Dr. John C. Maxwell brought the house down at City Harvest Church last weekend with two uplifting and encouraging messages that stirred the hearts of the congregation.
By Venessa Thor
On the weekend of May 26 and 27, City Harvest Church had the privilege of hosting renowned leadership speaker and author, Dr. John C. Maxwell. Having penned more than 70 best-selling books, Maxwell is internationally recognized as a leadership expert not only among Christians, but also in the secular market.
Running With The Heroes of Faith
In his first message to the church on Saturday, the leader of leaders likened the Christian life to a race. Using his warm, grandfatherly voice, Maxwell brought Biblical principles close to home and kept the congregation inspired and entertained by his humorous modern interpretations. (Truth: he has also penned the Maxwell Leadership Bible, a study Bible for anyone in a leadership position.)
Maxwell read from Hebrews 12, which says that as Christians run this race of life, they are not alone; a cloud of witnesses cheer them on. Maxwell shared that as he studied the Word, he started picturing himself running a race in a heavenly stadium with the Biblical heroes of faith in the bleachers cheering him on.
“And if they were all cheering me on, I would want to know what they would say to encourage me in running the race. If each of them ran one round with me in one minute, what would they say?”
Maxwell condensed each Biblical hero’s imaginary message into a single statement.
Noah: “One person can make a difference.”
The first hero of faith Maxwell introduced was Noah. He was a righteous man living in a sinful world and because he found favor in the eyes of God, God let him in on the plan to destroy mankind in the flood. Noah was then tasked to build an ark on dry land far from the sea. And even though what he was doing looked ridiculous, he remained obedient to God.
“Don’t be afraid to do things for God for the first time. Don’t be afraid when you are standing alone. And don’t be afraid no matter how old you are when God calls you,” Maxwell advised. “Noah was 600-years-old when God called him to build an ark!”
Esther: “God has a place for you.”
Because she was adopted, Esther must have felt out of place throughout her growing up years, Maxwell said. And even after she became Queen to King Xerxes, she was put in a difficult position where she had to approach the King in order to save her fellow Jews from being massacred.
“You can feel out of place and be in the right place,” Maxwell declared. “The sovereign God knows exactly where we are. Even if we feel uncomfortable and difficult in that place, God has placed us there for a reason. If we understand the will of God, it will be easier for us to serve Him.”
Joseph: “Don’t give up on your dream.”
When Joseph revealed his dream—in which he was the sun and his parents and brother were stars that bowed down to him—to his family, his brothers became jealous and sold him as a slave. After overcoming countless obstacles over two decades, Joseph ultimately became the Vizier of Egypt.
“The dream is free at the beginning, that’s why it’s so fun!” Maxwell said with a laugh. “The dream is free, but the journey is not. The moment you move towards your dream, you start paying the price.”
Rebekah: “Serve and give generously.”
When Abraham’s servant was sent to look for a suitable wife for Isaac, he prayed to God to show him a girl who would not just serve him, but serve his camels as well. Rebekah was that girl—her willingness to serve a stranger brought her to her destiny.
“You don’t serve people for reward, you don’t be generous to get something out of it; you serve because you love people,” Maxwell reminded the congregation.
David: “You can overcome the limitations that others put on you.”
When the prophet Samuel came to Jesse’s house to look for the next King, Jesse had all his sons lined up in their best suits. All except David, because the parents didn’t think he had the potential to be the next King.
“How would you feel, if you were David, going out to the field that day knowing that your parents think you don’t have the potential to be King?” Maxwell asked.
But David eventually overcame the limitations that his family placed on him and defeated Goliath. The message of David’s life story is that one should never let the opinions of the others prevent them from reaching their destiny.
Maxwell’s sermon touched the minds and hearts of many in the congregation—so much that many returned the next morning to hear his second message.
“The service with Dr. John Maxwell was so inspiring! It made me feel more refreshed. Most of all, I am inspired to do more for God and serve Him better,” said Sharon Fong, 51, who works in global security.
On Sunday morning, Maxwell explained to the members of CHC how a Biblical miracle works. From story of the feeding of the 5,000, Maxwell explained that throughout a person’s life, there are times when they either need a miracle, or God wants them to be the channel for a miracle to happen.
“When there is a need sensed by a few, and each individual understands their responsibility and gives their all regardless of the odds, then Jesus works a miracle,” Maxwell said.
The problem posed by the 5,000 hungry and lost people was the catalyst for the miracle.
“If you have a problem, you are a candidate for a miracle from God. Your problem isn’t a problem; it is a ticket to your miracle,” said Maxwell encouragingly.
Jesus’ 12 disciples presented the problem of the lack of food to Jesus, but He did not do the miracle immediately. Instead, He asked them to give the people something to eat. When God wants to provide a miracle, He wants to do it in partnership with His children.
Maxwell explained that God does not need suggestions, He needs participation. “We lose the miracle because we don’t want to participate. Without God, you cannot. Without you, God will not,” stated Maxwell.
Being a channel for the miracle is also important. The boy with the five loaves and two fish in the story had to give up his lunch for the miracle to happen.
“God will only give to you what He knows will flow through you,” he said, in conclusion.
Maxwell’s first visit to CHC was a greatly successful one–an honor for the church since he only speaks at five churches in a year. Judging from the 5,000 John C Maxwell books sold at The Ink Room that weekend—which the author patiently signed—CHC will be waiting eagerly to welcome him back soon.