Sermons

Summary: Part 6 of series on Blackaby’s Experiencing God: All are called to make adjustments to be disciples, regardless of personality. We have to give up old habits, change our time use, redirect our finances, to enter this city and change it.

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The old farmer claimed that he could command his mule with nothing more than a few soft words, no whips or prods necessary. She would respond, he claimed, with nothing more than gently spoken commands. So his buddy down at the feed store asked for a demonstration. “Prove to me that your old mule will respond with nothing more than gentle language.”

Out in the field they went, the farmer, his buddy, and the mule. As the friend watched, first in awe and then in horror, the farmer took a huge piece of lumber, a two-by-four about six feet long, and swung it with all his might, hitting the mule on one ear! When the animal stopped braying and bellowing and prancing around, the farmer then said, quietly, “Come here” and the mule came. “Sit”, and the whimpering creature sat. “Back up”, and she backed into the harnesses of a waiting plow and waited calmly for him to hook up. “You see? She’ll respond to a simple voice command”. But his friend objected, “Whatever are you talking about? You said all you had to do was talk to her, but you hit her with this huge two-by-four! What do you mean, you just command her with words! That’s not what I saw!”

“Oh, that,” said the farmer. “Well, first I do have to get her attention!”

It seems to me that God often uses the proverbial two-by-four to get our attention, because without it we would not listen, nor would we follow. God has to do something dramatic, frequently, because we just don’t notice that He is calling us. He is calling us to do something. He is calling us out of our mulish stubbornness and is summoning us to adjust our lifestyles. And we don’t even notice it until He smacks us hard.

Henry Blackaby says in Experiencing God, “you must make major adjustments in your life to join God in what He is doing.” You must. And the adjustments will be major. Some of us have to be hit hard to see what God is doing and what our response will be. Some of us are just plain slow to comprehend and slower to adjust.

“You must make major adjustments in your life to join God in what He is doing.”

Saul found that out. Saul the tentmaker, raised in Tarsus; a privileged young man; exposed to the finest intellectual currents of his day; trained at the feet of Gamaliel, the master of rabbinic Judaism; able to claim Roman citizenship. Saul had purpose, ambition, direction, applause, success. He had it all. No reason for him to change his life. No reason for him to do anything different from what he had been doing all along. His life was working as it was. Why change?

For Saul, however, God’s two-by-four was a flash of light on the road to Damascus. God’s wake-up call for Saul was a personal encounter out on the highway, a moment of truth that made Saul take notice. Adjustments? You want tot talk about adjustments, major adjustments? With Saul you have them. Just about every adjustment you can imagine, Saul made. And why? Because God in Christ had gotten his attention and had forced him to acknowledge the truth he had so long resisted. When truth comes, you must make major adjustments in your life to join God in what He is doing.


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