From Lack To Overflowing Abundance
By Pastor Michael Olawore
New Wine Church, London
Foundation Scripture: John; 20: 19-22; 21:1-6
Sunday 29th November 2015
I am starting a new series today titled, ‘The Defining Moment’. Today’s message is titled ‘From Lack to Overflowing Abundance’. This series is inspired by the recent trip that the New Wine team took to the Holy Land. As I stood on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, God began to speak to me about this message that I am sharing with you today.
Let’s read our foundation scripture in John 20:19-22 and John 21:1-6. ‘That Sunday evening the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! “Peace be with you,” he said. As he spoke, he showed them the wounds in his hands and his side. They were filled with joy when they saw the Lord! Again he said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.” Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.’ Later, Jesus appeared again to the disciples beside the Sea of Galilee. This is how it happened. Several of the disciples were there—Simon Peter, Thomas (nicknamed the Twin), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples. Simon Peter said, “I’m going fishing.” We’ll come, too,” they all said. So they went out in the boat, but they caught nothing all night. At dawn Jesus was standing on the beach, but the disciples couldn’t see who he was. He called out, “Fellows, have you caught any fish?” “No,” they replied. Then he said, “Throw out your net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you’ll get some!” So they did, and they couldn’t haul in the net because there were so many fish in it.
There is a place in the life of every individual called the defining moment. Regardless of how far gone things make look or how difficult it seems, it is never over for a child of God. He always intervenes at the right minute for each of His children. Such a moment is called ‘The defining moment’. It is important however, that such a moment is recognized – a moment of change and of a turnaround must never be left to chance. What a tragedy it would be for God to bring a moment of change our way and we fail to recognise it.
As we began this year, God promised us that this year would be our season to excel. My prayers for each one of us as we round up this year, is simply that God will accomplish those words in our lives more than ever before in Jesus name! Here is those words again from Genesis 17:6 which reads; ‘I will make you extremely fruitful. Your descendants will become many nations, and kings will be among them!’ (NLT). Abraham’s life was anything but fruitful when these words were promised him by God – these words had no bearing of sensibility to the hearing. However, God hardly relates to our natural or physical circumstances like we do – He always responds to our faith but hardly to our logical reasoning. Hence, God cannot be confined within our thought-box or the happenings of life. More so, God wants to take us from where we are to a place that He has prepared for us.
As I stood beside the Sea of Galilee, God began to impress upon my heart these words on defining moment which I am sharing with you today. A good example of how easy it is to bypass a defining moment is revealed in scriptures when Jesus visited the home of Mary and Martha. Martha got busy preparing a good meal while Jesus was having a life-changing discussion with Mary. She hardly recognized that the personification of change was in the room, notwithstanding that her hospitality reflected her good intentions. Her service was good, but the timing wasn’t right.
The events recorded in our foundation scriptures was a time of unprecedented crisis for the apostles. They were shaken by the news of Jesus death. After his resurrection, they were shaken by the thought that the Lord was soon to ascend into Heaven. They had grown and become accustomed to having Jesus around over the course of the 3 ½ years he had spent with them, and his imminent departure left anguish in their hearts. Having lost their sense of service and direction, they instinctively turned to what they had always done – fishing. Possibly, you can relate to this story as a result of your present circumstances. The disciples lost their picture of the future and gave in to despair. This was the plan of the devil all along – to present a bleak future to these precious souls. Whenever Satan amplifies a difficult situation before our eyes, his ultimate intention is to disconnect us from the hope of a glorious future. Satan is always afraid of a believer who can shake off his challenges and unwaveringly hold on to the future, irrespective of the difficulties they may be facing. He is always jittery whenever a believer decides to dream about God’s promises. Can I encourage you to make this a personal triumphant activity? Keep dreaming – there is a better place for you beyond where you are.
Joseph, often referred to as the greatest dreamer of all time, dreamt dreams that infuriated his brothers. This did not stop him from dreaming some more. Genesis 37:5-9 reads; ‘One night Joseph had a dream, and when he told his brothers about it, they hated him more than ever. “Listen to this dream,” he said. “We were out in the field, tying up bundles of grain. Suddenly my bundle stood up, and your bundles all gathered around and bowed low before mine!” His brothers responded, “So you think you will be our king, do you? Do you actually think you will reign over us?” And they hated him all the more because of his dreams and the way he talked about them. Soon Joseph had another dream, and again he told his brothers about it. “Listen, I have had another dream,” he said. “The sun, moon, and eleven stars bowed low before me!” (NLT). Make time to find a quiet spot to dream about the future that God has placed in your heart. Too many Christians focus on the things that are not working instead of placing more emphasis on the imminent physical manifestation of the blessings of God. Make time to think about the goodness of God – your prosperity, healing and blessings.
Going back to our main story in our foundation scriptures; when it became apparent that Jesus was going to leave, the disciples became despondent. Here is John 21:3 once again: ‘Simon Peter said, “I’m going fishing.” He simply went back to what Jesus had called him out from. How more pitiful could this be? Here is a big lesson for us all: we have not been called to a life in Christ on a temporal basis. Going back to what we’ve been delivered from is not an option. Here is an observation: whenever the future cannot be seen clearly, it is much easier to cling to the past. A life of no hope in the future, translates to a deflated present. Hence, we need to hold on to hope as our hope can shifts mountains.
St. Paul writes about our hope in Colossians 1:27. Here it is: ‘To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory’. As long as Christ remains in us, our hope is secure and all will be well. The apostles’ 3 ½ years’ stay with Christ played little significance in strengthening their resolve when the crunch began. As painful as Peter’s decision was to return to fishing, it became even more mind-boggling when his decision swayed the opinion of his fellow disciples in the same direction. Hence, we ought to be careful how we make decisions in life, as it is more likely than not, going to affect the destinies of our loved ones. In God’s wisdom, there are people whose destinies are intricately tied to ours. It is important to always consider the big picture. Joseph’s decision to refute the advances of Potiphar’s wife was linked to a strong sense of destiny. Always consider the lives connected with yours whenever a decision is looming – your spouse, children, family and friends. Ask yourself: ‘What would be the effect of this decision?’
Peter and the apostles returned to fishing and hoped to work out a tangible start to a bleak past: Here is an excerpt from our foundation scripture: ‘Simon Peter said, “I’m going fishing.” We’ll come, too,” they all said. So they went out in the boat, but they caught nothing all night'. The disciples returned to relying on self: They became self-dependent, self-sufficient, yet there was no result to show for all their efforts. They eventually came to the end of their efforts and had to give up on their plans. Yet, Jesus was standing and waiting for them on the seashore. Here is a big lesson for us: At the end of our self-efforts, is Grace. I am here to present the ever-dependable supremacy of God’s grace to you.
God never intended for His children to live a life of toiling, rather He always wanted you to live a life of overflowing abundance. Our experiences and our strengths will always reach its natural limitation, without God’s intervention. 'So they went out in the boat, but they caught nothing all night'. Such is the natural extent to which our strength will carry us. The night season of life can be described as a time of struggles, a time of little or no supernatural revelation or direction. It is often a time of frustration, difficulties and disillusionment. Here is the end-result of going back into the past.
Thankfully, our God is a merciful God. There is always a place in Him to transition from lack to overflowing abundance. Jesus, the Personification of Grace is always waiting to rescue us, just like he turned around the story of the apostles. Here is a continuation of this narrative from our foundation scripture in verse 4-5: ‘But when the morning had now come, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus’. Then Jesus said to them, "Children, have you any food?" (NKJV). Jesus asked this simple question to remind them that their best efforts would hardly solve life problems, without God’s intervention. The same question is food for thought for each of us. Their response initiated the change they experienced. Their humility and submission to Jesus made the difference. May God grant each of us the grace to submit to Him, so that our lives will bear witness to this same principle, that led to a breakthrough.
Here is verse 6, as we begin to round up this narration: ‘And He said to them, "Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some." So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish’. Jesus solution in response to their submission led them from zero to multiples of fish – from lack to overflowing abundance. Their decision to acquiesce to Christ instruction, laying aside their experience and efforts yielded unprecedented success! In one moment of surrender, their situation was turned around.
Here are five ways to respond to Grace:
(i) Never lose sight of your future: Irrespective of what you may have gone through or going through, hold on to the hope of a glorious future. Never lose your dream or the promise that God has given you.
(ii) Your breakthrough is not in your performance or experience: None of the things which God has called you to accomplish can be done in your strength. So depend solely on him.
(iii) Depend on the grace of God: His grace is always sufficient for you. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 reads: ‘And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me’.
(iv) Always receive a word from the Lord: All you need is a word from God in making the right decision in life.
(v) Respond to the word of God by faith: On many occasions, God’s word hardly appeals to our senses. Hence we must respond to His word by faith.
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