Step Out – Just Do It

JANUARY SERIES  website homepage FLIER

Happy New Year! It’s an amazing thing to be alive for yet another year and definitely something to be grateful to God for. I’m glad to have gotten into 2014 and I’m looking forward to the great things that I’m sure God has in store for us as a community this year! I’d like to start us off with a question: what was your greatest dream growing up?

When you thought about the future and who you wanted to become, what you wanted to make of your life…what was your greatest desire? You know I had some pretty lofty dreams. I mean there was the dream of creating immense amounts of wealth- and becoming fabulously rich while I was still young. I planned to become a millionaire by the time I was 30. Along the way, I somehow figured that the fastest way to do this was by becoming a pharmacist – the legal kind! It wasn’t all about me though. As I saw the suffering as millions of people burdened by poverty, others struggling with the burden of living with HIV/AIDS, youth getting into crime due to joblessness resulting from a poor economy. I felt that someone had to change and that if I made lots of money, I could help make a difference! That part of my dream remained with me – I still dream of being a blessing, not just to my country but to our great continent of Africa. And I know I’m not alone.

I know that beyond our dreams to get rich and see the world – every one of us has great dreams of who they would become in the future and of the great things they would accomplish with their lives. For some of us, it could be that we saw someone, maybe a relative, a loved one suffer some great injustice and we got angry and dreamt of one day fighting for the rights of other people who are oppressed in the same way. Maybe you grew up in poverty and you dreamt of one day being able to do something-maybe train people on how to run successful businesses- something that would significantly change the lives of many around you who share the same fate you did. It could be that you grew up in a broken home and you knew the hurt and pain and one of your greatest dreams was to raise a family that would be different from what you saw growing up. It could be that you grew up in an abusive environment and you dreamt that when you were older you would do something to protect other children from suffering the abuse that you suffered. Every one of us had some dreams growing up. Many of them may have been self-centered, but we also dreamt of doing something great that would positively influence the lives of many around us.

I want you to imagine with me for a moment, what would happen if each one of us had what it takes to accomplish our dreams. Think about it. What if every single one of us was successful in attaining our dreams to impact society? What would be different about your home village or about that corner of the city where you were raised? How would this city look? The stories we hear now about our city now; how would they be different?

Unfortunately for most people, their dreams remained exactly that: dreams! Maybe life just took a different tangent from what we thought when we were young. We got a job, we got married or we got kids – and life just got busy and overwhelming! Or maybe we tried something and it didn’t work out and we gave up altogether. Or maybe we shared about our dream but people discouraged us and convinced us to play it safe – now was not the time. As a result, our dreams have remained just that: DREAMS! And yet I am convinced that some of those dreams that we had, that longing we had to change something, to make the world a better place, weren’t just dreams but things that God is actually calling us to change or to influence in some way or other. For each and every one of us, God has called us to a life of significance and purpose. Every one of us has a role to play in making our community- our city, our country, our continent- a better place. For some of us, the dreams from our youth were a clear indication of what God is calling us to; for others of us those particular dreams may not be exactly what God is calling us to but something different. The one thing I know is that every one of us has a calling to make a difference in our world!

This year I believe that God is challenging us to Step Out and to actually change our society: To move from dreaming of a better society and to start doing something to see it become a reality. This is our year to Step Out and make a difference! As we begin, I want us to learn from the life of a leader who had to overcome many fears, doubts and anxieties, in order to step out into the audacious dream that God had given him;

  Joshua 1: 1-5 (New Living Translation)

 If there was ever anyone who needed assurance by God, it was Joshua! His mentor, the greatest leader of his time, was now dead. For 40 years, Moses had led the Israelites through the wilderness, through the good times and bad times, through all the difficult decisions. Moses was larger than life! He always knew exactly what God was saying. He never seemed to age – in fact the bible tells us that at the age of 120, he still had 20:20 eyesight. He still walked straight, with no stoop or limp. And then all of a sudden, Moses was gone. His death must have been the most tragic event the Israelites had ever experienced. I suspect Joshua was confused, overwhelmed, just managing his grief, when God appeared to him with a huge responsibility. He was the one chosen to lead these former slaves into their Promised Land. To dispossess their enemies and to take over the land that God had promised to the Israelites. Joshua may not have felt ready, but for years, God had actually been preparing him for just this moment. As Moses’ assistant, he had walked alongside him and served him. He had climbed up the mountain with Moses to hear from God. He had observed everything that Moses had done as a leader. He had even led Israel into battle as Moses watched and prayed. But now, the bible informs us, Moses was dead and ready or not, Joshua’s time had come.  ‘The time has come.’ Eight years ago when we began the Mavuno journey, we felt that God had given us an exciting dream as a church. Our mission was clear – ‘Turning Ordinary People Into Fearless Influencers Of Society’. It meant that our focus was to reach out to people who did not like church or find it relevant and to help them become a revolutionary force that would bring God’s influence into their families, their workplaces and their society. We came up with a strategy, which helps people become fearless influencers in four zones of influence. The first zone of influence is over your own LIFE and for that, we have MIZIZI. This helps you connect with God and connect with your life purpose and connect with a Life Group that will help you achieve that purpose. But that is just step one. You see, each of us has a people that God is calling us to influence. Your second zone of influence is your FAMILY. That’s why we offer the SIMAMA class to help you deal with family baggage and start your family moving towards freedom. But there’s another zone of influence, the third, which is your WORKPLACE. That’s why we offer OMBI – to help you learn to take charge through prayer. Your fourth zone of influence is your SOCIETY, which includes your city and beyond. That’s what HATUA does – it prepares you to impact the sector of society that God designed you for. As I prayed about God’s word for us in 2014, I sensed God is saying the same thing to us as he said to Joshua – ‘the time has come’. It’s time to dispossess your enemies! This is your word people, ‘Be strong and courageous, for you are the one who will lead these people to possess all the land I swore to their ancestors I would give them’. There are people around you who need you to step out… This is your year to step out into fearless influence. This is what you were created for! Like Joshua, many of us have been in a season of training, but God is saying ‘you can’t prepare forever; the time has come to take responsibility, to take charge and be the man or woman of the hour’. Some people like being in school! They move from degree to degree without stopping long enough to implement anything they’ve learnt; Professional students. But learning for learning’s sake is of no value! At some point, you need to step out and live it out. Many of us have taken the first step and began the journey to fearless influence through the different marathon experiences. I believe God’s word to us is that 2014 is the year to Step Out and to take responsibility for our society. So practically – what does it look like to Step Out? Joshua 1: 6-18 (NLT) For Joshua to step out, he needed three things. I want to call these ‘the how to’s of stepping out’. The first one is… COURAGE – The words ‘be strong and courageous’ are repeated at least 3 times. Please take note! When someone tells you, ‘you’re going to have to be brave’, what are they implying? What you’re about to face is not going to be easy! To take over their Promised Land, the Israelites would have to dispossess 31 hostile nations that were better armed than them. They would have to fight giants in walled cities. No wonder God was calling Joshua to be courageous! Being a fearless influencer is not easy. Did you know you that there are demons that are assigned to keep you from being whom God created you to be? Someone will have to courageously stand up to them! Do you know there are enemies that are determined to keep your family from being who God created them to be? Alcoholism, selfishness, children out of wedlock, materialism, strife and so forth: It’s going to take courage to evict those strongholds! Do you know there are enemies that have locked your workplace into the toxic culture that it displays? Someone is going to have to courageously stand up against them. Do you know that our society has enemies that keep it back from being who we were created to be? ‘The time has come’ ‘Be strong and courageous for you are the one who will lead these people to possess all the land I swore to their ancestors I would give them’! I can see you like Joshua going, ‘who me?’ And God replying, ‘Yes you! I know; you don’t have your act together. You haven’t arrived yet. You still have issues. But you are my plan A for the deliverance of your family or your workplace and society. So be strong and courageous! But what if I take a risk, Step Out in faith and fail? That’s a great question! Over the years, one of the most important lessons on leadership I’ve learnt is this: The best leaders are the ones who are not afraid of making mistakes.  Give me two leaders; one who attempts 6 different things, fails 4 times and only has 2 successes (a 30% success rate) and the other who in the same period of time tries only 2 different things because he knows for sure they will work perfectly, and thus has a 100% success rate. Which is the better leader? The first! Why? Because he has learnt at least 4 lessons that the other one has no idea about! Failure is not always your enemy! It can actually be the friend that teaches you how to do it better next time! God has not promised that we will always succeed as we step out to influence for Him. But He has promised to be with us. You see, I would rather be in a place of difficulty with God, than in a place of ease without God. And this is his promise in 2014 – v. 5 ‘I will not fail you or abandon you.’(vs 9) ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. ‘The time has come’. The 2nd thing you need to step out after courage is… OBEDIENCE – v.8 ‘do not let this book of the law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful’. God was calling Joshua back to the basics, back to what Moses had taught him. As a Christian, you never outgrow the basics. You learnt in Sunday school, ‘read your bible, pray every day if you want to grow’. It doesn’t get more basic than that! It’s not flashy, and it’s not ‘sexy’! Success comes from daily coming to God and hearing His voice and then applying it that day. That’s why every year I challenge you to read through the bible. Rather than running on to the next thing, it’s patiently working on what you’ve learnt in order to become great at hearing God’s voice. Reality is the basics are not usually ‘fun’. My kids are learning to play music and one of the concepts they find hard to understand is practicing your scales. They want to play a song and then move on to the next song. One of my favorite musicians is Aaron Rimbui and he’s taught me this lesson. Despite the fact that he is so gifted and plays in many forums, he practices his scales every day. As you see him shining on stage, what you don’t see is the hours of practice that have brought him there. What you don’t see is that its not trying but training that has put him where he is. ‘The time has come’. In order to Step Out this year, you’ll need courage and obedience. The 3rd thing you need to step out is… INITIATIVE – This one is critical. Joshua clearly knew God’s will. He was virtually assured of success. So what did he do next? He did something many Christians forget to do – he worked on a strategy!  Drawing from his experience, he figured it would take 3 days to cross the Jordan so he got his officers to begin the preparations. And then as we’ll see later, as everyone was busy preparing, he sent out two undercover agents to spy out the land. Now why would Joshua do this? Hadn’t God already assured him of success? V.3 ‘I promise you what I promised Moses: ‘Wherever you set foot, you will be on land I have given you’. God had already said it! All they had to do was step on the land and it was theirs! So why send people to spy out the land? Did Joshua doubt God’s promise? Was he displaying a lack of faith? Absolutely not! Once God had shown him his Promised Land, Joshua knew he needed to play his part – to step out and take initiative. You see, GOD’S PROMISE DOES NOT RULE OUT OUR RESPONSIBILITY. This is a very important truth. Once God has shown you where He wants you to influence, then you need to not only pray actively about it but you need to start to do something! You need to actively cooperate with God’s purposes for your family/workplace/society. As the famous slogan goes, ‘just do it!’ One of the risks we often learn especially as believers is getting stuck at “I’m praying about it.” It’s tempting to wait until everything is absolutely clear before you step out to influence. God has shown you your purpose but now you want Him to dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s. To wait until you’re absolutely certain before you take that first step. But right where you are, you can begin to make a difference. You can begin to put things in motion. Maybe it’s by inviting your family members to a thanksgiving meal at your house. Maybe it’s by getting to the office early to pray for your colleagues or meeting others in your industry to brainstorm how you can influence it. Maybe it’s beginning to volunteer at a children’s home, or supporting several children from needy families with scholarships. What has God been placing on your heart? ‘The time has come’ One final thing I want you to notice from the text. Joshua spoke with the three tribes who have already been allocated land by Moses – Reuben, Gad and Manasseh and told them, ‘you may have already arrived, but we’re all going across. After we conquer the whole land, then you can come back to what’s yours’. What was his point? You see, even though the 3 tribes may have felt they had arrived, their ongoing security would only be guaranteed if they helped their fellow Israelites to find their own Promised Land. I’m going to say more about this text on the last weekend of this series. But for now, let me point out that a very curious principle that good students know – the best way to learn is by helping others learn! The best way to grow is by helping others grow! Have you done Mizizi? That’s great, but the truths you learnt will become much more alive when you help others to learn them! My prayer this year is that every member of your family will encounter God this year because of you… That broken marriages will be reconciled, alcoholics will be delivered, hopeless people find hope. I pray that Mavuno people will bring God’s influence into every major corporate company of this nation. That you will change the rules of the game in business, media, education, and politics… That we will educate thousands of children from poor families… That many of you will continue to impact our prisons… That people in our city will talk fondly of Mavuno, as the church that has brought light and hope. That in the next few years, people from all across Africa and the world will travel here to see how a city can be changed when God’s people dare to step out and live extraordinary lives. That’s where I believe God is taking us. ‘The time has come’

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7 Responses to “Step Out – Just Do It”

  1. Wow Pastor M! That was an inspiring sermon! Thanks for challenging us to influence the sectors we work in. Count me in! I would love to have company for the journey, though. Is it possible to have a prayer room (online or physical) dedicated to praying for challenges facing the various spheres of society? Members of the congregations can post prayer items and praise reports. Just a thought.

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    • That’s a great idea Chica! Certainly something that would add great value to us as we ‘step out’ this year. Thanks for sharing it. Will pass it on to our tech team.

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  2. Leo Kinuthia Says:

    May our good Lord keep you using you all to bless and inspire His people.

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  3. […] Turning Ordinary People Into Fearless Influencers Of Society « Step Out – Just Do It […]

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  4. I missed this sermon last week as I was in Jr Green House with my son. I could not find it on the main Mavuno website but i have now found it, thanks for great Words. the last few weeks i have felt “paralyzed” by the love of God. I have thought that probably someone in heaven mistook me for someone else and I got what I did not merit…. in a sense it is true; for all my failures, and shortcomings, somehow God still chose me (long story). I want to step out, I know in His presence, I can!

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