Have you ever died? I am not talking about literally dying in the flesh, DOA, but has your life died, has your business died, your marriage died, a friendship died, or has your relationship with God ever died? And what I mean by death, did it cease, come to an end, was it finished, was it over, was it done? Those three words over, finished and done are paramount to everything that we believe as Christians. Let us look at them in detail and find some truths that we might apply to our lives that might help us find victory through Christ Jesus. Let’s go.
The taste of victory is sweet. There is nothing so great. But the bitter taste of failure and defeat can long outweigh that of victory and can leave you with unresolved issues both in your mind and in your life that seem to grow heavier and heavier and will weigh you down as time passes.
I am going to share a piece of my life that I do not talk about very often, mainly because of the embarrassment and shame that I used to associate with it. Early in my life I thought was at the top of my vocation. I was an associate pastor in the largest Assembly of God in America at age 21. I went on to be an associate at another non-denominational, mega-church still in my 20s. I was amazed that this kid from the sticks in a small town had climbed so fast and so high in the ministry at such an early age. But I had let pride seep into my spirit affecting the effectiveness of my ministry, and I did not realize this until many years later. The church I was working for at the time had a crisis and there was a scandal with the Senior Pastor that cost the church about half its attendance and after a few years of struggling through that I was spent and decided to take a year away from the ministry, I left feeling wasted, finished at the time.
I spoke at camps, retreats and did revivals for about a year and then decided to quit preaching for a while, and became involved in the oil business. To make a long story short, I was able to hit one of the largest wells ever drilled in the United States and became a multi-millionaire overnight. Still not realizing that sinful pride had crept into me, the money from the oil wells added fuel to the fire of pride in my life, and in a very short time I abandoned God and the faith; my ministry was over. As the years passed sin became the master in my life and the great men of God I had once served with were now praying for me that God would somehow reach me. But that would take years. It would take me losing a massive fortune, going through a devastating divorce and becoming a drug addict in the 1990s.
But the prayers of my grandmother, friends like Tommy Barnett, and Jo Ann Lummer did not fall deaf on God’s ears. Thirteen years ago I came back to the Lord and began to make my way back to the calling from God that I had received as a 13-year-old boy. I was remarried and began to minister quietly, through ministries donating my efforts mainly outside the United States, as I was ashamed of my sinful past. And even though I had committed all this while outside the ministry, I still carried a huge guilt that Satan had burdened me with that was unresolved in my mind and hindered my ability to serve God in the capacity that I knew I was able.
Struggling with this I went and met with my friend, former employer and my father in the faith, Pastor Tommy Barnett. I went to talk to him as I desired to return to full-time ministry and sought his advice. As I sat there all of a sudden I began to realize that pride had been the main cause of my down fall and I began to weep and apologize for all the failures that I felt I was responsible for as a reflection on the ministry. Pastor Barnett shared with me that I needed to let all of that go; it was not of the Lord. Yes there had been a time that my ministry was finished, and at the time it was over, but as far as God was concerned I was not done, and He was not done with me either. He shared with me that many times the second will for a person’s life is far greater than the original. God sometimes saves the best for the last as He knew we would fall, we would be finished, it would be over, be He is never done with us. And with that, I have submitted all I am to His service and my years will be serving Him in whatever and wherever He leads as He is not done with me yet.
I heard a man talking today about his life. He had committed a terrible sin in his life, he had lost his job, his marriage was in shambles, and his first instinct was to run away. But he decided to stay and let his life be resurrected where it had died, because Jesus was resurrected where He died. When I heard him say that a light went on in my head.
Jesus died in Jerusalem, and when he rose again, He rose and appeared in Jerusalem. The effectiveness of His resurrection would not have such an effect on the world if He had appeared in Rome, or in Athens where no one knew him. If He rose again in Persia or Greece, those that had seen Him crucified, heard Him say it was finished, including His disciples would have kept thinking it was all over. But once Jesus arose in Jerusalem, where they saw Him go down, where they thought He was defeated, where the enemy thought he had won, the minds of those who had been witnesses of the crucifixion were changed, when they saw the Risen Christ. They knew then that all was not lost, it was not finished, it was not over as they saw what God had done in redeeming the world through the blood of His Son Jesus. They knew then what had been accomplished. They knew then the victory was His. Salvation was done. He arose where he died.
In my life, I am back where I died, where I failed, where I quit. I am back in the ministry where I began, no running, no hiding from all the men I knew. My failures and short comings in life are in all in full view, and I am back where it started. He is resurrecting my life where it started, where I am at, at and that is the ministry.
Is there a time or situation in your past that you thought was finished? Is there something you are going through right now and you think is over? Do you just want to escape and run away from it? Let God resurrect you where you are at. Let those around you who think that you are finished, those that say it is over for you, let them see that God is not done. Let God resurrect you where you are, that Christ might be glorified.
I asked you in the beginning have you ever died, or has your business, or your marriage, or maybe a friendship, or you think your relationship with God is dead. Maybe you have been thinking that all is finished for you, that it is over. But let me say to you again, arise in Christ Jesus, there at the point where are, where you think you are finished, where you think it is over, and let God resurrect you where you are at, He will, and the world will see what He had accomplished in you by Christ Jesus, that He might be gloried. Be resurrected where you are at.