New Hope Notes
Hungry For His Presence
The Irresistible Church
Pastor Wayne Cordeiro
Let’s talk about my book, the IRRESISTIBLE CHURCH. It is not about a church that is irresistible to people. It is instead about the twelve marks of a church that is irresistible to God and Heaven. The book describes a church where God would look down and say “I Just Can’t Help But Be Involved with That Church and Can’t Help but Bless That Church”. Take and study these marks for twelve weeks and see how it can apply not only to our church but to our lives. Get involved with a life group and study and apply these marks one per week. Let our lives be irresistible to Heaven.
The first mark is for us to be Hungry for His Presence-
I will start with a story that happened here about three years ago. Those circumstances brought me to the presence of God in a stark way. The size of our congregation is so huge that to move our weekend services to a different location would be a major and logistical nightmare. We usually would get notice that we had to move 8-10 months in advance. But the school needed the auditorium for the weekend and we had only a 3 week notice because someone forgot to tell us and now we were scrambling. Nothing was available on the island except an outside park. Approval was given for the park and the set up for the sound system and lighting was fine. I thought the only thing we could not have was Rain. If it rained on our electrical equipment we would be done and we would lose so much.
Three weeks in advance I began to talk to God. I told him how long that I have been serving Him, since I was nineteen years old. I told the Lord that I haven’t asked Him for much, but I will ask Him for one thing. I need No Rain for that weekend. I cannot have rain, because it will ruin everything. I was putting my order in now and making sure He got the memo. I prayed and prayed. Saturday night we had one service and two on Sunday morning. Saturday night service came and I saw all the clouds coming, and I spoke to God about my prayers and talked to Him again about no rain and that we needed to move the clouds to Maui. That night it started to sprinkle and I am thinking that this is too dangerous with all the electrical cords everywhere. We had dancers and other members on the tarp. I told God that we don’t have life insurance for these people, so we can’t have rain. It sprinkled that night but it wasn’t bad enough to mess everything up.
I went home and got down on my knees and said, “Dear Lord. it sprinkled tonight and I have a heart to let you slide on this, but tomorrow I can’t have this. Remember how long I have been serving you and I’m doing some good stuff. I really need you to help me out here.” The next morning I get up, and it is pouring down rain. I looked outside and kept telling myself Keep My Faith Up….Keep My Faith Up….. As I drive out from the condo I leave my windshield wipers off and try to Keep My Faith. I get to the park and it is pouring rain. There is a huddled group of fifteen people in the middle that start the service with their hands high thanking the Lord, and me on the side with my hands up complaining. I tell God..Come On I have been praying for weeks about this, and the very thing I ask, you are not doing. God Come On.. How many times have I served you, and put in overtime for heaven. These people are worshiping and they see me on the side, thinking – Oh our Pastor is worshiping…and it encourages them to worship more. But I am on the side complaining and grumbling. Now all of a sudden it seemed like time stopped.
I heard Him speak to me so clearly. In the midst of my grumbling I heard God say, “Wayne, you are more interested in the absence of Rain than you are in the presence of GOD. For the last three weeks you never asked once for my presence. You only had a tirade about removing problems. Wayne, if I stopped the rain, but you did not have my presence, this church would become a barren desert. On the other hand if my presence were there, regardless of the rain I would start a revival that would sweep the whole state.”
Don’t ask for the absence of problems - ask for the presence of God and He will take care of the rest. That changed the way I thought and even till today I remember that one event so clearly as God taught me the importance of being Hungry For His Presence. That is what we will talk about today.
In the following parable:
There were two men on the road to a place called Emmaus which is seven miles out of Jerusalem that encountered the same presence of God. They were making a round trip but on one way the presence of God did not do much for them but it did on the way back. They were talking to each other of what had taken place. This was after Jesus was crucified, died, buried and resurrected. So he was in His resurrected state at the time. But these people are still upset because they thought that the Messiah would come and eradicate the Romans. They thought that that would be His role as the Messiah. That was not the role of Jesus. He came to redeem man’s soul. They were angry and as they were grumbling and discussing these things, Jesus himself approached and began traveling with them. But their eyes were prevented from recognizing Him. He asked them what was upsetting them so much. One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”
19 “What things?” he asked.
“About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. 20 The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; 21 but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. 22 In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning 23 but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. 24 Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.”
25 He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.
28 As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther. 29 But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.
30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. (Luke 24:18-31)
“Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him…They said to one another, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?” And they got up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found gathered together the eleven and those who were with them, saying, “The Lord has really risen!” (Luke 24:31-34)
Their attitudes changed from being sad and discouraged on the way to Emmaus with Jesus to being inspired with the God in the form of the Holy Spirit on the way back to Jerusalem. This shows us that …
1. What makes the difference is that we RECOGNIZE His presence.
He is there waiting, but if we don’t recognize His presence and invite Him in then our lives will be meaningless and flat. Remember the scripture says “You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (John 8:32) Is it the truth that will set you free? …. Not necessarily...
*It’s the truth that you KNOW that sets you free.
This is why we should do devotions on a daily basis. Mark God out as one of your blessings.
2. Let the Spirit increase the PACE of your heart.
Don’t be slow of heart to believe, ask God to turn that dial in your heart to quick of heart. As the Bible says, “Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just exactly as the women also had said; but Him they did not see,” And He said to them, “O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!” (Luke 24:24-25)
One of the best prayers is this- “Holy Spirit would you reach into this man’s heart and turn my dial to fast of heart to believe? I don’t want it to be that I have nothing left of my life before I turn to you. I want to turn to you when anything happens.” What does it take before we turn to God?
It is written, “They said to one another, “Were not our hearts burning with us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:32) Let what God says affect you. Let it burn in your heart.
I had a member in our Hilo church that always came, and then I didn’t see him anymore. I ran into him at the gym and asked him why he did not come to church anymore. He replied that he felt uneasy inside at some of the things I said. I asked him if he did not think that was God talking to him. He said he did but he didn’t like the feeling because then he would need to change and he didn’t want to change. I told him that he was slow at heart to believe.
We can increase the pace of our hearts. Let what God says affect you and burn in your heart. Too many times we don’t let what God says affect us. Let God touch you.
We cry at movies more than at broken families. We give more to win the Super Bowl. We spend 5.6 Billion Dollars on that one day. One hundred and fifty one million people watch the Super Bowl in two hundred and thirty two countries. In America we consume eight million pounds of pop corn-twenty eight million pounds of potato chips, fifty three million pounds of avocado for guacamole, one billion chicken wings and three hundred and twenty five million gallons of beer. We spend so much money in one day and cannot even remember who won the game three years ago.
We should revalue our lives to match up with what is important to Heaven and that is what would make us an Irresistible Church. Because Heaven is saying, “That is just what we want it to be”. What prevents us from allowing God to touch us? It is the same thing that prevented their eyes from recognizing the presence of God.
The inability to have God touch us is just one word – PRIDE. Every single one of us struggle with some measure of PRIDE. It is an internal parasite and if you are not careful, it will eat you like a tape worm. PRIDE lies. It LIES to you, making you think you are in control when actually you are under its spell. It is eating away at everything that God has given to you. You can come to church and not learn because you won’t let God touch your heart and affect you. The presence of God could be moving in your life, but you could be refusing to RECOGNIZE it. The antidote for PRIDE is GODLY COMMITMENTS. Godly Commitments will free you from PRIDE, lust, temptations, the desire to just drop out and your anger.
3. His presence is ALWAYS with you but you must RECOGNIZE him.
As the Bible promises, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:20) Often we tend to forget God so …
· Establish a REMINDER!
I would like to encourage all of you to have a reminder of the presence of God. I have a reminder on my wrist, it reminds me that Jesus is as near as this. It says on it “Live Exceptionally”. When I know Jesus is near me, I live very differently. To be a people of God’s presence..REOGNIZE him because that is the kind of people we want to be.
1. Why should we recognize God’s presence?
2. What kind of truth sets you free?
3. How can you know God is present?
4. How can you be quick of heart to believe?
5. Why should we remind ourselves of God’s presence?