Sunday, August 4, 2019

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - The Lord’s Purpose for Your Life

As I was growing up, I, like every boy or girl, thought about what I was going to do when I grew up. I never thought about God’s purpose for my life and how I could be used to further His kingdom. There was one evening in a small church in Gatesville, Texas when I felt God’s hand on my life. As I think about that moment, it seems so far away and so isolated in my memory. I guess I never gave that much thought to it. 

My mother had taken us to church a little early and I had decided to walk around the quiet, empty church. I ended up in the sanctuary and walked up to the altar and then stepped up to the dais. After looking around the sanctuary from that vantage point, I then stepped behind the pulpit and put my hands on either side of it. As I gripped the wood, I felt something weird in my heart. It was a stirring that I had never felt before. As I looked out to the empty pews, I felt deeper feelings of purpose and comfort. There was something so right about this moment. I felt that I had a purpose in life and that it was there. It was in God’s service. I heard a voice say, “I want you to preach my Word.” It was a whisper and I dismissed it quickly. As I stepped away from the pulpit and down from the dias, I lost that feeling of purpose. 

Many years later, I lost my earthly father to a heart attack and gave up on my Heavenly Father. I was so angry with God at that moment in my life. I asked God repeatedly, “Why did You have to do that?”

Anger took over my life and I walked away from God. I felt that God had left me and I did not want anything to do with Him at all. I never became an atheist or doubted His existence. I just did not want anything to do with Him. Looking back at that time in my life, I acted like an angry spoiled child that did not get his way. 

Paul, in chapter 13 of his first epistle to the Corinthians, summed up my life during that period. He wrote, “11 When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 12 Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.

In time, I put away my childish anger and ran back to Him. My return back to the Father was not something that just began by my own action. Through the prayers of my beautiful wife, Karla, I was able to slowly find my way back to Him. As we celebrated my wife’s birthday, I asked for His forgiveness and realized that He never left me or allowed me to wander far. He was always there with me even when I thought I was alone. His son, Jesus, did not leave me. He remained quietly in my heart and soul. He whispered to me regularly. Although I had tried to drown out those whispers, they were always there.

My wife and I began to attend church and I began my life of service. But, I felt something inside tugging at my heart. When I volunteered to teach Sunday school, that feeling got stronger and stronger. I felt Him reminding me of that moment in a small church so long ago and so far away. 

As I was getting ready for church, I had a voice as clear as someone speaking ask, “When are you going to preach?”

I shouted out, “No. I am not going to preach.”

Karla asked me, “Who are you talking to?”

“I answered your question about preaching,” I said.

She told me that she did not ask me that question. I thought I must be having a stroke or just hearing things. As I continued to teach, those feelings continued to get stronger. I, like Moses, gave God all sorts of excuses and just did not follow the calling that I was receiving. My final excuse was simple. I just did not have the time to preach. I was soon given that time.

In a couple of months, things began to change in my life. I soon found myself standing in a theater in a retirement community preaching His word to two people and then to four. With each passing Sunday, the congregation continued to grow larger and larger. God poured out His blessings upon us and gave us a new family. 

 As I continue to grow in my faith and study His word daily, I realize that no matter what we try to do, God’s will always prevails in the end. He will place you exactly where He wants you to be and you will find your purpose in life.

Proverbs 19 tells us, “21 You can make many plans, but the LORD’s purpose will prevail.

No truer words have been written. You may have plans for your life and you may find yourself making progress in them, but God’s purpose will prevail and He will make sure that you are in the right place at the right moment in life.

As I continue my studies and grow daily in the Word, I find that I am not alone. Look at Moses, Elijah, Jonah and so many others who tried to slip quietly off the dais. But, in the end, we are all called back to His purpose and placed exactly where He needs us to be. Our purpose becomes His purpose. We live each day in accordance to His will and desire for our lives. 

So, as I close today’s message, I want you to think about your life and begin to listen to that small whisper. Like Elijah in a cave fearing for his life, he hears the Master’s voice and His call. It all came to him in a whisper. Lean closer to the direction of the whisper and take heed of the words that are being spoken. Act and speak like Samuel the next time you hear the whisper. Say the words that Eli told Samuel to say when he heard the voice again, “Speak, LORD, your servant is listening.

Once you listen and heed the words, you will soon find your purpose in God’s kingdom. As I have often said to so many, “No one ever retires in the Kingdom. You just get moved to another position and place.”

As you follow the words, you will soon find yourself standing firm in His grace.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

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