Raising Up A Standard


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Throughout history, there has always been a group of men and women who seemed to defy the status quo. People who have brought genuine and lasting change, some have even literally affected the entire world!

What makes a person a world changer? A history maker?

What is it about these people that they accomplish extraordinary things? While others who may be just as talented, many who’ve even had way more opportunities and many more advantages in life, seem to accomplish very little? I want you to think about your life! And what you will have accomplished.

God has given us 70, 80, perhaps 90 years on this planet. What will you do with the time allotted to you? And what CAN you do if you will dare to believe God?

I. I’d like to look at a number of aspects that I find are often common among history makers and world changers.

(1) As I’ve already mentioned, the history makers and world changers are usually men and women who defy the status quo. They refuse to just go along with the crowd. They are not content with the way things are!

They MUST see change and they’re willing to sacrifice and do whatever it takes to see that genuine and lasting change do really come! Rarely is the crowd right. They are risk takers, not living for themselves.

Moses, Joshua and Caleb faced this as they stood on the threshold of the promised land.

In Numbers Chapter 13, the Israelites are standing on the very edge of the promised land. A land that they had dreamed about, talked about and waited for for over 400 years! Yet when the time came to cross over, the crowd refused!

Numbers 13:

25 “At the end of forty days, they returned from exploring the land.

26 They came back to Moses and Aaron and the whole Israelite community at Kadesh in the Desert of Paran. There they reported to them and to the whole assembly and showed them the fruit of the land.

27 They gave Moses this account: “We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit.

28 But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there.

29 The Amalekites live in the Negev; the Hittites, Jebusites and Amorites live in the hill country; And the Canaanites live near the sea and along the Jordan.”

30 Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.”

31 But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.”

32 And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size.

33 We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.”

Chapter 14:1 - “That night all the members of the community raised their voices and wept aloud.

2 All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, “If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this wilderness!

3 Why is the Lord bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword? Our wives and children will be taken as plunder. Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?”

4 And they said to each other, “We should choose a leader and go back to Egypt.”

Verse 10-11 – “But the whole assembly talked about stoning them. Then the glory of the Lord appeared at the tent of meeting to all the Israelites.

11 The Lord said to Moses, “How long will these people treat Me with contempt? How long will they refuse to believe in Me, inspite of all the signs I have performed among them?”

Verse 21 – “Nevertheless, as surely as I live and as surely as the glory of the Lord fills the whole earth,

22 not one of those who saw My glory and the signs I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness but who disobeyed me and tested me ten times—

23 not one of them will ever see the land I promised on oath to their ancestors. No one who has treated me with contempt will ever see it.

24 But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows Me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it.” – There are several things we can learn from this passage!

(1) The naysayers, the rebels, those who died in the wilderness (the crowd, the majority) saw only the opposition, the problems, the difficulties and hindrances. And some of those were real/genuine problems, while others were exaggerated. But Joshua and Caleb had a “can do spirit”.

Verse 30 of chapter 13 – “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it!”

For some people, all they do is look at the negative circumstances in life. Their focus is on the impossibilities instead of the possibilities.

World changers BELIEVE for the impossible! While everyone else says it can’t be done, they say “you’re wrong, it CAN be done”. And the Bible says – “ALL things are possible to him who believes”. They are willing to risk!

People like the Wright brothers. Everyone laughed at them and their numerous failures at making a flying machine! Friends, I tell you what, they changed the world!

(2) Note that the majority DIDN’T believe it was possible! The majority! And the majority died in the wilderness, NEVER having entered or enjoyed the promised land. Joshua and Caleb did though! Why? Because they believed – with God all things are possible!

II. Another thing I’ve noticed about world changers and history makers is that they never give up! They just keep trying again and again and again. No matter how many times they may fail, they refuse to believe that it can’t be done! And they keep on trying!

Men like Thomas Edison who, when inventing the light bulb, had actually failed in his experiments over a thousand times. When asked about his failures, Edison replied “I never failed, I only learned 1,000 ways NOT to make a light bulb!”. These are men and women with a different spirit! And you know what? Edison changed the world!

Tenacity, perseverance, refusing to give up. These are the characteristics of history makers! Those who give up at the slightest opposition, the smallest difficulty, well, they end up dying in the wilderness, having never accomplished anything!

III. A third thing I’ve noticed about world changers and history makers is that they are almost always visionaries! But more than just visionaries, they are willing to put feet to their faith! Blood sweat, tears, and toil to their dreams! They ARE dreamers! They dream of a better world! They dream of the possibilities of eliminating injustice or eradicating disease.

Again, they have this crazy idea that it’s actually possible! But the difference between them and many other dreamers is that they actually put actions to where their dreams are! They don’t just talk about what it would be like “if”. They actually start working toward a solution! And again, they refuse to believe that it’s not possible!

The Bible tells us that “faith without works is dead”. Why? Because if you truly believe, then you will move and act as if it’s true!

God spoke to Dr. Al Purivs many years ago these words you can read in his book – “I will do what I said I will do, if you will act as if what I said is true”.

World changers and history makers envision a better world. Whether it’s a world free from smallpox or a world free from sin. Edward Jenner dreamed of a world free from the deadly smallpox disease, and to make a long story short, he was the first to invent what we now commonly call vaccinations or vaccines. Injections that build up our natural immunities to resist diseases so that they can not take hold!

God dreams of a world free from sin. It hasn’t happened yet, but it will! And He has already sent the cure, His name is Jesus! One day, all sin WILL be eliminated and Jesus will reign supreme!

IV. Lastly, world changers and history makers rarely work alone and have dreams and visions and “causes” that are way bigger than themselves!

Men like William Wilberforce who worked nearly his entire adult life to eliminate slavery in Britain. I highly recommend watching the movie about his life titled “Amazing Grace”!

Men like Dr. Martin Luther King, the great civil rights leader whose famous speech “I have a dream” includes these words – “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

And King knew that this dream was much bigger than himself! That it would take thousands, even millions, to rise up and follow that dream and so whites and blacks from all over the United States joined him in rally after rally until sometime after his death, the laws were changed to give black Americans the same rights as whites.

In that same speech, King spoke these words - “The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.”

In conclusion – Here at VCA we also have a dream! And it too is a dream bigger than any one person. Bigger than Ptr. Ning and I, bigger than all our fulltime staff, bigger than all our pastors and ministry team members all around the country! A dream of New Testament Christianity and revival sweeping the nation and spreading out throughout all of Asia! A dream of hundreds of churches being planted both here in the Philippines and throughout Asia.

We can not do it alone! It’s bigger than one man or one church. It will take an army! Gideon’s army! Not the talented, nor the beautiful, smart or intelligent, but those willing to risk and sacrifice!

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