New Hope Notes
Has A Plan
The Irresistible Church
Pastor Wayne Cordeiro
How many people believe God has a wonderful plan for their lives?
And, if so, how many believe we should have the same wonderful plan for our lives? I’m going to put you on a guilt trip with this next question. How many out there have written a plan for the future on how you’re going to accomplish your goals?
Today, we’re talking about the importance of writing down the goals that God has for us. I want to convince you to do just that. If you do, you’ll be in the top three percent of Americans, and in the Body of Christ. You’ll be one of the few that God will use in great ways.
Please catch this, it’ll be very important. I’m going to discuss one of the most prolific characters of the Old Testament: Caleb.
But, let me start with this. A little eight-year-old girl is with her family on an extended vacation that includes three days of solid driving. After a certain time passed, she asked her daddy if they were there yet.
“We’re almost there.”
The next day, the little girl asked the same question.
“Almost there,” said her father to that and several other repeated questions.
Finally, in sheer frustration, the little girl blurted out, “Daddy, when we finally get to where we are going to, will we be there?”
That’s an important question, because all of us are going somewhere in life, and you’re going to arrive there someday, so let me ask you this question.
When you get to where you are going, will you be where you want to be? What do you want to do with life? See, I want to talk about plans you have, and the goals you may or may not have in place.
You can’t have faith for something if you don’t know what the faith for something is. If you don’t know what the something is, how can you have faith for it?
It was in Alice in Wonderland that Alice was scurrying around when she came across the Cheshire Cat.
“Which way do I go,” she asked the big, grinning cat.
“Well, it all depends on where you want to go,” he said.
“I don’t know.”
Well, if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.”
Isn’t that how we are in life sometimes? Did you know that many Hawaii people spend more time planning for a short vacation in Las Vegas than they do on their long-term plans for their lives?
I’m going to talk to you about how you become someone different when you follow this plan of action. In fact, we often talk about ideas, but we don’t discover who we are as much as we decide who we are.
That decision is made in the goals and plans we set. I want to tell you about a true study made in 1979. MBA graduates from Harvard were the study group, and as the large class graduated, they were asked this question: “How many of you have goals for your life, and a written plan to accomplish these goals?”
Three percent said they had goals and had a written plan in place. Interestingly, thirteen percent had the goals, but hadn’t written them out. A whopping eighty-four percent had no goals at all.
The study followed the former students for ten years and guess what they found? The thirteen percent who had unwritten goals were making twice as much as the eighty-four percent with no goals.
But, here’s the kicker: the three percent with written plans on how to achieve their life goals were making ten times as much as the other ninety-seven percent combined. Now, although this is just an earnings capacity kind of poll, it has ramifications for every area of our lives.
Do you think that God has goals for your life?
And, do you think He wrote these goals down? You better believe it that he’s written His goals down. Did you know that in here, in the Bible, there are more than seven thousand promises for your life?
God’s written them down and he expects us to copy and apply them to our lives, our marriages, our families, our future, and our finances. God’s goals for us are right here in the Bible.
In fact, scripture says “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it.” (Hab. 2.2)
Put it this way: “Without a vision, my people perish...” (Proverbs 29:18) You know what the word “perish” means in Hebrew? “Walk aimlessly.” Without a vision, there would be no direction, so what should you do with the vision of your life’s plan? You write it down, make it plain, so when you see the vision later, you know the direction and the way you need to run.
It’s pretty interesting to see how God speaks to us of goals by using some of the greatest men and women of the Scriptures. All had goals and we’re going to talk about one in particular – Caleb.
Caleb is in Numbers Chap. 13 when Moses hears from God that every place upon which his sole treads in this new promised land is his and that God will give it to him. Then one man from each of the twelve tribes is chosen to go ahead and come up with ideas on how to take the land.
The twelve are told to find out who lives on the land and report back on what to do next. Moses wants plans, strategies and goals. Ten come back and each has a negative report on the land and/or its inhabitants. But, two stand firm and say that the Israelites should go and live in the land that the Lord has already promised them.
Those two were Joshua and Caleb. They go off and start taking the land and God says these two have a different spirit and that they followed Him fully so He brought them into the land.
Nearly a half-century later, Caleb says “It's been 45 years since Israel wandered in the desert when the Lord made this promise to Moses. So now look at me today. I'm 85 years old. I'm still as fit to go to war now, as I was when Moses sent me out. Now give me this mountain!" (Josh. 14:10-12)
I love this guy! He’s eighty-five years old, and he has a goal, as well as a gutsy faith. The reason I want to zero in on that today is because I believe that some of you have a mountain you need to take, and you need to say “Give me this mountain.”
It’s a gutsy faith. Some of you have a mountain of a health problem or concern, and I want you to say “Give me this mountain.”
Some of you have a mountain in your marriage and you need to be able to say “Give me this mountain, God. I’m going to scale this.”
Are you having financial issues or problems with a job? You have to set a goal in front of you.
Remember, Jesus said, “…I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10 Set that goal. Say “I’m going to take that mountain. If you don’t – that’s why you won’t because the Bible says, “…As you have believed so be it done unto you...” (Matt. 8:13) You’ve gotta set those goals and then you gotta go for it.
I want you to have something you are willing to die for.
I say it like this to people: You start dying when you have nothing to live for, but you start living when you have something worth dying for.
And, there’s stuff I’m willing to die for, whether it’s this church, my family, or raising up young men and women in the ministries. That’s my life, and why I set goals, which I’ve been doing for more than twenty years.
Right now, I keep them on my smart phone and I look at them constantly. When I accomplish one, I cross it off and move on. I look at these not as much as a list of goals but as a prayer list. And did you know, God has answered ninety-five percent of these so far?
These goals have happened, in part, by concentrating my energy and staying focused and the same can happen for you.
Caleb said he was going to go for it, and you know you’ll have some mountains ahead, so why not set some goals now? I want you to grow to become part of the three-percent of Americans – for the name of Christ.
Concentrate your energy – you might be surprised. I’m talking about what God has gifted you to do. Now, what can you do to your fullest potential? Have you written it down at all? How can you do what you do to please God? Here are a few tips from Caleb’s life for setting some Godly and Biblical goals:
Goals are claiming what God has already promised, but in order for God to bless you, you have to be bless-able. If you want God’s blessing, you have to do it God’s way.
As it is written, “One thing I do: I press on toward the goal...for which God has called me...” (Phil. 3:13-14)
You have to define success correctly. A mother might dream about a palatial home in a fancy magazine, but those images pale against the thoughts she has of raising her children to walk in the ways of the Lord.
Success takes time; I know it’s not something that happens overnight. For about two-and-a-half years, my family and I survived on packets of Top Ramen. (A good meal was adding kimchi and a great night was when my wife added grated cheese next to the kimchi.)
But, during that season, I knew that
success wasn’t over there, it was in front of me. While I concentrated on my
immediate goals, I also never forgot my long-term goals. Some measures of
success include the following:
If you please God, it doesn’t matter who you displease, but if you displease God, it doesn’t matter whom you please.
Some might read this and say, “Wayne, that’s all well and good, but setting goals isn’t for me.” But …
2. Setting goals are for EVERYONE, even if you are well into old age.
“And now behold, the Lord has let me live, just as He spoke, these 45 years, from the time that the Lord spoke this word to Moses, when Israel walked in the wilderness, and now behold, I am eighty-five years old today.” (Josh. 14:10)
I would say that even if you are eighty-five years old today, you are not too old to set goals. Benjamin Franklin was eighty-one when he led the charge to adopt the U.S. Constitution.
On the other hand, I would also say you’re never too young to start setting some goals. I was only in fifth or sixth grade when, as a young altar boy in the Catholic faith, I volunteered to assist at an orphanage in Japan. Watching the nuns and priests help the children, I remember knowing there and then that this was what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to help people in the name of God.
But, let me give you a little warning.
Even Caleb had to strive hard. “‘I am still as strong today as I was in the day Moses sent me;’ Caleb said, ‘as my strength was then, so my strength is now, for war and for going out and coming in.’” (Josh. 14:11)
Although God promised the Israelites the land, they still had to contend for every square foot of it.
Although God promises you some things, you still have to contend for every square inch by building character and not taking shortcuts. It takes time, but when you get to your own “promised land” and look back, you (and others) can see how much you have changed. While you just wanted the “land,” God wanted the change in your person.
But remember, “A dream comes about by much effort.” (Eccles. 5:3)
And goals can be achieved through much effort despite adversity, some of which include the
I want to encourage you to be a people of the three percent – especially for the Kingdom of God because …
4. God will HELP YOU.
As it was written, “You yourself heard then that the Amalekites were there, and their cities were large and fortified, but the Lord helping me, I will drive them out just as He said.” (Josh 14:12)
This week, (why not print these pages out now?) fill out at least one goal in each of the four categories where you know God’s best purposes is for you. (Simple suggestions include starting or increasing devotions; develop some new social skills; not a reader? Read one book a month and lastly, walk a couple a times a week. (Increase all the above as time goes by.)
1. Spiritual Growth: ________________________________________________________
2. Social Growth: __________________________________________________________
3. Mental (Internal) Growth: __________________________________________________