Expectations and reality – often we get the two hopelessly jumbled together because of the desires we have.  Sometimes we need to get back to the basics and work from there. What is our goal as a church?  Make disciples.  How do we do that?  Show how big God is to the people we know.  How do we do that?  Les Heinze observes from Ezra 3 a good example of looking to the future. 

            In Ezra 3, he sees the children of Israel do three things.  First, they rebuilt the sacrificial altar in front of their watching enemies. This is Spirit-inspired dedication!  How often when we have enemies do we run away rather than running to God and offering him ourselves?  As we look to the future as a church, we must show how big God is by turning to him in the face of enemies and troubles.  Be reading His Word and standing for truth.  Involve yourself in something extra that God wants you to do:  attending a Bible study, serving in some ministry of the church, taking cookies to your neighbor, inviting a friend to church. Be looking to sacrifice yourself to reach out and invite your neighbor to our Christmas concert or services.  We make God big this way.

            Second, they relaid the temple’s foundation in spite of their worker shortage. This is heartfelt obedience.  Often we’re overwhelmed with everything that needs doing or could be done rather than taking one obedient step at a time.  As a church it takes a lot of work to do the ministries we’ve committed to do.  Being obedient one step at a time is the measure God is concerned with.  As we look for an associate pastor, we must seek His will one step at a time.  This makes God big because we realize He is the one who actually is accomplishing the work!

            Third, they resolved they would praise God in the midst of their enormous task. This is God-pleasing celebration.  We can often fall into the temptation – Well, I’ll praise God when I’m done or when the ministry is a success.  Unfortunately, this makes the ministry more about us than about God.  Making God big means praising him in the midst of the enormous task because you realize it is by His grace that we will accomplish anything.  More importantly this is because the task isn’t as important as recognizing the privilege of simply knowing such a great God. Take time out every day and every week to praise God for how great He is.

            So,
            1) Sacrifice yourself to do God’s work
            2) Obey one step at a time
            3) Praise God all along the way.

              By doing these 3 things, God will be glorified in our church, we will accomplish the task God has set for us: making disciples of all nations, and our expectations will become reality so that we can say, “God has done great things for us, and we are glad.”

If you would like to read Les Heinze’s article the web page is http://www.sharperiron.org/2006/10/26/anticipating-our-future-because-we-have-resolved-our-past/.

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