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Sunday January 10th

Breaking Barriers

If this is your first visit to The Journey, from your home online, welcome to 2021.

What a joy to be with all of you today.

I’m Pastor Paris of The Journey Church.

 

The year 2021 lies ahead of us, and we have a choice as to how we will confront it, or how it will confront us.  Far too many Christ followers today become victims in their life, rather than victorious members of the king’s army.  I hope you will join me in a tenacious approach, filled and led by the Holy Spirit, in the year ahead.  The way we choose to live our lives genuinely matters, as I have shared what God says about this several times already in recent weeks, because I want you to get it.

 

1 Timothy 4:16 Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.

 

This verse reminds us that we must become change agents who relentlessly move forward with God’s agenda, instead of yielding to our culture or Satan’s agenda.  We must gain a stronger conviction, increased backbone, thicker skin and fortified courage, or we will be defeated in our life, and our fellow man will be destined to eternal separation from God.

 

Romans 8:37–39 … in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

Are you hearing it?  We must admit how we are, but we must also learn how we might be even more effective at reaching and serving our fellow man through spirit driven efforts, even in a socially distant world.  I believe God is asking us to Break through the Barriers that are being created in our culture.  I’m not referring to fabric on our face or even racial injustice.  I’m referring to the false belief that we must avoid connecting with our fellowman, 6 feet apart or 30 feet apart.  I’m not asking you to compromise your health, but rather to think creatively.  The truth is that it will take a people who see themselves as commissioned to rescue lost people and not simply in it for themselves.  We must become the family of God and declare that we are; I can, I will and I do, people.

 

I want to share with you a couple of verses that changed my life back in my early days of faith.  I have since chosen to live as though I believed these next words.  I’ve repeated, recited and confessed these words hundreds if not thousands of times in my Christian life because of the barriers that were constructed in my world.  Listen, learn and commit them to memory and you will be strengthened.

 

2 Timothy 1:6–7 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

 

This Christianity I speak of is not for the faint of heart.  And even though you may have lived in fear over your entire life, or simply the last few months, we must turn to God’s word and be fortified.  We must see ourselves through a new lens called God’s window of faith found in His word.

 

Ephesians 3:20–21 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

 

We must refuse to be labeled as victims.  We must reject the poor me position of defeat and discouragement.  I challenge you to read every place the bible says we are people of power.  That’s over 200 times in scripture where God’s power is attributed to His people.  But you must choose to open the Bible in order to see this truth for yourself.

 

Matthew 22:29  Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.

 

You see, the gospel was never intended to be absent of the power of God.  We have lifeless religion in our world because of so many who moved away from true faith in an almighty creator, to trust in formal religious practices, science or human effort, instead.  So we must adjust our thinking from a weakened position in our culture, and turn instead to our spirit filled reality, that Jesus demonstrated while He was walking this same dirtball we call earth.  Jesus still has the same authority, His words still possess the same power, and we are still God’s chosen.  That’s not arrogant or boastful, it’s Bible.

 

Luke 4:36 All the people were amazed and said to each other, “What words these are! With authority and power he gives orders to impure spirits and they come out!”

 

Do you see yourself as having God’s power in your life or are you still living defeated and in the clothing of a victim?  Do you understand that humility and power can be resident in the same vessel?  That’s the very definition of the life of Jesus.  But He passed this power on to those who follow Him so that they might break through the barriers in this world.

 

Luke 9:1–2 When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.

 

This power I speak of, is not unlike what David was given when he stepped up to confront Goliath.  He didn’t get taller or bulge with more muscles.  He didn’t get more educated or have greater strategic approach to battle.  He surged with the assurance, that God was with him as he stood facing this human agent of evil and oppression.  What barriers are you facing today?  Is it fear?  Is it intimidation?  Is it your anger or your lack of forgiveness?  Then realize you have been deeded a power that comes from an Almighty God.  Realize that we can face off with giants and win the day.

 

Luke 24:46–49 He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”

 

We must become barrier breaking powerhouses from God.  We must move from considering faith, to standing in faith, believing that God tells the truth so we will do what He says regardless of the perceived forces in front of us.  The world must see us endued with power or we are just another religious group.  They must hear our prayers and witness our convictions.  The culture must experience the mercy of God, the grace of God and the power of God.

 

Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

 

If the enemy has been taking advantage of your inactivity for God, then decide that this year you are going to shift toward spirit filled and spirit lead activity, even if it’s small to begin with.  Decide today that we do what God says we can do.

 

2021 awaits a church of great conviction, to emerge from the ashes of 2020, and proclaim boldly that we are God’s chosen people.  We are chosen, not because we are better than any others, but because we have received all that we have as an act of love and grace, so we want others to get it in the same way.  God cares about all the people of the world, including our own neighbors and acquaintances.  We must break through the barriers of this culture by the power of God and be the voice that says we can, we will, we do.

 

Next week we will hear about the Journey Church’s outreach to some of the least reached parts of the earth.

 

This is Pastor Paris saying God Bless you all.