Summary: Our purpose and calling, disciple making
An Introduction to the Journey
Matt 28: 18-20 (p698) April 7, 2013
I’ve had to plan for a lot of trips in my life…some not as important as others, but lots none-the-less….Mission trips….Vacations….Revival, Seminars, Home comings….Trips that involved my children coming home from war, trips that involved moving them or friends from one place to another…Lots and lots of trips….some were fun, some were not…most were a mixture…and all of them had a purpose of some kind…
I’ve always wanted to just get on my motorcycle and ride…maybe head out west with no real purpose or destination…but Kari, family, ministry and money have always put a damper on that dream…and I’m the luckiest man in the world and wouldn’t trade my life for anyone else’s.
But when I think of that life I’m amazed at how God has shaped my journey…sometimes I was aware of it, and sometimes I wasn’t…I realized in some childish way that God had saved my life when I was 10 and was burned terribly when an alcohol lamp fell over on me…3rd degree burns…50% of my body…3 months in St. Joseph’s hospital…skin graft surgery…even at 10, with reinforcement from my parents I realized God was saving me…I wouldn’t have chosen this stop on the road, but as I look back I wouldn’t change it now for anything.
That scripture from Romans 9:15 – In which God says
“I will have mercy on whom I have mercy and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion. It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort but on God’s mercy…(v 15,16). Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy; and He hardens whom He wants to harden”. (v18)
And there are some who read this and think…”Well, why should I even share the gospel…In fact God can’t blame those who say “NO”…or congratulate those who say “yes” After all salvation, election…call it what you will…doesn’t depend on anything I do or you do…it’s all on God!!!
Come ‘on Rick God had your journey all mapped out…what choice did you really have? What choice do any of us really have…whether we are on life’s journey here in Louisville, KY or Haiti or the Dominican Republic or Damascus Syria?
The Psalmist writes…. Psalms 139” 1-16 (p 433)
So if we believe, like the Psalmist, that God knows our days before one of them comes to be. Why fret about the journey…? If God’s gonna show mercy when he chooses and harden whom He chooses why put down our nets…why should we leave our lives to find a purpose in following Jesus?
Well, first of all…I’m not God…I do not have the intelligence or vocabulary to explain God and His eternal plans to you completely…it’s kind of why Paul answers that same question like this in Romans 9: 20-24
Romans 9: 20-24 (p 788)
I cannot explain to you completely…”If God already knows do I have a choice?” It’s kind of like answering the questions…”Since God knew Adam and Eve would sin…why did He create them?”
I often tell folks…God created time…days and nights…months…years…In the beginning….Its creations beginning…not God’s….creation…including us have always been bound by time…since creation began….Past….Present…Future….God isn’t bound by time…A day is like 1,000 years and 1,000 years like a day…”HE IS” “I AM” not “I WAS” or “I WILL BE” So perhaps God is able to see…like a 3 ring circus….Past….Present….and Future all at once…..Just a thought.
But scripture plainly teaches us that God has a plan for our salvation…Mankind’s, salvation. The journey would begin with His perfect creation in Eden, but will only end when Jesus Christ returns for His Bride, the Church…
I do not completely understand election…God’s compassion…or His thoughts…but I’ve always understood…at least from my conversion.
I I’M ON A MISSION TRIP EVERY DAY.
[I love short term mission trips…I’d encourage… (and did last year) everyone to tithe 2% of their time to living their lives in another context…But when you do this…for a few days…usually a week or less…you eat strange foods…. (Crawfish etouphe) or Burgar (rice and beans with an egg) You try to speak a foreign language…maybe you even witness extreme poverty, hunger, sickness…harsh conditions…
And as great as it is to get home you also feel “let down” You’re back in the real world. You felt a sense of purpose and peace when you were doing “Kingdom” work on foreign soil…but now your back to the routine and you feel much of what you do have no real valve.]
So, what if you could live your life on one continuous mission? Is this possible in the real world?
I’m going to share with you not only is it possible…It’s essential if you and I are to truly grasp our purpose and our calling…