Don’t Survive: Thrive!

The year 2011 was “The perfect storm”. A “perfect storm” is a particularly terrible storm that happens when several weather factors, each of which would be bad in and of themselves, happen at the same time. In previous years, we’d heard about the global economic crisis but in 2011 we met it face to face! A quote on the Internet that said the only good thing about 2011 is that it’s probably going to be a lot better than 2012. Yet as it 2012 beckons, it seems to be a case of out of the frying pan into the fire.

 

 

So how are people responding to all this? Of course the biggest response to these uncertain times is fear. When life gets hard, fear checks in! Many are digging in, and locking into survivor mode. Many are cutting costs and crossing their fingers and lying low. The truth is that many of us have low expectations for the New Year. If we can just get by, that would be fine. We will be happy to simply survive this year.

This is what THRIVE, our first series in 2012 is about. We’ll be looking at the acronym THRIVE to get practical handle on God’s secrets for thriving in difficult times.

T Trust In God
H Hold On To The Dream
R Relate Wisely
I Invest Strategically
V Value Add Always
E Enjoy The Journey

Read Genesis 26:1-17

This was a harsh season for Isaac and his family. Since he was a farmer and rancher by occupation, a year of drought meant back-breaking work with the high probability of low or no returns. It meant that despite all his previous investments, there were high chances that he could face financial failure. It was at that point that made a survival decision. He would move to a foreign country where the economy was not affected by droughts. Like his father Abraham before him, he decided to abandon it all, and get a visa to Egypt. He even began the journey south and made it to a Philistine town called Gerar.

But at that point, God checked in and revealed that He had a different plan. If you would like to thrive in 2012, then the two principles we learn from this story are essential for you, in the face of a year that makes many want to check into survival mode. The first principle is:

1. Trust In God
I suspect many of us can identify with Isaac. Do you trust in God? Of course! But it’s January and all the money was spent over Christmas. School fees still needs to be paid and uniforms still need to be bought: All this in a year of inflation. Of course I want to pay my tithe, and I want to attend church and not miss Life Group. I want to serve in ministry and I want to step out in faith to obey God. But let’s get practical. Surely, even God must understand!

God’s promises can easily pale in the light of harsh and uncertain times. When life becomes hard, fear checks in. We rationalize to ourselves that we just need to sort out stuff first, get a grip of things then we can go back to God. But God commanded Isaac not to hold back or to flee but instead to stay put in that land of hardship, and to obey everything He said.

God’s word for us in 2012: “Put your trust in me! Where the world says chukua control, God is saying wachilia control! Do what I tell you, and trust Me. I can bless you even in that place and time of difficulty.”

God’s blessings are not dependent on the economy!

In 2012, there are many things that will seek to derail you from your path. To make you panic and give up on the best that God has for you. But God says, “Trust in me, don’t make your decisions based on your own wisdom, or on your feelings or on what the experts are saying. Let go and trust me to direct your paths”.
2. Hold On To The Dream
See v.4-6. The second thing Isaac did was to hold on to God’s Promise and to the purpose God had for him. God’s promise was that Abraham’s children would become a blessing to the nations. And here was Isaac running to another nation to be blessed by it. When times are tough it is easy to lose sight of God’s Promise. But it’s in exactly such times that we must hold on to the dream.

God’s promise is the only stable and permanent thing that can anchor us in uncertain times. Hold on to the dream! Do not be like many people who will abandon God’s Dream for their life in seasons of difficulty. A survivor mindset always obscures God’s dream for us. The passion for purpose will be lost; the flame of the dream will die off. Many will say that life happened and the Dream was overtaken by reality. You need to hold on to the Promise even if the prevailing circumstances contradict it.
Remember God’s blessings are not dependent on the economy!

Many times when people encounter opposition, they give up on the vision. They despair and wonder if they heard God in the first place. This is because we don’t understand scripture! Difficulties are not punishment; indeed they are a setup for a Divine Showdown! Sometimes God allows things to become impossible so that when the miracle happens, it will be clear who made it happen! So don’t give up your dream simply because the going got tough!

God’s blessings are not dependent on the economy!

And that’s exactly what happens in Isaac’s case. V.12 tells us, “When Isaac planted his crops that year, he harvested a hundred times more grain than he planted, for the Lord blessed him. 13 He became a very rich man, and his wealth continued to grow.”
Isaac’s return was not 2x or 5x or even 10x but 100 times what he had planted! That’s 1000% profit! He planted crops and reaped a hundredfold “because the LORD blessed him”. Later on in the chapter the king of Gerar came looking for him accompanied by his royal advisor and army commander. The reason for this high level delegation is that the Philistines wanted to make a treaty with Isaac so that he would never attack them in the future! Even the Philistines could see that God’s hand was upon this man.

God’s blessings are not dependent on the economy!

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29 Responses to “Don’t Survive: Thrive!”

  1. On point Pastor M. I already resolved to trust in God even in impossible situations.

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  2. Thank you to all involved parties for making those of us at the over flow tent have a smooth sermon; at least the screens behaved!

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  3. This is the jolt of encouragement i needed for my time

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  4. I could not have been blessed with a better sermon on the first week of the year than today’s. I choose to thrive with swag!

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  5. This Sunday,the Praise and Worship session was AWESOME! but short!! I believe if we had a once in a month mega Praise and Worship session i.e half a day or half a night miracles will be a hundredfold in 2012…The sermon was what I needed and better still a loved one read it on-line and I almost cried this morning out of pure joy!

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    • Khanali, MAvuno has what we call worship night once a month. This is an extended session of worship usually from 6pm to 10 pm. This is always announced in service before it happens. You should come to the next one, it is off the hook.

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  6. anonymous Says:

    Right on point Pastor M,
    I was on the verge of giving up some dreams, thought i have fought for long enough and i might as well settle in………..but now i know better, I will fight expecting great achievement & excellence.

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  7. Catherine Says:

    That is exactly what i needed so as to kick start 2012… I am letting go of control for there is the greatest driver at the drivers seat.

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  8. Thanks Pastor M….was not in the service jana but reading this-it was for me and i wont miss the rest of the series….i am in that place-i need to be like Isaac….i have been postponing God’s Dream…this has been tough for me as most of my family and friends are sooo afraid that i want to quit my well paying job to go and run my business which was God given…even the name was downloaded in prayer and i registered the business smoothly confirming it was in His agenda…in 2011 i panicked in Jan and was sooo afraid to start…but towards the end of the year i picked up and have been seeing God’s favour…i am stepping out and trusting in Him in 2012…i shall for sure THRIVE in the storm….i feel soooo confident in God right now…and i kn ow we shall be the supa success stories in nxt years eve…telling of God’s goodness in 2012…please pray for me specially as a i hand in my resignation and give it up completely to God…i know it will be well!Amen and to God be the glory…btw i got Psalms 91 as my 2012 verse and God has already assured me of His Protection if only i trust in Him which i plan to with my whole life!!!!!!!!Kepp up the good work…sounds like my Mavuno story?????????yes it is..to God B the Glory

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  9. jane mumbi Says:

    that message was so on point.we need to trust in God if we want to survive in this harsh economic times. thanx pastor M

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  10. Esther Kibunyi Says:

    wow, a blessing and an eye opener.

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  11. Wow – powerful and wonderful all at the same time! I absolutely enjoyed this word – and what a word of faith…all that is needed is to trust in the Lord in all tihngs – word and deed! Amazing how we don’t sometimes see when doubt/fear has crept up into our lives and we start to strategise plan B based on our own understanding and wisdom! But thank you so much Pastor M for reminding me especially in this new season and in this this new year – that it is not me but Him and He surely reigns! I am ready to stand back – because I know God is about to release a serious Elisha showdown in my life – I had better stand aside 😉 May His name be forever glorified. Amen and Amen! And Pastor M, may He continue to bless you and your family abundantly! Thanks again for being obedient to His word and for sharing it with us who need to hear it.

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  12. I’m like the gazelle caught in the full glare of a car’s headlights. The reality that is January on the one hand and your sermon on the other..

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  13. Have you ever read something when you needed it the most…. This preaching is a miracle to me… Thank you

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  14. This is so on point. I took in every bit of it like someone who had gone for days without a meal. I BELIEVE.

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  15. Pastor M, Everytime you Speak i feel like you speak directly to Me. You are such a blessing, a Vessel God uses to reach out to Us, his children. Be blessed!!

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  16. Yes i will thrive the climate is not favorable but i choose to to see beyond the climate yes i will thrive God bless you pastor M may U THRIVE also in the work of the Lord.

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  17. I couldn’t make service on Sunday and then i was so sure that at 6am on Monday i would read the sermon and prepare myself for the week…but alas that was not to be ……my car broke down on Thika superhighway at 5.15am….not funny at all….so here i am halfway between ‘githo’ and ‘kasa’……before the crack of dawn……not funny at all!!!! so i have read it albeit late and i know that this was for me……i have a dream apassion deep down in me that is just bursting to come to fruition and i know that i have been planning without the God element and involvement…thinking that i could handle it on my own…..i realise that God has to direct this script and i can no longer plan on my own……Take Control Lord Jesus…..I totally trust in You…….

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  18. Thanks for that message because I feel like giving up my business and I have no idea what I will do next. This message has really up lifted me and with God on my side I Will not give up.

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  19. I have been surviving for several years but 2012 will be exceptional. Am going to THRIVE. Thank you Pastor M for a great sermon.

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  20. Thanks so much Pastor M, what a great way to kickstart 2012! I had a challenging and humbling 2011, I wondered if God really exists even though I kept on holding on. I have got fuel to charge me up and I aint anywhere near giving up now, not while God is on the throne. Infact since Sunday I have been confessing that my God is no respector of economies or powers or persons. God bless you abundantly.

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  21. actually pst M av realiz tht life has many thing incomon.do u kw tht wen u wa telling ua story about hw u proposed to ua wife ws exatly hw thing happend to mi. now i understnd y i always choos u as the a leader i desire do b like(rolmodel).that sermon my new year resolution.

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  22. When will this sermon be posted on Mavuno’s youtube webpage??

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  23. wow. I was in awe the whole time. exactly what God has been speaking to me. amazed. you made it allclearer.

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  24. The bit about surrounding one with friends who care about me and the need for friends who stick with me was an eye opener. I have friends who will look for me when they are in need and disappear as soon as the need is met.

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  25. yani i don even wat to say kwanza the friends story…it rly good to relate wisely…….i cnt wait for next sermon

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  26. Karen Kuria Says:

    Sorry guys for interrupting the flow. This is a response for testimony Sunday. 2 days after the that Sunday, as I reflected on my 2011, i felt i should have given my story. I quit my relatively well paying, relatively secure job at an NGO to join Discovery Africa.

    2011 was one of the best years of my life! After saying yes to Jesus and later to a great man, joining Discovery was the best decision I have made!

    Discovery is a one year full-time leadership training that will prepares one to be the leader that God created you to be.

    My objective was; Pursuit for meaning and purpose and Quest to learn servant leadership.

    Process; I worked alongside the most dynamic, creative, brilliant, passionate, exciting and enthusiastic team I had come across. It was a school of character, chemistry and competence for sure!
    I was constantly challenged above my status quo, to strive towards the next level of excellence, i was constantly pushed to grow .

    Output/Result
    God used the experience and interactions to help me shed of character flaws and pick up godly character traits as I saw modelled around me; pursuit for excellence,faithfulness, servant leadership,practical and compassionate love, becoming a better friend etc
    I learnt great disciplines such as punctuality & time management, reading widely & regularly with a critical mind, resting, reflecting through journalling,praying more fervently,.

    Skills such as running interesting meetings,exciting & experiential trainings,casting vision, mentoring and motivating, becoming a better team member and leader, critically thinking through problems and asking the right questions.

    My thinking, perspective has been expanded many times over, i am no longer limited by what I went to school for, or financial security & safety.
    I now understand what the role of the church and congregation is. The church equips and empowers the Christian to step out into his God given purpose and use this to transform lives around him for the kingdom.

    I discovered my strengths, gifting and abilities. My purpose was revealed!
    God provided for my every need, I lacked no good thing!

    I thank God for 2011 and Mavuno family; I will never be the same again!

    If you feel God telling you about signing up for Discovery not, Fear not. Step out of the boat and walk on water, if its truly where God wants you to be, it will be the greatest, most full-fulling ride of your life and the beginning of a great purposeful adventure!

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  27. Hi good people of God,i have never enjoyed a topic like this one,is it because in my thinking thriving is mostly about money….forgive me my fellow church mates because that is what comes to most of our minds when we hear this word thrive.

    However,looking at my 2011,CHALLENGING INDEED,i can say it was one of my most expensive 1 year course ever taken.I once read somewhere that whatever money you loose along the way in business,account it as fees that was used up in learning a lesson.My fee for 2011 must have amounted to a chunk of close to 4million,am now learning what it means to start a fresh.

    My challenge has been trusting in God.At times am there blaming Him for what may have happened to me but i have slowly developed this feeling that i should let God take charge and repair me after attending to this THRIVE TOPIC.I feel very energetic as i strive to move on.

    In other words,i am taking this topic like its happening on the day i graduate,i am going out to the world with the best education anyone can achieve…Pastor M,you are God sent,am glad this is happening now…

    i am requesting for a prayer for me and others who are afraid of letting God be in-charge and are facing a similar challenges.

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  28. hey was at MDT today when pastor BX preached about relationships. Before his sermon, a video clip was shown with some lady reciting a poem…. something to do with a man with the faith of abraham, attention to detail like noah etc, prayerfulness like sarah etc…i was moved…i cant find that clip anywhere else could you please send the link. it moved me so

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