Today’s Scripture:  “ I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye.”  Psalm 32:8

Introduction:

We’re now one more week away from completing this series, and what a way to begin the last seven messages!  Why Read The Bible?  Because that’s how God guide us.  That’s what we read in today’s verse isn’t it?  I don’t have a long-winded introduction for this message because God gave the introduction for me through Psalm 32:8.  So, let’s get right into today’s message.

By the way, if you have made it all the way through all 25 messages so far…good work!  I hope that these messages have helped you to understand just how important to us the Word of God is…and today’s message is about to further drive home just how important God’s Word is to us, and why we need to read our Bibles.

Today’s Message:

One of the greatest reasons that we need to read the Bible is because this is how God’s guidance comes to us.  You know, everyone is waiting for God to speak to them through the burning bush, but the truth of the matter is the majority of the time the greatest way that God is going to speak to us He’s already provided us…He’s going to speak to us through what He’s already spoken…His Word.

I am convinced that what the body of Christ needs to do is stop looking to pastor so and so to speak a word to them, but look to the Bible to see what God’s already said to them.  I think a lot of times people are looking for the man of God to take the place of the Word of God…but really the man of God doesn’t always have anything more to go on than what the Word of God already says.

Listen, I’ve had men of God speak things over me that as soon as they were done I heard God say…”I did not say that.”.  Specifically, I remember a day when someone had laid hands on me and prayed that I was going to ‘do the work of an evangelist”, and I swear to you on everything I know that’s holy…God said:  “That’s not from me.”.  Listen, all pastors can “do the work of an evangelist”.  Anyone who is a born-again spirit-filled believer in Jesus Christ can and should “do the work of an evangelist’.  Even Paul writes in Romans that all can do the work of an evangelist, but not all are evangelists.  All can prophesy, but not all are prophets.  All can teach, but not all are teachers.

Remember in Ephesians 4:12 Paul writes that God called SOME to be prophets, apostles, pastors, evangelists, and teachers?  I sense a short side-journey here…are you ready?  I am convinced that one of the problems in the Body of Christ is that we have a lot of self anointed and self-appointed people in positions of authority in the Body of Christ that God did not place there.  Let me say that again.  There are some people preaching from pulpits that are not called to be preachers.  There are some who call themselves pastors that are not called to be pastors.  They are self-appointed and self-anointed.  Paul said that the Holy Spirit places people in their offices in the body of Christ as HE desires…not us.

Let me give you an example.  I recently had someone applaud me because I wrote on another Social Network site, and even in my biography that God called me to this ministry.  In response to them I said that I didn’t wake up one morning and say to myself:  “I’m going to be the pastor of Christlike Ministries NWA.”  No…what happened is one day I heard the Lord say to me:  “Bryan, I have called you to be the pastor of Christlike Ministries NWA

Now, what’s significant here are two things.  One, that the Lord called me into this ministry.  He gave me the name, the scriptures, and not until this year He gave me the mission and vision for this ministry.  God gave me all of that…I didn’t call myself into ministry, and I didn’t anoint myself.  Two, God called me a pastor.  He showed me the position in His Body that I was to have, and when He did that there wasn’t any question about what I was supposed to do or what my role in the body of Christ was.  Let me be as clear as I can be…I didn’t call myself nor did I anoint myself as a pastor…God did.   In both cases…now we’re coming back to today’s message…God spoke those things to me through His Word…I didn’t anoint myself as a minister.  I didn’t anoint myself with a ministry…God did.

I had read Jesus’ encounter with Peter a hundred times, but one day when I read the encounter with Peter…God spoke and made those verses personal.  Every time Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him, and Peter responded:  “Lord, You know that I love You.”  Jesus said:  “Feed My Sheep”.  One day when I read that encounter it went from the encounter being between Jesus and Peter to being between me and God.  I understood that God was asking me if I loved Him, and as I responded by saying yes…He said “Feed My Sheep”.  Do you want to know something else?  This is another little side-note that I sense the Lord taking me down now for some of you preachers who have gotten into pride over the size of your congregations.

Preacher, I’m going to share something with you that the Lord told me that burst my pride balloon immediately.  He said:

The sheep I entrust to your care are not your sheep they are Mine.  I have called you to feed MY sheep, and therefore the people who I draw to Your ministry aren’t Yours they are mine.

I’m not sure who that was for, but I know that I was lead to write that for someone.  I know I’m not writing that to myself because I am grateful for every person who likes or follows Christlike Ministries NWA, and I can honestly say that I never consider anyone who decides to follow Christlike Ministries NWA mine.  Everyone of you is God’s, and it’s a privilege to be able to know that God’s entrusted me to equip you or encourage you or instruct you.

Okay, back to the message.  Like I said.  I didn’t one day wake up and anoint and call myself to be pastor of Christlike Ministries NWA.  God anointed me as a pastor when I was reading a devotional book one morning on the Psalms and Proverbs.  The reading for January 13, 2011 was “The Lord is the strength of His people, a fortress of salvation for His “anointed one”.  Save your people and bless your inheritance; be their shepherd and carry them forever.” Psalm 28:8-9 NIV.

Now most people probably wouldn’t get that from those two verses, but I did.  As I began to study those two verses out, I already understood what “be their shepherd” meant because pastors are shepherd’s to their flock.  Christians are referred to often as “sheep”, and sheep need a “shepherd”…and that’s what pastor’s are.  Many times you’ll hear that pastor’s have a “shepherd’s heart”…and there’s a difference.  See, shepherd’s have a relationship with their flock of sheep.

God owns the farm, God owns the sheep, but those of us who are called to “Feed My Sheep” are called to be “shepherds”.  See, there it is again.  I cannot ever look at the people who follow my ministry as mine…they aren’t mine.  They belong to God.  You belong to God, and if you follow this ministry I thank God for you…but you aren’t my sheep you’re His.  You belong to Him.  I am responsible and accountable to tending, shepherding, carrying, and instructing you.  That’s all.  I have no right of ownership to you because you don’t belong to me or Christlike Ministries NWA…you belong to God.

So, when it comes to receiving God’s guidance.  Sure.  Sometimes you’ll get a word of knowledge from someone.  For instance, God spoke through Pastor Stephen Robbins that I would one day use my writing ability for the advancement of God’s Kingdom.  However, when it comes to specific guidance and direction for my life and my ministry God spoke to me through His Word…and that’s what the Psalmist is getting at here.

So, if you’re needing God’s guidance…instead of looking for the burning bush or consulting the man of God…try consulting Him and the Word of God.  Listen, I promise you that God is big enough to not only speak His will to you, but show it to you in His Word.  However, I want you to understand something…and maybe this will help a lot of you who are on the fence about serving God…and wondering why it’s taking so long for God’s call upon your life to materialize.

God called me into ministry in January of 2001…specifically around or about January 13, 2001.  I can’t remember exactly when, but I believe it was also during 2001 when God spoke directly to me through His Word in Jesus’ encounter with Peter at the end of the Gospel of John.  On January 13, 2011, is when I read Psalm 28:8-9 NIV to come to the understanding that I am called to be Pastor Bryan J. Kizer of Christlike Ministries NWA.  God gave me the theme and message: 2012 – GETTING SERIOUS ABOUT BEING SERIOUS WITH GOD in February of this year.  Christlike Ministries NWA was launched for good on January 1, 2012.

It took God ten years to get me to the place where He was able to trust me to become a pastor.  It took God eleven years to get me from the conception to the birth of Christlike Ministries NWA.  So, I sense that maybe some of you are wondering why it’s taking so long for you to get to a place where you’re ready, willing, and able to embrace the call of God upon your life.

Listen, to be truthful to you, I’ve known since probably 1999 that I was supposed to do something with my life for God, and I had a little taste of what serving God would be like.  However, I wasn’t ready to hear and embrace that call…I ran from it because I saw myself the way the world did, and I saw myself as inadequate and unworthy to be able to fulfill the call of God upon my life.  So, in all reality I’ve known since 1999 that I was to serve God, but it wasn’t until 2001 when I clearly heard from God and understood that He indeed was calling me.

However, that was in 2001, and I still wasn’t fully able to embrace the call.  I wasn’t mature enough as a believer, and I certainly didn’t have much of a foundation.  So, if you’ve followed along in my messages you’d know that I was incarcerated in the Kenosha County Jail in 2001.  Which was significant because I spent that entire year being instructed by the Holy Spirit in the Word of God, and like I’d mentioned it was during that year that I’d had the Lord speak to me about “feeding His sheep”, but 10 years passed between knowing I was called, and being anywhere near ready to embrace that call.

Even back in January of 2011 when the Lord again spoke to me through His Word that I was going to be Pastor Bryan of Christlike Ministries.  I was still not fully ready to embrace the call of God upon my life, but that’s when He’d begun to use my wife to encourage me to believe in me until I could see myself the way He saw me.  In January of this year, through messages preached by Pastor Cass Hill of New Life Christian Center, and later the theme for 2012 the Lord gave me:  2012 – GETTING SERIOUS ABOUT BEING SERIOUS WITH GOD…that’s when I began to mature, grow up, and embrace the call of God on my life.

Now, over 150 messages later…I’m walking in the vocation in which He called me.  I am Pastor Bryan J. Kizer of Christlike Ministries NWA.  I didn’t call myself, I didn’t anoint myself, and I didn’t have some burning bush experience.  What I had was a slow methodical pushing and pulling from God until He gave me a Holy Ghost kick in the butt from Pastor Cass Hill of New Life Christian Center.

“Why Read The Bible?”…if I never read the Bible I would never be where I am today because I would’ve never heard and received God’s Guidance for my life through His Word.  That’s why we read the Bible…because that’s the main way that God is going to lead us, guide us, speak to us, and mold us into the image of His Son…Amen?

“ I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye.”  I am where I am today because I finally got out-of-the-way, and allowed God to do exactly what He said He’d do for me in His Word.  What about you?

Points for Pondering:

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye.”  Psalm 32:8

  1. How does God feel about us?
  2. Can you see areas in which the promises in this verse came true in your life?
  3. Where?  When?  How?

Conclusion & Prayer:

Well, glory to God.  We have six days left in this series after today.  I would again like to give a word of encouragement and congratulations to those of you who have managed to follow along.  However, what’s much more important to me isn’t that you’ve followed along, but rediscovered your own passion for the Word of God.  Maybe until you began to follow along with this series you didn’t know why the Bible was so important…and you didn’t have any passion for the Word at all.  The bottom line, friends, is that what’s most important to me isn’t that you’re following Christlike Ministries NWA, but that you’re making a firm commitment to follow after the heart of God.

How do we do that?  By being committed to reading and studying His Word.

Father God, thank You as always for Your Word.  Thank You for practical ways to illustrate Your Word.  Thank You that I can use my life to illustrate what You’ve done in my life, and I pray, Lord for those reading along that You would do a work in them and their lives.  Lord for those who have never had a passion for Your Word…I pray that You’d light a fire in their hearts that cannot be put out.  For those who have rediscovered a passion for Your Word, I pray that You would fan the flames of their hearts, and that the fire in their hearts for Your Word would burn hotter and more intense than ever before, and for those who are already on fire and have a passion for Your Word, I pray that You would give us greater wisdom, knowledge, and understanding of Your Word…and also that You’d fan the flames in our hearts as well…and let the intensity of the fire and passion in our hearts drive us always to the Cross that we would remain on fire, but humble.  Lord, lead us and guide us…allow us greater discernment to know when and where You are…and we love You.  We give You all honor, all glory, and all praise.  We thank You so much for the Word of God for it is a lamp unto our feet, a light unto our path, and ammunition for the spiritual battles that are before us.  In Jesus’ name we glorify You God…Amen & Amen.