Friday, July 17, 2009

Knowing God Delivers Leads To Pursuing God's Will

Hey gang!

I know that I’ve talked about my six months in Atlanta before. I had one of my favorite jobs while living there. It was working at a UPS Store in the middle of downtown on Monroe St. So to be honest, I’ve always been a little favorable to “Go Brown!” Since I’ve arrived in Effingham, I’ve done about as much shopping with UPS and the postal service. But when it comes to packages, I always shop with UPS.

Why? Well there are two reasons. First, I always get my deliveries in great shape. OK, there was that one time, but that was my fault. I packaged the items in Atlanta and got a little cheap with the packaging. I lost my computer printer, but I went and bought a new one. I’d had the last one for 10 years. The second reason is that I now have a friend working for the company. I always tell my friend Greg when I am getting packages. He isn’t always the one delivering to my neighborhood that day, but I don’t sit and worry about my packages. I’ve met two or three other drivers.

There is a confidence when you know that people are delivering on their products, their job performance or on their word. It’s something you can begin to count on. It’s very important that people deliver when they tell you that they will do so.

I once worked at a church as a volunteer youth minister and had dreams of growing the ministry to great heights. I had goals and the church had goals. The first goal that we both had was numbers. Bring as many kids into the ministry as I could. I had originally planned to go meet parents and encourage them to bring their teens. However, something happened. I didn’t have to move and 25 showed up. I announced that we were having a lock-in and 50 showed up the first time and 75 showed up the second time.

There were two problems. The first was that we didn’t have any adult volunteers the first time and we only four the second time. So it was me and my wife the first time. Us and 50 kids. It was more intimidating that I want to admit. All I had to do was say show up and they did. They wanted a place to go. Well, the second problem that came out of it was that there wasn’t enough of me to go around. It wasn’t so much that I couldn’t go visit a couple nights a week, but since the numbers were high, I had to be creative to contain them. Once I had so many kids, I truthfully was afraid to grow any more. Had I visited more, I might’ve garnered the support to survive. The pastor used that as his reasoning to move me out and bring in a family that had more connections to take off from where I brought them. He even shared that he felt I failed to deliver on the ministry because I couldn’t get adults interested in helping.

However, he failed in his promise to help me grow. He saw my desire to work in other ministries and be involved. Instead of pulling me to his wing to help me grow, he pulled the one strike rule. You didn’t deliver huge so you are gone. There were other politics involved, but that was the basic rub.

The result of that lack of deliverance was sitting on the sidelines for a long period of time because I felt when the ministries were on the line, I couldn’t trust the church to deliver. It was probably a huge reason that I began One Man Revival outside the church walls. If it was begun with God and me, then no one else but God could take it away.

Thankfully, God has placed my family in a good church this time. I’m taking a Sunday school class on leadership headed by John Maxwell. The teacher of the class, Bill Burry, made a comment the first week that we may find things out about ourselves that we don’t like. As open as I am here on One Man Revival and my personality lets me talk to anyone in public. My friend Kevin Hess used to travel with me everywhere and he was always amazed at conversations I would start in McDonald’s with total strangers. I’ve always been interested in what makes people tick. It’s a hobby.

Anyhow, I began to pray and think about that personality. It comes out everywhere except one place. You guessed it, the church. Bill even brought a thought out. He asked if any of us came to church and instead of being outgoing, like many leaders are today, that you sit around and wonder if anyone is going to talk you. That is so me right now and I don’t know why. I want to be able to take God anywhere, why not within the doors of the church I’ve grown to love?

Thankfully, I’m not the only one that’s ever dealt with the issue of a lack of faith that delivery is possible. From Exodus through Joshua, we read countless accounts of the Israelites lack of believing that God would deliver them to the Promised Land of Canaan. You would think that once God helped Moses open the Red Sea and let all the Israelites cross over and wash down on top of the Egyptians that were in hot pursuit that they would never doubt again.

But it never happened that way. The Israelites grumbled for food and water after three days in the desert. God delivered manna, quail and water. God took Moses up to the top of Mount Sinai for 40 days to give him rules and regulations for the Israelites. Part of that was The Ten Commandments. While Moses was gone, the Israelites lost faith again. They built a new idol, a golden calf. This upset Moses to a point that he smashed the tablets. Moses had to take another 40 days to have it all rewritten again.

In Numbers, God even made his presence a cloud over the tabernacle. The Israelites knew he was there. So they leave Sinai and begin to complain again. God delivered quail until they were sick of quail. The Israelites moved on and got thirsty. They complained some more. God delivered water. Moses gets them to the border of Canaan. Even though he doesn’t cross, God tells Moses that they will still complain. I’m sure Moses wasn’t shocked. Joshua succeeded Moses as the leader and took them in to the Promised Land to prevail. God had delivered them.

It didn’t end there. God delivered David over Goliath. God delivered Daniel from the lions’ den. God delivered Shadrach, Meshach and Abadnego from the fiery furnace. God delivered with Jesus. Jesus came, died and delivered the keys to escape the grave. Guess what, God can deliver us too. Doesn’t that just want to make you shout?

The great part is that God has a plan for all of us. Each and every one of us. That’s me, you, you, and you too. If we can do as God asks us, God will help us get there. Remember how many times he has delivered.

I get asked all the time, how do I know I am in God’s will? I could give you the long version which could be a book length story or the short version. The short version is this. When I am in God’s will, my life is at its best possible peak. I’m not saying that bad things don’t happen. The toothbrush still snaps off in my mouth, my kids still talk back, my wife tells me I’m not getting enough housework done. Those things are part of life. But my life is better. My relationships are better. My kids are mostly well behaved, my wife does try to take care of me, my church still gives me the word of God, my interactions with others are more fruitful. My mind is clearer and when I go to sleep each night, I do one thing, SLEEP! Amen and hallelujah!

I want that for you as well. When I talk about delivering, it’s one of the main reasons that I take the 90 Days Through the Bible so seriously. If I don’t deliver on making it through, you know. God wants us to deliver on our missions. Has it changed what I do each day? You betcha. But I am having a blast, despite the craziness.

And I want that for you too. Starting on Tuesday, One Man Revival is beginning a new series called Finding God’s Will. If you really want to know what God wants you to do, come and join me on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday until the series is done. I want you to walk away from this study knowing three things:

1) God loves you!! Yes, you!

2) God wants to work with you in whatever you do.

3) God gave us a Great Commission to share the Gospel and you, yes you, have a job to do.

Are you up to the challenge? Do you want to see your life change? Do you want to make that difference not just for you, but for the ones you love and have yet to make acquaintance with? Between now and then, what I really want you to do is two things. First, pray for God to begin to show you what he wants for you to do. Secondly, pray for me as I prepare. Satan doesn’t want you to begin to understand God’s will. He’ll try to stop you and he will definitely try to stop me. So get ready, hang on to your seat and get ready for the ride of your life with a God that wants to partner with you to make a world of difference.

I love you guys!

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