Pastor Dave Chiolero
My first ministry position was in San Antonio, Texas. In that church, my pastor and boss was a Godly man who took very seriously the job of training this rookie minister to be a Godly superstar. I say that jokingly because my pastor learned to minister in Argentina as a missionary for 13 years and felt like godliness was a combination of prayer, and manual labor, and his goal was to train me to be a good argentine pastor.
I had a nickname given me by the church board, "Dave the slave".
You may feel sorry for me, but honestly it was a powerful season of growth for me.
I remember having a conversation with my pastor where he explained how he saw God using our relationship and said to me, "it's my job to set up the hurtles, it's your job to jump them".
Jesus spent 3 years teaching, modeling, challenging his disciples – setting up hurtles. It was the Disciples job to follow, to learn, to obey – to jump.
We are called to be Disciples – to Jump as He sets up the hurdles.
And we are called to make Disciples of others – to set up the hurdles.
We have been going over the 4 “R’s” – which are like the 4 pillars of our church.
Pastor Don talked about rescue and reminded us to remember the time when we were rescued from our sin. He told us that it’s the joy of our salvation and the gratitude that comes from receiving such mercy and forgiveness that compels us to reach out to others for their rescue.
Pastor Terry talked about recover last week and said we are all in recovery forever! He also told us if we truly want to recover, we will have to uncover – be vulnerable.
Today, we will continue this idea and talk about the third R… Rebuild.
The picture that Pastor Terry has painted for us in regards to the four R’s is that of a Harbor. A harbor is a place of safety. A place where boats, that are battered and tossed by the sea, can come and find protection. While in the harbor, the crew can recover and the ship can get restored or rebuilt and ready to go back out to sea – which Pastor Tim will talk about next week with the fourth R ‘Release’
The word rebuild not only means to make repairs to / or reconstruct, but it also means to restore to the original state. The ship in the harbor can be restored to its original state. After God rescues us, His goal is to rebuild us back to the original design.
There are 2 parts to this process
- The instantaneous work of the spirit in transforming you.
2 Cor. 5:17 - Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
Regeneration: Instantaneous Change
Justification: Made Righteous by Faith
Adoption: Sons and Daughters of God
- The continual process of rebuilding you into the image of Christ, which was the original design.
Pastor Terry said that recovery lasts forever, being rebuilt takes a lifetime too.
If everyone can look at Ephesians 4 with me…
Eph. 4:1-8, 11-16
1 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.
Paul was declaring that “I’m all in – no holding back” when he makes this statement as a prisoner for the Lord, and he is calling us to live at that same level – a life worthy of Jesus’ sacrifice.
2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
The concept of “oneness” is so huge in the kingdom of God. One body, one family.
7 But to each one of us grace (GIFTS) has been given as Christ apportioned it. 8 This is why it says:
“When he ascended on high,
he took many captives
and gave gifts to his people.”
This is what the scripture talks about when it says that we are Christ’s body with many parts. Not one part is more significant than another but each one has a very specific task and we’re not all the same. We are all equal in significance, but not in gifting.
11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
We will never be fully mature this side of heaven, but there is a maturing process that is taking place in all of us as we strive together towards unity in Jesus.
14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
We don’t want to stay dependent – like little babies - unable to do anything for ourselves. And we don’t want to become independent – not needing anyone.
There’s an interdependent growth process taking place when we function properly as the church. Those that are stronger – building up those that are weaker – all of us working towards maturity together.
This young man represents me. I grew up going to a little church around the corner from my house and knew some things about the Bible. I had experienced the presence of the Lord a couple times growing up and got baptized as a young boy. But now I’m 17 years old. I spent my teenage years getting into trouble or being grounded for getting into trouble. I’ve done plenty of partying, which led me to being addicted to meth-amphetamines. My grades were bad, my relationships were unhealthy, I had zero trust at home, and my world felt pretty empty.
Rescued by Jesus
In March of 1990, during a Sunday night service at Hilltop Christian Center in Napa, Ca., Jesus rescued me. He reached down and picked me up out of that life and gave me a new life. I couldn’t tell you what the pastor preached that night, but I do remember him giving an alter call inviting the whole church down to the front to spend some time in prayer. I came to the front and knelt on the front row of chairs. I told the Lord that I’m done playing games and I want to do this thing for real.
According to scripture, we know that at that very moment, God covered me with a robe of righteousness that was only provided by Jesus shedding His blood on the cross. He also put a ring on my finger identifying me as His son. Of course I didn’t know all this was taking place, I just knew that I left church feeling much lighter.
The next day I was around some friends of mine who had meth. It was lined out on the glass coffee table and offered to me. I realized in that moment that every hook that held me as an addict was gone. There was no more temptation in me at all. I had been set free! I told my friends that I had to go. I had about a mile walk home that was filled with praise and worship to the one who had just proven his love to me is such a powerful way. I remember vowing to the Lord that I would get rid of all drug paraphernalia that I had, and that I would stop hanging out with my friends who partied – which was all of them. (This was my first opportunity to take a step towards maturity)
* There’s God’s part and there’s your part. You must contribute in this journey to maturity. There’s a Lordship issue that all of us have to contend with. Sometimes we will struggle with it, at times we may resist it for a while – but beware of ever saying NO. You must decide who’s in charge of your life, and surrender appropriately.
So, this was the start of my relationship with Jesus. God continued to be faithful to lead me and I continued to follow. Certainly not perfect – maybe more of a stumble. The Lord had a lot of things to clean out, and some to put in.
1 year old (in Christ)
About one year after I gave my life to the Lord, I was in the same sanctuary I got saved in, there was a youth rally going on with a special speaker and other youth groups there. I was sitting next to my girlfriend at the time that I had been dating since before I gave my life to the Lord.
The Lord spoke to me real clearly that night that I needed to break up with my girlfriend. The relationship was unhealthy – it had been ever since we started dating – and God must have thought it was time to deal with it.
This was one of those times in my life where God was speaking to me loud and clear “break up with your girlfriend.” So what did I do about it? I cried about it a lot that night, I told my girlfriend that we needed to do better, but I didn’t break up.
1 year later
Two years after I got rescued, and one year after the youth rally, I was in Bible College where I was partnered with an older student in a discipleship setting. We were required to meet together every week for and hour to talk about life. During the course of the year, I learned to trust this guy and open up my life to him. I told him about what the Lord had said to me, and what I had done about it – or didn’t do about it. We talked a lot about this and other issues through the year. He helped me a lot.
2 and ½ years old
At the end of my first year at Bible College, I was up for review to see if they would extend me an invitation to come back. Each year was a new application and interview process. During my interview, one of the teachers asked me about the same situation (girlfriend) and I shared the whole story. He asked me if I thought God changed His mind. He called me out! He told me that they only wanted students at the school who would be obedient to the Lord and that I had the weekend to make a decision.
That afternoon I drove back to my church, same church, and went up to the alter to surrender that relationship to the Lord… finally. It was the most difficult thing to surrender I had made up to that point in my walk with the Lord.
Everyone has different issues in their lives that the Lord is working on. Some are easier than others to surrender. It’s easy to say, “I’m a follower of Jesus”, but can you say that you have the right people in your life necessary to grow?
-We need to listen to what God is saying to us.
-We need to open our lives up to people – be honest and vulnerable.
-At times, we need the ‘heavy hitter’ that loves us enough to tell us straight.
What we need
1. Submission – you must be submissive (humble) to allow others to speak into your life. Even Jesus submitted Himself to the will of His Father - then He was exalted. God wants to build you up – to mature you – to make you ready to help others – but you must be willing to submit your life to the help of others.
2. Vision – There must be a greater vision for your life/future. Only then will you endure the pressure of change.
3. Leadership – This circle of life only happens when our mature believers pour into the lives of the younger. Jesus poured His life into 12 men – making them mature – then He released them to pour into others.