Joyce Meyer - Leaving the Crowd Behind - Part 2
The title of my message this morning is "Leaving the Crowd Behind". And we've all got a crowd. You know, it may be your crowd in your neighborhood, or your crowd at work, or your crowd at school. Or maybe, some of your extended family, that's your crowd. But we've all got our own little crowd. And many times, when God touches your life and wants to take you somewhere the crowd doesn't want to go. And so, sometimes, you either have to make the decision to not go with God or to leave the crowd behind. One of the hardest things that I've ever had to do, and I think if you have a business or a ministry, you'll understand this, is getting to a certain point of growth.
And the people that helped me here, get to here, can't go to here. Man, it is so painful to have to leave those people behind. So painful. And one of the hardest things for me was having to let people go that helped me in the beginning but could not take me, they didn't have the skill to take me to where God wanted me to go. In all of my years in ministry, I've only had one person ever come to me and say... they were in charge of a department that was about ten people when they started, and now it was about 50, and they said, "You know what? This has got beyond my skill level. I can't do this right. I would love to stay at the ministry, but I'm not really qualified to run this department anymore".
I had so much respect for that person because most people would not do that. They would keep trying to do something that they weren't qualified to do, and all it would do would be hold us back. We couldn't go on. Let me tell you something. It's important to know what you can do, but sometimes, it's even more important to know what you can't do. Did you notice this morning I wasn't part of the worship team? Anybody know? They didn't invite me to sing. But I tried. I tried to learn how to play guitar. And my fingers are so short. I think they're cute, but they're short. I couldn't, I just couldn't do it. And not only that, I failed music in school, so why would I even wanna try to do that? And so, you grow spiritually. Your business grows, your ministry grows, in degrees. How many of you understand that? You grow for a while, you come to a stopping point. And when you're at that stopping point, sometimes, you're like, "Well, God, I don't understand. What's wrong? What's wrong? What's wrong"?
Well, sometimes, God is trying to deal with you about something, something that needs to change, something that needs to go, and until you let him have his way, until you let him have his way you'll stay right where you're at. You know why? Because God's not gonna change his mind. I can't tell if you like this or not, but I'll just keep it up anyway. Do you know, Jesus, very often, took Peter, James, and John with him to places where he didn't take everybody else? See, he knew what part of the crowd to take and what part to leave behind, even at certain events. And part of the reason he did that may have been he was trying to train them for what they were going to do in the future. But part of it may have been that some of the things that he was doing, like when he went in to raise a little dead girl or heal the sick, he had to be surrounded by people that had faith.
You can't surround yourself with a bunch of people that are full of unbelief and ever get to where you want to go because they'll drag you down, they'll discourage you. And you need people to encourage you. Is there anybody that thinks that maybe I'm right, and God is speaking to you this morning, that maybe, just maybe, one of your biggest problems is who you're hanging out with? C'mon. Just let me see if i, alright, well, good. This is good, we've got about 75% of the crowd. I have to say, I'm impressed. I must have heard from God. Matthew 17: "After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John, the brother of James, and he led them up a high mountain by themselves".
Now, remember, he took these three guys and left the others, I guess, at the foot of the mountain. Can you be left out and have a good attitude? Boy. "And there he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light". Wow. "And just then there appeared before them Moses, Elijah, stood there, talking with Jesus". And Peter, bless his heart, he just, I don't know. Peter's my favorite because I'm a lot like Peter. And Peter says, I can just see Peter, he got all excited. "'oh, Lord, this is good. This is good for us to be here'". I'll tell you what, "'I'll build three shelters, one for you, one for Moses, one for Elijah'". I don't know what he thought. He's gonna stick them in a little hut, and they're just gonna stay there. I mean, isn't that a strange thing? "I'll build these little huts and", and then, Jesus said to them, when they were going down the mountain. Now, I want you to get this. He said, "Do not tell anybody". Oh, my gosh.
Now, do you know how hard it must have been for them to go back to those other disciples and not say, "Guys, you would not believe what we just saw"? Oh, my goodness. I'll tell you a ministry that nobody prays for: the ministry of obscurity. You say, "Well, what do you mean by that"? One where you're hidden. You're being tested to see if you're gonna be faithful. But the hidden years in your life are the birthplace of greatness. Did you hear me? Do you know where I got the right to stand up here today? Those five years that I did the home Bible studies, and the five years I worked for somebody else, and the ten years that I ran around all over creation and taught these little, tiny meetings, and was faithful and had serious financial needs and worked until I thought I don't even know.
Dave and I talk about it. I don't even know how we worked as hard as we worked and survived. And I didn't have an arena full of people clapping when I got up. See, we always wanna be the one that people are clapping for, but what if you never are? Hmm. Will you be faithful wherever God puts you whether it's big or small, seen or unseen? You know, we have a problem in our society today, we wanna count everything. "How many followers do you have on Facebook"? And this is the one I love. "I have 3.000 friends on Facebook". Well, if that's your definition of a friend, come on. I mean, don't even call 'em that. Man, you gotta be careful with Facebook and all this stuff because there is so much garbage that people put on there. And people talking about stuff that they don't have any idea about, gossiping, and telling stuff, and spreading rumors.
Can I tell you something? Do not believe everything you read. I don't know, it's been about four years ago, somebody put on there that I died. And we were getting all these calls. People crying, "Joyce is dead". I had to get on Facebook and say, "Guess what? I'm not dead". I mean, just stupid stuff. And can I tell you something? Look at me. You don't have time for stupid. You just don't have time for stupid. I mean, I don't know when Jesus is coming back, but every day we get closer to whenever it is. And you just don't have any time for stupid stuff, or gossip, or criticism, or people telling tales, or backbiting, grumblers, complainers. Nobody wants the ministry where nobody knows your name. There's no applause when you finish your job. You're not on the platform under the bright lights. And you probably don't realize how important your part is because in our culture, we have become obsessed with size.
Do you know that most churches, the average church in America is between a hundred and 150 to maybe 200 people? "How many campuses do you have"? "Oh, our church is one of the ten fastest growing churches in America". Well, maybe, you should hear what Jesus said to the disciples, "Don't tell anybody". C'mon, there's stuff that we just need to, excuse me, shut up about. Do you know, I don't know how many people we have on Facebook? I don't know. And I don't wanna be told because there could only be one of two results. I would rather get puffed up with pride or I would be disappointed and discouraged. And I don't need either one. I just need to do what God has called me to do. I don't need to be going around counting everything. Is anybody hearing me?
Why are we more impressed with a church that's a thousand? We should be more impressed with the pastor who has been faithful to 100 people for 20 years, out in the middle of nowhere. Those are the people, probably, that God considers great. Hebrews chapter 11 is so great. The Bible mentions several people by name: Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, and others. But there's also another special group of people, and their names aren't given. Their name is not even in there. But listen to what God said about them. "Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refused to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, and chains and imprisonment. They were put to death by stoning: they were sawed in half: they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskin and goatskin, destitute, persecuted and mistreated, men of whom the world was not worthy".
This group was more important than the group he named. So, what if your name never gets any lot of attention? You know, I love to talk about what I call "The silent years". And anybody who's got any power in their life or Carries any kind of anointing on their life has been through 'em. People who go through nothing and they're young and somebody puts 'em on a platform, and all of a sudden, they became the hottest new thing in town, most of them don't last very long, or they get themselves in trouble morally. Don't be just impressed by somebody's gift. Anybody can have a gift, but not everybody has the power to get 'em from where they started to where God wants them to be. We need to be fruit inspectors.
Anyway, I want you to get this. Jesus was circumcised when he was eight days old. When he was 40 days old, that's one month and ten days. He was taken for the purification rites that were required from children. You didn't hear one more thing about Jesus until he was 12 years old. So, from one month and ten days to 12 years, the only thing the Bible says about him is that he grew. Now, I don't know if anybody else in here can feel that, but I can feel the pain of that. Hidden, nobody clapping for him, no applause. Twelve years old, they went to Jerusalem for Passover, which they did every year. Jesus, little anxious to get about his father's business, stayed in Jerusalem in the temple. His parents thought that he was with 'em, they headed home.
After a few days, figured out he wasn't with 'em, went back and found him, "Son, why have you treated us this way"? "Well, don't you know that I must be about my father's business"? Well, apparently not 'cause they took him home. He had a human side: he's getting a little ahead of himself. I suppose you never do that. Ok, so now, he's 12 years old, now, get this, you don't hear one more word about Jesus until he's 30. And all the Bible says is "He grew". Same thing with John the Baptist. He's out in the wilderness. Everybody thinks he's a nut. He's running around in camels' hair clothes and eating locust and wild honey and screaming, "Repent! For the kingdom of heaven is at hand". And the only thing the Bible says about him, while he was out there, is "He grew".
Let me tell you something. Those five years that I did those Bible studies, I grew. Is anybody hearing me? Those five years I worked at that church and learned how to come under authority, and keep my mouth shut about things I didn't like, I grew. And those ten years, I ran round in our van with the bald tires and rusty wheel wells, oh, we were quite a case. I mean, Dave took care of all the resources. We called 'em tapes back then, you know, the cassette tapes. And he would carry 'em all in, set 'em all up, sell 'em, pack 'em up, carry 'em back. I did all the preaching and all the ministry. And we had one guy that was the worship leader, and he sang, played a guitar, played a piano, and played a drum machine with his foot. That was our worship team. But you know what? I have a testimony, and this is what it is: I'm still here. Oh, one minute. This is painful.
I was in a nail shop last week getting my nails done. You had to sign in on a computer when you went in, and there was a lady in there that recognized me from TV. And so, we were talking a little bit. And when she was checking out, I was getting my fingernails done, and then, and I was sitting close to the checkout thing. And they got her mixed up, and the guy said, "Your name is Joyce Meyer, right"? And she said, "No, but I wish it was". And I turned around to her and I said, "Yea, you probably don't". Stop wanting what other people have if you don't wanna do what they did to get it.
Come on. Everybody had their silent years. Moses in the wilderness, 40 years. C'mon, get this, forty years. He started out taking matters into his own hands, killed an Egyptian. And then, as soon as he thought he got caught, he ran, proving he wasn't ready for much, yet. After 40 years in the wilderness, he said, "Oh, no, God. You got the wrong man". Joseph in prison 13 years for something he didn't do. Anybody who's worth their salt today, anybody who's got anything to say, that's gonna really impact your life, has been through stuff like that. So, if you're going through, right now, don't hate it, don't despise it, embrace it. Hmm... Tell God, "Do what you wanna do in my life. And if you have to, tie me to the altar so I can't run away. Because I want your will in my life, God. I wanna be all you want me to be. I wanna do all that you want me to do".
Now, I'd love to have a ton more time, but I don't. But there's something important that we need to do. Wherever you're at in your life, it's not too late for you, for a new beginning. It's never too late for a new beginning. And that's exactly what happens when you're born-again. All your sins are forgiven, washed away. "And if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature. Old things pass away, and all things become brand-new". That's what you can get today if you've never received Christ as your Savior. Come on. Let me say it again. "If any man be in Christ, old things pass away. He's a new creature". You say, "Well, I don't understand this born-again. What does that mean"? Literally, if you're ready to repent of your sins, and to repent means to turn around and go in another direction. It doesn't mean to just feel sorry for 'em. It means you're ready to walk away from 'em. You're ready to leave the crowd behind.
And if you're serious about that today, and you say, "Joyce, I wanna receive Christ as my Savior" or "I've fallen away from God, and I really wanna come back home where I belong," I just wanna say a quick prayer with you. And Christ will come to live in your heart. And you'll have a brand-new beginning. You'll have a lot to learn, loads to learn. Oh, but let me tell you something. Your worst day with Jesus will be better than your best day ever was without him. Amen? So, just bow your heads and close your eyes for a minute and give people a little privacy. If you wanna receive Christ as your Savior today, or you need to renew your walk with him, lift your hand up nice and high so I can see where you're at. Oh, my gosh. I see so many hands. It's wonderful. Just wonderful. Ok, look at me. Now, I'm gonna ask you to do something that's a little hard for people and I'm not doing it to embarrass you. But I'm gonna ask you, in just a moment, to stand right where you're at, while we pray.
You say, "Oh, Joyce, I don't wanna be embarrassed". Let me tell you something. If you won't stand up in here, there is no chance that you'll go out in the world and stand up. So, if you meant it, stand to your feet, right now. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. Wonderful, amazing! Oh, thank you, Jesus! Thank you, Lord. Now, I want you to just pray this prayer after me and just mean it. And if you have questions, you can call my office on Monday. They'll talk to you and talk to you, as long as you want 'em to talk to you. Or you call here. And maybe some of you don't even really know what you're doing, you need somebody to explain it to you more, we've got a free book we'll send you. We'll help you get plugged into a church wherever you live or come here. But pray this prayer was me, first. Say, "Father, God, I love you..." let's all pray this:
Father, God, I love you. Jesus, I believe in you. I believe you died for my sins. You took the punishment I deserved. You died. You were buried. God raised you from the dead. You have conquered death. You have conquered sin. I want you in my life. I surrender to you. Come and live in me. Make me a brand-new person. Now, I believe I'm saved. I'm on my way to heaven. And I'm gonna enjoy the journey. Amen.