Be Ready

Be Ready

PROBLEM – letting go

  • Nursing home illustration. It’s a common thing to be in the same place/mindset for many decades because we trusted ourselves more than God
  • We want to hold onto the familiar, the plow, because that is what we’ve always known. But if God is going to move you, it’s going to require you to give up some things
  • We love things that are about us

GOD – a quick yes

1 Kings 19:19-21
So Elijah went from there and found Elisha son of Shaphat. He was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen, and he himself was driving the twelfth pair. Elijah went up to him and threw his cloak around him. Elisha then left his oxen and ran after Elijah. “Let me kiss my father and mother goodbye,” he said, “and then I will come with you.”
“Go back,” Elijah replied. “What have I done to you?”
So Elisha left him and went back. He took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them. He burned the plowing equipment to cook the meat and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out to follow Elijah and became his servant.
  • God calls us when we don’t think we are ready. Moses> bush, David>shepherd, Nehemiah>cupbearer, Peter>fishing, Matthew>tax collecting, Elisha>plowing


  • Ready to go Elisha’s response was immediate, showing that he was not only internally and spiritually prepared, but also that he was all in.  He didn’t need 24 hours to think it over.
  • Ready to change “Then he set out to follow Elijah and became his servant” -1 Kings 19:21. The test for Elisha was if he was prepared to take a subservient role. To become a servant, subjecting himself to the will of another.  To place himself at the disposal of another, ready to take orders from him, ready to promote his  interests. To give the best of what he has to the one he serves
  • Ready for the season God is working in every season of our lives, there’s not one thing you’re doing right now that God’s not going to use at some point in your life. Our steps are ordered by the Lord. Many times he will make us a bit uncomfortable before we step into a new season

VISION – are we ready?

  • Peter Milne- tribe of headhunters in the New Hebrides islands, in the south Pacific, off Australia’s coast
  • It all started with a plow but it’s going to end on a mountain. Perhaps your marriage is going through it right now, it’s all starting with the plow, but it’s going to end with “look what the Lord has done.” Maybe you got a report from the doctors that wasn’t favorable, but it’s going to end with the report, “look what God has done.” It started off with a plow but it’s about to end with the mantle. It’s time to kill the cow and burn the plow
  • if you are brave enough to say goodbye, God will greet you with a new hello

we are starting like that what you just said a new series about Elijah and so I’ve enjoyed last couple weeks getting to know Elijah whole lot better and some of the things that I’ve seen my wife is that he’s pretty much the exact opposite of Elijah so in English Elijah and Elisha sound so familiar other languages they’re not the same at all but in English it isn’t it’s easy to confuse the two so Elijah he’s the one that comes first and Elijah was a great prophet and remembered you know when he appeared with Jesus was Transfiguration things like that and Elijah even though he did more and had a whole different attitude than Elijah Elijah isn’t the one that remembered other there’s plenty we can learn a lot from Elijah Elijah I like Elijah was a very friendly guy he’s the one that would go out into the community talk to people
about the poor he was a man of Peace he always try to create peace or when there was war we all tried to help people find food Elijah the first one he wasn’t like that Elijah first he stayed hidden live far away came out whenever got told him to go out and yell at the people about what they’re all doing has a need to repent not Elijah Elijah’s the nice guy interesting Lee I don’t know what I don’t think there is anything to make of this but it was interesting enough for me to think about it and that there’s a lot of sevens in Elijah’s story there are seven objects that he uses in his miracles there are seven cities that are named there are seven people that he addresses there are it is so there’s one more stop but there’s a lot of around and
remember she might not but when Elijah started his ministry Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind caused by a chariot The Chariot of fire and the promise was if you are here Elijah telling Elijah if you are here when I am taking up as my successor then you can have double portion of my spirit and so it was a mantle kind of like a robe if you will some kind of uniform idea to it and Elijah saw that and he received at that double portion and interesting Elijah has twice as many miracles as Elijah does Elijah has seven Elijah 14 years we come into the story of Elijah
and this today it’s the beginning of his ministry as a protege if you will maybe not but certainly a servant of Elijah and he was to be like a servant for a quite a long time until the day comes when Elijah goes up to heaven he continues but this is the moment this is the day with Elijah is invited to be a part of these profits and I’m how these things go calling out now when I was a kid I went to grow up a us as I went to a really nice but we lived in the capital so I can go to an embassy school and it was very expensive college and everything went really well as a great place but the kids there would rank you on income I had to pay how much money your parents had and there are a lot of a very wealthy business people there they’re a lot of diplomats they’re always did well
and I was the son of missionaries missionaries make very little money I think their salary at that sounds like six hundred bucks a month I know it doesn’t sound like a lot but back then it was not a lot either it never was any but that’s kind of where we lived at what you look like you you know your parents are in 6 months when you go to school with show me wealthy people you get marginalize pretty quickly and so when do the things that got into my little site that I since we’ve seen little bit more clarity was I always wanted to be one of those that made the money one of those that was a little higher up the social ladder and have any aspirations of him to lie in it I don’t have that personality but I did want to be a whole lot higher I just want to be a lot better with my kids I want to be more generous than other people who might have been in the same situation and so when I came back I went to college and I studied business and finance
was just dead set this is where I’m going to go well the church I went to a better part of a quite a while had this lady and it was really nice lady name was Joan and Joan was insanely wealthy maybe not by today’s standards but to my standards and what I was familiar with yeah she got she had a chain of nursing homes and I’m going to guess with the stuff that she bought for herself there’s very little left for Grandpa if so I would like to think that she was generous with their page but I don’t know but regardless I Joan had just a lot of stuff and houses in all the European trips and all that goes with it and on her hand on every finger she had rings diamond rings I’m going to guess if I 20 carats of rings of diamonds on her hand and I grew up Brazil has lots of diamonds it sounds very aware of that little world and one time I was sitting by her
I was looking at a ring then she saw me looking at her rings and she said to me she said Greg when I was a little girl God called me to be a missionary
and I wanted to be a missionary but I married somebody who wanted to be in business and I never got the opportunity and I’ve regretted it every day of my life and I I was still looking at the diamonds right try to counter it up and then she gets her hand she puts him over that she was don’t make the same mistake I did it’s not worth it I know you think it is but it’s not worth it Greg follow Jesus and didn’t understand the world or something you know didn’t really get it but I don’t know she really did but it just obviously never got out of my mind did it I remember that so it’s over the years I’ve had that when I was getting ready to graduate from college I was all set to go into a management program for Bank of America now so excited and everything is going great and then they took us to a conference where there
talk to us about how great it is to be in Bank of America and what they shared was what a fantastic retirement program they had and I had no expectation of living that old so I never seen that and I went back to college I thought man just what I’m going to do and so I began asking myself what is it that I would be able to do in order to to be happy what would be fulfilling in my life and I came up with nothing and then I went to God and I just felt there wasn’t a little teeny prayer Chapel thing and I just poured out my heart to God and what came to mind were missionaries all the missionaries that I’d known as I grew up in that environment and yeah they’re all one broke more than the other but my gosh were they happy they were so fulfill that such great sense of humor and you didn’t know and I think you know that’s where I want to be like I want to be like someone and that was the moment
is there going to Bank of America I went to the Nazarene seminary and I’ll tell you we like things we like things that give us an identity we like things that help us feel that we’ve achieved something fulfilled something we have lots of things we we grow very dear to those things and we’re going to read the passage about Elijah Elijah could have inherited his father’s Fortune is father’s very wealthy and very little bit before that and he was all set for that kind of a life but he also had a moment where everything changed
1st Kings chapter 19 I will just read 19 through 21 so Elijah went from there and found Elijah son of shaft that he was plowing with 12 yoke of oxen and he himself was driving the 12 pair Elijah went up to him and threw his cloak around him Elijah then left an auction and ran after Elijah let me kiss my father and mother goodbye he said and then I will come with you go back Elijah replied what have I done to you so Elijah left him and went back he took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them he burned the plowing equipment to cook the meat and gave it to the people and they ate then he set out to follow Elijah and became his servant
so you can see how what a nice guy this is right off the bat he wants to say goodbye to his parents and then he throws a face for everybody Slaughter’s The Oxen Cooks it and I’m sure it was a momentous moment for him personally having to make that change from where he was to what he is now going to be and what a what a transition that was what an insane transition that was not too different from the transmission that God asks you and me to set ourselves out on the path there’s a lot of stories in the Bible where God interests people in their daily lives and ask them to follow him and it’s always seems to be while they are busy in their lives doing something you have Moses he’s just watching the Sheep God calls him you have David little kid thought I’m not going to get anything my life is over God calls him out of that you have
Maya who is serving the king in Exile when all the sudden God calls him out of that and return to Jerusalem you have Peter who was a fisherman called him out of that Matthew was a tax collector called him out of that until God calls us maybe in the most unexpected times but what I saw when I read that was that God doesn’t wait till we feel ready nobody ever feels ready to follow God that’s never part of it the only thing that God asks us to do is to do what he’s asking us to do the stuff out in the follow him it doesn’t have anything to do with our other people want to like me is this you know is this do I score well as a Christian on my test that I might take don’t have such a test but these guys are things no it’s all about how fast can you say yes to God is basically what it is Elijah in this situation
I said yes very quickly he didn’t say hey you know how can I have some time to think it over can I talk to some people can I try to go you know the smooth things out get ready for this trailer it’s too bad he wasn’t there at all he was already said yeah I’ll come with you let me say goodbye let me cook them a last meal with my stuff to say a strong line and go and follow you Elijah let me do that okay and he went and he did that it was already in his heart it was already in his heart that he was going to say yes to a never got asked him to do and he I think was just waiting God in any situation I’m ready to follow you I say yes
well the next thing that we see is not only she ready to to go but he’s also ready to change and I like this last verse for that it’s let me
then he wrecks 21 then he set out to follow Elijah and became his servant they sent out to follow Elijah and became a servant well I would think that Elijah probably had a position of prominence on there on the farm they’re in the family business but boy no more it’s hard to go for a position where you’re telling people what to do to a spot where one guy who’s very strange is not telling you what to do it’s not something I would logically do but he found himself in that situation and he said okay this is what I have to do I got to do with this guy says whatever this guy orders me to do according to his will yeah that’s what I’m going to do whatever he says that’s I want to take care of these things I am going to be subservient to his orders is orders
I want to give the very best part of me
to him I’m going to I’m going to let him profit benefit from the best person that I can be it’s all going to go to Elijah that was his mind to that was his friend nowhere in there do we see anything where Elijah is saying what about me don’t I need to secure my future what about me aren’t I just as intelligent as Elijah is in so many things what about me don’t you never see that with Elijah he understood his place he understood where it happened he’s understood what was expected of him now I’ve got really bad news for you guys that’s exactly what every Christian is called to do every single one of us is to submit Our Lives to God’s orders every single one of us has to come under the the will of of Jesus every single one of us has to give our very best to the father to God
and how that plays out is serving the people around us that really have that servant mentality I seen a lot of people come to Jesus and you know what they don’t have that servant mentality and that’s a lot of what determines if you’re going to really survive as a Christian or not how willing are you to be a servant to people how willing are you to say you know what these things don’t matter to me I’ve made up my mind I want to follow Jesus that’s a lot of it a whole lot of it
to be able to say Okay God my life is in your hands and I’m going to let you set the order and let you set the pace and let you tell me what I’m going to be dealing with
and that’s a lot of I think sometimes we’d like to guess it’s just easier isn’t it if we had something obvious like okay this is your job now but God has completely different job but a lot of times it’s not about changing our geographic location is not even about changing a vocation a lot of times it’s about changing our heart our mindset in the same place which I think might even be more challenging than what Elijah went through I want you to stay here I want you to be in this situation but I want you to have a completely different mindset I want you to have a new identity now no longer are you chasing the things that you would like to have or things that you feel what would make your life meaningful and important but now you are only asking God what can I do to please you. What are you looking for me to do what would make your kingdom better what it what
play in that and that’s the mindset of Christians now are we good at that not always be good under our own strength and just like Elijah needed God’s holy spirit to empower him so do we need the Holy Spirit to empower us to live according to the identity that he has given us and it’s a sinking of the Holy Spirit and his in Philly on a daily basis at the very least it’s it’s dedicating this much time of my life I am going to give this to God so he can speak to me so that he knows that I that he has my attention
sometimes we become precious we just go off her own way and we saw this one going to do now well that’s not being a Christian being a Christian is coming before the Lord every single day if not every minute of it good what is it what am I supposed to react how am I supposed to do this and living in that attitude of repentance because we feel we come up short and we do but God is full of Mercy that is full of Mercy is always faithful is always good Alexis and brings us up like Alexis and brings us then that’s what he does and the third thing I think that we need to be ready for not only to go not only did she change our Identity or to change what we’re going to do but I think the third one is we have to be ready for the season that God has for us
I doubt that this was Elijah’s first attempt to follow God but I do I just wondered think that was probably he had a good success rate of whatever God asks him to do he probably did it sometimes we get in two spots of our lives and seasons in phases right and we is it sits we wonder if there is a guy we were wondering if Amaya Target of God Zaire and I am I did I do something wrong when not at all would not at all God is merely taking you through a season of your life and he’s asking you giving you a test if you will will you be faithful with to me as we go through this will you abandon me what you accuse me of a man telling you what will you create more more Gods more items for yourself more host that have nothing to do with me what do you want to do during the season and that’s what God
what are you going to do in this season are you going to stay close to me and when God is getting ready to shift us into a new season into something bigger into something very different he doesn’t throw a party in the season that were in a lot of times it hurts lot of times it gets really hard and wow it is getting hard we have to remember that God is hard at work bring about his purpose bring about his meaning and our job is to trust him in all the work that he is doing and to say Okay God things aren’t getting easier but you know sometimes
and I don’t know this might be true of somebody certainly certainly true of me unless God calls causes you just enough paint you’re not moving you’re not move you’re going to hold on to that plow this is long as you can you keep thinking or I can make this better I can put a red bow on my plow wouldn’t that be nice I can get a new art studio I could go off yeah I can make this it’s going to be okay it’s going to be okay but sometimes when God wants to take us to a new season it just plain hurts and wife has we don’t understand it but looking back we are so grateful and we say I never would have moved if you had moved me and I would not have been able to move unless you did what you did thank you very much know that sometimes you’re looking back years even perhaps but is still damn I said that we need to have that God is faithful and that God is good and he is always with us and takes care of everybody
I came across a fascinating story about a group of people that’s about two hundred years ago there were call of the one-way missionaries do a missionary gospel the word of God to a another country another culture and today we’re so on top of each other right you don’t even know if you’re you’re talking to somebody playing your video games who lives here or lives in Singapore Sri Lanka you just don’t know but the world hasn’t always been like that I used to be pretty divided and so missionaries for hundreds of years they would pick everything up and then I would move now these repairs were called one-way missionaries because they had no intention of ever coming home one of those missionaries was a guy named aw me and me only he was in a church service when he heard a missionary report a terrible mission report about the
series that had gone to the islands of just just over by Australia and and on that island were Headhunters and the report was every missionary that goes to the red islands is killed
he’s a who would want to go there that wouldn’t be good but you know what he couldn’t stop thinking about you brother Highlands and the Headhunters is that what I’m supposed to do I’m supposed to go to the red eyelids and get my head cut off why would I ever do to help when God be so much better with me living here in London than I do so much more can I raise so much more money for got good night witness to two other people whole lot better than I didn’t always feel like it and I know what language they speak like that on my mantle is that where I’m going you got to be kidding God
you know what it’s hard following God it really is the one we missionaries did something very interesting they would take their belongings but they didn’t use a suitcase to move their belongings they took a coffin and they would fill the coffin up with their belongings and it was to remind them that they are one-way missionaries are here to do the will of God they’re here to fulfill God’s purpose no matter what and that coffin is their house on the trip remaining the daily I’ve died to Christ I have died to myself and I live for Christ I’ve already died by the Headhunters can’t do anything to me that I haven’t already done the Headhunters would leave me in The Jerk God Will Raise Me Up
and off he went to bed islands and there’s a whole lot of record about what happened to a w n e in the early days of his ministry there but what we do know is that they didn’t kill him for some reason let him live and he’s lived there for another 35 years without ever coming back to his home they continue to minister and when he died of natural causes they buried him in the middle of the village and then they put a monument that is still need to go there and see it today they want to last forever and it says
when he came
there was only Darkness
when he left there was only like
I think about that that’s exactly what Jesus Does
he changes the darkness to light and we are called to work in that world not ourselves if we can’t turn water into wine we can’t change a human heart but God can and God calls us to participate in what he was doing in the world for the Salvation of the world
I spent a lot of time plowing wondering is this all that there is is anything get better than this
I know people are plowing through a marriage and just going and they’re wondering does anything happen with this does anything get better with this
the story of Elijah Elijah is yes it does there’s a moment where God breaks in and where God redeems the situation and where you change from talking about plowing the field to look what God has done for me
maybe somebody is going to have gotten a a bad diagnosis from a doctor and it’s really got them nervous that’s plowing the field you’re going to Rock Springs aren’t using the ground is very hard and it’s scary is it always going to be scary at all
and he says I’m going to redeem these moments I’m going to help you see how I’ve been working all this time in your life
how everything you’ve done for me has been well worth it I love you I’m taking care of you I will always take care of you and you’re going to say look what God has done for me and maybe today you’re plowing away and you’re wondering what’s going to happen here is anything come from this is there any meaning or purpose to this and at some point that’s going to break into your life to read your eyes and sees the big picture what he’s doing his mantle is Rob’s going to fall on you Elijah’s and you’re going to have a portion of his spirit I hope it’s more than a double portion of his Spirit but you don’t have his spirit and that’s what changes everything that’s what changes everything
I like the idea that if you’re brave enough
how to say goodbye to different things
then you are about to say hello to the things God is bringing you
you can’t have you can’t keep the old and go with the new the old has to go and then the new will come
maybe somebody here today is just found that field and trying to make that a pretty or plow trying to make it better for the future but what you really need is for that presence of God to come up I put his Spirit on you and to change everything
today we are going to follow this with the song
but why you to look at the lyrics trailer for single speaks lyrics and faith and ask God if he wants to give you his Spirit please do
the Lord has started a work it probably so many here today ask God God finish the work in me finish your work in me finish your work in me help me to live for a new reason help me to follow you with with a new priority with the new sense of importance and I’d invite you after the end of the service the music going to keep playing you can linger in here you can just linger and if the Holy Spirit wants to speak to you give him that opportunity to do just that and let God move into your heart and the way that he designed the way he wants you to do all you’re saying is if you want your spirit to come on me your I am and if it does I will follow you to where you are leaving let us bring a father thank you for this day that you’ve given us to be here in your presence of Joyful experience this is to be among fellow Believers were looking to you
father with knowledge that we would not be here talkin about your salvation had it not been for people who are all in their own way of one way missionary traveling with her their casket father we thank you for them but at the same time we don’t know how many more Generations we’re going to linger on this Earth the Lord I pray that we would be facing Our Generation that we would have our casket already set and then we would have our mind already set it’s going to be one way with Jesus I’m going to live serving him only father I pray that you would anoint your spirit one who you have desired to bring to you yourself or speak to them as they make themselves available to you in the name of Jesus Amen