Now, the attitude is very important when I talk about growth. I will tell you why it’s so important. I am not only talking about growth; we like to talk about growth on the outside. We are always looking at that. You know what we pray for all the time? Lord, give us growth. And we are looking around for growth. Like in your small group, “Oh, God, fill it up. Right? Bring the sheep in, Lord. Don’t bring the goats, but just the sheep.” And you are always looking for that to happen and you’re looking for outward growth to take place around you. But you fail to take into consideration something that is very important. You see, outward growth cannot come. You cannot experience outward growth until you experience inward growth. You hear that?

First is the inward growth and then the outward growth will come automatically. God is not going to give you something, even though you fast, and even though you have the zeal, and even though you have enthusiasm, God is not going to give you something that you can’t handle. That is why the leadership here is so very important. If we are going to go into miracle territory, and God is going to take us into another dimension, then it’s important for God’s people to be ready and say, “Man, there’s a willingness. I want to grow on the inside in whatever area of ministry that I am involved in. I want growth.”

Then as you begin to experience growth within yourself, growing on the inside, then all of a sudden, you’ll begin to experience it on the outside. And you know how that happens? By stepping out. Some people do not grow because they never step out. They’re always hiding, “Don’t pick me out. Do not call me. I don’t want to volunteer for nothing.” And there are many reasons with complexes of who knows why the insecurity, feeling of in-adequateness or whatever it may be, but that’s stifles your growth. That stifles your inward growth because the only way that you grow inwardly is as you step out and take one step for God, and then step out and take another step for God. And say, “Lord, I am scared, today, I’m going to step out again and take another step. And Lord, I feel inadequate, but I’ll step out and take another step.”

We need to realize that wherever God leads us, God knows exactly what He’s doing, He has everything under control. If He would ask us to take a giant step, then it is a compliment because He knows that we are ready to be able to take that giant step for God. Now, let me tell you a little bit about growing, you always need to grow in your attitude and also the skills, you develop new skills, new problems come up when you’re facing another dimension of ministry, which requires new solutions, new difficulties and opportunities require again, new skills. And what brought you to success in the past may not take you into success in the future. You hear me? What brought you to the success that you now have does not necessarily mean that it’s going to be able to take you to success in the future.

The root behind resistance and change is fear. And unwillingness to change is a lack of faith. Now, I have been challenged over and over again, and I just pray that… My prayer is this, you know what? I do not want to bottleneck the ministry. And I got heavy conviction about this, the day that I feel that I am in the way, I want to take myself out of the way. Today, if I feel that I’m not growing and keeping up with what God is doing on a worldwide scope, on a worldwide basis, then I’ll say, “No, God, I’m going to step out and let somebody else step in.” Because if I do not, I’ll bottleneck the ministry. And there are people that do just that, they stop developing. And the moment you think you have learned it all, “This is my ministry.” Then you are finished. Ecclesiastics 10:10 says, “If the ax is dull and the edge is unsharpened, more strength is needed, but skill will bring success.”

You may be dedicated, but if you are not developing new skills and you’re not growing annually, then you may be bottle-necking. If you do not watch out your ministry or whatever you’re doing may outgrow you and you become the bottleneck within that particular area of ministry. Now, let me just say this before I move on to the other point. You know how I challenge myself in growth? I tackle things that are just impossible for me. And I do not know. God is a mind-blower, He puts me in situations that I say, “God, please don’t do that.”

Now, think about it for a moment. Not only am I involved in all of the Victory Outreach, overseeing all of the Victory Outreach ministry, but even to add to that, for a number of years, for over 10 years, I’ve the President of all American TV network, which has five… We have five stations around the country. And we were comfortable with the five stations around country. We knew how to do it now and we had it all together organizationally, and just recently God dropped the bomb on us. All of a sudden, He gives us a station in Hawaii. I said, “All right, well, Hawaii, not too bad. I go out there every once in a while, and check it out. Not a bad place to check it out.” I say this, “Lord, I think you’re right on, Lord. I got to flow with you.” But shortly after that, you know what He did? He dropped another five stations that brings our network, the television network to 11 full-power television station.

And I am still trying to figure out, “God, how am I going to do that?” We have staff and all these different people out there and not Victory Outreach folk, either brother, they are a whole different mentality of people. And all of a sudden, God is saying, “Well, if I gave it to you, you got to do it. You can do it.” Or what do I do? I have a choice. Either I back out and say, “No, Lord, you are making a mistake, man. No, Lord. No, I’m not going do it.” And I start rebelling, and I am not obedient to what God wants. You know what happens? I begin to stifle the growth that God wants to bring within my life.

So, what do I do? I say, “Okay, God, you must know what you’re doing. I hope you know what you are doing. I do not know, but you know what you are doing. So, if it is your will, then I’m going to go ahead and I’m going to dive into it.” And I have seen it over and over again that God always pulls you through. This is why it’s important for us to have the mentality of growing. Getting bigger on the inside, begin to work on the inside. You have been praying too long for the outside and you have not been concentrating on the inside, concentrate on the inside and the outside is going to come.

First, you have to visualize what your dream is and have it already on the inside, and then the reality will take place on the outside. So, we need to grow.

Secondly, and then one more and we are going to close this thing. The second thing is not only growth, but also, it is important for us to keep focus. Now, a lot of people start the race, but they do not finish it. And I think God wants us all to be a finisher. Finish it.

I knew you will understand that. There are too many rankers, man. Start something, do not quit. Too many quitters you need to be a finisher. Thank God for finishers. But the problem with this is that the devil is always trying to distract us. We start out on the right track and we have a vision, we have a mission, and then all of a sudden, we begin to get involved with many things instead of being involved in one thing.

See, the enemy is always trying to pull us, even in good things, he tries to pull us away, and not even necessarily sin, but areas that’ll take you away from what God wants you to do. The apostle Paul, well, he was powerful, and the reason why he was effective was because he said, “This is one thing I do.” He says, “I know my mission. I know what God called me and got a hold of me in Damascus Road, and I am going to die doing what God called me to do. I’m not going to be sidetracked or diverted, I’m not going to be distracted.” And so easily, I see God’s people get distracted. See, when you get distracted from your purpose in life, this is where people begin to fall. And this is where the problems begin to come in. Because as soon as you get distracted from what God wants you to do, you stop growing. And once you stop growing, you are at a standstill and then you are opening yourself as a target for the enemy to pick you off.

We have that within the word of God. We have the example of David, what happened to David when he should have been in the front line? What did he do? He was not where he was supposed to be, and he went ahead and fell. He lost touch with the people on the front line. So, it is important then that we do not get distracted. And let me tell you the areas that can sometimes distract us. Good things distract us. And I have seen it in church. Well, there’s somethings, first of all, many times, business, which is good, we have a business, then the devil starts really making that business grow. You say, “God is blessing me. Yeah.”

Sometimes the devil is behind it, making it explode so that this way it takes you away more and more and your priority instead of the priority of being God, all of a sudden, the priority becomes the business. I believe we need to put God first and include God within our business. And then there are personal promises, always promises are going to be coming up. Now, I am going to tell you this, if you are going to be involved in doing anything for God, you better expect problems. Problems should not stop you from doing what God has called you to do, you need to be able to learn to live with problems.

Some people want to be problem-free and they want to be in ministry for their life. I mean, I do not think… That mentality. “I’m serving God. So, I’m going to be problem-free.” It does not work that way. You are going to have problems, and people problems and all kinds of problems, and devil is going to come at you. He is going to try to scare you like a roaring lion. As soon as you begin to step out, he is going to come like a roaring lion and try to intimidate and scare you. What do we have to do it? But if we have it in our minds and say, “This is part of the territory, man.” If we understand that it is part of the territory, then let the problems come. I expected them anyhow. And God is greater than any problem.

Let me give you just one more that touches home, marriage and family. It sounds really nice. Doesn’t it? Now, let me tell you, I am not against the family. Don’t go out there and say, “You know what? He does not believe in the family, man. That is cool, Pastor Sonny.” I believe in the family, but there is a whole lot of people that hide behind the family. All of a sudden they find excuses, “I got to spend quality time. I cannot do anything for God. Nothing for God because I got to spend quality time with my family.”

Now, I believe in spending quality time, I am not against that. I believe the bible speaks about that. The bible does speak about spending quality time, the bible says, “If you’re going to neglect your household, you’re worse than an infidel.” That is what the bible says. But there is also another scripture. There is another scripture. And you know what that scripture says? “Seek ye first, my wife. Seek ye first, my children, my home.” What does it say?

Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all things will be added unto you.” You know what that means seek ye first the kingdom of God? It means that you are focused on Jesus. And if you are focused on Jesus and you will walk in with Jesus then there is going to be a balance within your life. He’s going to come first, and at the same time, there’s not going to be neglecting of your family, you’re going to take your family, take it before the altar of the Lord, you’re going to trust and believe God, and God is going to favor you and give you grace. And God is going to answer your prayer. Because you have put Him first within your life.

And some people there that is they find excuses, man. They lose the vision, no more soul saving, no more evangelism, no more involvement in the church. All because now my ministry is my family. Now, sure, the ministry should be your family, but I believe God has something else to be too within the body. God’s family. Have you put God first? Believe me, put God first. Not at the expense of neglecting your home, but put Him Lord of your life, and you will begin to see that everything else, everything else, I said, everything else is going to follow. No man, having put his hand to the plow and look back is fit for the kingdom of God. Amen.

And then let me just give you one example that I… one of the things that I do, and I suggest to you to do it. You want to stay with the cutting edge? You want to put God first? Do you want to do that? Put God first. You want to stay away from a life that is not dedicated to God? I will tell you what you do. You just throw yourself out at the mercy of God. What I mean by that, that I have found that what keeps me in shape and what keeps me in tune is when all of a sudden, I begin to step out on God. And as I step out on God, then I begin to see that God is able to bring me through. In other words, I tackle things that I cannot do it by myself. I take projects and I tackle projects that they could only be realized because of God.

When you begin to do that, then you are not easily distracted because you know that it is a do or die situation and you need God within your life. And then last of all, is also we got to be careful of becoming complacent and self-satisfied. And I think this is something that is important for us to always, like I said, be depending upon God. It is easy to come to a plateau in our relationship with God, very easy. And sometimes the plateaus are enjoyable. I am not always…. There is sometimes when I come, and I am able to rest in a plateau for a little while.

See, plateaus are enjoyable experience, they provide opportunity to look back where God has brought you from, but plateaus can also be dangerous. God’s people are falling into sin when they get caught up in looking at their past experience and lose the burning desire to move forward. You could be in a plateau for a little while, but do not let yourself lose the burning desire of moving forward. Once you stop moving forward, then you begin to move backwards. Israel needed to be reminded that plateaus of achievement are not permanent stopping places, they are steppingstones or springboards to greater accomplishments for God. There is nothing more tragic than to see God’s people fail to keep in step with God.

Now, you may be in a plateau, and if you have been in a plateau, then enough is enough. Some of you may have been in a plateau for a long time and you are coasting. And if you are coasting, then you are not going to go up, you are going down. Coast zones are gone downward. But God wants us to take giant steps for Him, He wants us to move forward. And believe me, I could sense it, God wants to do some great and mighty things within our church. This is just the beginning.

You see, we had a packed house in the first service, we have a packed house in this service, this is just the beginning of what God wants to do, He’s positioning us and getting us ready for the next giant move that we are going to be making. He is preparing his leadership, He’s moving in our lives, He’s beginning to instill faith inside of us so that we could begin to step out and keep in step with what God wants us to do.

I have another brother, Ray, brother Ray had been in New York, one of the worst ghettos, one of the worst ghettos in New York in the Bronx. Really heavy ghetto, in fact, they look so sophisticated that one day we are going to go to the ghetto in New York. I knew what they were walking into. And doubting me, I said, “Are you sure you want to go there?” And then I said, “All right, well, go forward.” And then I said, “They don’t know what they’re getting themselves into.” And when I went over there, I saw them over there and I saw them in the ghetto, in the South Bronx.

That is the anointing. And I go over there, and I see them, and I was expecting for them to say, “Man, this is rough.” “Oh, we love it here.” I say, “You do?” “Yeah, we love it here.” Well, they were there for a period of time. They come back. As soon as they come back, they say, “Pastor, we’re ready for marching orders. Where do you want to send us? Is there any place we could go?” And Julie came up and says, “We need somebody in Rio de Janeiro to work with the children of the street.” They say, “We are ready to go.” They are going and getting their papers and getting ready. We got people like that

We have people in this church that are saying, “I want to step out on God. I want to make a difference within the world. I want my life to make a difference. I want to be used of God.” We have people like that within this church. Now, not everybody is going to be going to places like that, but I believe with all my heart that every one of us… We all have our part. Some of it may be big, some of it may be small, but every one of us, we have something to do. There is an assignment that God has given to every one of us. And if somehow, you have been on a plateau and you have been drinking pina colada, just kicking back, then God is telling you, “Hey, man, the cloud is moving.” Begin to move with the cloud or else you are going to be left behind. And I know you do not want to be left behind.

I feel God speaking to people. I feel God stirring up people. There are people here that are being stirred up by the Holy Spirit, and then God is saying, “I want to use you. I want to touch your life.” “I don’t want to be left behind. I want to be in moving a step with God.”