This message was presented on Friday, February 22, 2019, at the IPHC 6th Global Assembly in Santiago, Chile.
“Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the Lord. Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes;” Isaiah54:1-2 KJV
During a period of four years, 43,774 people from the United States stopped congregating in IPHC churches & 240 churches were closed.
- The West is the only place where the church is declining.
- In the rest of the world, the gospel is spreading like forest fire.
- Pentecostal and charismatic churches are growing above all.
- People want more than a creed or a group of strict theological affirmations.
- They want to know if God is real and if He is still changing lives today.
- People want to touch the sculpture, not just see it from the distance.
- People want to taste the food, not just smell it.
- They want to swim in the ocean, not just look at pictures related to it.
- They are longing for God’s reality in their lives, that’s it!
- The good thing is that we know God and His reality.
We have seen His power and we have a message that may change the world!
“Enlarge the place of your tent.” Go large.
“Stop waiting and start moving…” and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations(Isaiah 54:2).
People who imagined about this test probably thought, “We cannot take any new territory because God has not given us a new tent. Lord, we are going to wait until you provide us with the new material and the new tent.” And God says “No, no, no! Take the material you have and extend it and make a tent much bigger with what you already have.”
Sometimes we are simply waiting for what God is going to do next and we begin to say: “God, if we had the resources, if we had the people…”Well, God is trying to say that you have all that you need! Everything we need is in the house.
The woman with the little jar of oil presented it to God, and as the vessels kept coming, God kept filling them! What do we have in our hands? What do we have as a church? Are we ready to use it for God’s glory? Or are we waiting to see what God is going to do next?
Don’t be sparse. Don’t have limits. Let go of fear.
Fear keeps us on the ground!
People may have said, “But Lord, we have been exiled! Our cities are in ruins! Our eyes look around and we cannot see the things You are describing, so we are afraid to go in faith because we cannot see just yet how He will make it.”
God says, “Don’t stop.”
Joshua was sent by the Lord,“Only be thou strong and very courageous”(Joshua 1:7).
Church, don’t be afraid and don’t be discouraged. Why?“…for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest” (Joshua 1:9 KJV).
Marriane Williamson said:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
What would have happened if… Peter had not gotten off the boat because of his fear? If the woman with an issue of blood had not touched the hem of Jesus’ garment because of her fear?If the disciples had not preached the gospel because of their own fear?
How many of us will get to the end of our lives and say, “What if…?”What if…we would have said, “NO” to fear and taken more risks? What if we had said no to fear and had taken the Lord at His word more often and laid hands on the sick and preached the gospel?
Church, this is our time. This is our generation. People will go to hell on our guard. Don’t be sparse, don’t have limits, stretch forth the curtains.
Become a church of influence. “Lengthen your cords.”
God is calling us all to be missionaries: to go beyond the limits of the community of our church to reach those who don’t know Jesus.
We are to speak in the name of Jesus for some of the things that are happening in society.
So, if you still don’t know your neighbors, maybe this is the time. Why don’t you introduce yourself? Don’t get too busy to establish relationships with those outside of the church and see what God will do.
Go deeper. “Strengthen thy stakes.”
The strength of a stake is measured by the depth at which it was hooked.
From the age of 14-18, I worked as a lifeguard for my local pool. One of the parents thought it was good to teach to his son to swim by throwing him deep into the pool. The child’s arms fluttered, flailing all over the place. So, the father decided to jump in and save his son. Then he took his son to the shallow end and told him, “It is perfectly fine to swim in the shallow end until you learn how to swim. But it is not okay to remain in that superficial end for the rest of your life.”
The IPHC has a superficial end. You can learn about God and about the basis of Christianity; but if you have been in the superficial end for 20 years, it is time to take an adventure and go to the deepest end.
We must go deeper into the word of God! We must go deeper in our search for His presence. We must go deeper in prayer… in making disciples… in worshiping… in brotherhood… in evangelism… and in the fulfillment of the Great Commission in cooperation with the body of Christ.
And if we accomplish all of that, God tells us…
“For thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left, and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited” (Isaiah54:3KJV).
“Fear not; for thou shalt not be ashamed: neither be thou confounded; for thou shalt not be put to shame: for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood any more” (Isaiah54:4KJV).
“For thy Maker is thine husband; the Lord of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called” (Isaiah54:5KJV).
“This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (1 John 1: 5-7 KJV).
Originally from Washington, Rev. David Lopez answered God’s call to serve in Mexico where he has developed as a pastor with a mission to reach his generation for Christ. Lopez currently pastors Shadai International Church in southeast California and serves as youth pastor at the main church campus in Mexicali, B.C, Mexico.