The ‘Spilling Over’ series has begun at our church. I am so hopeful that this is going to be a significant refocusing time for our church. We need some marching orders that unify us with a renewed excitement and passion for life in Christ and for his glory. As Sunday services rolled along, I had a strong sense from the Lord, a message so to speak. It wasn’t audible, but deeply felt. We were singing the words to the theme song I have chosen, called ‘Overflow’ by Matt Goss. The chorus is this: Fill me up so I can be poured out Fill me up so I can be poured out Fill me up ‘till I overflow with you Overflow in me, Jesus, overflow in me Pour your Spirit out, Jesus, and overflow in me. And the message impressed upon my heart was, “you cannot fabricate a move of my Spirit. I will do what I want, when I want, with whom I want, and to whatever measure I want.” Yes, Lord, but I want you to do that work in me, through me, and now in a big way! I desperately want to see more of that work in this church, and in the lives of my friends and family. This message confirms a few important things that I need to keep in my mind. You see, I have an intense desire to be influential for God’s kingdom. It was that way in the classroom in my former life as a high school teacher, and only in the past few years of pastoral ministry has my passion matched and surpassed the intensity I felt in the classroom. (I praise God for this answer to prayer!) So here are three points that I take away from what God impressed upon my heart on Sunday.
1. God is sovereign and his plans are providential. God is always leading us – we are not leading him. Is this ‘era of overflow’ in my life something that I have invented or something I have discovered? It is certainly the latter – I am just aligning myself with God’s will for my life. More than that, I believe it is a much greater movement that I am just becoming a part of. In this sense, our church’s focus on ‘Spilling Over’ is not a good idea by the church leadership. It is a plan of God for his church – for all of his people who have been called to be a blessing, taking Christ to a thirsty and needy world. It is a movement with one purpose – that God’s glory would be revealed in, to and through us to the world. “Blessed to be a blessing.” That was the gist of Gary’s sermon on Sunday. We are simply and wonderfully aligning ourselves with God’s will for us as his church – the ‘spilling over’ is God equipping us with the abundant resources of the Holy Spirit to carry out his purpose in and through our lives. The exciting part is what follows as we discover and carry out that purpose and then praise God publicly declaring his works for all to see.
2. My job as a leader in our church is to know God and to be certain that I am listening to and following his will. I must be open to whatever he wants to do in and through me even when it is terrifying, risky and way beyond me and my natural abilities. It certainly will be. Were any of Jesus’ disciples qualified to do the ministry that God did through them? Were any of the Old Testament prophets and leaders? This gets down to the work of faith – prayer, studying Scripture, and allowing God’s people to be God’s voice in my life. Then responding in obedience and trust.
3. Worship keeps the focus on him and off of me. I must be a worshiper above all else. A worshiper is God-focused and God-confident. Worship moves us off of the throne of our kingdom and brings us to our knees, facedown in awe of God in his kingdom. There is no room for pride – everything that God does in and through me, God does. Nothing comes
from me. Jesus said, “apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5, NIV) Pride will kill the work of the Holy Spirit because pride is a self-consuming response. A life filled with self cannot be filled with the Holy Spirit.
My theme verse as a worship leader has been this since the beginning as a 19-year-old at Biola University. “Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.” (2Cor. 3:4-5, NIV) This was the apostle Paul’s mentality and it must be mine. “For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. “ (2Cor. 4:5-8, NIV) My focus is never to be my ministry – it is to be the glory of God in the face of Christ. I am a clay pot – uniquely shaped by my Maker for the specific purpose of pouring out whatever he has given to me. I am a servant to my church family for Jesus’ sake. Anything good that appears to come from me is coming from him. It is his power at work through me. Wow! This passage of Scripture is packed with so much truth. God continue the work you have started in and through me – in and through our church. Keep my focus on you. God, it’s not about my positioning and planning glorious things for my life and for my church. My position must be on my knees praying for humility, praying for our church and your work among us, praying for clarity as I seek and then follow your ways, and praising you for the work that I see you doing. My planning must be to open my life up to being a servant to your people – a servant of Jesus. Then and only then will you do glorious things.
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” (Eph. 3:20-21, NIV)