08.17.2022

"Expand My Territory"

Wednesday, August 17, 2022
Featuring: Rev. Richard Rogers
Week #6 of the 7-week series, "7 Prayers That Will Change Your Life"

Click HERE to view Rev. Rogers' guided meditation during the service.

So I've been doing this series on "7 Prayers That Will Change Your Life." And one of the things I absolutely believe is that prayer does change our lives. [Addresses sound technician]: Will you turn me down just a little bit? Because I'm just about to get excited. [Congregation laughs] And if I start that loud, I have no place to go!

I truly believe! And I also believe that, with all that's going on in the world right now, we need to spend more time in prayer. That we have too many times in our lives where we're running too close to empty, and it doesn't make sense. It doesn't work for us. And we know when we're running too close to empty, because we get cranky and short and, you know, jealous ... and all of our favorite qualities.

And over and over again, I've wanted to share these prayers because I know that, if you pick any one of them -- pick all of them! -- but to try them for a week. Try these prayers for a week and see if they don't make a difference in your life.

Because with all things spiritual, I don't want you to have to just take my word for it. I want you to put it to the test. I want you to actually try it! Does it work? Does it work for you? Does it make sense to you? Do you feel better?

And I believe that when prayer is a daily part of our lives, we feel better. And I know the major reason that most of us don't spend more time in prayer is because our ego tells us we're too busy. "Like, I'm too busy for that! I only do things that actually move my life forward."

Well, I believe that prayer is the thing! Like, if you're running out of gas -- if you don't feel like you have the energy to get through your day -- you're not spending enough time in prayer. You're not allowing God to fill you up.

So we began with "Let There Be Light." And then we went to "Thy Will Be Done." We talked about "Peace; Be Still" and "Be Ye Transformed." And then last week we did one of my favorites: "All That the Father Has is Mine."

And today we're going to talk about "Expand My Territory." Because I believe that we have this opportunity. And we get to decide, moment after moment after moment: How big do we want to live?

And so my question for you tonight is: How big are you willing to live?

Because for some of us ... How many of you were raised in a household that taught you not to be too big for your britches? [Congregation laughs] Right? So there's this belief that we have -- this human condition -- that says if you get too big for your britches, it's somehow like an ego state or an ego condition. That you're going to get too full of yourself. And some families spend a lot of time making sure that their children don't get too full of themselves. But really what happens is -- for most of us, anyway -- we don't really find out how big we were created to be.

And tonight I'm going to challenge you to play with the capacity of your soul. Because you know one of the things I teach over and over again is: The soul only does one of two things. It either expands or it contracts. That's all it does! The soul expands: it holds more God; it holds more love; it holds more light; it hold more peace; it holds more joy. Or it contracts.

And many of us are more comfortable when we're in the contraction. How many of you can think of a time in your life -- in the presence of fear. The idea is, "If I get small enough, nobody can see me ... or nobody can hurt me. Like, I'm going to get small enough, and it's just somehow going to be better.” And that is a solid human expectation: that smallness equates to safety.

And I want you to see tonight that that's in no way spiritually true. That your soul is at its best when it's expanding to hold more God. Your soul is its least powerful; least attractive; least everything when you're in that moment of contraction. That our ego us tells us that we're going to be safe if we get small enough; it's just never, ever true. Never, ever, ever! Like, I rarely say things are never, ever true. This is never, ever true! Like, can I say that one more time? I want to make sure you all heard it! It is never, ever true that it is better for you to be small. It is never, ever true for you to be contracted. It is never, ever true that it's better for you to be less than. Never, ever!

Because what that does: It actually denies the fullness of God. That statement that it's better for you to be small says, "I'm in a better position when there's less God within me." Is that ever, ever, ever true? No!  And so we have to begin to reset the mindset that says smallness is safety. Because smallness is not safety; smallness is a position of weakness. It is less than.

I want you to hear what I'm saying today, and I want you to be willing to expand to hold more God; more love; more joy; more abundance than you've ever held before. And no matter what life is bringing you, to realize that your soul's capacity is to be bigger than that.

I want you to think of a problem in your life. Does everybody have at least one? Right? Now if you took a piece of paper and you wrote how big that problem is to you -- feels to you. Right? And you say, "Look, this problem feels this big to me." And then I would say, "Well, how big in comparison to that problem do you feel?" You'd say, "Well, I feel about that small." Is that a problem? Yes! Right? When the problem feels bigger than you are, that is a problem! By definition, it's a problem!

But your soul has this infinite capacity for expansion!  We keep wanting to change the problem. The problem is never the problem! The problem is that you're too small for the problem!

So what we need to be working on over and over again, is if you were this big, is the problem a problem anymore? No! Because you're now bigger than the problem! Over and over again, I want you to see that, if you feel smaller than the issues or the problems in your life, that's a problem. The problem's not the problem; your smallness is the problem! And over and over again, as your soul is willing to expand ...

Because what I want you to see is that life brings problems to you not to take you out, but to invite you to expand. So over and over again, I want you to challenge yourself and say, "In this moment, am I bigger than that situation? In this moment, am I bigger than this need? In this moment, am I bigger than this reality?"

Because that's where we're truly doing greater, deeper, more wonderful spiritual work. It's not trying to get the problem smaller, but to get you bigger. Once you realize that your soul has this capacity for infinite expansion -- your soul has this infinite elasticity -- it can be huge! And the reason your soul has this infinite capacity for expansion is because there's no limit in God!

I want you to see that that's now your model for everything in life. Right? That no matter what the problem is, I want you to see that you've been preloaded for infinite capacity. And I want you to begin to scoff – Ha! -- at your problems. Because the power of God in you is greater than that.

See, until we really begin to internalize our true capacity, we keep trying to solve problems from an intellectual point of view. And I'd like to suggest tonight that every problem comes into your life for one purpose only: so that you'll expand and become bigger than that. And over and over and over again, as you kind of check in with you, you get to see, "Oh; I'm confronting this situation or I'm living in this moment or I'm in this conflict simply because I won't become bigger than this situation."

Now how many of you can think of a time when you weren't enjoying your conflicted or your contracted self? Has anybody noticed their own crankiness at one point in your life? Now when you're in your crankiness, do you feel expanded? Or contracted? Like, your crankiness is a sign that you're playing life too small.

Now when you see possibilities; when you're in a moment of faith; when you can just see infinite possibilities, are you expanded or contracted in that moment? Expanded! Like, you get to decide, moment after moment, how you greet life: from a contracted place or an expanded place.

And what I want you to see is: Prayer takes you to an expanded place. It does! It does, over and over again! And I believe that all the people that we think of as spiritual or as holy or divine: those people have expanded to the point where their humanity becomes so transparent that all you see is God. And I believe that that's possible for each and every one of us. Now when we contract, and we get into our ugliness ... you know, we still have the same capacity. We're just not using it.

So our prayer for tonight -- and for this week -- is "EXPAND MY TERRITORY."

Will you say that with me? [With congregation]: "Expand my territory!"

I'm reading a book on leadership. It's one of the topics I enjoy. And in this book on leadership, it says that a great leader expands in moments of crisis while the average person withdraws in fear. And we can think about those individuals in history or those individuals in our life -- those people that have been great leaders in our life -- and we watch them in the moment of crisis, in the moment of greatest need; they do not contract. And most of us, in our moment of greatest need, get so afraid we contract. But great leaders in their moment of crisis expand to become bigger than the situation. And they lead from that place. That’s who we’re created to be!

Abraham Hicks said it this way, "The whole point of the physical experience is the expansion beyond that which is."

I want you to hear that, right? The whole point of the physical experience is to expand beyond the point of that which is! Like, if you draw a circle for your life right now. Do you feel like this version of your life is bigger than it was a year ago? Is it bigger than it was 10 years ago? If it's not bigger, what I want you to see is: This prayer, "Expand my territory," isn't just about expanding your life ... Because your life will never be bigger than you are. Your life can't be bigger than you are.

Like, sometimes people will say, "Well, I've got a goal that is so much bigger than I am." And I tell people, "Well, then, you're never going to see it." Because you can't create something that's bigger than you are! You actually have to expand to become bigger than the goal; bigger than the desire; bigger than the intention. You have to expand so that you can hold that much good within yourself! Your soul has been designed for that expansion.

So that's where we're going to go. That's what I want to talk about tonight. I want to talk about: How do we do that? How do we expand? Okay?

So the prayer is, "Expand my territory."

So what's the definition of territory? Territory is an area of land under the jurisdiction of a ruler or a state or an area not yet a state. Like, in the United States, we have now 13 territories in the Caribbean, and we have 11 territories in the Pacific. So we have 24 territories in the United States right now, of which Puerto Rico ... Did you know that Puerto Rico is the most populated territory? Alaska, Hawaii were all territories before they became state. Do you know what territory Arizona was a part of before it became a state? Anybody want to take a guess? New Mexico; yes! We have somebody! Yes! Right? And our largest territories were the Missouri territory and the Louisiana territory.

And so when we have an image in our mind of an explorer coming on to new land, and landing a flag in the territory -- in the land -- and saying, "I claim this in the name of the queen or the king or whatever ..." What I want you to see is that I want you to be curious about expanding your territory tonight.

You know, one of the greatest things that we fight about as nations is territory. And over and over again, I want you to be willing to expand your territory.

Now the whole idea of this talk came from the book written in 2000, The Prayer of Jabez: Breaking Through to the Blessed Life. Bruce Wilkinson was the author of it. And it's from 1 Chronicles 4, Verse 10: "Jabez called out to God of Israel, 'If only You would greatly bless me and expand my territory; may Your hand be with me and keep me from harm so I might not endure pain.' And God answered his prayer.”

"If only you will greatly bless me and expand my territory."

And then as I read that, in my Bible there's a footnote at the bottom of this verse that says, "Here the word ‘if only’ begins an oath formula; a full reporting of the oath would have included both the request made to God and then the promise made to God. So Jabez' promise is not recorded here; only that God granted his request. Perhaps Jabez' vow, in return, had not been perceived or passed down from tradition, so the author did not include it. Or perhaps the details were simply less important than the purpose of the book."

So here it is! An oath -- or this oath promise -- is when we say, "Okay, God; this is what I'm requesting and this is what I'm willing to do for it." Right? And when we read in the Old Testament, over and over again, we see individuals who have made that statement; that have created this oath. Right?

In Numbers 21:2 we read this: "Then Israel made the vow to the Lord. If you will deliver these people into my hand, we will totally destroy their cities." Now, that may not be the most positive one, right? But I want you to see the idea that “we will totally destroy their cities” ... I want you to see that the concept ...

How many of you have heard, "To the victor goes the spoils"? Right? So in war -- especially Old Testament, long, long ago -- the idea of when you were victorious, you got what they had. Does that make sense? So whatever they had, you got it. Right? The people became slaves. You know, you took their property; you took their land; you took everything they had.

And what's interesting about this one: in saying that, "we will destroy their cities," it sounds awful. Because it sounds like we're just going to annihilate them off the planet. But what I believe he's really saying is that, "If you save us, we're not going to get rich from it. We're not going to take their stuff. If you save us in this situation, we're going to destroy everything. We're not going to prosper from this victory."

And when we hear from that place, it really changes the meaning. It's like: "If you save us; if you redeem us; if you allow us to move through this situation, then we're not going to prosper. We're not going to take any of it."

In Samuel 1, Hannah says this: "She had made a vow to God saying, 'Lord, God Almighty, if you will look on your servant's misery and remember me, and not forget your servant, but give me a son. Then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall become upon his head.'"

And so Samuel has the contemporary of King Saul, the contemporary of King David. His parents dedicate him to the Lord; he was raised by the priest, Eli. And he was raised in the temple. And it says that Samuel was the last of the judges and the first of the prophets.

And so what I want you to see are: These covenants -- these relationships -- are really powerful.

Genesis 28, Verse 20 and 22, we read Jacob's vow: "Then Jacob made a vow, saying 'If God will be with me and watch over me on this journey that I'm taking, and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear so that I return safely to my father's house, then the Lord will be my God. And this stone that I have set upon this pillar will be God's house. And for all that I am given, I will give a tenth to Thee.'"

You know, some of the most prosperous families that I've met through ministry ... One of the things that they have done is created a tithing oath, or an oath of tithing. And I remember a man talking to me, saying, "Richard, you need to talk more about tithing, because our family, we have made an oath that every time we succeed -- every time we're blessed -- the first tenth goes to where we are spiritually fed." And he said, "You know, where I started in my life was exceedingly humble. We were poor! And now I'm a very prosperous man. And I believe it's because I made this tithe oath. I made this oath to tithe that has transformed my life."

And I want you to see that, as we talk about expanding your territory, I want you to do it from the spiritual point of view. I want you to do it from the center out. But I also want you to realize that this is a demonstration of this commitment that God has made to us. That, as we make a commitment, God fulfills it.

Charles and Myrtle Fillmore, the co-founders of Unity, on December 7, 1892, they wrote their own covenant. They wrote their own dedication. It reads like this:

"We, Charles Fillmore and Myrtle Fillmore, husband and wife, hereby dedicate ourselves, our time, our money, all we have and all we expect to have, to the Spirit of Truth, and through it, to the Society of Silent Unity.

It being understood and agreed that the said Spirit of Truth shall render unto us an equivalent for this dedication, in peace of mind, health of body, wisdom, understanding, love, life and an abundant supply of all things necessary to meet every want without our making any of these things the object of our existence.

In the presence of the Conscious Mind of Christ Jesus, this 7th day of December A.D. 1892.”

One hundred and thirty years ago this December! And Unity today still prospers out of this covenant.

So here's what I want. You ready? I want [laughs] ... Here's what I want. I want you to make your soul's expansion a priority in your life. I want you to look at every issue; every obstacles; every challenge in your life, and tell yourself, "I came into the world to be bigger than this." And no matter how big or how scary the challenges you might be facing in your life right now, I promise you that your soul's capacity is to be infinitely larger than any of them. Any of them!

And as we take our own soul's expansion seriously; as we no longer contract and pull ourselves down into fear; and we allow ourselves to expand, we expand not only our soul, but everything in our life begins to expand in greater and greater ways. And this week, your prayer is, "Expand my territory." Which is really the prayer of, "Expand myself. Expand me! Make me bigger than this. Make me bigger than this need. Make me bigger than this problem. Make me bigger than this challenge. Make me bigger than the life that I've known. Make me bigger than my own drama. Make me bigger than my story. Make me bigger in every way."

And the more you commit to being bigger -- the more you put God first in your commitment to expand -- the more the activity of Spirit lifts you up and moves you into greater and greater good. No matter what the situation is; no matter how overwhelming it sometimes feels, you are here to be more than that.

So take a breath with me, will you? And we're going to do a little prayer right now. And I want you to feel your soul's capacity to expand. Because your soul is just energy. And your soul's capacity can be bigger than it's ever been before!

So take a deep breath. And I want you to feel the nature of your soul. And I want you to feel what it feels like to let your soul go. To allow it to expand to be bigger than it's ever been before. To be bigger than this room. To be bigger than any situation. To be bigger than any moment. To be bigger than any need. To be bigger than any disease. To be bigger than any fear. Your soul has the capacity to overcome everything in life.

Your soul is of God. And there are no limits to God! And as you -- and as we -- move beyond our ego and our doubts and our fears, we play in a much bigger world. We have room for all that God is.

Holy Spirit, expand my territory. Expand my life. Expand my soul. In the name and through the power of the Living Christ, we give thanks. And so it is. Amen.

Copyright 2022 Unity of Phoenix Spiritual Center/Rev. Richard Rogers                                    

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1500 E Greenway Pkwy
Phoenix, AZ 85022
Phone: (602) 978-3200

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