Today’s Scripture:  Genesis 6:9-22

Introduction:

Greetings friends, and welcome to our next series…The American Bible Challenge – Week 1.  This series is based upon the new game show, and while I realize we were going to get into “Fearless: A Six-Week Journey”…I sensed that we were needing to go in a different direction…and came across this series.

I believe we’re going to have some really good messages from this series, and I hope that we are able to really enjoy this series.  So…let’s start it off…and see what we can learn from the first message.

Today’s Message:

If God came to you and asked you to do something, what excuse would you tell him?

• “I’ve never done that before.”
• “I’m too old (or too young).”
• “I’m going to face opposition.”
• “The forecast looks rainy.”

See why I was lead to this series?  I believe we’re really going to get to some matters within our hearts that the Holy Spirit is desiring to work on within us so that we will be in a better place to be used by Him, and of course have that closer, deeper, and more intimate relationship with God that we desire.

I can honestly tell you that when I learned that God was serious about wanting to use me in ministry that my first question to Him was:  “How could you use someone like me to bring about anything good?”.  I thought about how I was a two-time convicted felon, I have a horrible job history, I’ve already been married and divorced once, and I have no formal Bible schooling at all.

I looked at myself through my own eyes, and through the lens of the world’s eyes and couldn’t possibly see how I could be of any use to God.  I remember saying things like I don’t have any Bible school training, and I can’t afford to go anytime soon.  His reply was that He taught me, and would continue to teach me Himself.  I am no good at speaking in front of people.  His reply to me was that I was going to use the ability He gave me to write.

I gave God excuses…but every excuse I gave Him…didn’t matter.  He reminded me in His Word that He calls the foolish things of the world to confound the wisdom of the wise.  So…I as of this year I finally decided to lay down all of my excuses…and embrace the call of God upon my life.

Over 200 messages later…the results have been far more awesome than I would’ve ever expected or believed that they would be.  This journey has barely just begun, but I’m enjoying every step of it.

When God asks us to do something it’s never at a good time. Why? Because it’s
HIS time, not ours. He sees the big picture. We only see our picture. God knows the
forecasts for centuries to come. We only see the clouds today.

It was the first series of 2012 at New Life Christian Center – Centerton Campus that the Lord spoke to me what would become basically my theme for this year, and He also broke down what was going to happen throughout this year…and can I tell you that things really are going according to plan?  HIS PLAN.  In fact, I wrote a whole message about it:  2012 – Getting Serious About Being Serious With God.

God kind of gave me an outline of what I could expect.  Here…this was the outline He gave me:

 

So…I finally believe that I heard the Lord speak to me about how 2012 is going to be broken into 3 parts. For those of you who attend New Life Christian Centeryou’ll recognize these as the mission statement of our church, but it’s exactly within this mission statement that the Lord began to speak to me about what is in store for me for 2012.

The three parts: (1) Seeking God…to begin with there is a need for a hunger & thirst for God within me that’s growing, and is only going to be satisfied as I continue to seek His face with my whole being. (2) Loving People…I believe God is going to give me a softer heart of flesh, and full of compassion. I’m called to be a pastor, and the second part of this year is going to be the development & softening of my shepherd’s heart. (3) Making Disciples…in the last of this year I’ll begin to add to the flock of sheep the Lord’s entrusted me to shepherd. This begins, of course, with all of you who are my Facebook loved ones, friends, and family members. I am looking forward to seeing what God is going to do in me, with me, and through me in 2012…and I pray that as you see the changes, growth, and power of God released & flowing through my life that you won’t give me the glory…but give it all to God. – 2012 – Getting Serious About Being Serious With God.

Can I tell you that my year has pretty much gone just as God said it would, and that I have grown a lot since I started to really embrace what God’s called me to do?

However, for most of you who have read my messages…you will know that it took exactly 11 years from the understanding that I had a ministry calling upon my life to actually beginning to embrace and walk out that calling.

The cool thing is that this all happened on God’s timing.  God needed every one of those 11 years to train me, teach me, and help me grow into the person who is writing these messages.  I’m still learning.  I certainly haven’t arrived at any great plateau yet…but I’m getting there…but I understand that all of this is on God’s time table.

When God asked Noah to build an ark, he had plenty of excuses to say “no.”

• “I’ve never built an ark before.”
• “I’m 500 years old.”
• “The people around me are evil.”
• “How am I going to manage a floating zoo?”

Despite the excuses, “Noah did everything God commanded him” (verse 22). If Noah hadn’t, he’d be sunk…and so would we.

Don’t you know that I had some of my own excuses?  I’ve seen magazine and devotional articles which lead to me being quite discouraged because I don’t have any journalism or creative writing experience at all.  I certainly don’t have any formal ministry schooling or training.  When I started writing I looked at other blogs, and quickly realized mine didn’t look anything like anyone else’s.

I also don’t have the greatest ability to write sentence structure wise, I have spelling, grammar, and other errors.  It took me a while to understand that what I thought were perfectly good reasons why this wasn’t what I was supposed to do were just what they are…excuses.

As I shared earlier the more excuses I had the more the Lord really spoke to me heart either through His Word, through people who are above me in ministry, my wife, and eventually I came to understand that regardless of how many excuses I gave Him…I was called and chosen by Him to do just what I am doing…write messages.

I’m certainly not going to think that had I not begun writing that the world would’ve been worse off.  I wouldn’t even think to compare what Noah did to what I do, but one thing the Lord has really helped me to understand is that there are people who only I am going to be able to reach.  There are people who God has chosen and called me to minister to…and you know…it’s just best to do like the old hymn and just “Trust and Obey” what God is calling, desiring or asking us to do.

After all…He most certainly knows better than we do…Amen!?!

Points for Pondering:

What’s your reason for saying “no” to God? Whatever it is, it won’t hold water for very long.

Conclusion:

Well…what a neat way to start the new series.  This was really good.  I guess the point here is that we need to stop making excuses, and start embracing what God’s called us to do.  We ought to know that whatever He calls us to do…He gives us the ability to fulfill.

I’ve heard this a few times, and maybe you’re like me when you heard it.  On the fence wondering how in the world you can be used because you’re not qualified enough.

“God doesn’t call the qualified…He qualifies the called.”

I have learned that whatever God calls us to do…He will help us to do whatever it is He’s called us to do.  He never leaves or forsakes us, and He’s always walking with us.  He’s certainly not going to call us to serve Him, and then leave us orphans…He will continue to work on us and work in us…and through us to help us to become the people we’re destined and called to be…Amen!?!

So…what ever the reason or excuse…if you know God’s called you to do something…isn’t it time that you drop the excuses, and get to walking in the vocation in which you are called?  I could promise you He will be with you all the way, but I don’t have to because He did…in His Word.