Today’s message was brought to us from Obed Martinez, the Lead Pastor at Destiny Church in Indio.
Pastor Obed opened by sharing his testimony. Despite having been raised in a Christian home, as a young man, Obed found friends in the wrong places and became involved in drugs and alcohol. He was kicked out of school and began making serious mistakes which landed him in jail. Once there, he discovered that the friends who always “had his back” were not there for him. Only his mother came to visit regularly.
Once out of jail, Obed’s mom convinced him to attend youth group and arranged for him to go to youth camp. During worship at camp, Obed lifted his hands and suddenly heard the voice of God tell him that it was okay to dream again. That night Obed opened up his life to the indescribable gift of Jesus.
Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift! 2 Corinthians 9:15
For all of us have had hurts, crushed dreams, and felt betrayed, leading us to lose our childlike faith and stop dreaming. But the day you stop dreaming is day you stop living!
How do you describe a God who restores a broken life, gives peace to the unsettled mind, and walks with you through the darkest valleys? Obed’s whole church movement has been built on those words. For all of us have had hurts, crushed dreams, and felt betrayed, leading us to lose our childlike faith and stop dreaming. But the day you stop dreaming is day you stop living!
How can you start pursuing big dreams again?
1. Open my heart to the gift. John 3:16, 2 Corinthians 9:15
Obed shared a story of standing in line all night for a Black Friday sale so that he could buy his daughter the sold-out toy she wanted for Christmas. On Christmas morning, he was excited to hand her the large package, awaiting her response.
She opened the gift, gazing adoringly up at him in thanks and wonder, thrilled at the gift. Then she promptly asked, “Where’s my next gift?”
Obed’s heart fell, for his daughter had seen the gift, but she hadn’t seen the fourteen-hour sacrifice of standing outside in the cold or the money that the gift had cost him.
Maybe you can relate. If a pastor presents the gift of Christ each week and you keep turning it down, maybe you are seeing the gift, but not the sacrifice - the crown of thorns, the bleeding stripes, the nails in Jesus’ palms, a glorious God who has allowed himself to be humiliated for your sake. Pastor Obed shared that he kept returning this gift to the sender until that one day when he understood the sacrifice.
Why has God chosen you? He has very specific plans. Jesus clearly sends a message to us when he chooses his disciples in Matthew 4. He calls out to the fishermen who had been disqualified to become the disciples of other rabbis. Though they had failed by human standards, Jesus had something else in mind.
He came to re-qualify the disqualified. Sin disqualified us, but Jesus re-qualifies us. Your past can’t cancel your future, for you are a child of the most high God. He didn’t give up on you and He’s still on your side. God chooses to forget about it, but it won’t happen unless you accept His gift. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
2. Open my hand with a gift. Malachi 3:10, Proverbs 11:24
Pastor Obed shared that he used to think that all the church wanted from him was his money. But then God revealed the rest of the Biblical passage which asks us to give, that there may be food in the house. When nothing earthly will satisfy our souls, the church is there to provide solid teaching and the Living Water of the gospel.
This blessing is funded by God’s people. Every time you give, you are making sure the pantry is filled so that when the hungry come to church, there is lasting food to satisfy them.
In our giving, we must simply trust that heaven’s blessings are waiting to be poured out, just as the Word tells us. When your house is stuffy, you open the window, trusting that there is fresh air on the other side. But when the window remains closed, the house remains stifling.
Likewise, when you worship God through your giving, the heavens open up and better things begin to come. When we take the little we have in our environment and place it in His environment, He multiplies it back and blesses it.
3. Open my life to be a gift. 1 Peter 4:10
God has given each of you a gift. What is your gift? How can God use your gift to help others?
Pastor Obed gave many examples of members of his church who have done radical things by answering God’s call, and there is someone out there who needs the gift that you can provide. Dare to let God speak His big dreams into your life so that you can advance His kingdom causes!