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Built to Last, Part 1 (cont'd)

Destined for Victory / Pastor Paul Sheppard
The Truth Network Radio
June 24, 2021 8:00 am

Built to Last, Part 1 (cont'd)

Destined for Victory / Pastor Paul Sheppard

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June 24, 2021 8:00 am

The importance of cultivating the right relationships with the people God sends into our lives; seven building blocks for strong relationships.

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How many know you can show up at a church and still be alone? You can go to a party You may be listening.

Thanks for making this part of your day. Stay with us now or stop by to listen on demand.

Now, here is Pastor Paul Shepherd with today's Destined for Victory message, Built to Last. I've been to churches where folks didn't know I was some radio preacher. And I just show up.

And I've been alarmed. I went to a place one time and the greeter wouldn't greet me. And I thought, now what in the world you doing carrying the title greeter?

And you don't even know how to greet folks. She stuck some literature in my hand. I walked in, she had a tad greeter. And I walked in and she shoved something at me.

And you know, I was childless. It wasn't my church and you know what happened. So I had to dig myself because I was about to get into pastor mode. I'll get ready to pull her aside and say, sweetheart, let me let me talk to you a minute. Now, if you're a greeter, like that tag says, that means you're supposed to greet people.

If you were to be a hander outer, the tag would say hander outer. Well, that's all right. I didn't do that. You'll be proud of me. I didn't do it.

I just took my papers and went on in. But no, I have made it clear to our ministry staff and those who lead our ministry don't have anybody who's supposed to be representing us to the public who doesn't know how to get Jesus in their face, in their voice, in their eyes, in their gestures. A mean usher gets fired. If I find out about it, gets fired. You say, how are you going to fire me? And I don't even get paid. I just did fire you. Relieve you of your duty.

You can take your hand from around your back now. You'll know how to be nice to folk. You can't represent the kingdom of God. So being in proximity to people doesn't mean you've kicked the aloneness tendency. I'm talking about being intentional about allowing God to bring into your life the people that he has ordained. That's what's about to happen with David. David is now transitioning and God's saying, yeah, you've been real comfortable out in the past. You're hanging out with sheep and playing your harp. But now I'm bringing some folks into your life. The first of which is going to be Jonathan. And God's doing this because of a further expression of this principle that you find in Ecclesiastes chapter four.

Beginning with verse nine, you find these words. Two are better than one because they have a good return for their work. If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.

A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. These words are written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, but penned by the second wisest man who ever lived on earth, Solomon. His wisdom was second only to that of Jesus Christ, who, of course, being God, embodied all wisdom. And Solomon, a wiser man than you or me, said there are distinctive benefits to living in connectedness with others.

And he just, almost in passing, mentions a few of them here. He says for one thing, you can have increased productivity when you allow yourself to be partnered with the right people. Increased productivity, he said they have a better return for their work. Two people can get some things done that one person cannot do alone. It's the power of synergy. It is taking two gifted people, two people with abilities, and bringing them together around a common goal. And the synergy created will get more done than they would have imagined by trying to do things individually. Power of synergy.

There's increased productivity. Some things require that other folk come alongside you to help you. You just can't get, I know we love, I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Well, what that means is, Paul said that under inspiration, what he meant is, I can do anything that God enables and authorizes me to do. In the context, he said, I've learned to abound and I've also learned to be abased. In other words, I can handle prosperity, I can handle being in want. He said, if that's God's will for me, I can cover it.

Some things you can get done by yourself. But this principle suggests that there are other things you cannot do unless and until the right folks get involved with you. Years ago, the Lord sent me to California from Philadelphia with a vision to reach thousands of unchurched people. And during the years that God was growing that vision in my heart, I was an associate pastor in someone else's ministry.

I was the assistant to my dad, who was my senior pastor. And my job in those years as the assistant pastor was to fulfill the vision God had given him. But during that process, the Lord was showing me the day was coming when he was going to send me away from home, away from my comfort zone. And he was going to send me where I did not know. And that the result of our ministry would be that thousands of people would come into the kingdom of God. I didn't know where it would happen. I didn't know when the Lord would release me from Philadelphia.

I just knew that one day it was happening. And in 1988, I was accustomed at that point, being in full time ministry, I preached in conventions and what have you. So there were churches that knew of my ministry and what have you. And I was accustomed to fielding invitations from churches that were looking for a pastor to fill their pulpit to, you know, they were in transition looking for a new pastor.

And I was accustomed to saying no, because I knew that just based on the vision, if the Lord is saying that he's going to use my ministry to reach thousands of unchurched people. And I had the very distinct idea that I would one day lead a church that would not only grow large, but be characterized by reaching a lot of people who have no previous church experience. And so the church itself wouldn't be very churchy.

And I thought just based on that information alone, God's going to send me to a city and I'm going to have to start a church as a church plant just in my home as a, you know, a little Bible study, gather some neighbors and what have you. And by the twos and fus, we would build the building blocks for church. That's the way I assumed it would happen, because I've been around church folk all my life. When I thought thousands of people and an unchurchy environment, I thought, I don't know any existing church that would be open to that. Because churches, you know, aren't known for being open to change.

Church folk like it the way it's always been. That's why we got so many dead churches that refuse to be buried. And the most pitiful thing is when you see a church that's dead, everybody knows it's dead but them. And they refuse to be resurrected.

See, nothing wrong with a dead church as long as they're willing to have a resurrection. Let the Lord blow some wind in there. Just see yourselves just like Ezekiel's vision, where Ezekiel saw that valley of dry bones. And the Lord said to him, can these bones live again? And he said, Oh, God, thou knowest. And God said, watch what I can do. And he said, prophesy to the bones. And started telling Ezekiel what to say. Hear ye the word of the Lord and command the winds to come. And flesh came on the bones and the wind of God blew into those bodies.

And they came alive and formed an army there in the valley. God can resurrect dead folk, but dead folk have to be willing to let God get them up. The problem with a lot of churches is they're dead and they're comfortable being dead.

Don't want you to fool with them being dead. Seven last words of a dead church are we never did it that way before. We'll be right back with more of today's Destined for Victory message from Pastor Paul Shepard. To listen to any of Pastor Paul's recent broadcasts, be sure to stop by any time to listen on demand. That's Pastor Paul joins me in the studio after today's message to talk about one of the most important influences of his life.

But first, let's rejoin him for the second half of today's teaching, Built to Last. In comes this call from a church I was familiar with. My older brother was one of their former pastors. I knew several of their former pastors, my older brother being one. And so I was familiar with them. I had preached for them a couple of times.

They heard me in some conventions, and so the pulpit committee contacted me and said, Would you be interested in being a candidate for our pulpit? And I said, Well, I'll pray about it. I was used to saying no, but for some reason I said to these folks, I'll pray about it. Now, when I said I'd pray about it, then I had to actually pray about it. There were days when I thought I should have just said no.

In the early years when I was struggling with whether I had missed God. But I heard myself say I would pray about it, and indeed I did. My wife joined me and we prayed, Lord, what's your will?

We know you're sending us out, we just don't want to miss it as to where we're to go. And so we prayed, and I met with them. And I said, Well, I tell you what, in this meeting, we'll all know by the end of this meeting. Because what I'm going to do is tell them everything God is saying to me.

And if it scares them, oh well. So I bust up in the meeting. And I said, here is what the Lord is saying to me, here is what I see happening in my future ministry. And I shared as much of the vision as I saw at the time.

Thinking that it was going to scare this committee of folk off. And the more I talked, the more excited they got. By the time I got finished, one sister, I can still see her now, said this is what we've been praying for.

And I thought, you've got to be kidding. I didn't know church folk could be open like that. And they said, we're going to take you back to the church and we're going to recommend that you be our pastoral candidate.

And they took me back and they had their fights and their in-house debates and what have you. It was a little church to begin with. And by the time they got through carrying on, a little church got littler. Some folk had another idea, I didn't fit into their plans. And so they decided at one point they're going to go off and try to fulfill their plans.

And that was their prerogative. Ed Ware, the pulpit committee chairman at the time, called me in January of 89. He said, well, we're ready to call you now, you do need to know the church is down to 34 people. I said, this is just wonderful. I'm leaving a thousand folk in Philly, very comfortable in Philly, enjoying myself in Philly. Finally had the respect and admiration of these home folk in Philly.

I've finally become that rare prophet who has honor in his own country in Philly. And now that it's all good, 34 folks say, come west. And God said, yeah, go.

And here's my point, you would not be hearing this message right now were it not for those 34 people. Because those people were called of God to line up with a vision that was clearly from God to me. And God said, you can do it, but you cannot do it alone.

I'm not sending you to California to be a one man wonder. You will need people to pray, you will need people to invite folk to come hear you preach. You will need people who will man the station, somebody's got to do the legwork and the logistics of pulling this visionary ministry together. And God says, you can do it, but you can't do it alone. And we embarked together as a team forming a unit determined that we're going to let God do what he said he was going to do.

Increase productivity, increase productivity. Ecclesiastes goes on to say that there are times when you need to be restored. And you need people to help restore you. There are going to be times you fall into discouragement and despair. And you can know all the scriptures on encouragement you want. But there are going to be times when you need somebody to look at you and say be encouraged.

You're going to need somebody to look at you and say you're going to make it. Oh, I know it's dark now, weeping may endure for a night, but joy is going to come in the morning. I know you spooky and spiritual say, well, I know all the promises, I've claimed them all.

But there are times when you need somebody to pick you up. You're in despair. Oh, I remember those days when I was believing God here. I came telling these folk thousands were going to come and y'all took a long time getting here.

I'm not playing. Y'all took a long, y'all took your good sweet time. And many were the day I'd be driving home from church, from that little theater we were renting. About 40 of us at the time we went in there, about 40 of us went in there and the place sat almost 300. And the idea of filling that place was intriguing. But it was a task to think God is going to fill this up and then we have to move out of here.

And I expected it to fill up pretty quickly. And many were the Sundays when I preached all those seats. And it took the steadfastness of people right there, excited, believing God. Forty-some folk, happy as they knew how to be. I was wondering why they were so happy. The first anniversary, I'll never forget, first anniversary celebration. They printed up little things and went somewhere and had a little celebration, a little banquet. And I showed up with an attitude. Oh, I didn't want to let them see it.

I was smiling. But inside I'm like, what in the world are we celebrating? Where are these folk God said was coming? Y'all were out, I don't know where y'all were, in the club, 90?

Come on, think now, 90, 91, 92. Wherever y'all were, you sure weren't in church. Y'all out there, it's getting hot in here. Or whatever y'all was singing. And listen, many were the day I'd be driving home telling Meredith I missed it. We had to miss it. This wasn't God. She said, yes it was. We heard from the Lord. I said, yeah, but we're the people. If we heard from God, then where are these folk? She said, they're coming, they're coming. And the saints just held on and we prayed, laid on our faces and prayed and begged God for souls.

Oh God, do it. And the point is there were times when I needed to be lifted up out of despair. And there are times when you, I don't care how spiritual you are, there are going to be times when you need somebody to lift you up out of where you are. The Bible says here in Ecclesiastes 4, sometimes you need comfort.

It says when two lie down together they can keep warm. There are times when you need the comfort, the moral support of people around you. You're going through bereavement or some dark time in your life and you need people to help carry you through. You can't make it alone.

Quit trying to be brave. You need to cry. Find somebody who you can cry on.

Find a soft place where you can fall. People who know how to embrace you without preaching to you all the time. Who just have the ability to let you weep, just cry it out. God will raise up some folk who don't have to give you an easy solution to every problem. And they'll just say I'm here for you. And isn't that a blessing when you run into somebody who doesn't always try to fix what they can't fix.

It's frustrating when folks try to fix something and they don't know what they're doing. Just leave it alone. Just let me cry. Just let me get it out. Let me exhale.

Let me do whatever it is I have to do. Comfort. The Bible says here also that having the right people in your life will bring protection. Will bring protection. Protection is needed because it says one walking alone can be overpowered. There are places you have no business walking alone. You're setting yourself up to be ambushed. Some of us were raised in neighborhoods you knew at certain times you don't walk alone. Other parts of your city you don't walk alone. You don't go alone.

It was just a given. You got to have somebody with you. So that any enemy plotting on you has got to think.

Do I have the ability to take out more than one. When you go with two, three, five, seven, ten you make your enemy think. And some of us have to learn to stop rolling by ourselves. Through life you got to learn to roll with folk who got your back.

People who can offer spiritual protection and offer the advice that makes sense for you to be careful as you live your life. The passage ends by saying a cord of three strands is not quickly broken. You take a single cord and it can be popped.

But when you tie a few cords together and weave them together it forms a bond that is difficult to break. The Bible says that the principle is it's not good for you to be alone. Two are better than one. Thanks so much for being here for today's Destined for Victory message, Built to Last. As promised, Pastor Paul Shepherd joins me now from his studio in California. Pastor, we celebrated Father's Day just a few days ago.

Got me thinking, and I'm sure listeners are curious about this as well. When you look back on your childhood and even your young adulthood, what would you say is the most important lesson you learned from your father? I think I would say of all the lessons I learned, he taught me how important humility is. I see preachers and I see folks who have broad exposure, much broader than the exposure I have. And sometimes they seem to struggle with pridefulness and I've even seen a few that I said, oh, Lord, that just looks a little too much like arrogance for me. I'm not anyone's judge, but I am mindful of the fact that we can appear to the world like we are full of ourselves.

If we appear full of ourselves, then we're not showing them who Christ is, because he doesn't have any room to show, because we're showing ourselves all the time. And so my dad taught me, if you stay low, even if you fall, you won't have far to go. And I love that and I have lived that. So when I have had my times of falling and failing, I knew the way up is down.

Hit the ground, honor God, admit where you have been, and let the Lord restore and bless your life. My dad taught me that and I'm forever grateful for that lesson. Such a great reminder, Pastor. Humility precedes almost every good thing God longs to give us, including our salvation in Jesus Christ.

Thanks for that great word of encouragement. Speaking of fathers and the wisdom we gained from them, this month we have two very special gifts to share with you, yours for your best gift of $25 or more to Destined for Victory. The first is Pastor Paul's book, Why God Created Dads, an insightful and inspirational look at the subject of fatherhood through the lens of scripture. The second is the audio CD, A Tribute to My Dad, a message delivered by Pastor Paul following the death of his father.

Men and women alike will be inspired by these timely resources. That's Why God Created Dads and A Tribute to My Dad, both our gifts to you this month for your best donation of $25 or more to Destined for Victory. Just call 855-339-5500 or visit to make a safe and secure donation online. You can also mail your gift to Destined for Victory, Post Office Box 1767, Fremont, California 94538.

Once again, that's Destined for Victory, PO Box 1767, Fremont, California 94538. The first building block for some of the relationships God's going to bring into your life so that you can do His will is you're going to have to develop the desire and the ability to walk with other people in oneness. That's tomorrow in Pastor Paul Shepherd's message, Built to Last. 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 / 2023-09-27 05:55:08 / 2023-09-27 06:04:03 / 9

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