Leon Fontaine - The Power to Live

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Today, I wanna talk about working hard and not burning out. I wanna talk to you about something the Bible calls laboring in grace and it's so phenomenal. It's so amazing. The apostle Paul makes a statement here and I wanna read it to you. It's in 1 Corinthians 15:10, he says, "For by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain or for nothing, but I laboured more abundantly than they all. Yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me". All right. Let's talk about your life. Let's talk about how close you are to burnout, spiritual burnout, mental burnout, physical burnout. So many, I heard this term from so many Christians.

Now, I've been teaching and preaching the Word for soon it will be 40 years, but 38 years or so. I have been preaching, teaching and I've been in the ministry and I know very few people who are, have done that and when you talk to them, they're alive. They are full of excitement and passion and still doing greater things. Most of them that I've talk to, sorry, they're kind of on this, they hitch the peak of their ministry and they're kind of, slowing fading into obscurity. But men and women who have what I wanna talk to you about today. It never ends. They just keep, the light keeps getting brighter and brighter. They keep doing greater and greater. They raise up people around them and the batons are handed off, so anything they do just keeps going to an even more amazing place.

Do you feel burnt out? Do you feel like, you know, I'm so weary, I'm so tired? I actually can't stand getting around with people who talk about ministry as pastors, marriage, guys, or wherever where it's just, "Yeah, life. You know, I've been with the same person now for decades. Or well, you know, we've been serving the Lord for so many years, no one respects Him. I just don't understand why people don't celebrate us more". Whatever area with that you are, "You know, going to church". I don't know worthy, but wherever you begin to complain or feel like, "Things aren't the way they should be". I wanna show you how to turn your life on and get a life. I want to show you how to work and labour, because the apostle Paul says, I laboured more abundantly than anybody else that he knew. We're talking apostles, disciples.

And you go, "Well, how come he didn't burnout"? He didn't burnout. This guy was so passionate, you couldn't stop him. But the Bible says that this laboring, this working, was God's grace that he was doing it with. I'll talk about that in a minute. Now, hard work is not a bad thing. Did you know, that for those who loved what they do, they can't tell when they're playing or working. I had someone asked me onetime years ago. They said, "You know, how many hours do you put in a day"? And I said, "What do you mean"? How many hours do you put in a day of working, of laboring? I said, "Well," I said, "You know, I don't know. Like why you're asking me"? Well, we're trying to figure out how many. I said, "Probably 15, 16, 17, 18". And they go, "Wow, you're gonna burnout". And I said, "Well, I gotta explain it to you".

Like, there's work I'll do during a business day like shooting messages and training teams. When we go home, we're laughing and sharing dreams about what we're gonna do next week and where are the ministries going. We're laughing and talking about marriage and what's exciting about marriage and raising kids. All that is such a joy that we're enjoying it and our kids pick it up. There should really not a time where actually, I just can't tell. Because yes, we play. We play hard. We're out seeing movies and swimming and go on outings and fire sides and barbecues and playing board games and traveling places like, but I don't have a definitive line that this is work, this is play. Though, as though your life is compartmentalized. We've just learned that even when you have to work hard, you know, there's certain times when we'll have to pull stop off as a team or as family. And I mean, we'll work late into the night if we're preparing messages and we're not quite ready because we had an unexpected thing.

Well, I've had to work all night on a message, grab an hour of sleep and then go preach my heart out and collapse in the afternoon. But I'm not worried about it. I'm not burning out. I'm loving it and recognize, this laboring in life when you begin to understand God's grace, which is His unearned favor. You know, I love one author and he says that grace is God's ability to you. Did you know, this ability can make you an amazing mechanic, an amazing father, an amazing mom. You've got a couple of little ones that are freaking you out. You need to know that the grace of God, His ability is for you to be a mom. His ability, His ability is for you to be a lover, a husband. We've got to recognize that when we begin to depend upon His grace. That this grace gets into our lives and it changes things. Yes, you need to eat. You need to have some good sleep and get some balance in your lives. But this bit about, "I'm so weary".

There's a verse in the Bible that says don't be weary in well doing because if you don't faint you're gonna receive the reward. There's a couple interesting about that verse. And that is that weariness is different than tiredness. Tiredness is of the physical body. When I was a young man, and I would work in a steel mill for just about a year. They have me shoveling slag, a kind of dirt and mud mix with steel dust. One shovelful was so heavy, and I had to lift. I was to put into these tanks with a little kind of round door about chest high. And so I had to shovel all this junk out of there. One shovel full lifted up in the air, poked it through the hole and then dumped it in a wheelbarrow. Then crawl out that hole and carry that wheelbarrow out to a dump and dump it. I'm telling you it was the hardest physical work I had ever done. I was so sore, but I would work there for an 8-hour shift. That's all I did, day after day, week after week, until they put me in a different job.

And when I got done, man, I was off seeing my girlfriend who is now my wife. And I mean, I would be up talking with her until one in the morning. Get a few hours of sleep. I had to get up at 5:30. Get ready to work again by 6 and do the same thing. My body would be so tired. But I was amazed how much sleep, little sleep I needed, and the tiredness was gone. Then there's another time in my life where it wasn't a physical work. It was my mind. You know, I was pastoring and working on things. And things weren't going the way I was, and I was trying to solve the problems here, talking to that person and phoning there and a meeting over there. And it's just everywhere I went, there was this drain on my brain power. And I go home so tired and exhausted I could hardly lift my head.

And I remember my wife saying, "You used to shovel like literally steel dust day in and day out and you were in it. What's going on"? And I began to recognize that weariness is a choice. Weariness is of the mind. Tiredness is of the body. If you want to get energy, just go have a good sleep and your physical body will be energized. What do you do for a weary mind? When your mind is weary, and you can't do another thing. I remember when I was a paramedic and I would go, and I would be on a 12-hour shift or an 8-hour shift, that I did them both. And so you're going and I get a call and I would go and someone died on me and someone else I barely saved their life. Then we had to write up the reports and we're cleaning all the blood and the stuff back at the unit and it was just an intense emotional job. Then I'd come home, and I was shutting down as I was driving home.

So by the time I got home, it was like I don't wanna talk to my wife. I don't care that I left my boots on the rack. I don't want to grab the kids out of your arms. I need a break. I've been so intensely up there emotionally driving fast, picking up bodies, watching people die, barely saving their lives, having confrontations, you know, in highways and accident scenes. It's just emotionally draining, and I go home with nothing, nothing to give the house, my wife, my family. And I remember chatting with my wife about this, "This is not good. Like, you know, just because you go to work, it doesn't mean you come home and give us nothing". And I said, "God, what's going on here"? And I realized, and I made a decision that on my way home rather than shutting down like I deserve it, I need it. I have a hard job. She has no idea. She cares about me helping her do dishes and I just watched somebody died.

Your brain makes up all these issues, makes up all these beliefs. I just decided. I'm gonna go home and I'm gonna be energized and I'm gonna be filled with joy and I'm gonna have fun. I'm gonna have the peace of God on my life. I'm not going home freaking out and getting mad at her because I saw somebody died. You don't realize how emotional this is. And instead, I just prayed in the Spirit, spent some time with God from work to home. And then when I walked into the house, I was energized. There's no way I was perfect. You can ask my wife. But I made the decision that changed my whole life. Because you literally have God's grace, His ability. You are laboring to make your marriage work, laboring to live life with God's ability on the inside of you. You're created in His likeness and His image. You can make a decision to live in grace, work in grace, have a relationship in grace.

Every person that's out there today is living out their beliefs. What do you believe? If you believe at the end of my day I am exhausted. I do not have time for my wife, my kids. I do not have time to help around the house. I do not have that. You believe that. That's why you feel that. If you believe I'm coming home to the most amazing wife, an incredible family. I can't wait to sling dishes and laugh and talk and crack tea towels and play with my kids and I'll put them to bed and pray with those little girls. Like, what you believe is everything about what you feel. Do you get weary? Are you gonna rise up and live? All right, because God's grace is there. He's power is within you as believers.

Now, listen to this one. I love in the expanded version of Colossians 1:29, "For this I labor, striving with all the superhuman energy which He so mightily enkindles and works within me". He is Paul saying here that this grace that is in him. He lives with purpose. This chapter talks about the gospel, the good news. That is you now have Christ in you. You're full of God's energy. You're full of God's peace. You're full of God's joy. You go ahead and believe you're just a man. I'm just another woman. I know I can't put up with this. I'm on my last brain cell. There's just nothing within me to make my marriage work anymore. That those are your beliefs. Those are not truths. Those are beliefs. Everybody takes me for granted. No, that's your belief. That's not truth. One of the prophet said to God one time and he was having a real downtime. "It's just me left. It's just me, God". And the Lord had enough and goes, "No, I've got 7.000 more men that have not bowed their knee to bail".

He knew, but we as human beings tend to want to believe how rough it is. How we have more to deal and no one realize how blessed I am. I'm not celebrated enough. I'm not helped enough. Everybody has a problem with belonging, a sense of I'm celebrated. I'm significant. I'm important. We're looking to people around us to give us that, instead of looking to God and His presence, His grace, to give us that. Your love and your purpose and who you are. This should come from God, not your spouse, not people celebrating you, not your peers and your job, not the people around you. That you need them to make you feel good about yourself. If I needed someone to make me feel good about myself, I would have quit years ago as a pastor. Because you're dealing with cancer and sickness and disease and rape and marriages breaking up and temper. Temper is an anger. All that goes on that you deal with as a pastor. Pastors are one of the highest level, one of the highest groups of getting a life insurance. That he's just gonna die young. You gonna die depressed.

You know, I remember a doctor. I think it was Dr. Dobson, found that 85% of all the pastors out there had found that the ministry had affected their marriage poorly, their families poorly. That, you know, that they just everything in their life was going down because of the ministry. And I understand that in the natural. But I've recognized I can't do much in the natural. Romans chapter 8 says, to be natural minded which means carnal mind, to be natural minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. I wanna help you out. Paul says I labor, striving with all the superhuman. He wasn't striving with his earthly energy. He's striving with superhuman energy which God so mightily kindles and kindles and works within me.

There's a place to live your life, your career, where you gotta start believing God's grace. You gotta start believing there's a power and energy. It's God's grace, God's ability that's in you and I'm working with that. I'm gonna walk in health with that. I'm gonna live happy with that. I'm gonna be the best husband lit up, full of joy, peace. I'm gonna be the best dad, the best grandpa. Wherever I go, I wanna live. I wanna be alive and I'm gonna do it through God's grace. There is no other way. Otherwise, when things are up, you're up. When things are down, you're down. When things are everywhere, you're everywhere. When things are nowhere, you're nowhere. When people don't like you, you are abandoned. When people loved you, you're arrogant. You can't live like that. That's the earthly way to live. You live in God's grace, His supernatural ability. And you're gonna find that's something amazing takes place in your life.

In Colossians chapter 2, I hope you're enjoying this. I love preaching this. It says, Paul is talking in Colossians and he says, "For I want you to know how hard I work, struggle for you those in Laodicea". And it goes on talking about -, now, this hard work. Paul is not having a nervous breakdown. He's already, he's teaching us later on in that same chapter that this hard work that he does is with the grace of God in his life. Now, one of the things I teach on a lot is that there are beliefs of the mind. They come and go quickly, and there are beliefs of the heart. Now, I don't have time to expand that, other than to say heart beliefs are the deep entrenched beliefs that are within you and those affect you deeply. Jesus said you can speak to mountains and they're gonna moved. But then He has one qualification. He says, believe but don't doubt in your heart. He doesn't say don't doubt in your head.

Your head is gonna go up and all over the place. Your heart are these deep beliefs. It says that as a man in Proverbs, as a man thinks in heart, so he is, so he lives. It doesn't say the way God made you is the way you live. It says as the man thinketh in his heart. How you're thinking down here. I think life is hard. I think marriage is hard. I think it's hard to get going. I think life's really hard. I think things aren't going well. You believe all these things at the heart level. It affects everything in your world.

And so the heart beliefs come from you growing up. Your parents taught them to you, school taught them to you, your friends taught them to you. And the second thing other than your circle of people growing up is that the things that happened to you form instant heart beliefs. If you were rejected and embarrassed in your school class, from that point and on you could have a belief just captures your heart of rejection, and that you don't belong. Or your mom and dad could have just taught that to you. No one's gonna look out for us. We're the black sheep of this town. We're on the wrong side of the tracks. You're the wrong skin color. You know, yeah.

So what you were taught and the things that happened to you form these beliefs. When you come alive with Jesus, you must renew your mind. Now, the Bible also says, and you don't hear much about this. That you need to establish your heart in grace. So this, as you begin to get God's Word and think differently, it begins to get into your heart. Now, heart beliefs are always attach to how you see yourself. You know, it's like this is your identity. All of your beliefs about your identity are heart beliefs. There's something that are formed deep within you. How do you see you? I'm average. You know, I barely get by. I'm addicted to this. My sin is that. And you see yourself, whatever you see yourself. I'm the guy that never fits in. I'm the guy they picked last whenever they picked baseball teams. You know, we take turns picking them. I was never picked, you know. These beliefs deep within you are what run your entire future.

If you give me a couple of hours to question somebody and to examine their life through their eyes, I will tell you what their heart beliefs are. And then I can't change your heart beliefs, only you can change them with the help of Jesus. His word is so powerful that the Bible says that faith which is these new beliefs. Faith cometh by hearing and understanding the Word of God. What does God think about you? What does God say about you? What did Jesus do for you on the cross, from the cross to the throne? This must be believed. And all of a sudden, on the inside something within you rises up and this is who I am. I'm not who my mama says I am. I'm not who my papa says I am. I'm not who, you know, my nationality says we are. I'm not who the town says we are. I am who God says I am.

And you begin to get into the Word and you see who you are, nothing can stop you. Everybody comes from something. Everyone's got some kind of a junk in their past or stuff that hurt them. You weren't love enough, believe enough, shown enough. All of us has got some excuse. But yet everybody decides the kind of life they're gonna live. Everybody decides the kind of marriage they're gonna have. Even if your spouse doesn't get it yet, you can still live it out. One of joy, one of love, one of romance, one that is the man you wanna be, even if she's not the woman you want her to be. Or if you are the woman you wanna be, even your husband was not the guy you want him to be. Be who you wanna be. Be who God's made you to be.

These beliefs, change these beliefs in your heart and get up, prosper. Live in God's grace. Live a life. And when you do, everything around you is affected. You know, there's a verse in the Bible, I think it's in Hebrews somewhere. It talks about that if you let bitterness and strife in you, many will get contaminated around you. And at the same time, if you walk in joy and peace in the presence of God, something within you transfers. You know, you can be sitting at a coffee table three friends laughing and talking, and one depressed friend comes over and sits down and just, yeah, yeah, yeah. In a matter of 30 seconds, his depression transfers to you all.

You all stop talking excitedly and you all kind of go, "Yeah, yeah. How are you doing"? By the time you go, you need a shower, a bath, and a happy pill. Because his depression, his bluesiness transferred to all of you. At the same time, I've watched one person at a house party or a block party or it's like boring as dried toast, begin to walk and talk and laugh. And begin to, you know, say, "Hey, let's play a game. Let's play horse shoes. Get a volleyball game going". And their joy and their passion begin to transfer. I believe in what I call the transference of spirits. Now, I literally mean attitude but I also mean spirit as well. The Spirit of God can make a whole house come alive.

The Bible says, say to the houses you go to, peace be on this house and your peace will get into it. I also know people who walk into house and their gossip and their judgmentalness and their attitude. And I also know that even evil spirits, you know, they only tried to just destroy marriages and homes by transferring thoughts and ideas even through people. There was times, there where one time coming home to Sal when we were young married couple. I just walked in the house. I looked at her and said, "Oh, so and so was here". I even told her who the lady was. She goes, "How did you know"? I say, "I just sense this push against us with this attitude".

So this transference, Holy Spirit's within you, let Him transfer joy and peace and strength. Begin to believe who you are with the scripture says. Don't allow someone else to transfer into your mind, your heart, your life, your home, your marriage. There is the gossip, negative, yuck. Fight, contend for the faith. The Bible says, fight the good fight of faith. What that means, it's not fight the devil. It doesn't mean fight God. It doesn't mean fight people. Fight to stay in faith or stay alive and believe the promises of God's Word, so that your life is going in the direction that you wanted to be. God bless you.
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