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Jesus didn't just save you to get into heaven. He saved you to fulfil the original purpose which is to restore the earth, to restore people, to restore our community one soul at a time. God wants all of us to be at work, one person at a time, changing our community. Don't quit your job to do something great for God, your job is where your place of calling is. Get energised by the Holy Ghost!
If life isn't focussed, we dissipate our energy and resources. You get focussed in your finances with a goal and a target, you start to move your finances; but what about your life? It disturbs me that so many Christians, their Christianity is primarily church on Sunday. Nothing could be further from the truth. This is not God's intention, and church has a great plan, and meetings have a great part to play in what we're called to do, but God has got something bigger than that.
So let me just read in the scriptures here, Ephesians 2, it says: but God - Verse 4 - God is rich in His mercy, and His great love, so wherever we fail, whatever we've done, God is rich, abundantly extravagantly rich in mercy. A lot of people think God's waiting to get them; but no, God is rich in mercy and immense love, remember He loved us even when we were dead and trespassers in sin, cut off from God, doing our own thing. Then He quickened us, and made us alive in Christ Jesus; and has raised us up to sit, or to live and to engage life, in the spiritual world. What an amazing thing - yet the majority of Christians don't understand how to engage in the spiritual world, and bring heaven into earth. That's what God intends we do.
He's connected us. He put His spirit inside you, so a part of you is 24/7 connected to heaven. How about that! Now of course we live mostly conscious of everything around us, and we're conscious of pressures and problems. This week we're conscious how cold it is, so you get conscious of all kinds of things. But what if you became conscious that you are connected to the resources of heaven, and that God is willing and able to work through you? I tell you something, that won't come easily. There'll be a contending for it, and so not only do we have an assignment from God, but the devil has an assignment against you.
It's helpful to realise - and we're going to look at this in scripture in just a moment - I want to make it really simple, how you can discover what God called you to do. It's not very hard at all. It has a general aspect that is very specific for you, and I'd love you to set your heart, that I will focus my life, and begin to discover and work towards fulfilling what God called me to do. So He said: made us alive, grace sits in heavenly places, the ages to come. He'd see the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness towards us in Christ Jesus. I won't develop much of that here, but the thing is: we're just in one age. There are ages to come, and the best things that God has, are not just now. The best things are reserved for the next ages, that are to come.
We've talked a little bit about that in one of the series before, for by grace - here we go - for by grace are you saved through faith, and not of yourselves. It's the gift of God, no works, no works - say that, no works [No works] No works to get saved, yet it's so easy for us to move away from that basic positioning. No works to get saved - His work got me saved. His work dealt with every sin, past, present, future. His work dealt with every failure, past, present, future. His work dealt with every curse. All I have to do is position myself to believe, and open my heart to receive what He has done. I don't have to work to get to heaven. I don't have to work to get God to love me. You don't have to do any work to do that, and yet there is a work we do.
So I love these Verses 8 through to 10, firstly it tells us His work. We are accepted and access God totally because of His work, not because of any of our works. However, notice what it says immediately after. It tells us this: so His work, Jesus' work, is the work of salvation. Our work is the work of advancing His kingdom. See? Jesus didn't just save you to get you to go to heaven. He saved you to fulfil the original purpose, which is to restore the earth, to restore people, to restore our community, one soul at a time. That's how you do it.
We can sing great songs about the kingdom coming, and the glory coming, all that kind of thing, but you know what? It's really quite simple. He's connected you to his glory, so that you can change the community, one person at a time. Doesn't seem such a big task then does it? So God wants all of us to be at work, one person at a time, changing our community. Every life that gets saved, built in Christ, discipled to follow Christ and added to the church, the community begins to change. Get enough of that happening, whole cities change; so it's not waiting for some great big thing. If you wait for that, you'll actually miss that actually it's one soul at a time we change the community - quite simple. So who is the soul that you're reaching out to change?
Okay, so let's have a look what it says here; for we are His workmanship, created in Christ under good works which God prepared beforehand, that we would walk in them. So salvation is His work, our work is advancing the kingdom; and it has a general aspect, every believer is called to reach out and to befriend the lost, and to advance the kingdom, in whatever sphere of society God's placed us. That's why the Bible tells us, wherever you're called; don't quit your job to do something great for God. Your job is where your place of calling is. Your community where in is where our place of calling is, so notice this, it says here that: the works God's prepared for you, were prepared before you began. In other words, God made the assignment, then He made you.
I want to talk about your assignment, and I want to show you very clearly from the word of God, that before we were born God, had an assignment for us. So my challenge is, and your challenge is this: how do I discover it? How do I prepare for it, and how do I fulfil my assignment, so that when I get to the end of my life, I can look back and say: I have finished my course, I fought my fight, and henceforth is laid up a crown, a reward? So the reward is not going to heaven. The rewards are rewards in the next ages to come, so notice this. He says: we are created for works; so you're created to do something that has spiritual significance and impact. Every one of us is created for works, and God prepared them before we even arrived in the earth. In other words, God knew when He designed you, why He designed you, and why He brought you in where He brought you in, and what He would accomplish through your life. He knew all about that.
If I was to take the Bible like this, now I'm looking at Jeroboam being sick. See, I've just opened up the Bible, so from eternity you can just open up history at any point, and step straight into it. It's just from here, we're on a timeline you know. So God has designed something for us to do. The challenge always is finding out what our assignment is. Firstly I want to just show you just quickly from scripture, how God has designed us for assignments.
In 1 Kings 13 verse 1 and 2: the man of God went from Judah to Bethel, by the word of the Lord, and Jeroboam stood by the altar to burn incense. Then he cried out by the word of the Lord, and said: O altar, altar! It's interesting, they spoke to things, solid things. Thus says the Lord God: a child, Josiah by name, shall be born in the house of David; and on you he'll sacrifice the priests of the high places, who burn incense on you, and men's bones shall be burned on you.
Now he's talking to an altar, and he's decreeing something. Now notice what he's saying. He's talking 300 years ahead of his time. He's saying by the word of God, that in 300 years time, there'll be a man born. His name will be Josiah. He will arise, and he'll become a great king, and he will take this altar here, where people have been sacrificing to false gods, and he's going to burn the bones of the prophets on it. You notice now 300 years before Josiah turns up, there's an assignment prepared for him to do. Then when you read the story of Josiah, he comes on the scene, it's exactly what he does. In other words, from God's point of view, He had the assignment before He had the man. He made the garden, then put the man in the garden, with a job to do.
Now this goes on right through the Bible. Just look at one more in Jeremiah 1, and you'll see it there - because the tendency is for us to kind of think that it's all sort of a bit hit and miss, but actually we want to focus our life, so we become clear of our assignment, and then pursue it passionately. In Verse 5: before I formed you in the womb, I knew you; before you were born, I sanctified you, and ordained you a prophet to the nations. So here's Jeremiah, and God's saying: before you were even shaped, in other words, before you even come an embryo inside the womb, I already had set you apart, to be a prophet to nations.
So before we saw Josiah, and 300 years before his birth, already he's already got a prescription from God what he's called to do. Now, you can go through many, many men of the Bible, and it's exactly the same; for example, John the Baptist. They prophesied over John the Baptist, that the spirit of Elijah would be on him, he would go and prepare a way for the Lord - before he's born, while he's still in the womb. What about Samson? Samson, his parents got a word that this man would rise up, and become a great deliverer. He would begin to deliver the nation of Israel; so person after person through the Bible, the same thread runs through, that before the person entered the world, there was an assignment from God prepared.
Now, of course when you start to think about that, you think: well, that's different, you know? That's John the Baptist, you know; and all these famous people in the Bible, but that wouldn't be me. But we've just read that He has created you for good works, which He prepared beforehand, that you would walk in them. To walk means, you would arrange your life, to fulfil what God called you to do.
Now this is not then about just dying and going to heaven. This is about aligning our life with God's kingdom purposes. Okay, now there's many things and many ways, so the question then is: how on earth do I find out what God called me to do? How many are puzzled by that one? Well, if you're honest, you wouldn't be puzzled by it. How many can say straight away: I know exactly what God's called me to do, and I've actually got some goals set out, and I'm working on it now? See what I mean? You see, we have this fuzzy sort of thing, I'll just sort of mosey along, and have a bit of a prayer time and - but we're not thinking clear. We need to actually be focussed in our life.
Let's have a look in Psalm 139. Now David is writing, and this is what he says. He said: your eyes - Verse 16 - saw my substance, being yet unformed. So he's saying again, this is David writing - he's saying: before I was even formed in the womb, You saw exactly what my DNA, my make up, how I would come forth. You see how scriptures like this really speak of the sanctity of life in the womb very strongly; so notice what he says here: And in your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.
Now let me just give you a couple of other versions. Here's what the NIV says: All the days ordained for me were written in your book, before even one of them came into being. How about the Living Bible: You saw me before I was born. You scheduled each day of my life before I began to breath, and every day was recorded in your book. Now when you start to look at it like that, we can just sort of say it something like this: that before you were even formed in your mother's womb, before any of us ever came into this world, God had a book and He listed every day of our life. He knows exactly when it'll finish, and He has a plan for every day of our life. Now that's quite extraordinary isn't it?
The problem is, how can I find His plan? It seems so elusive at times. So let's just give some simple things of how you could discover your assignment. Now the first thing to realise, is that it must be possible for me to discover what God wants me to do. It must be possible; and not only that, it must be simple; so I just need to know how that would take place. For example, if you have a look at the life of Jesus, at the age of 12 He turned up in the temple and He said: I must be about my father's business; so at 12 years old, it's possible for you to know your assignment for life. How about that?
Later on, He was able to articulate, and He said: this is my assignment, the spirit of the Lord's upon me. He's anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor, heal the broken hearted, to proclaim deliverance to the captives, restoring vision to the blind, setting at liberty those oppressed, proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord. In other words He's saying: I know exactly what I'm called to do, and I know how long I've got to do it. It's quite specific, and at the end of His ministry, He was totally committed to it. He said: my meat, or what I live on, is actually discovering what my father wants me to do, and finishing His work. Finally, when He got to the end of His life, in John 17:4, He says: I've finished all the work You assigned me to do. So in Jesus' model for us, that it's possible from when you're young, to be aware of the call and the work of God on your life; that it's possible for you to identify, and articulate this is what I am called to do with my life; that we need to make commitments for that to happen, or it doesn't just happen; and at the end of your life, you can get to the end of your life and say: actually, all that God wanted me to do, I've done it. Now that's a great thing isn't it? He's the model. He's the example - not someone else down the road. Jesus is the example.
So it raises then, how can we discover what God assigned us to do? I've given a lot of thought about that in the last few months. How can you discover what God has assigned you to do, and I've kind of really got it down under three headings. If you were God, and you have the problem where you've made someone.... We've got a big plan, so we'll work out exactly how he will be, and where he'll be born. Now we've got a job for him to do, or an assignment for his life. How am I going to get the assignment to him? I have discovered that there's probably three ways that happens. Number one, you've got to connect with God, and let Him talk to you, because you'll never discover all the things God has planned for your life unless you're in a place of listening to Him. We'll come back to that in a moment.
Second thing is, God wires it into the DNA of the person, so you have to actually get personal insight to who you are, before you can actually discover your assignment. The third thing is, you must actually purpose to discover it, because I've found that nothing of a spiritual nature just comes easily. You actually have to pursue them, and the Bible says: to seek the kingdom of God first, place it as priority to discover what God has for your life, and then accomplish it.
Now we'll try and get it down to some very simple things, so number one is revelation. So simply, we need the Holy Ghost to talk to us. Let's have a look at a Verse on that, in John 16, Verse 13. This is why the Holy Ghost is so important. I love the Holy Ghost. Somebody's going to break out, and we'll prophesy for some people shortly, but John 16, Verse 13: Now when He comes in the spirit of truth, He will guide you into all truth. So this is the job description of the Holy Ghost. It is to guide you into all truth, and notice what it says: He's not going to say things out His own mind. He says: He will say the things that He has heard. Who's He hearing them from? He's hearing them from the Father. The things the Father's prepared for your life, He shares with the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit is placed inside you, so He can lead you into the truth about what you're called to do; and notice this - and show you things to come. Well I don't know, maybe you're thinking global events there, and what's the finance market going to do? Maybe we'll just reduce it to something simple like: He can show you what things lie ahead for you in your life, in a way that you could actually start to walk into them. That has to be at least one of the things that He's called to do, so I need to cultivate a lifestyle of listening to the Holy Spirit, who speaks through the word of God, speaks personally in your heart.
What is your relationship with the Holy Spirit like? I'm finding recently He's saying more and more, to just relax and lean on Him and to make a fresh commitment to trust Him more, to lean on Him more, just to flow with Him more, not try and worry about getting everything worked out. Holy Ghost is wonderful. I was going to pray for some people soon, but I'll get stuck in, get away on the Holy Ghost in a moment. Notice this: see, this is a major work of the Holy Ghost. He's put inside you to help you find your assignment! How good does that get! People are worried about seeing angels and things. I'm not worried about seeing angels, because Almighty God is inside my spirit! Same spirit that raised Jesus from the dead is inside me! It's not a different Holy Ghost you've got, you know.
You've got to learn how to arise with the power of the spirit in your life. It's not so hard. We teach it over and over and over. We're going to go through it again, because I find people forget. They just forget, plum forget. But I tell you what, you can be energised by the Holy Ghost! In Philippians, Chapter 2, it says: it is God, or the Holy Ghost, who energises you, who works in you; to will, and to do of the things that please the Father. So there it is. Your assignment is: the Holy Ghost knows what your assignment is. He knows what He's wanting to do today. He knows what He wants to do in you tomorrow. Get connected to the Holy Ghost!
You get fired up and energised! Get that gift of tongues praying, until you break all that heaviness off you! Start to renew your soul, so you're getting revelation from the spirit! The spirit of man, the Bible says, is the lamp of the Lord; so if you want revelation, your spirit has to be able to flow through a soul that's clear of depression and heaviness and condemnation and guilt! That's why we need to be free in our soul! Free and just love the Holy Ghost! I love Him! Amazing! Then you get praying in tongues every day. I guarantee your life will change. First three days, stretch you a bit. After that all kinds of problems will come. [Laughter] They will, I can assure you, absolutely assure. You commit every day I'll get up, and I'll start to pray in tongues, then I'll start to tenderly worship God, and I will begin to stir my spirit man, let the word of God begin to meditate in my soul. You'll have some problems, I can tell you now.
What are the problems? Oh, I understand. They're the opposition to my assignment. So how many rolled over and gave up? Come up in an altar call and get prayer. [Laughs] Okay, so the Holy Ghost, first one. Revelation, revelation. Holy Ghost energised. Second thing is, I believe it's personal insight. I believe if you're going to fulfil the assignment God's given to you, you need personal insight. You need insight as to who you are, how God's wired you, and I'll give you some practical things how to discover that. They're quite simple but sometimes we overlook - you know, the Bible tells us that we have gifts that differ, so you are different. Tell someone: actually, you're different. You're really different. You're really different! Whoa! Because the problem is, we want to make them all the same. God says NO! You know what He says? When I made you, I said: I'll never do that again! There's only going to be one of you. You are unique. Broke the mould, the next one comes out as different. Every one is different. Difference is good. Get in a church culture, everyone wants to make you the same. Difference is good. Difference is God, so He's creative. Look around at the number of plants, trees, animals. The variety everywhere, difference is grea,t and you can be totally different. Why not? If you've got hair, colour it!
I saw someone the other day, had some lovely purple hair. I thought it was magnificent. It was great. I saw a Pastor over in Taiwan who's got purple hair too. I thought well that looks great too, but I couldn't get away with that, not at my age. [Laughter] It looked good on him.
So let me just give you some simple things. This is so easy to find this. Number one, what is it you really love doing? What do you really love doing? Everyone knows this. Don't be religious. What do you love doing? That is a clue, and a key to finding out what God's put inside, because when you do what you love, you just love doing it, and you're very happy, and you just keep doing it because you're so happy doing it, because you like doing it. This is one of the things about doing what you love to do. You love to do it, so it's fun; so get some other people and gather them in, and do the things you love to do with them, and then share with them about the Lord when the chance opens up.
Second thing is, what do you hate? What is it really gets you wound up, you hate it? You know, because some people can't say what they love, but they do know what they hate. I hate that! Well maybe you're called to fix it? [Laughter] Come on, maybe you're called to fix it. People complain - somebody ought to do something about it! You saw it - you do something! God's obviously put the concern in your heart. Now it's as simple as that. Sometimes we overlook the most obvious. What is it grieves you? What is it causes your heart to feel touched and sad? That's a clue too.
I was with someone, and they shared this story of where they were from, and I actually felt deep compassion, and I knew that I should try to help that person, because that's what I'm called to do. I knew it because of what I felt inside. Sometimes things get us angry. Now there's lots of reasons to get angry; you get angry because someone cut you off coming in. We're not talking about that; but sometimes you hear of things, and it really triggers off inside you, you know, Jesus looked around in Mark 3, He looked around at the hardness of these religious people in the church, and He was extremely angry being grieved. So you notice He was angry, and He was grieved, and He did something about it. Anger can cause energy to arise, to face and challenge things; and not all anger's good, but some anger - God gets angry. Jesus gets angry - but we forget He gets angry. He walked in that temple, and they were all cheating everyone, and making money off everybody. He got angry! I mean this is no Gentle Jesus! He just stood there, and thought about it while the anger was rising up inside Him, and He's plaiting these lovely whips, and then He ran through the place and turned over the tables, whipped everyone and drove them all out. Now that is something really big. That's a big thing.
This is the same Jesus we were worshipping, oh. [Laughter] Come on. You've got to realise, God does not want the church feminised. He wants the church to be both male and female, in other words, to have a strength about it, that comes about by engaging a cause, and a purpose; and Jesus knew. He said: I'm about my Father's business. What angered Him was, it was His assignment to clean up the house of God. That's why He got angry, and He was grieved because of the religious hardness, and lack of love for people, lack of compassion for people, see? So that's another clue.
Here's another way: find out what you're good at. Just have a look and try a few things. Just try some things, and see what you're really good at, because if you get good fruit in something, probably that's something to do with the assignment God has for your life. Then the last one is, you could ask someone else - not everyone; because a lot of people have agendas, but you could ask a trusted person what they see in you. What do others recognise in you? If you've been in a community, or connected in relationships, after a little while people see what you're quite good at, and they say: well, you'd be great at that. I never thought of being a Pastor, but a Pastor spoke to me and said: hey, you'd be great as a Pastor. I couldn't see it. I still struggle sometimes, but however that's neither here nor there. I've come to recognise it's what God called me to do, just embrace it, and get over yourself, you know, so [Laughter] there it is.
So what do you have? That's not so hard. If you were to think - see we try to make it so spiritual, but if you were to think: what is it I really love doing? Can I just begin to give myself to that, include others, and bring others into the world of what I love, and start to impact them for Christ? That could be your assignment.
I was just quite thrilled recently - you know Beryl? Beryl loves to be kind and hospitable and recently she did an amazing thing. She gave up a half a days pay and wages and whatever, so she could set up a programme to teach people how to cook. She loves to cook, and so she's just got two places, first it was just one here. She does a class here, and she just loves to cook and help people to cook; and now she's found another place she can do it and be evangelistic. Now that's just actually taking what you love, and then bringing others into your world where you love doing this, then letting God touch them.
We've got others in the church, and they're never up on the platform, or ever being vocal in any kind of way, but they are phenomenal in what they do, phenomenal. They just do what they love doing - say I love doing it. Just I love it. And it's usually the thing that God's called you to do, and it's a matter of then being able to focus it. Here's another couple of things. The last one I believe is this: you actually have to actively pursue what God wants you to do. I don't think it just falls on our plate. I think it requires an active pursuit, and by active pursuit, I believe that the devil is assigned to try and stop you going into what God has for you to accomplish with your life.
I was just talking with Richard this morning, and God's put in his heart a whole number of giftings around the area of marriage and counselling, and had a huge amount of experience, and he wants to write a book. So he's got a book, but he was talking to me today about all the difficulties he's had just facing the publishing of the book; but he has an assignment, and so there are battles with your assignment, so don't think that's strange. Don't think it's strange that the thing that God called you to do, that you'd face conflict in it. It's absolutely normal, because you are called uniquely to advance the kingdom, and there will always be opposition to that from the spirit world, and in people; and God can use it to grow you, and build the man and the woman of God He wants to build.
So here's some other simple practical things I think we have to do in the pursuit of our assignment. Here's a few things: number one, look for opportunities to help people. Look for opportunities to serve and help people. I think we should be proactive in helping people, because your assignment is always to someone. It's always to help someone. Jesus came, and His assignment was to help the whole world, and His assignment He left to the church, carry on the mission! See? So every assignment that God has, no matter what form it takes, will be in service to people. So whether you're behind in an office, or whether you're out, seen or whatever, there'll always be people you're serving. That's a part of it, so look for the opportunities. Galatians 6:10 tells us: as we have opportunity do good to all men, and especially those who are believers, so look for opportunities. Make it a lifestyle of looking for opportunities to help people, and be a blessing to people, and that's one way of discovering your assignment, because you start to find your way into it quite quickly.
The second thing is, I believe we need to invest in personal growth and development. I think if you're gong to fulfil your assignment, you have to make a decision to invest in yourself. Now no one is going to do that for you. So for example, if you've got a musical gifting, you can have all the gifting you like, but if you don't invest in the training, you'll never fulfil your assignment. You'll never become great unless you get some training. So I look around - a lot of young people, when they start to walk with God, they get this kind of thing of God will take them here and take them there. Listen - discover what is inside you that could be a gift to the world, and then develop the gift. Invest in your development. Get some training, get some education, get some skills. Whatever you do, develop yourself, and so that spiritual development, growing in your personal life and also it's practical and natural development, in just your skills and abilities and various other things, even managing finance. It's not so hard is it? These are quite important - so invest in yourself.
So here's a question then. Who is it, that you've been doing good to? What opportunities have come up recently? Second question you could think of would be: what am I doing to invest in myself, and to grow my gifts, and grow my ability? What am I doing? Am I doing anything? Well then if you're not growing, you're just stagnating.
Third thing is, develop excellence in serving. Develop excellence in serving. Why do I say that? Because excellence in serving, that means very simply, do the little things well, and on time. Do the little things well, and on time. Do it with a great heart. Why? Colossians 3:23 says: whatever you do, do it heartily as to the Lord, not unto men, knowing - here's why you do it that way - knowing that from the Lord we shall receive the reward of inheritance. So serving with excellence is a key part of gaining favour with men, that gives God room to promote you. Think about that.
So if I don't find people serving, or their serving is trivial or poor, they're not committed to grow, I know they can't become great. Greatness in the kingdom is about serving. It's about meeting needs of people, and doing it really well, and doing it with a great heart, doing it with a great attitude, and continually improving your serve. It's quite simple, and you know, in a church like this, there's heaps of ways that you can serve. Just serve the family of God. Every time we have a Sunday Service, there's people up there who do lights, there's people outside in the car park and - did a great job, they're out in the car park there, and they're the first people that people meet. There's people count money, there's people do all kinds of things. There's about 70 people involved on a Sunday morning, let alone acts of service anywhere else. I know there are so many people who are doing things behind the scenes all the week, so these are great ways of going isn't it?
Here's the fourth thing - set some practical goals. Make a plan. If you're going to grow and achieve something with your life, make a plan. Maybe it's just a plan about your work. Maybe it's a plan about your spiritual growth, a plan about your marriage, a plan about your family, but just make a plan. Put some things down that you commit yourself to do. That's quite simple, because the moment you do that, you're now articulating what I'm doing, and now this is where I'm going. Most people who succeed in life have a plan. They have something that maintains their focus in life. You say: how's that going to get my assignment? Because these are the things everyone has to do, to accomplish something great with their life, and it's on the journey that God guides you. He doesn't give it to you all - it's a scroll. It unravels as you go. I wish it was a book - you could just sort of go and have a peek in it - where am I up to? Sixty-six. Don't know what's up now? No, it doesn't work like that, it's a scroll, so it just unravels as you walk into it.
Here's another thing. Build relationships with people that can mentor you, or speak into your life. This is one of the things that stops many people becoming great, is they actually don't let anyone speak into their life, or don't build connections intentionally with people that can help them grow. If you have an assignment, it requires you grow, and you need people to help you, so who have you got speaking into your life? Welcome people speaking into your life to help you grow, find a place where you can serve.
Here's another couple, and I'll finish with these. Take risks. I've come to the conclusion, you're just going to have to take more risks. You just have to step out and try stuff. Now here's the problem. I look around, I see many grey hairs, and of course as you get older, you don't want to take risks. You want a smooth life, but actually that's the worst thing you could possibly do, is to in the last season of your life, slow down and stop taking risks, petering out rather than going out with a bang of glory! See Bill there, and he's still going off to China, and smuggling Bibles across the border - he's amazing! Bill the smuggler [Laughter] You used to be Conservative Bill, but it turns out there's a bit of Wild Bill inside there, see? [Wild Bill.] Yeah, exactly, Wild Bill. He's got that name now, Wild Bill, because he does things other people wouldn't do, and there's risk. But in doing so, he's discovered his assignment, so you have to take risks; and a good example of that is Peter, who stepped out of the boat on a word from the Lord, and began to do something no man apart from Jesus had ever done before: walk on water.
Now you can focus on him sinking, but don't focus on him sinking. He walked on water twice, once when he started out, then after he got the dunking, up again and he walked again. So he walked by faith, and it took him risk. Everyone else played it safe in the boat. Now have a good think about this: intentionally plan things that stretch you out, so you're not comfortable, and you have to lean on God. It's in those things that you'll find your boundaries increase, and you begin to start to find God moving and making clear what He wants you to do.
We'll never know all that God has for us, if we don't try some things out, and try some different things out. Now think about it. That's not so hard all of that was it? It was one, God wants to speak to you, so get full of the Holy Ghost! Two, gain personal insight. In other words, reflect on what you love, what you hate, what grieves you, what makes you angry, what stirs you up, what you're good at, and begin to start to put yourself out. Now there are many roles in the church people can function in. You never know what you can do until you give it a go. I never knew. I've done things I'd never thought I'd ever do. How did I end up here? I said to myself when I was a teenager: I'll never do that, and yet there I am, ended up doing that, because at some point I stepped out and did things I'd never done before. That's part of it.
Then finally, make it a pursuit that you'll discover what God wants you to do. It unravels through your life, and try to articulate: this is what I feel in my heart I'm called to do. You know, stand and look in the mirror, and say: I believe God's calling me to do this. I will arise and fulfil this, and trust God to lead me as I do it.
Now some of you already are well on the way. You're well journeying down your assignment, but others, I believe it's a time to activate those things, and come alive in them. I just see assignments inside people, just waiting to burst out, and here's the thing: if you wait for someone else to bring it out, it'll never happen! You've got to own this thing yourself, because it's YOUR assignment. It's what God designed YOU to do, and no one else. Why is there no one else? Simply this, because of the unique DNA you have, the giftings and mix you have, the experiences you have, where you've come from, what your experiences with God are, and where you are uniquely placed. You meet people that I'll never meet, and God put you there for a reason. It's our role to change the community, one person at a time. So why don't we all begin to decide we're going to take up our assignment?
Let's just close our eyes for a moment. Father in heaven, we just thank you for the work you're doing in our midst by your spirit. I want to just while our eyes are closed and heads are bowed, is there any person here never made the first step, and that is to receive Jesus as your saviour, to become a Christian? If you haven't received Jesus yet, I'd love to pray a simple prayer with you. A Christian is a follower of Christ, someone who's given their life to Him, trusted Him to save them, and started to intentionally walk with Him.
I wonder how many people today, that has God has really challenged you about your assignment, about actually beginning to embrace or understand that God does want you to advance His kingdom, in a way that's quite unique to you, that you have an assignment from God which unravels over the course of time, and you are actively pursuing that right now. You've identified where your strengths are, and what you love to do. You're starting to look for the ways you could grow into that role somewhere, or somehow. Perhaps some of you God's given ideas and dreams. Well you know, until you put it down, and start to do something about it, it'll never become reality. We've got to step up and take hold of our assignment.
I wonder how many people God spoke to this morning about that. Just raise your hand right now. God bless, God bless. There's many people - why don't we just do this as we finish, why don't you just come and just come to the front, just lift your hands and just begin to build an altar to the Lord, say: God, I do not want to drift any longer. I want to become focussed with my life. I've got keys today to help me with that assignment; the first one, I'm going to start to build strong praying in tongues. Secondly, I'm going to start to identify what's in my life. I'm going to begin to seek the help of others if I need to; and three, I'm going to actively pursue - I've actually got the keys now of what to do.
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Eph. 8-10 “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them”.
· Each of us is a masterpiece, a unique creation of God that He is working on.
(a) V8 Salvation = His Work: He has done it all. I must believe and rest on the work Jesus did. There is nothing more I can do to become accepted by God.
(b) V10 Advancing the Kingdom = My Work: He has designed me for a unique purpose –
= called to bring heaven to earth.
= called to restore our community one life at a time.
· V10 “Prepare beforehand” = God designed an assignment and created you to fulfil it.
· “Works” = activities we do energised by the Holy Spirit.
· “Walk” = NT4043 = to tread all around, to regulate your life so you fulfil your assignment.
2. God Designed Your Assignment before you were born
(a) Examples of Men with Assignments
· 1 King 13:2 Josiah – His name and assignment were prophesied.
· Jer. 1:5 Jeremiah – called to be a prophet before he was born.
· Jud. 13:5 Samson – called to be a deliverer from womb.
· Lk. 1:13-16 John – called to be a revivalist from the womb.
(b) God has prepared every day of your life
“All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them come to be”. NIV
“You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breath. Every day was recorded in your book”. TLB
(c) Your assignment is Specific to You
· Jesus Was aware of His assignment at age of 12 years (Lk2:49)
Was totally committed to His assignment (Jn4:34)
Could clearly articulate His assignment (Lk4:18)
Fully completed His assignment (Jn17:4)
3. How Can you Discover What your Assignment is?
(a) Revelation by the Holy Spirit
· We can only discover our assignment fully if we listen to the Holy Spirit.
· Jn.16:13 “When He the Spirit of Truth has come He will guide you into all truth, for He will not speak on His own authority but whatever He hears He will speak and He will tell you things to come”.
· One major work of the Holy Spirit is to reveal God’s will and empower us to do it.
· Phil.2:13 “for it is God who works in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure”.
· “Works” = HNT1754 = Energeo = to energise, powerfully work in.
· How does the Holy Spirit do this?
· Build your devotional life and practise listening and responding to the Holy Spirit as a lifestyle.
(b) Active Pursuit
· Acts 16:6-9 as Paul acted on what he knew, his assignment unfolded
(i) Look for opportunities to help people (Gal.6:10)
(ii) Invest in personal growth and development (1 Tim. 4:15)
(Natural and spiritual)
(iii) Develop excellence in serving people (Col 3:23)
(iv) Set some practical goals – make a plan (prov.29:18)
(v) Build relationships with mentors that can speak into your life and help you (Prov.15:22)
(vi) Take risks – welcome opportunities to extend (Mt.14:28-32)
(vii) Commit to Spiritual and Emotional health (Prov.4:23)