Leon Fontaine - Go Greater
Today, I'm going to talk about, "Go Greater". Go Greater. There's a difference when you watch sports between people who play the game and the people you depend upon when it's crunch time. I remember quarterbacking football when I was in school. And when we got down to the last few seconds of a game, and we needed the points to win. I never chose just one of the half backs or one of the runners. I knew exactly who could take this ball in that end zone and go through anything. And I always tried to work the plate and this one specific guy because he would grab that thing, and when you put pressure on him, he got better. When the crunch was down, he was better catching.
When it was just like how are we ever going to do this? Every skill within this guy just got greater. Whereas in most people, they got worried and they start fumbling the ball because they realize the pressure of the final seconds of this game. And I want to talk to you today about going greater. You have been bombarded by fear. You've been bombarded by division. We had so many things push at us and everybody's got an idea, yeah, whatever. Let's get it back into God's Word, and God's Word says go greater. It never says back away. In fact, when we talk about the guy with one talent, two talents and five. The guy with the one buried it. He never lost it. He dug it up when the master came back. And he said, "Here, I haven't lost it".
He maintained it and God called him lazy and wicked. You can't relax. You can't just decide, "Well, you know, we're just going to cruise". Retirement's not in the Bible. 80 year old men like Caleb took mountains and made sure that families and generations were looked after. We go greater. We don't go average. We don't go mediocre. We don't maintain in your business, your marriage, your home, your health, your finances, your thinking. Every area of your life, go greater. Do you know that every person that God used in the Bible. Give Jesus a hand, all right.
Every person God used in the Bible. He had to take them through a training of thinking bigger. None of them thought big enough. None of them. He took Abraham, made him count the stars. And He said, "So are your kids going to be". He didn't have a kid, not even one. He took Moses and spoke to him through a burning bush. And say, "We're taking this entire nation to a brand new country and you're going to lead them. You're going to go take on pharaoh". What? Esther, thought she was just good looking, gorgeous, prepared for this beauty pageant for months, and then became the queen of a king. It's the most idyllic life. I mean, wow, you are the queen. Who could get better. But that wasn't the call on her life. The call on her life was to save an entire nation by standing before a king and taking on a murderer. By standing before a king and taking and speaking truth.
When her own life could have been taken, she got up and she stood for righteousness. She stood with a purpose. The twelve disciples, twelve average men between the ages of 17 to 25. And they changed the then known world. Except it took Jesus three and a half years to get them thinking differently. And said if who's going to be the leader and who's going to sit on His right hand. And all the stuff, they begin to be taught. You're going to do what I'm doing. Jesus was modeling for twelve men what they were going to do when He was gone. And then the church was to be like that walking in authority and power, signs and wonders. And so when you begin to look at the Word of God, the Bible says, "Where there is no vision, people perish".
What is a vision? You don't need a vision to be average. You don't need a vision to maintain. If you're going stay where you are, there's no purpose for vision. Vision is to think bigger. Vision is a picture of your potential, what you could do, where you could go, how you could be amazing for the kingdom of God for us to advance the gospel of Jesus Christ. And so where there is no vision, this ability to look forward and to stir up your faith and to believe God. That where I am is not where I'm staying. That what's going on right now, that I'm going to, the smoke is going to clear and we're going to make sure that the church of Jesus Christ who is called to be the salt and the light continues to advance.
And everybody thinks all we're going to do is fill up churches. Oh, what are we going to do with all of our kids, with government giftings and medical giftings and business. We are to be out in the world. We are to be salt and light. And so we must raise up the next generations to be overcomers, born of God. The Bible says, "To live your life in one triumphal procession continuously". You will always win. Yes, storms will blow. Yes, you might get knocked down. The righteous can fall seven times and God will raise him up and keep him going. We're in a real world with real problems. But the purpose of the church wasn't just to maintain and hang in there baby.
It was to get up and begin to share this amazing incredible Jesus with the world who doesn't have a clue. You need a vision. You need to get up and say, "Where am I going"? And it better not be maintenance mode. It better not just be about you. We got enough selfish people on the planet. Selfishness opens the door to the enemy. In fact, if you want to get really technical, being self-centered opens the door to demonic influence. But when we put Christ first and His kingdom first, then we begin to live with a sense of purpose. We begin to live with God, what do you want me to do? I found in my life that I'm constantly just looking into God's Word and trying to make sure, God, am I following you? God, what do you want me to do? Because if we're not careful, we begin to be safe. Which means you stay in the zone that you're in. You stay in the season that you're in. But the very definition of faith requires that without faith it is impossible to please God.
What is faith? Faith is the substance of things hoped for. It is the evidence of things not seen. So wherever you are today, whatever kind of success you have, it's not enough for God. He's got a plan so big in your entire lifetime. You won't be able to use all the gifts and the calling and the abilities that He's placed within you and I. And so today, I'm going to quickly give you five attitudes, five principles, that I find, if I keep these things going on in my life, I don't miss him as much. I find it when I keep these principles alive on the inside of me, that I can hear God. People often say, "Leon, I don't hear from God". I say, "What do you want to hear from Him about"? Well, I don't know. That's your problem. Learn the principles. And as you learn the principles of God's Word, He will guide something that's moving. God is attracted to movement.
Number 1. You need to prepare for a greater impact with your life. Greater impact with your life. Greater for the kingdom. Greater impact on your family. Greater impact on your city. Greater impact on your career. Greater impact on the people around you. Greater impact on your neighbors. What it says go into the highways and byways and invite them out. You must decide. My life is going to have greater impact. In Isaiah 54:2, it's a prophetic here about the new Jerusalem or believers. The church of Jesus Christ. And this is what it says, and it talks about this and it teaches about this in Galatians 4:27. It says, "Enlarge the place of your tent". Enlarge it. Your tent is what you have authority over. Your tent includes your family, your home, your belongings.
Your tent, "Enlarge the place of your tent. Let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out". It says, "Do not hold back, lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes. For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left, and your offspring will possess the nations and people, the desolate cities". We got a world looking for hope. We got a world filled with leaders who do not know what to do. But when we begin to put God first in our lives, He uses you. And you've got to just decide. I'm going to prepare. If you can't have a bigger impact on your own strength, then start preparing for it. How do you prepare for it? That's what we want to talk about. Preparing for greater impact means you begin to believe that. You begin to believe, I'm going to have a vision of what I can do greater for God. I don't care if you're even wrong. If you're moving, He'll deal with you.
The Bible says, "Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it's the one from God that last". And so God just begins to deal with me. Always be planning. Be planning in every department. Be planning to reach out. Be planning with television. Be planning with influence. Be planning. And as you're planning, the one from God inevitably will always be real to you. But if you're not planning, well then you haven't got a vision. Planning is preparing you, preparing finances, preparing family, preparing your mind, preparing your body get healthy. When people begin to prepare for greater impact, their body ramps up. They begin to get healthy, because without purpose, your body won't be as healthy.
3 John 1:2, "I wish above all things you prosper and be in health as your soul prospers". One of the most destructive things to this planet especially the western world is this issue of retirement. It's like every investor you talk to is going to get you to pour your money into your retirement. What's that? Now, investment. Go for it. I got lots of great friends who are going to teach you how to invest money. But there is no retirement. The word is not even in the Word of God. You might change from one career and have less time but you're going to do that. But you can't retire from the kingdom. You can't retire from influence. You can't retire from having a great impact.
When I was a paramedic, I don't know how many heart attacks and deaths I went to for men, and their wife as we were taking them out would say to us, "He just retired. We're going to spend all this time together". You need a purpose. You need something that makes you say, "I'm going to prepare for greater impact". Oh, you might not be preparing to go back to the 9 to 5, or the career that you built all but get up and prepare go, "I'm going to go volunteer in church. I'm going to go get up. I'm going to do something that is going to give me a vision that says I don't sit idly around". You just start learning something about retirement time. That's about when you've got so much wisdom. We're going to retire you? Are you kidding me? We need you.
Number 2. You need to position yourself for miracles. Nobody is going to fulfill their call without miracles. When you take a look at some of the, one of the greatest stories that is such a type of Old Testament miracles. It's in 2 Kings 4 were this woman says, "My husband has died. What am I going to do? The creditors are after me". He says to her, "Go, what have you got in the house"? She goes, "Nothing"! What have you got in your house? She goes, "One little jar of oil". Then he says, "Go, gather pots from all of your neighbors and don't just get a few of them". So her and her sons gathered pots, great big vases. They went into their house. They closed the door and they began to fill those pots up with oil that they could sell. The Bible says that every jar they had in their house was filled from this little jar, a supernatural miracle. And when it stopped was when the last jar they gathered was filled up. This is an incredibly important teaching to you and I. Oil symbolizes the anointing in the presence of God in our lives. And who set the limits on how much they had was how much they prepared.
You know, I didn't like my coaches when I was in track and football and all the sports. You know why? Because they weren't there to be my best friend. They were there to be my coach and they knew how to dig me, bug me, irritate me, provoke me. And I'd look back and go, "That's why that coach called me that in the middle of the game," and I got up and did so, coaching is looking at someone and trying to get the best out of them. He would often say to us. "If you want a friend, buy a dog. Fontaine! Get out there"! I go, "Okay"! We need to be coached by the very presence of God. The leaders that are in our lives weren't designed to make you feel better about all your losses and help you wipe away a tear from your eye and that's it. They wipe away the tear from your eye. They hug you. They weep with you. And then in the morning joy comes. Joy needs purpose. Joy needs vision. Joy needs get up and go.
Number 3. Allow God to make changes in you. Allow Him to remake you. The Bible says in Luke 5:37, it says, "No one pours new wine into old wineskins because the old cracked skins will just break and lose the valuable new wine". That new wine is a symbol of the presence of God coming into your life, and that you have to change. What's got to change? Well, you need to be born again of course. But then it says renew your mind. Make your body a living sacrifice. Enjoy your relationship with Holy Spirit. As you and I begin to move into God's Word and hang out in His church, something happens to you. You get remade. The Bible says renew your mind. It talks a lot about put off the old, put on the new. To born again believers, He wants to change you and remake you for every season in your life.
As I look back at the times when Sal and I were trying to figure out, God, where do you want us to go? And when we didn't know, we just kept these attitudes alive on the inside of us. We couldn't kick open some doors. We couldn't push open. We sometimes didn't know what to do. So we continued to prepare ourselves, prepare the people, prepare buildings, lands, finances, volunteers, leaders. Prepare, prepare, prepare. Well, what do you preparing for? 'Cause God's going to do a miracle. God's going to do something. God's going to open the door. And all the chicken littles are running for cover. Men and women who know who their God is keep these five attitudes and principles alive on the inside. And they prepare you for what God wants to do through you and in you.
Number 4. The fourth principle that is so crucial, is you need to exhibit courage. Exhibit courage. I didn't say you had to feel it. If I could tell you how many times I got up and looked at what was in our future and how we're being attacked and what was going on and your stomach goes into a knot and your brain revolts. And your emotions start going ahhh. David said, "Be still my soul. Be still my soul and know He is God". You better be speaking to your emotions. You better not think for a moment that your emotions are accurate because their plum wrong 80 percent of the time. It doesn't mean you don't pay attention to your emotions. It just means you never follow them. Exhibit courage.
In Judges chapter 7 is a story of Gideon. And how God spoke to him, "You mighty man of valor". He was so scared that he hid in caves every time there was a fight or a problem. And he began to exhibit courage. You see, the word fearless isn't accurate. Nobody is fearless. I wouldn't follow somebody who acted like there was nothing to be concerned about. You feel the fear and you have courage anyway. The man that dives out of a foxhole to rescue a friend who's been shot in front. He's not feeling less fear than all the other ones cowering. He acts against the fear. He exhibits courage.
Courage rises up and it acts even though your stomach is on revolting. You don't even know if you're going to hold your breakfast down. You get up and you just do something. Sometimes just get out of bed, get out of your house. Go somewhere and you'll sense that fear beginning to dissipate. Just get out of bed. Get your slippers off. Get your pajamas off. Get up and go do something. And it's in the doing that this fear just pushes away because it takes action to walk in faith. Faith without corresponding actions is dead. Get up and act. Do something. Don't sit at home worrying. Exhibit courage.
Number 5. Develop the wisdom to be Spirit Contemporary. It has been the prevailing culture of our church, Spirit Contemporary. Be filled with the Spirit of God. Stay tuned into His Word. And then wherever you go, be contemporary, be relevant according to where you are, who you are with, and what the situation is. You don't just grab a tracked with the laws of the Roman road and just preach at people with canned gospel. You are like Christ. Get up and be cool. Get up and be healthy. Get up and respect people. Get up and stop being religious. Being Spirit Contemporary, is that important? Take a look at Moses.
Do you know before Moses led God's people through the wilderness, he spent 40 years being trained to be a pharaoh. 40 years in the greatest schools in the then known world in Egypt. And the Bible says in Acts 7:21, it says Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and he was powerful in speech and action. It doesn't say he was trained in the courts of God. Therefore as we continue to grow in the things of God, it's crucial to be educated in the wisdom and the speech and the action of the people that we're called to reach. And in Moses time, it was Egyptians.
In Acts 9:20, the apostle Paul, interesting. It says here that he, Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus. And once he began to preach in the synagogues, that Jesus is the Son of God. And all who heard him were astonished and asked, "Is this the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name Jesus? And hasn't he come here to take the Christians as prisoners to the chief priests"? Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and he baffled the Jews. Baffled them, the Jews living in Damascus, by proving to them Jesus is the Christ. Remember this, wherever you go, we're not called to be the religious weird.
Someone say, "Well, the Bible says we're a peculiar people". It says we are. It doesn't say work at it. Take these five ways of thinking. Write them down. Put them somewhere near you. And as you begin to continue walking your life out, do not be controlled by the ways of this world. If you do, you will never fulfill what God has called you to. Romans chapter 12, it teaches us there, that we should be renewed. Our mind should be renewed. That we might prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. If there is not a renewal of your mind and your thinking. And then it says you need to be transformed. You will never fulfill what God has in your future with the training your parents gave you, me neither.
And I had pastors for parents and I was raised in the church. But each of us individually, we are led by the Spirit of God. He, Holy Spirit will train you and equip you with the unique giftedness. You see, the Bible will never show you what to do with your life. Because it doesn't say, "Oh, Leon, this is which city to start. Leon, this is which channel to get". No, no. Holy Spirit guides you in that. So the Word tells you who you are but the Spirit of God guides you in every individual decision that you make in business, marriage, family, home, investments, decisions on how to handle things. He calls you by name and He leads you out.
Jesus said in John 10:10, He said the thief comes to steal, kill, and to destroy. But I'm come that you might have life. The zoe life of God and have it more abundantly. And it does not say, "When you get to heaven". Oh, I'm looking forward to heaven. It's going to be a billion times more exciting than down here. But I've got news for you. Down here is what all of heaven is watching. Hebrew says every person that is gone before us is a part of the stands that are watching those of us, who are playing the most important game, determining. The kingdom of darkness is going to be defeated as the kingdom of light continues to rise up. Do not allow anything in this world to discourage you in any area of your life. And go greater. Believe bigger. Prepare yourself for the miraculous. Prepare yourself to be the supernatural person that God has called you to be.
Last thought, Ephesians chapter 1, first few verses says that you, before God even created the world was already planning your life. You were predestined. He knew you'd be in this century, in this year, of this age, with this set of skills and ability, attending this church. He knew the future. He doesn't control or force you. But He knew and He put within you everything you're going to need to get up and live far greater than anything you could imagine.
Today, if you're listening to this message here in the auditorium or wherever you are. And you're not sure that Jesus Christ is your Lord and Saviour. So I want to encourage you. God will never force Himself on you. And the only way to become born again with this Jesus and what He did on the cross for you and I, is you must invite Him. That is when you give Him permission. So all you have to say right now is just:
Jesus, I give You my life. Come into my heart. I'm following You for the rest of my days. That decision is what allows Him to come in.