6-Week Series: Against All Odds


Summary: Theme: God guides and provides for your mission one step at a time. (Principle 7 from Made to Count)

Theme: God guides and provides for your mission one step at a time. (Principle 7 from Made to Count)


Carpe Diem! A life of adventure. A life of significance, not merely success.

That’s what we all really want deep inside our hearts - even if the first part of our life has been a drive to succeed. We have too often obtained what we sought only to ask later, “Is that all there is?” The accumulation of stuff – awards, promotions, high-tech toys, frequent flyer miles and second homes – leaves a vacancy in our soul. The dreaded realization close in around our hearts like strangling fingers as we gasp and grasp the reality — stuff doesn’t satisfy!

It’s the lesson Robin Williams was teaching his students in the movie, Dead Poet’s Society. Playing the character of Professor Keating, he leads the boys across the campus of their prep school into any ivy-covered building where the memories of past generations line a heavy, glass trophy case. In a scene thick with musty tradition, he invites his students to gaze at the faces of athletic heroes posing with confidence and smiling back at them from photos now brown with age. He points to the awards and trophies that are lined up like proud sentinels but are merely gathering dust. The professor instructs a student to read a poem…

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,

Old time is still a’ flying,

And this same flower that smiles today,

Tomorrow will be dying.

Professor Keating’s teachable point? Seize the day – or, in Latin – carpe diem!

Directing the attention of his captivated students to the fading photos of these campus heroes from days gone by, the professor points out that they weren’t so different – full of hormones and feeling invincible, these boys from yesteryear were bursting with hope and life, yet now they were gone. “…did they wait until it was too late to make from their lives even one iota of what they were capable? Because you see, gentlemen, these boys are now fertilizing daffodils. But, if you listen real close, you can hear them whisper their legacy to you.” Placing his own ear tightly against the showcase, the professor challenges his charges: “Go on…lean in!”

As the boys lean in, mesmerized by the professor’s ability to stir their imaginations, he whispers hoarsely: ”Carpe…diem…Hear it? Carpe diem!! Seize the day, boys, make your life extraordinary!”

It’s one of those movie scenes that imbeds itself in your mind. A light suddenly comes on as you watch it, one that all of us need while groping in the darkness for life’s significance and meaning. We want to make a difference. We desire our life to be an adventure. We hunger for our lives to be extraordinary…and not just run of the mill, merely “ending up pushing up daffodils.”

But to Seize the Day you’ve got to start where you are. It’s not just about, “If only I were in another position,” or “If only I were in a different place.” Seizing the Day means starting, grabbing hold of God’s significance for you right where you are!

I. Philip Was a Man Who Was Faithful Right Where He Was

Philip was obviously a faithful leader at the church at Jerusalem. That is reflected in the fact that he was chosen as one of the lay leaders in Acts 6 and the qualifications that had under girded that choice were the need from men who were “full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom” (v. 3). They also obviously had to have a servant’s heart in meeting the needs of others as well as being men “full of faith and the Holy Spirit” (v. 5).

It is a proven maxim that people will never be faithful in a new role if they’re not faithful in their present role!

Too often we tend to focus in the church as though to really make a difference for Christ, there has to be a call to “full-time Christian work.” Yet God in His Scripture makes it very clear that the primary call for every believer is a call to Himself and a personal relationship with Him – not to a positional vocation. God, indeed, does call gifted men and women to vocational ministry and missions for the growth of the church in frontier regions of the world and the equipping of the saints to carry out Christ’s mission throughout the world.

However, there is not a need for a call to “fulltime Christian work” to make a difference for Christ. And to leave the impression that there is, according to Erwin McManus, reduces the life of every other believer who’s not in full-time Christian work in two ways:

1) If they don’t have “a Paul experience” it abdicates them from any responsibility to have a conversation with God about their life’s work, because if you’re not called to vocational ministry, then you can do whatever you want. And…

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