New Hope Notes
Mount Of Olives Moment
Pastor Jon Burgess
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..."
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.