New Wine for New Wineskins April 2013

By , April 1, 2013 4:50 am

Good News For The Weary

John 4: 1 – 6

Therefore…the Lord…left Judea and departed again to Galilee. 4 But He needed to go through Samaria. 5 So He came to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. 6 Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour.

Isn’t it encouraging to know that Jesus was weary from his journey?  All of us get weary on our journey, and that is natural, but it is how we respond to weariness that is important.

Weariness can expose you and make you vulnerable and susceptible to negative influences.

Everything in the natural has a counterpart in the spiritual, and so we can get weary on our spiritual journey – and the longer the journey the more weary we can become…

You know what it’s like when you are traveling with children.  They bombard you with questions like, “Are we there yet….?” or “When will we get there?

There are folks like that in the church – always questioning when this or that is going to happen.

A long journey can be very monotonous – mile after mile of what can appear to be the same old, same old, and so it can be easy to get distracted or to lose focus. But the truth is that although the journey may seem long and monotonous and leave you feeling weary it is still the journey you needed to take to get you exactly where you need to be.  That’s how it was for Jesus that day in Samaria and that is how it is for us.

Jesus was weary from his journey but he was right where he was needed to be.

If you yield to weariness how can it affect you?  Here are some of the ways: tiredness, irritability, and depression. Reduced decision-making ability, reduced ability to do complex planning, reduced communication skills, reduced productivity and performance, reduced attention and vigilance, reduced ability to handle stress on the job, reduced reaction time – both in speed and thought.  Weariness can result in loss of memory or the ability to recall details, and a failure to respond to changes in surroundings, or information provided.  It can also lead to an increased tendency for risk-taking, increased forgetfulness, increased errors in judgment, increased sick-time and absenteeism, and increased accident rates.

It has been a long road for many of us in the church as we have waited for the fulfilment of prophetic vision, and so I guess that it has often led to feelings of weariness.  I know that I have certainly felt that weariness.

Recently I felt that weariness hitting my mind and draining my soul.  I had become weary of people not taking seriously what you know is true prophetic revelation.  I said to Catriona, “Do you think people would take what we say more seriously if we had a big church?”  It sometimes appears that people only want to listen to what the outwardly successful say, even if you have been saying the same things for years.

Occasionally you wonder if your firewall has been breached and if your prayer support is down.  Paul said, “Pray for me….”  He asked the church to pray for him so that doors would remain open for him so that basically he would preach the right message in the right place at the right time.  Remember when Jesus was at his lowest point in what was probably the greatest battle of his life in the Garden of Gethsemane?  He looked to his disciples for prayer support but weariness had taken them out.

And so, here is Jesus in Samaria – weary from his journey, but exactly where he was needed to be.  So how did Jesus go from weariness (with all of its potentially negative side-effects) to winning a soul, and then winning a city?  The answer is important because many of us who are weary from our journey are exactly where we are needed to be – and there are souls and cities to be won!

Let’s look at a couple of Scriptures first.

Habakkuk 2: 3

For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; Because it will surely come, It will not tarry.

Zechariah 4: 10

10 For who has despised the day of small things?

We live in a culture where size matters and it is rarely the small that is celebrated.  In fact, there can be real shame and reproach attached to smallness.  When two pastors meet for the first time one of the first questions is usually, “How big is your church?”  That can be an intimidating question if your church is still small.  Weariness can come upon us when it appears that despite all our best efforts there doesn’t seem to be any growth, or even worse there is shrinkage.  “Honey, I shrunk the church!” isn’t an admission many want to make.  Even though there may be a Biblical precedent for temporary shrinkage (ask Jesus or Paul) it doesn’t fit our cultural obsession with the “mega” word.

Have you ever noticed that nobody wants to come and see the foundation of your new house?  People tend not to get excited about what is going down rather than up, or in what will never be seen, or in the messiest and toughest parts of any enterprise.  They don’t mind hearing about your plans, or even looking at images of what the finished project will look like, and they certainly enjoy sitting on the leather couch and sipping on a beverage when the work is completed, but not too many respond to invitations to view or participate in the hard graft of laying the foundation.  And yet, the foundation is the most important part of the building.  Everything that is built is only as good as the foundation it is built on, and the further up you want to go, the further down you must go first.

Zechariah 4: 8 – 10

8 Moreover the word of the Lord came to me, saying: 9 “The hands of Zerubbabel
Have laid the foundation of this temple; His hands shall also finish it. Then you will know
that the Lord of hosts has sent Me to you. 10 For who has despised the day of small things?
For these seven rejoice to see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel. They are the eyes of the Lord, which scan to and fro throughout the whole earth.”

Weariness can come upon us when we despise the day of small things.  The grace of God is available as much in the small things as it is in the bigger things, and his grace is always more than sufficient to supernaturally empower, strengthen, and encourage us.

1 Corinthians 3: 10

10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it

The word of God says that there is a day of small things – that there are days when it may appear as though nothing is happening.  In the realm of the Spirit a day can seem like a long time.  Scripturally, it can be a long time – it can be of a variable duration, even as long as a thousand years or more.

The good news about a day of small things is that it implies that there is another day coming – a day of big things!  In fact, according to Habakkuk it will surely come if we wait for it.

As I was experiencing and seeking to resist the recent onslaught of weariness the Holy Spirit did for me what he did for Jesus that day at the well in Samaria.  As I sought the Lord  and meditated on his word for a way through he turned me towards the harvest.

If you are weary today I have good news for you – it’s harvest time!

If you want to stir up fresh energy, enthusiasm, excitement, expectancy, compassion, and glory then start seeing the harvest right where you are.  Renew your vision!  Hit the refresh button on your vision!

Jesus needed to be at that well in that city in Samaria that day.  He needed to be there for the woman who showed up beside him – a woman who was the key to that whole community.

We need to be there for those who show up beside us – and to see them as potential keys to the whole community!

The Lord reminded me as I was meditating on this subject of something very simple and yet very profound that he said to me a number of years ago.  He said, “There can be no revival in a community where there is no community.

Community has been redefined to a great extent in our generation to simply refer to the place where we live, even though we may rarely if ever interact with others who live around us.  Many people have little or no relationship with their neighbours and will often travel miles from where they live to be part of a church (my hand goes up on that one!)

The Lord reminded me of what happened with me back in the 1980’s when one day as I was driving across our island he allowed me to see the glory of God and showed me that we were living under an open heaven, and gave me a vision for a Holy Spirit-filled, worshiping and ministering church in every community of our island.  A church preaching the kingdom of heaven and healing the sick, cleansing the lepers, raising the dead and casting out demons – a church that is freely receiving and freely giving.  A church blessed and being a blessing!

Wherever we are located, we are where we need to be in order to restore the local church in every community.  Real kingdom community produces kingdom culture that is always relevant (forgiveness is always relevant to a sinner, healing is always relevant to a sick person, cleansing is always relevant to the unclean, resurrection is always relevant to the dead, deliverance is always relevant to the oppressed, food is always relevant to the hungry, prosperity is always relevant to the poor…), and kingdom culture releases kingdom creativity that is manifested in the radical works of the kingdom.

It struck me that just because we may be a small church doesn’t mean that we have to act like a small church, or just because we might appear insignificant in the grand scheme of things, and may be feeling weary on our journey we are – right now – exactly where we are needed to be to reach one soul that is a potential key to the community.

Something began to stir in me as I thought about this…

Try telling David that he had to go on acting like an insignificant shepherd boy…

Try telling Gideon that he had to go on acting like a small, insignificant man from a small, insignificant family…

Try telling Joshua that he had to go on acting like all of his hope and courage died with Moses…

Try telling Abraham that he had to go on acting like an impotent old man with an old barren wife…

Try telling Peter and John that they have to go on acting like insignificant, ignorant Galilean fishermen…

Try telling Jesus that he had to go on acting like a dignified Jewish Rabbi…

We know that in this encounter with the Samaritan woman recorded in John 4 that Jesus broke all the rules and conventions of how a dignified Jewish Rabbi was expected to behave.

Like I said, try telling Jesus that he had to go on acting like a dignified Jewish Rabbi…

A long time ago the Lord said to me,  “People must be willing to break out of the cultural mores (the essential or characteristic customs and conventions – the way of life, traditions, practices, and habits of a community) if they are going to break into the more of God”.

The local church is not there to conform to the community – but to supernaturally transform the community.

I have good news for the weary – it’s harvest time!

Every one of us has a ministry in this harvest!  If we are in a small church that acts like a small church there can sometimes seem to be no opportunity for everyone to minister and that can lead to tension if there is a “this church ain’t big enough for the both of us” mentality.

But that never has to be the case because the harvest is big enough for all of us!

The Lord gave us a prophetic word here in New Wine Church some years ago that has helped to define us.  He said: “I have not been building a ministry through you but I have been building a message in you, and out of the message the ministry will come – many ministries will come…

Everywhere we go – individually or as part of a group – we have the opportunity to bring the message of the kingdom and to minister the kingdom to those who respond to the message.  Every person to whom we minister is a potential seed for a church plant in their community.

And so whether we are part of a small church, or if we are in a bigger church where we feel small and insignificant amidst the crowds of people we need to know that we are exactly where we are needed to be to reach the person that just showed up alongside us.

We have a clear mandate from the Lord to intentionally, deliberately, and on purpose bless people!

Jesus didn’t say to wait for them to come into our church building before we bless them!  He said to go – and wherever you encounter them bless them!

We are all here to help people to see and experience that they live under an open heaven and so they can experience the glory of God’s presence!  Where his presence is salvation is, healing is, deliverance is, prosperity is…

The disciples knew that Jesus was weary from his journey and so when they returned from the city with food they were surprised (on several cultural levels) to see him speaking to the woman.  When they tried to get him to eat something he told them that he had food to eat that they knew nothing of and that his food was to do the will of his Father and to finish his work.  He told them to lift up their eyes – to raise their vision – and to see that wherever they were there was a ripe harvest all around them!

Have you become weary?

Isaiah 40: 27 – 31

27 Why do you say, O Jacob, And speak, O Israel: “My way is hidden from the Lord, and my just claim is passed over by my God”? 28 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. 29 He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. 30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, 31 But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.

The word translated wait in verse 31 in the original Hebrew carries the meaning of being bound together with the Lord.  This is basically what Paul was speaking about to the Corinthian church.

1 Corinthians 6: 17

17 …he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.

This is an awesome reality!  There may be weariness in your body and soul but there is a worshiping warrior in your spirit!  Worship reconnects you!  That’s the revelation that Jesus gave the Samaritan woman.  That’s the revelation that supernaturally transformed her from weariness in her flesh as the result of a journey marked with abuse and shame to a fearless worshiping warrior!  True worship is submitting to the will of God for your life.  God’s plan for her life was not for her to continue passing from one failed relationship to another, but to be an evangelist who brought people into a relationship with him that lasted for time and eternity!

John 4: 31, 39 – 41

34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work. 35 Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!….39 And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all that I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans had come to Him, they urged Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. 41 And many more believed because of His own word.

Jesus’ weariness was gone as heaven flowed to him and through him – refreshing him – and bringing revival to a community!

If you have become weary in body and soul as a result of your journey then I have good news for you!  Your journey has brought you to exactly where you are needed to be, and so lift up your eyes, refresh your vision, and know that you are one spirit with the Lord – that there is a worshiping warrior in your spirit that is always ready to release the kingdom of heaven to those who have showed up alongside you!

There is good news for the weary – it’s harvest time!

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