A life of impossibilities
From a talk by Banning Liebscher, founder of Jesus Culture.
Banning Liebscher spoke to leaders at a Q Ideas conference in Sept 2017. I hope his words encourage you as you start this New Year and seek to reach your communities.
We desire for transformation to come to those around us and the places we occupy. But what role do we really play in those results? How does God’s power intersect with our passion? In our information-saturated, result-oriented world, are we are tempted to put our faith in our own clever strategies more than God’s unfolding plans? Here is an excerpt from the talk:
"As we begin to pursue our mission, here's what we find very quickly - the Christian life is a life of impossibilities. Choosing to be a leader in the Kingdom comes with a life of impossibilities. The dream that God places in your heart is impossible in the natural. The call that he's placed on your life, impossible in the natural. I don't care how talented you are. I don't care how gifted you are. I don't care how much money you have, how much experience you have. I don't care how many people are with you. The call remains impossible on our lives. This is what we know from reading scripture, is this is exactly where God wants you. This is exactly where he loves you. Because the impossible call that's on your life will require from you faith. This is the big one. Faith is what's required to live the Christian life.
"Faith is what's required out of you if you're going to live the Christian life, but especially as leaders in the Kingdom, faith is what's required from us. Faith absolutely moves mountains. Faith makes impossible things possible, but it is not faith in human activity. It is faith in a supernatural God who loves to intervene. It is faith in a supernatural God, in a gospel of power, that comes and transforms lives and societies. This is what we know. This is why Paul, when he's writing the Corinthians, he tells them, he says, "When I came to you, my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the spirit and of power because I want your faith not to rest on human wisdom. I want your faith to rest on the power of God."
"This is the tension that we experience as leaders in the Kingdom. We are called to strategise and we are called to plan and we are called to organise. We're called to do all of that. We're called to do it well, but our confidence and our faith does not rest in our ability to strategise. It does not rest in our ability to organise or plan. Our confidence in faith has nothing to do with our ability or nothing to do with our wisdom. It solely rests on the Spirit and the power of God because what we know is this; if we want to see the supernatural working of God in our life, then we have to come to a point where we realise it is only the power of God that transforms. He alone can change hearts. He alone can transform societies. He alone can bridge divides and heal wounds. This is what he does.
"Our confidence comes, not in our ability to plan and strategise, but in God's ability to show up in power and really change something, to really transform something. As a builder and as somebody who loves to plan, it's a little bit hard to wrap my head around sometimes because the reality is is my best plans mean nothing if God doesn't show up. My best plans mean nothing unless my faith is in this thing, the power of God being present in whatever I'm doing, the supernatural manifesting in my life.
"See, this is the crazy thing - a bad strategy with God is better than a good strategy without God. This is the story of Jonathan. Jonathan faces an impossible situation (1 Sam 14). It's two guys against an army. He had a bad strategy from every angle. He did not outnumber them. He was outnumbered. He did not have the element of surprise. He presented himself to them. He put the sword on his back and he began to climb, completely exposed. He had a bad strategy, but what he had was this; faith in a supernatural God who shows up when we step out. The power of God, even though I'm outnumbered, even though the odds are against me.
"Somehow, if we're going to serve a supernatural God, we've got to understand this. God is not confined to the realm of odds and statistics. He's not intimidated. It can feel so overwhelming unless you know this. We serve a God who's supernatural, we serve a God who has power. He loves to invade natural situations. There are things in the natural that are impossible, but you are no longer in the natural. When you got saved, you were born again in the supernatural. It's the normal life of the Christian. God loves to show up in power. God loves to change the narrative. Scripture is full of stories of nations that were headed one way until all of a sudden God showed up and they turned another way.
"This is also why, as leaders, when your faith is in the power of God and not in human ability, not in my ability to accomplish something, my ability to strategise, if I can get a better plan, if I can organise better. No, when you have faith in the power of God, as Paul writes, prayer becomes a top priority and the greatest responsibility because prayer says, "God, all of my best-laid plans, if you don't show up, there is no plan B." This was Jonathan. He didn't have a plan B. Leaders that change the world, they don't have plan Bs. It's all out there. He's standing at the bottom saying, "God." This doesn't work out for Jonathan if God doesn't show up. That's the mandate on your life. God's put a call on your life. He's put a dream in your heart. It's impossible. It should be impossible. Here's the really good news I want to tell you. God is a God of power and loves to intervene and loves to show up when we step out because he's a supernatural God."
Watch the full 18 min talk here:
Have a faith-filled 2018!
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