--- NOTE: This is the last E-Devotion for this week as my family will be traveling to be with my wife's family in Georgia. Pray for us. Thanks! ---
One of my favorite preachers is Matthew Barnett pastor of Angelus Temple and visionary leader of The Dream Center in Los Angeles, CA. I was listening this morning to his message titled "Larger Ropes and Deeper Stakes" from May 24th of this year.
Isaiah 54:2 (niv) --- Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes.
Barnett talked about how God grows our lives, our work and His church. If we want to grow, we have to do some things to prepare for that growth. Makes a lot of sense. Kind of like building a house, you have to have the foundation just right. If you want a bigger and better job that requires a particular skill, you have to get the education and the skill. The same is true for our spiritual lives and the churches we are part of.
He told a story about putting up a tent for a meeting they were having. It was much bigger than any of the tents they had used before, and a professional told that they needed longer ropes and stakes that went deeper into the ground. If they did not have those things, the tent would fall. Make sense.
We want everything now. This may even be called the "microwave society" with everything happening in an instant - fast food and such. But when things grow well and do well, they have to have time and preparation. If we want to be a better singer, we have to spend time practicing. If we want to be a good carpenter, we have to sharpen our skills and learn new things. If I want to preach better, I have to study more and do some things differently than I am used to.
For the church to grow or for our lives to grow, we need to let our stakes go deeper into God. We have to hang on to Him tighter and longer and harder. Because what happens when we grow and we are not ready for it ...
Matthew 13:6 (niv) --- But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.
I want my life to count. I want our church to grow and touch more lives for Jesus. But for that to happen, I have to understand that going deeper with God will let me grow wider. Our church will touch more people and point more and more people to God as we grow wider because we are deeper in love with Him and are deeper rooted in Him.
Deeper lets you go wider. Which means there will be more people walking into heaven with us and we will know and share the love of God more. I'm game for that. How about you?