Participants: Michael Kontes
Series Code: FC
Program Code: FC000415
00:30 Hello my name is Michael Kontes,
00:32 and I want to welcome you to Faith Chapel.
00:35 Today, we're going to look at
00:37 The Patriarch Abraham", but first let us pray.
00:43 Father we come to thee now and we thank thee
00:45 for the opportunity that we've to turn
00:48 the leaves of the word of God,
00:50 Your Bible and to look at stories
00:52 that can give us inspiration,
00:54 and hope, and strength.
00:56 Be with us now as we look at this story,
00:58 help us to gain a greater understanding of you,
01:03 in Jesus name, amen.
01:08 Father Abraham, as children we've sang that song.
01:12 Today, I want to look at the call of Abraham
01:17 and in fact wasn't Abraham
01:19 given you a little teaser here,
01:21 it was Abram prior to the name Abraham.
01:26 And so if we would open up our Bibles
01:28 to Genesis Chapter 12, we're gonna
01:31 read a couple text here that describe
01:34 the call that God gave to Abram.
01:39 "Now the Lord has said unto Abram,
01:42 Get thee out of thy country,
01:45 and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house,
01:49 unto a land that I'll shew thee,
01:53 And I'll make thee a great nation,
01:57 and I'll bless thee, and I'll make thy name great,
02:00 and thou shalt be a blessing,
02:03 And I'll bless them that bless you,
02:07 and curse him them that curseth thee,
02:10 and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
02:14 So Abram departed, as the Lord
02:17 had spoken unto him, and Lot went with him,
02:21 and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan,
02:26 and into the land of Canaan they came.
02:34 After the Tower of Babel,
02:36 brothers and sisters idolatry spread like wildfire.
02:40 The Bible tells us and as idolatry
02:43 began to spread God's eyes ran to and fro
02:47 on the earth to look for an individual
02:51 who could carry his oracles and be a light on a hill
02:57 to this world that is in such darkness.
03:01 God's eyes look to and fro and he found an individual,
03:04 the scriptures tell us by the name of Abraham.
03:07 We're also told here in the scriptures
03:09 that a God called Abram, out and said
03:13 "Get thee out of thy country, from thy kindred,
03:16 and from My father's house".
03:19 Have any of you ever felt that call?
03:22 I can share with you that I felt that call early in 1997.
03:27 I was studying the word of God,
03:29 I was raised as most of you know,
03:31 I was raised Greek Orthodox, a staunch Greek Orthodox.
03:35 My dad was what's called a canter
03:37 in the Greek Orthodox Church.
03:39 He is someone who sings hymns and scriptures
03:41 while the priest is performing the liturgy.
03:43 My father always fasted on all the holy days.
03:46 My dad was a very devout man,
03:48 very devout Greek Orthodox.
03:49 Some people in all denominations,
03:52 whether it's a, you know, we call him Joe whatever.
03:56 My dad was never a Joe Greek Orthodox.
03:58 My dad was very devout, always went to Church,
04:01 had a high regard for his faith.
04:03 And so I always, was able to see
04:07 what religion meant to my father.
04:10 Now from being Greek Orthodox
04:14 I went to a Pentecostal High School
04:16 for four years great change for me.
04:20 As I went to the Pentecostal High School
04:22 I did not, I didn't understand
04:24 everything in the beginning.
04:26 When I went for my interview,
04:27 the principal told me that
04:28 we've Chapel services once a week.
04:30 We've spiritual emphasis weeks two times a year
04:34 and so-- we're fine with that,
04:36 and so as I went to the school
04:38 I remember the first Chapel of the year.
04:41 Remember I walked in, now remember
04:43 I'm raised Greek Orthodox,
04:45 a very reverent during our service,
04:47 we don't even, taught not to cross my legs,
04:49 I'm just taught to focused in on the priest
04:52 and what he is doing during the liturgy.
04:54 And lo and behold, I'm walking
04:55 into a Pentecostal worship service.
04:58 Singing, hands up, ablaze,
05:03 and I was like a child who saw Mickey Mouse
05:07 for the first time at Disneyland.
05:10 I was like in at a shock, I was thinking,
05:12 well I've never seen this before and throughout my time
05:16 at this high school I began to see how God was impressing
05:20 in my heart that He has believers in all faiths.
05:23 And God was using this high school
05:27 to slowly begin to give me the call to go
05:30 where He wanted me to go.
05:32 Now it was until years later till I gave my heart to Him,
05:35 but I'll share with you.
05:37 In 1997 after I gave my heart to Him,
05:41 God told me that I needed to take a stand
05:44 and so I did take a stand in it,
05:46 hurt my-- it hurt my family.
05:49 My family could not understand
05:50 why I left the faith that I was raised in.
05:53 But I came to a place where my father's faith
05:59 could not be my faith.
06:01 And my faith cannot be my father faith.
06:03 Each and every one of us are on a journey
06:06 and each and every one of us,
06:08 each person is on a different path.
06:12 And God is always calling out to all of us
06:15 during this journey on this path and no one,
06:18 no one wears the same shoes.
06:23 Well, as God was calling me out,
06:26 I realize very quickly that the reason
06:30 why God calls people out in situations
06:34 like Abraham like others.
06:36 I'm sure many of you have been called out
06:38 from one faith to the next and so on.
06:41 Is to be able to qualify them for the work,
06:43 meaning a lot of times if we keep
06:46 our historical associations,
06:50 many times we could fall right back to where
06:53 God doesn't want us to be.
06:55 Now, when God called Abraham,
06:59 he said I'll make thee a blessing to others.
07:03 I'm going to make a great nation out of thee.
07:06 Notice God could had made great nation
07:08 to be out of many people
07:09 but he specifically chose Abraham.
07:13 Many times that's why God calls you, calls me,
07:17 calls others to come out of our situations,
07:20 because He wants us to be a blessing
07:22 to our family members, to our coworkers,
07:25 to other people that He is gonna bring
07:28 across our path on our journey.
07:31 Now for Abraham to accept the call of God,
07:38 he would need to step out in faith.
07:40 And friends stepping out in faith
07:42 at times I'm-- is it difficult thing?
07:46 It is a very difficult, we as individuals are used to
07:50 our little comfort zone and as long as
07:53 we're in our little comfort zone,
07:55 we're happy, I'm happy, you're happy, we're all happy.
08:00 But God calls us to come out of our comfort zone
08:05 because when we're not in comfort zone
08:07 what we began to do is we began to trust in ourselves,
08:14 trust in others, trust in our environment,
08:17 begin to trust in our instincts and so on.
08:21 And what God wants us to be is God wants us to be reliant
08:23 and trusting completely, completely on Him.
08:29 Can you imagine, can you imagine leaving a place
08:34 of familiarity for years
08:38 and going to the unknown on a call from God.
08:45 Now Abraham heard the voice of God.
08:50 I believe today, you and I still hear His voice,
08:54 but not some much audibly at times
08:58 through His spoken word.
08:59 And in fact we've more reasons to believe
09:02 and step out in faith than Abraham did.
09:05 I say that with absolute conviction,
09:08 we can go from Genesis to Revelation
09:11 and we can see how many of His people,
09:15 the stories that give inspiration to you,
09:20 to others, to me,
09:23 these stories are so many multiple stories,
09:28 after multiple stories that we really have no excuse.
09:34 Also I want to share, notice within the story.
09:38 Abraham did not ask God any questions.
09:44 Lord, have mercy, brothers and sisters.
09:46 How many times God calls us and we've 800 questions
09:50 when He gives us a call.
09:52 God's calling us to go somewhere else to minister
09:55 and the first thing we say is,
09:58 God is the weather helpful?
10:01 Will I find the right food over there to eat?
10:04 Will there be right stores for me?
10:06 Will I've my three car garage or my four car garage?
10:10 How about, is it going to be five bed rooms
10:13 or six bedrooms, three baths?
10:16 God how many bass lakes are gonna be around there,
10:19 so on my days off, I can go fish.
10:21 There better be at least a dozen,
10:23 because if there is only one or two I might get bored.
10:26 Notice Abraham did not question God at all.
10:29 Abraham, Abraham was willing to walk forth
10:36 with no delay when he heard the voice of God.
10:41 I believe that you and I should follow His example.
10:46 There's many times in my life
10:48 when I did not follow God's call right away.
10:51 There's many times where I was obstinate
10:53 and hard and said no way.
10:55 In fact, I'll give you personal experience,
10:58 just happened a couple of years ago.
11:00 I looked at it as no way, I can't do this,
11:03 God doesn't want me to do this, but He did.
11:05 In 2004, my conference came to me
11:10 and they asked me, they said, you know,
11:11 we want to reassign you to the seminary.
11:14 We want you to go and get your masters
11:16 and we're gonna send you at the end of this year
11:19 and I was like, what?
11:21 I didn't want to go to Andrews.
11:23 You know, why I don't want to go to Andrews,
11:25 because friends let me share with you.
11:28 I was so busy doing ministry and I wanted to hasten
11:32 the coming of God that I felt going back to school
11:35 will slow down my progress in winning souls to Jesus.
11:42 How stupid does that sound?
11:44 I mean, I believe that at the time, hindsight now,
11:47 I look back and I say what in the world
11:48 was I thinking about? Let me elaborate.
11:53 I did not want to go because you see
11:55 I've a special loved one in the grave waiting for me.
11:59 And my thought process is as fast as I can
12:01 hasten the coming of Jesus,
12:03 I'll be able to see this beautiful little girl
12:06 once more, quick.
12:09 And I need to do everything within my power
12:11 to hasten Jesus is coming right now,
12:14 so I can see her.
12:15 I don't want to go to Andrews,
12:17 not knowing that God had a special plan for me.
12:19 And I was questioning Him, questioning Him.
12:22 I was, friends, I was running from God
12:27 not waning to do His will.
12:30 Upon being at Andrews, God showed me many things.
12:34 I met many friends and after how many times in your life
12:38 do you have an opportunity to break away two and half years
12:41 to assess what you have done,
12:43 to evaluate the pro and the cons
12:45 of what you have done up to this point.
12:48 I had an opportunity to break away and assess my situation
12:52 to learn from some teachers that I respect
12:55 and all my friends today.
12:57 And now if I've the opportunity which I believe
13:00 to now have someone else's experience helped me
13:05 with the experiences that I'll have in ministry.
13:07 And in fact by going there for two and half years,
13:11 I actually excelled my learning process,
13:14 I believe for ten years.
13:16 Now I don't know if everyone story is like mine,
13:18 but I can share with you I didn't want to go,
13:20 and God showed me afterwards,
13:22 that you know what, Mike you are pretty dumb.
13:24 And you know what, I've to admit Jesus,
13:26 yeah you are right, I'm dumb.
13:28 Now, I'm also thankful that
13:31 God loves dummies like me, are you?
13:35 Can I hear the amens?
13:38 I'm so thankful that he can embrace me
13:40 and be patient with me and not just discard me.
13:44 Now I wish I was more like Abraham
13:47 when He heard the call, he was willing to go ASAP.
13:51 He was willing to follow God's word and we know,
13:54 there is many stories that Abraham during his life time
13:58 did not do the will of God.
13:59 But particularly in the context of this story,
14:03 breaking away from his family,
14:04 breaking away from his friends,
14:06 breaking way from the where he lived,
14:08 to go to a land that he did not know.
14:11 Abraham didn't delay.
14:13 He needed to take a leap of faith and he did so.
14:16 which should encourage you and I
14:17 to be able to take that leap of faith,
14:19 because we've the past and pervious experiences
14:23 of how God has led us.
14:24 We've no other account here that
14:26 God came to Abraham prior.
14:28 Can you imagine the first time experience,
14:30 God comes into your life, He says,
14:31 "Get thee out of thy country, and out of thy kindred
14:33 and out of thy father's household.
14:36 For me it took many years to be called out.
14:38 And then when I heard the call I followed, I followed.
14:43 Now Abraham did not have laundry list for God
14:50 of what he wanted, he just followed.
14:53 The next step, the next point in this sermon,
14:56 we see comes the safest place to be is the place
15:02 where God bids you to be.
15:05 Let me explain I've come to the place to realize
15:10 that I would rather be in the place
15:13 where God has placed me,
15:15 where he has specifically set me then to be at the place
15:20 where I want to be outside of His will.
15:23 And friends I can tell you sometimes if I think
15:25 I'm outside of God's will, I'm very fearful,
15:29 I'm stricken with the sense of fear.
15:31 I'm afraid that God is gonna create
15:33 this big huge monster beast to come up and swallow me,
15:36 take me to the shores of the local city
15:39 that he wants me to minister to, spit me out in the shore.
15:41 And, you know what, I don't want,
15:43 I don't want be in belly of the great beast.
15:45 I would rather be following the will of God the first time
15:50 and say God I would rather be where You want me to be
15:54 even in if its in the midst of a mob.
15:56 If that's where you want me to be,
15:58 than being outside of Your will.
16:01 Now notice once again,
16:04 no questions were asked by Abraham,
16:06 no questions, no excuses, no testing God.
16:10 God I need to throw up a fleece to you in.
16:12 Next thing you know we've thrown out 500 fleeces
16:14 because that's an excuse.
16:16 Remember the story of Balaam.
16:18 Here certain kings, the enemies of Israel came
16:22 and Abraham knew -- I mean Balaam knew
16:26 what he should do, but yet he began to say,
16:29 let me pray about this, let me go tests
16:31 and see what God wants me do.
16:33 When we delay in and what God is willing for our lives,
16:38 what happens is we spend the opportunity of growth.
16:43 We delay the opportunity of growth.
16:47 Now, the reason as we said earlier God takes out
16:52 of our comfort zone is to specifically
16:54 become reliant upon him.
16:57 We trust too many times our talents,
17:00 our own skills as we said earlier.
17:02 We begin to trust others, so you begin.
17:05 For example of your ministry, you're pastor,
17:08 you're in a conference and you begin to built your network
17:11 in a conference and you feel comfortable in that conference
17:14 and pretty soon you can become reliant upon
17:17 the ministerial director,
17:18 the conference president, or whatever.
17:21 And then you could loose sight of the one
17:25 who you should be reliant upon.
17:27 That can for a church member,
17:29 a church member can become reliant upon a pastor.
17:32 A church member can look upon the pastor as standing
17:37 in the place of God which is totally wrong.
17:42 I've seen it happen before though.
17:44 And this and members can become so reliant
17:47 upon a pastor that the decisions that they make
17:51 are really based upon what the pastor tells them.
17:55 One of the things that I like to share with
17:57 the lot of my members and the congregations
18:00 that I serve is that, you can come to me for counsel
18:04 and even suggestions. I've open doors,
18:10 but I can only give you suggestions
18:12 and some kind of counsel.
18:14 I always recommend an individual to go to God
18:16 and make God their source of strength to answer
18:20 the questions that they need, or that they have.
18:23 Now, if you notice in the story,
18:26 Abraham was called and he was called out
18:28 and taken to foreign land.
18:30 I was called out in my life.
18:32 Many people throughout the thread of the Bible
18:34 were called out.
18:36 You notice though the calling does not just end in Genesis,
18:41 or Exodus, Leviticus whatever.
18:43 The calling goes through all the way from Deuteronomy
18:47 to the Book of Matthew.
18:48 When Jesus comes on the scene, He says,
18:50 come and follow me.
18:52 He is basically calling out His disciples
18:53 saying come follow me.
18:56 Then that thread runs all the way
18:58 into the Book of Revelation.
19:00 Let us turn there to the Revelation 18
19:03 specifically verse 4 and see what it says.
19:08 And I hear another voice from heaven,
19:10 saying, come out of her, my people,
19:13 that ye be not partakers of her sins,
19:16 and that ye receive not of her plagues.
19:22 Notice here at the end of days in the Book of Revelation,
19:27 God is continually calling out people.
19:30 Specifically here, He is calling out people
19:34 that they will not be partakers of her plagues,
19:37 that her is for a later time, a later sermon.
19:41 What I really want to focus in and notice
19:43 He says come out of her,
19:44 my people, come out of her, my people.
19:48 There are people today that are in many places
19:51 that God does not want them to be and God goes out
19:54 with His beckoning voice through the instrumentality
19:58 of the Holy Spirit and He says come out of her,
20:01 my people, get thee out of thy kindred,
20:05 of thy nation from thy father's house,
20:08 because God wants to make us separate.
20:12 Brothers and sisters I want share with you today.
20:15 The reason why God calls us out to be separate
20:17 is not only for us to learn a greater,
20:21 to have a greater amount of faith
20:23 or just to make him our only source.
20:26 The reason why God is calling us out today is because
20:29 they are other people who need to see God through you
20:34 and through me.
20:36 And the only way that God will be able to qualify us
20:39 for that work is it we come out.
20:43 The Bible tells us that we -- God is long suffering,
20:47 long suffering that none should perish.
20:52 God is holding back the winds of strife today.
20:58 So that His people, My people He says,
21:01 come out of her, my people,
21:03 so people will be able to come out
21:07 from their own from familiar settings.
21:11 So that God can begin to transform shape,
21:15 be the porter and have them be the clay,
21:18 so that you will be a domino effect in someone else's life.
21:23 I'd like to share a story with you at this point.
21:27 When I came out of the familiar settings that I had,
21:33 I knew I was going on the right path.
21:37 I followed, I grow up playing football in high school,
21:40 I was quarterback and safety.
21:43 In my local high school I played sophomore,
21:45 junior and senior year and I started my junior
21:48 and senior year as quarterback
21:49 and safety of the football team.
21:51 I was MVP of on the offence for my senior year,
21:55 loved football, loved to watch the Dallas Cowboys play,
22:00 that was one of my hang ups you could say.
22:04 I was addicted to them,
22:06 I was addicted you follow me, addicted.
22:09 Well, I had a friend of mine at the gym,
22:10 his name was Rick.
22:12 Rick was a truck driver for Safeway.
22:16 And I remember Rick and I'd have these discussions
22:18 at the gym, when he come in every morning
22:20 about the Dallas Cowboys and fortunately for me
22:23 during this time in the early 1990s
22:25 I had the upper hand in the relationship,
22:27 because that's when the Dallas Cowboys
22:28 were at their apex.
22:31 Well, just as the Dallas Cowboys
22:34 started going down in their apex in 1995
22:37 and I found the Lord in 1996 and I was baptized in 1997.
22:43 During that period when Rick and I would talk at the gym,
22:46 we would sit back and we talk about the Cowboys.
22:49 One day I walked in after I've given my heart to Jesus
22:52 and Rick hadn't been there for,
22:54 I don't know three or four days
22:55 and I felt compelled that every time I went to the gym
22:58 I started opening up the Bible.
23:00 Before all I would do is watch ESPN around the clock,
23:03 when I'm on the bike, when I was at home wherever,
23:05 in walking through mall, I watch ESPN.
23:08 Well, I came into the gym one morning,
23:11 put my Bible on the bike and I started riding in
23:13 and Rick walked in.
23:15 Rick came and sat up next to me.
23:17 He looked at me and he goes Mike,
23:20 what in the world are you're doing.
23:22 And I said, I'm reading the Bible and he looked at me
23:24 and he goes you are so stupid.
23:29 Notice I do dump things, I do stupid things at times.
23:31 Now Rick was just verifying.
23:32 He looked at me and said you are stupid
23:34 and when he said that I could have got very defensive,
23:38 but I didn't. You know what I did,
23:40 I got excited, I jumped for joy, joy, joy.
23:44 I jumped for joy and the reason why I jumped for joy
23:46 is because in the Bible,
23:47 it says people will call you a fool,
23:51 people will think you're stupid
23:52 when you give your entire life over to Jesus,
23:56 and this was validating what the Bible said.
23:58 And so, as God was calling me,
24:00 He began to give me signals that yes Mike,
24:03 you are on the right path.
24:04 I needed signals Abraham didn't, I did.
24:09 I bet there's many of you out there today
24:10 you have many different stories to share
24:12 how God gave you these little confirmations on the way
24:15 for you being called out.
24:18 Another time a similar example is
24:22 when God was calling me out was with my wife.
24:25 My wife was praying for me to find Jesus,
24:28 our marriage was falling apart at the end of 1995.
24:31 And she was praying Lord, he needs to find You again,
24:33 where you make yourself real in his life,
24:35 will you reveal Yourself to him and God did.
24:40 The difference is my wife did not,
24:42 she though that when I was going to find God,
24:45 I was gonna find God in the familiar aridity
24:48 of the faith experience that we've had.
24:52 Well, God did not go there,
24:55 God completely took me out the something different
24:57 and this was very difficult for her.
24:59 But because of my loyalty to God,
25:03 because I allowed Him,
25:05 because I allowed Him access to,
25:07 complete access friends, not partial access,
25:10 but complete access to my heart and to my mind,
25:13 He began transforming my heart,
25:15 He began transforming my mind,
25:17 He began making me a new individual,
25:19 because I stepped out in faith,
25:21 because I made Him my source,
25:23 because I was willing to say to Him God take me
25:26 as I'm and shake me please.
25:28 I don't like who I'm and I know I need to change
25:31 and as he began to start changing me,
25:34 because I accepted His call and went out lo and behold,
25:38 my wife started seeing I was a true Christian.
25:43 I was on the process of becoming true.
25:46 I was on the starting line of becoming true.
25:49 I was on that journey and because I accepted the call
25:53 and because I left my familiar heredities
25:56 and moved forward.
25:59 That gave my wife the opportunity to say
26:02 something real is going on in your life Mike.
26:06 And, you know what,
26:07 I want to know what it is.
26:10 Today as we're closing,
26:12 has God been calling you out,
26:14 calling you out of your father's household,
26:17 calling you out of your kindred,
26:20 calling you into country,
26:22 spiritual country where He will bless you.
26:26 Friends I believe that call, the Holy Spirit
26:29 is knocking today on your heart
26:32 and he is telling you Jack come out,
26:37 Jim come out, Christina come out.
26:42 He is giving this call, because He wants to take you
26:46 and He wants to make you a light in this perishing world.
26:51 He wants others to fall in love with Jesus
26:54 through your life, that's why the call is there.
26:58 He wants to equip you with His oracles.
27:01 He wants to qualify you for His work.
27:04 But like Moses, we need to go from Egypt
27:08 into the land of Median for about 40 years.
27:12 Having work on our hearts,
27:13 having work on our minds and then say,
27:16 okay, you know what, now you're prepared
27:18 to be able to go back to your father's household
27:21 and you will be able to make a difference because
27:23 while in Median you learned that I'm your only source.
27:28 In fact you cannot even speak the language
27:31 that I'm gonna send you back to.
27:33 You're saying you can, but I'm gonna equip you
27:35 to even speak the language.
27:37 Today God's gonna equip you to speak the language.
27:40 He is gonna equip you to have you
27:43 be a light in a dark place.
27:45 He wants you to make Him your only source of light.
27:50 Will you allow Him to have His Son shine through you?