God has a plan for you. There will be times of pruning, but there is fruit and a rainbow. The Lord has a great plan for you. It’s a plan for your good and not for your evil. It’s a plan that will give you a hope and a future. So, I want to talk to you today about The Plan The Pruning and The Rainbow. We all want the rainbow, but to get there we must get into the plan and experience the pruning. If we will, there is a rainbow awaiting.
The Plan The Pruning The Rainbow
By Pastor Delbert Young
The Plan the Pruning the Rainbow
Hebrews 12:1, 2 Timothy 4:7, Genesis 17:1, John 15:1-2, 8, Genesis 9:13-15
It’s great to be in the kingdom of God and it’s great to be with you today. I want to thank you for inviting me and allowing me to come talk to you.
It’s good to see some of my old friends here. It’s great to have friends.
When the pastor asked me to come and speak, I began praying and seeking the Lord concerning what to say. I think I have heard something that will bless you and help you. It’s going to be according to how well I can hear, right? Sometimes we don’t hear exactly right.
There was a 92-year-old man who went to the doctor for a physical examination. That evening, the doctor saw the man living it up at a night club with a very young woman. The doctor was concerned. So, he went to the man and said, “It looks like you are doing well.” The man said, “I am just doing what you told me to do.” The doctor said, “How is that?” The man said, “You said to find me a hot momma and be cheerful.” The doctor said, “I didn’t say that. I said you have a heart murmur. Be careful.”
Sometimes we don’t hear correctly. Hopefully, I have heard a little better than that.
GREAT PLAN: I know for sure I heard one thing. The Lord has a great plan for you. It’s a plan for your good and not for your evil. It’s a plan that will give you a hope and a future. So, I want to talk to you today about “The Plan, The Pruning, and The Rainbow.” We all want the rainbow, but to get there we must get into the plan and experience the pruning. If we will, there is a rainbow awaiting.
The Lord’s plan is that you not be another average church. Don’t mishear me. There is nothing wrong with being an average church. An average church will get some people saved, teach the gospel, and bless some people. But you are not called to be average.
You were not born to be average. A Believer’s life is not to be mediocre. Jesus came to give us life and that MORE abundantly. You are MORE than conquerors. We are CHILDREN of the most high God. We are CROWNED with glory and honor. We are not here to hold on until Jesus comes. We are here to OCCUPY. We are here to be VICTORIOUS. Our big brother is the KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. You are not here to be average. Never settle for average. Jesus didn’t come so we could be average. You are LIGHTS AND SALT to this region.
The Lord loves you. He believes in you. He has plans for you.
PLANNED COURSE: To experience God’s best, we must stay on course. The Lord has a planned course laid out for every life. God told Jeremiah that in his mother’s womb, he ordained him. Psalms 139 says your days were written in a book before you were born. Romans 8 says that you were predestined and called. He has a planned course laid out for you.
Hebrews 12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience THE race that is set before us,
(TLB) ~let us run with patience THE particular race that God has set before us.
We are SEEING into the supernatural kingdom. We are to see beyond the natural or the average. If we can, we see that heaven is cheering you on to get the job done.
The writer of Hebrews said it’s a race, but to be run with patience. That’s an oxymoron. How do you run a race with patience? It’s an endurance race and everyone will not finish. I don’t necessarily mean they won’t go to heaven when they die. I mean they won’t finish the race. Some will give up. Others will attempt to take a shortcut and get off the course so far that they will shipwreck.
Jesus talked about the small gate and the narrow way. He said there were few who find IT. The “it” was in reference to the way. A lot of people find the gate. Few find the way.
2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished MY course, I have kept the faith:
Paul had a course, a path, a race to run, a destiny. Paul said that his crown was laid up for him because he finished his course. Our rewards come when we are on course.
NUDGED OFF COURSE: What will often happen is that we get nudged off the course. The nudge is so subtle that we don’t even realize it has happened. This happens when we try to take a shortcut and help God out, but all we are doing is getting off the course.
I do some fishing off the Florida coast. To get to my spots, I must set my course. If I am off course a few degrees, I will miss what I am trying to find. I will not get my reward for that which I went to all that trouble to obtain. Getting off the course is not difficult. I have to constantly check my bearings because a wave here or a wind gust there will move me off the course.
Waves of life move us off the course. Winds of life move us off the course. If we don’t constantly check our headings, we will be nudged off course and miss God’s best.
Remember Sarah and Abraham? In Genesis 15, Abram (then) was right on course. God made a covenant – promise with Abram that from his body would come his heir and that his seed would be as the stars of the sky. But if you notice, from that time when God spoke to Abram in chapter 15 until he spoke to Abram again was about 15 years! What happened? Abram was nudged off course.
I want to say this. God has made a covenant with you just as he did with Abram. I am not only talking about the New Covenant. I mean there is something that God has spoken specifically to you. There is something that God has said that he would do for you. There are some specifics in my life that he said he would do just for me. Some he has already done. Some are still out there. But if he made a covenant with Noah, Abram, Moses, David, Solomon, and every other person in the Bible, then he has made a covenant with you too.
Sometimes the nudge that moves us off the course is not by the devil. Sometimes it is the person who loves us the most. Sarai loved Abram, but she convinced Abram to have a child with her servant. Sarai was only trying to help Abram fulfill God’s plan for his life. She said that there was no reason for him to miss out on what God had for him because she couldn’t have children. But in so doing, she caused her husband to move off of the path that God had laid out for Abram. And for 15 years, Abram was off the course. He tried to take a shortcut and was away from THE COURSE God had laid out for him.
For 15 years Abram did not produce the fruit of the promise. All that Abram produced was Ishmael. Abram was not producing the fruit that God wanted.
For 15 years there were nothing but turmoil and arguing between Sarai and Hagar. Abram’s household – CHURCH – was in an upheaval.
Sometimes we get like that. Unknowingly, we have gotten nudged off course. Something, or someone, has nudged us away from the course that God has laid out for us. Things are in turmoil. We don’t feel God’s closeness as we once did. We don’t hear God’s voice as we once did. The blessings of God are not as they once were. It seems that all we are producing are Ishmaels.
Finally, in chapter 17, Abraham got back on course.
Genesis 17:1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty; walk before me and be blameless.
Abram had obviously gotten off course. The Lord told him to walk before him and stay on course. Abram had to go back to his covenant with God. It was such a major event that God changed Abram and Sarai’s names and he introduced the circumcision. Abraham had to do some cutting. He had to deal with his flesh and eventually with the bondwoman and her son. But within a short time – about a year – God visited Abraham and Sarah. Isaac, the promise, was born.
God has made each of us promises. He has made a covenant with you just as he did with Abraham. There is something that you were born to do. There is something that you were born to birth. There is something specific that River of Life Community church was born to do. The secret is staying on course.
THE PRUNING: To produce the fruit of the promise, Abraham had to be cut or pruned. I was thinking about this concerning you. The Lord brought this scripture to me to share with you.
John 15:1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.
John 15:2 He cuts off EVERY BRANCH in me that bears no fruit, while EVERY BRANCH that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.
John 15:8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
I believe the Father has done some pruning here at River of Life Community Church. But realize that every church that produces fruit for the kingdom must experience pruning.
FATHER IS THE GARDENER: It’s not a bad thing to be pruned by the Father. It’s a good thing. It’s not the devil doing the pruning. Pruning and cutting is the Father at work.
Do you realize that most churches begin from a pruning? The Father will take a cutting from one vine and plant it someplace else to begin a new vineyard. We call it a church split. It could be Father working.
EVERY BRANCH IN ME: Notice that John 15:2 says, “. . . every branch IN ME . . .” Jesus is talking about those “IN” him. He’s not talking about the lost. He is talking about those “IN” him. In the kingdom, we are all cut. In the Old Covenant, every male was circumcised. In the New Covenant, there is neither male nor female. We all experience the circumcision of the heart.
The branches that do not produce fruit are cut and the branches that do produce fruit are cut. 15:2 says, “every branch.”
What you have experienced is Father telling you that you will be a fruitful vine. You will produce fruit that remains. Father wants to bring you into a higher dimension in the kingdom of heaven than you have ever experienced before. He wants to show you things you have never seen and he wants you to do things you have never even dreamed of doing. But to experience that, it requires pruning. He desires to bring forth much fruit at River of Life Community Church which will bring glory to the Father.
Genesis 9:13 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.
Genesis 9:14 Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds,
Genesis 9:15 I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.
Before every rainbow, there is a storm. There was for Noah. Sometimes the storm is severe and sometimes it is mild, but a front of some sort has moved through our lives.
Jesus ended the greatest sermon ever taught by talking about storms and their effects on houses – lives and churches. The wise man built his house on the rock and when the storms came, the house stood.
What I want to tell you are that storms come and obviously you are built on the rock because you are still standing. Therefore, you must be a wise house.
Storms are not always from the devil. God sent the storm in Noah’s day. He sent the storm in the book of Jonah.
Storms reveal the foundation. Both of those houses that Jesus spoke of in the Sermon on the Mount looked fine until a storm came. Then the foundation was revealed.
We can’t fool a storm. We can fool people. We can even fool ourselves as those did in Matthew 7:21. People can fool other people and fool themselves, but they cannot fool a storm because the storm reveals the foundation.
Storms will make us bitter or better. If we allow them to make us bitter, we loose. If we allow them to make us better, we win.
Every church and every life will experience storms. There are no ‘storm free’ zones. But at the end of every storm, there is a rainbow. There was for Noah.
Remember Joseph? Joseph went through many storms of life and at the end of every storm there was a rainbow. Joseph was a dreamer, a visionary. He didn’t want to be average. He didn’t want to shepherd sheep and live in a tent for the rest of his life. Something inside of him was calling him to greatness. He shared his vision with his half-brothers and you know what happened. A storm came. They threw him in a pit and sold him into slavery. They meant evil, but God meant good. Joseph kept his heart right and there was a rainbow awaiting Joseph at the end of that storm. He became the overseer of Potiphar’s household. Joseph lived well. No more tents and no more sheep.
Another storm came. Potiphar’s wife lied about Joseph and he was put in prison. Joseph kept his heart right and another rainbow was waiting. He became a ruler in Egypt. He was given great power and authority. There is always a rainbow at the end of the storm.
The storm you have gone through at River of Life Community Church has a rainbow if you will keep your heart right. God will take you and use you in ways you never dreamed possible. You are not here to be average. Like Joseph, God has given you a dream.
Here is my last point. Storms take you to your dreams and to your destiny. Joseph experienced his dreams and found his destiny because of the storms. Had he not experienced the storms, he would never have run his race and kept his course. He would have never fulfilled the plan that God had for him. He would never have seen his dreams.
It was 1996. Our church seemed to be growing. Things were looking good. But a storm came. It was the largest storm I have ever faced. People left the church. Finances were drying up. We had a payroll that we could no longer make. We had a building payment that we could not any longer pay and at that time, we owed a lot. I thought the storm was going to take us out. The Lord spoke to my wife and told her that if I would make a board and explain to people the need, they would pay off the building. My position was, “Well, it can’t hurt. Let’s try it.” We made a board. We explained the situation. Within 20 minutes enough money was given to pay off the building, pave our parking lot, and put new carpet in our sanctuary. That would not have happened had it not been for the storm. Not only did we stand, we experienced a rainbow.
I am from a church in Griffin, Georgia. The pastor and I are best of friends and have been for 25 years. We raised our children together and his child is like my kids and mine like his. I helped perform his daughter’s wedding a several years ago. A short while ago, her husband divorced her. She was pregnant. It was a storm for her. She did everything possible to keep the marriage together. Mostly she kept her heart right. She stayed on course. Not long ago, into her life came this multimillionaire. He absolutely adores her and her baby. They were married last week. There is a rainbow after the storm! The storm can take us to our rainbow.
I want to encourage you today. You are not to be an average church. Never settle for average. God has a plan for you. There is a course that he has laid out. Stay on it, but if you find you have gotten nudged off course, go back to the last time you heard God and begin again. Pruning is a good thing. It hurts at the time, but it will bring fruit that brings glory to the Father. If you will fight the fight, run the race, and keep your heart right, there is a rainbow.
God will take you places you never dreamed. He will show you things you have never seen. He will make River of Life Community Church a city set on a hill!
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