Sunday 31 August 2014
“You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself….And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a Holy nation…” (Exodus 19:4-6).
“As an eagle stirs up its nest, hovers over its young, spreading out its wings, taking them up, carrying them on its wings, so the LORD alone led him, and there was no strange god with him. He made him ride in the heights of the earth, that he might eat the produce of the fields; he made him draw honey from the rock” (Deuteronomy 32:11-13).
I congratulate the Youth of HAC on a successful 2014 conference whose theme is tilted, FLYING ON EAGLES’ WINGS. I imagine that the Speakers who featured before me have spoken a lot on the theme of the conference. Therefore, my task and approach this morning will be different; it is simply to relate the theme of the conference to the vision of He’s Alive Chapel, and to help the Youth understand their place and role in advancing the vision and mission of the Church.
To do this effectively, I intend to highlight and relate the characteristics of the Eagle to the vision and mission of He’s Alive Chapel. The Eagle has been a bird of interest and study over the centuries. Like the lion is the king of the forest, the eagle has supremacy over other birds in the air. Eagles are birds that symbolise strength, elegance, power and transcendence. Some nations and institutions have adopted the image as their symbol because of the characteristics of the eagle.
Eagles have amazing characteristics which we can relate to the vision of the Church. But before we make this comparison, let us note what God said in Exodus 19:4-6, to the children of Israel a few months after they had just come out of Egypt. “You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.”
In the above text, God uses the imagery of ‘eagles’ wings’ to describe how he delivered Israel from the afflictions of Egypt to the safety of where they were. Then he adds, “…and brought you to Myself.” The whole purpose of this conference is to bring us closer to God. God wanted Israel to be close to him so that He could make them a “special treasure” and “a kingdom of priests.” Youth who want to fly on the wings of eagle must seek to have intimate relationships and fellowship with Christ. The pursuit of Christ must be paramount. The vision and mission of any Church must be Christ-centred, to know and serve Christ. We must point men and women to Christ. Aside of Christ nothing matters.
Now, what are the characteristics of an eagle and how do they relate to the vision of the Church? First, eagles have very outstanding vision (Job 39:27-30). The vision of an eagle distinguishes it from many other birds. It is said that an eagle is able to spot very well hidden potential prey from a long distance because of its vision. He’s Alive Chapel youth must possess vision. They must have a vision for their personal lives and also understand the vision of the church. That is to say, they must understand the strategic direction of He’s Alive Chapel. The strategic direction of HAC is summed up in our mission statement thus: “HAC is committed to Evangelism, Church Planting, Discipleship, Missions and Spiritual Warfare.”
Eagles possess power, strength and tenacity. What other way can a Christian gain power, strength and become tenacious other than through prayer and the power of the Holy Spirit? Prayer is the believers’ armour and strength. Prayer is one cardinal aspect of the vision of He’s Alive Chapel. Youths who want to fly on eagles’ wings must have a desire to grow in spiritual strength and power. Isaiah 40:29-31 states how we can grow in power and strength;
“He gives power to the weak,
And to those who have no might He increases strength.
30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary,
And the young men shall utterly fall,
31 But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint”
As we wait on the Lord he will renew us with strength send power. A praying church is a strong church. Jesus prayed for power and strength. He taught his disciples to be a praying community. Youth who desire to be strong like the eagle must identify with the Church’s prayer ministry. We are currently on a One Year prayer project titled Prayer Surge. Youths should identify with this initiative.
The eagle is also a tenacious bird. The tenacity of the youths must be demonstrated in the involvement in missions and evangelism which are core areas of the vision of HAC.
The eagle is a high flyer. The eagle’s resilience is appreciated during a storm. While other birds avoid the storm, the eagle takes advantage of it. It soars taking advantage of the storm. Those who want to fly high on eagles’ wings must aim to fly high in the things of God. To fly high in Christ one must love God and must be a God chaser. High flyers depend of the Holy Spirit to lift them to the height God wants them to attain in life (Habakkuk 3:19; Deuteronomy 32:10-13; Isaiah 58:14; Psalm 91:14). In this age, motivational teachers want us to trust in our ability to reach the top. They urge us to aspire to great heights in our desires, plans and vision, but much of their discourse is self-centred and steeped in human wisdom. Any height we try to attain without God is doomed to failure. It is God who strengthens us to do all things (Philippians 4:13). Youth the world over are known to be filled with great ideas, some attainable and others mere illusion. Sometimes, these ideas are void of God and outside his will for our lives. Today, not many youths want to devout their time to full time service of God. They all want to be millionaires and to “make it.” Youth must acknowledge that God’s will is the best for them.
The eagle is a disciplined bird. It does not eat dead meat. That is to say, it does not scavenge. Youths who want to fly on eagles’ wings must not be spiritual scavengers. They must eat healthy spiritual food. They must watch what they feed on. They must avoid spiritual ‘junk’ food. These days, there are lots of spiritual garbage peddled under the name of the prophetic ministry. Many Christians and youth in particular are easily drawn to these prophetic teachings where so called dreams and visions are seen for them instead of focusing on sound teachings on the word of God.
Another characteristic of the eagle relevant to our vision is the nurturing process. Eagles take time to nurture their young ones and teach them how to fly. Through this training process the young eaglets becomes independent. Moses explains this nurturing process in Deuteronomy 32:11;
“As an eagle stirs up its nest,
Hovers over its young,
Spreading out its wings, taking them up,
Carrying them on its wings”
To bring the young eaglet to maturity the mother eagle takes the eaglet for a compulsory ‘’how to fly’ training session. The young eaglet is taken to a height and dropped. As the eaglet flutters and tries to land on the ground the mother eagle dives and spreads out its wings to collect the eaglet. Such training process is done repeatedly until the young eaglets feel strong enough to fly on their own and to be independent. To fly on eagles’ wings, youth must subject themselves to a mentoring and discipleship process. Unfortunately not many want to do this today. Many youth feel they know it all when in reality they don’t have the skills for the ministry or skills for survival in life.
The last lesson we can learn from the eagle is why and how it hibernates (Job 39:27-30). “When an eagle grows old, his feathers become weak and cannot take him as fast as he should. He retires to a secluded place far away in the rocks. While there, he plucks out every feather on his body until he is completely bare. He stays in this hiding place until he has grown new feathers, then he cones out.” The simple lesson here is that youths who desire to fly like the eagle must take time to wait on The Lord, to shed old habits for new ones.
In summary, our youth should take time to study the life of the eagle bird. There are lots of lessons they can learn from it which they can apply to their daily living. The youths should excel and show example by being at the fore front of executing the core aspects of the Church’s vision and mission – Evangelism, Church Planting, Discipleship, Missions, and Spiritual Warfare.
Flying on Eagles’ Wings..Arise!