New Hope Notes

Mount Of Olives Moment

Pastor Jon Burgess
January 1, 2017 - W1653

If we want to make a mark on 2017, we need to acknowledge the marks that 2016 has left on us. We need to ask Jesus, "What am I supposed to do with the hurtful things that happened to me in 2016?"  We don't want to carry the junk into 2017. I would like to take a look at how Jesus was able to deal with the marks that were left on Him. We're going to start at the top of your notes in John Chapter 7. It's another day in the life of Jesus…

We've got the crowds that are captured by His message. We've got the soldiers that are ordered to capture Jesus and arrest Him. We've got the religious leaders who are trying to destroy Him and are completely jealous of His message. We've got the disciples that are trying to figure out how to follow Jesus. We have all of these interesting situations, but at the end of the day, everybody goes home. The crowds go home. The soldiers go home. The religious leaders go home.

But where does Jesus go? Luke 9:58 tells us Jesus didn't have a home. He didn't have a place to lay His head. So when everyone else goes home, where does He go? Where does He go to deal with this stuff that has just happened to Him? Where does He go to deal with all the accusations against Him?

John 7:53-8:2 reads, "Then they all went home, but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. At dawn He appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered...and he sat down to teach them." Somehow, between day one, and day two, Jesus was able to get all fired up again and face another day.

In Luke 22:39, the Bible tells us He went to the Garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives. He had a habit. He had a day?in, day?out habit of wrestling through the trials of life with the help of His Heavenly Father. Let us not forget that Jesus was a man just like us, suffering every temptation that you and I face—yet without sin.

What does He do with the hurt? What does He do with all the pain? What does He do with the struggle? He goes to His home. He goes to the Mount of Olives.  He wrestles through it all with the help of His Father. He can conquer anything that comes against Him with God’s help.  If we can grab hold of these “Mount of Olives moments,” we will be able to make our mark on 2017. We need to allow God to leave His mark on us every day in the Garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives. We need to allow the Father to heal us. 

Before we start making any New Year resolutions, we need to start with a spiritual solution for the ache in our soul. New Year resolutions outside of the presence and the power of God are just another opportunity to fail. Resolutions that flow from an intimate relationship with God, from your “Mount of Olives moments” will fill you with the power to do what only God can do through your life.

We are going to learn from some examples of “Mount of Olives” people, and one of them is King David. David found himself in the middle of a political coup. Someone began to spread lies and rumors about David and usurped the power and the loyalty of those that were closest to him. The worst part of this was, the person that undermined David was not one of his commanders, it was his son, Absalom.

What does David do when he has nowhere to go? 2 Samuel 15:30-32 reads, "But David continued up the Mount of Olives, weeping as he went; his head was covered and he was barefoot. All the people with him covered their heads too and were weeping as they went up. Now David had been told, 'Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom.'  So David prayed, 'Lord, turn Ahithophel's counsel into foolishness.'  When David arrived at the summit, where people used to worship God..." 

  1. Mt. of Olives Moment: My Daily Escape.

    We have to have a daily escape into God.

    The book of Psalms is David's escape plan. It is a blueprint for us to turn to when life is hard. We need a daily moment where we get away and pour out our hearts before God. Jesus did it with His Father. David did it with his Heavenly Father. We need to do this with our Heavenly Father. We need to bring to God all of the hurt, all of the pain, all of the suffering.

    The world offers us false escapes. Binging on entertainment, substance abuse, sexual sin, overworking—we have all been tempted with false escapes that harm our souls. Don't wait until you need a godly escape plan to find one. God's escape plan provides a secure way to escape from life’s dangers and it should be a well?worn path to safety. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says that we will not endure any temptation without finding a way of escape through God.

  2. Mt. of Olives Moment: My Fresh Perspective.

    We have to get a fresh perspective from God. He will reveal to us how to deal with obstacles in our path if we make time for Him.

    Our second Mount of Olives moment is called, fresh perspective. In the book of Ezekiel chapter 11, the prophet was given the task of speaking to two groups of people in Israel: the obedient and the disobedient. Ezekiel was supposed to speak to both groups. Now, how would he do that? How do you disturb those who are disobedient and comfortable, and comfort the obedient that are disturbed, unless you have fresh perspective from God? God gave Ezekiel that perspective on the Mount of Olives.

    Accordingly, the Bible describes Ezekiel’s vision:

    "Then the cherubim, with the wheels beside them, spread their wings, and the glory of the God of Israel was above them. The glory of the Lord went up from within the city and stopped above the mountain east of it. The Spirit lifted me up and brought me to the exiles in Babylonia in the vision given by the Spirit of God. Then the vision I had seen went up from me, and I told the exiles everything the Lord had shown me." (Ezek. 11:22-25)

    Ezekiel was able to see with fresh perspective and tell the people of Israel how God was moving. When we see with fresh perspective, we can tell others how to move with God. If we are too busy to have our “Mount of Olives moment,” to receive a fresh perspective, we're not going to know what God is up to.

    There are a lot of people running around extremely busy. We run around like chickens with our heads cut off, running around like crazy. God is saying, “If you give me a moment, I can give you simple instructions on how to remove this obstacle from your life.” When I wait on God, I can move through any obstacle I face. When I move ahead of God, I end up waiting on obstacles I never needed to face in the first place. Your “Mount of Olives moment” is going to give you a fresh perspective. And thirdly, your “Mount of Olives moment” is your spiritual disciplines.

  3. Mt. of Olives Moment: My Spiritual Disciplines.

    Following God’s spiritual disciplines will keep us on the right path.

    Our final example of the Mount of Olives is in Nehemiah 8:14?15. The people of God had been restored to Jerusalem. They had been held in captivity in Babylon for so long, they had not heard the word of the Lord. They had forgotten all about the feasts. However, they found the Word of God and they began to read it. Nehemiah 8:14?15 reads,

    "They found written in the Law, which the Lord had commanded through Moses, that the Israelites were to live in temporary shelters during the festival of the seventh month and that they should proclaim this word and spread it throughout their towns and in Jerusalem: ‘Go out into the hill country and bring back branches from olive and wild olive trees, and from myrtles, palms and shade trees, to make temporary shelters' ?? as it is written."

God tells them, “It's time to get to work. Go up to that mountain right there, the Mount of Olives, start cutting branches, and make some lean?tos for your family. Start right now.”

What's the next thing God is asking me to do? Where is the place He is asking me to start? Don't let all those years of past regret keep you from what He is asking you to build right now. Spiritual discipline will renew you and equip you to begin to pick up and build all that God has for you.

Let me leave you with four spiritual disciplines. The first is stewardship. Pastor Joe Sangl is going to be talking to us next week on the topic: “Make Your Mark Through Stewardship.” Cyndi and I are in a totally different place financially because we took this six?week small group series. We wanted to offer it again for those who didn't get a chance to take it last year. It has put us in a better place financially. It has put us in a place where we can raise our kids with the spiritual discipline of stewardship.

Another spiritual discipline is community through small groups. There is something important about having accountability with other people. Cyndi and I experienced the spiritual discipline of stewardship and the spiritual discipline of community. That is why we want to invite you into these spiritual disciplines for 2017. God wants to fill you with fresh perspective right now for the coming year.

There are two more spiritual disciplines that are going to help you face your new year in a different and better way: fasting and prayer! Yes, fasting and prayer. I believe this is what God is asking us to do.

On January 14 and 15, we are going to launch our new sermon series called, “Solid.” God wants us to have solid footsteps as we enter into 2017. The way we are going to make sure we are spiritually solid is with the spiritual disciplines of fasting and prayer. 

Now, what is it that I want you to fast? It's up to you. You pray about it. When we launch our fast, our corporate fast across all six campuses, we will be doing this 21-day fast together. I want you to pray about it between now and then. And ask God, “What would you have me fast?”  Maybe it's entertainment.  Maybe it's social media.  Maybe it is food. 

Now, my kids say, “Dad, I'm going to fast vegetables for 21 days. I promise you, Dad, it's for Jesus.” And I say, “No, no, no, that doesn't count.” You need to fast something that you normally want to do so you can let a spiritual hunger rise inside of you to find your “Mount of Olives moment.”

If you are feeling deflated at the beginning of the fast, you're going to be full of the presence of God by the end of that 21 days. When we seek God, we find him. God wants you to enter the New Year full of the Spirit of God.

This is your “Mount of Olives moment.” Don't look for an escape into things that lead you astray. Some of you may have plans on how you're going to escape after service tonight. Can I ask you, surrender that escape to the Lord and let Christ be your Source for life. Don't start 2017 with a deficit. Start it with a surplus. Start 2017 full of the Spirit of God.

Study Suggestions

  1. What should you do daily?

  2. What will help you overcome obstacles? Why?

  3. Why are Spiritual Disciplines important?

  4. Why is fasting important?