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Mar2TueMarch 2, 2021When talking about peak performance you could be talking about your vehicle or an athlete, even clothing. A little while back I talked about a person who had never played hockey buying Wayne Gretzky’s autobiography and then reading it over and over. After reading they hit the ice literally. They would still never be able to play hockey like Wayne Gretzky just because you read his book. Sure you can learn a few things but your own abilities will only take you so far. Yes you will pick up a few things but Mr. Gretzky does not have the power to change you to be just like Wayne. The bible on the other hand is not a book and there is power to change you to become a completely different person and clothed with power from on High. John tells us John 14:12 “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” The bible makes it clear that we can actually do as Jesus did. Jesus empowered His disciples to do as He did and Luke 9:1 “gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.” We are told Luke 11:9 “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” No book can do this for you but God can through His word.Jesus came and showed us the way, the truth and gave us eternal life if we would just believe. He also showed us great wonders but it takes great faith to believe that we can actually do as Jesus did. An athlete trains to win but that is about human ability. As Christians we also must be running at peak performance but our training is different and has nothing to do with human ability but God’s power in us. Paul tells us 1 Timothy 4:8 “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. 9 This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance. 10 That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe. Paul also said, 1 Corinthians 9:24 “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” So we must make sure that we are running to get the prize. Hebrews 12:1 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” If we do not focus on Jesus, we will not finish the race. No matter how hard Paul trained, there is no way he could have done what he did in his own strength and he was well trained. Acts 19:11 “God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.” He was bit by a snake that should have killed him. Acts 28:5 “But Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects.” He was also shipwrecked. Acts 27:23 “Last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me 24 and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.’ 25 So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me. 26 Nevertheless, we must run aground on some island.” These examples are not the things an ordinary man can do or be part of. It is only with supernatural power that these occurred.We as Christians should be operating at peak performance but to do that we must believe that Pentecost is for us today also. Believing in the wonders God has for us takes great faith, especially now that the church is in such a desolate state. We have not seen the kind of power that Paul had but that does not mean it is not available. On Sunday I used this verse. Matthew 21:18 “Early in the morning, as Jesus was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. 19 Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered. 20 When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. “How did the fig tree wither so quickly?” they asked. 21 Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. 22 If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” Obviously there is a lot of power behind our believing. Most in the church will read that and will say not believe this power is available, but probably not out loud. Can you imagine living life with this kind of faith? Here Jesus after he had risen would rebuke the two disciples leaving town in unbelief. Luke 24:25 “He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken!”Yes if we want to see wonders again, we must increase our faith and our belief in the words of God. We must turn from our wicked ways and return to God’s word. The church has spent more time dissecting the word of God and telling people why it doesn’t mean what it states. Yes a lot of focus is on the mustard seed but it is not the size of the mustard seed we should be focused on. Don’t get me wrong here as it only takes a little true faith to do amazing things but do you believe the next part of the verse. In order for us to have peak performance, we must believe whether or not the mountain could actually be moved. When you truly believe, you only need faith the size of a mustard seed to do amazing things. If your response is yah right, the odds are you do not have great faith. Jesus said you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done.” Most people will respond with that can’t be done or have you seen it happen. That is not the point of what Jesus was saying. When you understand who God is, and that anything is possible, you will believe He can throw the mountain into the sea. Your belief starts at the beginning of bible. Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 9 And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good.” Your belief must start here as God created everything in six days and all He had to do was speak. If this is a problem for you, you are in trouble. Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. 2 This is what the ancients were commended for. 3 By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.” When we realize the power of God, you then will have great faith and all you will need to move a mountain is a little faith the size of a mustard seed. When you believe that, then you are operating at peak performance and from there anything is possible.For anything to be possible, we must believe. Matthew 19:23 “Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” 25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?” 26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” While he was talking about a rich man here, it is important to understand that anything is possible for God.Belief is a huge part of Christianity. It could be the difference between eternal life or eternal damnation. John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” It is not just about believing in Jesus, but belief in His words also. Many people that attend church say they believe in Jesus but do not adhere to His words. Jesus said in John 14:15 “If you love me keep my commands.” Jesus said to the Jews who did not believe Him, John 10:25 “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” John 20:30 “Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” As we continue this journey our belief has to be greater than just believing the stories about Jesus, which is obviously an important step, but we need to believe that His power is available to His disciples who believe today just as they were then.Here is an example of great faith and not even an Israelite. Matthew 8:5 “When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. 6 “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.” 7 Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?” 8 The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” 10 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. 11 I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that moment.” But Jesus does say, Luke 18:8 “when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” How is your faith?Then compare this faith of the centurion to the eleven disciples. Mark 16:4 “Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen.” Today the church is filled with a stubborn refusal to believe all that is written. We also see this account that can apply to us. Matthew 17:14 “When they came to the crowd, a man approached Jesus and knelt before him. 15 “Lord, have mercy on my son,” he said. “He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. 16 I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him.” 17 “You unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.” 18 Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed at that moment. 19 Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” 20 He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Mark also gives us this account. Mark 9:14 “When they came to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and the teachers of the law arguing with them. 15 As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him. 16 “What are you arguing with them about?” he asked. 17 A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. 18 Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.” 19 “You unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.” 20 So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth. 21 Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?” “From childhood,” he answered. 22 “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” 23 “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” 24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” 25 When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the impure spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” 26 The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up. 28 After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” 29 He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer.Do you have the faith of the centurion or have you been acclimatized to the lukewarm waters of the church? Do you even expect the wonders that took place in scripture to happen today? Are you seeking the gifts of the Spirit as Paul directs us to in 1 Corinthians 14:1 “Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy.” Will Jesus refer to you as an unbelieving generation? There is hope as Peter tell us Acts 2:38 “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call. 40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” For this to happen the church has to turn away from their own ways. Are you asking God if He can or do you believe He can? Are you asking God to overcome your unbelief? To have faith operating at peak performance, you must read God’s word and believe what He says. For too long now these have been just stories about Jesus and not reality in the church. It is time to stop singing about old, old stories and believe “everything is possible for the one who believes.” When you actually believe that God can move mountains, you will be then running at peak performance with the faith of a mustard seed.