This Is It – A Lamp On A Stand

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We started off this year with the theme “Occupy” based on the story in Luke 19.  In the story the master gave each of his ten servants 10 minas and said to them:  ‘operate with this until I return, or invest this for me while I am gone. The KJV puts it more dramatically: Occupy till I return’. This is where we got this year’s theme from. God means for us to take responsibility over, to invest, to grow and to multiply whatever he gives us. God is calling us to confidently take ownership in every area that He has assigned to us.

The title of this series is ‘This Is It’. Michael Jackson was going to host his last ever concert…and auditions were carried out to select the dancers and singers who would share a stage with him. For these guys, this is what it meant for them ….they had found meaning…purpose….significance. In a sense Christ has called us to share the stage with him and to be an extension of Him. This life you are living… THIS IS IT.

What sorts of things were you good at once upon a time that you no longer do?

My son is a really good runner. I’ve discovered that 5 year olds live to run all day. They take a little break to eat and run some more. They are stopped by sleep and wake up the next day and run some more. We all have muscles, but if you don’t exercise they will show but in strange places. Let me give you another example: many of us studied a foreign language to a certain level. I studied 8 years of German, but because I did not practice it I have lost most of it and its not helping the church plant in Berlin one bit.

My goal this month is to involve as many people, as young as possible, as soon as possible. If you wait to engage in serving until you feel you are ready you will wait a long time. The sooner you can get into a serving opportunity the better. Even if you are not fully trained.

My conviction is that as we serve we occupy spiritually or maximize our spiritual potential. Some of you have been a Christian for a while, others are just starting out and some of you are not yet in a relationship with Christ, but you can still learn something about growing in your relationship with God as you serve.

God has given each of us something, but many of us live below our potential because…we don’t understand that the smallest action can have the greatest effect. In the Westgate situation: we truly saw people taking responsibility and occupying:

  1. The lady serving tea to journalist and police;
  2. The medics, who we saw striking because their pay is inadequate are the same ones who put their lives on hold, worked around the clock, to save the casualties;
  3. The journalists who spent nights in hostile environment just to update the public.
  4. The matatu operators who reduced fare so that Kenyans can go and donate blood.
  5. The Kenyan Indian community.

The smallest action can have the greatest effect. What I learned from Westgate, is that whether people are Christians or not, we were created to occupy; to grow and multiply and to exercise responsibility for God here on earth.

What ability or skill do you have that would surprise us if we knew? What are skills you have that you could contribute to the church?

It all comes down to whether or not we understand we are to maximize our potential; to take responsibility and occupy here on earth. Now, to grow and multiply spiritually, there are some attitudes we need to embrace for us to occupy spiritually. To make the most of every opportunity in our relationship with God, we need to adopt certain ways of thinking.

Luke 8: 16-18 

What can we learn about growing and multiplying spiritually, about maximizing spiritual potential? When God invests his word in your life, he intends to put you on a stand so that others can see you. God’s ultimate intention in your life is for you to grow and multiply. What does it mean to set something on a stand?

• to put in a specified position; for instance to set a book on a table;

• to put into a specified state: such as set the prisoner at liberty;

• to put into a stable position: for instance, set the fence post into a bed of concrete;

• to restore to a proper and normal state when dislocated or broken: set a broken arm;

• to adjust for proper functioning; to adjust according to a standard;

• to adjust (an instrument or device) to a specific point or calibration: set an alarm clock;

• To arrange properly for use: set a place for a dinner guest; set a table.

God’s plan is to grow and multiply you spiritually, so that everyone can see you, to adjust you for proper functioning so that everyone can see you. His intention is to restore you and put you in a specified position.  His goal is that the effect of your life wherever he locates you should be like putting on a light. Light acts like particles—little light bullets—that stream from the source.

But the real tragedy is that many people who call themselves disciples live their lives without emitting light; as if they were hiding a lamp under a clay jar. Many of us live our lives in obscurity. Our lives pass without ever really giving the light that God intended for us. In our office, at our workplace, in our families, we are living like lamps that are hidden in clay jars.

How do we get to the place where our lives begin to grow and multiply spiritually, and function as we were intended to? Verse eighteen explains how spiritual growth and multiplication takes place:

18 Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they think they have will be taken from them.”

Whatever we allow to lie unused as something of little value, even what we  think we have will be taken away from us. But whatever we keep as a thing which we value, will be given more and have an abundance. In other words, We strengthen what we exercise, but we weaken and eventually lose what we disuse.

Where in the world do we see people perfecting what they repeat?

Daniel Owira Otonglo who shot to fame with his performance at the Mombasa State house with his words, ‘tweet me Mr. President’ is now doing ads on National Television and getting paid for it.

Tusker Project Fame is an East African reality-singing competition show. Musicians compete to win cash and a one year record deal. Why do people subject themselves to the kind of exposure they are put through at tusker project fame? Why do people line up in long queues hoping for the opportunity to catapult into opportunity and stardom? Even if we are not in project fame, the rest of us are in our homes watching them.

Paul Tergat; This guy used to exercise daily consistently. He probably still does.

Aaron Krucial Keys Rimbui exercises for 2 hours every day. He does not wait for TPF, he perfects all he has.

Beyonce is borderline ruthless when it comes to her rehearsals.

During the auditions for Michael Jackson’s last and greatest production “This is it”, the producer said whoever will share the stage with Michael must have the spirit of the man and be like the man. At some point the producers wanted to call it off because they did not think Michael himself could sustain the grueling strain of the rehearsals, because they were not sure he would make it. But Michael himself was relentless.

If this is how hard the people in the world practice in order to grow and multiply, what about us? For us to grow, to multiply, to occupy spiritually, and become significant, we must constantly exercise. We strengthen what we exercise but we lose what we disuse.

As I said, my goal this month is to involve as many people, as young as possible, as soon as possible. If you wait to engage in serving until you feel you are ready you will wait a long time. The sooner you can get into a serving opportunity the better. Even if you are not fully trained.

Once you begin to serve several things happen. First you are confronted with what you don’t know but need to know and you become extremely teachable. Second, you will recognize immediately if you have chosen an appropriate place to serve. I remember when I was on the internship program at the Nairobi Chapel and was asked to serve in youth ministry. I discovered that whole year that I was not called to be a youth pastor. You don’t discover by sitting!

The point I am trying to make is this: Many of us want to grow. We want to occupy spiritually. Serving/ministry involvement is a significant faith builder. But you have to start somewhere. We strengthen what we exercise but we lose what we disuse

What is it that keeps us from engaging in serving?

Conflict of spaces: I want to serve, but if I become an usher, then am seen at the club on Friday…Church vs. Club. Many people feel they cannot serve because of where they have been the previous night.

Many of us doubt our faith. Many of us feel insignificant. We don’t feel we have something of value to offer. But my challenge to you is this: If God does not show off through you, who will he use? No one who is the perfect fit but everyone is the right candidate. How will God fit into your life if you never make time for him?

Many of us feel stretched from all different angles. There is the wife the kids, milk prices have gone up, there is so much demand from so many different directions, there is so much happening, and how do I add one more feather to an already full cap: many roles and responsibilities.

To occupy spiritually God’s intention for you is to grow spiritually, to be all he intended for you to become. It’s not just about you coming to church, not just getting saved, but now start to occupy because We strengthen what we exercise but we lose what we disuse.

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2 Responses to “This Is It – A Lamp On A Stand”

  1. Pastor Linda, your sermon resonates with me. As we prepare for the move the congregants need to step out to serve. However, I have some questions for you? I think your message left a door open that could be misleading.

    Should non-believers serve in church yet they are not members of the house? Wouldn’t it compromise the witness of the church as it he/she does not share the thinking of the house? Why use secular examples of celebrities in the sermon? Does that mean there are no committed believers influencing the world as celebrities?

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    • @ Chica, i hear you on the concern raised. From the way the message was passed across it may leave a loophole if not clearly explained. I believe that the main intention of getting as many people to sign up for service is so as to get as many as them to the marathon. Those who come and want to serve and havent done Mizizi will be directed to Mizizi and then have them plug in from there. I believe that that way we will be equipping the believers to serve. I agree with you that the witness of the church has to be maintained in all this regard.

      Regarding the examples used, i got the main point to be this: if non-believers do it with such determination, yet they are doing it for a crown that is perishable (to put it in Paul’s words), how much more should we work on our God-given gifts for the sake of extending the kingdom of God throughout the world. I think that was the main point, my opinion. 🙂

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