New Hope Notes
The Power Of Perspective
Faith In Action
Pastor Jon Burgess
Aloha New Hope! I want to talk to you today about The Power Of Perspective, as we finish this amazing series called Faith in Action. Faith gives us a perspective that we could not have on our own; Paul teaches that it is Christ who raises us up to see things the way He does and we get a different perspective:
Philippians 1:18 NIV says, “Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”
Wow! How about that for perspective! Paul is saying to rejoice while he is sitting in a jail cell! Paul has tapped into something that I’m praying we can tap into today. He had prophetic perspective that allowed him to face whatever trial, problem, or situation and understand that even when everything is out of control—God is still in control!
Remember the false missile alert? Do you remember what you were doing when you received that threat notice? Well, my son Jaxon ran into his room and came out wearing his brand new Christmas clothes. We asked him, “What are you doing?! Why are you dressed so nicely?” His response as an 8-year-old was, “Well, I haven’t worn these yet so I wanted a chance to wear them.” He just wanted to meet Jesus looking good. I love that perspective! It was an eternal perspective. Not only was he sure that Jesus had him whether he lived or died, he also knew where he was going and wanted to make sure he looked good when he got there!
Wouldn’t it be great if we could enter the trials, tribulations and uncertainties of life in the same certainty that Paul had while sitting in prison? He was able to look at situations (jail, shipwreck and persecution) and view them with prophetic proclamation.
Instead of shouting, “The world is going to end,” we’re shouting, “Jesus is in charge! Whether I live or die, He’s with me.” In Acts 27, we find Paul in the middle of a deadly storm; everyone is panicking on the boat except Paul:
Acts 27:21-26 NIV says, “21 After they had gone a long time without food, Paul stood up before them and said: ‘Men, you should have taken my advice not to sail from Crete; then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss. 22 But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed. 23 Last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me 24 and said, “Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.” 25 So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me. 26 Nevertheless, we must run aground on some island.’”
What perspective do you need in the middle of your storm (marriage, family, finances) when everyone is saying, “There’s no hope.” Prophesy over that situation: “You know what? My God is greater than this.” Spend time in prayer. Get your journal out. Write what God is saying to you and speak that over your circumstances, worries, and fears.
Paul was able to have prophetic perspective when everything was going wrong, because the Cross was at the center of everything he did. Paul’s prophecy came to pass—every man on that ship survived! However, when they arrived on the island of Malta, things didn’t get any better. It was rainy and cold so they tried to build a fire; suddenly, a snake comes out of the stack of woods that Paul is carrying and bites his arm! Everyone thinks he will die, but he doesn’t because of the prophetic proclamation that God had spoken to Paul the night before that he would share the gospel with the highest people in the land. Paul continued to prioritize people over his problems.
You see from Paul’s life that to live out a prophetic prospective is to put others first. When we serve those around us, God solves our problems, simultaneously.
Acts 28:7-10 NIV says, “There was an estate nearby that belonged to Publius the chief official of the island. He welcomed us to his home and showed us generous hospitality for three days. His father was sick in bed, suffering from fever and dysentery. Paul went in to see him and, after prayer, placed his hands on him and healed him. When this had happened the rest of the sick on the island came and were cured. They honored us in many ways; and when we were ready to sail, they furnished us with the supplies we needed.”
Paul placed these strangers ahead of his problems of getting the needed supplies and instructions to get where they were going. We find that the very people that Paul was serving and healing were the very ones that provided him the supplies and instructions to their destination that he needed.
What would happen if we had that kind of perspective? Instead of placing our problems as a priority, we start putting people as a priority.
I was in Eugene, Oregon, not long ago for our master’s course intensive. One of our assignments was to work on our paper and be alone with God to get His perspective. So I was in the park sitting and journaling, looking up at the cross, feeling spiritual and inspired. A woman came up and just stood at the cross, looking extremely sad. She continued looking at the cross, and I continued journaling. Then it was as if the Holy Spirit prompted me and said, “I need you to go over and talk to that woman.” I wish I could say that I immediately jumped up and obeyed the Lord, but it was more like I didn’t want God to bother me at the moment I was journaling. And it was as if God said, “No, no, no, don’t worry about your problems. I want you to love on this person here.” Finally after a little while, I got up and went over and said, “Hey, I was wondering if there was any way that I could pray for you.”
She said she was having a really hard time, and when I asked what was going on, she told me, “Well, I come up here a lot. I live and work around here; sometimes I come here before work. Today, I needed to be here.”
I asked her why, and she answered, “Well, my mother just passed away from breast cancer.”
I said, “Oh, I am so sorry.” Then she continued. “I just needed to be here to find Jesus. The hard thing is that two years earlier my sister passed away from the same thing.”
I could see that her heart was overwhelmed, and she said, “I don’t know what to do.” I asked if I could pray for her, and she told me it would be great.
As we began to bring her grief and loss to the Lord, I felt prophetic insight come to me. I said, “I believe God wants to take off from you any survivor’s guilt.” (She told me later that that was what she was feeling and that, somehow, she felt she could have done more; somehow, it was her fault or that she should have been in their places.) I began to speak and lift that burden off. I said to her, “I believe that God will give you the strength, not only to receive the love the Lord has for you in this time of loss and grief, but also to be able to have the love for those that have also lost their loved one. I don’t know how, but I feel that God will use this to help you bring others through their grief.” A huge weight seemed to have lifted from her, even though, clearly, she still needed to walk through the grieving process.
I realized then that we are called to lead people to the foot of the Cross. We don’t need to have all the solutions because Christ has already provided solutions through the Cross. He is the solution to every problem we will face. If our priority is to bring people to the Cross we will see God do miraculous things as Paul did. If we prioritize people over our problems, God will not only take care of our problems, but He will also speak life into others’ problems and see them come to know Him as well.
There are times when I get so wrapped up in my own problems that I don’t even notice anything else going on around me. It’s during those times when prophetic perspective helps me to see that as I step into the place of helping someone else find the Cross in their stress, it reminds me that Christ is the solution—not only for them, but also for me.
That brings us to our third and final point...
We all have limitations. None of us have everything we need. God allows for purposeful limitations in our lives to give us perspective. As I was working on this week’s message, I realized that every limitation in my life is an invitation to intimacy with God—a way that I never would have known outside of that limitation.
Whatever your limitation may be, instead of letting them consume your thoughts in frustration and fear, I’m praying that God will flip your perspective and help you see that every limitation you are experiencing is an invitation to see God do something miraculous! It’s an invitation to partner with a Divine plan that God has just for your life!
As we end this series in the book of Acts, I’m hoping that you’ll see that the end is often a new beginning with God. See how Acts ends:
Acts 28:30 NIV, “For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him and he proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance.”
Paul’s limitation was that he was actually under house arrest. However, this limitation was actually an invitation for him to write parts of the Bible AND for others to easily find him in one place and hear him preach. Your limitation is an opportunity to see what God is doing—He’s not trying to torture you but to train you!
Maybe you’re still in a storm and haven’t seen a clearing yet. But as we’ve just learned, it’s actually in the middle of a storm that God wants to drop on you a prophetic word of what He will do in you and through you. Our job isn’t to take credit for clearing the clouds—none of us can do that—but we serve a God that can!