Harbor Light 2.0 - RELEASE

Pastor Terry Inman

1-29-12

 

HARBOR LIGHT 2.0 [RELEASE]  Empowering people with a purpose.

When I was in elementary school the teacher told my mom and dad that I spent too much time looking out the window. Some people call that daydreaming. Well I am a stare-out-the-window kind of guy. The sacred version of that is being a visionary. In the Old Testament these kinds of guys are called seer’s. I don’t even have to have a window to see things. 

One of my strengths according to the “Strength Finder” test is “Ideation”. This describes somebody who has way more vision and views than he can possibly implement. So I get a lot of inspiration for my messages from things I see or imagine, especially in nature. Some of it is even from God!

So I was driving to Sacramento on Monday looking out the window, which is a good thing if you’re driving. I saw a billboard someplace near Davis that said something like yourpurpose.com. I immediately made a connection with today’s message. Our fourth purpose [RELEASE] is empowering people with a purpose.

Making connections to every thing and everyone in my world is also one of my traits that can really get out of hand. I did one too many of those connect the numbers and fill in the spaces oil paintings when I was a kid.   

Release is not about getting out of jail or even out of Church. It is all about finding and fulfilling our life-purpose. It is the goal of all we do here. We help rescue people adrift. We help people recover from the wreckage. We help rebuild bible-based values then launch people into their destiny.

Finding purpose in life is a trendy topic right now especially in the self-improvement movement. It’s really more like the self-interest movement. It’s all about “me”, my purpose and my potential.    

Release is about discovering, developing and deploying God’s primary design for our life. We also focus on God’s purpose for our church and our school.  How do we fit and function in that mission? Here’s a great story!

Let me say it this way. The same shaft of light that guides ships into safe harbor sends them on their voyage. The is the point Bonita Lighthouse at the gate to San Francisco Bay. William Shedd a Presbyterian Theologian of the late 1800’s said, “A ship is safe in the Harbor but that’s not what ships are for.”

Mark Twain put it this way, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream Discover.”

Releasing is different than receiving. Harbor Light is a safe place to grow. That’s what rescue, recover and rebuild are all about. That’s receiving!  We are also here to help people GO! That’s releasing!  

Jesus’ last words were action verbs! Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Matt.28.18-20 (NIV)   

Last week I said, there are three steps in the great commission. Baptizing-Teaching and Following! Thirty-two people took the first major step. They got their feet wet in the waters of Baptism. They immersed themselves in Jesus. The next steps are learning and growing then serving.

John’s account of Jesus’ last words is short and simple. “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit”.  John 20:20-22

Some of us may leave the harbor for global destinations but most of us are released to find fulfilling and productive service right here in our own multi-cultural back yard. The wind of the Holy Spirit moves us to serve! 

God has given each one of us unique personalities, interests, and abilities that help fulfill His commission and help fulfill the commissioned.

According the Psychology professor Abraham Maslow the top of the pyramid of human needs is “self-actualization”. It’s the motivation to reach our potential. What he calls the moral need for “self-actualization” is probably true (He is smarter than me) however he is missing our greatest spiritual need.

We need to know our creator and serve the purpose for which we were created. That’s where we get our greatest sense of fulfillment. That’s why Pastor Rick Warren’s book “Purpose Driven Life” is an all time best seller.

The Apostle Paul who had a “purpose altering” encounter wrote these words. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God —not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.  Eph. 2.8  

Let me put this in simple terms. God planned ahead before you were spiritually born to put in you the DNA to do good stuff for Him. Doing this stuff will make you feel really good about who you are!   

When I was five years old my father started a small church in the Sierras. There was a little green plaque hanging on the wall of the chapel for everyone to see. It said, “Saved to serve”. The beam that saves the lost also sends the saved!

Jesus described our purpose in terms of light. “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” Matt. 5.14-16 (NIV)

OK remember the 10-10 plan I gave you last week? 10 minutes in scripture, ten minutes in prayer, ten friends in a small group, and prayer for 10 people to get to know Jesus. Well I was listening to scripture on my morning walk on my i-phone. Luke chapter four is all about Jesus’ mission, His purpose here on earth. There is something to learn here.

Jesus was baptized in water to fulfill God’s purposes. The Holy Spirit came upon him like a dove. Then, according to Luke, Jesus who was “full of the Holy Spirit” was “led by the Spirit” into the desert. For forty days he fasted and was tested by the devil.  Next Luke says, He returned to his hometown “in the power of the Spirit”. Evil spirits may attempt to harass us but the Holy Spirit empowers us! We are empowered for a purpose!   

In front of his small town friends and family Jesus announced his purpose. He was asked to read a familiar text from the prophetic scroll of Isaiah.

Again it begins with the empowering or anointing of the Holy Spirit. “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Strong’s Greek lexicon defines “Anointed”: “to anoint (physically, with oil; or spiritually, with the Holy Spirit), to assign a person to a special task, implying a giving of power by God to accomplish the task.

God gives us a purpose and he also gives us the power to accomplish that purpose. One of the very first things Jesus promised his disciples after he gave them their assignment was empowerment. They were asking about the timing of His Kingdom takeover. He said, only God knows…

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1.8 (NIV)

We probably spend way too much time trying to discover our purpose. We really need to focus on receiving the Holy Spirit’s power and our purpose with be fulfilled super-naturally. 

So back in the village Jesus asserts, “what I just read I am fulfilling today. This is about me. This is my purpose. I’m here withgood news: freedom, recovery and release of the oppressed, it’s the time of the Lord’s favor!”

Everybody was impressed with him until he got a little testy. What ticked them off was the fact that he was not going to fulfill their homespun expectations. He was on God’s agenda and not theirs.

They said aren’t you Joseph’s the carpenter son? They thought he was a good speaker but Joseph’s kid couldn’t rise much further than the family.

Jesus said, “I suppose you’re going to quote the proverb, ‘Doctor, go heal yourself. Do here in your hometown what we heard you did in Capernaum.’ Well, let me tell you something: No prophet is ever welcomed in his hometown.” Luke 4.23-24 (NIV)

Well-meaning folks who have never dared to get out of dodge want to reduce everybody else to their limitations. Jesus was saying I have God’s destiny written all over me. No small-town-thinking is holding me back!

He gave them a couple examples of the prophets Elijah and Elisha who passed up the people of privilege and performed miracles for people of other regions, races and religions. God’s empowerment has nothing to do with entitlement. He enables the willing not just the talented. 

Jesus’ homefolk got so hostile they tried to throw him off a cliff. It was his first brush with premature death. God’s purpose was not preempted.

When we live our life on purpose. When we live full of his power what ever happens is part of the plan. We may not know why some things happen but Rom. 8.28 says, “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have beencalled according to his purpose.”

Jesus slipped through the angry crowd and headed right back to Capernaum near Galilee where he performed even more miracles of freedom and healing. He stayed on purpose and the power increased.

He set a demonized man free. This is interesting, the demon shrieked, “I know you are Jesus of Nazareth”. Nazareth had a reputation. When Philip invited Nathaniel to follow Jesus, he said, “Can anything good come out Nazareth?” Phillip said. “Come and See”. John 1.46 (NIV)

Where you’re from, and who you are, does not need to dictate what you become. God’s purpose and God’s power can accomplish anything! 

Luke wraps this chapter with this. “When the sun was setting, the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying his hands on each one, he healed them.

Moreover, demons came out of many people, shouting, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew he was the Christ.

At daybreak Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them. But he said, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.”

Release, our fourth purpose is empowering people to find and fulfill their God given purpose. We have classes like Network and Invitations that help equip you. They help clarify your talents, abilities and interests so you are doing the right things for the right reasons.

Compassion Network offers opportunities to serve people in need any day of the week. There are hundreds of volunteer posts at Harbor Light and Fremont Christian School. In a few weeks we will be celebrating out global mission. We will be given many ways to give, pray and go.

That’s Harbor Light 2.0! Rescue-Recover-Rebuild-Release! This year let’s team up with the Holy Spirit and each other and make it happen.