When opportunity knocks, you'll need courage to open the door and wisdom to walk through it. In just a few moments, Pastor Paul Shepherd shares today's Destined for Victory message, Seizing the Opportunities Before You.
But before he gets started, he joins us from his studio in California. Pastor, if there's been one thing that has been certain over the past many months, it's been the uncertainty of our times. It's one of the reasons we want to encourage everyone to have this month's offer, a booklet you've titled, God in Scary Times.
So tell us about this great resource and how what God did in Abraham's life can be an encouragement to us. It started with me thinking personally about what was it like to be Abraham, having to send your wife Hagar and your firstborn son Ishmael away from the family home. You know, that had to be awfully scary.
Then I thought about, well, what would it be like to be Hagar and to be Ishmael and suddenly you are put out of your home and you're going God knows where to do God knows what. That had to be awfully scary. Frankly, sometimes in our lives, we hit scary moments. They might not be what these people experienced, but if you've ever been through some tough times and my grandmama would have said, if you haven't yet, keep on living because it's going to happen.
It's going to happen, right. And the result is you're going to wonder, Lord, how in the world am I going to get through this, whatever your this is? And so I wrote this part of the series and I wrote this booklet with the desire and the hope and the prayer that God would help people understand that he is available to us even in scary moments.
His faithfulness is certain and although it doesn't feel very good, the Lord has promised that he is going to finish the good work he began in us. So I pray that those who received this booklet, which they can have at their request this month as they donate, I pray that it will be a real blessing and it will help them through the scariest moments in their lives. Thank you. Thank you. Please be for you.
What you do about the opportunity is quite up to you. Years ago, an American theologian wrote what we now know as the serenity prayer. God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. On today's Destined for Victory, Pastor Paul Shepherd talks about two key words from that prayer, courage and wisdom. You'll need both to reach your destiny in Christ. So here's Pastor Paul with today's message, Seizing the Opportunities Before You.
I want to continue talking about living fearlessly, but our focus is shifting now. And I want you to go with me to Deuteronomy chapter one. And here we'll see Moses speaking to the people that he was called to lead out of Egypt. And now the challenge is to get them into the promised land, because God's call on our life is not only out of some things, but it is into some other things. And so Moses is trying to get the folks, he's gotten them out of Egypt, but they're living in a wilderness God never ordained to be their home. And the call on them is to take God up on his promise. He said, I have promised you a place, a land flowing with milk and honey. I promised it way back to Abraham, and I'm going to keep my promise. And he's trying to get them into the promised land. In Deuteronomy chapter one, I want you to look at verse 21. We'll look at some other verses along the way, but start by looking at verse 21. Here's what Moses says. Look, the Lord your God has set the land before you. Go up and possess it as the Lord God of your fathers has spoken to you.
Do not fear or be discouraged. Now look carefully at that. Moses is trying to get these people out of this wilderness, which was only meant to be a transit way between Egypt and the promised land.
They're stuck in the middle, and he's trying to get them moving. And so look at what he says again. Look, the Lord your God has set the land before you. Go up and possess it as the Lord God of your fathers has spoken to you. Do not fear or be discouraged. Here is one of two points I want to make in this part of our series. Here's the way I worded the first point. God has set certain opportunities before you, but the outcome is determined by you alone.
Let me say that again. God has set certain opportunities before you, but the outcome is determined by you alone. I need us to understand this whole thing, because we talk a lot about destiny and fulfilling your destiny in today's world.
That's a legitimate theme if you rightly understand it. Destiny is not the same as fatalism. Fatalism is the idea that stuff is going to happen and there's nothing you can do about it. And a lot of people build fatalism into their theology.
That's unfortunate because the Bible doesn't teach fatalism. The Bible doesn't teach, well, you know, what's going to happen is just going to happen, and you have absolutely nothing to do with that. And there are some things that are inevitable that are outside of all of our purview, all of our ability to change. There's plenty in the world that you cannot impact by what you do, but there's another set of things, especially as it pertains to God's plan for your life, that you have everything to do with how this pans out. And I need you to come to understand that so that as we teach you the principles of the word of God, how to live out your faith, how to be a person of divine destiny, you will understand God sets opportunities before you. What you do about the opportunity is quite up to you.
There are a whole lot of people who have a lot of opportunities that they never take advantage of. And I came to tell you if you want to live a life full of God's purpose, if you want to know that your life is making a difference for both time and for eternity, he built some things into you in terms of opportunity and potential. But you have to act to bring that to pass.
And that's what I want to do in this installment of the series. I want you to understand there are some things you have to live fearlessly about because if you remain fearful or discouraged, you are going to miss many of the opportunities God has ordained for you to take advantage of. And I don't want anybody under my spiritual watch to lead this earth with your work undone. My job as a leader, as a teacher, as a pastor in the body of Christ is to help you get your work done. I want all of us to be able to stand before the Lord one day and hear, well done, good and faithful servant. None of us just stand up there and the Lord say, what'd you do?
We want to hear, well done. And the way to do that is to understand that God has set certain opportunities before you, but the outcome is determined by you alone. Do you realize the richest place in the world is the cemetery? Because in the cemetery there are a lot of folk who died with their dreams unfulfilled, who died with their business unestablished, who died with the book they were supposed to write unwritten. There are people who died with a song they were supposed to share with the world and they never wrote it. Or if they wrote it, they didn't get it out there so that other people can be blessed by it. The cemetery is an awfully rich place because people who were given a lifetime to get some things done never acted on what God wanted them to do.
And I came to tell you that is something you must do. And the way to do it is to make sure that you understand fatalism is not the same as destiny. Destiny has to do with what God has created you to do that you then act on and allow him to use you. Whereas this fatalistic idea is, well, you know, things are just going to happen and you just sit back and watch them.
No, not at all. When it comes to destiny, you and I are active participants in what God has ordained for our lives. None of us are going to get to sit around and just say, I don't know, next thing I know I was anointed and I was just changing the world. That's not the way it works. I don't know. It just happened.
I had a worldwide business. No, that's not the way it goes. You have to plan to be fruitful in the kingdom of God.
And let me tell you something. Kingdom living is not about religion. The kingdom of God is not a religious thing. The kingdom of God has to do with where God reigns.
It's not a geographical location. The kingdom is within us. We live out the values of the kingdom and you and I are called to take the king and his kingdom everywhere we go. So when you go to work, you don't have to work for a religious organization.
In fact, I hope you don't because that's like being in a light convention. We need to get the light out into the darkness. We don't need more people working in vocational ministry. We need people taking the ministry to Google. Taking the ministry to Facebook. Taking the ministry to Twitter. Taking the ministry to the companies you work for, the industries you work for. We need the kingdom in the business world. We need the kingdom in the sports world.
We need the kingdom in the entertainment world. And I don't care what church is growing well, it's still got more people to reach. If you want to know where people are on Sunday, yeah, some of our churches are gathering some good numbers of people, but we all have a lot more work to do.
You don't believe me? Leave church and drive by the mall. Come on. I pastored a church that was just growing by leaps and bounds and one season of my pastoral ministry, thousands coming all weekend long.
And I said, we still got to reach more people. Because you leave here and go to the ball game. Talking about, I couldn't even park near the church.
Oh, please. This is the last time you say, I'm sick of going to the football game because you can't park next to the stadium. Nobody goes to the game expecting to park near the stadium.
You're doing good to be within a mile. Come on. Some of y'all know it's true and you got to pay the park. They always talking about money. No, they always talking about money over at the game. You can't get in without money. You can't eat the snacks without money. Come on somebody. Everything. You want to buy the t-shirt? That's money. But they want to complain about the kingdom.
So I don't pay them any mind. We'll be right back with more of today's Destined for Victory message from Pastor Paul Shepard. Listen to the broadcast on demand at pastorpaul.net.
That's pastorpaul.net, where you'll find a host of great resources at our online store, including books and DVD messages from Pastor Paul. Now, with the second half of today's Destined for Victory message, your Guinness pastor was seizing the opportunities before you. Fact of the matter is we are kingdom people. The kingdom goes everywhere we go. And God wants to get some things done through you and you don't have to do them in church.
In fact, you shouldn't do them in church. You got to let your light shine where the darkness is. So if you're in the entertainment field, you are supposed to be kingdom as you do that work. It is all about the kingdom of God. And so I want you to understand God's given you certain opportunities. And when I'm talking about that, I'm not just talking about things you can do to help us in the church.
Every church needs people to take up the work of getting the ministries done. But that's more like doing chores in a family. When I grew up, when you grew up in a family, you had chores. And you did them because you were in the family. You weren't getting paid for them.
Come on, somebody. Were any of y'all in a house like me? We grew up and on the refrigerator with a magnet was what every child was supposed to do. And you get it done this particular week.
When I grew up, you just knew. And sometimes we wanted to go. There was a special event on Saturday and my brother and I and Jimmy and Ricky, we're going out, we're going somewhere to this special sporting thing or whatever. We got to leave early Saturday morning. We all excited. My mother said, Well, you know, you got to get your chores done first.
That's all right. I look on the refrigerator and I got to do the living room. And I saw Lord Jesus, because when they said back then doing the living room, it wasn't just walk through and, you know, straighten up a couple of piles.
Come on, some of y'all old heads. Doing the living room meant you had to start on your knees, clean those baseboards and all that. Get that floor all together. And then you worked your way up, got all those blinds and everything done. And then you came to the furnishing like we had back in those days, you had this big old stereo in your living room.
See, I'm dating myself. Oh, big stereo, big enough to be a casket look like. Any of y'all know what I'm talking about? Big old stereo had speakers on either side.
What have you. And in the middle, you lift up the lid and there was a turntable. Look at y'all turntable. And that was wood. You had to clean that. You had to get the lemon pledge.
Oh, come on, somebody. You had to clean that. She said, Don't just wipe it. Spray. Get that thing wiped. I don't want to see any smudges when I come down there.
And that's how we did chores back in the day. That's why I took my 45s in with me when I had to do the living room because I needed Michael Jackson and them to help me. Put your 45. Young folk don't know what a 45 is. Put your 45. You drop it on the thing and it holds it.
And then you put that holder on top of it and you push the button and the record would drop in and the arm would come on round, drop down. And Michael and them start singing. Stop. The love you say may be on.
Darling, take it slow or someday you'll be all alone. You all was too safe. You all didn't do the Jackson five.
That drop and then you put the temptations and they drop in there. And they was all helping me. They all helped me with my chores. We got to do chores just cause we in the kingdom, but don't think you got your work done. Now I got to go out and get the work done. Wherever God sends me in this world, I've got to get it done. There are opportunities set before you, but the outcome is determined by you alone. Some of you are supposed to establish a business, whether it'll be your primary source of income or not.
You're supposed to establish a business and get that done. And you can just show your faith in the midst of doing your business. And so we've got to understand, we got to broaden our sense of what a calling is. A calling isn't just about the church.
The calling is about what I do to share who Jesus is everywhere I go. And I need to help you understand this. So I want you to notice that this verse, verse 21 of Deuteronomy one, the Lord has set before his people a land, the promised land, but God won't pick you up and drop you in the land. He said it before you. And then look at what it says.
You got to go possess it. A whole lot of us are looking at a land that we haven't yet possessed, looking at opportunities we haven't taken any advantage of. And I've come with orders from on high to tell you it's time for you to get some stuff done. So notice the end of that verse. Do not fear or be discouraged. Whenever the Bible tells you don't fear and don't be discouraged, you know why?
Because what you're going to see is fear will cause you to have fear if you're not careful and what you're going to see and what you're going to experience can discourage you if you're not careful. I came to let you know we're in warfare so you can't shrink back just because those people over there are strong and mighty. Well, that's why God said I promised it to you. Now you go possess it. I'm not going to drop you into it. I'm making you the promise. I'm giving you the opportunity.
You go possess it. I want to flesh this concept out. I want to make sure you understand this is biblical. Go to Philippians chapter two in the New Testament. Paul's headed to the church at Philippi.
Philippians chapter two and I want you to look at verses 12 and 13. Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for his good pleasure. Notice work out your own salvation. Now people say, well, what's that about? Work out your salvation.
What do you mean? He's not saying work for your salvation. You don't work for your salvation. Jesus paid the price for your salvation.
We mean, well, but sometimes we state things wrong. I hear people say, you know, the Bible said, work out your soul salvation. No, it doesn't.
You just read it. The soul's not in there. You can't save your soul.
That's why Jesus came. You don't work out your soul salvation. You work out your own salvation. You say, well, then what does he mean when he says work out your salvation? He's not saying work for it.
Jesus already paid the price. He's saying work out the reasons God saved you. You got to work out in your experience why God saved you and put you on the planet.
There's some things you're supposed to do. I just told you Ephesians 2 10 your God's workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works. So you got to work out those things as expressions of your salvation.
You don't work for it. You don't work out your soul salvation. That's saved by Christ. You're working out your own salvation, meaning I'm working out of me. Look at verse 13 what God worked into me. God has worked some stuff into you.
Now it's your job to work it out. And the reason why the cemetery is so rich is called a lot of people had God work stuff into them that they never worked out businesses. They never started books. They never read songs.
They never wrote performances. They never gave opportunities that never took advantage of and don't die with your work on done. There's a verse in the book of Revelation chapter 14 that says blessed are the dead that die in the Lord for they rest from their labors and their works do follow them. When you die, you're supposed to have some works following you. And I don't know about you, but I'm going to too many funerals where they die and nothing coming behind. They didn't do anything that mattered outside of their own life. And you ought to have some folk crying when you die because of the impact you had on them because of the businesses you established because of the ministry you executed because of the way you helped raise them and train them and disciple them. There ought to be people whose lives are better off because of what you did. And if somebody isn't impacted when you die and they just go eat. Something is wrong.
You know, if you did, if you haven't been around destiny, just ask them. The whole church has been trained. It might as well be part of the new member orientation. When pastor goes, you supposed to fall out.
He'd been working hard trying to be a good pastor, trying to help people with their lives. The day y'all here, I'm gone. I hope that day is no time soon, but the day you hear, I'm gone. I don't want you to say, well, pastor ball gone.
Really? Oh man, what y'all want to eat? I know eating. That's the date you fast the rest of that day. You too bereaved to eat.
You can't even think about food. Pastor gone. Lord Jesus.
And some of y'all who work me the hardest, you supposed to just faint. Just straight up. Thanks for being here for today's message. Seizing the opportunities before you. For more information about destined for victory or how you can get your copy of pastor Paul Shepherd's booklet, trusting God in scary times, stop by our website, pastor paul.net.
That's pastor paul.net. We all have good opportunities, but we all also have God opportunities. Fulfill as many of the good opportunities as you can, but make sure you don't miss any of the God opportunities. When a thing is a God thing, you want to make it a priority. That's next time in pastor Paul Shepherd's message, seizing the opportunities before you. Until then remember, he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion. In Christ, you are destined for victory. We'll be right back.
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