Luke 19:32-34 (NKJV)
So those who were sent went their way and found it just as He had said to them.
But as they were loosing the colt, the owners of it said to them, “Why are you loosing the colt?” And they said, “The Lord has need of him.”
Anything God needs He provides for Himself. He is utterly and completely Self-sufficient. He provides for Himself. But He chooses to use people. He doesn’t need to. He doesn’t need people. He chooses to use us.
Malachi 3:10a (NKJV)
Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house,
Why does He choose us to provide for His house? Why does He choose to use a human to provide the colt for Jesus to ride in on during the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem?
First, so we can become more like Him. He is lavishly, if not extravagantly generous. We become more like Him when He graces us with the opportunity to do likewise.
Secondly, He gives us opportunities to give, so that there is an avenue in which we receive. “Give and it shall be given unto you,” is how Jesus put it.
Finally, God involves us in providing so that we experience the genuine joy of giving.
Back to the colt owner. Imagine what he felt like when he saw Jesus riding in, through the parade-like celebration, on his animal… on his offering.
He might have said, “That’s my colt! That’s my donkey! That’s my ______!” (insert King James version, if you dare! Lol.)
Ever have a knot in your shoelace? Or maybe it was the drawstring on one of the kid’s sweatpants. Any kind of knot, really. And the more you tried to untie it, the harder you pulled, the more knotted up it got? Until you found that one strand. When you pulled on that particular strand, the whole knot gloriously unraveled.
Life can have lots of knots…lots of confusion and chaos. We can get all knotted up with stress, frustration, and inevitable disappointments. So what’s the one strand that causes it all to gloriously unknot?
A personal relationship with the Person of Jesus Christ. Here’s how He put it:
John 17:3 (NKJV)
And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
Personal knowledge, not impersonal, secondhand knowledge, but knowing Him like you do a friend is the one strand. If we seek anything else, the knot just gets tighter. If we learn of Him, we find rest for our souls. If we progressively move from informational to personal knowledge (or knowing) of God, the transformation in our day to day will be wonderfully remarkable!
No disrespect. This is not in any way a political jab. This is not taking a shot at the media. I am not crying out “fake news” or assailing someone for alternate facts. But if you are about “Finding Jesus” you will not do so from a CNN Easter season special. You may not find Him in a lecture hall at a leading university. He will not be found in a post-modern philosophical think tank. The only reliable source for finding Jesus is the four gospel accounts – Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. They are eyewitness testimony – often firsthand accounts – from those on the inside. This is how ancient evidence was gathered. This is how first century people fact checked. Details are deliberately included so as to verify the veracity. These are the stories from those who met Him, knew Him, were mentored by Him, and were forever changed by their personal interaction with Him. You will meet Him there, too. He is the same, yesterday, today, and forever [Hebrews 13:8].
Paul attributed the transformation of people in ancient Galatia to them having Christ crucified graphically displayed before their very eyes. The problem is they weren’t there. They were not at Calvary. They couldn’t have possibly made it to Golgotha on that fateful and dark day. This graphic depiction could only be the work of God the Holy Spirit. This ultra-hi-def projection onto the canvas of their hearts could only be transmitted by the Spirit of truth. And the good news is, if that’s how it happened for them in the first century, then this is exactly how it happens for us. We are changed. Transformed. By the revelation of Christ crucified, done in a way that makes IMAX boring, by the work of the Comforter within!
Ever feel like you’re not enough? Not smart enough? Not thin enough? Not connected enough? and the list goes on endlessly.
We all do. At different times and different seasons, in different circumstances and for different reasons, we all fell ourselves weighed in the balance and lacking.
My dear friend, your completion, or justification, or righteousness, or sanctification – which can all be used synonymously in certain settings – are not dependent upon your achievements, accolades, or accomplishments. In short your completion is not about you.
It’s all about Jesus. It’s about His achievements, accolades, and accomplishments. It is about being made complete by what He completed at Calvary. Sorry Jerry McGuire – Jesus completes us. It is the “It is finished.” He fulfilled the law. He absorbed the curse. He freely grants us rightness with the Father. We are accepted, loved, blessed, favored, and set apart by His blood alone.
Jesus completes you.
Matthew starts his gospel account with a genealogy. Luke with detailing that this happened when Quirinius was governing Syria. The reason being, that each gospel writer wanted to anchor their account in historical fact. This story is not “once upon a time.” This is not something that happened, “a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.” This real. The Word becoming flesh was real. Immanuel, God with us, really happened.
And if this – the promise of all promises – the miracle of miracles – the Incarnation – really happened, then all of God’s promises to us are not metaphoric, symbolic, or figurative. They are real. And “in the fulness of time” they will manifest. The time will come for your promise from God to be delivered. Until then, you are pregnant with real promises from your Father in heaven!
Pastor John Wagner has been working as a full-time vocational minister for more than two decades. First starting as a youth pastor, he now serves as the lead pastor at Turning Point Community Church in Texas. Under John Wagner’s guidance, the church maintains a wide variety of groups and ministries focused on specific members of the church, from children and students to adult women.
While much of society may look at students as a part of the future, Turning Point Community Church sees them as both the church of today and the church of the future. Based on this view, the church offers The Point, a ministry that is focused specifically on showing students the truth about God. Students taking part in The Point are challenged to follow the destiny that God has given them and stay committed to their walk with the Lord. They learn about how to best take care of and love the life they have been given in a way that allows them to serve the worldwide community.
The Point is focused on students between sixth and 12th grade. It currently offers a midweek service and a Sunday service that differ slightly from one another. The midweek service, held on Wednesday nights, gives students the opportunity to connect with one another and work in small groups to discuss the message given during that meeting. Meanwhile, the Sunday service is held at two times during the morning. Students attend the adult service at the church before going back to The Point for Bible Study and discussions about the scripture.
With a master’s degree in theology and religion from Honolulu University, Pastor John Wagner holds more than 25 years of experience leading and growing churches around the United States. John Wagner currently serves as the lead pastor for Turning Point Community Church and he routinely demonstrates his creative nature by pioneering new outreach avenues and helping the church and community grow.
Growing a church may seem like it relies more on chance than anything the church leaders or community can do, but in reality, almost any church can increase in size by focusing on a few areas. Outreach is a major contributor to church growth. Without outreach efforts, potential members will not hear about the church and its various offerings. This can be a problem for some older churches, in particular, but if both members and leaders begin sharing information about the church in their community, more people will start attending services and some of those individuals may become lifelong members.
Organizing groups to care for people is another way churches can expand. Because a pastor can only attend so many events and help so many people, establishing groups of church members who are focused on helping fellow members with certain problems takes the strain off the pastor and helps meet the needs of community members. If pastors have to focus on caring for everyone, they can quickly become burnt out. This could actively prevent church growth because they may no longer have the energy to fully lead the congregation. Without proper leadership, churches cannot grow effectively and they may even struggle to advance their mission.
Pastor John Wagner leads Turning Point Community Church in Lubbock, Texas. He additionally serves as the leader of the Apostolic Team for the ministerial fellowship group Covenant Ministries International, whose more than 1,000 members offer classes, workshops, outreach, and counseling to a global community. Pastor John Wagner has appeared before audiences in South Africa, Europe, and the Caribbean region.
The mission of CMI is not to function as any sort of governing body, but simply to support the work of pastors and lay leaders and strengthen them in their ability to spread the gospel. The organization aims to increase diversity among religious leaders worldwide, united in the belief in the healing and transformative powers of God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.
Led by Pastor David T. Demola, the CMI Apostolic Team also includes ministerial leaders who represent Southwest Florida, Indiana, Maryland, New Jersey, Central America, and many other parts of the world.