Extraordinary Things Happen to Ordinary People!(Luke 1:26-35; 1:5-25; 2:8-20 Matthew 2:1-12; 1:18-24)

Mary is favored, chosen, and overshadowed by the Holy Spirit. What did Mary do to deserve this? She is 16 years old. She has done no great things. She is an average 16 year old girl probably about to get her ox cart license, thinking of settling down and having a family. She is just average. There is no reason to call her favored and highly honored because she hasn’t done anything in life to deserve that. God favors us and blesses us, not based on things we have done, but He does that because He knows what we can become.

This is why Mary is so blown away. We must get rid of that lie of hell that says I have got to prove something or do something, or pray two hours a day. All we need to do is love Jesus. He loves us! No matter how common we may seem to be to our selves, He has named us, He has our number.

Zacharias is just an average priest. There were so many that each one took a number to serve. He is just an average Joe, just a priest. It was his turn. Sometimes it’s just your turn. He was going through the motions, doing what God had designated him to do.

You have Zacharias on the one end, old, not a likely candidate; Mary on the other end, young and not likely. God is working miracles all over the place. We concentrate on the miracles and think what an awesome person they must be, but they are just average.

They had doubts and fears and the angel told Mary, “It’s going to be okay.” Zachariah doubted the angel and Gabriel got indignant. Gabriel said with an attitude, “I’m Gabriel, I stand in the presence of God! I was there when God said it, don’t question me!” If you heard it in the throne room you need to believe it in the bedroom. God will choose whoever He wants to do whatever He wants. He does it so everyone says, “Now that was God.” You don’t need self confidence, you need God confidence. He will make you what He said you will be.

Until he confessed that his sons name would be John his mouth was closed. I’ve wondered if I could pray that blessing on some of us. Too many of us curse our own blessings. I’m too old, too poor, uneducated, this or that.” When his voice agreed with God he got his voice back. If you want a voice in ministry you have to agree with what God has spoken over you.

The shepherds out in the field were the lowest in society. They were like guys who work McDonalds now, entry level jobs. It was the lowest members of the family that had to sit out in the field all night. God said, “Who should we announce it to? Let’s choose the shepherds, of Bethlehem not Herod.” That was where the flocks were kept that would be used for the sacrifice..

Then you have the astronomers in the east. They saw a moving comet and followed it. Just ordinary people; Joseph, a carpenter, nothing special about him. What’s even more amazing was when Jesus himself was baptized this voice said, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” He was 30 years old and had done nothing up until then. He was building bookshelves and chairs right up until 30 years old. Yet that voice came out of heaven at that point. God is not pleased because of all of the great things you have done, He is pleased because you are his daughter, you are His son.

Extraordinary Events Happen During Normal Times

Every so many years an order would be given to go back to your ancestral home to get numbered for taxes. It is just normal life. They are going to Bethlehem. They find no room at the Holiday Inn and instead had to find a bed and breakfast for animals. They must have questioned what it was all about. The king is born almost abnormally in a stable. Great things are happening in these normal times. Don’t get so caught up in your normal life that you miss the miraculous. It is beyond smelling the flowers, but recognizing God even in the most mundane things. Extraordinary things can happen during most normal times.

Extraordinary Responses Came from Ordinary People

Greater things are coming this year; we are going to see greater things. I’m talking about greater things in you. They will happen to normal people at normal times. Quit judging your life by how normal it is. Begin to understand God can break in to the youngest, the oldest, on a donkey or whatever you’re driving. Great things can happen at a stop sign, Walmart or right there in your home. We all qualify for greater things in 2015.

Being His Son, His Daughter Qualifies You

Let me close with something the Lord gave me. I was thinking about what it takes to get to heaven, getting in the Father’s house, how do you get in His presence? The Lord said, “If a fairly famous person knocked on your door, but you didn’t know who it is, would you automatically let him in?” If you do let a stranger in it is just for a few moments and then their out. But if one of my kids came to my door they don’t even have to knock, they have a key and they can come and go, sit in my chair, go to the refrigerator. How do you get in? It’s not about what you’ve done. You could do all kinds of good works, but if you’re knocking on my door and I don’t’ know you you’re not getting in. You could do miracles, signs and wonders, but Jesus could say, “I never knew you.” It’s not about how many times you’ve been to church, that is not what gets you in. You could do all of that stuff and still be a stranger. “I’m not looking for good works, I’m looking for sons and I’m looking for daughters.” That gets you in!

My son can mess up, my daughter can fail and others may shake their heads at my children. Maybe you wouldn’t let my kids in your house because of what they’ve done, but I will because they’re my kids. God will let them in even after they mess up because they are His kids. Just realize you are a child of the king. All of the past, all of the junk, you are just a normal person living in a normal life style. You are about to see greater things, a breakthrough of enormous portion because He is all of that. He is your Daddy.

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Greater Things

We’re starting a new series titled, ‘Greater Things’. I’m smiling because I know what I’m going to preach the next six weeks. I can’t wait to hear what I’ve got to say.

As we were worshiping I had a lightning vision, where you can see things for a second. I saw a python and somebody had reached down and picked the thing up and in two seconds twisted off the things head. That snake is headless. Jesus took care of that.

John 14:12-14 The person who trusts me will not only do what I’m doing but even greater things, because I, on my way to the Father, am giving you the same work to do that I’ve been doing. You can count on it. 13 From now on, whatever you request along the lines of who I am and what I am doing, I’ll do it. That’s how the Father will be seen for who he is in the Son. I mean it. 14 Whatever you request in this way, I’ll do. (THE MESSAGE)

The Journey to Greater    

I’ve heard people talk about this and wondering how in the world we are supposed to do greater things than Jesus did. Most think that’s supposed to be corporately because there is more going on in the world; it’s about the amount of things being done. He has come into your life so that you can do greater things than you’re doing now. You have to take that first step. Don’t reach for the moon and you can’t get past six inches. Get the six inches then other things will be available to you.

We’ve ripped off the head of the python, we’ve removed obstacles, and we’ve ripped the veil. Now it’s time to step into a new power, a new authority, a new healing. I want greater things coming in this year!

This thing about greater things, it’s about journey. It’s not about somebody laying hands on you and getting an impartation. We are on a journey and every step is going to be greater, from glory to glory. The things Jesus has been doing, you’re going to do. His body is going to do what He’s been doing. Get that in your spirit.

Going to Goshen

God told me one of the best ways to describe greater things is to describe Goshen. The last few chapters of Genesis describe how Jacob and his family went from living in the Promised Land to the land of Goshen in Egypt.

The world-wide famine that affected the Promised Land led them to Egypt because God had sent provision on ahead through Joseph. After he was sold as a slave by his brothers he lived a rough life. He had all these promises yet his life was nothing like what was promised. How many of you live the exact opposite of what God said you would? That is part of the desert experience; you may be called, but not crowned yet.

Joseph eventually rose to number two in the country and actually runs the country. When displaying forgiveness to his brothers he told them, “But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. And God sent me before you to preserve a posterity for you in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.” (Genesis 45:5, 7 NKJV) Even when people treat you badly God could have a purpose in it. It could be to deliver them later.

Goshen, a Place of Greater While on Mission in Egypt

Genesis 45:18 Bring your father and your households and come to me; I will give you the best of the land of Egypt, and you will eat the fat of the land. (NKJV) Goshen is where the rich live. Jacob lived 147 years, but the last 17 years of his life were his best years; living in the land of Egypt. I know we want to live in Canaan, the house of blessing; we want our lives to be without effort, without pain. But we aren’t in heaven yet. We want to live in the land of Canaan, but God is sending us to Egypt. You have a mission. If you’re going to experience greater things it will be while you are on mission in Egypt.

God is going to make our church like Goshen. People will be coming from everywhere, some with no intention of staying, but they need fresh water, a breakthrough. It will take more than one church to revive this city. God is going to bless us. He is about to breakthrough for us. We are going to do greater things in spite of all the things going on in the world.

Goshen is a Place of Favor, Provision, Fruitfulness & Safety

Genesis 47:6 The land of Egypt is before you. Have your father and brothers dwell in the best of the land; let them dwell in the land of Goshen. And if you know any competent men among them, then make them chief herdsmen over my livestock.” (NKJV) When they got there they had the best paying jobs in the country for them.

You are going to live in a place of favor. It doesn’t mean your life is a bowl of cherries; even hard times turn around to good. God always comes through for you, that’s favor.

Genesis 47:27 So Israel dwelt in the land of Egypt, in the country of Goshen and they had possessions there and grew and multiplied exceedingly. (NKJV) That’s fruitfulness.

400 years later when the ten plagues happened none of them touched Goshen. God puts a dome over us, a place where we’re set free. What a witness it’s going to be when God takes care of us when everyone else is hit with turmoil.

Goshen is Not Rented Facilities, It’s Inherited

The Hebrew says this is yours from an inheritance. How in the world would Jacob have an inheritance in Egypt? When Abraham and Sarah were in Egypt, Pharaoh blessed Abraham. Jewish wisdom said Sarah was given a title, the Dutchee of Goshen. They actually owned the place. This thing you are given, this is who you are. You are a child of the king! It is not temporary, it is yours, and you own it. It’s ours, just claim it; stand on your blessing.

We’re going to Goshen, we’re going to higher ground; we’re going to a greater place; greater things. Write, ‘Greater Things’ and put it on your refrigerator. Let’s press forward. This year will be a year of greater things.

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Living In the Restriction Zone

If we’re not careful we will get the mindset that says, I work at a certain place and I’m limited there. We can get to the place that we think we can’t get beyond certain things. Instead, like a sunset I am going out with a bang. If I can’t preach anymore take me home. You just want to do what God has called you to do.

We have this story about Jacob. He has to leave the Promised Land because of his spat with his brother. Sometimes things happen that we are no longer where it is best for us to be. We are in a place where things are restricted; things aren’t like we had hoped and dreamed, we just can’t get beyond. The enemy will make you think that because you messed up, because you did x then you can’t do y. If it is God’s eternal plan it doesn’t matter if you messed up or someone else did. There is a breakthrough in your future.

Jacob traveled to the east, to his grandparent’s family. He has to work for his uncle, Laban who is a liar and a deceiver. He tricked him seven times. Anybody work for Laban? It is not a place where you can prosper; where you can trust anybody.

God Opened a Portal to Heaven in the Midst of His Difficulty

Genesis 28:10-16 tells of Jacob’s dream of a ladder with angels going up and down. God renewed His promise He had made to Abraham to Jacob. Some of you will be able to live the blessing of your grandparents. You will reap the blessing your grandparents sowed.

In this dream God gave His assurance of His presence. You may be working for Laban, be in a tight place, a hopeless place, you may be in the fire, but God is there with you. Like the three Hebrew children in the fiery furnace, they didn’t even have the smell of smoke on them. He is in your trouble before you even get in it. You may feel like He is a million miles away, but He is in your spot. He is drawn to people like you. He is drawn to trouble, like a magnet, like a moth to a flame. Jacob realized that place was an awesome place (Gen 28:17). You have a reason to praise Him in your trouble. You can say, “Awesome!” because God is right in your place. Whoever thought your trouble would be a gateway to heaven? He called the lonely desolated place the household of God. I am here to tell you your trouble will be a habitation of God. There is coming a day you will look back at this and say that is where God was in my life. That was the day God built a house and I’m living in it.

He then came to Laban’s house and began to work. Laban did everything he could to rip him off and make him like slave labor. But everything he tried to do God reversed it into a blessing. If the devil took it, he has to restore it ten fold. That’s Bible.

He Operates Out of His Oath

Beersheba means well of my oath. The only thing that will get you through some times is your promise, your word. If you say, “I am going to make it!” you will make it. If you’re married the one thing that will get you through where nothing else will is simply the promise you made to stay together. Everyone has problems rise up in marriage. If this has never happened to you it’s because you’re not married. You will get to the place where you have no reason to stay together except you promised to and that will keep you together. If you will stand on the promise you made, it will get you through.

There are situations where your spouse left and you were in an impossible situation. His vow to us is, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” If you just stand on the promise He made to you, you will make it.

He Praised First

He didn’t learn how to adjust first. The first thing you need to do is learn how to pray through. When you get into a new life situation the first thing you do is pray. You could adjust and become like one of them, but Jacob acted like a child of God. You can’t get ahead in life by compromising your values. You need to know in whom you believed, and then and only then will you succeed.

Welcome God into the Trouble You Find Yourself in: Build a Habitation for God

This barren, isolated, I thought God forsaken place is actually the house of God. He is not just making a pillow; ancient Jewish wisdom says his stones were there to protect his head. You need to protect your thinking, who you are, who God says you are. Otherwise you will start acting like Laban. It would have been easy for Jacob to because Jacob’s name means deceiver. He was a chip off of the old block, that’s how Jacob got in trouble in the first place. The deceiver, Jacob, later gets a name change, Israel, a prince with God.

He made a habitation for God out of what he had available. You don’t need temperature controls and a five star preacher; you make a habitation for God with what you have. If all you have is trouble, gather together, He will live in your trouble. You don’t have to know how to pray fancy prayers. What gets God’s attention is a sincere prayer. Just talk to Him like you talk to anybody else.

He Sleeps and God Breaks Through for Him

In the midst of his trouble he laid down to sleep. Sometimes the best thing is to let go, “Alright God, this is Yours, good night.”

God told him to spread abroad (Gen 28:14) When I read that I about shouted – to break out or to exceed ones limitations in a supernatural way. The world will tell you that if you exercise more, practice longer, work a little harder you can break your limitations. That’s true, but I’m talking about limitations that doesn’t matter how much you do you will never break them. Jacob was never going to break those, this was God saying, “I’m going to break your limitations and you are going to supernaturally exceed them.”

Walk where you can’t walk, go where you can’t go, live in the Spirit, walk in the supernatural, exceed your limits, break out, go beyond. Your situation is a portal to the supernatural. I want to introduce you to God, his name is, The One Who Breaks Open; The Lord of Breaking Through. We need to walk right up to our limitation and take another step. Stand at the line and then step over it and exceed your limitations. We will step over the limitations of the enemy with our God of the breakthrough!

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Overcome Limitations of the Victim Mentality

There is a spirit of gratitude. I am broken. I am broken for everything God has done. I know everything God has in store for you. He intends to turn this to His glory even if you’re having a hard time. We can get so caught up in our problems we feel we have nothing to be thankful for. Don’t accept the limitations of the enemy.

In the last days we are living in a victim mentality. We complain a lot. We want everything handed to us and when we get it we’re not thankful. 2 Timothy 3:1-2

But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, (NKJV) This is probably the most important of the seven sermons in this series. We fail to be thankful.

10 Lepers Healed, Only One Made Whole With a Deliberate Thank You

Luke 17:12-19 tells the story of ten lepers who asked Jesus to have mercy on them. Jesus told them to “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. Only one person, a Samaritan returned to give him thanks. And Jesus said to Him, “Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well.”

Your faith has made you whole. He made the effort to go back and take the time to say thank you. You sometimes need to come back to the house of God and declare it to the house. We have warfare tithes. Sometimes you need to put your money where your mouth is. Take a little money and make your thank you a little more tangible. Maybe it’s money or serving; find someone with the same problem as you and pray for them. Your thank you needs to be more than a ‘skip-to-de-do-da’ thank you. Make it tangible.

The nine were healed, but one was whole, his entire life was impacted. There is another step beyond what God just gave you, if you will be deliberate in your thanks.

Your Thank You Will Get You Through the Gates and Into His Presence

Psalms 100:4 Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise.

Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. (NKJV) Why should He bless you with more if you’re not thankful for what you already have? Thanksgiving brings you into His presence. Psalms 95:2 Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms. (NKJV)

If you do something for someone and they don’t acknowledge it, you are tempted to not do it again. When they are grateful you might do it again. You like being around people who appreciate what you do.

Thanksgiving Maginfies Your Blessing

The leper that came back got more. Psalms 69:30 I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify Him with thanksgiving. (NKJV) When you thank God it makes Him bigger. Thanksgiving admits they did something for you that you didn’t have the power to do. Too many of us have a small view of God.

Jeremiah 30:19 Then out of them shall proceed thanksgiving and the voice of those who make merry; I will multiply them, and they shall not diminish; I will also glorify them, and they shall not be small. (NKJV)

Thanksgiving Gives You a Voice for Ministry

Some say they aren’t bold enough for that. We’ve been given the Holy Ghost so we can be a witness, that’s boldness. Let me give you training. Smile, and then say, “Can you come to church with me tomorrow?” You are now trained to witness. Psalms 26:7 That I may proclaim with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all Your wondrous works. (NKJV)

If you try to minister to somebody and you don’t have a grateful heart that comes across. They pick up that you’re bitter and you don’t believe what you’re saying. If you’re not thankful you can’t testify to what He’s done for you. People who are bitter and angry and negative don’t have a voice for ministry. They can’t speak what God has given them.


There are two dimensions to forgiveness. When we think of thankfulness we think of it narrowly. There can be no thankfulness in your heart without forgiveness of yourself and everyone that has ever hurt you. ‘But you don’t know what they did to me.’ If you fail to forgive you are part of the curse, a part of the sin. Anyone you have not forgiven has control over you. All they have to do is show up and your emotions change. ‘This is my church, what are they doing here?’ Who’s controlling who? You can’t go to Walmart because your enemy is there. If you go to Meijer your other enemy may be there. Forgiveness does not let them off the hook, they will answer to God; forgiveness let’s you off the hook. Forgiving others allows God to forgive you. You have done a few things that you need forgiveness from. He forgave you before you even did the deed.


Thanksgiving and praise are locked together. You can’t praise Him unless you are thankful for what He has done. You can’t serve God if you have an ungrateful heart.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (NKJV) That means never give up. In everything, good, bad, and ugly give thanks. You don’t thank Him for the headache. “Lord, in spite of this headache I thank You.” We are still grateful in the valley, in hard times, in the pain, when we’re taking a few steps back. I am still thankful for all of His benefits, for all He’s done for me. Sustain your praise, sustain your thanksgiving.  Somebody needs the assurance of God, His arms around you, in your trouble, in your pain. If you will stand before the Lord in your pain, just say, “I’m still thankful, Lord.” I want to encourage you, be truly thankful.

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