New Hope Notes
God Has A Place For You
Doing Church As A Team
Pastor Jon Burgess
There is a saying at NHO that everyone is a perfect 10 somewhere. But also everyone is a negative 10 somewhere else! There is a place where you are at your best. And a place where you are--out of place. In the ongoing series Doing Church as a Team, today's sermon is about finding God's perfect place for you. In other words, you don't want to spend your life outside of God's place for you.
1. When God has FIRST PLACE He helps me find my place.
Put God first before all the questions: Who am I? What am I supposed to do? What are my gifts? Where are my talents? Before all of those things, find Jesus as your center. Make Him your primary pursuit. In Matthew 6:33, Jesus says, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you.” Put the Lord and the relationship with Him above every other relationship. We see this in the story and example of David.
“When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, 'Surely the Lord's anointed stands here before the Lord.' But the Lord said to Samuel, 'Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’” 1 Sam. 16:6-7
God appointed the prophet Samuel to find, among the sons of Jesse, a new king for Israel. As the story goes, the Lord chose the youngest son David--a man after His own heart--to lead Israel. At a young age, David already knew the importance of obeying God fully, which is why the Lord could work through him and develop him into the ruler Israel needed. As with David, when you put Christ in first place, reigning in your heart, He will show you your place. He will make sure that when you need a promotion, you get the promotion. He will make sure that when you need to be seen, you are seen. He will make sure your gifts find the right place. Instead of you trying to make it happen, He will make it happen. God is going to find your place when you put Him in first place in your life. In Philippians 2:13 the apostle Paul writes, "For it is God who is at work in you both to will and to work for His good pleasure." When Christ is first, He determines what is next in your life. He aligns your will with His will. He aligns your actions with His actions. When He is first, He knows what is next for you. When He is first, He knows what is best for you.
There are three Ps to help us find our place in Christ: potential, passion, and patience.
*My God-given POTENTIAL. Most of us spend our lives as "Iceberg Christians." We judge our worth and value on the 10% at the top of the iceberg. But below the surface is the 90% of your God-given potential. God sees what is beneath the surface and He has so much more in store for you!
You should assess your personal qualities and the percentage potential you think you have achieved or reached:
1. Spiritual Growth __%
2. Personal Growth __%
3. Financial Health __%
4. People Skills __%
5. Physical Health __%
6. Vocational Abilities __%
7. Family Health __%
8. Relationships __%
For instance, you may think you are at 50% of your potential in spiritual growth and 60% in personal growth. The exercise helps show how far you have come and how far God wants to take you. It helps you look below the surface or tip of the iceberg so that you can see the larger picture of what God has planned for you. Remember young David out in the pasture caring for sheep; he thinks that this is his lot in life. Meanwhile, God is looking at the 90% below the surface in the warrior David, the poet (psalmist) David, and the king David. All that was below the surface, David didn't see. Neither did Jesse (David's father), Samuel (the prophet), or Saul (then King of Israel). But God saw it! And because David put Him in first place, God helped David find his place and fulfill his potential. And God will do the same for you. Make Him your primary pursuit and He will show you how to increase your potential as you follow Him.
*My God-given PASSION. What makes you come alive? What gets your fire going? Go and do that! Wally Amos, founder of Famous Amos cookies, continues to have a passion for making cookies with the Cookie Kahuna brand (Kahuna corporate ownership gave a sizeable donation to NHO; funds will be used for YPAC to travel for show competitions and for NHO summer camps!). And that's just about cookies! What about a passion for Christ? In Scripture, we learn David had a passion for knowing and obeying God. That passion caught so many other hearts on fire. He was so in love with God that people wanted to follow him. They wanted to be around him even when he was running for his life, hiding in caves, and far from any throne or comfort. They wanted to be with him because he was in passionate pursuit of God and His presence. And if you are passionate about Christ, your fire too will light up everyone around it. People will want to know the relationship you have with Him. So tap into your God-given passion. The possibilities are endless with what God can do in you and through you. This kind of passion is not an accident. If you put God in first place, He will place your passion.
*My God-given PATIENCE.
We need to learn how to wait for God. There may be things in your life you have been waiting on and have not yet seen come to pass. Some of you are ready to give up on it. But don't give up because the harvest is about to come. Don't give up right before the provision to that prayer arrives. Look how long King David had to wait. It took over 20 years from the time of his anointing as a sheepherder to being King of all of God's people. That took God-given patience.
The process from promise to fulfillment can take a long time. God may be working and making changes in your heart. "Overnight Christianity" is not reality. What is the one thing you keep wondering about for God to come through (in answering your prayer)? What is God "stretching" and growing in you? Paul writes in Galatians 5:22 to ask God for the fruit of patience. Wait to see the fulfillment of the promise over your life. Some of you haven't seen it yet and you've been waiting for what feels like an eternity. God tells you don't give up. Remember, if He is in first place, He will bring you to your place - not overnight but He will bring you there. That which He started He is faithful to complete. That is our God. He is faithful and true. You can trust Him.
VIDEO: Testimony of Ed Blackiston, a member at NHO, on the power of patience and waiting for the Lord. Ed was an avid runner, mountain climber, backpacker, and windsurfer. But he developed an illness of severe bilateral leg muscle weakness and was unable to walk. In multiple consultations here and on the mainland, doctors said he would never walk again. But now after 14 years, Ed has begun to slowly recover and walk again. He is receiving immunoglobulin infusion therapy. The Lord helped Ed find his place (along with NHO prayers and laying of hands).
2. When I find my place I become a SAFE PLACE for others.
The testimony about Ed continues. On more than one occasion, strangers recently have been approaching or engaging him in conversations about God and Christianity. When Ed found his place, he become a safe place for others. In a safe place, God is going to use you as a magnet to draw others to you. Actually, people will be drawn to Christ in you. We again see this in the life of King David.
“David left Gath and escaped to the cave of Abdullam. When his brothers and his father's household heard about it, they went down to him there. All those who were in distress or in debt or discontented gathered around him, and he became their leader. About four hundred men were with him. From there David went to Mizpah in Moab and said to the king of Moab, "Would you let my father and mother come and stay with you until I learn what God will do for me?' So he left them with the king of Moab, and they stayed with him as long as David was in the stronghold. But the prophet Gad said to David, 'Do not stay in the stronghold. Go into the land of Judah.' So David left and went to the forest of Hereth.” 1 Sam. 22:1-5
David became the leader of a band of men who were rejected--in distress, in debt, or discontented. Why did this motley crew follow David? David had found his place because he put God in first place. And now David became a safe place for others.
Become the same safe place Ed has become for others; the same safe place that David had become for his army of men. For those rejected by failures, faults, discontent, debt, or struggle there is a safe place. And in this place of God's presence, what is said by the Lord reigns over everyone and everything else that is said. Jesus says, "You are with Me. I will tell you what you can do". In Philippians 4:13, Paul writes, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me". You can go where He calls you to go. You can do what He calls you to do. He sees your potential. He sees your passion. And He calls you to patience. And over a long period of time, you can find yourself walking in what God has assigned you to do!
What happened to David's motley crew over time? Read 2 Sam. 23:8-39 and 1 Chron. 11:10-47. These men saw themselves as minuses; God saw them as mighty. Just as God would work in David, God was working something out in his men. And they became known as David's mighty men. From minus 10 to perfect 10. And this is how God sees you. If you are willing to go through this process with God, He will release you into all He wants you to be.
This is what our God is. This is who our God is. But it is going to take time. It's going to take an immense amount of patience. Think about how much patience God had with David. And how much patience David had with his men.
*Who are 3 people I can have more patience with this week?
Who are you tired of waiting on? Who do you think will never change? Who have you written off? Pray for the fruit of patience. Because if God doesn't give up on you, you can't give up on others. Remember His infinite patience and love working with and in all of us.
So let us pay attention to what He is saying. He wants to work something in your life right now. Maybe it's to remind you of your potential. Maybe it's to bring attention to your passion. Maybe, after years of waiting, it's a fresh patience for what He has in store for you and not to give up. Maybe a call to be a safe place for others in need. Ultimately we end where we started. We have to put Him in first place if we are going to find our place.
1. How do you find God's place for you?
2. How do you know you're doing what God wants you to do? Do you ever feel out of place?
3. What makes you come alive and fires you up? What is your God-given passion?
4. What are some of the limits in your life (e.g., distress, debt, discontent) that prevent you from reaching your potential? Who is a safe place for you?