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We appreciate you and pray for God's very best in your life.
Well, God bless you. It's always a joy to come into your homes and spend a few minutes with you. We love you. We know God has great things in store. And if you're ever in our area, please stop by and be a part of one of our services. I promise you, it will make you feel right at home. But thanks so much for tuning in and thanks again for coming out today. I'd like to start with something funny.
I heard about these two men named Archie and Jack. They argued their whole life as to whether Jesus was white or whether he was black. Jack was certain he was black and Archie was just as certain he was white as fate would have it. They both died on the same day. They rushed to the pearly gates and said, St. Peter, please, we've been arguing our whole life. Tell us, is Jesus white or is he black? About that time, Jesus walked up and said, Buenos días.
All right, hold up your Bible. Say it like you mean it. This is my Bible. I am what it says I am. I have what it says I have. I can do what it says I can do today. I will be taught the word of God. I have boldly confess. My mind is alert. My heart is receptive. I will never be the same in Jesus name. God bless you. I want to talk to you today about putting action behind your faith.
It's one thing to pray about a situation. It's one thing to believe that we're going to get better. And that's good. Pray and believe in hope and that's all a part of faith. But there's another step that we so often leave out. I believe it's one of the keys to see and God do great things. You have to put action behind your faith. You have to do something to show God that you're serious about what you believe in, for you can pray all day long.
God, get me out of this problem. God give me this promotion. God help me to get well. And that's fine. But if you really want to get God's attention, if you want to see God move in amazing ways and take it one step further and do something to demonstrate your faith. In other words, you may have an addiction, but are you going to a recovery program? Are you in a support group? That's a faith that God can see.
Maybe you lost your job. Do you have your resume or you're out knocking on new doors? Maybe your spouse is not treating you right. Are you treating them the same way or are you treating them the way you want to be treated? That's what allows God to do the extraordinary. Now, I know people that are down and discouraged and they pray and pray. God, please get me out of this discouragement. God, give me my joy back.
God, give me a new beginning. It's good to pray, but what really causes God to act is when you get back up again, dust yourself off, put your shoulders back and say, you know what, I'm not going to stay down. This is the day the Lord has made. I'm going to be happy and have a great day that's putting action behind your faith. I talked to a gentleman that had struggled with smoking since he was in high school.
He looked to be in his mid forties every day. For the last ten years, he has smoked three packs of cigarets just like clockwork. Without even thinking about it. He would go through the exact same amount he wanted to stop. He had the desire. He'd been praying and believing. He even had friends and family members praying and supporting him as well. But he just couldn't seem to do it. But one day he heard this principle that you have to put action behind your faith.
And he did something extremely simple. Every time he opened a new pack of cigarets, he would immediately throw three away. Just something to say, God, I'm trying I'm not just asking for your help. I'm not just believing I'm going to be free, not just hoping that one day I'll quit. No, God, I'm will take it one step further. I'm going to show you I mean business by putting actions behind what I'm believing for. Doesn't have to be something big, just something where God can see your faith.
He threw those three away in a couple of months. He realized he didn't miss them. He decided to double it. He started throwing away six. Eventually he got to where he could eliminate a whole pack. That was a little over three years ago. Today, he is completely free. He said, Joel, I haven't felt this great in over thirty years.
Here's my point. He could have played twenty four hours a day. He could have believed for a lifetime. But the power came when he took it one step further and showed God he meant business by putting actions behind what he was believing for. Are you doing anything to show God that you're serious? God is not moved by our needs. He's concerned about our needs, but God is moved by our faith. When God sees you doing what you can to get well, when he sees you getting to work a little earlier because you really want that promotion, when he sees you bypass the cookie jar because you've been believe in to lose weight, now get down to business when he sees you bite your tongue to keep the peace in your house, when he sees you, help others, when you really need more help.
And then when God sees your faith, that's when extraordinary things will begin to happen. Like this man, you'll have a strength to overcome things you couldn't overcome before. In the scripture, there was this man that was paralyzed. He couldn't walk and he just lay in his bed at home all day long. One day he heard that Jesus was in town at another house, teaching people. He convinced four of his friends to carry him on his bed over to that house.
The problem was when they got there, the place was packed. It was so crowded that they couldn't get in here. They had gone to great lengths to get this man there. I'm sure these four men were tired. I'm sure their back was probably hurt. Their shoulders were sore. They went all that way to no avail. What a disappointment. What a letdown. They could have easily gotten discouraged. Too bad it's not going to happen. But not this paralyzed man.
He was determined. I can see his four friends turn and start to take him home. He says, no, no, we're not going home just yet. I'm not leaving until I get my miracle. This man understood you are closest to your victory when you face the greatest opposition. A lot of people would have given up your life tried, but they told me no, tried to get my degree, but the college was full, tried to get that new home, but they wouldn't give me a loan, tried to go to Lakewood.
That parking lot was just too crowded. This you got to be more determined in that you have to have a never say die attitude. If you can't get in the door, why don't you try the window? If you can't get through the window, why don't you be bold and try to go through the roof? That's what this man did. What am I saying? Don't quit trying.
You are close to your victory. He said to his friend, I've got an idea. Take me up on the roof, cut a hole in it and lower me down so I can have a front row seat there in front of Jesus friends. Where there's a will, there's a way I can imagine those four men saying, Listen, brother, we love you. You're our friend. But do you realize there's not an elevator? There are no stairs.
How can we get you up there? That's impossible. He said, no, you've got to do it for me. He talked him into it. They finally hoisted this man up to the roof. Jesus was in the middle of his sermon. All the sudden, dust starts falling from the ceiling. People begin to look around thinking, what in the world is going on about that time? A towel comes off and then another and another, and they lower this paralyzed man down on his bed, all curled up and put him right in front of Jesus.
And the scripture says there in March to verse five when Jesus saw their faith. That's my question for us today. Do you have a faith that God can see? Are you doing something out of the ordinary to show God you believe in him? It's not enough to just pray. It's not enough to just believe, like this man, you have to do something to demonstrate your faith. Jesus looked at the man and said, Rymes, take up your bed and walk immediately.
The man got up. He picked up his bed. He went home perfectly home. But it all started when he dared to do something where God could see his face. Don't you know there were other people in the room that didn't get well, other people that had the same opportunity? What was the difference? This man put action behind his faith. God is looking for people that have a faith that he can see, not just a faith he can hear not just a faith that believes, but a faith that is visible, a faith that is demonstrated.
When my sister Lisa was a little girl, about four years old, maybe one time she wanted to go to the office with my father. It was during the week and she heard my dad say how he was coming down to the church and she asked if she could go. My father said, no, Lisa, today is not a good day. I've got a lot of meetings. I'm going to be real busy. Maybe tomorrow, maybe next week, just not today.
Well, Lisa didn't want to go some of the time. She wanted to go that particular day. And she was so stubborn. I mean, she was so determined that in spite of what my father said, she ran back to her room and started getting dressed as quickly as she could. She acted like she was going. You would have thought she didn't even hear what my father saying. That negative report didn't even register in her mind about that time.
She heard the back door open. She knew my father was leaving. Lisa took off running full speed for Lisa. That's a little faster than a walk. When my father saw her come in, his little four year old daughter, fully dressed, struggling to get her last shoe on. It melted his heart that he couldn't say no. He said, OK, come on, Lisa, you can go with me today. What happened? He saw her faith when he saw how determined she was, when he saw her doing everything she could do that spoke louder than her.
Even asking him that made a bigger impact than if she were to beg and beg or if she were to sit in the corner and pout and know. My father wouldn't be moved by pouting. He wouldn't be moved by begging. He was moved when he saw her faith. God is the same way. Can he see your faith? It's one thing to pray, it's one thing to believe. But if you really want to get God's attention, put actions behind what you believe in.
For I know this gentleman years ago when he was a young man, he knew God had called him to preach. He took a step of faith and rented a small high school auditorium to have a meeting. He invited his friends and family members to come. He even got word out in the little local community newspaper. He was so excited he was launching his new ministry the night of his big event rolled around. It was supposed to start at seven o'clock.
Well, at six thirty, no one was there. Six forty five. No. One, six fifty five. No. One, seven o'clock. Still not one person in the seats, just a sound man, a technician up in the sound booth. This young man was so disheartened he was ready to just give up and go home. But just before he called it quits, he felt something rising up on the inside so strongly a holy determination.
He said, I am not going to go out of here like a failure. I have prepared my message. I've rented this auditorium. I am going to give it my very best. He went up on the platform and in spite of nobody being there, he preached like the place was packed. He went on for over an hour. At the end, he even gave an invitation for people to come forward and to receive Christ. It looked like he was just going through the motions.
He told how he felt like a total failure. He felt like a fool. But just as he was finishing up the invitation, all of a sudden a side door opened up and outworked an older gentleman. He was a part of the cleaning crew. He came down to the front, shook the young minister's hand and said, I want to make a decision for Christ tonight.
He later said it wasn't so much your message that got to me, but it was the fact that you preached jihad out without one person in the room.
A few minutes later, the technician came down from the sound booth and did the same thing. I want to make a decision for Christ. That night, the young man went home not feeling like a failure, but knowing that the hand of God was upon his life.
That was a turning point. After that, all kinds of doors begin to open up.
Today, he is a very successful minister. He has a church with thousands of people, goes all over the world, friends. When God can see your faith, extraordinary things will begin to happen. One time in the scripture, there were ten lepers that saw Jesus come into the city. They begin to holler at Jesus, have mercy on us and make us whole. And Jesus could have just as easily healed them where they were. But he asked them to do something to express their faith.
He said, Go show yourself to the priest and you will be made home. And it's interesting. Those lepers were not suppose. To be around other people, they had a contagious disease, they were considered unclean, they had to live in colonies by themselves. I'm sure they debated. Do you really think we should go? I don't look any better. My skin is not clear. This is going to be a waste of my time. No, they dared to put action behind their faith.
They said, you know what? He said, if we go, we would be. Well, let's go. Let's take a step of faith. The scripture says as they went, they were made whole. In other words, if they had not had the courage to demonstrate their faith, they would have never seen God's goodness as they started down the road. I can imagine every few blocks they said, look, my skin's getting better. Another mouth, one of them said, Can you see it?
I think mine is clearing up as they kept walking, expressing their faith. By the time they got to the priest, their skin was perfectly normal. But a lot of times we want God to heal us. And then we'll go, God, give me a big crowd. Then I'll launch my new ministry. God have my husband to treat me better. Then I'll start treating him better. God help me to break this addiction and then I'll cut back a little bit like the man Joel talked about.
And God says, you've got to go first. You got to show me your faith, and then I'll give you exactly what you need. I remember back in nineteen seventy two, Lakewood was still in its first small auditorium. It held two hundred and seventy people. It was extremely crowded. We needed a bigger place. So my father had plans drawn for an auditorium that would seat a thousand. It was going to cost two hundred thousand dollars to build.
One day my dad presented the new vision to the church, took up a special offering and the people gave Ron at twenty thousand dollars month after month. My dad was just sitting back waiting for the rest of the funds to come in. They'd get a few hundred dollars each week, but at that pace it was going to take five or ten years to have enough. One day a friend of my father's came by. He said, John, what do you do?
And still in this same small auditorium, you need a bigger place so you can continue to grow. My dad said, Well, I understand that, but we don't have the money. He said, How much do you have? And my father said, All we have is twenty thousand dollars. That's just enough for the foundation. The man looked at my father and said very sternly, John tore the foundation and watch what God will do. He was saying, Dare to put action behind your faith, my father, God, his courage up and he had them pour the foundation.
It wasn't any time before the funds for the steel came in and then the funds for the wall and then the funds for the interior. Before long the whole building was up and totally paid for what happened, just like those lepers.
As he went, he saw God's goodness. As he demonstrated his faith, he saw God show up in amazing ways. And some of you today have a dream. But like my father, it's on hold. You waiting for everything to come together, all the pieces to come together and then will stretch. Then you'll make a move. And yes, it's good to be wise. It's good to plan, but you can't sit around your whole lifetime. At some point, you have to draw the line in the sand and say, God, I'm going to show you I mean business.
I'm going to show you that I'm serious about seeing my dreams come to pass. I'm willing to put actions behind what I believe in. For when I was growing up, my father used to travel overseas for several weeks at a time, ministering in different countries, and my mother would be at home with five children to raise by herself. Plus with my brother Paul. That was like having an extra five. And invariably, as my dad was gone on these long journeys, one of us kids would either get sick or have some kind of accident, something that would make it much more difficult on my mother.
One time I hurt my leg playing Little League and had to have a bunch of stitches. And it seemed like it was always when my dad was away and it got to the point where my mom dreaded my father leaving even a couple of days before my dad was supposed to go. A lot of times one of us kids would come down with a fever or some kind of sniffles. And my mother would think, oh, no, here it goes again.
When my father finally got fed up, he thought, God, I'm going all over the world to help people and my whole family is going downhill. You got to understand, my father was very bold. He was not as quiet and reserved and dignified as I am. And he just. Decided he was going to make sure that God could see his faith and instead of just praying, believe in standing against that sickness and those accidents, my dad asked the kids to come outside, all five of us.
Paul, at that time was about 13. He was the oldest all the way down to my little sister, April. She was about three. My dad lined us up from the oldest to the youngest, and he had us put our hands on the person's shoulder in front of us, kind of like a choo choo train with him and my father out in front and with my dad leading, he marched us around the perimeter of our property saying, Father, you said no weapon formed against my family is going to prosper.
So I want to thank you that no sickness is going to come on this property. Father, you said your angels would protect us. So while I'm gone, I want to thank you that no accident will come near my family. He had us repeated no sickness, no disease, no accidents while we were in the back yard where we had a fence. And I was sure hoping that my father was not going to go out into the front yard.
The neighbors already thought we were crazy. Now they were going to know we were crazy. But sure enough, my father marched us right out into the front yard. I was so embarrassed. I had my head down. I saw friends going by staring at us, neighbors looking out the windows, car slowing down. People asked me about it the next day at school. I denied it. I felt like Peter, that was not me out there, but do you know God is my witness from that day forward when my father went away on those long journeys, we never had a problem with that sickness, with those accidents.
It was like that first had been broken off of our family when God saw my father's faith, it activated his healing, his protection, his favor in a greater way. And it's funny, even though I was embarrassed by that, years later when we were trying to acquire this facility, Victoriano would come down here at night when nobody could see us and we would march around the building saying, Father, thank you, that this building is ours. Thank you.
That you're fighting our battles. Thank you. That you've given us the favor we need. I tried to get Victoria to hold on like a choo choo train, but she would do it is still work. Friends, can God see your faith? The Scripture says faith without actions backing it up is dead. It's an amazing statement. It's saying we can have dead faith. And I know people that love God. They're good people, but they're not living the abundant life.
They're not overcoming their obstacles. They're not accomplishing their God given dreams. Why is that? Their faith is dead. They're not putting any actions behind it. So it's not activating God's power. It's not activating his favor. It doesn't have to be something big. When you go to work every day and give it 100 percent, you are demonstrating your faith sometimes just putting a smile on your face when you feel like being discouraged. That's putting action behind your faith.
Just the fact that you came to church today, that is a faith that God can see. You could be home resting, you could be running errands, you could be working. But you took time to honor God. No, this God saw you get in your car. God saw you make the journey over here. God saw you turn the television on. He saw you flip off a wheel of fortune and come over to me. Right now, you are putting action behind your faith that tells me your faith is not dead.
Your faith is alive. Your faith is activating God's power. Your faith is allowing God to fight your battles for you. Your faith is opening the door for the extraordinary. I heard a story about this lady. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She was doing her best to stay positive and hopeful, but is very difficult. She was very afraid. She had two children. The doctors had only given her a fifteen percent chance of surviving. She had prayed.
She believed she had good friends and family supporting her. One day someone gave her a small gray rock that had the words written on it. Expect a miracle. When she got that rock, it was like something leaked on the inside. It ignited her faith. She knew right then and there that was for her. She was going to be well from that day forward. She carried that simple little rock with her everywhere she went all through the day.
She had it in her pocket or in her purse. At night, she put it on the little table beside the bed. It was a reminder to thank God that is in control and thank God that he's restoring health back. And to me, the rock in itself wasn't anything special. It was just another way that she could demonstrate her faith. She went through all the chemotherapy, through several major surgeries. After months of fighting the good fight of faith, it was time for the big conclusion, time to see if all that treatment had help and the doctors were going to take a biopsy at one hundred different places where they thought the cancer could have spread.
They had already told her to not get her hopes up. There was little or no chance that they would all be cancer free. And so she went into the surgery with her Little Rock right by her side. When she woke up, she saw this beautiful older woman dressed in a very bright white dress. She thought she was a nurse. This older woman said in a very kind voice. Are you the lady that's expecting a miracle? The lady was kind of groggy from the surgery and she thought, how does this lady know anything about me?
She said, Yes, I am. And the lady in the white dress handed her a small plaque that had a saying on it. Miracles happen every day. When the lady took that plaque, she told how she felt God's presence like never before. She felt a warmness, a tingling flowing all through her. The next thing she remembers is waking up and seeing her husband standing over her with a big smile. He said, Honey, the results are in.
The doctors have not found any cancer in your body.
That lady that lady never found out who. A woman in the bright white dress was, but she still has the plaque on her wall at home. Miracles happen every day. Friends, do you have a faith that God can see? Are you putting actions behind what you believe in? For it's not enough to just pray, not enough to just believe. Take it one step further and do something to demonstrate your faith. You may not see how it could ever happen, but just like those lepers, as you take steps of faith, God will begin to open up the right doors.
You will have a strength to do what you couldn't do before. And some of you have a dream that you've been praying about for a long time. You have promises that you've been standing on for many, many years, and that's great. But it's time to take it to the next level and do something to demonstrate your faith, do something out of the ordinary to show God you're serious about accomplishing your dreams. And if you will learn to put actions behind your faith in God's going to show up and show out in unusual ways, I just believe and declare that you will overcome every obstacle, you will defeat every enemy, and you will see every dream, every promise God put in your heart.
It will come to pass. Hey, man, do you receive it today?
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