Ebenezer

1Sa 7:12 NLT - Samuel then took a large stone and placed it between the towns of Mizpah and Jeshanah. He named it Ebenezer (which means "the stone of help"), for he said, "Up to this point the LORD has helped us!"

God through Joshua shows Israel how far He has brought them: Jos 24:2 NLT - Joshua said to the people, "This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: Long ago your ancestors, including Terah, the father of Abraham and Nahor, lived beyond the Euphrates River, and they worshiped other gods.

Jos 24:3 NLT - But I took your ancestor Abraham from the land beyond the Euphrates and led him into the land of Canaan. I gave him many descendants through his son Isaac.

Jos 24:4 NLT - To Isaac I gave Jacob and Esau. To Esau I gave the mountains of Seir, while Jacob and his children went down into Egypt.

Jos 24:5 NLT - "Then I sent Moses and Aaron, and I brought terrible plagues on Egypt; and afterward I brought you out as a free people.

Jos 24:6 NLT - But when your ancestors arrived at the Red Sea, the Egyptians chased after you with chariots and charioteers.

Jos 24:7 NLT - When your ancestors cried out to the LORD, I put darkness between you and the Egyptians. I brought the sea crashing down on the Egyptians, drowning them. With your very own eyes you saw what I did. Then you lived in the wilderness for many years.

Jos 24:8 NLT - "Finally, I brought you into the land of the Amorites on the east side of the Jordan. They fought against you, but I destroyed them before you. I gave you victory over them, and you took possession of their land.

Jos 24:11 NLT - "When you crossed the Jordan River and came to Jericho, the men of Jericho fought against you, as did the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. But I gave you victory over them.

Jos 24:12 NLT - And I sent terror ahead of you to drive out the two kings of the Amorites. It was not your swords or bows that brought you victory.

It’s Important to evaluate where we’ve come from because it has a bearing on our destiny. We need to do that as a church community,

We need to do that as families,

We need to do that as individuals.

Analogy: Running the Two Oceans Marathon It’s regarded as the most beautiful marathon in the world:

Running a marathon can be compared with our journey as a church or our personal spiritual journey.

1Cr 9:24 NLT - Don't you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win!

1Cr 9:25 NLT - All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize.

1Cr 9:27 NLT - I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.

In context, Paul is talking about is talking about his “calling”

1Cr 9:2 NLT - Even if others think I am not an apostle, I certainly am to you. You yourselves are proof that I am the Lord's apostle.

I ran ten Two Oceans Marathons but I quit once, so I only have nine finisher medals.

I know what it is like to quit – you never live it down – everyone asks you “how was your race” and you have to tell them that you quit.

I was on the 47th km or 56 km, only nine to go and almost all downhill, and I could not take another step. A mini bus came and picked us up and the driver announced over his two way radio “I’ve picked up all the quitters”

It was one of the most humiliating events of my life: travelled 800km to run a race and then to go home without a medal!

Some lessons I learned about: How Not To Quit!

1. Your training must be effective.
Simulate race conditions, run in the heat and the cold so that you are prepared for both. Two oceans is very hilly – choose a hilly training rout to run at least once a week

Application:
Don’t wait until you are fulfilling “that” position in ministry – practice now: at home, at work. How can you change the atmosphere and bring the light into your situation at work? What about practicing the gifts of the Spirit at work. Praying for the sick, prophesying over your colleagues? You need to “stick your neck out” and see how God will honor you.

In your home: pray over your family – be a true spiritual leader there first. Mentor your family by being the example that you want to see in them. It’s much easier to shout at the kids than to treat them with love and respect even when they are disobedient. Practice there!

2. On the race: start slow
If you start too fast you WILL soon out of ‘steam’. You training will give you a good idea of how fast you can go but you must build up to that speed. The biggest mistake is to start ok, then you feel good at about 20km and you start running too fast. You WILL run out of steam later. I’ve learned that the hard way.

Application:
The Christian walk is the same when it comes to calling: [1Jo 2:13 NKJV] 13 I write to you, fathers, Because you have known Him [who is] from the beginning. I write to you, young men, Because you have overcome the wicked one. I write to you, little children, Because you have known the Father.

You have to crawl before you can walk and walk before you can run. You cannot be a pastor if you didn’t ever run a cell group – you can’t run a cell if you were never involved in helping in one and overseeing some areas of the cell – we need to grow in these things.

You can’t be a worship leader if you don’t have some experience in leading in small group (for example). We need to grow in all these things.

3. Keep your eyes on the road in front and your mind on the finish line (prize)
If you try to look too far ahead you will probably get discouraged.

When I’m running up a steep hill, I’ve learned never to keep my eyes focused on the top – I will almost definitely stop and start walking. But it I look at the road just ahead – the next few paces – then I know that I can do it.


Application:
Keep your eyes focused on the next thing that God is telling you to do Keep your heart focused on the ultimate promise of God’s calling on your life – maybe it’s to pastor your own church, maybe it’s to run your own cell, of business, or have an international ministry etc. If you don’t yet have that dream then ask God to put it in your heart.

4. Always hydrate well
Keep drinking, don’t run past a watering point. Preferably drink an isotonic drink that replaces electrolytes, carbohydrates and minerals in your blood stream.

Application:
Feed on the word daily – you will not finish the race without it. You also need to keep being “hydrated” with the Spirit. “drink” as much as you can, then those miles will seem like a breeze.

[Jhn 4:10, 13-14 NLT] 10 Jesus replied, "If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water." ... 13 Jesus replied, "Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. 14 But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life." 

5. When the going gets tough, the tough keep going
In the Two Oceans Marathon, the toughest part of the race is just after the marathon mark, at about 46km. In the two oceans, you know this so you prepare yourself physiologically.

The most important thing you remember: NEVER GIVE UP!

In life, you often don’t know when the hard times are coming – but sometimes there are indicators

Application:
[Hbr 12:1 NKJV] 1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares [us], and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,


Why should we never quit?
Because Gods love never quits! He is relentless in His Love for us! Psalm 136 (MSG)

136:1 Thank God! He deserves your thanks. His love never quits. 136:2 Thank the God of all gods, His love never quits. 136:3 Thank the Lord of all lords. His love never quits.

136:4 Thank the miracle-working God, His love never quits. 136:5 The God whose skill formed the cosmos, His love never quits. 136:6 The God who laid out earth on ocean foundations, His love never quits. 136:7 The God who filled the skies with light, His love never quits. 136:8 The sun to watch over the day, His love never quits. 136:9 Moon and stars as guardians of the night, His love never quits. 136:10 The God who struck down the Egyptian firstborn, His love never quits. 136:11And rescued Israel from Egypt’s oppression, His love never quits. 136:12 Took Israel in hand with his powerful hand, His love never quits. 136:13 Split the Red Sea right in half, His love never quits.136:14 Led Israel right through the middle, His love never quits. 136:15 Dumped Pharaoh and his army in the sea, His love never quits. 136:16 The God who marched his people through the desert, His love never quits. 136:17 Smashed huge kingdoms right and left, His love never quits. 136:18Struck down the famous kings, His love never quits. 136:19 Struck Sihon the Amorite king, His love never quits. 136:20 Struck Og the Bashanite king, His love never quits. 136:21 Then distributed their land as booty, His love never quits. 136:22 Handed the land over to Israel. His love never quits.

136:23 God remembered us when we were down, His love never quits. 136:24 Rescued us from the trampling boot, His love never quits. 136:25 Takes care of everyone in time of need. His love never quits. 136:26 Thank God, who did it all! His love never quits!

Consider the following:
Where are you in YOUR race right now? How far have you come? What has God put in your heart to do/to accomplish? Set your sights.

Tuck in and run with endurance the race that God has set before you – without complaining and grumbling – just run with Joy.

How Does This Apply To C-WAM?

We too have a race to run as a family of believers:

Praise God – we are off to a great start:

  • There is a great sense of unity in the house
  • Everyone is getting involved and not standing by just watching idly
  • There is no (obvious)competitiveness or petty jealousies, no jostling for position
  • We are setting the foundation firmly in place
  • We are a church with passionate worship, authentic community and a genuine move of the Holy Spirit (Ps Keith observed)

But…… We still have a long way to go!

What do we see?

Dream with me!

  • The manifest presence of God in our midst,
  • A river of the supernatural power of God flowing through the church,
  • Cells  growing and multiplying
  • Many people finding salvation each week in our cells and in our services
  • People everywhere – bursting at the seems
  • Multiplying and planting churches.
  • Multiple mission trips, feeding the poor and building orphanages

God is able to do far more than we can think or imagine!

Let’s set our hearts on the prize that God has in store for us!

Let’s run together with endurance!
 


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