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We Are an Army, Part 1 (cont'd)

Destined for Victory / Pastor Paul Sheppard
The Truth Network Radio
August 3, 2021 8:00 am

We Are an Army, Part 1 (cont'd)

Destined for Victory / Pastor Paul Sheppard

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August 3, 2021 8:00 am

Understanding the reality of spiritual warfare and the need for us to train, grow, and fight together as a unit; based on 2 Timothy 2:1-4 and other passages. (Included in the9-part series The Power of We.)

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If you're going to become all that God wants you to be, you've got to train with other people. You've got to sacrifice with other people. You've got to give your time, your talent, your treasure.

You've got to invest in not only yourself but other people to become all that you are destined to be. I am Timothy. I have fought the good fight.

I have finished the race. I have kept the faith. Hello and welcome to Destined for Victory with Pastor Paul Shepherd, Senior Pastor of Destiny Christian Fellowship in Fremont, California. The Apostle Paul was right.

He did fight the good fight, and he would be the first to tell you he could never have done it alone. Silas, Barnabas, and Timothy spurred him on along the way. After three years training under the risen Christ, a 36-month spiritual boot camp that prepared him for the battle ahead. Today, Pastor Paul reminds us of the crucial role other people play in our journey with Jesus. Stay with us now or stop by to listen on demand.

That's Here now is Pastor Paul with today's Destined for Victory message, We Are an Army. Jesus told us there in John 15, you didn't choose me. I chose you, and I appointed you. I ordained you that you would bear fruit. I'm going to make your life give me glory. When I get through with you, people who knew you in your past would never believe you would end up like that.

How many of you all listen to this message? As you think about it, you look back over your life and say, before I got saved, my friends would not have given any money for me. I'm sitting up here in church singing about the things of the Lord.

Your friends would never have thought that. But God, who is rich in mercy, he had a plan for your life. That plan was that you were going to go and you were going to bear fruit for his name's sake. And so you've been drafted into the army of the Lord.

And so I want to let you know, we are here by God's design. Now, that's the first thing I just want you to keep in mind, that soldier isn't one who fights first, fights well, and therefore they say you could be an asset. A soldier is one who either through enlistment or through being drafted is pulled into the armed forces. And at that point, it is their calling on your life that makes the difference. It's not what you think.

It's not what your background is. It is what they have predetermined you are going to do and to be. The other thing I want you to think about this business of being a soldier is also found there in 2 Timothy 2 and verse 1 when he says, Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. Soldiers are trained and strengthened together. Again, you're not a soldier because you fought well and they said we could use you.

You'll be an asset. Soldiers come in whatever shape they're in, in whatever state of mind they're in, from whatever background they come. They come to the place where they are going to experience what is commonly called boot camp. And that begins a process of them being trained and strengthened together.

I want to verify that with my two soldiers in this service. So, James, come on up again and I want to ask you a little bit about boot camp. Tell me about your first day in boot camp. One day I'll never forget.

I went from the commercials to the reality of things, you know. They flew us into Oklahoma, so I got a one-way ticket. One-way ticket to Oklahoma, Fort Sill, Oklahoma. We landed outside of Lawton. The drill instructors were out there waiting for us. We got into a bus.

There was none of the hollering and screaming yet. We got to the replacement center, got us in late at night like normal in the military, always late at night. And we're up in the morning early, started getting our clothing, went to breakfast. It was a couple of days later, actually to make a long story short, that we actually started into the boot camp. But we found out real quick when the training started, it started at what we call zero thirty in the morning. So, it was up at three o'clock in the morning, go, go, go, go, run, run, run, push-ups, push-ups, do this, do that.

And like the one other person said, you know, it's finding the commonalities. Because you were thrown with a group of people from all parts of the country, from all walks of life. I came from a pretty disciplined home anyway as well. And so, the discipline part probably wasn't the big part for me. It was just the hollering at you.

You know, for every little mistake you made. And I had to hold my tongue on those things because they were in charge. And I knew from back when I was home, people were in charge. And so, I followed their instructions. So, I just tried to do what I was told to do. Wow. That's good.

That's good. So, what kind of shape would you say you were in when you first got there? And what kind of shape were you in by the end of boot camp?

Well, during my high school years, I was playing some sports. So, I wasn't too bad of shape, I guess. But I did actually gain a little weight when I went into basic. You know, some people gain weight. Some people lose weight. But I gained some weight. Which was good because I was a pretty thin kid. And how I played football, I don't know. But I did. But I gained some weight. What was the other question?

I'm sorry, Pastor. Well, I just wanted to know what shape you were in by the time it was over. I was running, probably, we were running two or three miles a day. But we would have what they call fun runs. But there were never what they call fun runs. You know, it was seven or eight miles on occasion. And then when I got to my permanent duty stations, things kind of settled down.

But the training got a little more intense as well. Wow. Fun runs.

Fun runs. Wow. Oh, my Lord. All right.

Same thing. Give everybody your name one more time. Crystal.

This is Crystal. Now, Navy. So, you show up.

You're down there in Southern California. And it gets started. What happens first? So, actually, I enlisted. There's a duty station where everybody is going to get discharged to what boot camp they're going to end up going to. But because I was a female at the time, we went to Orlando, Florida. Okay. Gotcha. So, that's where our boot camp was.

So, we got on a flight, one-way ticket, to Orlando, Florida. And I was in good shape, but I was 21. So, you know, when you have someone telling you to run, unless there's a reason to run. So, with that being said, I didn't understand the concept. So, I'd get up early in the morning because that was what was told. But it was kind of like this weird thing. Like, why is it three in the morning?

It's still dark outside. None of it made sense. So, it was very odd feeling. But one of the things that was great is that there were like 32 women. We all were in the same scenario.

We're all like, this is very odd, but let's just get up because now we're awoke. So, we do sit-ups. We did push-ups.

We did runs. The one thing that it did leave me with is, as far as strength, I would not – the physical strength was one thing. I think what I walked away with mostly was my mental strength was there. One thing I learned and I still take with my life right now is that the mind is a powerful thing. And so, the moment I tell myself I can do it, my body is already saying you can do it.

So, it really is about – so, the one thing I walked away from, that is there's nothing I can't do. So, any time I'm in an object, a marathon or whatever, I know that I can do this. And that's one thing I walked away from boot camp, is knowing that. So, from the beginning, when you first start boot camp to the end, by the time you graduated, what were some of the things you had become accustomed to doing that you probably wouldn't have been able to do at the beginning?

Oh, God, I could run 10 miles without even thinking that. I mean, when I ended up boot camp, because there's a test that you have to pass. And if you don't pass it, you will start over again. So, it is not an option to not – like, I just don't want to finish this 10 miles. They're like, okay, you're going to start over and you're going to finish it.

So, it wasn't an option to say I'm not going to do. So, the miles is what was hardest for me. So, I think if I had to say it was the 10 mile, the final test. So, we did like gas chamber. There were just various things you have to go through.

Pardon me, what? So, I have people who can relate. So, one of the things that they have you do, and this is where it really is about mind over matter. So, what you end up doing is you go in and you're in there with your shipmates. So, there are people that you're in that you're with.

So, these are women that you know. So, you're sitting where there's like six of us on one side and six on the other. And you have a gas mask on. Now, I went in in 89. So, there was a gas chamber. So, you put on a gas mask. They put you into this gas chamber. And you have to take the gas mask off.

But you just sit there. You cannot panic and you have to wait. Well, through all of this when it's off, all pours open. So, your knives are running.

Everything opens. So, you're sitting there and you're trying not to panic. And I think you only had to be in there, which felt like four hours.

But it was probably more like two minutes. But it literally, the moment you take the gas mask off, everything's opening. So, you're trying not to panic. You're looking at a person across from you, trying to find strength. Not from within, but with those shipmates.

So, I believe that the reason why they have you do that is because they want you to not only rely on yourself, but the person that you barely know can get you through some of those moments. So, yes. That was one. Wow. Give Crystal another hand.

Do you know she just messed around and finished preaching the rest of this part of this series for me? Because that's exactly what I'm about to tell you. These people weren't made soldiers as individuals. They were made soldiers in a team of people. Everybody learning together. Everybody struggling together.

Everybody facing their foes together, and the first foes were in your head. We'll be right back with more of today's Destined for Victory message from Pastor Paul Shepherd. To listen to any of Pastor Paul's recent broadcasts, be sure to stop by to listen on demand.

That's And Pastor will join me here in the studio after today's message, so you'll want to stay tuned for that. First, let's rejoin him for the second half of the teaching, We Are an Army. They knew what they had been accustomed to, but now that you are in the armed forces, you no longer belong to yourself. You belong to those who called you, and they train you and strengthen you together.

The whole point of this series, every phase of it has been the power of we. She said sitting in that gas chamber, she had to look at the persons in there, and they had to draw strength from one another, because we all got to get this done, so you lean on me for strength. I'm going to lean on you for strength, and together we are going to become who we are destined to be. I came to tell somebody, you are done with individualistic living if you're going to get where God's taking you. No more of this, I'm just not into people. It's just about me. I don't need y'all.

There's a Greek word for that, baloney. If you're going to become all that God wants you to be, you've got to train with other people. You've got to sacrifice with other people. You've got to give your time, your talent, your treasure.

You've got to invest in not only yourself, but other people to become all that you are destined to be. They were trained, and they were strengthened together. We've all seen the we who haven't been in the armed services. We talked to our friends and relatives who have been there. I'm sure you've heard their stories.

Plus, even if you've seen some good movies, you can learn the insights. Any of y'all ever seen those good movies like an officer and a gentleman way back in my day when I was a young person? Y'all remember that? Y'all remember Richard Gere's character? He came in there just smart-mouthed and undisciplined and all that. His father was abusive. You see that early in the movie and stuff like that.

You can see this boy. How in the world are they going to make a soldier out of this? That's the way some of y'all were when you came to Jesus. How in the world are you ever going to live right?

How in the world are you ever going to get your life together? How in the world are you going to stop making the same silly mistakes? God already knew that he was going to take you through a training strengthening process. The Bible says be strong in the Lord. That's what Paul said in Ephesians 6 10.

Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. This isn't about you. This is about the one who called you and he calls you together with other people. And y'all remember, say the officer and the gentleman. Y'all remember when he first got there, he's all smart-mouthed and not used to doing anything.

But what he wants to do. Oh, but when he ran into Lewis. Come on some of y'all.

Y'all remember that? When he ran into Lewis, Lewis loved folk like him. He said, oh, I see what I got here.

I'm going to have some fun for the next several weeks. Why? Because he knew that attitude. And I'm here to tell you the Lord knew who you were before he brought you into the family of God. And now in order to make a soldier, you're going to have to submit to his process of strengthening and training you. We've got to become people who understand we are not our own. And I'm trying to say if we're going to be all that God wants us to be in this world, we're going to have to stay connected with the right people. I want to come against in the strongest way possible this idea that it's just Jesus and me and I don't need anybody or anything else.

Yes, you do. You need the church of Jesus Christ because it is a flock. It is a family. It is a body. And God knows it is an army. And when you're in the army, you don't get to say what you will and won't do.

And we've got to be people who are intentional about building relationships with other believers and being where we're supposed to be. Did you hear what Crystal said? She said they told her she was going to Florida. And I felt like taking a vacation and I thought Florida was a good spot. And did you notice they sent her with a one-way ticket?

Not round trip if you try it out, see what you think. See, that's what's wrong with us, folks. We think everything is an option.

We think everything, you know, I go to church sometimes. I don't feel like it. I don't need it. We live optional lives. You can't become what God wants you to be. Living like that, you'll never get strong and disciplined in your mind.

The making of a soldier is a making of someone who understands the power of discipline. You do it because you're committed to doing it. You do it because you were told to do it. You don't do it because you feel like doing it. Brothers and sisters, you live right because you're committed to living right. You do the will of God because you're called to do the will of God. Not because you always feel like doing the will of God. There are days when the enemy sits on your shoulder and says, you know, you don't feel like that.

Why bother with that? You got to respond out of discipline. Crystal said she could knock off 10 miles running like it was nothing at the end. But let me tell you something.

That comes through a process of training and of strengthening. I could look outside and say, I want to run 10 miles right now. Oh, come on, some of y'all. Don't leave me by myself.

How many of y'all? It could be the nicest day possible. Nice breeze blowing. That would be a wonderful. Let's just go out and run 10 miles. If I said that right now, let's go out and run 10 miles right now.

How many of y'all can take me up on that? Exactly. It's not a matter of do we want to. We haven't been trained.

We haven't been strengthened to do that. You've heard me tell over the years the story of my friend Bishop Thompson in New England. All of his life he was a runner. All of his life when he got saved, he was in high school when he got saved under my dad's ministry in Philadelphia. And he's 11 years my senior. So when he got saved as a teenager, I was a preteen in the church.

In fact, when he married his wife, I was in a boys' choir in their wedding in my dad's church in Philadelphia. But in his high school years, he ran cross country on the cross country team in his high school. And on Saturdays, he would come by the house and get me and my brother, a couple of our friends, and say, y'all come on out to Wissahickon Park there in Philly and let's run. And he'd be out there running because he's training. We're out there running because we're goofing off. And we'd stop running when we want. We'd go play in the army and we'd play in the woods while he's running. And we would just catch up with him down the road.

And he ran all through from his teens when he got to college and all that remained physically disciplined and healthy and all that stuff. And ultimately, when he went into his first pastorate, it was in New England, in Boston. He took a church in Boston.

He pastored that church. And because he was a big brother figure to me all of my life. And so I would often go up in summers.

I would go up and spend a week or two with him and his wife. They ended up having a bunch of kids. So every year I got there, there was a different Thompson kid. And so I'd watch the kids grow up.

I was just like their young uncle or something. And so we had a good relationship. But he remained physically active in the 70s when he first went to Boston, then into the 80s. And I'll never forget when he first enrolled in the Boston Marathon. And he enrolled one year and he did not finish. He enrolled five years later and he did finish. And I called him after he was successful the second time. I think that if I don't have those notes with me, if I recall, the second one, the successful one, was in 1987. And he had run or tried it five years earlier, did not complete the race.

So I thought, that sounds like good preaching material. So I called him and I said, I want you to walk me through, I just kind of want to interview you. I want you to walk me through the differences between the first time and the second. How is it you didn't do it successfully the first time and five years later you did? It boiled down to a few things. It boiled down to, number one, a distraction that caught him the first time.

That his discipline didn't let him get distracted by it a second time. I'm trying to tell you, if you're going to live for God, you're going to have to let him bring you into a life of discipline. Thanks so much for being here for today's Destined for Victory message, We Are an Army. Well, every day on Destined for Victory, we ask people to stand with us financially. That's because we are a listener supported ministry.

Let me underscore that for 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 who give a monthly gift of at least $20.

If you can make that commitment today, we have some special gifts I'll tell you about in just a moment. But Pastor Paul is back with us now. 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. All right. Thanks, 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 you can 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 at the top of the home page at And if you're already a partner, we'd like 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 $3,000 or more each year.

The details available at the website, or by calling 855-339-5500. But if you can't become a partner today but would like to make a generous one-time donation to Destined for Victory, we'd be glad to send you by request Pastor Paul's booklet, You're in God's Army Now. That's You're in God's Army Now, our gift to you by request for your gift to Destined for Victory. But I'm telling you there's some value in just teaching people the principle of faithfulness, stick-to-it-iveness, fidelity. You do it because you're committed to it, not because you feel like it. And I'm telling you there is something to be said for teaching people how to push past how they feel and what they think. That's tomorrow in Pastor Paul Shepherd's message, We Are an Army. 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 / 2023-09-18 06:04:01 / 2023-09-18 06:14:17 / 10

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