, “what is the main thing, the essential thing?” The thought of building a life around minimal morality or minimal significance—a life defined by the question, “What is permissible?”—felt almost disgusting to me. I didn’t want a minimal life. I didn’t want to live on the outskirts of reality. I wanted to understand the main thing about life and pursue it. (pg.14)

“Give me opportunities to share your love and truth.” Then… “Give me more… ”

Out of comfort zone – Stretch my capacity!

God-sized life!

 

3. That your hand would be with me,

Now it gets scary! “I need You Lord. I could handle my old life, but this one is crazy!”

Dependence/Faith

“My strength is made perfect in your weakness” “OK, most gladly…”

“hand of the Lord”  – Anointing/filling of Spirit (his control)

2 Chron 16:9 – For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.

The church is supposed to be a force for God in this world, not maintainers! For that we need supernatural anointing!

 

4. And that you would keep me from evil

Now you’ve done it! You’ve made the enemy mad. You’ve quit only shepherding your ‘four and no more’ and have ventured out of your comfort zone with God’s blessing and anointing! Watch out!

We don’t have to be afraid, but respectful. “Be sober, your enemy as a lion…”

This aligns with the Lord ’s Prayer, “Lead us not into temptation and deliver us from evil.”

Sometimes we cannot be kept from evil. There will be evil days and we must fight, but we still pray to be delivered from temptation and evil!

 

ARE YOU READY? Don’t answer cheaply!

All of March let’s pray this!

journal2

Stories

If you’ve known me any length of time you know I love to tell stories. If you think about the conversations we have, a large percentage of them are us telling stories. Most books and movies earn their fame on how well they tell a story.

Your life is a story. And if you dare to pray the Prayer of Jabez for the next 30 days you will have stories we need to hear.

Look for God! Join Him! Write it down! Share it with us!

1 Give ear, O my people, to my teaching; incline your ears to the words of my mouth! 2 I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings from of old, 3 things that we have heard and known, that our fathers have told us. 4 We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might, and the wonders that he has done. 5 He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers  to teach to their children, 6 that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, 7 so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments; 8 and that they should not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation whose heart was not steadfast, whose spirit was not faithful to God. (Psalm 78:1-8 ESV)

 4 “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 5 You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. [9] You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

20 “When your son asks you in time to come, ‘What is the meaning of the testimonies and the statutes and the rules that the LORD our God has commanded you?’ 21 then you shall say to your son, ‘We were Pharaoh’s slaves in Egypt. And the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. 22 And the LORD showed signs and wonders, great and grievous, against Egypt and against Pharaoh and all his household, before our eyes. 23 And he brought us out from there, that he might bring us in and give us the land that he swore to give to our fathers. 24 And the LORD commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as we are this day. 25 And it will be righteousness for us, if we are careful to do all this commandment before the LORD our God, as he has commanded us.’ (Deuteronomy 6:4-9,20-25 ESV)