“UNLEASHING THE BODY INTO SERVICE”
A Message Given by:
Stephen Galvano, Senior Pastor
Rochester Christian Church Ministry International
“I believe the announcements and the songs we have heard brings us to what God wants us to hear this morning. Some of you might be here for just another service. You will come in and go out and nothing will change. But I believe that for those of you who are serious about what God is saying this morning, I pray that you will open your heart. Because this is what God is telling His Body, not only at RCCM, but I believe this is a message for the church at large. God is about to do a work in every individual providing that we are serious about the Kingdom and the work of God upon earth. Time is limited. Jesus is about to return. The world has been deceived and the world is living in deception. Jesus is about to return. But the Bible says, “When I come, will I find faith on earth?”
Do we still believe God, that He saves and can transform lives, and can change hearts? There are needs out there, more than we have needs in the Body. The needs that we have in the Body are nothing compared to the needs that the world has out there. So this morning, I trust that as you open your heart, God will speak to you. Forget about your dinner, forget about your husband, forget about you wife, and forget about tomorrow. Open your heart. Let the blessed Holy Spirit give you a hearing ear, and an anointed heart that you may be able to hear what God has for the church. I feel compelled this morning that this is God’s word for many of you today. All that matters today is that you are here and God has a word for you this morning for the Body of Christ.
Turn in your Bible to the Book of I Chronicles 12: 1, 2, and 32. I sincerely believe this message will usher us into the year 2002 and will help us see what the heart of God is concerning every one of us.
“Now these were the men who came to David at Ziklag while he was still a fugitive from Saul the son of Kish; and they were among the mighty men, helpers in the war, armed with bows, using both the right hand and the left in hurling stones and shooting arrows with the bow. They were of Benjamin, Saul’s brethren.”
Notice what kind of men stood with David “mighty men” and “helpers”. These were men who within this situation found their gifts and talents. Then following verse 2, the Bible lists the people from the different tribes. And when I got to verse 32, I was shocked. This verse stood up within me as it never had before. And that was sometime in December when this came up in my spirit. When I read this verse, RCCM was pictured in my mind.
“…and of the children of Issachar who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do, their chiefs were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their command.”
RCCM has no more than two hundred people, and I believe that RCCM is coming to the place where God is giving us understanding of the times in which we are living. We are living in an age that very few people really understand. I would like to share with you that we need to pray for the leadership of our Nation. The whole world is looking at the United States of America. At no time in the history has there been so much contradiction in politics and dirty politics. Yet I believe that there are people who honestly think they are going to win this war over terrorism. They are deceived. The devil is loose. And the devil has unleashed millions of demons in the last few years, more demons that you will ever know. And these demons are out there to destroy. We might rescue a few people, but there are many more people out there who are going to come into harm. I believe that we are not to worry about what’s happening in the world. But rather, we need to focus on what God is saying to his church in these last days. Young people, hear me out. You’re not too secure in school where you are. Anybody can bombard your school, attack you and you’re gone. At work, at home, in the hospital, wherever you might be. Now I’m not putting fear on you. I’m telling you this is truth. We must understand the times.
Only one tribe among all the tribes of Israel understood the times. And this verse stood up in me like a mighty thunder. Only the tribe of Issachar was able to go to David and say, “David, you might be a fugitive today. You might be running from the present kingdom, but God is through with this old kingdom. Saul has destroyed himself. He has put trust in the army and himself. But David, keep alert, stay open, and understand what God is about to do. We might not be too many. We might not have all the politics together. We might not have all the instructions of men of war. But someone who is greater than that is on our side. God has given us wisdom, understanding and discernment to discern these days. And as we follow these instructions, David, you will be the new king for the new kingdom of God in Israel.” Praise the name of the Lord!
With this in mind, I believe God is looking for men and women of determination; men and women of commitment; men and women that really, not only understand the times, but also follow what God is saying in these days. As I was thinking about teaching this, I was reminded of the springtime when there’s a healthy flower under a rock or a concrete floor or under an asphalt pavement. One thing about a healthy flower, it will never give up. It will come up. The flower has the ability to go over, to go under, to go around or to go through, but it will never give up. We are living in a day that God is calling for men and women, youth and children, parents, husbands and wives, and grandparents for His Kingdom. If you are 90 or 100 years old, you are still available for God’s kingdom. You are never too old. And I believe that if you are determined in your heart today, to make a difference and be a man or woman of excellence, there is no way of giving up with God. If God be for me, who can be against me? If God has given you a vision, or if God has given you a desire, a purpose, a destiny for your life, there is no demon in hell that can stop you from succeeding. So if the flower cannot come through, the flower will go around. If the flower cannot go around, it will just go underneath. But whatever happens, the flower will come up.
John Maxwell tells the story of a famous coach. This coach had a favorite restaurant where he always went to eat. And the only thing he wanted to eat was dry toast. So he went to this restaurant and there was a new server. And he said, “Honey, I want some toast.” She said, “ Well sir, we don’t serve toast in this restaurant.” He said, “Then I’ll tell what I’ll have.” (You see, leaders don’t give up too fast.) He said, “I’ll have a chicken sandwich. By the way honey, would you please toast that chicken sandwich. And before you bring it in, leave the mayo off. And by the way, don’t put lettuce and tomato on it, and please forgive me, don’t put chicken in it either. Just give me the toast.” He got what he wanted!
Now, this powerful chapter in I Chronicles describes the mighty men of Israel who joined David because they believed David’s vision. They believed God anointed David and that the prophecy that he would become the king of Israel would be fulfilled. You see, God sends prophets our way and they speak to us. And we take it as though it is just another teaching, another message, another Sunday morning. We go home and nothing happens. We must recognize that oftentimes the word of knowledge and the word of wisdom to us are conditional. If you receive it, practice it and obey, God will bring it to pass. If you do not follow through, God is not obligated to bring it to pass. These brethren, these mighty men of war believed David’s prophecy that he would be the next king of Israel. Now, read this powerful chapter. You will discover these people had a vision for God’s work and for the nation of Israel. They had an insight. They had guts and courage. They had strong bodies. They were skilled in many areas. They were skilled in warfare. They were watchmen of the night. They were givers. They were supporters and they were helpers. Actually, what I am saying is that this small group of 200 men were an army in and of itself. They were able to carry out the destiny of a nation. Although these people were full of their own gifts and talents, they were going along with the vision that David had. But there was a tribe, as I was speaking before, by the name of Issachar. The Bible says these were different kinds of people.
You may ask, “What makes RCCM different from some of the other churches?” I am not going to stand here and tell you that we are better or lesser than others. What I am saying is that God is very peculiar. And God can do whatever He wants to do. And God sent His word through a shepherd, David, who might be regarded as insignificant by many so-called leaders in the church today. And sometimes we are not noticed when we go to a group or to meetings, because many leaders today have their own agenda, and are not hearing what God is saying today.
The Bible says there was this tribe of Issachar out of twelve tribes. Why didn’t God choose the tribe of Judah, or the tribe of Benjamin who was really involved from the line of Saul? Why didn’t He use Reuben? But God used Issachar. If you study the tribe of Issachar, you will find that they were a very closed in people, but yet they were educated. They heard and understood the voice of God. They were not boasters saying, “Guess who we are? We are going to go before the king and dance, because we are the people of praise.” No, they were not even known. But these people of Issachar were a group of men and women who studied and understood the times. It was not because they were smart, but because God spoke to them and they listened.
Now, I might be boasting here, but let me boast. I believe God is about to raise this body of believers at RCCM. God doesn’t need millions of people. He needs faithful people, those who are willing to obey what God is saying from this pulpit, and not question if it is God, because it is in agreement with the Bible. If the man of God before you lives a decent life, is not a phony, is not double-faced, doesn’t preach one thing and then does something else, then you need to submit to the teachings put before you and obey God. I believe God is about to raise a group of people at RCCM who will understand the times we are living in. I believe that our church, RCCM, is one of the few churches in western New York that God has called to be a multi-cultural church. Some of you may not even know what multi-cultural means. Some of you still have problems with us white people. And some of us white people may still have problems with some of the black people. And some of the black and white people still have problems with some of the Hispanic people. And some of the Hispanic people and the whites and blacks may still have problems with some of the Asian people.
But I believe in my heart that God has called RCCM to be a multi-cultural church. A day will come when somebody will ask you, “Was that person next to you white or black or yellow?” And you will say, “Well, I don’t even know!” Now listen, I have been around in ministry for 32 years. I have been to many meetings. But after a while you get tired of “soup.” You want some “meat”. Please understand what I am trying to say. I have been in meetings where people have said; ”We welcome everybody in our church.” But listen, if they are a black church and a white brother has a word, they have to go through all the “investigation” and the “leadership hierarchy”, and then sometimes you are not allowed to minister. And visa versa, if you are a black person going to a white church, the same thing happens as well. I am not pointing my finger at anyone. I am just telling you the facts. We must understand the will of God for these last days. We must understand the times in which we are living.
It is God’s will that churches are not made up of all whites, or all blacks, or all Hispanics, or all Asians. God is bringing His Body into ONE body, regardless of the color. Many of you are not very excited. You are not there yet. But I believe that is the will of God for RCCM. This is God’s calling for RCCM. If you want an all-white church, I’ll give you a couple of all-white churches to go to. But before leave, let us know and we will bless you. And then you can go and “die” with them. If you want a good black or Hispanic church, I’ll send you there too. But I hope you understand what God is saying this morning. It is very important. Unless we understand the times in which God has called us, there will be no unity in the body. There will be no leading. And when the prophet of God comes to us with a prophetic word, we won’t receive it. But once we come into unity and God has spoken, then we can take action.
No. 1: I believe this body is starting to understand the times, and I believe God is bringing people together of all nationalities, all languages, from all over the world. I believe that is the will of God. Praise the Name of the Lord.
No. 2: I believe that God is about to raise up a church here, A CHURCH WHO CARES, a church who really loves people. I have visitors come to me and tell me they don’t even know who sits next to them in their own church. But they come to RCCM and people hug them and they can’t even get rid of them. That’s our purpose. We want people to know we love them as Jesus loves them. And I believe that this is starting to happen, but we’re not there yet.
No. 3: I believe that we are a full gospel church. We believe in this entire gospel. Everything in the Bible is what we believe as a church. We must understand we cannot take certain things out. That is why we are teaching on the integrity of the body of Christ. Everybody wants to hear about the gifts, but nobody wants to hear about the fruit. The fruit is me. God is interested in me as a person. Do I have the joy of the Lord? Or am I “baptized in vinegar” as many believers today are? Many believers act as if they have been baptized in vinegar. They are sour. We believe in signs, wonders and miracles. We are a full gospel church. God can do the impossible. We believe in faith. Faith sees the invisible, believes the incredible, and receives the impossible. That is faith, not in the church or in us, but faith in the living God.
The world now is like a town. We can have lunch in New York and supper in London. Then go to breakfast in Johannesburg, South Africa. And the following day have supper somewhere in China. We can travel so fast, and we must understand that God is about to do this in His body. Some of us have to change our thinking about “coming” to church or about “becoming” part of the church. The old idea about “coming” to church is an old cliché. It’s not what God wants you to be. You ARE the church. Whatever you are, you ARE the church. And when you go to China and meet a Chinese Christian, then you are part of the church there. This is the understanding that God wants us to have. What God is saying to RCCM for the year 2002 is that we have had enough of “coming” in to church. Now it is time for the people of God to go out of the church and into the world where the people are, and do the work of the ministry. Actually, the name of this message is “UNLEASHING THE BODY INTO SERVICE.”
We need to have a belief and mindset about who we are. We are not spectators coming to church and saying, “Come on and entertain me. Come on worship team, entertain me now. Come and give me a fresh word today.” This has to stop. We have to change our mindset from spectators to participators. We actually come together to entertain the Holy Spirit. That’s why we sing and dance and shout and do whatever needs to be done to entertain the presence of God. Some people might be saying, “I went to a church and I got bored.” And some people say, “I’m bored in serving God because I don’t do much.” Now a man once went to church, and he was so bored that his foot always fell asleep. He said, “My foot falls asleep every service, but the rest of my body gets jealous.” Listen church, you began to get bored when you chose to live your life of yesterday. Yesterday is far, far gone. If yesterday was so good, God would have kept yesterday around. But yesterday maybe was not so good. And as good as it may have been, God has better days for His church. Do you believe that? Praise God! And I believe that in this new day God wants to unleash every one of us. And I believe that a new day has arrived with God’s fresh anointing and God’s fresh word, and God’s fresh directive to say, “Release My people into the world. Unleash them into ministry.” Now let me say this as a word of encouragement. Don’t you ever say, “I’m getting older. So, let the youth do the work.” Because the moment you begin to say, “I’m getting older,” you live your life of yesterday. And I don’t care what God does; you will never be able to enter into what God has for the church today if you live in yesterday.
Let me ask a question as we go on with this teaching. How do we keep people in the church? Look around you. I’m not happy that this church is not filled, although this is not my focus. I am happy that God brought you here purposely to hear this teaching and what God wants to do through every one of us. Do you believe that? Nevertheless, I believe that God didn’t give us these seats to be empty. Businessmen don’t build apartments to keep them empty. He builds them to get rent out of them. Let’s be wise. I believe it’s a new thinking God has given us, and I want you to hear me out. Hear me out, please. How do we keep people in the body today? Why do people come on Sunday morning through the front door and before you know it, they are out the back door and you don’t know why they left. You don’t know why they aren’t sticking around. Is it me? Is it the building? Is it one of the other pastors? Is it the pews? Is it the colors or the flags? Is it you? (I want to blame you too!) Why do they not stay? I’ll tell you why. I think I have the answer from God’s Word. The only way we can keep people as part of the body is through men and women who are willing to go out of the church and display God’s given gifts to the lost.
You see, people come to church, not because of Jesus; they first come to church because they have needs. Remember, Jesus fed their bodies first. Right? Before He gave them the gospel, he fed them first. And then He preached to them about the kingdom of God. And the reason why people don’t come is because their needs are not being met.
Many of the Body have been coming to church for many years and their needs are not being met. Many here today are not having your needs met. You are unhappy; you’re disgruntled. And I’ll tell why you are that way. When I feel disgruntled, when I feel unhappy, when I feel disturbed, I check my joy. If my level of joy is low, it is because I have no communication with God, and I am not doing anything for Him. You get a person who is busy for Jesus and he or she has two things. He or she has the joy of the Lord and that person is fulfilled. Many people everywhere in the Body of Christ are unfulfilled and they go from church to church, from body to body, because they think that somewhere they are going to find fulfillment. But fulfillment is when I submit to the teachings of God’s Word and use the ministry gifts that God has given to me, not within the church, but out in the world where the needs are. Praise God!
That is how we keep people. And I believe when people come, we as leaders need to centralize the teaching on the cross of Jesus, not on gimmicks. We need dinners. We need fellowship and we welcome them. We encourage them. But church, these things do not meet the needs of the people. Only Jesus can satisfy a hungry soul! “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now I’m found. Was blind but now I see.” People are lost, but once they come and find Jesus, then they can see. So people that come to church, come because they have a need. And unless the needs are met, they are not going to stay around because people by nature without Jesus are selfish. “I want MY need to be met. I want this for ME.”
As people are unleashed into the world for ministry, they will give the lost God’s love in their own way. And people will receive God’s love from you. As you minister to these people, whatever your ministry might be, you yourself will be fulfilled and your life will be full of joy. Because, you see, we have been saved that we might save others. If God didn’t want you to save others, He would have killed you the moment you were saved, taken you to heaven, and that’s it. But God kept you and me around after He saved us for a reason. It was not so that you would have more problems, but that you with His anointing and the knowledge of His Word could go out and share the cross of Calvary. Praise the Name of the Lord!
But you might say, “I’ve been doing this all my life. I work in this company and I have been talking to my neighbor about Jesus. I believe this is my ministry, evangelism and witnessing. But people don’t come to know Jesus and it’s been ten years.” You might ask, “How much longer should I love people?” You know how much longer you should love them? Until they respond and ask you why you love them. It could be twenty years or thirty years. Don’t give up. Be like the flower, or like the coach in the story I shared. He wanted toast and he got what he wanted. We seem to find 101 ways why it can’t be done. But why can’t we find 101 ways that it can be done? We have to understand the times. Listen, most Christians who sit on the pews today in thousands of churches do not use their ministry, do not unleash their ministry into the world. They are depressed people. They hold in the truth like the Dead Sea. They hear but never release it. Now God is in business with us.
You might ask, “What kind of business is God in?” God is in the business of sowing people into the world; not into the church, but into the world to make Himself known to them. Now there might be some “holy Pharisees” or “holy, righteous people” here today, but I have a message for you. God does command separation from the world, but not isolation from the world. Look at Jesus and the Samaritan woman; Jesus and the sinful Zaccheus; Jesus and Nicodemus; Jesus and Mary Magdalene. And I can tell you of many other times that Jesus met with sinners. And I believe the reason why God wants us into the world is because the best way to evangelize to the world is for you to affirm people and say, “You have a need, and I know the answer to your need.” And you know what the answer is. Praise God. The Bible says the children of Issachar had understanding of the times.
What does it mean, “understanding the times” that God is speaking to me to share with you, if I may be bold to say that? We need to restructure our thinking about your ministry and my ministry and the ministry of the church at large. The average Christian thinks of church ministry as taking place only within the walls of the church and it is “holy” only if you are standing behind the pulpit. This has been drummed into our brains for the last 2002 years. But I believe by reading the Scripture, this is not what ministry is.
The average church member thinks ministry is the Sunday school class, and we need that. Or he thinks ministry is the choir and we need a choir. Or he thinks it’s youth ministry, and we need to encourage the youth. Or he thinks it’s the women’s ministry or the men’s ministry or many other ministries. Very, very few people that are sitting in the pews think of ministries such as the homosexuals. What about the homeless people? What about those prisoners in the jails? What about the international students? We have hundreds in Rochester. Your pulpit might be your desk. What about single mothers? What about abortions? We condemn abortion, but do we have a home for these young mothers, to help them have their babies, nurture them and then send them back into the world to help other young mothers? This is what God has called you to do. Don’t tell me that the church has nothing for you to do. What about drug addiction? Thank God we are working on that. The Transformation Center is almost finished and in a few months we will move into that. Praise God!
What about the county hospital? The county hospital has many old people in it who are all alone and have nobody to visit them? What about abused children who have no mother or father, or who have fathers that are drunk and are abusing them? What are we doing about those children? Ministers are not only those behind the pulpit. What about the unemployed where the families have no money? What about the unwed mothers? Do we condemn them more or do we elevate them by telling them about Jesus Christ? What about runaway teens? There are hundreds of teens on the streets of Rochester. What about street people? What about prostitution in Rochester? What about single adults that are by themselves? What about the elderly? What about the hearing impaired and the handicapped? And I can list many, many more ministries just to whet your appetite, that you can get involved in, unleashing you into the world to bring about your destiny, your fulfillment and your joy in life as a Christian.
I’m talking to our church, which is not a traditional church. But I believe we need to go a step higher from what we are presently experiencing. These ministries that I mentioned such as the homeless or prostitutes do not fit in the church setting. So, we have ignored them. Somebody comes to church that is drunk, and he stinks, and we say, “I’m not sitting next to him. Forget it. I’m going to move to a different pew.” Listen, let’s be honest, he needs help. “I don’t know how to deal with an alcoholic, but Bro. So and So knows how. Bro. So and So, come over here. Let me introduce you to Jack. Encourage him. Call him on the phone.” Build a ministry! What about the single mothers who have 2 children, 3 children or 4 children? We condemn them, but what are we doing to help them? We need to restructure our thinking for the last days’ ministries, unleashing the Body into the world to fulfill your ministry.
You say the church doesn’t have a drug ministry or a single mother ministry? Well, then you start one. I believe that most church people become spectators, just watching the “professionals” do all the work. Others become critical. “Well, he’s the only one that can preach on Sunday morning. What about me?” I’ve heard many times; “You’re not the only Moses here.” You had better be careful. I know the vision God has given me for you, and I am teaching it today. Somebody has to do this and it happens to be me right now. And I’m not apologizing. I’m telling you what I believe God is saying. (Do you still love me? Let me see your hand if you still love me? About three of you!)
Some people have become critical in the church. A couple of weeks ago I had some people come to me and said they were asked to do something in the church. I gave them the green light and said, “Go for it! And whatever it costs, I will be the first one to sponsor you.” Then they gossiped and said they weren’t given the freedom to do what God told them to do so they decided to go elsewhere. People that come and leave discourage the Body. And they always blame the leadership. I believe that we have missed it because ministry is not only done behind the pulpit or inside a church building. Ministry is done where the need is and where you have been called to minister and work. Praise the Name of the Lord!
It is my heart to usher people into their ministry. Let’s take for example a professional in our church, a doctor. Or take a businessman. You don’t have to stand behind the pulpit. God gave you your profession that you might reach your type of people. For example, I could never reach the people my nephew, who is a doctor, can reach. I could never reach his friends. So he has to do that. He can’t come and accuse me of not using him in the church. What is he doing in his profession? And that goes to all of you whoever you are. You might be a carpenter, a mason, a furniture builder or a lawyer. Whatever profession you are in, this is the arena where God has called you to minister. As you minister and develop those people in your own arena, then you can bring them into the church for fellowship, and we can equip them for ministries.
Let me give you an illustration of a Russian woman. She was hearing impaired. She could not hear. And every time she went to church, there was no one there to interpret for her. But she had such a communion with God; she was an intercessor. And she began to pray and pray and said, “God, I cannot be used visually, but will you please show me what to do to be used by You?” And as she was praying, God gave her a vision of a house that was far removed from the city of Moscow. (This is a true story told by David Wilkerson.) And God gave her the house number, and God gave her a vision of a husband and wife having a conversation. And I’m reading what this wife was telling her husband in their bedroom after the kids had gone to bed. She said, “Honey, we need groceries. Tomorrow morning the kids are going to get up and there’s no food. And our son needs pair of shoes. And our daughter needs a sweater. And you need a couple of handkerchiefs because every time you wipe your nose, you use your hands. And the boy needs a pair of socks.”
Now God woke this woman up, and God gave her a picture of this couple in the bedroom having this conversation. And they weren’t even saved. But this lady was an intercessor. God used her. He said, “Go to this house tomorrow, and bring them two bags of groceries, a pair of shoes, a sweater, two handkerchiefs and a boy’s pair of socks.” And she brought them the following morning. She knocked on the door. She couldn’t even speak. She couldn’t hear. She just dropped them. And the lady said, “How is it that you entered into my husband and my conversation at night.” And the woman said, “Follow me.” And the lady and her family followed her to church. And the whole family got saved.
These pews should be packed three times on Sunday morning. Church, we need to develop the mindset that believers are the ministers. You are the ministers who must look beyond the church walls to people who are hurting. I must convince you that there are more needs out there than there are needs in here. Most church people are not aware that are more needs out there. The city people, suburban people and your next-door neighbors have tremendous problems. Don’t worry about “Sister Smith” at RCCM. If she has a need, she knows where to go. We have pastors and leaders that equip saints for the ministry. There are needs out there. Then you might say, “Pastor, why then do we need church services like this? If the church is to be unleashed into the world, we don’t need to pay for a building, or air conditioning, or heating, or a bus or van, or paint, or a secretary, or phones. I am a businessman. I know what’s involved in a church facility, but I have an answer for that.
If the needs are outside, the church must have avenues to meet these needs. What do we do then in the church? Within the church we have the five-fold ministry gifts, which are TO BUILD UP, EQUIP, ENCOURAGE, UPLIFT AND SEND MINISTERS OUT! That’s the work of the five-fold ministry. These church ministers should continue to equip believers to be involved in the outside ministries. Sunday morning service, Sunday school, Sunday evening services and Wednesday night services are all needed. You are not here, church, to soak up the teachings, but you are here to be inspired and equipped to do the ministry that God has called you to do. As we begin to understand the times, we members of His Body must develop ministries to touch people that most people in churches do not touch. That’s why I believe RCCM has been called by God to understand the times.
We promise you publicly here, and I am saying this from my heart, if God leads anyone here for a ministry and you respond to that leading and the need in the community, whether it might be a work downtown, uptown, or city hall, I don’t care where it might be, we promise you that we will stand by you; we will encourage you; we will support you even financially if it needs to be. Because you are the ministers, you are the servants according to Ephesians 4. You might ask, “Then what are pastors and leaders here to do?” We pastors and leaders of the five-fold ministry are to promote and assist. Let me just be blunt. We are actually your cheerleaders. When you come and say, “Pastor, guess what? We have a Bible study at work, and yesterday two people got saved under our ministry. Here are their names. Would you please call them or send them a card or visit them for me, because this will encourage them.” And we will say, “Hooray, good, go for it!” That’s what we are here for. We are cheerleaders for you.
This may not mean much to you, but this has been a load in my heart for a month to deliver to you for the year 2002. I see people talking, talking, talking, and it’s not God. It’s the flesh and that’s what God is saying to the body. Let’s stop giving baloney; let’s deliver the bacon. Let’s stop delivering baloney, expecting to get bacon back. There’s a difference in price.
I know by fact, experience and observation, you as a member of the Body of Christ, all of you including me, will never grow by listening to sermons. You will not grow by listening to more teachings. I believe by dumping more content on people does not make them more mature. The church of Jesus Christ throughout America should be coming to maturity, but we are not. Here is the answer to understanding our times, and the answer is this. The tribe of Issachar not only understood the times, they knew what to do. According to our text, they knew what to do. And this morning you heard what to do. You can and will experience fulfillment, joy and satisfaction when you minister to others. To understand our times, we must also understand who we are. You are a child of God, redeemed by His precious Blood, called to the ministry that others might come to know Jesus through your life. And I believe that you must understand why those in leadership have such a passion. I don’t do this because I need to be here and be seen. Somehow, there is a passion in me. If I can invest in you some of my passion, and you can devote that ministry God is giving you, we can reach Rochester. Then we can reach Africa, South America, and North America. We can reach all the nations of the world. But God says, “First of all, show your light bright at home!”
Who are we RCCM people? We are servants to the Body of Christ, not lords. We are passionate to reach the world for God. Think about it this morning. What is your passion? Is your passion to reach people, or just to have a normal life hoping to live a little longer, and then die and go to heaven? No! That’s not passion. I believe:
No. 1: We are servants.
No. 2: We need passion.
No. 3: We need to center on what God is saying and be filled with the Holy Ghost and power.
And I believe with patience and persistence, we need to be in pursuit of whatever call God places on our lives. I know that some of you say, “I am already involved.” God bless you; you need to stay involved. Some of you might be on the outskirts. Some of you might be saying, “What should I do in this work?” God is calling you; God is calling you. We need to shout to the north and shout to south; we need to sing to the east and sing to the west, “Jesus, Savior and Lord!”
In any way that God can use you in ministry, we are responsible to reach out in this year 2002. God wants to unleash you to go out there into the world, and I promise you in three months if you do that, we will have to go to a third service. The people that you reach, they might not all come here. But if they see you, a man or woman of passion and a heart for God, they will come where you are.
“Father, give us wisdom to understand the times; to understand the times.” As the church is praying, I wonder if there is anyone here this morning who would say, “I’m not a believer. I’m not a Christian. I don’t know the Lord as my Savior. But this morning before God can use me I must make a commitment to know Him as my Savior and Lord.” Is there anyone here in this audience this morning who would say, “I’m not a Christian. I’m not really serving Jesus. I have a form of religion, but I don’t know the power of God.” Is there anyone this morning that wants to accept the Lord as your Savior? You may do so by lifting up your hands saying, “Pastor, please pray for me.” We will rejoice with you. This will be the most important day in your life and we will welcome you into His Kingdom. Anyone here this morning saying, “I want to know Jesus as my Lord and Savior.”
Let me be very open with you now, and you be honest with God and yourself. I hope you understand the thought in my heart. I know many of you here know me well enough by now to understand my heart. You say, “I understood what you were saying. And I find excuses in my life not to get involved in the ministry that God has called. But today I was encouraged that I need to go out there where the need is, not in the church. People in the church already have their needs met.” Joy comes by serving. It doesn’t come by being ministered to. Joy comes by ministering to others. If you want the fullness of God and joy in your life, you need to start to minister.
You say, “Pastor, I understand. I want to be that one used by God.” Show God your hand this morning. God is watching and God is hearing. “I want to serve God. Whatever I am and wherever I can, I’m going to be committed to the task that God has given me this morning to make a difference in the year 2002, and bring in the sheaves with me when the Master comes. This is the reason why God has saved me. This is the purpose why God has called me in Jesus’ Name.” As I pray over your life just where you are. God is touching. God is speaking. God is moving among every one of us. He wants to use the people of RCCM. He wants to use every man; every woman; every youth; every child. That we might reach out to the lost.
“So this morning as we pray, Father, we sincerely come to you. Lord, I don’t know how I can better portray this teaching that we need to understand the times. For the times are evil. The times are wicked. And we need to take, Lord, every opportunity we have, for people are dying every day. People are dying and going to hell without salvation. But I pray, Oh God, in the Name of Jesus, that you will raise up men and women under the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Raise us up, Oh God, to reach out to the north and the south and the east and the west, and declare that Jesus Christ is Lord. Not other gods, but Jesus Christ is the only Savior, the only way to God in the Name of Jesus. Lord, show us that real joy comes when we serve you and when we serve others.
So I pray this morning, Oh God, that you will send us a new revelation of your joy as this is the only way we can come out of our comfort zones and move on to serve others, whatever it takes, in the Name of Jesus. We bless you, Lord. Touch Your people; fill Your people; anoint Your people. Give them boldness; give them anointing; give them words to speak; give them authority; give them power, Oh God. Give them the fullness of the Holy Ghost and all that they need to fulfill the call of God that you have for them in the Name of Jesus. And we give you the glory for it In Jesus’ Name.” And God’s people said, “Amen!” “Make me a servant; make me a servant today.”
Mother Teresa was in the streets of India in the city of Calcutta. Most of the news media were following her. This lady, 4’8” tall, 73 lbs., 80 years old, was taking care of this big guy who was lying on the floor and dying of leprosy and cancer. And one of the U.S. news media was following Mother Teresa with a camera. He said, “Mother Teresa, I would not do that for a million dollars.” She said, “Me neither. I do it because I love.” Church, I wonder how many of us have someone that we love so dearly, and after 70 or 80 years they are going to die and go to hell. Would you want them to go to hell? Think about it. It’s up to us; it’s up to us. Today I release you into your ministry, and I bless you. I respect you. I have nothing to give you, but just what I can show you. Some of you are so talented in reaching out to people through different professions, your work, your words, or just your presence. Let God use you. Let’s make a difference. Let us be like Issachar. Let’s be men and women who understand our times.
I know this is a message for the total body of Christ. But let’s start with RCCM and go forward. May God today put a heavy burden upon your heart to see somebody saved, and may God not give you no rest until you fulfill that call. Praise God! Thank you, Jesus! God is unleashing you. Step out in faith. Faith believes the impossible. God bless you. We love you! Praise your Name Lord Jesus!”
(If this message has stirred your heart to ask Jesus to be your Savior and Lord; or if this message has encouraged you to step out into the ministry God has called you to, we would like to hear from you, pray with you and do whatever we can to help you. You may reach Rochester Christian Church Ministries International at (585) 247-4444, or through our website: www.rccm.org. )