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Developing a Lifestyle of Faith, Part 3

Destined for Victory / Pastor Paul Sheppard
The Truth Network Radio
February 5, 2021 7:00 am

Developing a Lifestyle of Faith, Part 3

Destined for Victory / Pastor Paul Sheppard

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February 5, 2021 7:00 am

An insightful series of messages on practical ways to build a faith-driven life; learning from key Old Testament patriarchs what it means to live by faith; based on Hebrews 11.

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Alistair Begg

And so don't bother coming, getting saved and then giving God your expectations for the rest of your life. Throw them out, because He's going to take you where He's designed. He's going to have you do things you never thought of. He's going to take you places you never dreamed of. You don't have to know where you're going as long as you know God is going with you. Following God into the unknown on today's Destined for Victory with Pastor Paul Shepherd.

Hello and thanks for stopping by. Well, one of the best known characters in the Old Testament is Abraham, a man who followed God into the unknown and who was willing to sacrifice his own son at God's command. You'll hear more about Abraham on today's broadcast, but you'll also learn a little bit about our friend and teacher, Pastor Paul. He too followed God into the unknown and he'll share part of his story in just a few moments. Stay right here or listen to the podcast on demand at That's Here is Pastor Paul with today's Destined for Victory message, Developing a Lifestyle of Faith. Now, the third point I ended the message on and I want to pick it up right there is from the life of Noah. And what it teaches us is that living by faith means following God into the unknown.

That's where I want to pick it up. The Lord told him to build an ark, not a boat. Don't call it a boat. It wasn't a boat. When you look at what God told him to build, that was not a boat at all. It was a huge ark of safety, really, so that he and his family and the animal kingdom, representatives from each element of the animal kingdom could be sustained as God began again. And so Noah's being asked to do something that he has no familiarity with. He was called to follow God into the unknown.

Guess what? You, as you walk with Jesus, you're going to find times when you're called to do things that you have no frame of reference for. And I need to get you ready for that because some of you all have to get delivered from your need to control and understand everything. Some of you are control freaks.

Let's just be honest. Some of you, you want to understand it, you want to know it, and you want to be in control of it. And so you're going to have to say, Lord, help me as I walk by faith to be okay with the fact that you and you alone know what's ahead of me because I have no idea. I'm going into the unknown, going into things I've never even thought about, things I've never even contemplated. God is going to lead you into the unknown. That's scary business for some of us.

But it's also exciting. I'll never forget when I first came to California in 1989, my wife and I and our family moved here with the vision the Lord had given me of reaching thousands of unchurched people, thousands of unchurched people. God said to me back in those days using the story of Paul in the city of Corinth, God said to me, I have many people in the Bay Area and I'm calling you to help reap that harvest and to lead many people to Christ. So I knew we would be a soul winning church. Now I came to pastor what was then 34 people. And those 34 people were an existing church.

We changed the name of it and we set out in a brand new direction. And they said, pastor, you just follow the Lord and we'll follow you, all 34 of them with a vision of reaching thousands. So that's what God had spoken to me. Thousands are coming. And I figured when I got to town, thousands would show up. I said, okay, I just got to go to California and announce, get on the radio or something and tell California I'm here.

Come to me all of you who are weary and heavy laden. And I got, I did, I got on a little station and got a radio broadcast going. And I told the Bay Area, Northern California I was here and they didn't care. Church grew painfully slowly.

But here's where I bring it up into going into the unknown. Not only hadn't I grown a church from 34 to thousands before, I assumed when I got here that the people God was sending me to reach were all black. Because all I had ever seen is that black people pastor black churches. And white people pastor white churches and Hispanic people pastor, that's all I had ever seen. I left a church of a thousand, I was the associate pastor of a church of a thousand people in Philadelphia. 999 of them were black. Absolutely true.

I promise you I'm telling you the truth. 999 were black. We had one white lady in the church in Philadelphia. Out of a thousand members, one white lady and we never did know why she was comfortable enough to be there. But she was, she just made herself right at home. We made her an honorary black person and kept on going, you know.

No we didn't, I'm just playing. And so that was the only frame of reference I had. So not only had I never grown a church, I was an associate pastor but had never been a senior pastor. Suddenly God's saying you're going to reach thousands of people. But when I started branching out and we started trying to invite unsaved relatives and friends and co-workers and what have you, the church grew slowly.

People stayed away in droves. And in seven years of my best preaching and best leading, we went from 34 to 250. Now that's good growth by regular church standards. The average church in America has less than 100 attendees. So we were more than twice the average.

By those standards we were successful. By my standard this was an awful failure because I came with a word from the Lord that we were going to reach thousands. And so I said well where are they?

And why won't they come? And we rented a theater. I was looking for a theater in the hood because I'm thinking I'm going to reach black folk.

So I was looking for a theater in the hood or a school, something to rent. All the doors were shut. Schools were not available to us. There was no theater in the town where we were launching from.

And it was just nothing. All the doors were closed. The door that opened was across the freeway, not in East Palo Alto where I thought we would branch out from, but in Palo Alto which was predominantly Anglo and other cultures other than African American. And I said why is that door open and all the rest of them closed? This makes no sense.

So I thought God had a really messed up plan. Why you send me here to reach people and then you're going to put me where they are not? Because I'm thinking I can't reach anybody but black folk because that's all I ever saw. So we sitting over there on Middlefield Road in Palo Alto renting a theater every week and there's a little handful of black folk. In seven years of our best preaching and best trying to grow this church we went from 34 to 250. By the time we got to 250 the church was 20% non-black. About 40, 50 people who didn't look like us. When they started coming I was really confused because I thought what even makes them want to come?

They got plenty of churches they can choose from. But the Lord was doing something unknown to me. He knew why he had me over there.

I didn't. And so by 250 we were ready to build out our first warehouse. We found a warehouse that we could lease inexpensively and we converted that into a worship center.

The whole project was $600,000 because it was just a 14,000 square foot warehouse. And so we didn't have room to do much but we could do a 300 seat sanctuary. Then we had a little fellowship hall behind the sanctuary but there was a whole wall there. Just a door leading into the fellowship hall. Had a few offices and that was pretty much it. 14,000 square feet. So we built that out.

$600,000. We raised the 500,000 and God touched the hearts of people in a presbyterian church across the tracks. They were looking for a ministry to be a blessing to. And they ended up making us the blessed ministry.

Gave us 100,000 and so we were able to build that thing out. So there we were and we're about to go from Palo Alto over to East Menlo Park crossing the freeway into a new world. Now that's the world I thought I was going to be in the first place. Now seven years later we're going back but we're going back with 40 or 50 folk who don't look like us. And I said okay now what's God going to do now? Cause they don't usually hang out over here.

Plus the warehouse had no parking worth speaking of. We'll be right back with more of today's Destined for Victory message from Pastor Paul Shepherd, Senior Pastor at Destiny Christian Fellowship in Fremont, California. Listen to the broadcast on demand at That's

There you'll also find a host of great resources at our online store. Zechariah 4 verse 10 says, Do not despise the day of small beginnings for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin. Up next Pastor Paul talks about his own small beginnings and the faith it took to persevere.

Let's join him for the rest of today's message, Developing a Lifestyle of Faith. Some of y'all came in those days. No parking worth speaking of. Cause it was a street full of little industrial buildings.

They weren't built for large staffs or for gatherings so there was very little parking. And here we are 250 member church going over there from Palo Alto where we've been six plus years over into the hood. And so somebody, one of my black members, I can still picture him now, came up to me and said, Pastor, you know that these folk, I know they've enjoyed their time over here with us at the theater but they're not coming across the freeway with us. And I remember saying to him, if they don't come, the Lord didn't send them.

Because if God called them to be part of this ministry, they're going to go where we go. And he said, he was just trying to help me. I don't want your feelings to be hurt.

When you suddenly lose 40, 45 members. So he trying to protect me. And so we get over there. Let me show you what happens when you follow God into the unknown.

And you get your little thimble full of brains out of his way. We went in the next eight and a half years, we went from 250 members to 2,500 members in the hood on a street with no parking. Say, well, what happened to the white folk and the Asian folk and all that?

What happened to them? We went from 20% non-black to 40% non-black in the hood with no parking. I found out that black folk weren't the only ones who were hungry for Jesus. I found out that God was raising up all kind of folk who said, I need the word. Well, ethnicities were coming. Not only that, but all socioeconomic levels were coming. Poor folk were coming. Some broke off folk were coming. Broke off, that's hood for rich. If they're not rich, at least the bills are well paid.

The ends are hanging out. We talk about making ends meet. Some folks end hanging out all the time. They meet, they fellowship, they have weekly gatherings.

All of that was coming. Professionals were coming. Doctors started coming to the church. They're still with us to this day. One of the Stanford professors, he was an active professor then.

He's retired now. He came over and when they told me who he was and the students, we started drawing students from Stanford and other places. They started, God said, what in the world is this?

This was back in the 90s when the Clinton stuff was going on, you remember? Well, his daughter was going to Stanford. Then one Sunday, I showed up and there were these black vans sitting outside with the motor running. One of the security folk when I pulled up said, pastor, we just want to let you know that Chelsea's at church this morning. I said, really?

Yeah, Chelsea's at church? They said, these guys, they went in before we started letting folk in. They went in, checked it out.

They want to see you, check you out. He said, and they said they're going to keep the motor running just in case. True story, true story. I'm not lying. And she came, sat through, had her friends from Stanford and I preached to Chelsea. And because this was the stuff going on with the investigations with her dad, the man investigating it was named Ken Starr.

Some of y'all remember that? Ken Starr's daughter was not only at Stanford also at that time, she came before the scandal and joined our church. So the man who's being investigated's daughter come one Sunday and the investigator's daughter come, fortunately they came to separate services. I'm just trying to show you what will happen when you let God take you into the unknown. And one of the professors came and he joined the church and of all the ministries he could have got involved in, he started ushering.

Sitting right here right now, started ushering. And those students had thought they left all the professors behind only to walk into church on the weekend and a professor saying, how you doing right this way? You can't predict God. You just got to follow him where he leads you. And I asked him one day, I said you could go to all these fancy churches around town and you know where your colleagues and all that. I said why you come over here to the little warehouse, little dinky messed up warehouse we barely converted into a worship center.

I said you're welcome, just I'm confused. Why would you choose here? And he told me, I'll never forget it, he said I don't go to church to be impressed or to impress anybody. He said I go because I want to hear a word about my life. I want to serve the Lord. I want to hear him say well done. I come because you have God's word in your mouth and I want to hear that.

And he been here ever since. Listen, when God does something, you don't have your hand on the steering wheel, but it's quite a ride anyway. You just going to have to learn how to go with God into the unknown. After all, we are not our own the Bible says. Remember that we're not our own. 1 Corinthians chapter 6 verses 19 and 20 say this, do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you whom you have received from God?

You are not your own. You were bought at a price, therefore honor God with your body. Get it straight when you get saved, you were purchased by the blood of the land and so don't bother coming getting saved and then giving God your expectations for the rest of your life. Throw them out because he's going to take you where he's designed. He's going to have you do things you never thought of.

He's going to take your places you never dreamed of. Proverbs 19 21 says many other plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails. It's the Lord's purpose. But I'm going to say don't bother making your plans.

You're going to make them. God might use some of them. I'll tell you why he might use them because truth be told he put some of them in your heart in the first place and you think it was your plan. I decided one day this is what I wanted to do in my life and you don't even know God made the decision. See when you read that verse in Proverbs 37 that says delight yourself in the Lord and he'll give you the desires of your heart. I believe that that means when you delight yourself in God often God will put his desires in your heart and so what you end up wanting to do God already put it there and you think it's your idea and God is saying yeah right. So you got to expect the unexpected when you walk with God that's the whole thing Noah teaches us you got to expect the unexpected first Corinthians 2 verses 9 and 10 says it is written no eye has seen no ear has heard no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him. But God has revealed it to us by his spirit.

In other words you won't know in advance many of the things God wants to do through your life but he'll reveal it somewhere and so often as has been the case with me often he reveals it after he's already done it. He's already done and I'm looking around at this crazy church I passed and saying what what is this my my black pastor friends used to say when they'd come and visit or preach for me or something like that they say that's the weirdest church I ever saw. And some of you made me feel bad. Well you know your church is different. You know I'd be trying to have a conversation with other pastor we talk about church and when I bring mine up they say well you know y'all you know because they didn't know how to reach anybody who didn't look like them. And I didn't know either but God did it and just revealed to me that that's what he was doing.

And I just had to catch up with what he was already doing. In fact I stopped letting guys make me feel funny for my church because at a certain point one of them said when I'm throwing off statements to me and I said well actually your church is the strange one. Because your church exists in a diverse world and it manages to be homogeneous. I said there's nothing wrong with that. It's OK if y'all feel you know the commonality of race and you want to worship together.

I said it's just that when y'all get to heaven you're going to have culture shock. See you push up on me I'm coming back for you. That's all I'm saying. I'm coming back for you. Don't come for me unarmed. That's all I'm saying.

Where was I? So expect the unexpected. Thanks so much for joining us for today's message developing a lifestyle of faith. Well every day here on the Destined for Victory program we ask people to stand with us financially. That's because we are a listener supported ministry.

Let me underscore that for just a moment. This means the only way we exist is through the prayers and financial support of people just like you. And in 2021 our prayers that you might consider if you've not done so already becoming a Destined for Victory partner. Partners are a special group of people that give a monthly gift of at least 20 dollars. If you can make that commitment today we have some special gifts I'll tell you about in just a moment. But Pastor Paul joins me right now and Pastor take a moment please and tell us why partners are so important to this ministry.

I'm glad you brought that up Wayne. Partners are really the lifeline of this ministry. Without those people committed to giving regularly we literally could not continue doing what we're doing.

I guess people hear that a lot but it is really true. Without partners we simply can't get the gospel out to the world. The gospel is free but the plumbing costs an awful lot of money and we want to continue preaching. As I've said in times past we've got generations to reach that have never heard the gospel and they misunderstand when they hear people talk about things like serving the Lord. And we need to make it plain to them the only way I can do it is with my partners helping us reach them through their generous gifts.

I'm so grateful for every single partner and I'm praying in 2021 that God will give us thousands more. There are many more outlets and many more opportunities we could take advantage of in our ministry but the only thing that holds us back is lack of income. So I'm praying that God's going to touch the heart of many more people to realize that with just your gift of $20 or more you can help us remain strong on the stations and outlets we're on and reach many more with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Alright thank you pastor that's what it's all about reaching more people with the gospel and if you make that commitment by pledging $20 or more per month to help us do that we'll send you with our thanks a couple of great gifts including one of Pastor Paul's most popular CDs The Best of Let My People Smile. It's a compilation of some of pastors most humorous illustrations and stories something that will be sure to make you laugh and learn at the same time. Call 855-339-5500 or mail your gift letting us know you wish to become a partner.

The address is Destined for Victory post office box 1767 Fremont California 94538. You can also sign up by clicking become a partner right at the top of the homepage at And if you're already a partner Pastor Paul and I want to say a heartfelt thank you and challenge you to consider becoming a legacy partner.

These are special ministry friends that are able to support us with gifts of $2,500 or more each year. The details are available at the website or by calling 855-339-5500. Now if you can't become a partner today but would like to make a generous donation to Destined for Victory we'll be glad to send you by request Pastor Paul's booklet Lessons from the Cocoon. That's Lessons from the Cocoon a booklet from Pastor Paul our gift to you by request for your generous gift to Destined for Victory. Developing a lifestyle of faith means seeing our problems through the lens of God's promises. When you walk by faith and develop it as a lifestyle you'll learn to see your problems through the lens of God's promises. That's next time in Pastor Paul Shepherd's message developing a lifestyle of faith. Until then remember He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion. In Christ you are Destined for Victory. .
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-27 15:38:03 / 2023-12-27 15:47:21 / 9

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