Pastor David Longobardo
A great church requires three things:
- A great leader with a great vision
- A great people that support and uplift their leader
- Great elders who give him covering, advice, counsel, and adjustment when needed.
Apostle Don Meares could not accomplish what this church has accomplished without the people of God and the eldership of this church. In Evangel Cathedral’s 67 years, the people and the church’s leaders have done it right and with excellence. God is saying to us today that the best is yet to come.
However, if you’re in a wilderness place this morning, in a desert place, or in a dry place and this church is not, understand something. The devil didn’t do it. Jesus was led, driven by the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted and tested by the devil. Listen, this is not for destruction but construction. Not because of a bad thing but because of a blessed thing God wanted to do. Not because He was to be weakened but that He was to be strengthened. The Bible says that He left in the power of the Spirit.
It says in Matthew 4:1-4:
“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. 3 Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, ‘If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.’
4 But He answered and said, ‘It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ”
Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. Proceeds. We know this to be a rhema word, a right-now word, a word fresh from the lips of God. In this church, you are blessed to hear the rich Word of God every week. God’s spoken, inspired word was meant to make you desire God’s Word and the Spirit in your life. By God’s grace, we’re redeemed, delivered, filled with power from on High, armed with God’s Word, and dangerous and with purpose in our lives. So it says in 2 Timothy 3:16-17:
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
The ministry of God’s Word is crucial because it invokes things in our lives. It is used for teaching, preaching, and healing. It is said in Matthew 4:23:
“And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people.”
The ministry of the Word of God and the Spirit has three objectives. The first is for information. God’s Word is designed to equip us. He wants us to hear something. The second is for inspiration. God wants us to be inspired and motivated to create something. This is because He wants us to see something. And third, for impartation. God wants to activate or awaken something in us. He wants to release something.
Put the past behind you. Focus on a new future.
In Biblical history, as it relates to the Hebrews, they had to cross rivers when freed. They had to cross the Red Sea and the Jordan River to put their past behind them and focus on a new future. However, the Israelites’ mindset after their deliverance from Egypt was that they wanted to relax, rest, and maybe retire. They thought their greatest battles were in the past. But God knew these battles, obstacles, and victories were still ahead.
In our spiritual journey, opposition and adversaries make us want to retreat to days in the past. Yet, the Christian faith is designed to move forward. To move on. Push through. Overcome. Conquer.
God’s best, inheritance, fullness, and maximum living require us to face the obstacles, standing tall, rather than tucking tails and retreating. Declare this today: I’m ready for unanticipated victories!
God has given us four passages about four challenges that many could be facing in their lives.
- Major health concerns
“Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.” –3 John 2
God wants us to grow spiritually, and be blessed financially, but wants us to be delivered physically, not just get healed but walk in health. Declare this: “God wants me to be healthy because I’ve got work to do!”
“Owe no one anything…”—see Romans 13:8
God did not want just to deliver us from our sin debt but also our financial debt. God is telling us this morning that we can be debt-free and truly prosperous.
- The struggle to find your assignment, gift, or calling.
“15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
17 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit,”
Many people are struggling to find their assignments, gifts, or calling. Even if you’ve identified your calling or you feel spiritually pregnant, there are times when it feels like you have no clue about it. God has something greater for you than what you are accomplishing right now. God wants us to understand and walk in His purpose in our lives.
- Living in peace with all men.
“18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.”
Relational harmony is a treasured gift. We need to be at peace with the people around us. Though we know this seems impossible because of many things, especially with our differences and uniqueness as individuals, God says that we can achieve in living at peace with the people around us.
The Three Crossings or Bridges
First: The Red Sea Crossing/ Bridge
“Then it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, ‘Lest perhaps the people change their minds when they see war, and return to Egypt.’”
Crossing the Red Sea represents our salvation, deliverance, and identity as soldiers. The Israelites then weren’t prepared to be soldiers because they kept thinking like slaves.
“Is this not the word that we told you in Egypt, saying, ‘Let us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than that we should die in the wilderness.”
When you’re in the wilderness, in the desert, you feel like you’re going to die. But God is saying to us today that we need to put some stuff behind us that’s been plaguing us. It has to end today.
The Israelites were called to go forward. They have been delivered from Egypt physically but they have not been delivered spiritually. God could take them using the direct route, but they took a roundabout because of their slave-like mentality. They were at the brink of the Red Sea, going through the wilderness.
In our spiritual lives, Egypt represents worldliness, selfishness, and sinfulness. They were in bondage to the things that they experienced in Egypt. What did the Israelites do when they were in bondage in Egypt? They worked. They were slaves. They worked harder and harder. God is reminding us through their story you cannot gain salvation or deliverance through works. Only by grace and grace alone.
The symbol of all the attitudes that they had endured was wrapped up in one man– Pharaoh. He was the symbol of our sinful nature, of our carnal life. We were once ruled by sin. Like Pharaoh over the Israelites, he wants to dominate and enslave us. Pharaoh, your flesh, does not want you to go. He is the bondage. The Israelites were called to be defenders who were trained, equipped, and ready to engage. However, their minds weren’t prepared to participate in the war. Israel was delivered from Egypt physically, yet they were in bondage mentally.
America has a spiritual problem, and the church is called to solve it. At its core, the violence, mental health problems, and other things plaguing our countries are spiritual problems. There needs to be a deliverance of the whole man.
The church lost its power and its relationship with God, who can do anything, anywhere. If we want to experience healing in our church, our nation, our families, and our lives, we must come back to God.
The Red Sea represents your identity. You need to know that the battle doesn’t start until you get saved. That which has been plaguing you has been swallowed up. Even with whatever you’re facing, you have a new identity. You have been delivered. You are victorious. God’s not going anywhere. God is right here. He is with you. Don’t go back to Egypt.
- The Jordan Crossing/ Bridge.
This bridge signifies our inheritance. Our walk. Life is about the walk we choose. Believers can walk in love, in the Spirit, in faith, and in their calling. But we must remember two things from the story of the Israelites.
- Unless they walk in obedience to the Word, they will not come into their inheritance.
- They have the walk, but they also have the war. Israel had a Promised Land, yet they had to defeat the enemies to inherit it. So even in our lives, we need to be engaged and willing to battle. This shows how you have moved from being a slave to a soldier and are willing to take your inheritance.
Christ battled the cross before the inheritance of the Resurrected Life. There’s a cross before a crown, a battle before the blessing. Sorrow before joy. Death before new life. War before walking.
Remember: Walk + war = WIN. Israel had to walk in war to win. Crossing the Jordan River meant not returning to worldly ways but being out of the wilderness. The Israelites must put Egypt behind them.
For Evangel Cathedral, it’s time to walk, war, and win. To become victorious, the bridges of our life—fear, debt, a compromise must be burned. If you don’t serve the cause worth dying for, you don’t have something worth living for.
Here is a prophetic word: God is burning your bridges in the past, the boats you will float in from the past that you’ve traveled on. Man does not live by bread alone but in the spoken Word of God.
Remember this: Jordan stood for warfare, inheritance, and moving forward. We must cross this bridge to be closer to what God is about to do in our midst.
- The Shechem Crossing / Bridge
In Joshua 24, at the end of Joshua’s life, he gathered all the tribes and presented them before God at Shechem. The formerly enslaved people now owned homes, lands, and cattle. However, they discovered foreign gods and dabbled in things such as witchcraft and idolatry that brought them to bondage. At Shechem, Joshua reminded them that they have been delivered. He reminded them of all that God has done for their lives. He asks them to choose in verse 15:
“And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of]the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
What does this mean for us today? The decision that you make today isn’t just for you. It’s going to affect your kids, grandkids, and the future of your family. So, whenever you plan on doing something, get a Word from God. You’re not going back. You’re moving forward.
Shechem is about our legacy. It’s about impacting generations. It’s about the future. Don’t be focused on the present. Focus on the future.
Three things God wants to do in this church, your life, and your family.
- He wants the church, you, and your family to be debt-free. The key to your freedom is the freedom of this church.
- He wants the church, you, and your family to be disease-free. He wants us to be healed spiritually and physically. But more than the healing from sicknesses, he wants us to be healthy. To be well in all aspects of our lives.
- He wants the church, you, and your family to be destiny-free. He wants to break you free from what’s holding you back to fulfill the destiny He has for you.
As we move forward, God wants to show us signs, wonders, and mighty deeds. The signs are a special and sufficient grace that will show God’s strength even in our weakness. God will also show us wonders designed to evoke how and why God did something great. There will also be mighty deeds, miraculous acts, revelation, and manifestation. As you pursue God’s Kingdom, He will show you His purpose. In the coming years, this church will do great things through great signs to show that our best days are still ahead.