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John Maxwell - Miracles

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Hey everybody, you are in for an amazing treat today. I want to introduce to you one of my personal heroes, a man that God has used to build me in more ways than you can imagine. He's inspired my faith as a man who was a pastor of one of the largest churches in America back many years ago. He's drawn me closer to Christ, he's helped me to become a better husband and a better dad, and beyond a shadow of a doubt, he is known around the world as one of the best teachers on leadership. In fact, a lot of people would argue that there is no one better alive today on planet earth in teaching leadership. I want to express my love and gratitude for a man whose been a mentor to me, invested in me, along with countless other leaders around the world. He's written a bazillion books and his newest book is just out called, Five Levels of Leadership. The word on the street is that this is the best John Maxwell book ever written. I know you'll want to get it. His teaching is life-changing in every way. If you're a business leader you've been inspired, if you've been a Christian you've been inspired, and will be even more so. Could you give a warm LifeChurch welcome to Dr. John Maxwell. Thank you, thank you very much Craig. How are you today, okay? Let's take a moment and let's get acquainted, okay? My name's John, what's your name? Nice to meet you! Nice to not only meet you here, but for all of the churches and all of the campuses with LifeChurch, thank you for allowing me to come into your life for just a few minutes and take the Word of God and do my best to teach you something that will add value to your life. First of all, I just want you to know that it's great to be at LifeChurch. And Craig, I want to thank you for your leadership. I have the privilege of being with leaders around the world, church leaders especially, and I think you know this; but if you don't know this you need to know this, okay? In Craig Groeschel, you have one of the greatest leaders in the church today and one of the greatest pastor-leaders in America! You do understand that do you not? Absolutely, terrific! Craig, I love you and you're a wonderful friend and I admire so much how God is using you and how you depend upon Him and it's just an honor to be here with you. Thank you for having me and I'm so glad to be here with you. Just to get acquainted, Margaret and I have been married for 42 years, okay? And we have two children, both of them are married and we have five grandchildren, okay? Most of you are very young, I can see this. You don't understand what I'm about to say, but grandchildren are God's reward for you not killing your children, okay? You just have to trust me on this because most of you don't have grandchildren yet, but if you have children you understand the killing part. You understand, because they're teenagers, and you look at them and you just say, Shall I let them live? You know, and you have these days where you're just really working on that process. And I'm just here to say as your friend, let them live! Because if you let them live, guess what? Someday they will do for you what they are supposed to do for you, they will give you a grandchild. And when you get that grandchild and you hold that baby in your arms, you're going to say to yourself, this is the most wonderful, beautiful, smartest baby! No one has to tell you, you know intuitively that there's never been a baby born like this. And then you'll ask yourself a question, Why did intelligence skip a generation? I mean, you really will, it's just automatic in a grandparent, What happened? Why did intelligence skip a generation? I was literally at a large convention speaking and I was just getting acquainted with them like I am with you and just taking a moment and sharing and I told that story. And I forgot that my son Joel was in the audience! And sure enough, he was not only in the audience, when I went back to the greenroom afterwards, he was there waiting on me! As soon as I got closer to him I said, Now Joel honey, you understand, I was just kidding with the people about intelligence skipping a generation. He said, It's okay Dad, it's okay. In fact, I think you're right. And I looked at him and I said, You do? And he said, Yes, I think you're right about intelligence skipping a generation. In fact, he said, ..just last week, Grandpa and I had that very same discussion! So, I am just delighted to be here. And I want to share with you a story out of Jesus' life, it's the feeding of the 5,000. It's the only miracle that's recorded in all four Gospels. And I want to start this lesson by sharing with you, and I want you to write this down, not only here on this campus, but in all of the campuses and all of the churches, welcome, we're glad you're here today. I want you to write this down, because I want to share with you how a Biblical miracle works. And I want to take about a minute, a minute and a half to kind of lay this as a foundation. So, if you get your paper ready and your pen ready to take notes. In fact, would you do me a favor? Look at your neighbor right now and say to them, You're going to learn something. Would you tell them that? Tell them you're going to learn something. Look right back at them and say, And it's about time! Are you ready to go? Here's how a Biblical miracle works. I want you to write this down. I'll say it slowly, I'll repeat it several times because this is foundational for the teaching that I'm going to share with you out of the Word of God. Okay, here we go: When there is a need sensed by a few.... We're going to unfold for you now how a Biblical miracle works: When there's a need sensed by a few and each individual understands his responsibility, or her responsibility. When there's a need sensed by a few and each individual understands his or her responsibility and gives his all regardless of the odds. When there's a need sensed by a few and each individual understands his responsibility and gives his all regardless of the odds then Jesus works a miracle. Now in just a moment I'm going to share this story with you, I'm going to read it to you and then break it down. But I want to make sure you have how a Biblical miracle really works, so let me repeat it. And then if you have it, we'll say it together aloud at all of our campuses today at LifeChurch, okay? So, let me make sure you have it: When there's a need sensed by a few and each individual understands his responsibility and gives his all regardless of the odds then Jesus works a miracle. Now, I've got a question. Not only here on this campus, but all of the campuses, do you have it? Have you got it down, ha? Okay, you've got it don't you? Okay, you're ready, let's all say it aloud together at all of the churches and all of the campuses, okay? When there's a need sensed by a few and each individual understands his responsibility and gives his all regardless of the need then Jesus works a miracle. You got it? Now, let me read the story and I'm reading it to you out of the Message. Jesus has just been out with the disciples, they're coming ashore off of the lake. And when Jesus arrived, when He came onshore, He saw this huge crowd and at the sight of them His heart broke. Like a sheep with no shepherd they were and he went right to work teaching them. Now, let me stop. I have a sense of humor. So therefore, when I read things that they're kind of funny, even in the Bible, I just kind of get amused. And this next phrase just always amuses me. Now, get the picture; Jesus comes ashore, sees the people that are like sheep without a shepherd, they're kind of lost, He immediately just gets into teaching them. He's been teaching them for sometime now, okay? Got the picture? And here comes the next phrase: When His disciples thought that this had gone on long enough... So the disciples are listening and Jesus has taught for awhile. And when the disciples thought that this had gone on for long enough, they interrupted. How would you like to be known as the person who interrupted Jesus? This great teaching, life-changing, and they come up to Jesus and they interrupted, they had some advice for him. They said: We're a long way out in the country, it's very late. Pronounce a benediction, send these folks off so they can get some supper. Now, this next phrase kind of amuses me also because when they said, 'Send them away so they can get some supper', Jesus said, 'You do it! You fix supper for them!' They replied, 'Are you serious? You want us to spend a fortune on food for their supper?' But He was quite serious, he said, 'How many loaves do you have? Take an inventory.' That didn't take long. Five loaves, two fish. Now you know what happened. That day, Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, He blessed the food, He broke the food, He multiplied it, and over 5,000 people ate and they had twelve baskets left over. Now this story, which is recorded by all of the four Gospel writers, really breaks down I think Biblically, how a miracle works in your life and in my life. Let me ask you a question before we get started here. How many of you have some time in your life needed a miracle from God? Can you raise your hand, ha? Okay, and let me ask you another question, how many of you today need a miracle from God, ha? We still, we don't run out of needs do we? We need a miracle from God. Well in this lesson, we're going to show you not only that we can receive a miracle from God, but sometimes God wants to use us to be a miracle for someone else. In other words, there are times when He wants to take our lives and through us be the channel for a miracle in other people's lives. So, let me ask you maybe even a higher level question. The first question is: How many of you need a miracle from God? We all raised our hand on that one, but here's another question and I want you to think about it for a moment. And if you feel like this, kind of just agree with me and raise your hand on this one: How many of you would like to be used of God to be a channel for a miracle from God to someone else in your life? How many of you would like to be used like that? That's huge isn't it? Wouldn't it be wonderful to say, I know God used me, God allowed me to be a process, a channel or river so that it could flow to someone else's life. And we're going to learn how that works in this story, so let's get going. You've got it before you, you've got the notes, you see how a Biblical miracle works, let's start at the beginning: When there is a need. Jesus came ashore, His heart immediately broke when He saw the people. He could tell they were lost. A little bit later there's going to be another need, they're going to have a physical need for food. The whole setting of this miracle begins with the fact that people are hurting. And what I want to share with you now is the fact that foundational for the Biblical miracle in your life, and foundational for the miracle that God wants to bring me in life, it all begins with the fact that we're hurting; that we need something from God. In my second church in Ohio, I was a very young pastor and I went to a church that was plateaued and it hadn't really grown for several years. And I asked God to give me wisdom I said, How can I get these people moving? They lacked a lot of faith. And they were just kind of a little bit mundane. I felt led to start teaching on miracles to just kind of rejuvenate them and lift their faith level. So, I started in the Old Testament and literally over about a year and two-month period of time, I literally taught on every miracle in the Bible, okay? And when I finished teaching on every miracle in the Bible, I began to look and ask myself the question, What is it that every miracle in the Bible has in common? And after doing a lot of thinking and a lot of work on it, I came up with one thought or one conclusion that's common with every miracle. But before I give that to you, if I could just literally leave the platform, the stage, and I could walk into your life, or I can come into your campus and walk into your life, and if we were able to sit down and I would say, Talk to me. What's the one thing that you need to receive a miracle from God? You could, because you have great Biblical teaching from your teachers here and Craig, and the whole process, you could come up with some wonderful answers. And I would almost imagine somebody would say, Well John, to receive a miracle from God first of all you have to have faith. And I'd say, Boy, faith is important, in fact, we can't even please God without faith. I could show you miracles in the Bible that the person who received the miracle had no faith at all. In fact, I can show you miracles in the Bible where the person who received the miracle was surprised! You don't have any faith if you're surprised! Or you might say, John, I know what you have to do to receive a miracle from God you need to pray. In fact, there's some things that we're taught that you can't even come to pass without prayer and fasting. We all know that, we all understand the value of prayer. But yet, I can show you miracles in the Bible where nobody prayed at all and a miracle happened. You see, there's only one thing that every miracle in the Bible has in common and here it is, are you ready? Every miracle in the Bible begins with a problem, every one of them. Whenever you see God do a miracle in the life of people it's because there's a problem, there's a need, there's a question, there's a hurt. In this setting people are hungry. In this setting people are like sheep, they're lost, they're unaware of how to get to where they need to go. So, it's obvious, the whole setting of this story begins with the fact that when Jesus saw them His heart broke. Why did His heart break when He saw them? Because they were lost, they were wandering, and Jesus understood that and He felt their need, He saw their need. Every miracle in the Bible begins with a problem or a need. Now, I've got a question to ask you. Let's do a little survey. Here at this campus, all of the churches, Life Church. How many of you raised your hand and say, John, I have at least one problem in my life. Oh, it's unanimous here, I bet it's unanimous on every one of the campuses. We all have a problem, ha? Look at your neighbor and say, I've got a problem, go ahead and tell them that. We all have problems. Now, let me ask you another question, how many of you are seated beside that problem right now? Oh no, don't go there, don't do it! You're going to compound your problem, now you've really got a problem, okay! Now, here's what I want you to understand, if you have a problem; see when we look at problems we think, Man, I don't want any problems, I don't want any needs, I wish I didn't have any issues in my life! Can I tell you something? If you have a problem, if you have a need, here's what I want you to understand, this makes you a candidate for a miracle from God. In fact, this is just between you and me; if you don't have a problem I feel sorry for you. If you don't have a problem, you're not a candidate for a miracle. You can't have a miracle without a problem! I don't know, what should we do with that? I don't know, maybe at the end of the lesson for people who don't have a problem we'll have you stand! We'll say, All of you that have no problems please stand and we'll lay hands on you and we'll say, 'God, give them a problem', because if you don't have a problem you can't be a candidate for a miracle from God. And if you have a little problem guess what? You're a candidate for a little miracle. And if you have kind of a medium-size, mid-size problem, you're a candidate for a medium miracle. And if you've got a huge, I can't believe I got myself into this incredible mess kind of a problem, you're a candidate for an I can't believe that God can pull me out of this incredible kind of mess miracle! There's a relationship between the problem and the miracle. So your problem is not your problem, even though you think the problem is the problem. It's not a problem, the problem is you didn't know the problem isn't a problem, so the problem that isn't a problem now has become a problem, not because it's a problem! But the problem is you didn't know the problem wasn't a problem and so the problem is when you don't know the problem isn't a problem it becomes a problem even though it isn't a problem and now you really do have a problem! Yea I know, I know what you're doing! I know what you're doing, you're taking notes and your saying, Excuse me John, excuse me, do that one more time, I think I missed the thirteenth problem in that sentence! Very simple, if you have a problem you're a candidate for a miracle from God. When there's a need, let's go on, sensed by a few. Now in this story, it was the disciples that were aware of the problem, not everybody. And I stop long enough in this teaching just to say to you, because it's important to stop for a moment, but I don't want to stay here because I want to get to the essence of the miracle. It's one of a fact that if you have a problem, even if you're the only one that knows about the problem, or if just maybe your inner circle, just your family members; if you have a problem, you don't need everybody to agree that you have a problem for you to receive a miracle. You don't need people to vote on your miracle. The Bible says what? Where two or three are gathered, not where two or three hundred or two or three thousand, two or three. So, what I want you to know is God knows you right now exactly where you are and He knows what your issue is, He knows what your question is, He knows what your hurt is, He knows what your problem is. And if it's just you and Him, you're still a candidate for a miracle from God. When there's a need sensed by a few and each individual understands his responsibility. Now, this is where the miracle can break down, because when God wants to do a miracle He wants to involve you. And many times, it's that partnership and that involvement that causes us to back away and miss the miracle that God has for us. You know the story, what happens to the disciples? They come to Jesus and say, 'Lord excuse me, excuse me,' they're interrupting remember? Okay, 'Lord, we've got a problem. It's getting late, the people are hungry. We would encourage you to kind of let them go, pronounce the benediction, send them into town and let them get a quarter pounder with cheese on a sesame seed bun!' And the Lord just absolutely threw them a curve. As soon as they brought to the Lord the problem with the answer; but the way, I love the disciples don't you? They not only brought the problem to the Lord, but they also brought the solution in case He couldn't figure it out! And the Lord just messed them up, He looked at the guys and said, 'Fellows, thanks for making me aware that the people are hungry and it's getting quite late. I have a suggestion for you, you give them something to eat!' In other words, do something about the problem. Now, I promise you that at the moment they weren't expecting this by the way, they were not expecting this. The moment that Jesus said, 'You give them something to eat!' I know that they wished they would have never brought the problem up! Isn't that the way it is, ha? We don't mind God fixing our problems, it's when God wants us to get involved with Him. You see, I do this all of the time. I'll get my pad out and I'll do my prayer requests. And I write my prayer requests down and so I'll give God the prayer requests. And then because He's busy, I often offer some suggestions, not a lot, I don't want to overtax Him! You understand, just like two or three kind of simple, practical solutions to fix my prayer requests. And so, I'll give Him the prayer request and because He's so busy, I'll also suggest how He can answer that prayer! Let me ask you a question, have you ever given God a suggestion in your life? You know what I'm talking about don't you, ha? That is what the disciples did, they said, 'Lord, it's getting quite late, here's what we suggest, we've already figured this out. While you've been doing this teaching we've been over here having a meeting!' No wonder they interrupted, they didn't have a clue what was going on, did they, ha? 'And here's what we would suggest...' It's like God is in heaven and when we're giving Him the prayer request, it's kind of like God is just in awe of us with the suggestions! It's kind of like He's up there and He says, 'Oh! That is so good! Wait, wait, wait; John, John, John, John, please slow down, slow down, slow down! I don't want to miss anything, I don't know how to do this so help me out here! Why have I never thought of this?' I've given God suggestions after suggestions after my prayer requests. Can I tell you something? He's never taken one of my suggestions! You see, He's not interested in my solutions and my suggestions, what He's interested in is my participation with Him. He wants to involve me in the miracle. So, what do we do? What we do is we take our problems to God. It's like we lay our problems over to God and then what we do is we slip away. We kind of get as far as we can from the problem because we really don't want Him to take care of it. And then, what we do is we become His chief cheerleader. We start encouraging Him; you know, we tell Him that He can do this, that He can answer that prayer! And then, if He hasn't answered it like the first day we say, 'Go ahead, take your time, you're busy, take your time. I'll give you another half a day, don't worry about that, go ahead!' And when He's real slow, what I love about it is we sing songs to Him. I love how we sing songs to God to kind of help Him, encourage Him, and kind of bolster His confidence to solve our problem. And if that doesn't work we quote Scripture. We say, 'Hey God, hey, you're the man, you can do exceedingly abundantly more than we ever ask'. It's as if God is up in heaven saying, 'Where did you hear this great stuff?' You see, we'll offer our suggestions, we'll offer our advice, we'll offer our encouragement. And all Jesus says is, 'Excuse me, excuse me, if you want a miracle would you just get involved with me? Would you just work with me to make this miracle happen?' You see, I don't understand this. I've got a list of...when I get to heaven, do you have a list of questions you're going to ask God when you get to heaven? I've got a list and one of the questions I've got is, why did God use people? If I would have been God, I wouldn't use us! Are you kidding? We're a bunch of mess-ups! I'd of said, 'Hey look, I know you John. Going to bypass you, do it myself! Thank you very much!' The fact that God would use me to partner with Him with a miracle amazes me. In fact, when God has a problem, when we have a problem, His answer is always a person. So, when He said, 'You fix supper for them!' They went into a panic mode and they went out through the crowd and they began to say, 'Do you have any food, do you have any food?' You know the story, there wasn't anybody that had any food; except a kid. Now, I think the kid was in junior high. I think his name was Johnny. I think he had a buddy in junior high that was with him that day, his name was Jimmy. Jimmy, Johnny, two wonderful southern Biblical names. And I think Johnny had the five loaves and two fish and I think Jimmy his buddy was with him. And when the disciples started going through the crowd asking for food, I think Jimmy kind of followed the guy. And as he came back to Johnny and said, 'Johnny, I just want you to know that the guys that hang out with Jesus, they're looking for food and nobody has planned ahead, nobody has any. And as I've kind of got this thing figured out, you're the only one that has got any food and I just want you to know Johnny that they're getting closer and you're starting to get surrounded. And I'm telling you, they're going to come. And when they come, they're going to ask for your food.' And I think Johnny, I think Johnny's initial response was he didn't want to give the food up. I think he sat on his food. I think he just sat on it and he operated on the principle that squashed lunch is better than none at all. And I think there are two reasons at least, but I think there are at least two reasons why Johnny didn't want to give up his lunch that day to Jesus, and I understand both of those reasons and I think you will in a moment. 1. It's hard to care for others when you're comfortable yourself. You do understand, there was one kid in a crowd of 5,000 that did not need a miracle from Jesus. He didn't need Jesus to break bread, multiply bread, pass out this incredible increase of the loaves and fish. He didn't need a miracle from God. Can I tell you something? He didn't need God to do anything; he already had in his sack his lunch. He had enough for himself, probably for his buddy Jimmy, if they kind of divided the stuff up. He didn't need God to work a miracle. Let me just say something to you. Sometimes we need a miracle and sometimes we're in a position where we don't need that miracle. But if you don't, what you have to understand is God needs you to be a channel for the miracle for someone else. You either need the miracle or He needs you to be the channel for the miracle for someone else. But it's hard to care for others when you're comfortable yourself. And I want to stop here at LifeChurch and say to you in all of your churches and in all of your communities and in all of your sites, I just want to say something. I think one of the reasons why God is blessing LifeChurch, I think one of the reasons that God has a favor and anointing upon Pastor Craig is because at LifeChurch you have never gotten in that position where you've got enough for yourself, so you just say, Let's just hold it right there, let's not reach any more people, let's not touch any more people. I mean after all, we've got our seat, we've got our place, we've got our niche in the church. You've always had an attitude that God loves everybody and God values everybody so everybody ought to be reached with the Gospel. And that's the attitude that allows you to become a channel for a miracle from God. Secondly, I think the second reason the kid had a hard time giving up his lunch is the request of the disciples made no sense at all. They said, 'Hey kid, if you'll take your five loaves and two fish and give it to Jesus, he'd like to feed 5,000 people today.' 'He'd like to do what? Excuse me, did I understand you to say that if I give the five loaves and two fish to Jesus, he's going to turn around and he's going to feed 5,000 people with it? What have you boys been smoking?' I wonder how many miracles I've missed from God because He asked me to do something that is simple; something that I could do, something that I had in my hand. In other words, He asked me to do something that I could do for Him or I could give to Him. I wonder how many miracles I've missed because when He asked me for it, it didn't make sense. I didn't understand it, I couldn't figure it out, and so in my humanness, instead of obeying God and trusting God I just kind of held onto my lunch. I wonder how many miracles I've missed because I had enough to be comfortable myself and besides, it didn't make any sense to give it to God and so I just held onto it. And the good news is, I kept my lunch; the bad news is I lost the blessing and I lost the miracle. I think in the church we're educated way beyond the level of our obedience. And I think that we never learn to trust God until we first obey Him. And that day, this kid gave up his lunch. Now, we know the story. The rest of the story is that Jesus took the lunch and fed 5,000 people with it. But the story doesn't end there, all of the Gospel writers kind of concluded, and they go on to another moving, a teaching of Jesus, or another time where He did miracles. They followed Jesus, but if you would stay with the kid for a moment, this kid's life was unbelievably radically changed that day. Can you imagine Jimmy and Johnny going home? Can you imagine all of the adults kind of coming around and high-fiving them and saying, 'Hey, way to go Johnny!' 'Hey, thanks for lunch Johnny!' He gets home, 'Mom, I'm home.' 'I'm in the kitchen doing dishes, I'll be in the room in a second. Just sit down there.' She comes in, 'Johnny, how did it go today?' 'Oh mom, you are not going to believe what I am about to tell you!' 'Before you tell me that, before you tell me Johnny, there's something that's bothered me all day. You're in junior high and you're growing like a weed, and when I packed your lunch, I didn't know Jimmy was coming by. I didn't know Jimmy was going with you! All of a sudden he ran over there and you guys took off. I saw you running over there and I said to myself; oh, I don't think I gave him enough food today. I mean, I didn't know Jimmy was going! I only got five loaves and two fish and you could eat all of that yourself! Honey, I've been bothered all day, this has really bothered me! Sweetheart, I've been bothered by this! Did I give you enough food today?' 'Mom, Mom, Mom, sit down!' 'Okay, I'm sitting Johnny!' 'Mom, Jesus took your lunch and He fed 5,000 people with your lunch!' 'Johnny, you're lying again!' 'No, no, no! Call Jimmy, call Jimmy, call Jimmy! He'll tell you!' You see, this kid's life was changed forever. Everyday, I promise you, the rest of his life, he thought of the day when he and Jesus partnered to do a miracle for other people. When his kids, when he was an adult and he had kids, as a parent, when they had their bedtime stories, you know what happened! He didn't tell them the typical bedtime stories! Why would you tell them a mundane Goldilocks story? When you can say, when I was about your age, let me tell you about how Jesus took the lunch and the kids are in bed, they're punching one another and they're saying, 'Here comes the fish and chips story again! Here comes the fish and chips story!' Yes, he's going to tell the fish and chips story everyday, because that's the day he learned, are you ready? You can trust Jesus with your lunch, you can trust Him. You say, But, it's all I've got! It's okay, give it to Him. And the moment you trust Him with your lunch, guess what happens? Everyone around you gets lunch, and you have been a partner with God to bring a miracle. Amen? Lord, thank you for this simple story. Thank you for the kid, thank you for the Word. May now it find lodging in our heart and may we never be the same because today we have decided we will partner with God to be a channel for miracles in the lives of others. In Jesus' name, Amen.

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Duration: 33 minutes and 4 seconds
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Posted by: lifechurchopen on Jan 9, 2012

John Maxwell - Miracles -

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