What Does it Take to Wake You Up?

by Andy Wood on October 6, 2008

in Ability, Executing Your Plan, Five LV Laws, Leadership, Life Currency, LV Cycle, Principle of Increase

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In spite of all her lamentable weaknesses, appalling failures and indefensible shortcomings, the Church is the mightiest force for civilization and enlightened social consciousness in the world today.  The only force in the world that is contesting Satan’s total rule in human affairs is the church of the living God. -Paul Billheimer

What does it take to rouse a sleeping giant? 

Whatever it takes, I think now is the time.

One of the biggest clichés and repeated experiences in history is that of unrealized potential.  It’s one of the reasons I believe heaven will be a place in which God wipes every tear from our eyes.  When we see what was in light of what could have been – with our lives, and with our corporate potential – we will have no alternative but to weep.

For years, as a global body, the Western church has been asleep at the wheel or, worse, awakened to fight the wrong battles, the wrong enemy, or with the wrong weapons of warfare.  We’ve made an art form of “trivial pursuit,” and the world is worse off because of it.

The first Century Church didn’t keep up with its time, didn’t spend its energy keeping up with its time.  The first Century Church changed time.  It rewrote history.  It radically impacted culture.  The church was the forerunner, not the runner up. – Erwin McManus

If you claim to be a follower of Jesus Christ, I’m referring to you.  I’m referring to me.  But the news isn’t all bad.  We serve a God who is wonderfully capable of  waking sleeping giants.  He did it on a national scale, both with His own nation and at times even with foreign, pagan countries.  And I believe He’s doing it today.

During the Day of the Second House, Zarubbabel and his coworkers reached a point where they had forgotten the mission – the primary reason they had been allowed to return from captivity.  They got so busy earning a living and building their own interests, they forgot their primary purpose.  On top of that, the hostility they encountered and the loss of authority from the Persians to rebuild the temple caused them to drop their tools and go home.

For months, they never returned.  And whatever alarms that might have stirred them up only produced a slap-the-snooze-bar reaction, until Haggai and Zechariah got involved.  What they did worked for Israel, and can work for you and the people you lead as well.

1.  A Call to Purpose.
Sometimes people have to be reminded, with clarity and conviction, what it is they’re capable of and called to.  At no time has that been more true than this ADD generation.  Israel had lost her calling in the name of comfort and rebuilding personal businesses.  Somebody had to remind them that their primary task was not to build their own fortunes.  Does any of that sound remotely familiar or relevant to you?

2.  Confidence in God’s Presence
Once Zerubbabel decided to obey the voice of the Lord, Haggai sent him an encouraging message from the Lord that sealed the deal.  The message was profoundly simple, but the most powerful thing this governor could hear:  “‘I am with you,’ declares the Lord” (Haggai 1:13). That message, combined with Zerubbabel’s confidence in God, stirred up his spirit to get the job done.  Why?  Because he started clinging to a different reality than the one he had been choosing to believe.  Up to that point, the governor had believed the external evidence and circumstances.

3.  Connected to Sources of Encouragement
Ezra 5:2 says, “then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and Jeshua the son of Jozadak arose and began to rebuild the house of God which is in Jerusalem; and the prophets of God were with them supporting them.”  No matter how large or small the mission, or how up to the task we may feel, we need people who can keep us mission-focused and God-sized in our faith.  We shouldn’t underestimate the importance of Haggai and Zechariah, even if they never hauled a rock or laid a wooden beam.

4.  Courageous to Take Action
Zerubbabel and Joshua stepped out.  They took action, not because of man’s authority, but because of God’s calling and their faith.  Outwardly, nothing had changed.  Their act in resuming construction risked opposition, destruction, or even personal injury, imprisonment, or death.  But there’s one thing worse than the disapproval of powerful men, and that’s the disapproval of an Almighty God.
The first key to waking a sleeping giant, of course, is to wake up ourselves.  That’s what I’m focusing on personally these days, with these four guideposts – my personal purpose, my awareness of God’s presence, staying connected to sources of encouragement, and the courage to take appropriate, timely action.

With God’s help, I’m done with the snooze bar.  How about you?

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