His Purpose & Plan – (Message – #5)

His Unreasonable Purpose & Plan

Unreasonable – Message #5

Pastor Chuck Hill – Trinity Fellowship Church

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Ephesians 4:1-6

Good morning! Today I want to continue a series of messages we have been in for the past 5 weeks. We called it “UNREASONABLE” because when we think of God and His character…and the way He deals with you and me, He is completely unreasonable.

Not in the sense that He is hard headed and careless about our needs and what we think…but rather that His ways are so beyond ours and His thoughts are so above ours that we can’t understand it all. In fact, the reality is that our thoughts would be limiting to Him if He had move and operate based on what we thought.

So, when it comes to God, He is UNREASONABLE. We just can’t figure Him out! He is bigger, better and beyond our limited minds and thoughts!

This morning I want to look at another aspect of His nature and the way He interacts and cares for us. This morning I want to talk you about the Purpose and Plan that He has for our lives. And hear me on this – He is unreasonably gracious in the calling in which He has created us to fulfill. His purpose and plan for you and me is so grand and amazing…it goes beyond our limited thinking.

When I lived in Michigan, I had a great friend who worked with me.  One of his talents and skills in life is that he is able to fix everything.  He is amazing.  His name is AJ Fagan.  I was always so thankful for him.  He helped me refinish my hard wood floors, repaint my home, replaced my alternator in my car 3 times.  Rebuilt the motor in my power windows and even fixed my automatic sun roof. 

Listen, if it needs fixed, AJ can do it.  His latest skill has become rebuilding and fixing computers. 

This became especially valuable within our office.  We had 8 full-time staff members and our computer systems were constantly breaking down.  I remember one time my prior laptop crashed on me and I had to call AJ in for help.  He looked at it and after about 5 hours of continual attention he managed to fix it. 

When he brought it to me, he wanted to explain what the problem had been and how he fixed it.  The only problem was – he was using words that I had never heard of and lost me in the explanation. 

After about 5 minutes of computer lingo, I finally stopped him and got to the most important issue… “Does it work?” 

That was all I needed to know.  Did it work – really work. 

It isn’t any different with our faith.  As we begin to share it with others, people everywhere are asking one question. They want to know if faith in Christ works.  Is it really true?  Does it really work?

Well, in case any of you are asking this question…I want to clear this one up for you.  Life in Christ does work.  He is real and life in Christ is what every person needs.  And guess what – it works!

Now, before we go too much farther this morning, I also need to make something else real clear to you.  Because everything we discussed in the first message of this series and everything we will look at in this message hinges on one important truth. 

Here it is.  God has promised you a life of blessing.  He will bless you if you live for Him.  And through you He will bless the world.  Your life is to be a conduit from heaven.  God tells us in His Word (which we will look at in a moment) that He has a definitive plan for our lives. 

It’s a plan to bless you – a plan to give you a hope and a future.  You have been promised a wonderful life.  However, living the life you were promised is contingent upon your willingness to live your life (and your dreams) in agreement with God. 

Paul says in Philippians 2:5,

In your lives you must think and act like Christ Jesus.

Philippians 2:5 (NCV)

You know, in the Old Testament we find a conversation between God and a prophet. God spoke to the prophet Jeremiah and declared some very powerful words which completely apply to you and me today. What He spoke then He speaks now…because God does not change. In Jeremiah 29:11 we find these words,

11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) 

We find this same thought in numerous passages. In fact, in Ephesians 4:1-6 (NLT), the apostle Paul writes some very powerful and challenging words that somewhat accompany the thought found in Jeremiah. He says,

1 Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. 2 Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. 3 Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. 4 For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. 5 There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 and one God and Father, who is over all and in all and living through all.

Ephesians 4:1-6 (NLT)

Let this be clear this morning – GOD HAS CREATED YOU WITH PURPOSE!

You have been created and called by God to fulfill a purpose and plan that is bigger than anything you have ever dreamed of!

So let me ask you: What is your potential?               

Did you know that Michael Angelo attempted to complete 44 statues over his lifetime…and yet, he only completed 14 of them. And sadly, that’s how way too many people live their lives. Many people live without a sense of completion or accomplishment. Because of this, they never really finish or even get to tap into all that God has created them to accomplish and or even be in this life.

They come, the maintain, they do very little and then they die! That’s the sad truth about most people and the small existence of their lives.

Author and teacher, Myles Monroe once said,

“The richest place in the world is not in the Middle East or in banks…the greatest treasure in all the world is laid up in the graveyards around this world.”

He said this because, too many people’s lives end with them ever having fully tapped into the treasures placed within their lives. Undeveloped dreams, wasted opportunities, unused gifts…and the alike.

Did you know God has created you with a mass of potential and untapped wealth.

The average person doesn’t see themselves in the same light that God does.

So, why is it important that we tap in and discover the potential, purpose and plan for our lives? Because, when we do, we will be pleasing God…a literal act of our worship!

When we use our hearts and minds together and discern that which God has created us to accomplish…it pleases Him. It really blesses and pleases God when we begin to dream or we attempt to do extraordinary things in His name. Not just to create a name for ourselves – but for the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.

Jesus declared in His most famous sermon (found in Matthew 6) that life was about more than just feeding our appetites and clothing our bodies. Life is about more than maintaining an image or having fun. Life is for living…it is for glorifying God.  

Those things are good and even important – but there is more than just getting along in this life. He said in Matthew 6:33,

33“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

Matthew 6:33 (NIV)

Discover the primary reason you were created – seek out the things that will make the greatest difference for the Kingdom of God, strive to do what He has created you to do…and all the other things in this life will be taken care of.

He basically says that we must discern our purpose and tap into it. He makes the case that we must live this life with His purpose in mind.

So, don’t die with your lives full!  Use the gifts, skills and potential that God has placed within you to his glory.

Again, the apostle Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians 4:1 and says,

“Finally, brothers, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more.”

1 Thessalonians 4:1 (NIV) 

Paul says – if you want to please God…live…but don’t just do the least possible to get by. Do all that you can. He says, do “more and more”.

Basically, Paul says we must strive to EXCEL in this life for God! Excel…do more, believe for more, seek for more, press for more, go for more. Don’t become settled and complacent in this life. He says, never become satisfied with what you have done or where you have been. He says to press on and do more and more for God.  

Paul would write about the type of life God wants for us in 1 Corinthians 9 and put it like this:

24 “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. 27No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”

1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (NIV)

He says, “Run to Win!”

For far too long Christians have owned a martyr attitude and bought into the thought that being on the losing end in this life somehow pleases God. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. The truth is, God likes winners!

God doesn’t want you to be a loser. He wants you to run the race of your life to win…not to lose.

In the story of the talents in Matthew, Jesus tells the story to communicate that it isn’t about how many talents your possess…it is about using what you have to it’s full potential and purpose.

Don’t make small what God wants to make big in your life.

So, how can we fulfill God’s unreasonably large purpose and plan for our lives? Let me give 8 key thoughts to helping you do this. And I will try to go through these fairly quickly.

Here’s how to discover and fulfill God’s purpose in your life:

1.      Be the person God’s Created You to be!

Be yourself. Fulfilling the plan for your life (that plan which God has created you for and created for you) will require that you be yourself. You need to be the person that God’s created you to be.

You know, one of the problems that many people have in fulfilling their dream in life is that they try to do it the way someone else has done it.

I heard a story about a couple of boys who lived out in the country were playing together one day. One of the boys had just been given a brand new soccer ball. Beautiful, clean, white soccer ball. Well, they began to play and one of the boys laid into it and kicked it out of their yard into the neighbors chicken coop. And when it landed, the rooster came out and gathered all his chickens together and said, “Now girls, I’m not complaining – but this is the kind of eggs the hens next door are producing. Don’t you think it’s time you raise your level of production in order to keep up with those next door?”

You will never reach your potential trying to be someone else. Just be who God has called you to be!

2.      CONTINUE TO grow!

Man’s mind once it is stretched by a new idea never regains its original dimensions. – Oliver Holmes

You see, your mind is like a parachute – it never finds its potential until you open it! 

The only way to reach your potential is to keep growing. Let’s get sick of being mediocre. Let’s get tired of losing and being down. Let’s go for the best and become the head and not the tail in life.

If you don’t grow you will get narrow and negative.

You’ll make mistakes if you’re growing, but your never grow if your not making mistakes!

3.      Be Careful Who You Listen To.

When it comes to advice – they say everyone’s an expert. Just yesterday (during our KidZone Spring Fling) Pastor Brad and I were playing a game he created where you toss canning rings and try to ring a post he had standing up. Well, we must have played 6 or 7 games of this and just couldn’t ring one.  But then something happened. I rung one. And that’s when the transformation happened – in that moment, I became an expert.

And I was able to tell him everything I had learned about playing that game. And we both laughed out loud…and then he said, “So that’s it, you make one ringer and your and expert?” And I said, yeah!

Folks, here me on this…everyone in your life has an opinion and thinks they are an expert. But what I have found is that most experts are really those who know tomorrow why what they tried today didn’t work.

And they are usually those who have all the reasons why what you long to do won’t work…or is impossible!

Experts are usually those who used to do something but today aren’t doing anything at all. They’ve quit trying to accomplish new things for God – but are quick to tell you why what you long to do can’t be done!

Well, don’t listen to them…don’t follow their negative advice, but rather discover what God has placed within you and go for it. Grow it, believe in it, develop it and live it out!

The experts don’t know everything and often, they won’t buy into or even begin to believe in your call and your potential. So, don’t listen to them. Instead listen to God and His call on your life…and trust those who believe in you and long to see you succeed!

4.     

Expect Great things to happen!

 

This deals with your attitude. And in this life, you will often get exactly what you are expecting. So develop the right attitude.

You know, more that just being about ATTITUDE, this is really about a much bigger spiritual issue. Expecting great things to happen is really an issue of faith in our lives.

Folks I submit to you that it’s time for you to believe. The bible says to put your hope in God (the one who created you with purpose and plan in the first place). The bible tells us that “all things are possible to those who believe.” So, expect great things to happen in your life.

Expect to achieve the goals and dreams you long for. Expect to accomplish that great and amazing plan that God has for your life…and go for it! Dare to break out of the monotony of this life and do something great for God.

And don’t you dare sit there and think – well, I’m all done, I’m through, I’ve ready to just settle down and enjoy retirement!

Did you know that the idea of retiring is a contrary idea to the bible? Hanging it all up and quiting at the “game of life” is not a biblical idea. There is no such thing called retirement in the bible.

I heard a statistic just yesterday about retirement and it’s unhealthy impact on our lives.

Did you know that when most people retire that everything in their lives slows down…including their heart. Really. Retirement actually brings the end of the life on quicker than really living and plugging away at the dream and purpose for which we were created.

Some people live their lives just waiting to quit and move to Florida where they can do nothing!

Give me a break! I want to live…Life is for living. If you have the opportunity to step away from an unfulfilling job and retire – then go for it. But when you retire, rediscover your passion and purpose and as Paul said, “Run to Win!”

Folks, God’s dream is not for you and me to get to that place that we can buy a rocking chair and sit back and watch Bill Gaither videos until we die. God’s dream is that we serve Him and others with all we have until this life ends. Don’t give up…continue to expect great things to happen in life!

Listen, life is for living…not for dying! God’s Word is full of words and statements like these:

  • Fear not
  • Press on
  • Run
  • Strive
  • Believe
  • Put your hope in God.
  • Be fruitful and multiply
  • Trust in God, trust also in me (Jesus)
  • Do it all as unto the Lord

Folks, those are all words that affect your faith and attitude. God isn’t looking for those who are ready to quit – He is looking for those who are ready to excel and press on and aim high.

God blesses those who take their talents and believe that they can be useful and successful in the work of the kingdom.

We can die later – but while we have the chance…let’s live now!

5.      Face Your Fears and Overcome them.

You know what most people fear in this life? Failure. I love what the wisdom writer tells us in Proverbs 24:16. He writes,

“…for though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again, but the wicked are brought down by calamity.”

Proverbs 24:16 (NIV) 

Failure is not the issue. The issue is getting back up and facing your fears and failures.

Political Journalist Norman Cousins once wrote,

“People are never more insecure than when they become obsessed with their fears at the exposure of their dreams!”

Don’t allow your fears to hold you back. Challenge them…fight them and overcome them. And this goes right back to point #4, because you know what the opposite of fear is? FAITH! Raise you head and dare to accomplish something for God!

And if you greatest fear is that of failure – then accept the fact that you will fail, but failure doesn’t have to be permanent. When you fail, get up and keep going.

Let me move on…

6.      Choose your friends wisely.

A person will never rise above the level of the friendships in their life.

Help your children succeed. If you see someone who is tearing your children’s futures down because of destructive behavior…then step in, sever the relationship and strengthen your child’s character. Guard your heart and watch out for those you allow to get close to you and your dreams.

Proverbs 27:17 says,

“As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”

Proverbs 27:17 (NIV)

Iron sharpens iron! Let me ask you, “Who are you hanging around that knows more than you know and has done more than you have.”

Here’s the truth… Iron does sharpen Iron…but the opposite is also true!

  • Stupid calls to stupid.
  • Critical and offended calls to critical and offended.
  • Whiners call out to whiners.
  • Negative will always stand with negative.

Be careful who you allow to get close to you and hold your attention. Guard what you allow to go into your ears and into your heart.

The bible tells us to guard our hearts because they are the well spring of life! Our hearts are connected to our purpose…so guard who gets to speak into your life.

If you choose the right people, then you will find that “Iron sharpens Iron!”

You will grow if you will begin hanging out with winners not whiners!  So, invest in the relationships which will build you up and not tear you down. 

7.      Have a mission that motivates you.

Possess a dream that will propel you forward. When it comes to life…you must get a hold of that which God has created you for, and believe in it! You have a treasure in your life that God has placed there It is so important that you tap into that treasure and use it for God’s purposes.

You know, the Christian life can be summed up by “BECOMING MORE LIKE CHRIST!” In fact, that’s what it means…to be a Christian is to be “Christ like”.

Here’s the thing, Jesus had a dream.  His dream was that one day, every creature in heaven and earth would bow and give honor to God the Father.

This is still His dream.  He has never lost sight of His future Dream.  It was what consumed Him on earth & it is what drives His heart and passions today.  He longs to produce this passion in you and me. 

His dream must become our dream.  It is to build His kingdom, enlarge the influence of the church and reach this lost and dying world with His love.  He longs that we would connect with those in our sphere of influence and impart to them the love and passion for God that we have. 

Listen, Jesus wants His dream to become our dream – which is to demonstrate to this world just how this life in Christ really works. 

When we discover that mission and dream – it will direct us and motivate us in this life. It will drive us…and will fuel our passion in living our God’s best – His purpose and plan!

Lastly, let me say that to discover and live out God’s purpose and plan, we must…

8.      Pray ALWAYS!

Because Prayer connects you to your potential.

Surrender your life to Jesus. Surrender your will to His will and your plans to His plans!

Begin to seek God for direction, purpose, plans and steps to walk in.

Jesus put it this way when speaking of the power of prayer in our lives. He said,

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”

Matthew 7:7 (NIV)

Closing

Folks, as I close this message – I really want to say to you that God is in your corner…and He has your best interest in mind. He is so committed to your future – more than you know. And the Word of God is the greatest success manual you will ever find. And when it comes to the purpose and plan that God has created for you, He really wants you to go for it.

God’s plan (if you remember) is for you to  – “Run as to win the race!”

So, as we close this morning…I want to invite you to join me at the altar and let’s pray for each other and ask God to help us fulfill His unreasonably good purpose and plan for our lives.

Let’s pray for His best…for our potential to be fulfilled. Let’s pray for our businesses to grow and our opportunities to be clear. Let’s pray for more and for better opportunities.

Let’s ask God for an impartation of His presence and an anointing of His power to live out the plan and purpose He has created us for.

God touch this church and these people that we might rise up and soar on wings of eagles for you! Help us to become over-comers in every area of our life.

Develop dreams in us which will take us to another level.

God build up our faith that we might believe for bigger and better opportunities and plans. Let’s not despise small beginnings…but let’s be faithful with what He has given us. Let’s dedicate our lives to God and tap into the purpose for which He has made us for!

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