Hello IBCD! My name’s Andre and I was scheduled to bring last Sunday’s message. Given the cancellation of our church services I am making it available it in written form.
It wasn’t so long ago that I had a vision – but it wasn’t so much a vision as it was a picture. I was processing a thought and then a picture came to mind to help illustrate. The picture was of a storm, and this storm represents our lives. The chaos. Our struggles. Our battles. The pains. The hurts. Misunderstandings. Life basically.
But above the storm clouds it was bright, sunny, peaceful, and all calm. And this represents God. The thought that lead to the picture was this – given the constant struggles and challenges we live day to day, it’s easy to make our physical lives (what we focus our time and effort on), and our spiritual lives (what we focus our prayers on), to be focused on ourselves. The thing is, life goes on, and we get stuck in a cycle of self focus and being tossed around by the winds of the storm. All the while there is a God above the storm clouds of our struggles.
We get stuck in a cycle of self-focus and being tossed around by … the storm. All the while, there is a God above the storm…
Firstly, I want to say what this message is not. I am not “preaching” the prosperity gospel. Prosperity gospel is a “religious belief … that financial blessing and physical well being are always the will of God for them, and that faith, positive speech, and donations to religious causes will increase one’s material wealth.” (1).
Can you see how wrong that is? It’s essentially a contract between God and humans. It’s formulated theology – if I do A, B, and C, God will do 1, 2, and 3. Prosperity gospel would tell you to focus on God and all the storm clouds of life’s troubles will disappear – ‘follow God to make your problems go away’. This is not biblical.
We don’t worship Him to avoid problems. We worship Him despite our problems. Why? Because He is worthy of praise. The Bible is very clear that there will be trials, hardship, pain, persecution (James 1:2, James 1:12, 2 Timothy 3:12), but we worship Him despite all this – not to avoid all of this. In fact God will use hardships and difficult circumstances to build character in you. And God is more interested in your character than in your circumstance, your wealth, or your prosperity.
What I want to do through this message, is to focus on God and who He is. Because regardless of what we are going through, regardless of our circumstance – He is worthy of praise. The idea is to get a perspective of who God is, how great He is, and use that as lens through which to evaluate our significance in the grand scheme of things.
Stay tuned for part 2 next week.
— Andre G.