The Heart of INC Conference 2018
The Heart of INC Conference 2018
Sermon Notes – Ps. Jim White
Sunday 15th July, 2018
I feel as though I have a pretty tough gig this morning. The pressure is on.
Many of you guys who weren’t able to get to Conference are super keen to hear all about what happened, what was said, what God did, the latest revelation…
And all of those who did get to Conference are wondering how on earth the poor pastor is going to remember it all and pack it all into 30 minutes.
So… I’m lifting off the pressure right now. And I’m believing that the Holy Spirit is going to help all of us capture the heart and the spirit of INC Conference 2018. It’s not about a conference – it’s about hearing the Spirit of God for now – and receiving an impartation from those who carry what God is birthing through His church.
And it’s important for us to capture it and receive it together because this is what we are part of… this is where we are heading… and it’s very very good!
Firstly, let me just say, that Seacoast Church is beautifully aligned and fully in the flow with all that God is doing through the INC movement as a whole.
The sense of expectancy and faith… that we have stepped into a brand new season of our journey together, is not just something that we are experiencing here – but it’s something that our movement of Churches is feeling as well.
Even the two main guest speakers at Conference who are part of other church movements, both affirmed that this is a brand new day for INC – and they could both see and feel the sense of oneness, belonging and family, and the genuine hope we have for the future of our church movement… and it is unique to who we are.
It’s not about being better than anyone else – church life isn’t about competition. It’s simply about recognising and celebrating who we are… this is our tribe. Israel had twelve tribes – all with different roles, responsibilities, identities, family groups… and INC, including Seacoast, is simply one of the tribes of God’s people in the world right now. Let every tribe celebrate its uniqueness.
There were certain themes that flowed throughout the conference, and I guess that was what I was looking for – I was looking for the heart of God and the Anointing of the Holy Spirit as the various speakers shared and imparted what they carried.
There was a love and celebration for the Church. And don’t we need to have that right now? I don’t find that difficult. In fact I love the church. Venese and I know that we are positioned where we are meant to be – and we are more than happy with that. We’re more excited than we’ve ever been.
The incredible thing is that whatever love for the church we might have – God is saying, I love the church even more than you do! It’s My Church! She is My Bride.
There were a number of times the speakers spoke about the story that we are all writing and living. But our own personal stories are integrated into and become part of the bigger story of the church… and not only that – it’s a generational story. Our challenge is to see ourselves as part of the long term plans and purposes of God. One generation will never achieve all that God has planned… we need to have a vision and a mindset that is so big that it is going to take generations to fulfil it.
The greatest vision we can have is not natural sight – it is our vision of faith – faith to see the bigness of who God is and what He can do through us.
There was an atmosphere of faith throughout the conference. And there were a few moments when the whole conference paused and prayed for all of you who are facing health challenges, financial challenges, relational challenges… there was so much faith in that auditorium I was sure that every cancer and disease was literally falling off you right there and then. Venese and I and no doubt many if the other 40 odd representatives from Seacoast in that conference were shouting out your names… at least those that we are aware of who are positioned for a victory over sickness and disease.
Everyone has their own highlights from the conference, but for me, I sensed something powerful was prophesied over us when one of our own leaders, Pastor Geoff Woodward – who is our longest serving pastor, stood up and declared God’s Word for us right now. He believes God is saying: “I’m going to breathe again upon this movement.”
I don’t know how the others felt, but it was like an electric current ran through the whole place. It was a powerful prophetic declaration. And Geoff said he hasn’t had such a clear word from God since He asked him to move to Perth and establish a new church there… around 30 years ago.
The breath of God is always about new life and supernatural spirit life.
Just as the breath of God filled Adam – Genesis 2:7 (NKJV), “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.”
Then there was the time that Jesus breathed upon His disciples: John 20:21-22 (NKJV), “So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
What a world changing moment that was. It was the true birthing of the church in that Upper Room, and now in the twenty first century the breath of the Spirit of God is breathing newness of life over every nation around the world.
Back in Ezekiel 37, God speaks into the dry bones of Israel…
Ezekiel 37:5-6,9-10 (NKJV), “Thus says the Lord God to these bones: “Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live. I will put sinews on you and bring flesh upon you, cover you with skin and put breath in you; and you shall live. Then you shall know that I am the Lord.” ’ ” Also He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.” ’ ” So I prophesied as He commanded me, and breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army.”
INC is positioned – Seacoast Church is positioned – to have the breath of God breathe upon us in a fresh and new and supernatural way… it’s something that can only come from Him. It’s the life of the Spirit, the supernatural, that God is breathing upon His army. And we will rise up and we will overcome and conquer the enemy’s territory. The best is yet to come!
We’ve had our struggles. We’ve been through some tough times. Every one of us has a story that has its hard times and its celebrations, but the story has brought us to this place for this moment of time – and every story makes up the bigger picture and bigger story of who we now are as a Church – Christ’s Church.
It’s not about what has gone before… that may have all been preparation and training and testing… but what is important now is where are we going from here. And if God has positioned you here in recent times, be assured that you are here for a reason – and it’s now about looking ahead to the harvest that is coming.
I love what Mordecai says to Queen Esther… Esther 4:14 (NKJV), “…Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
And I say to you – yet who knows whether your story has brought you to the kingdom, and more specifically, to Seacoast Church, for such a time as this.
If I am sounding arrogant or prideful in all of this, I’m certainly not meaning to. I am humbled more than anyone to think that God would use us and breathe upon us for this moment in time. I stood humbled in that auditorium of about 1200 people at conference, thinking how amazing God’s grace is – that we should be part of this extraordinary journey.
I’ve been preaching on standing before God in awe and wonder. We need to get our wonder on…
All I know is that we are Born for More… there are no limits in God. There are no impossibilities… there is no mountain that can stand before Christ’s Church… His bride! There is no ceiling over us that can’t be broken through.
And I honour and pray blessing over every Christian Church in Ballina and this region. I hope they all experience a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon them. I hope God breathes upon them all.
But I am not called to be responsible for any other part of the body. I am responsible and accountable for what happens at Seacoast Church which is part of this great movement or tribe called International Network of Churches.
And in the end, it’s not about us anyway. It’s not about having the best church club…
It’s about reaching our world for Christ. It’s about those who have not yet met Jesus – who don’t know yet how much God loves them – who haven’t yet had the revelation that they are sons and daughters of God.
And I have to share with you how impacting and overwhelming it was to hear our International President, Ashley Schmierer, speak about his heart for the world – literally – the world… I think he said he’s been into 91 nations around the world. He has seen more with his own eyes and felt more with his own heart than most people who have ever lived. His heart is for the multitudes and for the nations… He referred to:
Matthew 9:35-38 (NKJV), “Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”
The passion in Ashley’s voice as he challenged every one of us to live for the higher call… to live for the higher sacrifice… was a cry for the souls of the lost.
You know I’m not one to get emotional… But there was that moment when Ashley was sharing his heart for people that I felt that I also sensed the heart of the Father – our Heavenly Father. Ashley is a father of the faith. He is an apostle if ever there was an apostle. And he carries an Anointing for nations, not just cities…
He said – see the multitudes – allow the compassion of God to rise up in you – and he said, don’t just see them… look into their eyes. Take time to really see them.
Unless we have a heart for humanity and have a genuine care and love for people, we are just playing a game. We are just being religious. I don’t want to be religious. I want to be a follower of Christ… a carrier of passion… an ambassador for heaven… a lover of people…
Whatever we have faced in the past – and whatever we may be challenged with in the future – if we do it right and respond right, our lives will glorify God and we will see the multitudes come to Jesus. What we need most of all is the breath of God to breathe upon us.
Paul was sharing with the church in Ephesus – saying he did it all with humility, tears and trials… he spoke about testifying to the Jews and Gentiles, doing it all in the power of the Holy Spirit, but facing the reality of the trials and tribulations that awaited him.
Acts 20:24 (NKJV), “But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.”
Our story is all about bringing the life and the grace of the gospel to the stories of others. We can’t take one single thing from this earth when we enter into heaven.. none of this material world is worth anything in heaven. The only thing that we can take that is of any value is the lives of others that we have influenced and impacted for Jesus Christ.
The only things of eternal value are the seeds that we sow now that draw others to Christ and to salvation.
And that reminds me of another theme that I recognised through the messages that came from conference. Life is about creating the right environment and the right atmosphere for the seeds that God has placed in our lives and the lives of others, to germinate and bring forth fruit.
One of the conference speakers spoke about a recent trip to Europe… and of course there are so many different cultures and so much history throughout the countries of Europe.
Just over twelve months ago, Venese and I were with our daughter Renae in France and Italy. You can feel the history… you can just about taste the historic culture. But a lot of it is about the people, not just the old buildings. There’s a richness of heritage, ancestry, family…
And the comment was made at Conference that in the days of old, it was the church that inspired and influenced the culture, not the other way around. Many of the greatest masterpieces of Europe are painted on the walls and ceilings of the cathedrals, basilicas and sacred buildings. But even more than the arts, the culture of the Christian Church influenced society for good and for God.
And there was the understanding in the cultural places of Europe, that what was sown through the life of every person was a seed for the future. The conference speaker visited a Cathedral in Cologne that took 600 years to build. Generation after generation sowed their lives, their finances, their time, into seeing the completion of that magnificent building.
But it begs the question: What seeds are we sowing? What seeds from within our own lives are being breathed upon right now? What seeds are we cultivating and breathing upon in the lives of those around us? And do we have a generational long term perspective in what we are sowing our lives into?
I was super blessed to see quite a number of our young people – our youth leaders – our worship team members – gleaning from the seeds of truth and passion coming from the conference. I want to celebrate our young people right now. Our children, our youth, our young adults, our young families. We are called to see the seeds planted in their lives germinate and growing…
Your words are seeds of faith. But are they words of faith for good and God, or words believing for negativity, or to pull down?
What are you prophesying over yourself – over the church? Whatever words you are speaking are what you will see become manifest in your life. Your words carry power – and you have the power in your words and your prophesying to create things that are not.
Your finances that you have been blessed with… those finances contain seeds to be sown into the kingdom… Seeds that will bring about fruitfulness and multiplication.
Every one of us have been given gifts and talents to build up and strengthen the Body of Christ. These are the seeds we have to sow. But they are for others. They are to encourage and build up others for the kingdom’s sake and for the work of the ministry.
Your life is to be a seed to be planted – to be planted in an environment of faith and a culture of unity, faith and belonging.
Hebrews 11:1-3 (NKJV), “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.”
We have within us the same Holy Spirit that hovered over the waters at creation. We have the same Jesus in our hearts who was with God in the beginning. So now we have godly vision for the future – the supernatural power of prophecy – the same creative power in our words to see that which is not become that which is.
What Conference has done for me is that it has fanned into flame again the gift of faith. It has encouraged me that we are heading in the right direction.
There may not have been that lightening bolt of fresh and new revelation – but there has definitely been a locking in of faith and confidence that we are positioning ourselves for God to breathe on us again.
Church life is not all about numbers – but there has to be something encouraging about the fact that last week we broke through the 200 mark that we have been believing for and praying for, for many years. It was a milestone.
It’s the most people we have had here on a regular Sunday morning.
It’s not about numbers… but every number is a person… and that is what it’s all about. People loving God – and equipping themselves to reach the lost.
God is up to something. He is putting things together. He has put Venese and I in a position where we have to become more strategic and purposeful in leadership. And we were part of meetings during conference in relation to the new network connections and leadership support and structures that INC have just established. It has caused us to be stretched… these are exciting days.
But again, it’s not just about us. It’s about all of us. And it’s primarily about those we are called to reach.
I sense God saying to us – buckle up – strap yourself in for the ride. Get ready to be breathed upon!