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Saturday, 19 October 2019

'PURSUING GOD'S PURPOSE'





Rev. Brian Wilkie
By Rev. Brian Wilkie                                                                                    

Pastor of St. Andrew's Christian Community
Rockland, Ontario

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PODCAST LINK to CFRA broadcast - Sunday, October 20th, 2019:

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Broadcast Notes:

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Welcome to Good News In the Morning a program of words and music bringing a Christian message of hope and encouragement to those who are looking for intelligent meaningful and spirited approach to faith and to life.
This program is sponsored by Good News Christian Ministries,  96 Pheasant Run Drive, Ottawa, ON  K2J 2R5, Canada, (new address). I'm your host today, Brian Wilkie of St. Andrew's Christian church in Rockland. As always I want to start by thanking you our listeners. Today, particularly, we want to thank the sponsors of today's program, Blackburn Hamlet Community Church. We are excited by the increasing role that different congregations have taken in sponsoring our broadcast, to engage in the evangelism outreach, and the discipleship outreach of this program.
Your personal support and encouragement is so important to us, so please remember that you can always visit our website for materials to encourage and support you in your Christian walk.
If you miss an episode of the show you can go to our website and download the podcast or the MP3 of our broadcast. Details can be found on our website, GoodNewsChristianMinistries.ca, or GNCM.ca.
‘Pursuing God’s Purpose’
Rev. Joel Charles
 Today I am talking with Pastor Joel Charles, of Shiloh Holiness Church (http://shilohholiness.ca), which is on North River Road in Overbrook, Ottawa. Joel and I met when he was ministering in Rockland, and I've come to appreciate his faith and wisdom.
Having a Winning Year - with Pastor Joel Charles
BW: Joel, it's good to have you on the program today.
JC: Pastor Brian, it is good to be with you like this, and of course I greet all the listeners and supporters of this program.
BW: What you have in mind for our listeners today, Joel?
JC: Well, today I want to encourage us all to have a winning year. We are still relatively near the beginning of a new year. A winning year is not a year without issues or challenges, but even, in spite of the difficulties, we can still have that winning year. A key to having a successful year is living on purpose.
BW: Agreed! Do you have a Scripture for that?
JC: Well, yeah, Jeremiah 29 verses 10 to 13. Many folks might know it. We'll look at from verse 10, to give it a little bit of context there.
"This is what the Lord says When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
The Holy Bible: New International Version. (1984). (Je 29:10–13).
The passage shows that God has a plan for each person. The challenge for each of us is to not just do things, to not just live, because if God has a plan for us, we need to ask him about his plans for us and then we need to live according to those plans.
It's sort of like:
·         Get God's plan,
·         Create a vision,
·         Have a mission for living
 because it is most miserable playing a part for which you ill-suited. It's kind of like walking in shoes that that don't fit. In our world today may people are dissatisfied, and I submit that this dissatisfaction does not come from the absence of things, but rather the absence of direction. And so that's why we need a plan. The best person to get a plan from his God, because unless you do something beyond what you've already mastered you won't grow.
BW: Thanks very much Joel for the introduction to the message. In the next few minutes we will listen to a song by the a cappella group This Hope. The song is Shelter in the Time of Storm,  and that's what Jesus provides for us!
JC: That's right!
Music:
BW: Jesus is our shelter in a time of storm, but today we want to focus on how he is also our purpose, at all times, in difficulties in good times.

So what are we talking about when we talk about this purpose of God? How do we get this direction from God?
JC: Well Pastor Brian,  we get direction from God, and it sounds basic but it is very important: we have to believe that God has a plan and a purpose for us. We must understand that God is a purposeful God. Everything, every person which God has created has a purpose.
You can tell a lot about your purpose by looking at you! Your uniqueness, your interests your joys and your passions. I mean, most of your cutting edge comes from your uniqueness. It's very important that we never let people or money or circumstances or power determine what we spend our lives doing. There's a parable in the Bible about the talents, The master gives one guy 10 talents, another five talents, another one talent. Then he says. "go and make the most of what I have given you." 

When we believe that God has a plan and a purpose for us we also understand that we are not responsible for the talents we were not given, but expected to make the most of what we have been given. So we get that direction when we choose to believe God has a plan.

God has a purpose. But very important is also the matter off surrendering to God's control. The Scripture says, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and love your neighbor as yourself." In other words, to be connected to God and with each other. We must understand that God is about relationship. He  is all about relationships, so no matter your condition, no matter our circumstances, God always desires to be in relationships, be in relationships with us.
 
An interesting reality is that God desired a family. Imagine that God desired a family! So to make that happen he sent Jesus Christ to earth.

So when we surrender to God's control by accepting Jesus Christ as Savior we become part of God's family. I believe that a truly winning life, to have a truly winning year, we need to be surrendered to God's control. As humans we all have a God shaped hole in our lives and unfortunately we try to fill it with different things. That could be money, career, popularity, but I've I'm coming to realize that only a relationship with God through Jesus Christ brings peace and contentment.
So believing God has a purpose  and surrendering to his control.
BW: So when you talking about this purpose, it's not what we have in mind, that is, our ambition to do, but it is affected by what God is putting us, in terms of our passions and our heart desires. So we look to God and try to find what his plan is, what his ambition and dream for us is.
JC: Absolutely.
BW: But there are a lot of people not living in the purpose that God has for them. There must be some reasons why people aren't living in the place and in the work and in the peace that God wants them to have.

What are some of things that might hinder us? And let's be frank about this.
JC: Well, I mean, one thing that can hinder an individual from living on purpose, living according to God's plan, is his lack of character. No matter how big the destiny, no matter how big the purpose, character is important. God is about building character. There is a biblical example, that of Joseph. Most of what he went through is about building character, because a balanced and successful life requires character.

So that means then that the challenges we face, they are not to destroy us, the difficulties, but rather to build character. Characters not something you get, it is something you build. You build character as you face life and you make choices. It is said that good character helps you weather the storms of life, so character is key.
BW: yeah, well that makes me think:  You've mentioned the passage from Jeremiah, where he is sending them off to Babylon for 70 years, and Joseph where he gets taken into slavery, he's put into prison, he is falsely accused, he is forgotten after he gives some godly help to people. Through all that we understand that God is working his plan. That makes me wonder whether part of the reason that sometimes we don't pursue God's plan is because we have a fear.
JC: Of course, of course. That is another key thing that hinders us from living on purpose, Fear. Because the reality is that we face so many fears. Whether it is the fear the supernatural: "What if I step out? Will God come through for me?" Fear of  criticism: "What will others think if I if I truly begin to do what I dream about or what God has put in me?" Fear of failure, of inadequacy: "Am I good enough? Can I handle this  thing that I think or that I desire?" And you know some people are even fearful of succeeding, even the fear of change. And so fear can be a great hindrance to the living the way we ought to live.

But we must also remember that feelings are not facts. What you feel is not a reality. Feeling something does not make it true! Feelings lie all the time, so it would be important then, I guess, for someone wondering, "Well how do I overcome that fear?"
BW: Absolutely, there is fear sometimes which people are dealing with all their lives. There are fears that they've never had any idea how to overcome. So what are the steps that you would take?
JC: Well , I mean, this is not the absolute final answer, for sure, on how do I over come the fear, but one thing that is important is learn to do the thing you fear the most. Do the thing you fear the most. In other words, move against your fear, because fear begins to go away when you take action. You start moving and fear begins to vanish.  There are some biblical examples: the children of Israel coming up to the Red Sea. The Egyptians were behind them, they were in a sort of cul-de-sac. They were hemmed in, but they moved against their fear they stepped in and the waters parted.

Again they came to the Jordan River and the idea, the design and plan was to get to the other side, but once they stepped in the waters backed up. So you overcome fear by moving against you fear. Things won't always work out, but always keep the right perspective, never procrastinate, persevere. Move against that fear.
BW: Yes, as we were talking before the show, we went over this and I remember from that same period of time, when the people of Israel were in the wilderness, it was fear that kept them from going into the promised land when God told them to go. They heard some reports that is was going to be hard going. They trusted those reports and they were scared of their enemy more than they trusted God. You wonder how it would have worked out differently if they had the faith at that time to step forward, into the very place where they were afraid, because they trusted God.

If they don't, I suppose, well those people actually did spend the rest of their lives doing somebody didn't want to do because they didn't move forward in the plan that God had for them. Certainly people. . .

Well I just want to go in it slightly different direction we talked about, but what if somebody has missed the boat? What if they have turned away in fear? Is it always 40 years in the wilderness after that, or what does God do with people when they failed?
JC: Well, the Scripture talks about "He who has begun a good work in you will bring it to fruition." The idea is, and that's what is amazing about God, we go through tests in life. All of life is all a test, but God never gives us an "F," He never fails us. He always allows us to start over, and to do it again and again until we get it right. So even if one feels "I have missed the boat, I should've done this, wanted to have done this, I never did."

It is never too late. You'd be amazed, the Scripture is full of examples of what God can do if we truly decide to trust him
BW: Absolutely, that is an important message, that as we start a new year, that there is opportunity for people to renew their covenant with God and to renew their commitment to walk the way God wants them to walk. Let's take a further look at that in a few moments, after we listen to this song, because one of the great things we can count on is that God has the power to make a change in us. This next song, again by the a cappella group This Hope, says there is power, "Power in the Blood of the Lamb."
BW: Well Joel, today we been talking about God having a purpose for everyone's life. That He has a plan, and that we can seek to understand his plan and his purpose for us. That can help keep us from living in aimless, pointless life.

Now we started to get into the topic, talking about when people have missed the boat: of some Christians who feel like they've let fear, or some fault, some lack of character interfere and ruin a plan that God had.  But we serve a gracious God, we believe in a God who gives more than a second chance. So what about people who either have been walking with Christ but have stumbled along the way, or perhaps even some listeners who don't know Christ, who haven't actually received His grace in any way. At this point what's the story for them and their purpose?
JC: Well for certain you don't want to spend rest of your life doing what you are not supposed to be doing.
 
A beautiful thing about Scripture, about Jesus coming to earth, is the concept of grace. The Bible says, "all things work together for good to those who love God and to those who are the called according to his purpose." When we grasp the reality that we live in a world flawed, a flawed world marred by sin - Listen - our world is broken. No relationship works perfectly, We don't always get it right all the time. Even the weather doesn't work perfectly, the economy doesn't work perfectly, our bodies don't work perfectly. That's why we pray "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven!"
  
So the idea or the understanding is that Jesus has come to kind of shift the cards a little bit, to change the deck, to turn it around, to give us that winning hand. It is in him and through him, that even if we've missed it, when we come to him in genuine confession, genuine conversation, sincerity of heart, we will be amazed as to how he will take our errors, our failures,  all of our mistakes and our quantities, and work them for something good that he has a designed us and destined us for.
BW: Well then, how does someone get in touch with his grace and love? People might say, "I'm not a very religious person?" how does someone talk to Jesus and seek that purpose?
JC: My belief is that talking to Jesus is no different than how we're talking right now. It's a matter of having a conversation, it's a matter of understanding that God is Immanuel - the God that is with us - he is omnipresent and it's simply a matter of opening our heart. As it's said we all have a God-shaped hole in us. God is ever pursuing us and he's always desiring to be in relationship. We simply need to have a conversation: "Lord, this is how I feel, this is what I feel" I believe you'll be amazed as to what will begin to happen.
BW: Well the Scripture says about those who call in the name of the Lord, it doesn't say they'll necessarily see a flash of light,
JC: Right
BW: it doesn't necessarily say that they'll hear a voice of thunder, but it does say that those who call upon the Lord will be saved. And that's a great hope, that it doesn't take a particular religious experience, it takes getting honest with God, doesn't it?
JC: And that's the amazing thing about God who just -  if we can just grasp that he desires a relationship - that means in the car, on the farm, where ever you are, you simply pursue him, have a conversation, write the prayer - you'd be amazed how we'll experience him
BW: When you seek God's purpose in your life, and I know you are seeking God's purpose,  what role do Scriptures play in getting to know what God wants you to do?
JC:  It's so important, and when we think of the term Manual it means the mind of the maker, and so God has given-  to me the Scripture is the manual - and so if I want to, and since he created me he's my maker and I've got to follow the manual that he's given for my life. So that's the role the Scripture plays. I get a good version of the Bible, that I understand, and I read it. I try to do it often, and daily. I am amazed at the things I learned from it about me, who I am, and what my maker desires of me. And that's what I think all of us need.
BW: I am introducing one little concept here which I call the idea of "standing orders." In the military officers often have been given direction: a specific strategy they are supposed to be implementing,  a hill they have to take, whatever. But when they don't have those kinds of orders right in front of them, they always have their standing orders, just "this is the way you conduct yourself" and that's how you fill your purpose. You know, whether it's the a guy in the foxhole is making sure his guns are clean, making sure that security is taking care of. The standing orders that we have from God about some very simple purposes, very simple purposes that we do over and over again - like loving our enemies, like seeking forgiveness, giving forgiveness, praying to God, reading the Scriptures. These are standing orders that, if we aren't hearing anything from God, these are standing orders through which we can fulfill our purpose in the meantime ,right?
JC: Of course and we would be amazed sometimes, just sticking to those basic disciplines, the difference that they make. We often come expecting huge things - I found that it is in the simple things that brings us the greatest victory and have the greatest success or fulfillment.
BW: That's great! Listen Joel, it's been great talking with you about purpose today, and I really I expect that are listeners are being blessed.

I do know that in your life, in your ministry, you are really pursuing God's purpose for you. There is some sacrifice involved in that, there is discipline, attention and also I can see in your and in your life there is joy and there's this fulfillment in pursuing God. So thank you for sharing your heart and your mind with us today.
Would you like to bring this to close with prayer?
JC: Yes, let's pray.

Father, thank you that you have a plan for each life. I ask that you draw each listening to a close relationship with you through your Son, Jesus Christ. Give strength, wisdom, healing, peace and favor to each listener. And Lord, we thank you for the many blessings we have. We ask that you bless our communities where we live and enable us to shine for you to have impact in this community. In Jesus name we pray, amen.
BW Again thank you so much, Joel.
JC:  Thank you Pastor Brian
BW: Once again I want to thank you listeners for your encouragement and support. We wouldn't be doing this if there weren't people listening to the message. But we also wouldn't be able do this if not for your financial support. So if you are able, please support us financially. Did you know the good news ministries has only one major cost? The four hosts Brent Russett, George Sinclair, Juliet Schimpf and myself are volunteers. So are the people who manage our website, organize our events and operate our board. Your gift can help us to continue to meet that one vital expense, the cost of broadcasting, which enables us to reach you and over 7000 listeners in the Ottawa River Valley. I also want remind you that this program is being listened to hundreds of times per week across the Internet in all parts of the globe. We are just delighted that God is able to reach out in that way through this ministry, and we thank you for your help with that. If you can please make a cheque payable to Good News Christian Ministries and send it to  96 Pheasant Run Drive, Ottawa, ON  K2J 2R5, Canada, (new address), we will be happy to send you a receipt at income tax time. I also want to encourage you to tell others about this program.

You yourselves know listening to this radio show is a very good way to learn from the Scriptures, but please add to that by worshipping in a church where the gospel is soundly proclaimed and lived out with compassion, integrity and resolve. Now to conclude our program I'd like to have you listen to an old hymn At the Cross, "At the Cross where I first saw the light."This is also by the singing group This Hope from their album a cappella hymns.
I do pray that the Lord will hold your heart and you would know Jesus personally and profoundly. May the Holy Spirit reside deep within your heart, may the heavenly Father surround you with his constant and abiding and accompanying love.

Rev. Brian Wilkie
St. Andrew's Christian Community, Rockland, Ontario
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