After eight long years, guest preacher Dr John Avanzini returns to City Harvest Church with a word on igniting faith.
Over the weekend of Oct 14 and 15, preacher and teacher of Biblical economics, Dr John Avanzini was invited to encourage City Harvest Church on its Special Offering Weekend. Drawing from the Bible, he taught them to speak and see things the way God sees.
Brother John, as CHC addresses him, is the co-founder of John Avanzini Ministries in Texas. He has been teaching biblical economic principles to the church since its early days.
Starting the sermon, Brother John quoted Romans 12:3, explaining that God placed in everyone a measure of faith. “That package of faith is already inside of you,” he said. This is the most valuable thing a Christian has because it will open doors for them.
GOD IS THE REWARDER OF THE FAITHFUL
David had that measure of faith. In 1 Samuel 17, David met and fought Goliath. Brother John pointed out that initially, David’s faith was unresponsive as he fled with everyone else upon seeing Goliath (V24). “Why did his faith not jump up at that very moment?” asked the preacher. “Faith and fear come forth from the same place within your mind and within your soul. They both can’t come forward at once.”
Eventually, David’s faith rose up, and God gave him victory over Goliath, a move that led to him becoming king. “Goliath is a king maker,” Dr John encouraged the congregation. “Next time when a Goliath stands before you, realise that he’s creating your future.”
Brother John went on to say that what lit up the faith in David was the reward that King Saul offered. “Don’t be afraid of reward motivation,” he said. “God made you reward motivated so that He can move you.”
Reading Hebrews 11:6, he reminded the church that God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Luke 6:38 also tells Christians, “Give, and it will be given to you.”
Brother John noted that David was speaking to himself in 1 Samuel 17:26. “When you start talking to your spirit when you start talking to that faith pack on the inside of you, it begins to grow, and it moves out and does that thing that God places in your heart,” he explained.
Jesus Himself was motivated by reward. Matthew 26:36 recorded the agony Jesus was, in the night He was to be betrayed. Yet He was able to overcome His distress by focusing on “the joy that was set before Him” (Heb 12:2).
Brother John urged the church to learn from Jesus. “Get your eyes off the price of the offering and get your eyes on the prize of the offering,” he taught. “Jesus lifted up His eyes and He saw you and He said I’ll do it.”
One has to have the same attitude when it comes to giving. “I’ve never seen a person with the right attitude give to God and not have God bless them for doing it,” he pointed out. He encouraged the church with the reminder that God is a debt-cancelling God and when a believer gives, God will take him out of debt. There is power in the offering that is placed in the hands of God.
ACTIVATING MIRACLE MODE
The preacher quoted Proverbs 18:21 (KJV), which says that death and life are in the power of the tongue. As such, he encouraged the church to start speaking to their circumstances and confessing that if things are not going their way now, they will turn around.
He gave the example of how he would speak to his bills when he and his wife did not have enough in one season of their lives. Reading John 4:35 (KJV) where Jesus talked about the fields ready for harvest, Brother John explained that there are two ways one can speak to their circumstances. “You can talk about the problem, or you can rise into spiritual talk and say, ‘No, it’s not four months to harvest, I’m going to have harvest every month,’” he preached.
Brother John taught about the “miracle mode” of the mouth. “Don’t substantiate things that you don’t want in your life. Look over them and look forward to what you want in your life. God will bring it into your life step by step,” he said.
“Lift up your eyes and see what God sees. See what you want in your life instead of what you’ve got in your life,” he encouraged. “Move into miracle mode with your eyes. Move into miracle mode with your mouth.”
Jesus used the miracle mode with His eyes all the time. In John 5:19 (NIV), Jesus said that “the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing”.
“It’s good to get excited about an offering, but we need to also have the understanding of ‘something good is about to happen to me’,” Brother John taught.
He expounded on how Jesus always lifted his eyes wherever He went. In John 17:1, Jesus lifted up His eyes to heaven to see what His Father sees. Similarly, believers can lift up their eyes to see what God has in store for them. “You can move in that same mode that Jesus walked in all the time,” he said.
1 John 4:17 (KJV) writes: “Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.” Brother John explained that in this present time and in this world, believers can walk like Jesus walked, and speak things like Jesus spoke. “If you were to imitate somebody, imitate Jesus!” he said.
Then quoting Mark 11:22-24 (KJV), he explained that while praying, believers should open their miracle eyes and trust that they will receive what their hearts desire. He highlighted the word “desire” and noted that God does not only bless His children with things they need but also things they want.
Similarly, Abraham opened his miracle eyes in Genesis 13:14-17 to see the land that God was giving to his descendants. However, before Abraham could do that, he needed to first move away from Lot, who was hindering him from his promise to God. Brother John explained that there can be things and people who may draw a believer back into his old life and thwart his journey in God. Therefore, believers need to remove these hinderances before they can see God with their miracle eyes.
Speaking to those who are currently in unfavourable circumstances, Brother John said that circumstances are merely circles they are standing in. “If you don’t like that circle, move to a new circle!” he encouraged.
When Abraham lifted his eyes God gave him a new vision. He saw the dust in the desert and stars in the sky as the generations of children that would come after him.
Reading 2 Corinthians 4:18, Brother John reminded the church that all their bills and problems are temporary, and they are not God’s will for their lives. He encouraged them that God wants to give them more than enough so that they can pay for themselves, and also to bless those around them.
SEED, TIME & HARVEST
In Mark 4, Jesus taught about seeds having harvest power—they can grow thirtyfold, sixtyfold or a hundredfold. In 2 Cor. 9:6-11(TLB), money is also compared to a seed. Paul wrote in V6, “But remember this—if you give little, you will get little. A farmer who plants just a few seeds will get only a small crop, but if he plants much, he will reap much.”
Paul went on to write that everyone makes up his own mind to give and Brother John emphasised that there is no pressure for anyone to give. However, Jesus said that He would bless those who put their money into the Kingdom of God.
“Whatever you give, God will make it up to you and give you everything you need and more,” taught Brother John. “Why get more? So that there will not only be enough for your own needs but plenty left over to give to others.”
As he ended his sermon, Brother John told the congregation to write their desires on the back of their offering envelope, believing that God will bless them when they give. The service ended with a prayer for the special offering, which was collected for the church’s mission work and its Church Without Walls programme to bless and strengthen those in need.