It takes a great deal of effort in this day and age to "get motivated". We all tend to get so busy, become involved in so much, travel in so many directions that our bodies, our minds and our spirits are exhausted.
Many of you may be reading this right now, saying to yourself, if Ivan isn’t very exciting and enthusiastic today, I just know I’m going to fall asleep and not read.
Like the little boy who was playing with a set of blocks, said "I’m building a church and we must be very quiet." His father, eager to encourage this unexpected reverence, asked "why are we to be quiet in church?"
The little boy responded, "Because the people are asleep."
I’m going to try to lay it out to you the way God has laid it out to me this morning. Hopefully, we won’t have a situation like the one where the Indian attended services one Sunday A.M... The sermon, being without real spiritual food had been very loud in spots. The Indian, being a good Christian was not impressed. When asked how he had liked the sermon he said, High Wind, Big Thunder, and No Rain!
Getting motivated for Ministry--the very essence of the word motivate means to incite to action--causing motion. As you hearken unto the word of the Lord today, my prayer is that you will be called to action and continue on in your journey of faith.
There is a problem in the Body of Christ today---spiritual malnutrition. How can we be suffering from malnutrition? We live in Uganda, the pearl of Africa, so many churches, weekly seminars.............
The problem comes when we rely on our nourishment to come from the experiences of others, rather than our own. We’re undernourished and overfed with the things of God. We have listened to all of the right stories and illustrations, gone through our Sunday dose of pastoral counsel and then we gallop off into the week only to run out of steam before we really get started.
Does this sound familiar? Have you ever experienced spiritual exhaustion?
Paul had a theory about those who went through these dry seasons in their walk with God. In 1 Timothy 1:18,19 he says to Timothy,
"This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare.(fight the good fight).....having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck.
You must always remember that you are in the midst of a fight. You’ve got an enemy that longs to take you out of the game and the only way he will win is if you take the fight less seriously than he does. Many Christians are going to fall short on strength and stamina simply because they don’t realize the seriousness of this fight between good and evil.
It’s possible to know God’s Word, cling to God’s promises and still come across times in your life where your ship of faith becomes shipwrecked. The shipwreck occurs when we reject the faith, turn our back upon God and start to rely on our own ability. The bible says trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean NOT to thine own understanding. In ALL your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your path.
Paul exhorts Timothy, I charge you, I challenge you to stay in the battle.....remember the prophecies concerning you ........sometimes you have to fall back upon the promises that God gives you through those closest to you but to remain truly strong, you need to experience those promises first hand. In my opinion, prophecy is nice, personally is better.
We have so many promises to stand on, but rather than standing on the promises, too many people in church are simply sitting on the premises.
Sitting on the premises and I won’t shout
Don’t want to take a chance and let the praises out
My lips are sealed , My eyes are closed not looking all about
Sitting on the premises of church
Sitting on the premises and I won’t clap
you won’t catch me in that ol’ charismatic trap
No, I put my hands together and I lay them on my lap
Sitting on the premises of church
Sitting on the premises we’re almost through
That’s good because there’s so much that I’ve got to do
Besides my foot has gone to sleep inside my shoe
Sitting on the premises of church
Maybe this morning you are sitting here with so many things on your mind, so many struggles, schedules, troubles and difficulties. I want you to "cast all of your burdens upon the Lord" right now. Give them to Him so that you can clear your mind up of all the distractions. It could be that you are one of those whose faith isn’t sailing swiftly anymore; maybe your faith-ship has become dry-docked. There is one that is able to put your boat back into the water, to not only make you sail but enable you to fly.
We are all in this race together and if we look into God’s Word, we will see one who is spurring us on, telling us to keep on walking, keep on believing...
As Paul said, I do not count myself as having apprehended, but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead. I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Phil 3:13,14
If you are one who is frightened to share your faith, if you feel like you are all alone, confused, nothing to say, or lacking the power that you once had--------through God’s promises today you are going to get motivated for ministry. Carman wrote a song that says it like this:
It doesn’t matter who you are, it doesn’t matter where you’ve been,
it doesn’t matter what the scar, it doesn’t matter what the sin,
it doesn’t matter how you fell somewhere along the way.
There’s healing for your life today.
Look with me at the three examples of ministry in 2 Timothy 2
1-endure hardship as a good soldier
2-compete and train as an athlete
3-toil as a farmer
Three meaningful examples that do not go into great detail nevertheless, they still drive the point home to all of us. It’s important to know that ministry is service, and a minister of the Gospel is primarily a servant of God’s word.
(Read the caption at the end of 2 Timothy)
Endure hardship as a soldier...............to become a soldier, there is a rigorous period of time known as boot camp. Here each person learns how to climb, run, walk, jump, roll, leap and hide so that when the war begins, they will be ready. Paul says that no one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life. His main desire is to please the one who enlisted him as a soldier.
Let me paraphrase this . You are sitting in boot camp this morning and the shepherd of the flock is going over exercises with you that you will need to draw upon when you wage the good warfare. You were asked to move around, shake hands, clap a little bit, lift you hands in praise and shout out unto God with a voice of triumph.
Now just as a soldier may say to his Sergeant, under his breath, I don’t know why we have to run this crazy obstacle course, you may have already said,
I don’t know why he always asks us to clap or raise our hands.
I just don’t want to shout today and I really don’t feel like singing.
God, our Sergeant, is desiring us to worship Him today. He leads us in these spiritual exercises because there is going to come a time when you have to shout out your faith to be heard over the yelling of your adversary. You’re going to need to clap your hands to summon those angels when Satan unleashes his demonic forces against you. You must already be familiar with and know how to worship when the warfare begins.
The soldier goes through all of this because he only wants to please the one who enlisted him. He doesn’t know all of the reasons, nor does he need to know them, he must simply endure. He must endure hardships, watching others get hurt in the battle, repairing the wounds of those closest to him after they’ve been ambushed. He must tolerate it, he must develop sustaining power and he must always submit to the one in charge.
Compete as an athlete....athletes are a rare breed. They are focused on winning, achieving their best, overtaking their opponent. They go through high-intensity training, working their bodies, making the body submit to the task at hand. Have you ever noticed how much better you feel when you exercise? Physical exhaustion comes from a body that is not in good enough condition for the task at hand. Training and conditioning as an athlete does are done in different styles and techniques depending upon the type of competition they are training for.
Runners-run weight lifters-lift weights
Spiritual exhaustion comes from a spirit that has not been properly trained and conditioned; It is not fully developed due to lack of exercise. When the competition gets more intense, the spirit fails under the pressure.
Galatians 5:7......"you were running a good race--who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth."
That kind of persuasion does not come from the One who called you.
This race for the prize that God has set before us is going to be very competitive and long-lasting. But God’s word says to us to not lose heart...though the outward body is wasting away---
Though the teeth, the hair and the stomach are all falling out---inwardly we are being renewed day by day. Praise God!
Old Age looks back-----Youth looks ahead--------middle age looks tired.
A boy stopped before a large bronze plaque in the foyer of the church and looked up at the minister and asked----"what are all those names up there?" "Those sonny, are the names of people who died in the service."
"Which one asked the little boy, the morning or the evening service?"
If you want to get physically stronger, you work the muscles of the body.
If you want to get spiritually stronger, you work the muscles of the spirit.
Endurance in training so that we can continue to run this race comes from repetitions. Doing the same things over and over.
Reading the word, praying without ceasing, rejoice evermore, in everything give thanks. The bible says this is the will of God.
The athlete knows what lies ahead but he also knows the size of the trophy that is going to the winner of the event. No one who competes ever gets the trophy unless they play by the rules. We fix our eyes upon Jesus, the author and the finisher of our faith. He keeps our faith from being shipwrecked and keeps us on the path that leads to fullness of joy. Let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due season, we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Press on towards the prize.
The hardworking farmer....here is the picture of intense labor, day after day working the same piece of land, planting and watering and planting and watering. The farmer is at work at the crack of dawn and continues until the sun sets many hours later. All of his labor goes forth for a season and then there is a period of waiting before he sees the harvest. However, he’s done this before; it’s been a consistent cycle-he knows that if he plants and if he waters, he is going to produce a crop. He knows that he must work the ground, preparing it properly for taking in the seed. Then he waits patiently because he knows the end result.
What does God say to us through these three examples of ministry? Simply this:
He is the Commanding officer and you are the private. There is a way that you must prepare and a fitness level that you must achieve if you are going to be able to endure hardships. The church must become important to you and you must look at each week with new enthusiasm and excitement--anticipating the next set of instructions from the Commanding Officer through the pastor.
You’re going to have to train. You’re going to read God’s word over and over. You’re going to have to wear a path out in the grass running to and from the house of God. Prayer must be consistent and constant. Praying in the spirit over and over will keep your spirit in tune with what is going on about you.
We’ve got to till the ground, break up the hard places and get them ready to receive the seeds that we are wanting to plant. We’ve got to water those seeds and we must remain patient as we wait upon the Lord for the Harvest.
God wants us to minister to the needs of this community and this country. He wants to inspire others through the testimony of what he has done for you. He wants us to stir up the love and good works in the house of God---exhorting one another---esteeming each other above ourselves.
The ministry today is a war zone. Many are falling by the wayside because they were not prepared to fight the good fight of faith. Today He is inciting you to action. If you endure, if you train hard and if you are patient and hardworking, you are going to be blessed and eventually you will receive the trophy you are wanting-----eternal life in heaven with God the Father Almighty.