A Prayer For God's Direction
Sermon shared by Tony Miano
Summary: We can use Jabez’s prayer like a compass...N-never ending favor; S-significant influence; E-enabling touch; W-wary of the enemy.
Audience: Believer adults
Considering what the name “Jabez” meant, it’s significant that the writer of Chronicles would mention his name in the lineage of Judah, the earthly family tree for Jesus, and serves as proof that Jabez’s life was unique and special. This is why.
In verse one of chapter four, the writer of Chronicles starts by identifying “Perez, Hezron, Carmi, Hur, and Shobal.” But Judah had two sons who were born before Perez who are not mentioned in chapter four.
We can find the first two sons of Judah in Genesis 38. Their names were Er and Onan. In verse seven we learn about Er’s fate. “But Er, Judah’s firstborn, was evil in the sight of the Lord, so the Lord took his life.” Onan, Judah’s second son faired no better. We learn what happened to him in verse ten. “But what he did was displeasing in the sight of the Lord; so He took his life also.”
So why is Jabez not only mentioned, but given the most attention in the entire chapter? Well, look at what he did to avoid the misery of life that his name predicted would follow him. He prayed. Look at what he did in order to experience the abundant life promised to those children of God who seek to live within the beautiful confines of His will. He prayed.
Jabez’s life became a contradiction of his name, a contradiction that came as a result of his prayer and the way God answered it. And it is this prayer, this simple yet super prayer, which is going to serve as our compass over the coming months, possibly the coming years, as we seek the Lord’s direction in planting our roots firmly into the communities we are trying to reach.
I want to share with you what has the leadership of our church so excited. Earlier in the week, Paul and I had an opportunity to sit down with a person of significant influence in the development of the next phase of the Stevenson Ranch community. When this individual initiated the meeting, he told me he wanted to talk about the future of our church.
I apologize for sounding vague. I need to make sure that as I share with you the content of the meeting, everyone understands that we are only in the preliminary stages of casting vision and no promises or commitments have been made on either side of the table.
The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the possibility of securing land in order to build a church in Stevenson Ranch. The discussion focused on the next phase of development in Stevenson Ranch, which should be completed within the next three years.
The leadership of our church is about to begin the process of developing multiple proposals, which will first be presented to the Church Planting Committee of the Missionary Church, on March 20. Within the next two to three months, we will begin serious discussions with the developers of Stevenson Ranch to determine the feasibility of establishing a permanent church home in Stevenson Ranch.
With our study of the prayer of Jabez, we are beginning what we will call the “Navigating For The Future” campaign. The first step in this campaign is to share the vision with you, the church family. You know, Pastor Dave DeVries, of Lake Hills Community Church, has often reminded me that, “change is not an announcement.” That’s why we are going to focus on prayer this morning, and
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