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Posts Tagged ‘Richard Blackaby’

V.  Today’s post are my preaching notes for my sermon at Kishwaukee Community Church.  If you are at Kishwaukee today, you may follow these notes as I preach.  If you are not at Kishwaukee today, click here to go to our  website on Monday and follow the links to hear the sermon. You can then follow these notes as you listen to the sermon.

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How We Hear God Speaking to Us, Part 3

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I.  Listening and Looking for God in Daily Life

A.  God speaking to us regularly

Scripture, Prayer, Worship, Dreams, Visions, Theophany’s

Circumstances

B.  Parents hearing Children

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II.  Hearing and Seeing God

A. Seeing God’s work to be done vs Seeking God’s will

We obsess if this is God’s will,

rather than if it is His work for me to do.

B.  Determining if God has work for me to do

always comes before

the conviction that this is/was God’s will for me.

C.  I often do not clearly see God’s will

Until after getting to work and

After seeing Him equip me.

D.  This is not to minimize seeking God’s will

But if His will is unclear

Do the work God has placed before you

E.  Have I misread God’s will before

Absolutely, but instead of fretting over misread

Do His work and trust God to work out His purposes

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III.  The Work God Tells Us To Do

A.  Rely on Holy Spirit to guide you

B.  Remember the 4 boundaries

Consistent with scripture

Word from scripture

Confirmation through the body

Calls you to act

C.  God does not send where I want or where I don’t want

just because that is my wish

Usually when I stake out these claims

God sends me to prove who is in charge

D.  Let God initiate giving direction

You do not need to dream up work to do for God

At worse may need to discern which work to do

E.  Jesus trusted God to reveal work to be done – John 5:19-20

Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.  For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel.

F.  Look at Jesus ministry

Healing of sick – they came to Him

Feeding of 5000 – Jesus did not say assemble hungry people

Calming the Storm – Jesus did not pray for storm

Raising Jarius’ daughter from illness

Raising Lazarus from the Tomb

God brought the work to Jesus

Work for Jesus to do while fulfilling God’s Will for salvation

G.  Seek short-term clarity of direction rather than long-term discernment

Ask God what do You want me to do today

Instead of asking God what do you want me to be doing in 10 years

If we tend to the little picture

God will tend to the big picture

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IV.  Mistakes, Regrets, and Difficulties

A.  You will make mistakes, mis-steps in discernment

Regardless of prayer, discernment

Because of that little problem called sin and living in the flesh

B.  Mistake when pushed ahead

Worship experiment at PC

I knew we made the wrong decision

We pushed for a long-term goal

C.  Regret leaving denomination at the time we did

Lawsuit pending, oral arguments April 17

A ministry at a standstill

What has happened to us since then

has not been kind or fair much less Christian behavior.

It broke me,but I did not think I needed to be broken

My biggest regret is the pain it caused my family.

However God still using me!

Never let past regrets or present difficulties to lead you to question God’s will. There are actions which seemed to be 100% God’s direction which I later regretted, because of the hurt and pain. BUT, I cannot say, that what I did was not God’s will.

God sends us into the frying pan

because He needs someone there

D.  When following God’s will ==> regret, difficulty, hurt

You need God’s perspective

to understand your circumstances …

That perspective may not come

Until God shows how He is using you

Again, this is why I only seek short term clarity

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V.  Story of Joseph

A.  His life a roller coaster

Vision of greatness

Dad’s favorite

Brother’s sell into slavery

Special in Pharaoh’s house

Falsely accused for spurning advances

Years in prison

Finally opportunity to interpret dreams

High place in Pharaoh’s government

Brothers come hungry

Opportunity to save God’s people from starvation

B.  Where on the roller coaster do we stop

to measure God’s will and blessing

C.  Genesis 50:20-21

What you meant for evil against me, God used for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.  So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.”  Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.

D.  Joseph did not return the evil

Joseph remembered God’s work, will

E.  Blackaby quote

During his difficulties Joseph needed God’s perspective to understand his circumstances.  … When Joseph’s life was placed in the context of God’s eternal purposes, every major experience in his life—both good and bad—could be seen to have a purpose and to result in good.

F.  We can only see circumstances with clarity

We cannot see God’s will with clarity

This is why work faithfully in the present

If not you will have a misunderstanding of God’s will

and miss His grace in your circumstances

G.  Blackaby, again

What should you do instead? First, ask God to show you His perspective on what’s happening. Look back at your situation from what you already know about God. When you face a troublesome time, the Holy Spirit will take the Word of God and help you understand the event from God’s perspective. He will reveal to you the truth of your circumstances.

H.  Always remember

God’s love for you never changes, has not changed

Never try to understand what God is like in the middle of difficult circumstances

God is sovereign depend on His sustaining grace

I.  Blackaby quote

There are some things that happen in our lives we may never understand until they are revealed in heaven.

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VI.  Conversion of Saul to Paul

A.  Most dramatic

To everyone’s amazement

==> Questions

Why Him?

Why not earlier?

Answers never forthcoming, except

This was clearly an act of God

B.  Jewish prosecutor became builder of Christian Church

Good reminder

Whether God speaks clearly, dramatically

Or quietly in an everyday pedestrian way

He is speaking to us

Always for His will and purpose

Always for our good and blessing

C.  You do not need long-term vision or understanding

Simply eyes and ears attentive to God

In scripture, prayer, and worship

Perhaps in dreams, visions, and theophanies

Always in circumstances in front of you right now

D.  Remember the boundaries

Consistent with scripture – to serve Jesus

A word of scripture – Great Commission

Confirmed within body – bystanders and  Ananias

Call to go – Saul to city, Ananias to lay on hands

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Today’s post are my preaching notes for my sermon at Kishwaukee Community Church.  If you are at Kishwaukee today, you may follow these notes as I preach.  If you are not at Kishwaukee today, click here to go to our  website on Monday and follow the links to hear the sermon. You can then follow these notes as you listen to the sermon.

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How We Hear God Speaking to Us, Part 1

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I.  Blackaby’s Assertion

When you became a Christian, God gave you spiritual sight and hearing so you could begin experiencing His presence and activity all around you. The Holy Spirit helps you to develop these spiritual senses as you walk with Him. Spiritual sensitivity to God is a gift that must be accepted and exercised.  There is a radical difference between seeing your surroundings from a human perspective and seeing life through spiritual eyes.

@ to Blackaby, Hearing God speak to you,

should be a common experience to all Christians

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Most of us would say,

Not!

Has never happened

Not sure God has ever spoken to me

Only for super-religious

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While Bible is filled with instances

We believe these are special and unique

Isaiah – drama in The Temple

John – vision at the shore

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II.  The first time God spoke to me and I heard Him

I was 22

Already had a sense of “call”

But more of a longing, desire

Could not say “God was calling me”

Visiting seminaries

Nice, good, interesting

No sense of “This is the place”

Princeton Visit …

My reoccurring dream from childhood

Ages 8-12

A specific place

Dining space

At Princeton walked into the Dining Hall with friends

Bam that was the room of my reoccurring dream

Scary …

God first spoke when I was 12

I heard at 22

Finally the confirmation of Call

==> keeping me in parish ministry

You are thinking

Wow

Good for you

Not a commonplace event

Hearing God speak to me

is now a commonplace

Almost everyday event

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III.  Why do so many not hear God speaking

EG Small Group Leaders

Most significant question/issue

God has never spoken to me

I am having a hard time with this concept

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This is a tough issue for us because

  1. Unfamiliar territory for most – for me a common experience
  2. Spirit driven – we prefer certainty and precision – never vague
  3. Abuse by others for personal gain

This will be an extended topic for next few sermons

Because it is unfamiliar, spooky, and undefined

I will not give you a formula

=> God speaking to you and you hearing

I wish it was this easy, but it is not

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Three Areas which I will cover

  1. How God Speaks
  2. How to Hear God
  3. How to confirm it was God speaking

Begin by briefly addressing the 3rd part first,

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IV.  How to confirm God spoke and I heard correctly

This will establish some boundaries and a comfort zone

To our conversation and your grand adventure with God

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When God speaks to you, count on 4 things to confirm His Word to you

These 4 things establish boundaries for experience

Consider them four side of a fenced in area

You are free to play and roam within the boundaries

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The four boundaries are:

Whenever God speaks to you, what you hear will be:

    1. Consistent with scripture
    2. Confirmed with a specific scripture – Genesis 12:1 “Go to the land I will show you.”
    3. Confirmed through someone else or the body
    4. Requires you to change plans

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V.  How God Speaks to You – Through Scripture

Reformed theology – The Bible IS THE WORD OF GOD

If you will simply read scripture regularly

You will hear God speaking to you

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A.  Scripture will tell you:

  1. God’s will
  2. God’s general will for you
  3. God’s specific will for you

The Bible is not a history book

It is the revelation of God’s heart

It tells you everything you need to know about God

It tells you all you need to know to be faithful

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Psalm 19:7-11

The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; 

the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; 

the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; 

the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. 

More to be desired are God’s Words than gold; 

sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. 

Moreover, by them is your servant warned; 

in keeping them there is great reward.

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B.  How to read scripture?

  • Regularly
  • Deliberately

Choose a book

Read 1 or 2 devotionals guides

=> giving Word and reflection

Why I am writing Daily Devotionals for you

My 1st step is to read, study, reflect

through 11 different devotional guides, daily

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C.  God will speak to you

  • Give you a Word
  • Give you a Word for another
  • Confirm Spirit’s Word to you
  • Encourage you
  • Warn you
  • Guide you

If you tell me, “God does not speak to me!”

Then I know that you are not reading the Bible

Regularly, devotionally, reflectively, prayerfully

Yes, dry spots or seasons,

But never for long or forever.

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Psalm 1

Blessed is the man 

whose delight is in the law of the Lord, 

and on his law he meditates day and night. 

He is like a tree planted by streams of water 

that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. 

In all that he does, he prospers.

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God is Never Alone Without You

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One of the overarching realities of the Christian faith is that God is omnipresent.  God resides in every space of His creation at every moment.

God’s presence with us is not in the form of big brother or the man upstairs looking down on us as a collection of finite beings in the expansiveness of His creation.  Instead, God’s omnipresence is personal.

As a child of God you are never alone! Your Shepherd is with you at all times. You never have to call Him into your situation. You never have to wonder where He is. You never have to fear that if things become too difficult, He will abandon you. He goes before you; He walks beside you; He comes behind you. (1)

Even when we try to escape God’s presence, which many Christians attempt everyday, God remains omnipresent with us.

David prayed about this in Psalm 139:7-10:

Where shall I go from your Spirit?  Or where shall I flee from your presence?  If I ascend to heaven, you are there!  If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!  If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. (2)

Since God has chosen not to be alone without us, doesn’t it make sense that we would desire to be alone with Him.  So many of us cry out to God when we are lonely, but rarely seek to be alone with Him.

Christians who are never alone with God become impoverished believers and persons.  They become hungry for His presence, although He is with them, because they refuse to be alone with Him.

If we neglect to be alone with God, we rob ourselves of God’s blessings.

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I stand at the door and knock. 

If you open the door, I will come in.

I will eat with you and you with me.

Revelation 3:20

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+++

  1. Blackaby, Richard (2006). Experiencing God Day By Day (p. 59). B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
  2. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001)

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Today’s post are my preaching notes for my sermon at Kishwaukee Community Church.  If you are at Kishwaukee today, you may follow these notes as I preach.  If you are not at Kishwaukee today, click here to go to our  website on Monday and follow the links to hear the sermon. You can then follow these notes as you listen to the sermon.

God Invites You to Join Him in His Work

I.  Reflect on Phrase

“Pray like it all depends upon God and work like it all depends upon you.”

In our John Wayne achievement oriented driven society we think everything depends upon us.  It does not

II.  King Asa

Judah was threatened by corrupt king of Israel. King Asa, king of Judah led the people to trust in the Lord.  Asa said,

“LORD, there is no one besides You to help those without strength. Help us, LORD our God, for we depend on You, and in Your name we have come against this multitude. LORD, YOU are our God. Do not let a mere mortal hinder You”   2 Chronicles 14:11

Later when threatened by another king Asa acted if it all depended upon himself instead of turning to God for help, Asa sent gold and silver from the temple asking for his help in the conflict.  God’s response was

“You have been foolish in this matter, for from now on, you will have wars” 2 Chronicles 16:9

Because of his self-reliance, the very thing Asa feared, war would plague him the rest of his life.

III.   Depending upon God

What depends on you is:

  • Your availability to God
  • Your willingness to follow His will
  • Being the vessel, rather than instrument
  • Letting God work through you

God-centered living is characterized by:

  • confidence in God;
  • dependence on God, on His abilities and provision;
  • A denial of will and self-reliance when serving God

This is hard because the world praises self-reliance  Trusting God may make no sense from a human perspective.

In Bible when God starts to do something, He takes the initiative  Then God involves His people in accomplishing His purpose

The most critical factor is not what you want to do for God.  Rather what God wants to do

God never asks people to dream up what they want to do for Him.

He rebukes those who propose their own best thinking over His commands.

We decide what is best.  We develop our plans.  We implement our strategies.  One of several things happens:

  • Meager results
  • Complete Failure
  • Cause problems

We experience similar failures in marriage

I know, I plan, I do, then I get angry when it’s not embraced

Example of friend’s honeymoon plans.

He made his own plans.  She rejected, he was miffed. Later, after mutual conversation good plans were made

IV.  Critical 1st step in serving God – Is to learn His ways

Isaiah 55:8-9:

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

When God’s people do not follow His ways, God may leave us to the resulting problems

God’s most devastating acts of discipline is when He allows us to experience the natural consequences of doing things our way instead of His.

Romans 1:24, 1:26, and 1:28

“Therefore God gave them up to … Their ways”

God told Israel in Psalm 81:13-14

“If only My people would listen to Me and would follow My ways, I would quickly subdue their enemies and turn My hand against their foes!”

V.  Turn from your will

As Christians, it is not only important that we

1.  Fulfill God’s will

2.  Fulfill His will His way

A self-centered person tends to confuse his or her personal agenda with God’s will.

You need to reach a point where you have no will of your own. (RB)

This includes depending on Him, not on a method.

What is God’s Will?

God is seeking to bring people to Himself

He wants to use your life and our church in the process.

See Acts 1:8

“You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in Judea, in Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

VI.  How Does God Accomplish His Will?

He always takes the initiative to involve His people in His activity

Richard Blackaby 4 steps

  1. Don’t be in a hurry to be engaged in activity
  2. Be still and wait
  3. Remain faithful in what He has told you to do
  4. Focus on deepening your fellowship with God.

Servants wait on the Master for whatever instruction they may be given.

When you see God at work, that is your invitation to join Him in that work and to adjust your life what He is doing

Bosses at work – Parents to kids

There are things for YOU to do

There are things for you NOT to do

Story of Mom’s spring cleaning project, She was thrilled to have me offer, but she was bitter when I did my own thing

==> Big Question:

How do I know what God is doing around me and what He wants me to do?

VII.  Knowing What God wants you to do

Two factors are important:

1.  You must be living in an intimate love relationship with God. 

// to marriage

If you do not have a solid love relationship with your spouse, you will never know him/her and what she/he wants, regardless of how perceptive you are. Men complain, “I cannot read her mind.” Her mind will always be a black box if you do not love her and nurture a relationship.

2.  You must listen to God … Hear Him

// to marriage again

Have you ever told your spouse something, then they swore you never told them

Dad shopping for Mom … always came home with 10 packages of Jello, but not the item requested.  Particularly frustrating for Mom who could not hear

God will show you

He will direct you

Unfortunately most of us are unskilled at

1.  Seeing God at work

2.  Hearing Him speak

Another reason we miss God’s activity is that we are not committed to joining Him, regardless of what He is doing

We want God to bless our plans, not for us to adjust to His will.

Story of husband about where to go to dinner

People ask me:

Why am I volunteering at RRM when my heart’s desire is/was in Hospice?

I saw God working and heard Him calling

No longer a matter of my will

God revealed to me what He is doing, that was the time for me to respond.

I was unskilled and afraid, but had to trust God and Philippians 1:6

“He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus”

Once we know we’ve heard from God, we can proceed with absolute confidence, even if we can’t see how things will work out.

This reality God is inviting us to join Him relates closely to the fourth reality God speaks.

Next two Sundays

How God speaks to us!

How to hear Him!

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Every branch that does bear fruit God prunes 

so that it will be even more fruitful.

John 15:2

The church had a hedge wrapped around the whole outside of the building.  Every year the men of the church trimmed the hedge.  Each year the hedge looked older and more tired than the year previous.

One member constantly complained about the hedge and the volunteers who care for it.  He told me frequently, “It is an ugly hedge because no one knows how to care for it!”

So I dared him, “Why don’t you take care of it?”

He accepted my dare, promising to trim the hedge the Saturday before Easter.  I  was thrilled, “The church grounds will look great for Easter!”

When I arrived for the Easter Sunrise Service, I noticed that the whole hedge had been cut down to a row of 5” stumps.  I was livid.  The hedge and the church yard looked awful.  But, by September, the hedge and the church grounds looked fantastic.

All of us are convinced that a life without suffering, without loss, without heart-ache is the best life.  God knows better.

Even though it hurts, God prunes us because He wants us to have a more fruitful life.  He cuts away parts of our lives that we love because He wants us to have a better life.   He knows that a life without the pain and suffering of pruning is worthless.  Jesus’ wisdom in John 15:2 describes the nature of God’s love.

When you are pondering WHY you are suffering, reflect on these words:

“Remember the vineyard and learn from it.  The gardener stops pruning and trimming the vine only when he expects nothing more from the vine during that season. He leaves it alone, because its fruitfulness is gone and further effort would yield no profit.  In the same way, freedom from suffering leads to uselessness. Do you want God to stop pruning your life?  Shall God leave you alone?” (1)

God knows the pruning hurts.  He knows that pain and suffering cut your heart and cause you to cry out to Him.

But He also knows that to give you a pain-free life is to give you a useless life.

“To exclude suffering from your life

means you will exclude life itself.”

C. S. Lewis (2)

+++

  1. Reimann, Jim; Cowman, Mrs. Charles E. Streams in the Desert (p. 81). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
  2. Lewis, C. S. A Year with C. S. Lewis (p. 55). Harper Collins, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

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I am still confident of this: 

I will see the goodness of the Lord 

in the land of the living.

Psalm 27:13

Each morning I compose a schedule for the day, putting things in order in their proper time and place.  Each evening I go to bed exasperated that my day did not go as planned.

I am an agenda-maker. I know it’s a control issue.

I am willing to give my whole life to God, except for my schedule.  I continually ask God to tell me what he has planned for my day before I get out of the shower.  I will make sure His plans get on my schedule.

God wants my schedule.  I refuse to give it to Him because I want to insure that all gets done decently and in order.  It keeps God’s surprises from tripping me up and driving me nuts because His ways are not my ways (see Isaiah 55:8)

Sarah Young reminds me:

“You worship a living Deity, not some idolatrous, man-made image. Your relationship with Him is meant to be vibrant and challenging, as He invades more and more areas of your life.  It is easy to make an idol of routine, finding security within the boundaries you build around your life.” (1)

Yes, I am guilty.  I want to set and establish the boundaries of my life.

Please do not misunderstand me, I will give God free reign in my life, as long as He stays in my boundaries.

God knows better.  In fact, many of my greatest joys have come into my life because God laughed at the arrogance of my desire to control Him.

If I had my way, I would not have met my wife, discovered the joy of hospice ministry, saved a man’s life, nor been blessed by serving at the Rockford Rescue Mission.

All of these gifts came after I fervently told God, “I do not plan to go there!”

Every morning God must laugh when He sees my schedule for Him for the day.

Richard Blackaby writes:

God is not interested in receiving secondhand glory from our activity. God receives glory from His activity through our lives. (2)

I prefer making and keeping my own plans.  God finds them to be stale, self-centered, and, if left alone, to be the death of me.  He wants me to enjoy the fresh, God-centered, life he has planned for me.

There once was an old woman who had planned her life around 7 husbands.  One day when once-again thirsty, she went to draw from the stagnant well of her schemes, when Jesus came to her.

Jesus made her a better offer:

Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.  (John 4:13-14)

When will I ever learn the water in His well will always be better than the water in mine.

+ + +

  1. Young, Sarah (2004-10-12). Jesus Calling (p. 51). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
  2. Blackaby, Richard (2006-12-01). Experiencing God Day By Day (p. 49). B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

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Today’s post is a copy of my preaching notes for today’s worship at Kishwaukee Community Church.  If you would like to listen to the sermon in full, go to www.kishonline.org and click on the link to listen to Rus Howard’s Sermon.  The sermon will be available on-line on Monday, Feb. 13.

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Experiencing God, 3: God at Work In You

Preaching Notes

 John 5:17, 19-20, John 6:25–29, Romans 15:17–19, Philippians 2:12–13

  

I.  Introduction

Story of God reach lifers in prison in Tennessee

II. In Bible God accomplishes His purposes through His people. 

  • God did not create the world and then abandon it to function on its own.
  • God is working in His world to bring about the redemption of those who are alienated from Him and facing imminent judgment and destruction.
  • He has chosen to accomplish His work through His people.

III. We must move away from egocentric Christianity

     What is God doing for me

How God makes me successful

How God can give you your best life now

At the time God was about to deliver the children of Israel, the overriding concern was God’s will for Israel, not God’s will for Moses.

(Blackaby, Experiencing God, p. 42-43)

IV. God is always at work reconciling a world to Himself

Blackaby story of church about to close in inner city, before closing chose to study, to watch, and to pray

At the close of the thirteen-week study, instead of disbanding, the church, now revitalized, began to minister powerfully to its community. Rather than remaining discouraged, the people realized they were in the center of God’s activity. He had been working in their neighborhood all along. 

(Blackaby, Experiencing God, p. 53)

V. My Question at Kish

     “What is God doing in the middle of a corn field?”

     God gathers and then disperses us

He has work out there and he places us where He wants us to work

  • Plant managers
  • Truck drivers
  • School bus drivers
  • Teachers
  • Nurses
  • Engineers

     Our church in the middle of corn fields is a refueling post

Yes, there is work to be done in here, but most of our work is out there

VI. God is orchestrating history. 

He is present and in the middle of human activity.

Listen to what Jesus said in John 5:17, 19-20

“My Father is working until now, and I am working.” So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing.”

In John 5, Jesus teaches God’s model:

  • The Father has been working all along.
  • Now the Father has Me working.
  • I do nothing on My own initiative.
  • I watch to see what the Father is doing.
  • I do what I see the Father is doing.
  • The Father shows Me everything that He, Himself, is doing.

 3 Attributes

  1. Affirmation – God is at work
  2. Confirmation – I see God at work
  3. Trust – God will show me

Important reminder

God is at work, even when I do not see the fruit, even when I doubt my efforts, even when I have failed, even when …

VII.  We should look for where God is working 

When we know where God is working

we know where and what God wants us to work

we can find our assignments

This is better than

Looking for what we can/want to do

Then asking God to bless it

God does not assign us tasks which cannot be accomplished

           God assigns a task then gives the gift, not in reverse …

When God gives us a task and we obey,

God will carry out what He intended through our lives

VIII. Joshua entering the Promised Land

The land was promisED – work had to be done

Joshua 3:13

As soon as the priests . . . set foot in the Jordan, its waters . . . will be cut off.

We must learn to take God at His word and walk straight ahead

  • Even when we can see no way to go forward.
  • Because we are easily sidetracked by difficulties
  • We expect to see barriers removed before we even try

 Faith that goes forward triumphs. (Reimann, Jim; Cowman, Mrs. Charles E.  Streams in the Desert: (p. 71). Zondervan.)

Focusing on identifying gifts instead of determining what God’s assignment is can also be severely limiting for believers who base their future usefulness for God only on their past effectiveness. (Blackaby, Experiencing God, p. 59)

We often say:

I am not gifted,  I cannot … because…  I do not have experience, but that does not mean God does not, cannot, and will not use you

All of us make the mistake of embracing this false assumption.

Moses was certain he was unqualified for this assignment, so he argued with God

  • Who am I
  • Who are you
  • Who will believe me
  1. Staff to serpent to staff
  2. Hand to leporous to cured
  3. Water to blood
  • I cannot speak well

VIII. Cheney’s “God is no Fool”

Moses said, “Oh Come on now! Be sensible! Not me! I’m a terrible speaker. They’d never listen to me.” 

And God said, “Oh, for crying out loud! O.K., I’ll use your brother to help with the speaking.” 

And Moses led God’s people out of disintegration. 

Jonah said, “Oh Come on now! Be sensible! Not me! I’m not the type.” 

And after a rather unexpected vacation in a fish, just thinking things over, he talked to God’s people, and led them God’s way. 

And Zacharias said, “Oh Come on now! Be sensible! Not me! My wife and I are too old to have any kids.” 

And God said, “Oh shut up!” And he did shut up—for nine months. And John was born, and the way for the Christ opened up. 

And I heard a child say, “I can’t serve God, I’m too young.” 

And I heard a boy say, “I can’t serve God, I’m not good enough.” 

And I heard a woman say, “I can’t serve God, I’m not skilled enough.” 

I wonder if God ever gets any new problems.

Cheney, Lois A.  God is No Fool (p. 154). Autism Today.

IX.  Here is the pattern we see in the Old Testament: 

  1. God gave an assignment to a person.
  2. The Holy Spirit equipped that person to perform the assignment.
  3. The person was able to complete the assignment effectively.  (Blackaby, Experiencing God p. 61)

Moses’ success did not depend on his skills, abilities, likes, preferences, or past successes.

     Stop assuming God only calls you or will only work through you where you are gifted.

X.  My call into Hospice ministry

Lois Cheney’s question is poignant  “I wonder if God ever gets any new problems.”

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