Wednesday Night 2-20-19

Wednesday night teaching 2-20-19

How would you complete this statement?

For my determined purpose is that . . .

-        To live a good life. To be the best person I can be. To live a Christian life and be a good witness. Be a good spouse, parent, person, a good steward of what God has given me.

The Apostle Paul wrote

For my determined purpose is that I may know Him; that I may become more progressively and deeply acquainted with Him and the power of His resurrection and share in His sufferings as to be continually transformed into His likeness, even to His death and resurrection while in my body.”  Phil. 3:10 Amp.

This is why we are here tonight in church. It is why we come to this particular church on Sundays. It is why we get involved to serve. We all know God and we know there is more to know about Him than we presently know. We want to draw closer to Him. WE want to experience and encounter Him in greater measure.

We can’t settle for mediocrity Christianity. We can’t just go through the motions of traditional church like it is our duty. We don’t want dead routine rituals. We want life and abundant life.

          One of the evidences you have encountered God is that you want more than what you have presently.

“Not that I have already attained or have already been perfected, but I follow after it so that I may lay hold of that for which I was seized by Christ Jesus.”  Phil. 4:12

Getting saved, being born again will mess up your life plans.

Ill. When I was first saved at 19 in Marine corps I thought now that I am forgiven I need to show everyone what a Xn is like. I thought my mission was to be the best husband I could be, have the best marriage possible, be the best person I could be. Be the best Marine you can be without the bad language etc. Be good and do good as much as possible.

          While these are worthy goals they were never God’s priority for me. His priority is what Paul discovered and wrote in Phil. 4:10

“For my predetermined purpose is that I may know Him . . .”

I thought I did know Him now that I was saved?

Ill. How many of you married people thought you knew the person you were getting married to but after many years you know that you really did not know each other at the beginning. I am not talking about any negatives I am talking about discovering depths, the heart, the passion in your spouse that you did not know at the beginning. It is a process to really get to know someone.

-        What I knew about God at 19 compared to what I know about Him now is a vast difference. My knowledge of Him was first academic with some experiences. But for years and now it is all relational.

-        Everything that I know about God now comes out of relational learning not just academic.

Ill. Out of USMC to Bible College. My plans were college degree and go back to Marines as Xn officer for all my life, maybe seminary to be a chaplain in the Navy who serves Marine Corps.

“If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.”

Off we go to bible college with this plan of mine that I thought was one God would honor. Many confirming signs revealed it was indeed God’s plan for us to be at this bible college.

“We may make our plans but the Lord determines our steps.” Proverbs 16:9

ill. During the first 2 years I was thinking my degree would be in counseling instead of Biblical ministry. Every year the school had a Sunday designated as share the pulpit Sunday. Students would preach a sermon in a church somewhere. I was asked to speak at a friends small church. I prepared for this one sermon over 30-40 hours of study, reading books, commentaries, etc. On the day I preached it all in about 12 minutes including the invitation.

-        People were kind but I knew I was not a preacher.

I admired good communicators of the gospel in the chapel services at school and I wanted to be one. I studied closely the styles of good preachers. I copied many of their mannerisms and even preached some of their sermons at a few opportunities I was given to supply preach for someone.

-        Pam deserves a medal for being so supportive when we would go to some of these little country churches way out in the middle of Georgia with only a handful of people and no nursery and she had a baby to hold and a two year old to have sit still on the front row while her husband tried to preach the gospel.

-        If you had heard me you would have said to quit preaching and get another vocation because this is definitely not your calling. 

I remember asking God to give me the ability to communicate the gospel well so that the educated man would not be bored and the uneducated man could understand. That has been my goal from then until now. But they way God has answered that prayer has been through years of evolution by walking with Him and learning to be secure and confident in Him and then in Him working in and through me. God loves us to be confident in Him and that He will help us.

I am still a work in progress. We all are and that is why we need to be tender and gracious with each other. We should all hang a sign around our necks that says, “Under construction”.

I like Ruth Graham’s epitaph on her grave stone.

“End of construction. Thank you for your patience!”

          So it is important for us to know what God’s plan for our life is all about. If I had a dollar each time someone asked me,

“What is God’s will for my life?” I would be a millionaire.

The overall answer is God wants us to know Him better than we know Him now. He wants us to move forward in our relationship with Him first and foremost.

He does have plans and purposes for each of us. He knows what we are planning on and yet He knows how to tweak or change our plans to align with His.

Ill. I use to agonize over not knowing what God wanted me to do with my life. I wanted Him to just tell me and then I would get on with it. I was frustrated with Him not revealing His blueprints so I could get on with it. “Why couldn’t I get God to just tell me what to do?”

Obviously we were not on the same page. I wanted to know His plans and He wanted me to know Him better. The answer to finding God’s will for your life is simple – He wants you to know Him in such a way that you know how He says yes, no, or wait.

It is all relational. Guidance from God is the by product of a right relationship with Him, assuming we are learning the lessons of abiding, trusting Him, resting in Him, and being a much loved child.

Is there a specific will of God or is it just a permissive will of God?

Yes! Both. God does have specifics in mind and He also loves freedom so much that He gives you permission to choose in so much of your life.

-        Will you marry or not? Who will you marry?

He will help you and give you guidance but not like a mindless robot.

He will warn you of a bad choice but He will let you choose.

Guidance from God is to come out of a close intimate relationship with God that you initiate daily and personally.

“My sheep (people) know My voice.”

          God wants us to make the right choices. But He wants us to seek His face and not just His hands of blessing. He wants us to seek Him for the shear pleasure of knowing Him.

It is important to learn God moves in 2 ways: Hiddenness and manifestation.

          There are times God reveals Himself or His will in a dramatic manifestation that astounds us.

          Ill. Through a series of dramatic events Pam and I realized we were being called by God to Lake county to a large church youth ministry instead of going on to seminary to become a military chaplain. When necessary God knows how to make His will very clear.

However don’t think finding God’s will always will work this way or else you will become confused.

There are times when God hides from us. It seems like He has moved away, yet He is using this to try to draw us closer into His Presence.

God says in Heb. 13:5 “I will never leave nor forsake you.” So we know god is constantly with us whether we realize it or not. Sometimes He is obvious and other times He is hidden.

Both times He is teaching us something about Him.

In times of hiddenness God is teaching us to walk with Him by faith. He withdraws from our emotions and feelings. He has not left us though is may feel like it. In these sometimes dark nights of the soul it is a time of building. He is building our faith so we don’t walk by emotions.

Perhaps the best way to describe it is,

 A time of manifestation is a time of blessing and a time of hiddenness is a time of building

What kind of time is it in your life right now?

God desires to bring us through seasons of hiddenness because He wants us to learn to walk by faith in the Spirit. Once this is established it prevents 98% of how the devil is trying to invade your life.

The majority of Christians relate to God through their feelings. Some days you feel close and other days you don’t.

The devil will play ping pong with your mind as long as you live by your feelings. One of the ways you can aggravate the devil is ignore him.

God’s will for your life will be revealed to you step by step as you draw closer to Him in intimacy.

Confession of faith:

For my predetermined purpose in life is to know God deeply, so that I may be transformed into His likeness now in this life on earth. God’s will un-fold’s for me, as I walk with Him. I experience God both in hidden times and in manifested times. I am a glorious work of God in progress and everyday is designed for my development to know Him better. I am learning how to abide in Him in all my life situations. He is always with me whether I feel Him or not. Because of this, I can rejoice in the Lord always and give Him thanks in all things. He never leaves or forsakes me. Thank You Lord.