|Geography is important to God – Part 2 by Pastor Leon ForteSee part one here.
Pastor Forte told us some examples of how God placed people in scripture in the right place at the right time to receive their blessing.
SAUL/PAUL ON THE ROAD TO DAMASCUS – Saul was riding to Damascus with orders to persecute Christians. He was knocked to the ground, and blinded by Jesus. Jesus asks Saul why he is persecuting Him. Saul was blinded three days and then the Holy Spirit instructed him that Ananias was to come and restore his sight. At the same time Ananias was instructed to go to where Saul was, to the street called Straight, to restore Saul’s sight. Ananias says to God, “Yes, but, ‘scuse me, do you know who he is? He has persecuted us.” Had Ananias disobeyed and not gone to Saul, he would have lost his name being in the Bible. But Ananias obeyed God. God told him that Saul was going to be used by God to bring God’s name to the Gentiles. Sometimes God sets us to do something great but doesn’t tell us how great it is so that we don’t mess it up. Saul will be renamed Paul. And Paul ended up writing 2/3 of the New Testament. He was filled with the Holy Ghost, and ministered to many. When God tells us to minister to someone, we want to obey Him.
PETER SENT TO CORNELIUS – Peter raised Dorcas from the dead (Acts 9:36-43), then he was tarrying by the seaside in Acts Chapter 10. God knows exactly where you are. Peter went to Joppa and was resting on the roof, hungry and waiting for a meal to be prepared. God was pleased with Cornelius, saw the alms and his generosity to people, how he prayed to God. God sent an angel to Cornelius to tell him to go to Joppa and look for Simon Peter, who was lodging with Simon the tanner. Pastor Forte said, this man was Italian, and a member of the police as well, and he’s going to knock on Simon’s door. At the same time, Peter is up on the roof, waiting for food, and he falls into a vision of a sheet coming down from heaven with all sorts of animals on it. God tells Peter to rise up, kill, and eat. Peter says, “Not so, Lord.” These animals were unclean for a Jew. God tells Peter, “What God has cleansed you must not call common.”
Even in the time of Peter there was racism. He did not want to associate with the Gentiles, and told God so, thinking that God wanted separation from the Gentiles. Peter needed to become aware of the grace of God and the power of the Blood. He had thought he was something special because he was a Jew, and God showed him differently, that God was no respecter of persons.
Those who want to do great works and be used to the fullest by God need to be available to everybody. God is not a respecter of persons. The vision that Peter had occurred three times. God normally speaks in threes. 2 Corinthians 13:1 This will be the third time I am coming to you. “By the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established.”
Cornelius comes to Simon’s house, if it was the wrong house, then God was not in the vision. God has a PLACE designated to meet you. He orders your steps to get you to that place. Cornelius knocked at the door. Simon Peter goes to the door and sees the Italian police, who falls at Peter’s feet. Peter tells him to stand up for Peter is just a man. It turns out that both Peter and Cornelius had their visions at the 9th hour. Peter says, Acts 10:28 Then he said to them, “You know how unlawful it is for a Jewish man to keep company with or go to one of another nation. But God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean.” Peter goes with Cornelius, preaches the Gospel at his house, and the fruit of that was that Cornelius’ whole household was saved.
GOD EXPECTS YOU TO GO WHERE HE WANTS YOU TO GO WHETHER YOU UNDERSTAND WHY OR NOT. It takes maturity to trust God and just go where God wants you to go. An infant in their faith will want God to explain everything before they go. Some things you won’t understand until you see it, and you may not even see the fruit of what you are doing at the time. We have the faith thing mixed up. We say, “Because I’ve seen it, I have faith for it.” But that is not faith. Faith is the substance of things NOT seen.
God wants you to be who you are, and God likes to have fun too.
Peter realized that God is no respecter of persons.
PETER PREACHES AT PENTECOST – Peter preached a simple gospel message that, if you read it out loud, takes 3 minutes to read. The Holy Ghost fell on all assembled in the upper room. People began speaking in tongues, and racism went out the door. If Peter had not gone to the upper room he would have missed the opportunity for revelation. Geography matters to God. 3,000 souls were added to the Kingdom because of Peter’s obedience.
Pastor Forte told us that where we were born and what we experienced are very important to who we are today. Pastor Forte grew up in the north but his grandfather and cousins lived down south. Pastor Forte would visit and help pick cotton on his grandfather’s farm, and visit with his cousins. One day, they went into town and his grandfather gave all the children money for an ice cream. In the town walking, whenever a white person would come down the sidewalk all his cousins would jump off the sidewalk, but Pastor Forte did not because they didn’t do that where he lived. When they were waiting to cross the street all the boys looked down when near a white person for there was such a thing as “eye rape”, where a black man would be punished for looking at a white woman in the eye. Then when they got to the ice cream store there was no line in front, but a long line in the back. Pastor Forte went to the window at the front and the person questioned him. He said, “There is no line here, but a long line in the back.” At that time his grandfather came along and the clerk called his grandfather by his first name. That shocked Pastor Leon for everyone was taught to address elders as “Sir.” The clerk said that his grandfather should teach Leon the ways down south, for obviously he was used to northern ways. Pastor Forte told us he apologized to his grandfather, saying, “I didn’t do anything wrong, sir.” Pastor Forte’s grandfather got down on his knee, eye level with Pastor Forte, and said that he had sent Leon’s mother up north to live so that Pastor Leon would not get used to the discrimination. His cousins were happy in the line at the back of the store and Pastor Forte’s grandfather said that he wanted Leon to grow up and do something about it.
Who are you and where were you born? What is your purpose? God has given everyone a place and a purpose. Everyone has had things that they wanted and didn’t have, things that they love and hate. Pastor Forte told us that what we hate is an indication of what our assignment in life is. Do something about those things you feel passionately about.
SCARS are TROPHIES for the battles that we have fought. You are who you are because of where you are and what you came from. God wants us to TURN OUR SCARS INTO STARS. Do not be embarrassed to tell your story. God can use you to reach others.
1 Peter 5:10 But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen and settle you.
DONKEY FOR JESUS — Two disciples were sent out to seek a donkey and colt. They were told to go and find the donkey at a certain place, and if asked about why they needed the donkey, they were to say that the Master has need of it.
God can ask you to do something a little strange, do it and you obey God. You may be asked to speak to a sister in spandex and spike heels, and she is not “church” material, but God has need of her.
You may be given a test, but your test can turn into a testimony.
Pastor Forte gave a wonderful illustration of the donkey and the colt. He had a mom and her daughter stand up. He took the donkey and she held on to the mom’s hand. Coats from members in the church were placed on the daughter’s back, as mantles. A colt has never been ridden, so Jesus needed the donkey to show the colt what to do. Children don’t do what you tell them, they do what they see you doing. The colt learned what to do from its mom.
Pastor Forte told us that if you reject the gift you reject the giver. Jesus said that we advance on the backs of the next generation. What we do in the Kingdom today will affect the next generation.
Our testimony is a scalpel in the Kingdom of God.
He told us that, when we receive a prophecy, people do not know what to do with it. We need to write down the prophecy, memorize it, add faith to the prophecy, and speak it out of our mouth. When we get a prophecy there is timing involved as well. The prophecy may not be for tomorrow, although it could be. We need to learn about prophetic language. A prophecy will help to redefine how we see ourselves.
God is ready for the church to go to the next level. When the enemy comes in, praise God. Praise comes like a flood, and God uses the water of praise for His purposes.
Pastor Forte spoke of the MAC syndrome – Middle Age Carelessness.
Nehemiah realized that they would not want to build their walls unless they saw that God took care of Nehemiah and his needs. The ticket out of where you are is to be used by God where you are.
Worship God. David worshipped God in front of his men. These mighty men of David were disreputable when they first came in contact with David. By David’s example they grew to be a powerful force for God, and they imitated David’s worship and devotion.
Pastor Forte spoke words of prophecy over many in the church.
One thing he said for one of our members was so powerful I wanted to share it with you:
You can’t do anything about the last five minutes but you can do something about the next five minutes. Don’t confuse activity with accomplishment.
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