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If You Want to Make God Laugh…

Destined for Victory / Pastor Paul Sheppard
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October 18, 2021 8:00 am

If You Want to Make God Laugh…

Destined for Victory / Pastor Paul Sheppard

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October 18, 2021 8:00 am

The arrogance of taking the future for granted; the importance of coming to terms with the brevity and uncertainty of one's life; based on James 4:13-17.

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Music Playing Hello and welcome to another great week here on Destined for Victory with Pastor Paul Shepherd. Well, planning never violates the will or the word of God. We should have plans.

It's healthy to have goals. But we need to be flexible enough to allow God to change our direction to take us down a road we've never thought we would take. Today, Pastor Paul reminds us that God is the one who directs our path.

Not only does he know the future, he knows us better than we know ourselves. Stay right here or visit to listen anytime on demand. That's

You can also subscribe to the podcast at Apple Podcast, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. Now, here's Pastor Paul with today's Destined for Victory message, If You Want to Make God Laugh. Music Playing James uses this letter to give us a quick guide for a lot of different things. So we've studied in the last message his quick guide to dealing with your attitude toward others, not being judgmental, and not speaking evil of others. And now he talks about this business of being presumptuous and being arrogant. And wants to give us just a few key verses about what's wrong with believers who live a presumptuous life and who are practicing arrogance.

Look again at verses 13 and the first part of verse 14 here of James 4. Now listen, you who say today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business, and make money. When you look at that at first, that probably doesn't startle you. It's kind of like, yeah, what's the problem? But James wants you to take thought of what is underneath that sentiment. Today or tomorrow, we're going to go here to this city. We're going to spend a year. We're going to carry on business. I'm going to make some money.

And the problem here is one of presumption. It's not saying we hope to, I plan to, if the Lord allows it, if it is his will. It's just saying here's what I'm going to do. And he projects it out as far as a year.

Today or tomorrow, I'm going to leave this city, go to another one, going to carry on business, going to make money while spending the next year there. So point number one of three points I'm going to make as I talk you through this passage is write this down. If you want to make God laugh, talk about how things will be this time next year. If you want to give God a chuckle, tell him, well, by next year, and you fill in the blanks.

Now let's be clear. James is not rebuking us for planning. The problem is not one of planning because the Bible does not condemn or admonish people for planning. In fact, just the opposite, the Bible encourages us, exhorts us to be people who are diligent about our practices, and that would certainly include planning.

So let me first of all make you understand what is not being rebuked here. It is not a problem of planning. The Bible endorses planning.

What's wrong with a whole lot of us is we don't do enough planning. We live on the fly. We live by our feelings rather than our convictions. Too many of us are thermometers rather than thermostats. A thermometer reflects the temperature that is.

A thermostat sets the temperature for what it wants. And too many of us just kind of go with the flow. And so we need to be people who plan. The Bible endorses planning.

Let me just give you a few quick fire references that verify that. In Proverbs 14, 8, the writer Solomon says, The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception. The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways.

People who live with a degree of prudence, of wisdom, of clarity, they don't just do. They don't just act. They think before they act.

There's a season in your life when you think before you act, where you don't just do. And especially where your emotions are concerned. I hope you have learned by now that your emotions are meant to be passengers, not drivers. If you let your emotions drive, you are going in the wrong direction. Have you learned that already?

If you haven't, this is the time to learn it in your life. Never make decisions based on your feelings. Make your decisions by being thoughtful and deliberate.

And sometimes where emotions are concerned, you have to deliberately give yourself time to divorce emotions from what you're about to do. And so the wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways. Proverbs 21 5, the plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty. There's a proverb that gives you the same principle and it talks about financial gain or loss based on how you make your decisions.

Look at it again. The plans of the diligent, Proverbs 21 5, lead to profit. Now these are truisms. Solomon gives us truisms throughout his writing here in Proverbs. So it doesn't mean that it is always exactly true every single time and every single circumstance. The Proverbs weren't written for that. They're truisms.

They are nuggets of wisdom that if you base your life on them, generally speaking, you'll glorify God and do the right things. But it's not meant to tell you every time you make a plan, deliberately it'll lead to profit. We all know that sometimes you deliberately make a plan that falls apart. Solomon's not saying that cannot happen. He's simply saying the way to live is to plan, especially when it comes to your money, is to plan so that that can lead to profit rather than to make a hasty decision and it lead to your poverty. Just one more biblical example of the fact that planning isn't a bad thing. Jesus in Luke chapter 14 beginning at verse 28 says this, Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it?

For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, saying this fellow began to build and was not able to finish. Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with 10,000 men to oppose the one coming against him with 20,000?

If he is able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple. Now Jesus, of course, was making that bottom line point that to be a disciple, a follower of his, you got to pay a full price.

He said you got to think this through. If you're following me, I want you to be all in. What's wrong with today's Christianity is a lot of us think I'm a follower of Christ because I pray a prayer. That begins your journey. It's the journey that decides whether you're a follower of Christ. Everybody understand that? The day you ask the Lord into your life, great day, best day of your life so far, but it just begins your journey. A follower is one who keeps on following, and so he's saying to people, if you're going to follow me, I want you to pay a full price.

I want you to be all in. We see in today's world horrible expressions of hatred in the name of religion, and what does that do to? That's due to the fact that these people, though terribly misguided, when they became whatever religion they bought into, they did it all in. Of course, we who are followers of Christ are not going to ever do or say anything that's detrimental to other people because we serve a benevolent God. But don't miss the point that you ought to have the same extreme commitment to Jesus that other people have to these foreign philosophies that kill and steal and destroy. We who follow Christ ought to have the same commitment to share life and love and hope with the world. Don't be one of these casual Christians.

The kingdom can't use casual folk. That just meant you got saved for fire insurance. I don't want to go to hell, so let me get saved. Now, understand me clearly, that's a really good reason to get saved.

If that was all, that's still a good deal. But that's not why you should become a follower. That's just a fringe benefit. You should become a follower because he has a plan for your life, a purpose for your life. He is the creator of your life. He designed you for his own glory. And he wants you to be all in because being all in means he's setting you up to be blessed and to be a blessing. But the point is, Jesus was saying you got to think about what it means to be a follower of Christ.

So planning isn't the culprit here. This message is right on your mobile device and they'll be waiting for you the next time you stop by. Search Destined for Victory in the app store and download our free mobile app today. I'm reminded of the words in a familiar song, This world is not my home, I'm just a passing through.

My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue. From the book of James, here's Pastor Paul with the rest of today's message. If you want to make God laugh. Planning isn't the culprit.

This is talking against presumption. Today or tomorrow, I'm moving to Memphis. I'm going to stay there about a year, make a bunch of money, and then I'll probably be back. The problem with that mindset James is suggesting is who told you to go to Memphis? Who told you you'd make it to Memphis?

Who told you what to do when you get to Memphis? You see what I'm saying? And you know that's what James is talking about because right after he sets up that scenario, gives us those quotes, the very next words are, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow.

Forget the next year. You don't know what's going to happen tomorrow. Do you know there are people dying right now as I speak? And they went to bed last night thinking about anything other than dying. You realize that? You realize that hundreds of thousands of people are going into eternity right now across this globe of several billion people. None of them went to bed last night saying, well, let me get this last sleep in.

This is going to be it. Nobody goes to bed saying, well, you know, better enjoy your sleep. This is my last one in this bed. We don't think like that. We live life expecting life to go on. James said therein lies the problem. He said planning is not the issue.

The issue is presuming you've got another year ahead of you. So when you tell God or tell other people what's going to happen without the God factor, without the purpose factor, without the destiny factor in your mind and certainly in your words, that's the problem. He says you can't be presumptuous because you don't even know what's going to happen tomorrow. Your being saved doesn't guarantee you what's going to happen tomorrow.

We don't have any guarantee about how long we're going to make it on this planet. How many of you know folk in their prime or early in their life who died completely unexpectedly? Let me see some hands. Of course, we all do. We all know somebody for whom the odds didn't work at all.

The norm didn't work at all. We all know people like that. We all know people who seem to be well. Go to get a checkup about one thing and the physician says, I don't know how to tell you this, but you are stage four of some form of cancer or some life threatening disorder. They never knew it, didn't have symptoms. They went to get one thing checked out and accidentally, it would seem, found out that they only have days or weeks or months to live.

Happens all the time. You don't have to be old to check out of here. You don't have to be unhealthy, at least knowingly in terms of symptoms and all that. I'm glad that we all can do things to prolong our lives. We all can make choices that will help our case. But at best, you're only dealing with probabilities and you need to live like you don't have the guarantee of long life. So, James is saying, don't be a follower of Christ who talks knowingly about the future because you're writing a check that you can't cash.

When you say, that's what I'm going to do next year, you don't know whether you're going to be able to do that or not. That's the first point. Here's the second point I see in the passage. Write this down.

It won't be long, soon we'll be leaving here. I worded it that way in honor of Andre Crouch, the late Andre Crouch. I love that man of God. God used him to write so many anthems that have blessed the body of Christ worldwide. I had the privilege of ministering with him on an occasion several years ago. He was the guest music person. I was the guest speaker in the city of New York. So, I took that opportunity to publicly thank him for his ministry. And I played a clip on one of my Humor CDs. It's a clip of me talking about wanting to meet Andre Crouch or at least shake his hand back in the 70s. A bunch of us were young people just getting saved and Andre Crouch and the disciples were coming through Philly and going to be down at the stadium where the Sixers played and all that. And we were so excited.

We got our tickets and we went down there and we were hoping to just maybe shake his hand or get an autograph or something from Andre because he was our life. Because I grew up in a hymn singing church and he was our freedom from the hymns. You know, of course, the Saints knew what they were doing. They fed us hymns until we started liking them. To this day, I love some good old hymns. Every now and then, I got to play them, sing them to myself, something. Every now and then, you can't get better than the hymn book.

But we did need a break from them though. And so, here he was coming back in the, I'm talking about those early 70s when he was first writing those songs and he was touring the country and the world singing It Won't Be Long and all those songs. And so, we went to hear him and I was especially excited because I knew one of the young ladies that he had made one of his background singers. I knew her from one of the churches we always fellowship with in New York. And so, I told the young folk in the church, yeah, when we go, look, I know one of the disciples. So, after service, we're going to go backstage. I'm going to see if I can get her to come out and, you know, what have you, and then see if she can give us the hookup so we can meet or at least shake hands with Andre.

And I'm thinking, I'm the big shot because I know the disciple that can get us in. And so, after the stadium, we went to the area where their bus was and all that stuff and looked to see where they were coming out of the building. And sure enough, disciples and musicians and what have you start coming out eventually and I saw the lady that I knew because we knew her from, my dad preached at their church and all that. And so, when she came out, I ran up to her, called her name and said, hey. And she looked at me and said, hello. I said, hello.

It's me. And then she said, nice to see you. How's your father? I said, oh, he's good. Doing great. Listen, we came from, these young folks came from our church and we just said, okay, hi.

Hello, everybody. And she got on the bus. And I'm standing there.

I never got a chance to say, can Wednesday, Andre credit? She was done. And I got discouraged. This was a Saturday night concert and it was late by the time the concert was over and on. And I got discouraged with her attitude because I thought, if a disciple has that much attitude, what's Andre going to be like? I thought, we don't stand a chance of him even looking at us.

If a background singer is conceited. And I did. I got discouraged.

Well, look, we got to go to Sunday school in the morning. I'm going home. And I left. And some of them said, well, we're going to hang around. We at least want to see Andre come out. This is closer than we were in the stadium.

So we at least want to see him up close and get him to look at us and wave. And they said, I said, fine. All right. That's all right.

I went on. The next morning after Sunday school, between Sunday school and church, you all remember old-fashioned church Sunday school was 930 to 1030. And then you had that half-hour break and then Jesus came at 11.

That's the way church was growing up. He didn't show up till 11 o'clock. During that break, the young folk who had stayed came running up to me and said, oh, you left too soon.

I said, what? What y'all talking about? You left too soon. I said, we stayed until Andre came out. He saw a group of us standing over there. He came up to us. He shook our hands.

He took pictures. And then he said, we hungry and we heard about a restaurant that stays open real late. We're going down there to eat.

If y'all want to, come down to the restaurant. And they said, we ate with Andre Crouch. And so that day I was speaking and he was the singer, I played the clip of me telling the church that story and he fell out laughing.

And then afterwards, he and I were shaking hands after the service and taking pictures with people as we were standing there waiting for the line to start. And he said, I bet you I know who that was. I said, who? He gave her name. I said, yep, that was her.

He knew he had hired an attitude, but she could sing. But I got to publicly thank him for his, not only his anointing, but his humility. No matter how long you live, whether 10 more minutes or 10 more decades, your life is but a vapor.

Here one moment, gone the next. As you make your way through this world, be sure to store up for yourselves treasures in the next. Do you need prayer today? In Psalm 107, King David writes, then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble and he delivered them from their distress. If you do have a prayer need, the Destined for Victory ministry team would like to join you in prayer. From the homepage at, use the contact feature to let us know how we can pray for you.

While you're there, be sure to ask for Pastor Paul's monthly letter of encouragement, yours at no cost or obligation. Well, we have a great resource to share with you today, a DVD video message from Pastor Paul Shepherd called, Get Your Hopes Up. You know, the word hope in English often conveys doubt.

I hope my team wins or I hope it doesn't rain tomorrow. But biblical hope has its foundation in God in whom there is never any doubt. Learn about biblical hope in this DVD from Pastor Paul. It's called Get Your Hopes Up and it's our gift to you this month by request for your generous donation to Destined for Victory. Call 855-339-5500, 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. I hope you understand you can be a child of God and never experience anything but wilderness living if you're not careful. You'll go to heaven when you die, but life is not going to go well because you aren't walking in faith and obedience and trust in the Lord. That's what happened with Old Testament Israel. That's tomorrow when Pastor Paul Shepherd shares his message if you want to make God laugh. 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 / 2023-08-07 17:48:09 / 2023-08-07 17:58:04 / 10

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