December 15 2019 God is Up to Something Rev Dr HowardJohn Wesley

your issue is not whether God can and your issue is not whether God is at work your issue is much deeper your issue is just when I know God can and I believe God will what I want to know is when won't you bow being prayer with me you are great and you do miracles so great remind us of God that you master in miracles that what the world has said cannot be done you've done time and again what I pray now that you'd use this frail and fragile flesh for the preaching and the proclamation of your goodness your grace and your glory Lord you and I both know I'm not worthy to stand and speak for you just take my head in my heart and my mind in my mouth allow there to be no gap between your will and my words speak Lord for your servants are listening in Jesus precious and perfect name we do pray amen on this third Sunday of Advent our would that you hear the reading of a passage of Scripture that is both familiar and appropriate for us who find our way towards the manger in Bethlehem to experience to bask in the glory and share the good news of God coming in the Christ child you all know that the stories of the birth of Jesus are exclusively located in the Gospel of Matthew and Luke this morning I would you hear Luke's account with full detail as is recorded in chapter one of his gospel if you have your Bibles or if you can navigate on your devices to Luke chapter one I want to begin reading in verse number 26 from the New King James Version of the Bible it is our custom to ask who all those who are physically able to stand with us as together we reverence the reading of the Word of God from Luke chapter 1 beginning in verse number 26 the word Lord reads now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph of the house of David the Virgin's name was Mary and having come in the angel said to her rejoice highly favored one the Lord is with you blessed are you among women but when she saw him she was troubled at his saying and considered what manner of greeting this was then the angel said to her do not be afraid Mary for you have found favor with God and behold you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a son and shall call his name Jesus he will be great and would be called the son of the highest and the Lord God will give him the throne of his father David and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever and of his kingdom there will be no end then Mary said to the angel how can this be since I do not know a man in the angel answered and said to her the Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the highest will overshadow you therefore also the Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God now indeed Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren for with God nothing will be impossible for with God nothing will be impossible that feels good to me for with God nothing will be impossible then Mary said Behold the maidservant of the Lord let it be to me according to your word and the angel departed from her do me a favor be a preacher for a moment and find a neighbor next to you and tell him neighbor o neighbor God is up to something you may be seated and the presence of the Lord God is up to something I wish you felt that in your spirit God is up to something family I'm I'm gonna ask for your sincere prayers this week as some of you may know and some may not both of my children have holiday birthdays Cooper is a Thanksgiving baby goose is a Christmas baby and as of Wednesday of this week I will have two teenage boys in my house y'all get ready for there's some witnesses here that them teenage years we'll put you on your knees the fun is just getting started I have two teenage boys and I realized that my greatest responsibility for them as their father is to raise them to be good men my responsibilities raise them to be good black men my response was raising to be good Christian black men and because I'm desired to raise them to be good Christian black men Zac when I realized that there are some conversations we need to begin having now that college is but two years off the world and my oldest will be leaving us in a short and matter of time it's important to have some difficult conversations with them I need to teach them brother LC about being a man and that means that you've got to stand at a crossroad of decision you've got to weigh out your options you've got to fall on your knees and pray you've got to seek wise counsel you've got to make a decision and then you've got to learn to live with the consequences of that decision I realize that I need to teach them about young ladies and being a good Christian black man when you're courting a young woman you teach them how to open up doors and how to never walk in front of a woman at a restaurant teach them how to know what the lady wants to order and you place the order with the waiter because it is inappropriate for a strange man to talk to you a woman at the table [Applause] I need to train them siobhan how to look and determine whether this is a good woman whether Bell Biv DeVoe was right that girl is Poisson never truck those need to have some talk with them about money so they understand the power of credit and the danger of credit cards need to teach them about time management learn how to do what you have to do so you got time to do it you wanna do it now that my oldest has a learner's permit I've had to have a discussion with him about what to do when he's pulled over by the police let him know that his life is in danger if his hands are not seen and if his mouth is not checked now I'm not saying that they are spending more time with their friends and there's nothing teenagers like more than hanging out with their friends now that they go to the mall with their friends and the movies with their friends and stay over at their friends houses and go to parties with their friends now that they are outside of my protection and my presence I felt like I needed to give them some street smarts I needed to teach them how to discern when something is about to go down I need you to be able to look out and know when somebody's about to act a fool you need to know when dangers in the air you need to know we're in trouble is around the corner if if you are out and about and you see two brothers arguing at a party and one of them leaves and goes to the parking lot and comes back in in five minutes it's time to get out of there because something is about to go down if you're in building and it's warm and somebody walks in with a trench coat and a backpack it's time to leave because something is about to go down if you're sitting and all of a sudden you see four or five of us run out of a building don't wait don't try to figure out why if you see us running you run right with us because something is about to go down one of the signs you're maturing in life is when you can look at the scope of what's going on around you and know that something is about to go down beloved that's not just good lessons for teens that's good lessons for maturing disciples that one of the skills you must acquire in your faith walk with God is to know how to look around the edges of your life and discern that God is up to something to not become easily discouraged to not throw in the towel to not give up but be able to look at your life and see the signs that let you know God is up to something beloved I believe that that's one of the lessons we're supposed to learn in the birth of Jesus because in the birth of Jesus God is finally fulfilling promises that God has made about the coming of the Messiah Clinton if you see Scripture you'll find out that the very first promise of the coming of Jesus can be located as early as Genesis chapter 3 verse 15 it is there in that third chapter when Adam and Eve have failed God the God shows up and shares with them the consequences of their failure and their sin and God says to them and one of your seed will crush the head seyton and early in the third chapter scholars identified a prophecy of the coming of Christ who will crush Satan and sin and from Genesis all the way up to the Christmas account the Bible reports 414 prophecies of the coming of the Son of Man 414 promises that Christ will come 414 promises that Satan does not win 414 promises that God's going to show up and God is going to handle this thing 414 promises that the Son of Man the Messiah the Christ will be born God has made a promise that Jesus will show up and in case you don't know it I want you to know this God does not make idle promises God does not make idle promises whatever God promised God will perform whatever God says God will do whatever God has written in his word God will reveal in your life I came by to encourage somebody on a Sunday morning to know that our God is faithful to the promises he has made he will work all things together for your good he will open up doors he will make a way out of no way he will heal your disease he will walk with you God is faithful god never makes a promise there God's not gonna fulfill what you need to understand is that in every season of your life God is preparing to fulfill another promise no matter what it looks like no matter what it feels like I want to tell you this God is always at work God is never idle God is never sitting on the sidelines of your life just watching life happen to you God is never sitting on his omnipotent hands and saying oh well god is never watching you fail and struggle and saying you brought it on yourself God is always at work in your life God is always behind the scenes God is always backstage God is always on the periphery God as always in the secret places God is always working in the midnight hour God is always putting his promises together he's always at work because he's always fulfilling his word and for somebody on your Pew today your issue is not whether God can and your issue is not whether God is at work your issue is much deeper your issue is just when I know God can and I believe God will what I want to know is when God when are you gonna work this thing together for my good when are you gonna pull me out of this mess when are you gonna bring my prodigal child back home when are you gonna stabilize my marriage when are you gonna move that crazy co-worker to another department [Applause] when are you gonna help me with this burden I'm carrying when are you gonna heal me of the disease I have when are you gonna open up the windows of heaven and pour out my blessing when are you gonna make it so that I don't have to struggle every month to make ends meet when Oh God are you gonna do what you promised have you ever had a win with God Oh God when I'm thinking Amanda the trouble was being in a win space with God is that the devil has a way of convincing you that while you're waiting God has quit you then while you're sitting God has walked away the God has forgotten what God said he was going to do you've been praying and made no answer God's not gonna answer you've been waiting and God hasn't moved God's not gonna move you've been holding out and God hasn't delivered God ain't gonna deliver the devil creeps in your mind to get you to think that somehow some way God has failed to do what God said he's gonna do and in that wind season when you're wondering when God's gonna do what God said God was going to do I want you to hang out with Mary right here in Bethlehem it's what we see and Mary is if you open your eyes and take a good look at what's happening in your life you will see that there's some signs that God is up to something living down to work every say God has not forgotten about you God has not abandoned you you have not committed suicide on God's promises God has not aborted your destiny God is at work around you and if you open your eyes there are some signs to encourage you that God is not finished with you yet can I prove it to you can we hang out with Mary for a little bit and let me share with you the signs that God is up to something God sends Gabriel to this virgin named Mary that tells Mary you're about to have a baby and the story of the birth of Jesus does not begin with Gabriel going to Mary no it does not the Christmas story does not begin with Mary and Joseph the Christmas story begins with Elizabeth you read chapter one that before Gabriel finds his way to Bethlehem he stops at Liz's house now you need to know Elizabeth is the cousin of Mary and two things you need to know about her number one she's barren let the church say barren she's never been able to have a child and not only she barren she's old lets her say old that ain't nice that ain't nice she's older and she is post menopausal for the brothers of the house that means she's beyond her childbearing years she's barren and she's postmenopausal not only is she old her husband is I want you to see the problem here cheese baron she's postmenopausal and he's old and the Lord shows up opens up her womb empowers her husband [Applause] and they conceived a child now what's hard to be asking is if she's been barren and if she's now old and he's old why does the Lord show up now to give her baby God could have done this 30 years ago she wanted a child years ago and God waits til she's old with an old husband to grant her baby why does God show up now one answer Mary because God is about to go to Mary until Mary something Mary ain't gonna believe God's myself demand said Mary guess what girl I'm about to impregnate you and you've never even touched a man and God knows Mary is going to have difficulty believing that God can do that so when Mary questions how it can happen God says if you think that's tripped out I need you to go see Elizabeth your cousin who is barren and old and now it's pregnant because I need you to know that with God nothing is impossible compute you want to know how you know God is up to something when you see God at work in the lives of people around you that God has a way before God does something in you God will find another brother or sister to work in their life so that when you doubt what God can do God will send you in the presence of somebody who's living testimony that God can do anything oh I don't know who I'm preaching to but whatever your struggle is in life I came by to tell you you're not the first one God's dealt with it you're not the first sister to get breast cancer you're not the first brother to get laid off your job you're not the first marriage to struggle you're not the first parent to have a child addicted to drugs you're not the first one to deal with this and God says and when you deal with it and you have trouble believing that I'm gonna do what I said I'm going to do here's what I'm gonna do I'm gonna send you to Elizabeth now make sure you catch this God does not tell Elizabeth to go see Mary God tells Mary go see Elizabeth because when you doubt what God can do the Lord sends you into the presence of some Elizabeth's who are living witness that God is able watch us but just here it is I love this and he says go in the sixth month Luke is very specific twice in this passage he says the sixth month which means you are to take attention to the fact that Mary is sent to Elizabeth in the sixth month why the six month it's really not that hard he sends married to Elizabeth in the six-month cuz in the six-month she's showing if he sent her earlier Elizabeth would have to talk about what she can't prove but we Mary shows up in the sixth month Elizabeth ain't got to say nothing Elizabeth just got to stand up and you can see that God has been at work in my life I don't know who are preaching to but I need some Elizabeth's who can declare I ain't get to open my mouth all I got to do is stand up and my life is a witness that God is able love it love it that's why you need to belong to a church because when you hit that marry season of life and you're wondering if God is going to do it and when God is going to do it and can God do it God says push your way to 301 Alfred Street and let me show you some people who know what God is able to do [Applause] so when that doctor tells you is cancer show up at Alpha Street so I can show you a brother that was diagnosed with stage 4 and is yet in the land of the living you ain't got to say nothing all you got to do is stand and so somebody God is able to do me a favor would you would you touch somebody and tell them go see Elizabeth God is at work in your life when you see God at work in the lives of others can i push it you're not gonna like point number two you know God is up to something when God starts to shift and break relationships you thought you needed we said again so you treat it right God is that work tempora when God begins to shift and break relationships you thought you needed God has a way of stressing and straining relationships as a way of getting you ready for the fulfillment of promise I know you don't want to hear this God has a way of plucking people out of your life as a way of preparing you for something amazing God wants to do have you ever been in a season where relationships started shifting and you don't know what you did I mean you ever have folk just start acting funky on you and you never said anything to him watch it here's how it goes down what you see it in Bible so you won't be discouraged in life God shows up says Mary guess what girl we bout to have a baby and Mary's responses but I don't know Joseph yet Joseph unconnected to me yet and God's answer is just say got nothing do with Joseph you think you need Jojo this is about you and me watch watch it watch it this deep so God says Mary I'm gonna do something in your life this is gonna cause Joseph to doubt who you are you read Matthew 1 Joseph has trouble listen Mary don't just show up pregnant and just will go oh the Holy Spirit know Mary shows up pregnant and remember Siobhan I love the way it goes the Lord tells Mary you're gonna get pregnant he sends her away to Elizabeth's for three months and then she comes back to show him pregnant telling Joseph is the Lord [Applause] it so use at your cousin's house [Applause] I love the Bible uh so I'm gonna do something in you that's gonna cause Joseph to doubt if you really are who he thought you were joseph is gonna have issue with you because of what God did in you so watches sometimes you lose people at them not because of what you've done to them but because of what God is doing in you that there's no way for God to work a great work in your life and not edit some people out of your life hear me beloved this is a rough lesson you can't grow close to God in a crowd anointing in popularity don't go hand in hand God has a way of isolating you from individuals in or do great work let me give you a side order Scripture God finds Gideon down in the valley and says Gideon I want to bring victory against the Midianites and Gideon goes and grabs thousands of people and God shows them tongue you got too many folk you can't win with that mean you don't get that Jesus shows up at gyruss this house gyrus says daughter looks dad and the crowd that is in the house begins to laugh at Jesus when Jesus says she's just sleeping and they say show us and Jesus says I'm gonna raise her but y'all got to get out first because I cannot work the miracle with too many people in the presence okay okay one of my greatest responsibilities as a pastor it's a travel with Reverend Jackson to go visit the sick and every now and then we'll go visit people who are getting ready to go into surgery if you've not been with someone who's going into surgery recently let me tell you how it happens when you show up you are in the admission room and the admission room is where everybody is when it comes time to be get closer to the surgery they pull you into the family room now everybody can't go in the family room because some folks ain't family they got to stay in the admission room so then you get to the family room but after that they move you to the pre-op room and in the pre-op room only two folk can go with you and when you get ready to go into the operating room nobody but the surgeon can go in with you because the closer you get to the place of healing the fewer people are allowed to walk with you I don't know who I'm preaching to but when you start losing people you're getting closer to the promise of God do me a favor touch somebody tell them God is up to something when you find yourself losing people in your life you are just getting closer to your healing Goss up to something when you see God at work in the lives of people around you God is up to something when God starts shifting and breaking relationships in your life and watch this third one God shows up tells Mary are we gonna have a baby you're gonna be the mother of Christ called his name Jesus he's gonna save the world of his kingdom there will be no end all that sounds good but I found out God never asked Mary do you want it god never asked her is this a good time to get pregnant God never asked her is this part of your plan very rarely does God care about your plans I would argue to you that God impregnating Mary causes a problem this pregnancy is a problem number one it is ill-timed we are on our way to the wedding we are engaged invitations have been sent out and now I'm pregnant and that causes a problem now we got to cancel the ceremony and have a private ceremony at the justice of the peace now I can't wear that white dress that I got fitted for now I got some explaining to do to Joseph and his mama and daddy now if we're going to talk and I've got to do it the room of God this is not the best time for me to get pregnant and God shows up and says I don't care about your plans you want to know how you know God is up to something God messes up all your plans that's the word somebody you came in with your vision board [Applause] of what you thought your life would be like right here and right now you were supposed to be running this business you're supposed to be married to this brother he's supposed to have this mini kitchen suppose we make it this much money suppose we have it that in your bank account and God has a way of showing up in your life and messing up every plan you put in place to prove that God knows better for you then you know for yourself have you ever had God mess up your plan so if I said right now yes Lord God will mess up your plans God will interfere with your dreams God will disrupt the ideas you have for your life God has a way messing up our plans the Bible says in proverbs chapter 14 verse 12 there's a way that seems right to us but it leads to death hear me you can be on a path that you think seems right to you but it leads to death you can deceive yourself because you think you know what's best for you and when God sees you on a path that leads to death God will show up and disrupt your path and your plan to point you in another direction here the grace of God God loves you too much to let you travel your whole life down a road that's going to lead to your death and so watch what God will do the Bible says in Revelation 3 get ready for the shout God says revelation 3 chapter 7 I can open the door that no one can close but if you think that's amazing watch this and I can close the door that nobody can open and yes the witness in this place of God closing some doors that your prayer didn't open that's all tears didn't open that's all begging didn't open God knows how to shut some doors even I know about the ministry of shut doors [Applause] but here's the good news whenever God closes a door it's because God has something better for you let me prove it this ain't for the children Christian this is for the mature st. I'm looking for about two folks over there two folks over there three up there and I'll make one more who can declare that there are some seasons in our life when we were walking down the road for what we thought we wanted in life and God close the door and now that I look back at the closed door I thank God that God didn't let me go when I wanted to go is there anybody in Albert Street that can't thank God for closed doors he he will redirect you to something better for you alpha Street I've never wanted to be a pastor my granddad was a pastor my dad was a pastor I saw the struggle they had I knew how much money they didn't make I did not go to Duke to be broke [Music] I was a medical school minding my own business following the path I had set out for my life and God closed the door and sent me to seminary sent me through Massachusetts it landed me in a place that I'd never could have seen for my life God will mess up your plans that's how you know he's up to something so watch this the mister where I want you to land when Mary realizes that God said working Elizabeth well Mary realizes that God is changing her relationship with Joseph when Mary realizes that God is messing up her plans here's what she says be it unto me according to your will you want to know how Altima tu can discern that God is up to something and you stop struggling and start surrendering when you stop holding on to your plan and avail yourself to God's plan when you stop fighting what God is doing and say Lord be it unto me according to your will you know what God wants from you my sister my brother is simple availability Lord I want to be like Mary I avail myself to whatever you want to do Lord I'm available to you my will I give to you I'll do what you say do use me Lord to show someone the way and enable me to say my storage is empty and I am available to you in this moment beloved rather than a shout and rather than a praise I want you to look within yourself and ask the question what is God calling you to do that you're fighting what is God calling you to release that you're holding on to what is God calling you to be that you don't want to be and maybe the message of Christmas is simply this Lord be it unto me according to your will because beloved amazing things happen when you surrender to the will of God things you never knew could be in your life will come when you surrender to the will of God won't you look within your own heart now and ask Lord am I really available to you [Music] my will I'll do all God wants it's you to say use me Lord [Music] and enable [Music] my storage [Music] and I am [Music] if you here today and you want to live a surrendered life as you stand with us and let's lift our voices together with voices of triumph it's a simple song Lord I'm available to you [Music] come on watch you lift your head to the Lord my will surrender how do [Applause] [Music] my story and [Music] listen listen i i'm not will see the gospel ministry i don't know much sign language but i do know what this means i do know that when anyone walks to you like this it means number one i am surrendered I have nothing in my hands I have no fight left God I surrender to you when a child comes to you in this position they're giving you an indicator that I want you to pick me up from what I'm in and hold me yours that I might be safe so I want you to worship God today I know this is different for us I know I know but if you would just lift your hands to the Lord and let the Lord know God my life is surrendered to you my will it's surrender to you God everything everything is yours today you can have and she will I surrender to the will of God can you worship less about voices together to you as hands are lifted as hearts are open Lord come on Sofia [Music] ah [Applause] [Music] [Applause] [Music] [Music] you [Music]