Is Our Church More Than a Conqueror?

Posted: November 10, 2008 in Conqueror, Pleasant Prairie Baptist, Uncategorized
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Pleasant Prairie Fortieth AnniversaryWe celebrated Pleasant Prairie Baptist Church’s 40th Anniversary PPBC History pg 1yesterday. I had thought two hours would be sufficient time to herald the past 40 years at Pleasant Prairie Baptist Church. Don’t get me wrong, I get nostalgic from time to time. I even did a video for my wife on our 25th Anniversary (10 years ago-I figure it’s good until our 50th). But actually, I’ve always been a here and now kind of preacher. In fact I’m more a what’s happening tomorrow kind of guy-always looking to the future, never looking back. I’ve always taken Paul’s phrase to heart – “forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead”. As a preacher, if anyone frustrates me, it is Christians that live in the past. You can recognize them by the sighing and the tears when they talk about the “things we used to do”, or they remember how the people “used to do this or that”. But when you ask them about what God is doing NOW they usually get a blank look on their face. Older Christians with multiple “battle scars” seem to be more inclined to this “nostalgia”. Sometimes I believe we focus too much attention and emotion on what might have been. “If only this hadn’t happened, if only that had happened”. Anniversaries are important, and we should take time to honor those who have brought us to this moment in time. But shouldn’t we Honor God most of all?

Lizzy Lou Recycles Mouthwash

Lizzy Lou Recycles Mouthwash

The truth is that many churches, especially smaller churches, that have been through a lot of ups and downs (and splits) view themselves as SURVIVORS. This spirit was in evidence just a little bit yesterday. It is true, our church has SURVIVED many trials, TWO major Splits, an endless parade of Pastors (we have had more Interim’s than Called Pastors). I was hoping that there would be no mention of past pains, because as long as we are still dealing with painful memories we are blocking any view of God’s Purpose. I understand that there may be regrets, painful memories, but we must be God-focused, and God is Jehovah Rophe, the God who HEALS.

Is God a Survivor?

Do we view God as a SURVIVOR? After all, He endured a HUGE split that took one third of the heavenly host away from Him. His Son was rejected as the Messiah and then horribly crucified. Most of the world uses His Holy Name in vain. If anyone is a SURVIVOR, it should be God. But that is NOT the God of the Holy Scriptures. God is a God of PURPOSE. There is NOTHING that happens that surprises God, or catches Him off guard. The following verses declare the omnipotence and omniscience of God:

  • Job 42:2 (ESV) 2 “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
  • Psalms 33:11 (NASB77) The counsel of the Lord stands forever, The plans of His heart from generation to generation.
  • Proverbs 19:21 (ESV) 21 Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.
  • Isaiah 14:24 (NLT) The Lord of Heaven’s Armies has sworn this oath: “It will all happen as I have planned. It will be as I have decided.

The Church of God is the Bride of Christ.

We are being prepared for that fabulous Banquet in Heaven. God’s Church is said to be “More than a Conqueror” (Rom 8:37). We need to see the bad things that happen in our church as the GOOD things of God. God is building His Church. We must acknowledge the HAND of God in building His Church. Most of the problems that a church experiences are the direct result of the flesh blocking the Holy Spirit of God. The flesh can block growth, the flesh can block God, the flesh can make it impossible for a Church to experience the Power of the Holy Spirit. The flesh will be pruned. Those that do not bear fruit, the Holy Spirit will cut off. Instead of seeing our church as a Survivor, we must see our Church as a Conqueror. Building a church is the work of the Holy Spirit. His mission is to move and call and prepare the Bride of Christ. The most important thing a church can celebrate is that the Holy Spirit is moving among the people, because we have united our hearts with the Purpose of God!

Priests were forbidden to wear garments that would make them sweat when they were ministering to God. God did not want any sweating going on in His Temple. After the fall, man was condemned to work by the sweat of his brow. In the ministry of God’s Word, it is not man’s sweat that ministers, it is GOD! God wants His preachers empowered by the Holy Spirit. He does not want us to work in our own strength. He does not want us to sweat as we minister. The sweat symbolizes our own fleshly efforts. The flesh is the enemy of God and His Purpose.

Ezekiel 44:15-18 (NKJV) 15 “But the priests, the Levites, the sons of Zadok, who kept charge of My sanctuary when the children of Israel went astray from Me, they shall come near Me to minister to Me; and they shall stand before Me to offer to Me the fat and the blood,” says the Lord God. 16 They shall enter My sanctuary, and they shall come near My table to minister to Me, and they shall keep My charge. 17 And it shall be, whenever they enter the gates of the inner court, that they shall put on linen garments; no wool shall come upon them while they minister within the gates of the inner court or within the house. 18 They shall have linen turbans on their heads and linen trousers on their bodies; they shall not clothe themselves with anything that causes sweat.

Janice Fogle Remembers

Janice Fogle Remembers

Rachel Wicker

Rachel Wicker

Pleasant Prairie has been a great church with great people. I received several compliments on how wonderful the Anniversary Service was. We had an appearance by Lizzy Lou, singers Jack and Rachel Wicker, the testimonies of Janice Fogle, the Andrews and Cory Young. However by the time I stepped into the pulpit to deliver a message that I believe spoke to the FUTURE of our church, it was 12:13. We had started at 10 AM. I know a hostile, restless crowd when I see one. I promptly announced that I would only preach for 5 minutes and I did.

Gary & Charlotte Andrews

Gary & Charlotte Andrews

Does it seem that sometimes we push God out of the way? Does God want to lead a church where He is only allowed on the sidelines? Churches are full of people with good intentions. But how often do we stop and ask “God, Are we in line with Your Purpose? God, are You pleased with what we are doing? God, what do You want to accomplish with our Church?” Churches can sometimes get stuck in the rut of doing their own “agenda”, and just throw God in for good measure.

Rev. Cory Young

Rev. Cory Young

I believe that the people of Pleasant Prairie aligned themselves with the Purpose of God in the early days. That is why God blessed and multiplied the church. As Pastor, my concern is that we again unite ourselves with the Purpose of God. We cannot do that and focus our hearts on the pains and regrets of the past. We must accept that sometimes God does a shaking, so that those left can truly worship Him. God desires that we be “unshakable”.

Hebrews 12:25-29 (NLT) “Be careful that you do not refuse to listen to the One who is speaking. For if the people of Israel did not escape when they refused to listen to Moses, the earthly messenger, we will certainly not escape if we reject the One who speaks to us from heaven! When God spoke from Mount Sinai his voice shook the earth, but now he makes another promise: “Once again I will shake not only the earth but the heavens also.” This means that all of creation will be shaken and removed, so that only unshakable things will remain. Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe. For our God is a devouring fire.

Pleasant Prairie Baptist Church has great potential. Not in our own strength, but through the Power of God. We have a great core of people who are humble, and seek God’s will for their lives. There is a spark missing, a cylinder that is miss-firing, and I believe it is caused by those holding on to the failures or misspent opportunities of the past. We have got to change our focus from failures and the past to the future we have with God and His purpose.

I believe we are on the edge of very exciting moves of God. I believe God is ready to pour out His Amazing Grace upon our people. He is very excited by what is happening in our church. Hearts are being touched, lives changed. Sure there are problems, sure there are challenges. But God must be allowed to be Sovereign. He must be allowed to work without our meddling and our own personal agenda’s. We must not hold on to the past, we must not hold on to painful memories, we must not hold on to the way things used to be. We must let go and grab hold of God’s Purpose. We must seek Him and keep seeking Him until we see His purpose for our church. We must not get content. We must willingly agree to unite our Hearts with His Word and His purpose.

I was very proud of our church yesterday. I believe the guests that came could sense God is being honored and is at work. I believe some people came that secretly desired to come back and re-discover God’s purpose for their lives. I pray that we will all move to that end, that we will become a church of God’s Purpose, a Church that is More than a Conqueror!

Videos from our 40th Anniversary:

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