Circle Makers: Drawing a Circle

Circle Makers  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  1:02:40
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Rodney “Gypsy” Smith was born on the outskirts of London in 1860.
— At 16 years old, he made a decision for Christ… Now… Rodney couldn’t read or write, so he taught himself how… all so that he could preach the message of Jesus to others… (you see)
— Rodney had a deep burning desire to see other people share the joy and hope that he had found!
Is that you? Is that where your heart is today?
Then what are you willing to do to make that happen?!
— Rodney would often be found singing hymns to/and visiting with people about Jesus… and that earned him the nickname “singing gypsy boy”…
— Rodney became involved with missions organizations, including the Salvation Army, and soon found himself traveling the world sharing God’s Word…
— He crossed the Atlantic Ocean 45 times… He preached the gospel to millions of people… (now listen to what was said about him)
“He never preached without someone surrendering their life to Jesus.”
It seemed like where ever he went, revival broke out!
Let me ask you: “Do you want to see that?”
Do you want to experience that kind of revival? Where lives are changed every time we come together in worship… in Bible study… in service?
Then we need to hear what Rodney says about how to do it: (listen to this)
“Go home. Lock yourself in your room. Kneel in the middle of the floor, and with a piece of chalk draw a circle around yourself. There, on your knees, pray fervently and brokenly that God would start a revival within that circle.”
Revival starts with us… (revival is not about tents, good old fashioned hymns, evangelists who speak.. get everyone stirred up… and then leave… )
Revival is about us!!!!
Revival begins at home… in our own hearts…
Revival begins with a heart committed to prayer… a heart devoted to seeking the very presence of God! (Not as some God who’s “out there” somewhere, but the personal presence of God right here! Right now! In our lives!)
2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV
14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
Church… That IS revival!!!
Look at the lyrics to that song Terry sang today:
I speak the name of all authority Declaring blessings, every promise He is faithful to keep I speak the namе no grave could ever hold Hе is greater, He is stronger He's the God of possible
If we could just grasp the truth of those words!
We serve the God who created EVERYTHING!!!!
He has all the authority!
All the power!
All the say!
God cannot be stopped!
The grave could not hold Him … and the World cannot contain Him!
He is ABOVE all… THROUGH all… and IN all!
He is the God of POSSIBLE!!!!
There is absolutely nothing that we can face that God cannot walk us through!
Do you believe that? (harder question) Do you live like you do?
We need to be on our knees… with that circle drawn around ourselves, praying… begging… pleading… with all that we have… for God to fill that circle with Holy Fire!!!!
Last week we began a one week fast, with the purpose of seeking God’s direction for our church… God’s blessing on the church’s finances… and God’s provision for our families and community…
I told you we were going to begin a 5 week series on prayer, leading into and preparing for Advent…
That’s a total of 40 days!
I want to invite you to keep going… to join with us in a 40-day challenge!
— 40 days of bold, impossible, expectant, Bible-based, prayer and fasting…
— Now, before you get scared… I’m not talking about a 40 day “full” fast… I’m not talking about starving ourselves for 40 days like Jesus did (although…) …
— I’m talking about 40 days of intentional, God-sized, prayer… intentionally seeking God’s will, purpose, and provision for our church…
— I’m talking about spending the next 40 days on our knees… with a circle drawn around us… fervently seeking for God to fill our circle and to fill our Church with His Holy Fire!
I promise you that if we do, we WILL see God move in a BIG way!!!!
Look at Job… Do you think all that time spent sitting in ashes was just for fun? Was he just “wallowing in self-pity”? NO!
He was seeking the “One Whom Even The Grave Could Not Hold” for the salvation that he needed…
What about Esther? When her uncle came to her with a mortal danger that threatened all of Israel, what did she do? She (and the whole community) fasted and prayed…
Nehemiah? When burdened with the physical and spiritual condition of the people in Jerusalem, what did he do? He fasted and prayed… seeking God’s direction and provision for them…
And what was the result? Each of them experienced a movement of God and a Spiritual Revival in their lives!
If we want to see a Spiritual Revival in our lives and in our church… then we have got to get on our knees before God!
Look at 2 Chronicles again:
2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV
14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
In other words… Get on your knees… Get serious… and pray the fire of God down on your circle!
God searches the world, looking for hearts that are devoted to seeking Him!
Will He find ours?
Let me tell you — “Nothing will change our lives like persistent, devoted, faithful prayer.”
We need to get serious about it.
Today, we are going to look at five dynamics of prayer that will help us as we begin to draw that circle around ourselves…
I. The Promises of God ENERGIZE Prayer.
Have you ever thought about that?
Not sure what to pray for… What to ask God for… Get into scripture!
Look at the promises God has made… and pray for them!
(God made a promise to Joshua)
Joshua 1:3 NIV
3 I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses.
Now, here’s the interesting thing… That is the same promise that God made to Moses.
God is transferring the promise to Joshua…
Look at verse 5
Joshua 1:5 (NIV)
5 No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.
How awesome is that?! Talk about a confidence boost!
Now, look what Joshua does next: (tell the story)
— they cross into the “Promised Land”… They set up a memorial to God at Gilgal… and the first place they come to is? (Jericho - the impenetrable city… )
Joshua 6:15 NIV
15 On the seventh day, they got up at daybreak and marched around the city seven times in the same manner, except that on that day they circled the city seven times.
and then…
Joshua 6:20 NIV
20 When the trumpets sounded, the army shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the men gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so everyone charged straight in, and they took the city.
God promised to be with them, and He was!
But… God’s promises didn’t stop in the OT… Joshua wasn’t the only one they were passed on to.
God’s promises in the Bible are passed on to us!
2 Corinthians 1:16–20 NIV
16 I wanted to visit you on my way to Macedonia and to come back to you from Macedonia, and then to have you send me on my way to Judea. 17 Was I fickle when I intended to do this? Or do I make my plans in a worldly manner so that in the same breath I say both “Yes, yes” and “No, no”? 18 But as surely as God is faithful, our message to you is not “Yes” and “No.” 19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us—by me and Silas and Timothy—was not “Yes” and “No,” but in him it has always been “Yes.” 20 For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.
The world makes promises, and when it comes right down to it, the answer may be “yes” or it may be “no” when we call on those promises, but....
All of God’s promises are answered with a resounding “YES!”
When we read scripture… When we pray the promises God makes over our families and our community… God says “YES!!!”
We must pray God’s promises… in God’s will… for God’s glory!
This is not a “name-it-and-claim-it” thing… God is not a genie in a bottle which we can control.
This is a praying the way God taught us thing.
Matthew 6:10 NIV
10 your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
That is the second line of the Lord’s Prayer…
The disciples asked Jesus, “Teach us to pray”… and Jesus said: “1. Praise God, 2. Pray God’s will be done on earth as it…
Let me tell you: That is expression of desire to see His Promises fulfilled in us!
What promises of God are you asking Him to fulfill in your life?
If you are asking for none… you will get NONE!
II. Praying has purpose.
We are focusing on prayer for 40 days…
That number isn’t magical… it isn’t a “cure all” time frame… it’s not super special… BUT… it is Biblical.
The Bible tells us of a lot of 40 day time periods — before “breakthrough” events happened:
The flood in Noah’s story (40 days and 40 nights) Gen 7.
Moses was in Midian for 40 years before God called him. Acts 7:30
Acts 7:30 NIV
30 “After forty years had passed, an angel appeared to Moses in the flames of a burning bush in the desert near Mount Sinai.
Moses was on Mt. Sinai for 40 days and 40 nights. Exo 24.
Moses prayed for Israel for 40 days and 40 nights. Deut. 9.
The Israelite spies spent 40 days in Canaan. Num. 13.
The Israelites wandered the wilderness for how long? 40 years before Joshua led them into the Promised Land. Deut. 8.
Goliath taunted the Israelites for 40 days before David showed up. 1 Sam. 17.
When Elijah fled Jezebel, He traveled for 40 days and 40 nights to reach Mt. Horeb. 1 Kings 19.
Jesus fasted for 40 days before being tempted by satan. Mt. 4.
40 days passed between Jesus’s resurrection and ascension. Acts 1:3.
Are you noticing something?
40 days proceeded many “breakthrough” events in the Biblical narrative.
Yet we get frustrated a quit praying after what - two… three times?
Let me tell you: There is ALWAYS a time of waiting and preparation proceeding God’s answers.
Because it teaches us to be persistent and faithful.
III. Persistent Prayer Demonstrates our Passion for God.
Are you passionate about seeing God at work?!
Then keep praying!
Matthew 7:7 NIV
7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
Jesus is literally saying, “Do you need something from God? Do you want to see Him move? Then keep knocking, keep seeking, and keep asking!”
Do you want answers from God? Then ask, and keep asking!
James tells us that we “do not have because we do not ask.”
Or worse… We ask and then quit because God didn’t answer within our timeframe!
Persistent prayer is vital to our spiritual lives… because that is where God’s power lays.
Look at Mt. 18:18
Matthew 18:18 NIV
18 “Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
Jesus tells us to pray for things here on earth according to God’s will…
That word “Bind” (deo) is a legal term… it means “to tie together… to exercise authority over…”
“Prayer is the way we put ‘contracts’ on things in the spiritual realm.” — Mark Batterson
— again, this is not “name it and claim it”… We cannot “force” the hand of God, BUT… (now hear this)
Our Faith and Persistence in Prayer can move the hand of God.
Luke 18:1 NIV
1 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.
Let me tell you: “God will not answer 100% of the prayers you don’t pray.”
What are you praying for today?
What promises of God are you seeking?
None! Then Get in the Word!!!!
We cannot pray the promises of God if we don’t know them! We have to be in the Word!
IV. Persistent Prayer Requires a Place and Time.
If you don’t have a set place and a set time — You won’t pray!
Matthew 6:6 NIV
6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
This is not optional! Jesus didn’t say “IF you pray”…
Jesus told us to go to a PRIVATE PLACE and PRAY!
We need a place where we can regularly go to for prayer…
“But Pastor… You don’t understand! I don’t have time… I can’t get alone… There are too many people in my house… I have kids!”
Let me tell you about Susanna Wesley…
You can find a place!
AND… you need to CONSISTENTLY go there!
Susanna Wesley did… and the result was that 2 of her boys became preachers and… John and Charles Wesley impacted the world for Christ!
The Jewish people had regular times of prayer… daily!
Psalm 55:16–17 NIV
16 As for me, I call to God, and the Lord saves me. 17 Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice.
Pentecost — they were in prayer @ 9:00 in the morning…
Peter’s “rooftop experience” happened at noon…
Peter and John are recorded as going to the Temple @ 3:00 in the afternoon…
They had regular, scheduled times of prayer.
Daniel 6:10 (NIV)
10 Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.
And that’s how they caught him…
Can people catch us in the act of prayer?
We need to set a consistent time, each day, for prayer.
We need to make an appointment with God!
Luke 5:16 NIV
16 But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
Can that be said of us?!?!
When you pray… What is your set time?
Where do you pray? By your bed… in the car… in your office…
Do you even have a place? (I’m talking about a place where you can get totally alone with God — no cell phone, no TV, no noise, no distractions…)
A set time and place for prayer will help you develop a HABIT of prayer.
V. Prayer Thrives in Community.
Acts 2:42 NIV
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
Ecclesiastes 4:12 NIV
12 Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
We are stronger together!
Look what Jesus tells us:
Matthew 18:19 NIV
19 “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.
He also says in verse 20:
Matthew 18:20 NIV
20 For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”
Do you want Jesus praying with you?
Then don’t make it a completely solo affair!
We are meant to carry each others burdens… to pray for and encourage each other… (listen) We were not built to be alone!
Find a partner… gather your friends… meet with the church… There is POWER in agreement!
We are going to help…
Acts 2:42 NIV
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
For the next few weeks (maybe through Dec.)… Wed. evenings are going to be a time for us to come together… to fellowship… to break bread… share a devotional… and to prayer TOGETHER!!!!
Prayer is vital to our lives… to our faith… to our family’s lives… and to our church’s life…
Find time for prayer.
Find a place to get alone… in silence… and pray.
Find a friend to join with you … to lift up your concerns as you lift up theirs.
Commit to this time of prayer!
If you want to see God do absolutely amazing things in your life… and in the life of this church… then you MUST be a praying person!!!!
2 Sam 23, tells us that David had 38 mighty men behind him… praying for him… supporting him… lifting him up as he lifted them up…
A POWERFUL church is a PRAYING church!
(prayer for this 40 day challenge)
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