Ed Stetzer – The Moment Does Not Pause The Message #Nextlevel

NOTES from the Growing To The Next Level Community – Kingsgate, Peterborough

We are not living in normal times. It’s not just you!

We have to go back to the gospels to see what the Lord has to say for us in these days. 

In a turbulent time, this happened:

John 20:19-21 

9 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.

21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”

We have to multiply in these days of seismic shifts, cultural convulsion and upheaval. Because historically such times have been times when the Lord has moved in surprising ways.

FOUR THINGS we must always remember from these words.

FEAR is always the opposite of FAITH. 

John loves to give us detail. He tells us when this happens. Easter Day. 

They were still locked in. Hiding in fear. Even though Mary Magdelene has told them Jesus is alive. We can stay locked in, in fear. It’s true we don’t know the future, but that fear can mean the moment we are in pauses the mission we are on – which is to make the name of Jesus known. 

PEACE is always the Christian response. 

Twice he says ‘Peace be with you.’ We don’t get to opt out of the problems – but we can have a peace that surpasses understanding, to guard our hearts. When the world is spinning and the Christians have peace, it speaks loudly. And our peace is one that surpasses understand. For most of us, these have been the most difficult times in our ministry – the question though is has that drawn you to the prince of peace? Has he given you his peace. Not when it’s easy, which is the only time the world can give us peace. Eph 2:14 

We have seen in history movements spread across the world at the same time as the previous difficult times. 

Everyone gets shaken – people start looking for who is on a rock. 

But the crisis of discipleship in the church has been such that a lot of the Christians were being more shaped by social media and the news. 

But if we can be a people in peace in a world on fire, we will stand out. 

What a moment. 

These hard times often don’t resolve quickly. It can take a decade or so! We will need reservoirs of resilience to lead on. And communities of support to walk through.

We will need one another more not less. 

The CROSS is always the centre of our faith.

(Jn 20:20) 

What we multiply is something real. Look the detail again. John wants us to know about the joy there is when they saw Jesus, and also that they saw that he died on the cross, for their sin and in their place. He wants them to see that the cross is our hope, no matter what. The same Jesus who appeared to them says to us, “I died for you, and I was raised to bring you victory over sin and death forever.’ If he is where our joy is (not the amount of crowds we have coming along right now etc), nothing can take our joy away. Bad times make for good soil. 

We always GO, because Jesus came to us.

It’s not that your church has a mission, it’s that Jesus is sending us. We don’t have to find a mission, we go (in the same manner) as God the Father sent Jesus. The moment does not alter the mission. Ed’s grandfather was a fire chief, who loved to tell stories that always ended the same: “When everyone else was running from the fire, we run toward it.” That should be what the church is doing. As it did when Eusebius wrote about. In times of crisis, may we join Jesus in multiplying disciples, leaders and churches. 

We must hear the Lord as he asks, “Whom shall I send and who will go for us?” and respond ‘Here I am, send me!” The moment we are in does not pause the mission we are on.