This blog is a copy of a sermon I just preached to the church that I had the lead role in planting back in 2013. The sermon entitled, ‘Letting Go’ was my last as the lead pastor of InFaith Community Church. One of the goals my wife, Danae and I have as missionaries with InFaith is to hand off the ministries that we have started to qualified individuals who are ready to embrace the call of God. The handing off of ministries is never easy, there are a few that the Lord has allowed us to take more of a long term lead role in, but there are those the Lord has prepared someone else the opportunity to lead. It is imperative that we be sensitive to the Lord’s leading in that we learn to keep our hands open and un-clenched to whatever the Lord wants to do.
Elijah in the 800’s B.C (whose name means Yahweh is God) was used by God as a prophet in a time when the worship of Baal was King, and it looked as though allegiance to God was all but extinguished until God used Elijah through signs and wonders to declare who the true God is.
Eljiah was in the ministry, he had needs, he was on the run from Jezebel. God had provided for his needs in a drought, a famine, where there was little food. God had commanded Ravens to feed Elijah bread and meat. He drank from a brook where he was hiding out.
In 1 Kings 17, verse 9 we read, ‘The brook dried up God sent him to a widow in the city of Zarephath, the heart of Baal worship. Elijah hungry, thirsty and he ask the women for water, as she goes and gets the water he ask her for a morsel of bread.
She declares to Elijah, “I have nothing baked only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug and now I am going to gather some sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son that we may eat it and die.”
And Elijah said to her, “Do not fear and do as you have said, but first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me and afterward make something for yourself and your son.”
She did it! She didn’t know who Elijah was, but she trusted the Lord. Perhaps she had been praying for God to intervene because of the drought. God was going to provide for this women and son. The scripture says, the jar of flour and the jug of oil was not spent for many days until the end of the famine.
The women let go of the only security she had a little flour and a little oil. That’s it. No hope of the famine ending, no hope of retrieving any more food- She used the last of her resources, her lifeline, to feed the prophet Elijah.
She let go-
She learned to un-clenched her fist
She released her false security to the Lord/ Anything outside of Jesus is a false security!
And guess what the Lord miraculously provided for her all the oil and flour she needed till the end of the famine. God in His infinite love and mercy may choose to strip us of all of our security in order that He might show us what is really secure!
Tonight I want to challenge you to let go:
I have heard it said the things that you can’t let go of are idols to you!
It could be a position
I love my children! And yes, they are under my care. I am responsible for them. I love them! But whose are they really? They are the Lords. I will walk down the isle one day and offer up my daughter to her husband.
My money! Whose is it really? Not mine, I am just a manager, steward of it. Can I daily offer my finances to the Lord?
This position of being lead pastor ends tonight. The Lord gave me this responsibility for a while, I accepted it. So many in ministry hold on too tightly to their positions. They are territorial. They won’t let go! Ministries have to die, churches have to burn down before they finally say, OK! I let go!
Two weekends ago I attended an InFaith area Fellowship. I shared with those in attendance what God was doing and that we were handing off the leadership to some local, qualified men. They told me, “nobody does that!”
The Lord has reminded me so often. This is not your movement, Jeremy. This is what I am doing in this community. Learn to let go.
No one owns any area of service? Troy (worship leader) you do a great job of leading songs, but one day there will come along someone with the passion you have and the ability you have and the desire to lead. You will hand off the baton of worship leading?
You don’t own your area of service! Learn to encourage others to take on that role.
I was a youth pastor in Indiana before coming here to Colorado. I met with a gentlemen every Thursday morning about 6 for prayer and accountability. He was a leader in the church and he must have detected a little bit of arrogance on my part or something. He told me and I will never forget what he said. “Jeremy you are replaceable!”
Leading the Impact Kids after school ministry over at the school on Thursdays is one of the greatest joys I have ever experienced in ministry. I love being over there. It is so refreshing and invigorating. I can’t hardly sleep Thursday nights after it is over. I love directing them! One day I must remind myself someone else will get the joy of leading that ministry.
I remember maybe three years ago. I think I must have begun to hold too tightly to the ministry here in Midway. The Lord began to tell me you need to learn to let go, because if you don’t its going to hurt.
You can only clench that fist so hard! The more you fight it the more its going to hurt. Can we learn to wean ourselves from things we are holding onto?
Every Fall growing up we weaned the calves from the cows. It seems like it was days where we would hear the bawling of mom’s looking for their calves!
We are reminded of Job, in learning to un-clench our fist of the things we won’t let go of. It says in Job 1:21 ‘The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord.’
How does your heart handle this? This can be hard! Job, lost everything! But he didn’t sin against God and hold it against him, and in the end God restored back to him so much more than what he had previously had.
I believe there is blessing and a deeper, bonding relationship with God when we learn to let go and experience God providing for us. The widow in the story certainly must have experienced that in the daily miracle of provision.
Men and women, ‘Don’t hold to tightly/ It will hurt!
I see letting go illustrated well in the story of Abraham
He tells Abraham in Genesis 12,
“Go from your country, and your kindred, and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.”
In other words leave all you know, your comfort, your home, your people, your family and go to the land I will show you.
Let go, Abraham! Because I have got a plan!
In Verses 2 and 3 God Promised land, a mighty nation, will come out of you and all nations of the earth will be blessed!
Can you let go of some of those things that are good, so you can get God’s best for you!
Tonight, men and women! There is a letting go of the mantle of leadership, the baton will be handed off!
The Lord has reminded me over and over again this is not about you Jeremy, this is about my movement here in Midway! Don’t become territorial, don’t start thinking you are indispensable. This is about my glory and my fame! I will not share my glory with anybody!
So here we are tonight, the culmination of what the Lord has been teaching me for three years. ‘Let Go’.
And tonight we are happy to let go and hand off the baton of spiritual leadership in this area. I hand this off tonight with a challenge to my successor don’t hold it too tightly! Be willing to let go when it’s your time to hand off!
We are replaceable!
Somebody else will come along and do a great job and the Lord will use them!
InFaith has started Bible camps and churches all over the country! Many of these organizations started decades ago and many of them don’t know and probably don’t care that their roots came from InFaith (American Sunday School Union, and American Missionary Fellowship).
Is that awesome or what? The organization, the missionary name has been forgotten and as long as Jesus is proclaimed today what difference does it make the roots from which the ministry was wrought.
Tonight, we proclaim that in 50 years InFaith Community Church might never remember who the missionary was that started the church, or those who succeeded, but if Jesus be exalted and lifted up until His coming than the mission has been accomplished.
May we all learn the great discipline of handing off the baton to the Lordship of Jesus. Spend time determining what it is you have held on to tightly to as I practice the letting go of a position of lead pastor to a godly man whom God has called to lead in the time ahead.