5.10.2018 - The Power of Peace - Paul Martini
Paul Martini joined us on Thursday and delivered a very revelatory message on the 'Power of Peace.' Pastor Brian prefaced Paul's preaching topic with the disclaimer that not many come together for conferences or meetings about peace... they congregate for prophecy, or healing, or other exciting 'Christian things,' but peace is sometimes overlooked or even marginalized in spiritual circles. Paul made it clear that it should not be so and laid out a case for peace not only being important, but critical for effectiveness in Christ.
Paul started off with a joke, although maybe we all actually should take it to heart, as it might be a hint to achieving peace: "Seriousness isn't a fruit of the Holy Spirit." The crowd snickered as Paul drove home the punchline of a joke afterward, but hidden in that statement is the truth that we shouldn't take ourselves TOO seriously. Laughing, being light when appropriate, and being humble enough not to hold yourself in high regard are preliminary keys to peace. As Paul would explain later, "self" stands to obstruct peace in its purest form.
In our cultural habit of all things fast; fast food, fast internet, on-the-go this and that, we have very much lost the appreciation for process. In its sequence, as it relates to our personal journey with God, it's not realistic nor exemplary of the Bible to expect everything right now or in short order; that's not really how the process of maturation works. I think of Joseph's process, or Jacob, or Paul - just the other day I read in Acts about his imprisonment for two years under Felix. "When two years had passed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus, but because Felix wanted to grant a favor to the Jews, he left Paul in prison." (ACTS 24:27) There hidden in Acts 24, Paul actually had to sit and wait for two years. Not two minutes, or two hours, or even two months. Two years. Waiting is a lost art for us American Christians, and as Paul said Thursday, "no one shows you what it looks like to wait... it's boring."
So what does waiting look like?
In the above statement from Paul, he concedes that it can, in fact, be boring. It can also be a time of silence. There are times when we tarry that we hear from God quickly or just in the nick of time, but there are also times where He is silent, for a while, and we just can't lose heart. Paul told the story of his internship at Global Awakening, under Randy Clark, where for four years he was never asked to come onto the stage to speak. He had felt called for some time that speak and preach he would, to nations, yet he worked long hours, doing mundane jobs, in the background at "Global" for four years. Then, probably because he waited and resolved not to be hasty or bitter, he received the call. Now Paul is a sought-after international speaker.
"Waiting looks like silence sometimes." - Paul M.
If you've been in this Christian life long enough, you know that the world has an alternate definition for the things of God. Peace, according to conventional thought and the world is the absence of conflict. In other words, it's a state of safety or tranquility where you're not tasked with any type of challenge or chaos. Peace, according to scripture, transcends conflict. We see in the famous Philippians verse describing God's peace (below) that it surpasses understanding (1), and it will guard our hearts & minds in Christ (2).
"And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." PHILIPPIANS 4:7 (ESV)
According to Esoterism, a form of western mysticism, peace involves the act of emptying oneself. In order, though, to attain God's peace, one must fill themselves with God. It's fascinating how sharply the world's wisdom contrasts with God's wisdom, evident not just with our discussion on peace, but even the role of God. I heard Reinhard Bonnke once explain that in every other major religion, the people set the table for their God, but in Christianity, our God sets the table for us. What he is saying is that essentially Jesus laid down His life so that we may have a place at the table - not the other way around.
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." ROMANS 15:13 (NIV)
There's no greater example of having and maintaining God's peace than Jesus, and Paul drew on a popular story from the Gospels to illustrate this fact. In Matthew 8:23, as a violent storm was brewing in the sea, threatening to upend their boat, the disciples became terrified. As Paul pointed out, this a group of fishermen accustomed to storms and weather patterns. So if anyone could measure an impending climatic disaster, one that certainly could sink them, it was them! But Jesus was sleeping. He was at rest. The circumstance didn't seem to bother Him. He had peace. He awoke, of course, at the beckoning of the frightened disciples, and rebuked the storm to a calm. And then His rebuke of the disciples is telling: Why are you afraid, (1) you of little faith (2). So we know from this Gospel lesson that fear opposes peace and that faith is necessary to put it on.
Paul ministered to several at the end of his message, imparting peace and praying for that which transcends understanding. Many were touched by his message and the ministry time.
- We really enjoyed having Paul and have discussed as a staff how we'd be willing to invite him back on a Sunday sometime in the near future.
* Join us this week as we excitedly invite our own Amanda Ilgenfritz to share on "Freedom from Domestic Abuse." Thursday, May 17th, 6:30 P
- JF D'Orsie - Communications Director - PCC