Leon Fontaine - Designed For Increase
Today, I want to talk to you about increasing. I want to talk to you about succeeding. I want to talk to you about moving ahead, about prospering. For some reason in the body of Christ, and you'll hear me say this so often, for most teachings we have two ditches. For every mile of truth, there are two miles of ditch. And so on almost every topic, it's amazing to me how the church of Jesus Christ has people who just go crazy in it, do stupid things, ridiculous things, and then people who just abandon the whole teaching. The church of Jesus Christ according to the New Testament is to equip saints for the work of their ministry.
Everybody is not called to be full-time ministry in the church. So ministry has a broader meaning than preaching, teaching children, then etcetera. All the things that we do to make sure this church is healthy in every area. But you, everyone of you are a minister of the gospel. This ministry must go forth in many of the areas of our world. We must have people who are great in business, influential in business. We must have people who are great in politics, influential in politics, in education, in the arts, movies, music. All of these areas that influence Canada must have great, gifted, Christian leaders. Now, the church has not always thought that way and still much of the church when I travel around this planet has a very naive looked at having a planet that is safe for our kids.
The bottom line is that a hundred years from today somebody else will be preaching behind this platform. Someone else will be leading worship and praise running cameras, but the church of Jesus Christ cannot be stopped. It will continue to go on. It might have different looking buildings. Amen! It might be doing different types of music. It might have different ways electronically of us getting the Word out. But we must understand that the church of Jesus Christ can't have rapture fever. That simply means that the world's big bad. Jesus is going to come back and rescue us from it. Now, listen to me. I understand that God always rescues His people. But what Jesus did on the cross to the enemy is defeat him, means the church of Jesus Christ is not dying out until it's this little remnant.
Many churches who focus on the end-times and create that as their teaching platform, create a bunch of itchy ears people who want to know more about the beast, the anti-Christ, the four horses of the apocalypse, the seven years here, the three and a half, the three and a half. And I have studied literally almost every denominations look at the end times. And I have discovered that as a pastor, I must major on the majors and minor on the minors. And so while we're waiting for Jesus to come back, the Bible says occupy till I come. He doesn't mean sits scared in the church listening to how Jesus is going to rapture you, take you out, sweep you away, twinking of an eye. All of these beautiful scriptures. He's telling us there's a harvest to get off and we must reach the most precious thing on the planet, other people who do not know how much God loves them.
And so when we talk about things like finances, people kind of get funny. They go, "We'll just pray, and God will do a miracle". Yes, the miracle God does is raise up people who give, raise up people who'll serve. Like when it comes to the Armed Forces, raise up people who feel called with a mission to go into things like politics, education, who go in and spend their time to learn, to grow. There is a power from God that energizes us. Each individual person to do something on this planet that influences the people around you to look to Jesus.
Today, I want you to understand that God desires, wants His people to increase. He wants you to move up into new seasons of influence, new seasons of prosperity, new seasons where you see things as a more mature leader. The gifts, the abilities, the skills, that you add to your gifts are necessary. But yet I'm amazed how many people don't believe God wants them to be victorious. That He wants them to increase. That where you are today isn't enough.
A good friend of mine was in his 70s when we're working together years ago. And he attended our church and I was a paramedic of a hospital, but I was also working with my father as a youth pastor. As I was teaching one day on this topic to the church of Jesus Christ there, he told me afterwards he said, "Leon, I would never be as selfish to want more in my life than I need". It sounds pretty honorable. But then I said to him, "Well, if everybody here only asks, believes, and gets what you need, who will give to those who don't have? Who will give to orphanages and churches? Who will give to getting the proper things in government? Who's going to finance the will of God, if all of us just barely have what we need"?
There will be some people when it comes to increasing in life who right now you're drowning so bad. Your nose is barely above the water. You can hardly keep yourself afloat in your career, finances, etcetera. Let alone think about giving, and God wants to restore you. He wants to help you. But here's the thing, whatever you believe energizes you. And whatever you don't believe, there's no energy towards that. In other words, faith the Bible calls it. If you believe that it is God's will that your business, your life, your career, your family, that it rises up and that it is able to bless the good things on this planet.
In Psalm 35:27, it says, "May my friends sing and shout for joy. May they always say, 'Praise the greatness of God, who delights, love, takes pleasure to see his servants do well. That you have peace in your life, prosperity in your life'". I want you to know if you have not figured this out yet, God wants you to do well. He wants you to succeed. He wants you to increase. Religion is an awful thing on our planet today. And I mean that in a negative way as an organize judgmental limiting people. That they can't increase. That if your marriage is this bad, just thank God it's not as bad as the guy across the road. If things aren't going good financially. Well, just gulp in and suck it up little boy. I mean, look around the world. There's other countries that are worse. And so there is this push from religion to just, that suffering is a part of what God wants in your life.
Now, suffering is a part of life but it's not a part of God's will. It's like you teaching your kids. You better teach them how to handle pain. You better teach them how to handle nasty people, backstabbers, liars, cheats. You better teach your teenagers to handle and know how to walk the street with all the abductions that are going on. Yes, there's suffering in this world. But none of us focuses on that when we raise our kids and go, "You're going to suffer, suffer, suffer, suffer, suffer. Life is suffering, suffering, suffering, suffering, suffering". No, we teach them about love and romance and excitement and joy rising up and making a mark and living with purpose and serving God.
And yes, there's things you're going to have to learn to handle along the way. But I want you to know, that God wants you to increase. And until you believe that at the deepest part of your heart. You will not reach for it with faith. You will not creatively believe it on the inside of you. It's crucial that you believe that God wants you to move up, move on. That with what you've learned, He has more for you to experience in this world. One of the greatest causes to depression in people's lives today is to feel like you are not increasing, learning. That you are, don't have a crucial part to play in bringing something on to this planet. God needs you to increase. God needs your influence to increase. God needs you to speak up but to do it in a way that is Spirit Contemporary, meaning filled with the wisdom of His Word. But not just getting on your soap box and screaming at people of the darkness. But able to communicate in anyone of these areas, from politics to business, to education, to the arts, to church. Wherever God has placed as you grow in that area. He'll give you a wisdom.
You know, it's amazing that as churches increase and grow. There's always somebody that says, "We've compromised. We should be screaming at sin, preaching about sin". And you go: You know, I think we need to understand something. That whatever you speak about increases. So they get up and take, you know, the seven deadly sins to just preach on them fifty-two times in a year is simply to empower them, people's lives and make them more. But when you preach about Jesus and His power and His strength and His goodness that's within you, that nothing can stand before. This is when we rise up and are able to do great things for God.
In Luke 4:3-4, the devil is trying to tempt Jesus and he says to Him, "If You are the Son of God, command this stone to be made bread". Because Jesus had been fasting for weeks. Jesus answered him, saying, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God'". Let me say something because the world wants us as a church to back away from God's Word, from God's teaching. If you think that the only thing you need in life is the external needs. Like bread, like money, like finances, like that you're mistaken. We must focus on the Word of God. This is where you're going to really live. This is where a sense of joy and peace rise up in you. When what does God say? What is God's plan for you? We don't live by just bread alone. It's not just about getting the biggest house, having the best steak. It's not about just yards. No. It's God's Word. But once you begin to seek God first, something begins to go on in your life.
In Ecclesiastes, there's an interesting verse in Ecclesiastes 2:24. Listen to this, "Nothing is better for a man than that he should eat and drink, that his soul should enjoy good in his labor. This also, I saw, was from the hand of God. For who can eat, or who can have enjoyment, more than I? For God gives wisdom and knowledge and joy to a man who is good in His sight, to the sinner He gives the work of gathering and collecting, that he may give to him who is good before God. This also is vanity and grasping for the wind". I love what it says here. That God wants you to eat the good of your job, your career. He wants you to enjoy your home, enjoy your car, enjoy your cabin at the lake, enjoy your holidays. Like enjoy life. He didn't make life for us to go through it just depressed, down, unhappy, barely getting by, grasping for whatever we can. He wants to know. God wants you to know today. He is for your good. He wants you to increase. He is in love with you. He wants your family to rise up, your career, your finances to rise up. He wants you and I to enjoy this planet.
And is there suffering and hurting? Yes, there is. Reminds me, I was talking to a pastor one time and he said, "How come you don't preach on suffering more"? I said, "Oh, I do. I teach people all the time how to handle it". But I said, "Whenever you see a professional football player, what do they talk about"? The joy of making that touchdown. They can't wait to get on the field in full equipment. And I mean, they're racing and running and playing the game that they love, and they get paid for it. They're so excited, a career that most young guys if they love football would dream about being a professional football player.
Have you noticed they often don't talk about the pain and the suffering? Let me tell you some of the pain and the suffering of football players professional. All right. How many times they break fingers and they just taped it to the next one and put them back up on the field. I remember injuring my ankle so bad. They would free spray it, tape it back, and put me back on the field. I mean, they literally would sit there with their breath knock out of them crack ribs. They'll put you in bags with ice cubes, filled with ice to get everything to heal up properly. Long needles going into joints to get that joints lubricated as you continue in the sport. Is there suffering in professional football? Oh, my! Every time you play its pain and sprains and brokenness and injections and cold baths and massages, bruised muscles so bad. You go, "Boo"! You just can't wait to get out there and play that game again.
That's how I view life. God loves you. Life is beautiful. Will stuff happen? Of course. We live where there will be storms but we are founded on the foundation of Jesus Christ. I want to encourage you. That generosity and our purpose as a church to give is crucial. The world wants to come against churches and organizations that put Jesus first and the cause of Christ. But I want you to know, that when I was a little guy, my dad and mom taught me to be generous. Just taught it to me. I remember going to school, Sunday school and they'd always take up offering in a Sunday school. And so before we will go, we each get a nickel or dime or a quarter. They didn't have loonies and toonies back then. And we'd hold that in our little hands.
In Sunday school we'd learned about Jesus and learned about things. And then generosity was always taught at a certain spot that we're going to give God now and because we want to be a blessing to God's house. They would pass something around and we would each give. When I became a teenager, I got my first job at 12 helping the guy painting. My dad just took me aside and said, "Leon, in our family we're generous and we give. We don't keep what we make. There are causes out there that are very important. And to us the church of Jesus Christ touching beautiful people reaching this amazing country for God is important. So what we do is we give ten percent of what we make as a family to God. I want you to start doing that". I said, "Okay, dad". Just started at age 12. It became something that I enjoyed to do. It became something that became exciting to me.
I think we should always be ready to give. There's time that I had someone knocked on my door and I've looked at him and said, "You know what? I don't have any cash on me because we're in a card society. Would you give me a moment while I go look", and I have looked through drawers for bills. I literally have lifted up a cushion of a couch just, because I know toonies and loonies can add up. I just want to make sure that I can give in to this issue and it's amazing when they smile. They don't care that it's not $2.000 coming. And there's times I've had a handful of loonies and I've found a five and I'd say, "Here". And you can just see on their face, this thing that says thank you for caring.
Most of the people that would go out to collect money, you know, they're doing that because they have a loved one with that disease or something. And I want you to understand that in this book even The Paradox of Generosity and the others that you can read or study. You could google generosity. It will teach you that when study people who feel fulfilled and happy on our planet. There will always be people who are generous. There will always be people who look for an opportunity to give. They don't use every excuse in the book like, "Well, I don't have much to give so what I give doesn't count". You're wrong. They usually the giving to any organization or to any worthy cause is usually a bunch of people giving little amounts than it is a couple of people giving large amounts. Although both are such a help. And I want to encourage you as a believer that God cares about people. And He wants us to learn to give. He wants us to practice generosity. The Bible teaches us that faith without works is dead. That word works there means corresponding actions.
I remember when Sally and I were just a young couple. I shouldn't have said that. I hope Sally doesn't hear this. And, you know, there wasn't much money coming in. We had two kids. We had a little house that we had bought as our first home because I was working as a paramedic and Sally knew she wanted to be in the home at that time. So with one income coming in. It was less than 600 feet, square feet. I jokingly say the bathroom was so small. You dropped your pants outside the door and backed in. And, but while we were there, there was such a desire in us to take what we had always traditionally given to the house of God, to take it and use it because we use that room on the needy ones. But we just know that, you know, even the people who are on welfare in Canada would be in the top five percent of the wealthiest people on the planet when you look at all the other countries and what they make.
And we just made a decision, no, even to our own hurt. Let's continue to give. Let's be people who want to be generous. And I believe one of the reasons, one, that God has touched and blessed all of us when it comes to reaching this world in twelve languages. When it comes to the schools and television stations. The souls that are being reached for Christ. Those being fed and all the things that we've reached out to do is because people began to come who had the same desire and the same heart. Let's be generous. Let's look and say, "God, what can we do"? I have found that one generation must teach another generation to serve God. This is not a little thing. I was chatting with a dad the other day who's excellent to the area of finance, handles a lot of finances. He has a lot of children. And he was just, we're just chatting about our kids. He began to tell me how he would sit with each child. How he taught them that we will be generous.
We will give to God's house. Taught them how to manage their money, how to save money, how to invest money, how to give money to the cause of Christ. And they're literally was the same thing my dad had taught me. That we will be generous. This is who we are. This is what we're called to do. And I want to leave you with this thought as I close out. You are called to be generous if you serve Jesus. If you don't serve, if you do serve Jesus you think, "Well, I have choices". Of course, you do. You can do whatever you want. But if you really going to follow Christ, the Bible has so many teachings that say learn to give, learn to care about what's going on.
There's one verse that, I close my iPad too quick. But it says those who sow in tears, you know the rest, shall reap in joy. Sowing and reaping is a principle that goes across a lot of areas. This is what it means to the area of finances. That giving sometimes can be hard. All right? Giving can hurt so bad it puts a tear in your eye when you say, "Why am I giving right now"? You have to look ahead to the harvest and say, "I'm putting seed into the ground because so many months from now there's going to be a harvest".
Why do we give in to our church as people? Because as we give, we see a greater ability to train and equip kids to reach teenagers, to touch Canada, to raise up leaders. We are equipping the saints in the area of character and honor and leadership, to do what is right. Because we live in a world, did you know the percentage of people who don't even trust politicians? What a high percentage it is? That people who don't trust even police. What a high percentage it is? People who don't trust lawyers. What a high percentage it is? People who don't trust preachers. What a high percentage it is? We live in a world where trust has been broken everywhere. And the Word of God needs to bring character and honor and integrity into our lives, our children's lives. And it's the church of Jesus Christ that is doing this.