There is a principle of life that says, “you get what you expect.” So here’s my question for you, what are you expecting?
What is it that you believe God can do for you?
What do you pray and believe for?
What is it that pushes you out of bed and makes you go forward every day?
If you are a believer, there needs to be something that you hunger for, thirst for, and long for.
There is a great, and powerful God that we have the opportunity to serve, and God is waiting for someone to have the boldness and audacity to expect something from him.
When it comes to life principles, there is another one…You get from people what you expect from people.
Often, people rise only to our level of expectation for them. They go no further.
In one sense, this is also true of the Lord, although God is not boxed by it. Please understand, God CAN do anything.
There is nothing too hard for him.
His ability is limitless.
But God will usually never move in your life beyond your expectations of him.
Our expectation level equals our faith level. Whatever we expect of God, shows the capacity of our faith.
- Do we expect him to come through for us?
- Do we expect him to overcome our problems?
- Do we expect him to pour out his Spirit?
- Do we expect him to cast down the enemy in our life?
Over the last couple of posts we’ve talked about the fact that:
Church is family and church is protection.
Church absolutely IS family. The fact that church should be your spiritual family is the bedrock of what this series is all about and from that point, the other points stem.
So the question in this post is simple: What are you expecting God to do when you gather at church?
The point is simple: Church is expecting.
Church should contain an inherent expectation from the people who gather.
There should be a real expectation for God to move in your life when you assemble at church.
Do we gather as a church family to learn? Certainly we do.
Do we gather as a church family to encourage each other’s faith? Absolutely, yes.
But…when we gather as a church family, there is also something that God wants to do in us.
God desires and longs to MOVE among his people.
Let me boldly declare that: The day of miracles IS NOT DEAD.
It is alive.
- There is still a Holy Spirit to be poured out in us and over us.
- There is still a mighty outpouring of the power of God that is available to us.
- There is still a fire from heaven that will utterly consume our life.
When the Spirit of God comes, and the power of God falls, we won’t have to try to pull people into the church. They will be attracted by the fire of God’s Spirit.
God’s Spirit draws people to him.
I am a firm believer that whatever God did in the Bible, he can still do today. The Bible even says that Jesus Christ is the SAME yesterday, today, and forever. There is no change with God.
If the Lord created miracles, moved mountains, filled people with His Spirit, healed the sick, provided miraculously, and even raised the dead…who are we to think that he no longer has the power to do the same and MORE?
When the people of God gather at the house of God, we should expect something BIG from God, and according to our faith it will be unto us.
The church is not a social gathering, it is a family gathering, and the Lord of the harvest is present to perform mighty works among us!
There may be some who slam the name of the Lord by using miracles and prosperity for their own slanderous purposes, and they will get what they deserve, but it does not change the fact that God is STILL a miracle working God.
So, what are you expecting when you gather with your church family? Are you expecting God to move?
Our prayer should be, “God raise the level of my expectation.”
There’s a story in the New Testament that speaks to expectation…and it is awesome. Let’s read it…
Acts 3:1–10 NLTse
1 Peter and John went to the Temple one afternoon to take part in the three o’clock prayer service.
Let me emphasize once more that, gathering was the common practice of the early church. Gathering together will always be something powerful and needful.
The presence of the Lord is among us when we gather in Jesus’ name.
Even if only two or three gather, Jesus is there in the midst of them.
2 As they approached the Temple, a man lame from birth was being carried in.Each dayhe was put beside the Temple gate, the one called the Beautiful Gate, so he could beg from the people going into the Temple.
God looks for people who others don’t normally look for. There was something about this lame beggar that touched the heart of God, and I believe it was his expectancy.
Notice a couple of things about him:
He was being carried.
Humbly, this man asked for help.
He humbled himself and allowed others to carry him.
Before God can do anything great in our life, and before we should expect anything from the Lord, we have to humble ourselves.
Humility is saying, “I cannot do what needs done in my life alone or on my own. I need a helper.”
Humility precedes receiving.
You cannot receive from God until your heart is humble. Pride, in any form, blocks the blessing of God in our life.
Pride in our ability.
Pride in our spiritual standards.
Pride in our ability to pray.
Pride in our knowledge of God.
We don’t often think of pride in those terms, but the sinister nature of pride is that it can fool you into believing you are more than you actually are.
Remember this story about spiritual pride?…
Acts 19:13–16 NLTse
13 A group of Jews was traveling from town to town casting out evil spirits. They tried to use the name of the Lord Jesus in their incantation, saying, “I command you in the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, to come out!”
14 Seven sons of Sceva, a leading priest, were doing this.
15 But one time when they tried it, the evil spirit replied, “I know Jesus, and I know Paul, but who are you?”
16 Then the man with the evil spirit leaped on them, overpowered them, and attacked them with such violence that they fled from the house, naked and battered.
Now…back to the man at the gate…
He was carried EACH DAY.
It wasn’t a one time thing. This man had a mission, and it was to make money so he could provide for himself.
He was faithful to come and make himself ready to receive. I’m sure there were days when he wanted to give up on life because of what he was going through, but he didn’t. He just kept on coming.
Let me tell you: If you want to receive from God, faithfulness is a key.
Keep on coming.
Keep on believing.
He was carried to the temple.
There was a reason he came to the temple. People had money. He knew that those coming to the temple would be ready with an offering, and he thought to himself, “maybe there will be something they could spare for me.”
He was expecting something.
He could’ve chosen the gate to the city, where the men would have done business with each other. This would also have been a place where money would be readily available.
But I’ve got to think that the man believed something better about the temple.
Now, you can classify this man in whatever way you want to, but as you’ll see, he received something from God.
You don’t receive from God unless you expect to receive from God.
This man was expecting because his very life depended on it.
We read stories like this and we somehow feel like the characters in them are different from us, but they aren’t. We also need to expect something when we faithfully gather at the house of God, because our very life depends on it too.
Our expectancy is our offering to God. God’s miracle is his offering to us.
There is something that God wants to pour out on us.
There is a moving of his Spirit that is available to us.
There are miracles for the taking, just waiting for someone to expect.
If you are going to expect something from God, there’s a couple of things that are prerequisite:
- You have to believe God has something you need.
- You have to believe that God is good, and wants to meet your need.
- You have to expect that God is GOING to meet your need.
Let me tell you how to know if you are really expecting or not…
Those who truly expect God to move in their life, meet their need, or pour out his Spirit, will make themselves ready.
Readiness is a sign of expectation.
You can say that you want God to move in the church, but if you aren’t ready to receive, you don’t really expect that he WILL move.
3 When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for some money.
When you expect God to do something in your life, you’ll ask him for it. Until you ask, you’re not ready.
- Humble people ask.
- Ready people ask.
- Expectant people ask.
Anything else is just wishful thinking.
Asking God to move in your situation has always been and will always be a key to the move of God.
4 Peter and John looked at him intently, and Peter said, “Look at us!”
5 The lame man looked at them eagerly, expecting some money.
6 But Peter said, “I don’t have any silver or gold for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!”
7 Then Peter took the lame man by the right hand and helped him up. And as he did, the man’s feet and ankles were instantly healed and strengthened.
Here’s the amazing thing about God: He doesn’t always give you what you expect, but most often, he exceeds your expectations.
This man was faithful to expect the Lord to use others to meet his daily needs.
He faithfully got to the house of God.
He faithfully asked for what he needed.
But God exceeded his expectations.
The Bible declares that God will do, “exceedingly, abundantly ABOVE all that we ask or think.”
He is a God of greater, of bigger, and of MORE than we hope for.
Church is the place where God can move upon our life and fulfill the things that we most hope for. It is a place where believers can pray for each other and support each other and believe together, having hearts filled to the brim with expectation.
- God still moves upon the gathering.
- God still moves upon the church.
- God moves in an atmosphere like the gathering.
- God goes above and beyond.
If you will only EXPECT God to meet your need, and then ask him, He will do it.
Here’s the result…
8 He jumped up, stood on his feet, and began to walk! Then, walking, leaping, and praising God, he went into the Temple with them.
9 All the people saw him walking and heard him praising God.
10 When they realized he was the lame beggar they had seen so often at the Beautiful Gate, they were absolutely astounded!
There is a move of God for your life and situation that will absolutely astound those who know you, but to receive it you have to expect it and ask for it.
Here are some things you can do to strengthen your expectancy:
1. Plant yourself in the house of God.
Many never receive anything from the Lord because they are too busy running from one church to another church.
They are spiritual spectators, hoping to view what God IS DOING. This sort of spectator christianity will allow you to SEE what God is doing without being A PART of what God is doing.
There may be people who disagree, but I still believe there is power in faithfulness.
You need to be faithful to your church…planted in your church.
I’m not saying you can’t go here or there with your friends or family on occasion, but I am saying there is power in LONG TERM FAITHFULNESS.
There is something powerful about believing God can do mighty works in YOUR CHURCH.
We must believe that it isn’t only the BIG churches, or the fancy churches that God can move in. It isn’t just the churches with the best this or that.
God moves in faithful churches where faithful people still expect him to move!
The world we live in no longer understands true faithfulness. In no place is this truer than in the church. We want the presence of God, the Spirit of God, the Move of God, the best of everything to be there for us…when we decide to attend.
If you really want the blessings of God to flow in your life, plant yourself deeply in your local church. Serve in it. Work in it. Pray in it. Seek the Lord in it. Love it. Cherish it. Take care of it. Be there for it.
When you are PLANTED in a local church, you have the opportunity to let your roots grow deep.
Everyone knows that nourishment comes from the roots up.
Faithfulness plants itself and expects for God to move.
2. Believe that God wants to give you good things.
If you are going to expect anything from the Lord, you must believe that he is good.
Hebrews 11:6 NLTse
6 And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.
Lamentations 3:22–25 NLTse
22 The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease.
23 Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.
24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!”
25The Lord is good to those who depend on him, to those who search for him.
3. Learn to ask for good things and expect to receive.
Matthew 7:7–11 NLTse
7 “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.
8 For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.
9 “You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead?
10 Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not!
11 So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.
What are YOU expecting God to do today?
What are YOU expecting God to do in your church?
Are you going to plant yourself and be faithful and see the goodness of God come to complete fruitfulness?
Expecting is the key.