Every now and then I deliver a message in church that I think is important. But, I’ve never felt this way about a particular sermon. It wasn’t just something that God was wanting to say. It was God shouting, “This is what I’m about, and this is what I want you to be about!” It’s already been suggested a couple of times, that every person who comes on staff or is appointed to a leadership position, at The Net, in the future, should be required to watch 10-22-23, “What Happens When We Share”. I can’t disagree. If you watch, you’ll understand.
I had a very powerful experience with God. And through it, He revealed to me just how important and urgent it is, that we seek the most effective ways to reach the lost and implement them. The attention we give to those who don’t yet know Christ, should match the passion of God’s heart for the lost. Jesus made it so clear in the three parables of lost things (Luke 15), but I just never saw it before. I was thinking in terms of metaphors, but now I believe Jesus was literally showing us His own heart for lost people.
The only other thing I will say here is to those who may be searching, who may have drifted away, who may not be able to conceive of a God who loves without condition. It’s not a sin to be lost. God does not condemn you no matter what anyone says. You don’t have to earn His respect. He respected you when He created you and He respects you now. He forgives you. If He could forgive those who nailed Him to a cross, He can forgive you. He is inviting you into His family. All of Christianity is about saying yes to God. Will you say yes to Him today?
Have you ever thought about how important your part is in God’s overall plan? It’s pretty serious if you think about it. Jesus said that when we pray, we should ask the Father for His will to be done on earth just like it’s done in heaven. But, whether His will is done or not, really depends on whether His people are willing to carry out His will. I think this part of the Lord’s Prayer is both a request and an affirmation of our willingness to do what He wants in this world.
If we break it down, I think what we are really saying is, “Lord, we want Your will to be done here on earth and if you’ll show us what it is, we are willing to do it”. That’s the only way His will can be done because His plan involves us going into the places where we live, work and play, and making disciples. That means we influence others to follow Jesus by setting the example, which of course is God’s plan. And God helps us.
Have you ever felt that strong nudge in your conscience to do a certain thing. You know it’s the best thing, but it may involve some discomfort on your part or keep you from something else you desire. Well, if we are accustomed to praying that prayer earnestly, God’s will has a much better chance. God has given you the power by the Holy Spirit to act as His representative. In these troubling times, you may not think you can make much of a difference. I’m not saying that God’s whole plan depends on you and me, but it is interactive. And, the part that we play absolutely depends on us! Let’s get busy!
I never knew God, until the day came, when I desperately wanted to hear what He had to say. You don’t really know a person until you can have a conversation with them. You can know about them, but you won’t know them. I knew about God. My dad was a pastor, so I had heard all the Bible stories. I had knowledge of the things God did. I had an understanding of who Jesus was supposed to be. I knew some things about His followers, but I didn’t know Him.
Then came the day when I needed Him. I wanted to hear from God more than anything else in the world. I listened as if my life depended on it and I heard Him. He spoke through scripture as I read. He spoke through people as I paid attention. And, He spoke mysteriously to me privately from within.
Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice, I know them, and they follow me”. So if you want to hear His voice, become a sheep. What does a sheep do? A sheep follows the shepherd, depends on the shepherd, watches the shepherd and listens for the shepherd. What does the shepherd do? He leads, protects, nurtures, comforts and corrects. John 1 says that to the ones who receive Him, He gives the right to become children or “sheep” of God.
How strong is your desire to hear from God? Is it enough to make you a follower, a watcher, a listener, one who depends on God to meet every need? If so, you’re only a breath away from hearing the voice of the one who made you.