Helping you grow closer to God
Download the Chip Ingram App
Holy Ambition Resources on sale now.
About this series
Turning God-Shaped Dreams into Reality
The God of the universe is looking for regular people to accomplish things beyond our wildest dreams. In this series, from Nehemiah 1 - 6, learn how God uses ordinary people to accomplish extraordinary things and the process by which He molds men and women for His purposes.More from this series
“For the eyes of the Lord go to and fro throughout the whole earth that He might strongly support those whose hearts are fully his.” What an invitation, given to a prophet, but an axiomatic principle all through Scripture.
God is looking for a man, God is looking for a woman, He’s looking for a student whose heart is fully His. And some have a little, some have a lot, some have in between. But God is looking for regular, ordinary people who are all in, that He might strongly support you, give you whatever you need: wisdom, faith, people, staff, finances – whatever you need to fulfill the job that He’s made you to fulfill.
The question is, what does it take to make a difference for God, and what kind of person does He promise to strongly support? There are six prerequisites.
If you’ll open your notes, I want to do a quick review.
The first prerequisite for the God of the universe, with all wisdom, all knowledge, unlimited power, and a desire to support and help you, is to look at your life, and your heart, and say, “Do you have a dislocated heart? Do you really care? Is your life really open and available to say, I’ll get beyond me, and my world, and my stuff, and my things, to really extend, if You would want me to, to care about other people?
Our model was Nehemiah. We read these words last week: “In the month of Kislev” – November, December – “in the twentieth year” – which was [during the time] of King Artaxerxes of Persia – “while I was in the citadel of Susa, Hanani, one of my brothers, came from Judah, and some other men, and I questioned them about the Jewish remnant that survived the exile, and also about Jerusalem. Then he said to me, ‘Those who survived the exile are back in their province. They’re in great trouble and in disgrace.’”
It’s bad. God’s promises, God’s people, God’s plan – for all practical purposes, downhill. The evidence? The gates have been burned with fire; the walls are broken down. And then here’s a dislocated heart: “When I heard these things, I sat down. I stopped. I wept.” He deeply emoted. And he mourned for some days. And then, he acted. He had no idea. He’s a business guy. He’s the right hand man to the king. He tastes the wine; he tastes the food. He’s living in the lap of luxury, and he’s thinking, What can one person do?
So, he fasts and prays for three months, and he finds a small group of people who have that on their heart. Because you’ll find that he asked God, early, “Listen to the prayer of Your servant,” and then, later in the chapter, “listen to the prayer of Your servants” – plural. And he says, “God, what can I do?”
A dislocated heart is a God-given concern for others that propels us out of our comfort zone. It’s a passionate concern for God’s agenda that supercedes our own personal desires for personal peace and prosperity. And I will tell you, that is counterintuitive, counter the flesh, and, unfortunately, counter most churches.
We said there were three great examples: Jesus in Philippians 2, Paul in Romans 9, and then, you. We talked about individual stories. It’s something that you’re passionate about, that moves you out of your comfort zone to love and care for other people.
How do you develop it?
We talked about an honest evaluation of saying, Do I have one, or not? We talked about genuine repentance, to the level that we don’t – I shared my story. You say, “You know something? I’m going to own that. And I’m going to turn around.”
And then, we talked about a careful consideration. Not some knee-jerk, emotional, something that goes up quickly, but, What does God really want me to do? And then, to ask Him for it.
Now we’re going to look at the second condition. When these six conditions, when God finds these in the human heart, I will tell you this: He’ll strongly support you. The second is a broken spirit. And we need to do a little theology lesson before we talk about how to develop a broken spirit. Because in Scripture you need some backdrop about what a broken spirit is.
In Scripture, there’s one thing, one hundred percent of the time, that God is a hundred percent against. When He sees it in a man, when He sees it in a woman, when He sees it in a child, when it happens in the Old Testament, when it happens in the New Testament, He sees it in a corporation, He sees it in a nation – it’s not like He’s unhappy about it. It’s not like He’s mildly displeased. He’s against it. He comes against it. He brings consequences. He hates it.
And that one thing would be pride. Pride. Pride can be “strutting your stuff,” I don’t need God, rebellion. Or pride can be self-reliance, and doing your own thing, as though God doesn’t exist.
But the good news is, there is something that, whenever God sees it – if He sees it in a man, or a woman, or a nation, or a country, or a company, Old Testament or New – when He sees this one thing in the human heart – you could have been to prison, you could have murdered people, you could have committed adultery, you could have had two or three abortions, you could have lied, you could have embezzled, you could have stiff-armed God, you could have blasphemed God – No matter what you’ve done, but if this one thing happens in your heart, heaven rushes to connect with you. It’s called a broken spirit.
Let me give you a little biblical evidence here. On pride, Proverbs 8:13 says, “To fear the Lord is to hate evil. I hate” – notice the strong word – “I hate pride and arrogance and evil behavior and perverse speech.”
In the New Testament, it’s James 4:6. “But He gives more grace. That is why the Scripture says: ‘God opposes.’” And you know the little word anti, like, “against”? That word for oppose, in Greek – it starts with that: anti. He’s against the proud, but He “gives grace to the humble.”
But notice Psalm 51. It’s David’s confession. This was a man who really knew God well, loved God, wrote the Psalms – valiant warrior, musician. But, like a lot of us, he was at the wrong place, at the wrong time. He let his success swell his head, and, instead of doing what he was supposed to be doing, he ended up walking around while his nation was at battle.
And he looked down on a very beautiful woman, who probably shouldn’t have been bathing where she was. And he commits adultery with Bathsheba, and then commits murder with her husband.
And Psalm 51 is him pouring his heart out before God, knowing that the consequence he deserves is death. And he writes in Psalm 51:16 and 17, “You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; You don’t take pleasure in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.”
See, we have this idea that, I’ve done something terrible. God can never use me, or, I did this, or, I did that, so I’ll try and be a good person, and I’ll try and do more of this, and I’ll be kinder to people. And you have this “works” mentality. It doesn’t work.
When we are far from God – whether like this, or like this – what allows God to come in, and forgive, and cleanse is when we understand we’re spiritually bankrupt, and we have a broken spirit, and we just say, God, I messed up. I don’t have any excuses. I blew it. What I did was wrong – how I did it, how I said it. Would You please forgive me, and have mercy upon me? I’m desperate. I deserve nothing.
Isaiah 57:15. This word, actually, is only used in two or three places in all the Old Testament. But it says, “For this is what the high and lofty One says – He who lives forever, whose name is holy, ‘I live.’” Literally, the word is dwell. It’s where His presence – it’s where God can be God.
There are only two places in the universe where the manifestation of all of God being God can be. And here’s the first one: “I live” – or “I dwell” – “in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.”
I’m always amazed when I read the Bible – because I never read it growing up. I wasn’t a Christian growing up. I thought all Christians were crazy, and I had some good evidence.
But I think of the great heroes of the faith – and you have Moses, who’s a murderer, and you have David, who’s an adulterer and a murderer, and you have the apostle Paul, who’s a murderer. And, somehow, we get these little Bible stories, and we act like they’re just stained glass people. They were very evil people, in windows of times, who did horrendous things that broke God’s heart.
And then, they repented. And they recognized the distance, and how they violated a holy God. And they didn’t try and cut a deal, and then try to earn their way back into His grace. They just said, “O God, forgive me. I don’t deserve anything.”
And when God sees that in your heart, He’ll rush to meet you. And He’ll start you on a journey of not just forgiveness, but restoration, and healing, and repair.
And guess what – later in this psalm, he says, “God, I want You not only to heal me, and forgive me, I want the day to be that You would actually restore the joy of my salvation. And I would like to be an instrument, yet again, of teaching sinners Your ways.” Because he sure understands what it means to be a sinner.
So, those are two timeless things concerning God. And the danger, when we begin to think about developing a broken spirit, is – I’ve watched this happen. In fact, I’ve read some books, even some very good devotional books.
But there’s this – I call it “worm theology.” In other words, if I’m going to have a broken spirit, all of a sudden, Well, I must be a terrible person. I gotta feel really bad about myself, and that’s right. I’m going to think of anything I’ve ever done, and take the spiritual wet noodle – shame, shame, shame, shame. I’m a bad…and I’ll get myself worked up in some emotional, I’m a terrible, terrible person.
You know what that does? Guess where the focus is? It’s on you. It’s arrogant. You don’t develop a broken spirit by beating yourself up.
Let me give you three keys to developing an authentic, genuine, broken spirit so, that, when the God who made and created all that there is looks inside your heart, will say, “This person has a dislocated heart. And” – number two – “they have a broken spirit.”
Number one, it begins with a restored view of God, we’re going to learn – key number one. Number two, that will lead to an accurate assessment of yourself. And, later, we’ll learn, it’ll cause your agenda of your life to get aligned with God’s agenda, and His purposes.
You say, “Well, where do you get that?” We get it from Nehemiah again. Now, imagine: He’s living in the lap of luxury. Right? You know, he’s got his nice chariot, his nice clothes, his nice food. But he’s heard about this. He’s got a dislocated heart. And it says he prayed and fasted for three months, we’ll learn.
Wouldn’t you like to be just like a little bird, you know? Like, He’s praying. I wonder what he’s praying? You know, like, the actual words. What did he actually say? What are the kinds of prayers that really get through to God?
You’ve got it right here. We have a sample. He says, “When I heard these things I sat down, and I wept for some days, and I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. Then I said” – there’s his actual prayer – “‘O Lord, God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant of love with those who love Him and obey His commands.”
Here’s the request: “Let Your ear be attentive and Your eyes open to hear the prayer Your servant is praying before You.”
Notice the intensity. This isn’t some little, “Oh, I had a little liver quiver.” This is, “Night and day for Your servants, the people of Israel.”
Will you put a box around the words: O Lord? It’s His covenant name. It’s, “O Yahweh, the I AM THAT I AM, the Ever Existent One, the All Powerful One, the Personal One, the God of All the Earth.”
Put a box around God of Heaven – He’s Creator. Put a box around the word great – He’s all-powerful. Put a box around the word awesome. In the Old King James, it has the idea of “terrible,” or “fearful,” or “holy.” He is in a totally different category. And then, finally, put a box around the phrase: who keeps His covenant of loyal love.
A broken spirit begins with a restored view of God, not a beating up of yourself, of your view of you. And notice the high view of God: Yahweh, Creator, powerful, fearful, holy, loyal loving God.
Here’s what you need to understand. We all have issues and problems, right? Some people need a job, some people are in a difficult relationship, some people have money issues. You know, some people have kids who are driving them crazy, and some people have parents who are driving them crazy. Some people have a secret sin that they’ve never shared with anyone, and every time they come to church, they feel really guilty, and they want to draw near to God, and they have all this stuff going on inside.
But whatever the problem is, the human tendency is to focus on the problem, focus on the problem, focus on the problem, focus on the problem. And then pretty soon, you look at all of life, and all relationships, and all circumstances through the problem.
And then, life stinks. And so, you drink stuff you shouldn’t, take pills that don’t help you, watch too much TV, and eat all the time, looking for pleasure, and trying to put something in your mind, or your heart, or your body that will keep you away from those bad feelings.
See, you either have really big problems, and a really small God, or you have a very big God, and very small problems. Those are the only two options.
Nehemiah saw a huge problem. He had a dislocated heart. And he had God-centered prayers. God-centered prayers. Are yours God-centered? Are mine God-centered? Or do we just whine and complain before the throne? “Oh God, what about this? Oh God, what about this? You haven’t done this, you know, and this, and this keeps happening. And what…”
Sometimes, we just worry out loud, and call it prayer. And we don’t even think about who we’re talking to. When Nehemiah prayed, he said, “I am speaking to the I AM THAT I AM. I’m speaking to the One who spoke, and the galaxies came into existence. I’m speaking to the One who has all power, and all resources. I’m speaking to One who keeps His covenant of loyal love.” And it starts by beginning to get a high view of God – a view of His majesty, His power, His wisdom, His love, His justice, and His holiness.
I love what [A.W.] Tozer says. I read, probably, a chapter of this book, the first fifteen years I was a Christian, every day, and then, I kind of cut back to maybe a chapter, once a week. It’s a tiny book, called The Knowledge of the Holy, and it’s just about God: What’s God like? Tozer writes, “Modern Christianity is simply not producing the kind of Christian who can appropriate, appreciate, or experience life in the Spirit. The words in Scripture, ‘Be still, and know that I am God,’ mean next to nothing to the self-confident, bustling worshipper in the middle period of this century.
“But the alarming thing is that our gains are mostly external, and our losses are wholly internal. And since it is the quality of our religion that is affected by internal conditions, it may be that our supposed gains are but losses spread over a wider field.”
We have never had more TV, never more video, never more mega-churches, never more presence. Christianity has never had “the external affluence and influence” but, all the while, the quality of the kinds of Christians we’ve been producing over the last fifty to seventy years is less, and less, and less like Jesus. They’re less holy, and they’re less loving. And they have less faith.
And, in the name of Jesus, we’ve sought personal peace and prosperity, and the average Gospel going out, in many parts of the world, is, Jesus is your self-help buddy, and life is really about you: “Now, make my life work out. And if I ever get cancer, or my marriage is in trouble, or my kids have a problem, or I have a financial dip – ‘Hey, God, what’s the deal? Who do you think You are? Don’t You understand, I’m the center of the universe?’”
And then, we get mad. And we get mad, and we get disillusioned with the God of the Bible because we don’t understand who He is. Tozer goes on to say, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”
If someone could register – bang! The word “God” comes to your mind. What’s He like? Who do you really pray to? That, my friend, is the most important thing about your entire being.
A low view of God will produce an anxious, striving, frustrating life. And a high view of God will produce a life that has issues and problems, but we’ll see them in view of His wisdom, and His power, and His sovereignty, and the response is to trust.
I put a little passage there – it’s Isaiah chapter 6 – because the way you get a high view of God is by becoming a worshipper. I will tell you this, having done this: You can become a Bible student, and read the Bible a lot – which is very important. You can go to a small group. You can say, you know, “I listen to Christian music.” And all those things are helpful.
But if you are not a person who takes the Word of God as your prayer book, and begins to worship God for who He is, the connection of all this intellectual stuff you’re putting in your brain will never go into your heart, so that you can really trust Him when it’s difficult.
That happens by worshipping. That’s when you sit quietly in a room, and you sing to God. That’s when you adore Him, and praise Him, and thank Him, and honor Him.
And you’re not trying to get anything done. And you’re not looking at your watch. And you open your eyes, and you look at things that are beautiful. And you thank God for what He’s made, and who He is. And you cry out, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty. Heaven and earth is full of Your glory.” And you begin to rapture in the presence of the power, and the majesty, and the love of God.
Worshippers. And in worship, we get a high view of God. And when that happens, you’ll notice, as you read – in that Isaiah passage – there’s worship, and there are angels. And the train of the robe – it was about His majesty, and His power – fills this temple.
And Isaiah, this prophet, has this amazing experience. And when he sees God high and lifted up, and holy, then he says, “Woe is me, for I am a man of unclean lips among a people of unclean lips.”
And I would suggest that the average Christian thinks their lips are pretty clean, they’re doing okay, and, “God, I just need a little help to get through the day, so that You can help me fulfill my agenda for my world, my family, my singleness, my job. And here’s what I would like You to do for me today.”
And, therefore, you don’t have deep experiences of repentance. You don’t have times of realizing, Wow, how have I drifted? How have I become so critical? How did my motives slip into being so performance oriented? Why am I so short with my kids? Why is it that what I really care about – and I’m so upset, because the stock went from here, to here. I thought I had an eternal perspective. Why are certain things eating me up inside because I can’t control them?
Those are evidences. And God says, and Isaiah responds, “Woe is me.” See, when you get a high view of God, you’ll get a recalibrated view of yourself. Notice, it’s not just Isaiah. It’s Nehemiah; it’s every character I can find in the Old or New Testament.
So, notice his response: He says, “I confess the sins. We Israelites.” Notice it’s first person. You know, if I were this guy . . . I mean, I hope I would do better. But if I were Nehemiah, I’d be looking at this bad situation, and I’d pray for a while.
And I’d say, “You know what? All those people messed up. Why did they mess up? They’re worshipping idols, and they’ve done this, and they’ve done that, and if they would shape up and…”
But he doesn’t. He realizes he’s a part of it: “I,” “we,” “I,” “we,” “I confess the sins, we Israelites, including myself and my father’s house, have committed against You. We’ve acted very wickedly towards you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees, and laws that You gave your servant, Moses.
No excuses. No ducking. No blame-shifting. No, “Well, You know, Lord? I came from a very difficult family. You know, circumstances have been really rough on me. You just don’t understand what I’ve been through.” He just owns it. And he not only owns it for himself – he owns it for his father’s house; he owns it for the nation. And he repents.
The mark of a high view of God are prayers that are God-centered, and the mark of prayers that have genuine repentance and confession are gut-wrenchingly honest prayers.
My personal struggle – we don’t want to do therapy for me, but I’ll just give you a quick highlight. My personal struggle, in prayer, goes something like this – when I draw near to God, I see stuff about me I don’t like. Okay? So, when I see stuff about me I don’t like, I have to face that, or I have to run.
And so, the difficulty in praying, for significant, quiet, in-depth times, is the reality that, if I really get honest, I’m going to see some things about my motives, I’m going to see some things about me that aren’t that pleasant.
And what that does is everything in me, then, “Well, I’ll pray later. I’ll pray deeper. Later.”
And what I find is, when I’m having my most intimate times with God, there’s a practice of not only worship, but a practice of asking Him to search my heart, and sitting quietly, and letting Him bring, not general feelings, like, You’re a terrible dad, you’re a terrible pastor, you’re a selfish, no good… That’s the enemy. That’s called “condemnation.”
No, it’s more like, “You know what? What have you been thinking about for the first four hours today? Um, when you were in that conversation, you know, your voice got kind of this way, and that way, because you were just frustrated. You didn’t really care about them. And when that person came up afterwards, when you were tired, you were kind of looking at them, but you were just glazed over. You didn’t care.” “God, I’m sorry.” Or, “Ingram, your priorities are out of whack. You’re trying to do too much, in too many different directions, and you know what? This is what you need to do.” And you know the only avenue? It’s not “try harder.” It’s “repent. It’s “ask forgiveness.” It’s “get right.”
If you don’t know how to do that, I’ve given you a passage to work. It’s James 4:7 to 10. And it’s the clearest, best repentance passage I know of in all of Scripture. And it gives you a very clear model.
It says, “Submit, therefore, to God.” When you repent, the first thing you need to do is realize you quit trying to run everything. It’s back to the all-in. It’s back to the surrender. “Submit, therefore, to God.” And then, once you do that, you get a lot of opposition. And then, it says, “Resist the devil and he’ll flee from you.”
Then, you take a positive step. “Draw near to God” – promise – “He’ll draw near to you.” And as you draw near to God – maybe that’s getting back in the Bible, maybe it’s getting connected back to a small group, maybe it’s having honest conversation. Draw near to God – maybe you go ask for forgiveness from someone. But you draw near to God, He’ll draw near to you.
And as He does, then He’ll show you stuff: “Cleanse your hands, you sinners. Purify your hearts, you double-minded.” See, He’ll tell you about some actions, and about some attitudes.
And then, He talks about mourning, and turn your laughter . . . And the idea, it’s not that we shouldn’t be happy, and laugh. The words, in the New Testament, have to do with this, sort of, self-sufficient, living for my pleasure, and not really owning at the level and the depth that you know, “I’m really living a self-centered life. Will You forgive me?” And you mourn. And you grieve. Just like when you hurt someone’s feelings, and you tell them you’re sorry, and you really mean it. That’s what he’s talking about.
So, an accurate view, a broken spirit happens with a restored view of God that leads to an accurate view of myself. A restored view of God requires me to become a worshipper on a regular basis. An accurate view of myself demands repentance, and confession.
And then, notice what happens: When you’re really clean, when you’re not – a lot of us pray like this, “Oh God, please do this. Oh God, please do this.” I wonder if He will? “Oh God, please do this.” Maybe, maybe, maybe, I doubt it, I doubt it, I doubt it. “Please, please, please, yeah, yeah, yeah. If this would happen, this would happen, I promise . . .” And we’re just…
No, no, no, no. When you see God for who He is – and you watch this all through Scripture – and when you’re around people whom God uses greatly, you’ll find this in their lives: They get an accurate view of themselves.
And when they repent, and they know they’re clean, they kind of come in the presence of God with boldness, and clarity, like the Hebrews passage: “Therefore, come boldly before the throne of grace to find mercy in your time of need. For you have a Great High Priest who’s blazed the trail, and the pioneer . . .” And it says, “You come in. What do you need?”
And you listen to this man pray. The broken spirit results in a renewed commitment to fulfill God’s agenda. And so, he’s now, he’s a new man. He’s cleansed. He knows he’s blown it. He sees God’s on the throne. There’s a big problem, and he can’t solve it, but he’s going to ask.
And he’s going to quote parts of Deuteronomy 30, and Exodus 32. And he’s going to say, “God, I’m going to remind You of some promises You made.” He says, “Remember the instruction You gave your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations.’”
“Remember, God? Remember You said that? Well, we were unfaithful and we’re scattered. That one’s been fulfilled. But remember the second half of it? ‘But if you return to Me and obey My commands, then even if your exiled people are on the farthest horizons, I will gather them from there, and I’ll bring them to this place, Jerusalem, the place I have chosen as a dwelling for My name.”
See, when you start to have a broken spirit, you pray God-centered prayers, gut-wrenchingly honest prayers. And then they’re not hopeful prayers. They’re promise-centered prayers.
You begin to realize, you know, God has some promises about your finances. God has some promises about your marriage. God has some promises about when you’re stuck, and you’re depressed. God has some promises. And you take His Word, and you say, “I actually believe it’s true. I don’t feel it, but I believe it’s true. And I’m going to pray, and claim the promises of God.” That’s faith.
And so, notice his prayer, and notice the focus. He reminds God, and it turns to intercession. He looks at this bad situation, and it’s not like, Well, you know, I’m pretty wealthy, and I’m affluent, and I’ve got a good position. I guess I’ll really rev it up, and make something happen. That’s not what he prays. See, he let God work in him, before He worked through him. “These are Your servants and Your people, whom You redeemed by Your great strength and Your mighty hand.” Where’s the focus? “Your,” “Your,” “Your,” “Your,” “Your.” “O Lord, let Your ear be attentive to the prayer of this, Your servant, and to the prayer of Your servants” – notice the small group – “who delighted in revering Your name.”
And then, over these three months of praying, Nehemiah went from someone who prayed, and was asking, “God, I don’t know my part in Your plan. I don’t know my divine design. I don’t know my gifts, and I don’t know, in this time of history, exactly what You want me to do.” But at the end of three months, he realized, God showed him, that he had the gift of leadership, and that God wanted him to take his leadership skills, and go back, and head up the rebuilding project. And so, he’s going to go.
He’ll take a radical step of faith. He’s going to get in front of this king, and he’s going to act like he’s really sad. And what he knew was, in that culture, if you act like you’re sad in front of a king,
you have two options. Option one: “Hey, what are you sad about? How can I help you out?” Option two: “That’s illegal. Kill him. Get rid of him. I know…” So, he realized, he was willing to put his life on the line. And so, he intercedes. James 5:16: God says very, very, very clearly – He says that “the prayer of a righteous man” – and, I have learned, the prayer of a righteous woman – “will accomplish much.” We’ll have to get serious.
I’m a little embarrassed, to be honest, that we gather as a people, and we have so many needs, and we sing, and we hear, and we teach, how little we actually stop – how little in our relationships with one another – we go to each other’s houses. We talk. We have fun. We drink coffee. We do stuff. When’s the last time you said, “You know, before you leave, let’s stop. Right now, let’s stop. Let’s pray. Let’s ask God. Let’s believe.” I believe that’s God’s agenda.
Three summary principles that I think will give us some handles to move forward: One, we must let God work deeply in us, before He will work significantly through us. What if you asked Him, and really meant it – what if you said, “Oh God, what do You want to do in me? What do You want to correct? What do You want to restore? What do You want to heal?”
Second, until we make prayer a priority, progress and power will never be a reality. Here’s what I can tell you – because I’ve been down this road before, not only in my personal life, but in church, in Living on the Edge. Here’s what I’ll tell you: Two and a half months from now, we’ll put check marks next to these that will blow your mind. Because you know what God’s agenda is? It’s not, like, big for Him to answer these prayers. He wants to teach us that He actually listens.
One of the things I do every year is, I think of the biggest, top ten things that are most overwhelming, or the things that I believe God wants to happen, and I write them down. I have my top ten. And, I mean, they’re big. And they’re specific. And then, I pray over them. And I just can’t tell you how many Decembers – it’s like, wow, eight . . . I never dreamed.
And it was like, “God, how could I not believe?” The Lord, the God, the Creator, the great and awesome God.
Third, difference makers are not necessarily those with a lot to give. You don’t need to develop leaders at HP. You don’t have to have a big house. You don’t have to be rich. You don’t have to be a super-intellect. In fact, actually, when you read this Book, it’s like God goes to great lengths to pick people who don’t have much of any of that – the “are-nots” of the world.
Read 1 Corinthians, and He lists all these, sort of, dysfunctional, difficult, sinful people, who have been through all this terrible stuff, and then He says, “And such were some of you.” God uses the foolish – us regular people, with our baggage, and our hurts, and our pasts, and our sins to confound the wise.
Every great movement of God starts with a little handful of people who, ridiculously, and mostly at the ridicule of others, actually believe God would do exactly what He says. Grace always flows downhill. It requires humility.