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Logo of AdAgrA 2018: Something Better

Active Grace

Alan Seiler


Alan Seiler

Operator of Better Together Farm.



  • January 19, 2018
    6:30 AM
Logo of Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 3.0 (US)

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I'm reminded of a story that I heard actually it was. It was a little video kind of a dramatize version of the life of Martin Luther and of course I'm going to stay the story before thanks for the reminder mom I'll pray it's a story of and Martin Luther was of course those some of us might know. Had this experience where he was on the road in this lightning came down and he prayed to God that if he wouldn't if you would spare his life he would give his life to the monastic lifestyle and of course that started him on a very dark experience in his life where he was trying to be just with God in his own works and anyways to the point that his upper people that you know were kind of his higher ups were very concerned about him because he was so focused on trying to be right with God and and all this kind of stuff and Anyway so in this dramatize version his higher ups basically says I'm going to send you to Wittenberg to teach so that. Basically you know teach the Word of God and Luther says How can I teach the Word of God when I don't have an experience worth sharing and the guy looked back at him and said we preach best what we need to learn most and that's my experience hopefully with this this morning I preach best but I learned this the most of all so hopefully it will be a blessing let's pray Dear Father in heaven we just want to thank you Lord for this opportunity to be here at this conference Lord for this agriculture Lord I just pray that my testimony. That you have led me on through agriculture through this experience might touch hearts that it might transform a stone it might connect us with the power that you desire for us to have in our lives in your name we ask Amen. So a few weeks ago I woke up in the middle of the night and I had a pain in my chest radiating out very painful and my stomach was in knots. You see I had just returned from the G Y C conference and we are in the process of starting a very small farm and there is a lot of work involved in that. And the time for planting is coming very close and there is a lot to accomplish and coming back from from G Y C I knew that the work was awaiting me at home OK and when I got home I started kind of writing a list and the list overwhelms me currently right now of everything that needs to be accomplished for this season to take place. Though I got stressed and anxious and worried I knew why I woke up in the middle of the night with my chest hurting it was because of anxiety it was some sort of panic attack I guess you could say and I said Lord why why am I having this experience seems like Alan you know why. I like being down here with you guys but. You can't OK Well we'll be up here again he's like you know why you know these conversations that go on back and forth. In your mind said why why Lord why he's like come on Allan don't don't be so don't be so. Dumb Yes thank you you know why he says The thing is that if this farm doesn't pull off the way you think it should it's going to hurt your pride. You don't care about your customers you don't care about your family you only care about yourself. And that's why you're stress the thing is Alan the reality of the matter is is that your value and what you consider is important if your personal worth is can. Is connected with your performance you're not allowing me to set your value you're trying to protect it yourself OK very sobering and of course that didn't help me sleep either exactly but it's important and and so I started doing a little bit of introspection. And I can remember another time when I had this things id feeling in my life I can distinctly remember being a ten year old or a nine year old in Sabbath school and being asked to read a Scripture and being very nervous You see I was not a very good reader and I felt like I mean there were other people other young people in our church younger than mine me you know five six that were reading beautifully and I could not add up to that standard and so whether it was whether it was expressed directly or it was taken through osmosis from the surroundings we all learned at a very young age at least from this world that our value is in proportion to our performance and we will do anything to protect our value and so some of us it makes us angry some of us makes us upset some of Us Makes Us Bitter we have resent meant because we have taken on what God never intended us to take on. You see. This doesn't just start in our childhood started a long time ago actually the first time anyone really had a problem with this as far as humans are concerned it was up the tree of the Knowledge of Good of evil what was the temptation God came to so I not God the devil came to Eve and he said Did God not really say that you should eat of this tree because he knows in the day that you eat of your I will be open and you will be as God as if God was withholding something the thing is that we naturally default to protecting ourselves our values when our relationship with our heavenly Father is in question the thing is that Eve felt like she couldn't trust God to look out for her this is what the deception of the devil This is why it's so powerful is because when arc went when we don't believe that God will take care of us that God will has our best interests in mind that God is where our value resides we have to take that on ourselves but the problem is is that we were never meant to bear the burden of our own value that was something that God wanted to bear for us but unfortunately in the case of our parents that all changed so not only not only did we learn this from childhood from those around us but it's something that we have inherited For centuries the problem with that is that you're born with it and of course this opens an entire new can of worms because when you're born with something kind of stuck with it. But in God's goodness and we all know this he came to set things straight through His Son OK and yes God comes to pardon our past experiences but he comes to eradicate the systemic idea that has that was started out the tree of the knowledge of going to evil as far as humanity is concerned that your performance equals your value that's the problem that is the problem that performance equals value and that our value we and because of that because we have to look out for ourselves therefore we have all these problems. But here's the thing is that I noticed and I know and I have tried as hard as I try to get rid of this self preservation mentality it's impossible humanly speaking impossible I have prayed Lord empty me of this selfishness empty me of this mindset that I am the one responsible for my success my worth my value but it still keeps coming I mean it's so difficult it's so in there so I want to share with you something that my sister and I have been experiencing for the past few months that has been very powerful in this area and it comes back to grace now when we think of grace. Just a second here when we think of grace we think of unmerited favor that's usually what I thought about Grace but in the Bible there's two definitions for Grace OK the first definition of course is unmerited unmerited favor the second though that Paul reflects is something that's called active grace or we like to call active grace and active Grace is the power that God gives us to recover our minds from the deception this deception that that we have to protect ourselves that our value in terms of the comes from our performance this is what I was experiencing on my farm this idea that Lord it if you don't sorry it this season doesn't come off if I can't organize things off this reflects on me as a person and therefore I will look stupid in fullish to my customers to my family all these types of things and so we find in Romans five first twenty one. And this is the principle of act of grace this is where that definition really becomes the power of God to transform our hearts and minds it says As didn't have to rain and to death even so might grace to rain through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord simple enough but let's do a comparison this mindset this mindset of self-preservation this mindset of sin has it been powerful and your existence has been powerful in my existence it's rained in my body this idea that I must protect myself and it has made my life miserable and I know it's made my life miserable because I get up in the morning sometimes and I have an agenda of what needs to happen this day and someone in my family cross that agenda and I'm upset I'm mad that this happens but God has provided as sin has reigned as this concept in our body has reigned powerfully until death so Grace much more on to life and so this is where act of grace comes into play as sit as powerful as sin has been in your life as like Paul says the good that I would I don't and the Will things that I don't want to do that I do Who shall deliver me from this body of death this is what he's talking about the body of the death is this misconception that we've been heritage and that we have learned in this world that somehow our performance translates to our value OK that's the body that every sin comes out of this misconception Why do you think you are so popular it's because it makes people feel good because they're not feeling good because they're not making it up in some certain area why do you think that depression and and suicide that we heard I heard about and prayer we are praying for this young lady this morning that she was suicidal The problem is that that comes from people that have lost the value of God in their life they they've lost the concept that God has their best interest and there they have lost hope but if our hope is in ourselves we have no hope. But if our hope is in Christ we have everything and so it comes so practical in our experience this this grace now so as sin has reigned as this concept of self preservation as this concept of value and in trying to preserve our own worth has been powerful in our life Grace God's act of grace will reign much more in the opposite direction you think about bad Justin has controlled your life Grace can control it much more the other way but how do we get this act of grace how do we how do we receive it. I'm going to share a little story here I'm a sinner OK I think everyone recognizes that and I want to be saved from this mindset and I was talking to my sister one day and I said Lord I said Lord who I guess well you know. I'm like Aubrey I'm really discouraged because I've prayed for the Lord for deliverance from a particular sin and he hasn't answered me and God says if we ask just isn't it God's will that we be free from this mindset Therefore if we actually according to His will will he give it to us right that's the promise and more I've been asking I've been asking I've been asking for years. And I haven't had deliverance and this causes and so you start asking these questions in your mind is that just God not want me to be delivered is God doesn't care about my situation why is he not answering I asking why is he not answering and says Well Allan how are you asking and I said well I get on my knees and I say Lord please deliver me from this Lord I don't want to have this problem or please deliver me she's like you're asking all wrong I said What do you mean she says Alan you're asking for something that you consider hasn't happened yet. The reality is that Grace has already happened it's alive and well you need to reckon that it has already happened and and by faith live as though it has happened and this is what Paul says why Kweisi reckon he also yourselves as dead indeed and to stand but alive and to God through Christ Jesus Christ our Lord let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body that you should obey it in the last thereof needle neither Guild your members as instruments of unrighteousness and descend but yield yourself and to God as those that are alive from the dead and your members as instruments of righteousness under God for sensual not have dominion over you this is what we read before as Dan has reigned so Grace much more but look in what it says here for sin shall not have dominion over you this is the promise for you are not under the law but under grace. OK this is a powerful and it's very important that we understand that grace can work in this capacity I'm not saying that Grace does not work as unmerited favor there are definitions there are context in the Bible where that is how it works but there are other contexts where that definition just does not add up like the ones I previously mentioned the correlation is this equals this ass and has reigned so Grace will reign as sin has had the men in your life so Grace will have the same it's the same replacement So how does this work so back to the bedroom and the pain in the. OK. Lord. You know that selfishness is the reason why I'm stressed because I don't want to look stupid and I have this feeling in my heart that I need to somehow preserve my value in front of in front of my family and front of my customers or do you know that that I was a human being value and having worth is very fundamentally important to me. But I know that I try to take on preserving my own value I will fail and Lord it seems very dark right now and I can't see even now I'm saying this as personal present now lord I cannot see how everything will be accomplished for this season to take place this year there's just too much humanly possible. But Lord I choose I reckon that your grace is sufficient and I choose to rather look as a fool to my customers than to try to take upon myself the responsibility of my own value and miss out on the power in the grace that you desire to have the opportunity to reveal in my life the pain started to receive and melted away it's amazing how practical challenging your experience with the reality of the Word of God If Grace is this powerful we need to reckon it as it is so. Our experience a life what we see needs to be reckoned by what we cannot see because it's the power of the Word of God that framed the world in seven days as the same power that misses wife says it's as an atmosphere that we can choose to breathe it's as free as what we breathe right now it's that available to our experience this power is so tangible it's so there but many times we pretend we act as though it never happened you know I was praying one night over an experience and trying to go through this reckoning the Lord gave me this analogy this kind of goes back to the difference between asking asking Lord please deliver me and reckoning as if so I was there as Lord. I'm praying about this and I said Lord I reckon that your grace is sufficient in the situation I give to my value but I know I need this transformation of heart because I come from a line of doubters and skeptics from Adam and Eve I need this power and I had this this sensation of there was this things a battery is just a whole pack of batteries like standing next to it was it it's as if I could just touch out and receive that power that grace to transform so a few more practical examples a lot of stories this morning we with Larry Michel it was a blessing we were able to give our preconference intensive on market farming and I had work several weeks on slides and Abra had to work several several days on perfecting the slides and making them look beautiful. And the night before we were going to give the presentations obvious like hey Allan I just finished them up while you come through let's go through I'm. Sure great they're done praise the Lord so she hooks in her hard drive and sign comes up on the screen corrupted drive we lost every single presentation. So. Now we have a choice. And my God allowed grace to speak its truth into my experience or might allow my experience to put me into preservation mode and therefore go down the road to other problems. And so it was about one o'clock in the morning and Aubrey's trying to restart this drive and I can see the computer light come on in the middle of the room in the dark shines in the room and then it goes off and it comes one hundred yen she says she's trying her hardest to save to get these files it's not working. I said Lord I would rather look as a school in front of these people that have come to this conference. And not have beautiful slides than to miss out on the experience that you want to have for me your grace is available I choose to reckon my experience as something already one you have already taken care of the situation Lord you have foreseen this problem I allow your Grace to speak its power into my existence here and I will not worry I will not fret for you are with me I was able to sleep. And my sister and this is the real. This is the real tragedy is because I already was there trying to store this computer at night. And what is she worried about she worried about the presentations to which she sang. What is going to say when he knows that I can't recover these because she knows she knows how I have been in the past she knows that I would have been very bad would tell God's grace. If. People talk allow the grace of God to fill our hard lives our families are afraid of us because they don't know what to expect. And to think that my sister. Was afraid of my reaction I just used or. What about the holy other times that I never was cognizant of this grace available. Lord. Or preserve me. From not allowing your Grace to be relevant in my life. And by God's grace she said Look whether Alan's mad whether we lose these things I choose to reckon this experience by the power that God has for us and we will get through this whether we look as fulls God will provide. And she was able to sleep by God's grace as well and the Lord did provide and those that went to our class by God's grace you didn't see really any difference. He provided he provided. Reckon yourselves dead to send and the live to God for His Grace is a vailable for us. One last story and then I'll be done. The story goes there was two young men but the last name of Wesley John and Charles was really. Interesting actually they started the Methodist movement. Which actually Mrs White was a Methodist before she came and I haven't this which is quite interesting. I think it's interesting how that sometimes these things chain up. They were embarking upon a venture. To go to Savannah Georgia to bring the Gospel to the heathens of Savannah and the Indians of the Americas during that trip something started in Wesley's mind that transformed his ministry and his life there after he was in the ship. And amazingly out that same time there was a group of Moravian Christians traveling transiting the antic ocean with him and of course this is the several week trip at that point and it takes a lot and you're stuck with these people on a very very small wooden decile OK and it's very treacherous because storms can blow up at any time but in the great controversy. Mrs White actually writes about this experience which I find fascinating she says and she quotes Wesley there saying something to the effect and I'm paraphrasing. The Moravian Christians were a mystery to me. They took on the responsibilities on the ship that no other Christian or the English would they were constantly barrage it and pestered by the other passengers pushed around and thrown but they got up and walked away without any type of retaliation when they were when they did the humblest task they were asked why they would do that and they said that it was good for their proud hearts and that their savior had done more for them than they could ever do for him anyways a storm came up during the experience the main cell was split in two and cracked the top of the deck and the water started coming in during exiting actually one of the kind of worship service of the Moravians he states that the English in the ship started screaming that he himself was worried for his own life and said that he was not ready to die the Moravians though he said this was our final test for them to see if they were not free from. It they said that because of their experience they had already proven themselves that they were afraid of pride but now were they freed from the fear of death so the split open when the rain comes and the English starts the English passengers start screaming and the Arabians sing on as though there was not a storm. He asked one of them afterwards were you not afraid and he says I praise God I was not he says what about your women and children where they are so I What about your out women children where they have prayed he says no they were not we praise God for that you see Mr Wesley We are not afraid of death. And at that moment he realized that they had a Christian experience that he had nothing to compare. That he had been trying to work and to rest at work out his own salvation and sometimes if we do not accept the grace of God the power of grace in our lives we are just as the same trying to work an impossibility that God never meant for us to have to do I've read that story great controversy several times and quite honestly I felt very similar to Wesley an Adventist with the truth without the power thereof. Maybe some of you. And I'm not saying that I haven't a perfect perfect experience yet but maybe some of you are just as I am or as I was. A Wesley in on a Moravian ship desiring an experience that you just don't have. I commend to you God's grace I commend you his power I commend to you this power that it can speak into your existence and become reality. And this is why we can say with confidence that there is no excuse for sin there would be excuse for Senate this power wasn't available because then it would be a trying to say in accomplishing a possibility but with God's power with his empowering grace our sin has reigned so Grace much more there is no excuse there is no excuse brother we have the power it is there in my prayer for you is that you would allow it to speak its reality its power and sheer existence into your farms because without it you're going to be a miserable farmer I can promise you that right now there are things that you will come up against whether you are farming now or you will be farming there are things that you are going to come up against but if you try to preserve yourself if you try to take on this responsibility that God's grace is the only thing I can take on you are going to be a miserable person it will be a living hell Hale. God wants something better something better for us this is something that no conventional regular non-Christian farmer can experience it's a peace that passes all the years but spread. To your Father in Heaven Lord you have provided the gasoline you have provided the electricity to run our spiritual experience. Lord we pray for forgiveness of not taking advantage of such free a gift as you have provided we by your Grace dear father desire to reckon our experiences by the reality of your empowering word and Lord by your grace we reckon that we are dead to send in alive to Christ a life alive to God through Jesus Christ our Lord Lord we know that you desire for us to be free from sin from selfishness from this now living an idea that our performance is somehow correlates with the value that we have. Board we pray for forgiveness we pray for your grace to empower us because. 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