Church of the Highlands offers lots of options to review recent messages. They have available the messages on-line via live webcasts and podcasts, and one can also obtain an audio message on CD from the resources table by the auditorium at the main entrance of the church.
I typically order CD’s to share with friends who may have missed a powerful message. I picked up a CD from a couple weeks ago from a mid-week message I missed that Pastor Dave Sumrall shared. He and his wife Kate will be launching itown church in Indianapolis, Indiana on Sunday, August 15, 2010. www.itownchurch.com
I am not kidding….I have listened to this message at least four times. It was so heavy on my heart that I wanted to use Sumrall’s message as the basis for this week’s verse and message.
The message title is “Stay Standing” and is based on the story in Daniel of three men who did not bow to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. Here’s the story taken from Daniel Chapter Three summarized in Wikipedia:
During his reign, Nebuchadnezzar II erected a statue of himself or possibly of the Babylonian god of wisdom, and made a decree which commanded all to fall and worship the monument when the instruments played. The consequence for not worshiping during the music was death by burning in the city furnace. During the dedication festival as the music played certain officials noticed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego not bowing down to the idol and alerted Nebuchadnezzar.
Enraged, the king questioned the three. He provided one more chance for them to bow to the image and they refused. They cited their reason to refuse as,“O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” Nebuchadnezzar ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than average and had the three tossed into it. It was so hot that it killed the soldiers who threw the three into the furnace.
“Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonished, and rose up in haste: he spoke and said to his counselors, ‘Didn’t we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?’ They answered the king, ‘True, O king.’ He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.
Sumrall expressed that if we learn how to how to look for God in the difficult moments of life, we won’t be tempted to rush those seasons. These men walked through the fire and they were unbound–the restrictions that previously existed in their life were burned away–restrictions much like the distractions, the sin, the things that hold us back in our lives.
It’s God’s plan that the fires we experience are designed to burn away the limitations of life. When we partner with God, we are able to gain a new perspective of what we can accomplish when we are faced with crisis and struggles. When we place our trust fully in Jesus, we will not only have the chance to grow a deeper intimacy with Him, we will learn that choosing His Plan A is much better than settling for a back-up plan of our own or the world’s Plan B.
When we choose to remove all other options no matter what it looks like in the natural, we grab hold of the supernatural power and favor that our Father has in store for us. When we are able to tap into that God moment in the fire, we will not only be free of the junk in our lives, we will move forward unbound and able to accomplish spiritual momentum for a journey full of purpose and joy.
At the time of the trial, it seems as if we are simply trying to merely survive. But we are promised that HIS GRACE is sufficient, and that His power is made perfect in our weakness. When we don’t bow to the world’s way, we will return from the fire unharmed without burns from the past. It’s God’s desire to make us whole and complete in Him. Spiritually, some of us are scarred from the past, debilitated emotionally and spiritually. The Lord wants us to maintain a memory of the trial, but only to the measure that gives us the ability to help others with an empathy and compassion without rehashing the pain that we walked through before. In essence, our pain will have purpose.
We can step into the next season of our lives healthy and whole, and then the Lord will be ready to enlarge our territory and use us in a fresh season of influence so that we can make a difference in people for hope and ultimately for eternal value. It gives us authority once we have made it through the fire to speak into someone else’s life, thus, leading us to our destiny of reflecting the One Who made it through the most difficult fire of all, Jesus Christ. He Who stood the fire of the gates of Hell is closer than we could ever imagine while we are in the middle of our own burning flames! He will never leave us, and His desire is for everyone to know He is available to all who will accept Him.
I wanted to close with an inspirational music video sent to me by my sweet friend, Debbie Freeman. I thought it fit perfectly with this week’s verse and message.
GOD IS ON OUR SIDE AND WILL ENABLE US TO BE VICTORIOUS IN THE FIRE AND BEYOND!
BE FREE FROM THE FIERY FURNACES OF LIFE, AND BE ON FIRE FOR JESUS!
**Congratulations to my friends Alan and Jamie Wood who will be available to sign their new book THIRD CORD SECRET at the Family Christian Bookstore on Hwy 280 at Inverness Plaza shopping center this Saturday, April 17 from 11 am to 1 pm. If you bring your church bulletin, handouts/notes from the prior Sunday, you’ll get 10% off their book during the signing. For more information on their book go to www.thirdcordsecret.com**