Victory in the Middle of Your Mess Part 1

NUMBERS 11:1-6 & JOHN 6:30-35

Numbers 11:1-6: The people began complaining out loud to the Lord about their troubles. When the Lord heard them, he became angry, and fire from the Lord began to burn among them. It destroyed some people on the outskirts of the camp. 2 The people cried out to Moses, Moses prayed to the Lord, and the fire died down. 3 That place was called Taberah [Fire] because fire from the Lord burned among them there. 4 Some foreigners among the Israelites had a strong craving for other kinds of food. Even the Israelites started crying again and said, “If only we had meat to eat! 5 Remember all the free fish we ate in Egypt and the cucumbers, watermelons, leeks, onions, and garlic we had? 6 But now we’ve lost our appetite! Everywhere we look there’s nothing but manna!”

Quick historical context of this text: Understand that this is during a time period in which the children of Israel have experienced a supernatural, magnanimous miracle. God has emancipated them from the chains of Egypt. They are now in route to the Promised Land, the place that God has for them and they say, ‘Lord, we want to go back to Egypt. We want to go back to slavery.’ And here’s why they want to go back: To get some meat, some garlic, some onions, some leeks. I don’t even know what leeks are. This is why they want to go back to slavery.

This is the first ‘hunger games’ right here in the Bible. There is no meat that is worth going back to slavery over. Isn’t it funny how that when God brings you out of something you have this inward propensity to gravitate back toward the place He brought you out of? They were sick of the manna which is the bread that came from Heaven.

IMG_3203John 6:30-35: The people asked him, “What miracle are you going to perform so that we can see it and believe in you? What are you going to do? 31 Our ancestors ate the manna in the desert. Scripture says, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'” 32 Jesus said to them, “I can guarantee this truth: Moses didn’t give you bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 God’s bread is the man who comes from heaven and gives life to the world.” 34 They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread all the time.” 35 Jesus told them, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never become hungry, and whoever believes in me will never become thirsty.”

I absolutely, positively love my job. I feel like I have one of the greatest jobs on planet earth. I get to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. You don’t have to worry about me being frustrated with my job because what I’m doing what I was created to do. I was born to do this. As a matter of fact, I love my job so much that if I was to get a call from the White House and they were to tell me that President Obama has just stepped down and we need someone to fill his spot, I would be humbled that they asked, but you have to understand that for me to become the president of these United States of America, it would not be a promotion it would be a demotion. Because my Boss is the creator of the universe. He is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. He spoke the world into existence. I love my job. I love to preach.

But to be honest with you there was a time in my life that I had no desire to preach. No aspiration to preach. As a child I wanted to be an actor. I figured I looked like Arnold Schwarzenegger, I looked like Patrick Swayze, I may as well act like them. I don’t know if it was my high school and teenage years that caused me to want to be an actor, but it has caused me today to be an avid movie watcher. Whenever I want to relax I put on a good movie. Movies are catalytic for my creativity. They are often the impetus for my imagination.

And believe it or not, God speaks to me when I watch movies. Now when I say God speaks to me when I watch movies, those of you who are super spiritual, you think that the movies I’m talking about are like The 10 Commandments, Veggie Tales and the Bible series. I will be honest with you, those are not my favorite movies. My absolute favorite movies to watch are suspense thrillers. I love a good suspense thriller. Forget the romance, forget the comedy. Give me the suspense.

IMG_3436When I watch a movie I want my heart to be beating out of my chest. I need sweat to be dripping down my forehead. I need to see scenes that are so intense that it causes me to pace the floor back and forth and speak in tongues as the Spirit gives me utterance. Because when I watch a movie I stand on the scriptural premise that you’ve got to rejoice with them that rejoice, and weep with those that weep.

I don’t watch movies like some of you come to church. You just come and you are kind of a spectator and you just check it out. Oh no, I yell things at the screen because I think they can hear me. That’s why, if it’s a good movie it is best that I watch it at home. Because I can do things at home that would get me kicked out of the theater. During a suspense movie I will say things like, Oh no, don’t go back in the house!!! Don’t go back in the …. Oh she’s going back in the house!!! You are going to die!!! Don’t you hear the music? She’s going to die!!!” This is me when I’m watching a movie. When I finish I’m in a pool of sweat in my home after watching the movie.

Without fail my wife will come in the room and say, “What was all that commotion?” And I will say, “I just watched the best movie!” Her response, “Was it romantic?” And I’ll say, “In a suspenseful kind of way.” And she’ll say, “Will you watch the movie again?” And I’ll say, “Of course I will watch the movie again. I’ll pop the popcorn.” So we will get ready to watch the movie again.

Now Angie is just like me but she is from Louisiana. She is a beautiful southern girl so I already know what’s about to happen. She yells at the screen more than I do. So, sure enough, the movie starts and here goes Angie, “Oh no, oh no. don’t go back in the house!!! Don’t go back in the house!!! She’s going to die!!! Don’t tell me! Is she going to die? Doesn’t she hear the music?”

And while my wife is going off, do you know what I say to her? I will look at her and I will say, “You need to calm down a little bit. It’s not that serious. It’s just a movie.” She will say, “Well what do you mean, I need to calm down. Don’t you see? She’s going to die!” I say, “It’s not that big of deal. It’s just a movie. In fact, I’m going to go get some popcorn while you calm down a little bit.”

Isn’t it interesting that the second time I watched the movie my wife and I are on the same couch, eating the same popcorn, watching the same events transpire, but we have two totally different dispositions. She is in total panic. I am in total peace. And my peace is predicated on the fact that I know how the story is going to end.

I use that illustration as an appetizer to accentuate the frustration that comes with walking with God sometimes. Because how many of you know that life can sometimes be like a suspense thriller. You may say, “Oh come on Brother Tim, life is more like a romantic comedy”. Just keep living, okay? Because how many of you know life has a way of hitting you with some scenes and some circumstances that will make your heart beat out of your chest, that will make sweat come down your face, that will make you cry out to God and say, “God, I’m going to die! Don’t you see what’s going on in my life?”

IMG_3115Have you ever felt like God is on the cosmic couch of Heaven looking at you saying, “You need to calm down a little bit. It’s not that serious”? And you’re going, “God, of course you can say that because you know how the story is going to end. You are omnipotent, all powerful, omniscient, infinite, and have all awareness, understanding and insight.” But you see, we know how the story is going to end. We know that in the end we’re going to win. We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose. We know that we’re not fighting for victory we’re fighting from victory and we have already won the battle.

The problem is when you are in the middle of the process. And you are saying, “Lord, how in the world am I going to get through this situation?” Some of you are right in that place of the predicament of the process of being right in the middle.

How many of you know you don’t need faith for a powerful start? You don’t need faith for a happy ending. You need faith for the messed up middle. When I’m in the middle of a situation and I’m going, “God if you’re so good why is everything in my life going crazy?” this is the tenure of my text. This is exactly where the children of Israel are. They are in the messed up middle. They have been brought out of Egypt. They are in route to the Promised Land but they are frustrated because they are stuck in the middle. I love this text because it really starts as we back it up to Exodus 14. Scholars and Theologians are almost unanimous in their declaration that Exodus 14 is one of the clearest biblical pictures of what happens when you get saved. The children of Israel walking through the Red Sea, out of Egypt, in route to the Promised Land. You ought to read that story every day. If you don’t like to read then just watch the movie. You can go old school with Charlton Heston, or do the new school with Bible series. Just watch them walk through the Red Sea and rewind it. Watch them walk through the Red Sea and rewind. Watch them walk through the Red Sea and rewind it. But close your eyes when you rewind it because you don’t want to see anybody back slide.

For 400 years they were in slavery and in one night they go from being slaved to being saved. They go from singing songs of sorrow to singing songs of joy. In one night they go from being in bondage to being totally set free. In one night God brought them the victory after 400 years.

So don’t say, “But I don’t think God can bring me out of this situation. It’s been too long.” Has it been 400 years? How many of you know there is no stronghold that is so strong that your God can’t bring you the victory. He brought them the victory in one night.

IMG_3427We have to ask ourselves as critical thinkers, what was the cause agent, the impetus of their salvation? First of all you will note, it was not their reality. It wasn’t like God came down with the 10 Commandments and said, “Do y’all promise to keep these 10 Commandments? Because otherwise I’m not going to split the Red Sea. Do you promise? You’d better put your hand up because this water is cold.” It had nothing to do with their morality.

It didn’t even have anything to do with their level of faith. Because how many of you know you’ve got a lot of people walking through this Red Sea. You’ve got different levels of faith. No doubt there were people walking through with great faith saying, “I knew God was going to give us the victory. I knew it was only a matter of time and He was going to set us free.” They had great faith.

And no doubt there were some walking through that didn’t have any faith at all, saying, “Oh my, we are going to die! Moses don’t drop your hand! Man, I can’t swim!” They were scared.

So He didn’t save them according to their level of faith. Why did He save them? Because they had been crying out to a God that they had heard about but hadn’t experienced. And God responded, not to their deeds, but to their needs. If you’ve got a need you ought to give God praise because you are a candidate for God to move on your behalf. He responded to their need and brought them the victory and they came out. As you trust God, He is going to give you the victory in the middle of your mess.

To be continued in March issue.

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Luke, Miracle, Mariah & Mikalen


Revival Fires Ministry Update

IMG_3457We have been experiencing a mighty move of the Holy Spirit in each of our revival services! Many people are getting saved, filled with the Spirit, healed, delivered and set on fire for God! Romans 15:19 says, “In mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God…I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.” In our revival services the “full-Gospel” package is being delivered, and lives are being shaken for Christ.

IMG_3128We are receiving wonderful testimonies. One young lady was unable to turn her neck without pain for 12 years resulting from a car accident. God healed her instantly and completely!

We are already hard at work preparing for our upcoming revival services and Cuba Crusade. Please continue to pray for us as we keep pressing forward, proclaiming the name of Jesus to the ends of the earth!