Repurpose 2016- "Release"
Pastor Terry Inman
A truck driver was hauling a load of 500 penguins to the zoo. Unfortunately, his truck broke down. He eventually waved down another truck and offered the driver $500 to take the penguins to the zoo.
The next day the first truck driver got his truck fixed and drove into town and couldn’t believe his eyes! He saw the second truck driver crossing the road with the 500 penguins waddling single file behind him.
He jumped out of his truck, ran up to the guy and said, “What’s going on? I gave you $500 to take these penguins to the zoo!” To which the man responded, “I did take them to the zoo. But I had enough money left over so now we’re going to the movies.”
This truck driver failed to fully understand his purpose. Today we look at our fourth purpose at Harbor Light. “Release” is empowering people with purpose. The same sentinel of light that guides a ship safely through a storm also helps pilot it on to its destiny.
We exist to rescue loved but lost people. We help them recover their dignity and destiny. We rebuild their identity and maturity. Then we release them to find and fulfill their purpose.
The disciples followed Jesus for three years. At first they were watching listening and learning. They slowly experienced their own transformation until the crucifixion dashed their hopes for a Messiah. Then unexpectedly Christ’s resurrection quickly changed their despair to hope.
Sunday night after the burial they were secretly gathered together discussing Jesus disappearance from the tomb. Earlier Peter saw the grave cloths neatly folded in the empty sepulcher. Mary Magdalene reported an encounter with Jesus. At first she thought he was the gardener until he spoke her name. Was she hysterical or believable?
As they were talking about these astonishing events, Jesus suddenly appeared in the room. Was this an apparition? Then He revealed the wounds in his hands and side. They were overjoyed!
Then he said, “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. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
John 20.21-23 NIV
Jesus had fulfilled his purpose. He was now passing it on to them. “Peace be with you” was kind of like, “may the force be with you!” The presence of resurrected Lord Jesus comforted their hearts and gave them hope.
Not only did his appearance renew their devotion and their hopes, but it also renewed their commission as disciples. Had there been no Resurrection, there would have been little motive for them to undertake a mission in his name. But since he had risen, the old commitment was even more compelling. “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”
He had come into the world to fulfill the Father’s purpose and had completed his task.
“For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil”
(1 John 3.8 NIV)
Even the devil has a purpose. Jesus said,
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
John 10.10 NIV
Satan introduced sin and separation from our Holy Father. Jesus came to die for our sins, give us new life and restore our relationship with God.
John 1.1says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning…”The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.”
“Word” here is logos, which among other things means idea or purpose. Jesus was God’s idea, His purpose for restoring mankind back to fellowship with himself.
Now he expected them to continue his work in his absence. As the Father had sent him to speak his words, to do his works, and to lay down his life for the salvation of men, so he expected them to carry on his message and mission of forgiveness. That’s why we call it the great co-mission.
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. 28.19-20 NIV
Our primary purpose is to make disciples of all people locally and globally. It involves going, baptizing and teaching. We go—sharing the good news of the gospel through acts of compassion and communication. We baptize—immersing people into Christ and His church. We teach—transforming people into genuine followers of Jesus Christ.
All of us can have an integral part of carrying out this commission.
Let’s talk for minute about our global mission. There are three ways can personally engage. We can pray. We can give and we can go.
The bible says, When Jesus looked out over the crowds, his heart broke. So confused and aimless they were, like sheep with no shepherd. “What a huge harvest!” he said to his disciples. “How few workers! On your knees and pray for harvest hands!” Matt.9.36-38 MSG
Again during our 40 days of love and light we will use the “Seek God for the City” prayer guide to intercede for the lost locally and globally. It is such a great tool for learning to pray with insight and intention.
We can give. How can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? Rom.10.14-15 NIV When we give we are sending people with good news.
We give monthly support to over 50 missionaries and ministries around the world. That amounts to over a hundred thousand dollars a year.
We also give thousands of dollars annually to ministries like Compassion Network locally and Convoy of Hope and Project Rescue globally.
We can also go.
Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.”
Mark 16.15 NIV
We can go as a career missionary to another country or culture. We can go as a bi-vocational missionary, working in another county and supporting the work of the national church in that region.
We can also serve as a volunteer on short-term ministry outreaches. Locally we can serve people of many cultures and needs through compassion network. We can be on a mission everyday at work.
Let’s return to the post resurrection mobilization of Jesus’ disciples. As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” John 20.21-23 NIV
I believe the breathing was a prophetic act in anticipation of receiving the to power of Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. Luke includes Jesus’ instructions. “I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” Luke 24.49 NIV
The word “clothed” is interesting here. We would say, “dressed” or “fitted” with the power of the Holy Spirit. I believe the Holy Spirit gives each of us just the right “fit” to carry His purpose in our lives.
When Jesus told the disciples to stay in Jerusalem and wait for power they were still anticipating His immediate rise to power. They expected a holy war, a Roman defeat and a new Jewish kingdom. They asked, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” Acts 1.6 NIV
He threw them another curve. “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 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 1.7-8 NIV
This is a purpose with a promise! That’s why we say, “Release” is empowering people for purpose. On the day of Pentecost the disciples were given the power they needed to accomplish their purpose. He gives us that same power.
We do not all have the same gifts but we have the same power source, God’s Holy Spirit lives in us! We are not all good talkers some of us are better servers. The bible says, God allocates His gifts as He sees fit.
Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 4.10-11 NIV
How can we find and be fulfilled by our purpose? Let me make some suggestions.
(1.) Ask God to reveal to you his plan and purpose for your life.
For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jer. 29.11-14 NIV
I was given a life verse while I was in college. I didn’t fully understand it then but it has directed me all my life. When I was asked to consider being the Pastor of this church almost 22 years ago. I asked God again who am I and how does my purpose fit the needs of that church right now.
I was a bit surprised with this immediate image. “You’re a lighthouse!” I asked for clarification. What’s that mean. I was impressed with this. I have called you to lead people through storms into safe harbor. It gets weirder.
I was in Monterrey. I pulled out of the parking lot of the motel on to North Fremont Street and then on to Lighthouse Avenue! Well I was asking the Lord for a sign. He has a great sense of humor.
(2.) Take some personally and gift assessments. There are many. “Strength Finder” is a good one. Google it. It will help you discover the strengths God has given and how to best use them. Also study the gifts of the Spirit in scripture and focus on the ones that seem to fit you best.
A couple times a year we offer the “Network” seminar. It’s a six-week class that helps match your personality, your preferences and your gifts to find just the right fit for service in the church and in the community.
(3.) Ask others for input on how they view you and your gifts. Pay attention to what you have heard parents; teachers and others affirm you for. These are great clues to how God has wired you for your purpose.
(4.) Look for every opportunity for coaching and training in a ministry that attracts you. Perfect God’s purpose in your life. “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Eph. 2.10 NIV
(5.) Finally ask for an empowering of the Spirit and impartation of gifts to find and fulfill your purpose. Paul said, “I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong.” Rom. 1.1-12 NIV
The bible says, Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts. 1Cor. 14.1 NIV Since you are eager to have spiritual gifts, try to excel in gifts that build up the church. 1Cor. 14.12 NIV
Summary of these five ways to find and fulfill your purpose.
- Ask God to reveal to you his plan and purpose for your life.
- Take some personally and gift assessments.
- Ask others for input on how they view you and your gifts.
- Look for every opportunity for coaching and training.
- Ask for the empowering of the Holy Spirit and impartation of gifts.
That is our four purposes. Rescue-Recover-Rebuild and Release. What phase of your spiritual journey do you think you are now in?
What are you doing to move to the next steps of growth and maturity?
Rescue: seeking or just finding Jesus Christ as your personal savior.
Recover: mending from your past and seeking freedom for your future.
Rebuild: forming a new identity, relationships, disciplines and maturity.
Release: finding your purpose, giving and serving locally and globally.