Updated: Apr 19, 2021
During the message, Grave or Garden, I share an encounter our family had in Wisconsin. Enthralled with a tourist attraction that was little more than a photo-op (a giant orange moose), all around us, others -- more informed than us -- explored incredible beauty through miles and miles of trails. Our family didn’t even know the trails existed, yet we were standing within just a few feet of the entrance. This experience taught me something... Through God, we can experience incredible, abundant, overflowing life. Not just on the other side of eternity, but here and now! God can and will give you a lifestyle in the peace, joy, and love of His presence that is exceedingly above anything you could ever ask for or imagine. But… you must know how to access it.
There may be some of you that are very new to your walk with God, or maybe for others, you’re walking in a season of rededication to the Lord, and you want to make sure you're taking the right next steps. Yet others, after many years of professing salvation, are finally ready to pursue more than just a Sunday experience with God. You want to become a genuinely faithful follower of Jesus. A true disciple! With these realities of different journeys in mind, I would like to give you a handful of applications you can use to take your walk with God to the next level of abundant living and better explore everything His presence has to offer.
Throughout Grave or Garden, we evaluated the first section of the Lord’s Prayer:
Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.” 2 So He said to them, “When you pray, say: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Luke 11:1-2 NKJV)
Notice, Jesus said to them, “When you pray, say...”
There is an expectation within this verse that you and I will pray. Anyone who’s a follower or a disciple of Jesus must be someone who prays. To truly live a life that is full of abundance, we must live a life full of prayer. For in sin, a man declares his independence from God, but humanity expresses dependence on God in prayer. As S. M. Lockridge once so eloquently proclaimed, this truth is why God did not say, “Men ought always to work or men ought always to preach, or that men out to always play. God said men ought always to PRAY!
God’s declaration about prayer It’s not a suggestion; it’s a command. We must have lives that are FULL of prayer. On the good days and the bad days, in every situation! The disciples wisely understood this concept. They grasped that Jesus’ life was full of power because of His prayer life. In the Gospels, we do not find their focus on asking Jesus how to preach or perform miracles. Instead, they pleaded, “Lord, TEACH US how to pray!” The disciples saw how Jesus valued and placed importance on prayer, and they desired to mimic this model in their own lives.
Jesus said to them, “When you pray, say: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.”
He teaches his first disciples and now us to pray by starting with praise. If you are going to live a life of abundance through God, you need to live a life full of praise. If you haven’t already, then start praising God because praise has the power to draw the presence of God near to you. (We see this truth declared many times throughout scripture.)
I encourage you to stop lamenting what you’ve lost and start praising God for what you have left! After all, the miracle is always made manifest in what you have left! If you want to live a life of abundance and walk-in resurrection power, you have to bring praise into your life!
Rather than pointing out your bruises, start thanking God that the weapon formed against you will not prosper! Quit detailing your pain, and start thanking God for the breath still in your lungs. Be encouraged that you have the resurrection power of Jesus Christ within you, and you will prosper! Start praising God! (Ref. Ps. 150:6)
Life is just like a vapor; it’s just a mere breath when compared to eternity. As I once gleaned from Myles Munroe’s preaching, don’t worry if you’re going to die young or die old; just die finished. Jesus died at 33 years of age, but He was able to say it is finished! Everything that was in Him had been released through Him. Live your life full of prayer. Live your life full of praise. BUT also live your life on purpose.
Jesus said to them, “When you pray, say: Our Father in heaven... Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
I hear so many people allude to the reality that they feel as though they have potential but can’t identify it. I think they are trying to say is, “I know I have a purpose, but I can’t define it.” Only when we submit your own will to God’s will for your life can you begin to walk in the true purpose He has for you. Pray for God’s will to be done in your life, and start living your life on purpose. We must be totally and utterly dependent on God if we shall walk in actual power and purpose in our lives, just like Jesus did.
Jesus said to them, “When you pray, say: Our Father in heaven... Your kingdom come.
We serve a King for whom the grave could not hold. A King who resurrected fully, and this truth is why His kingdom can be with us wherever we go is that He has conquered death, Hell, and the grave. Live a life full of prayer. Live a life full of praise. Live life on purpose. But also live a life full of power -- Jesus’ resurrection power!
In the message, Finding Jesus, we get to recognize through John’s Gospel that Mary Magdalene struggled to stop looking in the grave for Jesus (Ref. John 20). She couldn’t fully process that He was no longer there. It wasn’t until she turned around and looked in the garden that she saw the resurrected Jesus. With her experience assisting our perspective, I want to encourage you: stop looking in the grave, turn around, and start looking in the garden.
Think about it, graves house death but gardens house life. Mary’s encounter teaches you to stop looking for God where the dead things in your life were laid and start looking for Him where things are alive! Start seeing the abundant life God has for you, and start walking in the resurrection power! There is power through Jesus Christ in your life.
LIVE A LIFE FULL OF PRAYER.
LIVE A LIFE FULL OF PRAISE.
LIVE LIFE ON PURPOSE.
LIVE LIFE WITH POWER.
Check out this message by Pastor Eric as he walks us through Luke 11:1-2 and gives us some compelling practical applications to start applying to our own lives!