Occupy Sermon Series DP

Isn’t technology a wonderful thing?   With this small rectangle I can call someone, text someone, check my bank account, have photos of my kids, videos of my kids, can book a movie, view a menu, watch youtube, listen to Spotify and get directions when I am driving.

A few years ago, it feels like back in the olden days now, before I had a phone like this, when I would get lost, I would be LOST.  And as much as I love LOST the tv show I do not like being lost locationally in my world.

I would have to rely on maps, which is not an application on your phone, but a piece of paper with squiggly lines and squares and street names and on friendly service station people.

Now days, you just need to pull over and click on the app button and boom.  It can even use your location to pin point right where you are and a nice lady that can tell you to turn right in 400m.

But have you noticed, when using this app we see the map just as we are.  Just our little square of location.

God can zoom out and see the whole map.  He sees every part of your journey.  He sees where you are today and the final destination and everything in between.

A few years ago I went for a bit of a road trip to visit my friend Fee who lives in Gulf Harbour.  I had never been to Gulf Harbour before.  In fact, I had probably only driven over the harbour bridge about 5 times in the whole 15 years I’ve lived in Auckland!

Anyway, I had her address written down.  I knew from the map on the net what streets to take in her little township area.

But as I drove over the bridge and started looking at the motorway exit signs I noticed one thing that made me half freak out.  They didnt have suburb titles, like how the rest of Auckland does.  Like Manukau.  East Tamaki.  Greenlane.  It had road names.  I was heading into unfamiliar territory and the road signs made no sense!

Then I saw another sign that made me freak out even more.  Probably a 3/4 freak out on the scale of freaking out.  Toll bridge ahead.  We had been driving for over an hour and there were less and less houses and more and more grass and more and more cows.  I was like oh my word!  Perhaps we totally missed where we were going?  Perhaps I was totally lost!

So i pulled over and rung my friend.  Hey Fee, Claire here.  Help I’m LOST and um, yeah that toll bridge thing.

 

Ended up that I wasnt lost, I just wasnt there yet.  And we didnt have to go the toll bridge, we had to take some off ramp with a weird name that didnt relate at all to the area she lived in.

Now I bet you’re wondering what on earth does that have to do with my life and my dreams?  Its a nice story, but hello….

You see, just like how I was on a journey we are all on a journey.

I had a destination, but I was driving unfamiliar roads and didn’t really know how to get there.

I was pointing in the right direction, but some of the signs were confusing and made me unsure if I was on the right track.

And in the end I phoned my friend for help.

And yes, we made it there in the end!

We are all on a journey.  Life is a journey.  Every day counts.    But the good news is that God knows the destination, and He knows how to get there.

Jeremiah 29:11-13 says: 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.12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

You can be confident at every age and at every stage that God loves you and that He made you on purpose with a purpose.  God isnt random.  He didnt make you and then throw you into humanity to see what would happen.  He made you on purpose, with a purpose.

But sometimes it feels like we’re driving unfamiliar roads.  What will I be when I grow up?  What will I study at high school?  What about university?  Or apprenticeship?  Who will I marry?  Should i do an OE?  Buy a house?  The red pill or the blue pill?     Big questions.

Philippians 1:6 says that God will finish what He starts.  He started something in your life.  And He will see it through to the destination.  God is the dream giver and the dream fulfiller.  He gives us dreams….  those desires and thoughts you have are seeds of God’s plan.  And He doesnt just leave us to do it ourselves, He on purpose is at work to make the dreams come true.

As we talk about Occupying our Occupation we have been talking about being senior pastors in our world, about owning our classes and our workplaces, our spheres of influence but I am sure it has also raised many questions about finding that occupation that releases us to be God’s minister to the world around us.  Some of you might be yup, I’m salty and shinning and ready to occupy but feel that you may not have the occupation side of things nailed down yet.  You might be in that place of making the decision of what will I be when I grow up and I don’t think that question has an expiry date.  We can be in our 30s 40s and beyond and have a career change and a sense that there might be a better fit out there for us.

Our work matters and I think God has placed without our hearts a desire for purpose and destiny.  One of the greatest driving forces in the human heart is the need for significance. This quest for significance is fueled by a deep need for meaning: Who am I? Why am I here? What is my purpose? The reason your heart yearns for meaning is that you were created by the God of purpose, to fulfil His purposes on the earth.

But we can feel like we are driving on unfamiliar roads and our smart phones don’t have a DPS – a destiny positioning system.

I want to draw your attention to how this outworks in King David’s life.  You can read about him in 1 Samuel 16 and onwards.

The bible describes David as a man after God’s heart and in Acts 13:36 it says David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, and then died and history remembers David as one of Israels greatest kings.  Jesus himself endorses David in a big way calling himself son of david.

When we first meet David he was tending sheep when God told Samuel to anoint him as Israel’s next king. In fact when Samuel rocks up to anoint the new king his father doesn’t even bother to call him in from the fields.  It is rumoured that David was illegitimate but even from this introduction to him we can see he is overlooked and underestimated.  In his season as a shepherd God is shaping David’s life to become shepherd of a nation. David’s dream job may not have been to be a shepherd, maybe it was, but even in the field with the sheep David occupys his occupation and is in training for future roles.  He makes the most of the opportunity to become the man he is destined to be.

The simple tasks of a shepherd contained great leadership lessons that would serve David well in his future roles.

He defends his flock from lions and bears.  Did you ever notice that is plural – lions and bears.  The battles you face today are preparing you and strengthening you.  They are equipping you and shaping your character to be more like Jesus.

Count it all joy Paul says because trials – battling bears and lions – builds your faith and develops your character.  It refines you.

God will often use our workplaces and the people often in our world to transform us.  That difficult work assignment or co-worker stretches our wisdom muscles.  They are the pruning shears in the hand of God to remove unhelpful characteristics and behaviours.

David’s shepherd season also reflects a faithfulness in David that takes him all the way to the palace.  Even after been anointed as the future king David goes back to the field with his sheep.  He doesn’t promote himself or parade around saying I’m the king, fetch me my slippers, bow down to me.  He continues on with the assignment that God has given him right now.  Right now in that moment he was David the shepherd.  It’s in this dedication to the little things and to serving in his appointed place that God was at work forming David for what was to come in his life.  As Christians it is so important that we are faithful to our now.  If we’re at school or uni we want to get the marks so that there are the most opportunities and open doors ahead of us in the future.  In our workplaces we want to be faithful to our bosses and our roles.  Firstly because we’re created to work and be fruitful and secondly because faithfulness is a fabulous witness and in everything we do we want to represent well.   You know, God doesn’t need our good works but our neighbour sure does.

Matthew 5 says Your lives light up the world. Let others see your light from a distance, for how can you hide a city that stands on a hilltop?[s] 15 And who would light a lamp and then hide it in an obscure place?[t] Instead, it’s placed where everyone in the house can benefit from its light. 16 So don’t hide your light![u] Let it shine brightly before others, so that the good things you do will shine as light upon them, and then they will give their praise to your Father in heaven.”

David’s faithfulness and the lessons he learned as a shepherd took him to the battlefield against Goliath.  David learned he could trust God while he was a shepherd. He was prepared for something bigger. Because he was prepared he approached the situation with Goliath with outstanding clarity. He saw something that King Saul could not see. His confidence was in God.

David’s DPS took him next to the palace where he served king saul and then to the caves hiding out from Saul where gathered a company of men who were disenchanted, discouraged, down and out and just as he had wrangled the sheep and the wildlife he had a new flock to shepherd.  These men are known as the mighty men of God who did great exploits.

In every season we also see David fixing his attention on God.  Over half of the psalms were penned by David.  There are pslams written in the caves, written in the throne room and written in the field that reveal David’s unwavering trust in God, no matter what.   David constantly looked to God for timing and the way forward.

We can look back at David’s life and see the hand of God training him and preparing him for the throne, right from the field to the cave to the palace.   We can see God had uniquely wired him with leadership gifts and wisdom that God then refined and developed through every season.  We can see that David had a heart for people and used those gifts to train others to step into their destiny.  We can see that David followed God each step of the way, even though the way was not straightforward or clear.

 

David had to wait something like 15 years from the time he was first anointed by Samuel to the time he became king over Judah and it was another seven years before David was anointed king over a united Israel. This means David waited over 20 years of his life to be made king.

 

 

This morning I want to give you 4 keys for discovering your destiny that might help give you direction in finding your occupational fit.    These keys can act like sign posts to guide you as you are perhaps thinking about what to do at university, looking for a job, retraining or refocusing to find your fit.

 

  1. Look back

  2. Look in

  3. Look out

  4. Look up.

 

  1. Look back

Destiny is often a process of unfolding revelation.  There are the rare few individuals who know at the age of 8 what they want to be and chart out a roadmap to follow.  They have all their DPS coordinates plotted and will turn right in 400m.

When I was 8 I wanted to be a brain surgeon and Madonna.  Until I realised I don’t like needles or blood at all and that my greatest fear was singing in public.  That killed that dream.

When I was in high school I wanted to be a journalist and wrote for the school page for the Gore Express.  That dream got lost in the messiness of my teen years but even now I can see that elements of it being lived out right now.

I went to university without a clear sense of direction and then through the jobs that I had before having kids was on that journey of discovery, finding my place, finding what worked.

The norm for most people is a series of unfolding revelations of destiny.  Step by step.

We can often see the seeds of our destiny in the dreams of our childhood.  Those dreams are not random or accidental, they are given to you as sign posts by God to point you in the right direction.   Your destiny is foreshadowed by your God-given passions and dreams, and emerges over a lifetime of prayer, fellowship and service to others.

You can see this outworked in the lives of many people in the Bible.  Last week Peter talked about owning your prison and showed us how God was at work in Joseph right from when he was a child with a dream, to the pit, potiphars house, the prison and all the way to parliament as prime minister of Egypt.  In every season and in every stage God was forming Josephs character, was equipping him with the necessary skills, not only for the moment but for the future areas he would lead in.

Moses is another person that you can see the destiny weaving fingerprints of God on from his life raised in the palace to rule, then into the backside of the desert as a shepherd for his father in law, then as leader of Israel out of Egypt into the wilderness towards the promised land.

In the new testament we see how God used the misdirected zeal and knowledge of Saul to revolutionize the world through the teachings and writings of Paul.  Nothing is wasted.

 

These were real people with real lives. In the midst of that real life, we learn their real faith and the unfolding nature of destiny.  We often think that life is A to B but Joseph, Moses and so many other people show us that God likes to use all the letters of the alphabet.

You can be assured and confident that God is very intentional about your life.  Even before you knew Him He was at work guiding you and influencing you.

 

  1. Look in

You are uniquely created on purpose and with purpose by God.  You are a one of a kind with a specific set of passions, gifts, talents, personality traits, experiences and perspectives.
Your destiny is rooted in your identity which is a combination of your…

  • History – Your heritage, family of origin, childhood, formational experiences.
  • Relationship with God – Salvation experience, discipleship, spiritual journey.
  • Destiny Orientation – Based on the five gifts found in Ephesians 4:11
  • Motivational Orientation – Based on the seven gifts found in Romans 12:6-8
  • Supernatural Orientation – Based on the nine gifts found in 1 Cor. 12: 8-10
  • God-given Passions – The things you care about most in this life.
  • Destiny Dreams – If you had no limitations, what would you do for God

 

Doing personality tests or a course like destiny finder – wee plug there – can help you get a clearer picture of how you are wired.   They are clues that can help you clarify who you are.

When I was looking for a job when I first moved to Auckland I interviewed for a box company.  The job required lots of maths and precision and working by myself.  With boxes. I knew within about 5 minutes of the interview that this was not the job for me.

Sometimes we need to experience a whole range of roles and jobs to eliminate what works and what doesn’t.  It is like editing your life.

 

To kick start you evaluating how God has made you :

Brainstorm what you would do if you had the time, money, effort, energy, and passion to do whatever you want. Let your imagination run wild.

 

Assess your natural talents, skills and strengths for evidence of your calling. Are there any patterns, indicators or themes?

 

Identify the area(s) where you would like to see your life make a difference, and for what you would like to be remembered.

Ask youselves these questions: What makes you come alive? What causes your heart to burn? Is there a cause or a topic/subject that fires you up?  Who are your role models? What kind of person do you think you ought to be or want to be?

The answers to these questions can point you to occupations and ministry opportunities.

 

Jon Acuff says “Being Awesome is about finding the core of who you are and what lights you up. Once you’ve discovered that, you can have a million different jobs.” ~ Jon Acuff

 

Look inwards to find out who you are, what lights you up and then run with that.

 

 

  1. Look out

As believers we are city-changers and culture-transformers and it begins with the jobs and vocations that God has called each one of us to. God has given us a front row seat to the awesome works He wants to do through us in our workplaces, families and friendships.

God uses every season and every step of our destiny to transform the world around us.  He uses our season right now – not only to transform us and prepare us for the future but as salt and light to those we work with and do life with.  Sometimes our occupation may not be about the tasks we do but about the people we are positioned on purpose with.

 

Our destiny and occupation isn’t just about us.  It is about the people God wants us to touch.  It is about the lives that need changing.  If we shift our perspective about even our occupation to think about it in these terms – that we are the senior pastor in our world with a mission from God – then that can revolutionize our experience in the workplace.  It becomes less about the tasks and more about the people.

Discovering potential occupation opportunites also comes from looking out around us.

Is there a type of people, a demographic, a socio economic group, a whatever that you feel drawn to?

In our HKC Glow connect group for high school girls we were talking about dreaming big and the ways that God uses our passions to point us into purpose.  We went round the room and asked that question – what are you passionate about and the answers all included the people that would be receiving the gift of your life.   It was an inspiring and beautiful discussion as you could see the seeds of what God has placed in these awesome young women.

Bill Johnson says:

There is no thing as secular employment for the believer. Once we are born again, everything about us is redeemed for Kingdom purposes. It is all spiritual. It is either a legitimate Kingdom expression, or we shouldn’t be involved at all.

Every believer is in full time ministry – only a few have pulpits in sanctuaries. The rest have their pulpit in their areas of expertise and favour in the world system.

The call of God is important, not because of the title it carries, or doesn’t carry. Its valuable because of the One who called us. An assignment to be in business is as valuable in the Kingdom as is the call to be an evangelist. The privilege to be a stay at home wife and mother is equal in importance to being a missionary. Embrace your call with the faithfulness and thankfulness worthy of the One who has called you.” Bill Johnson – Dreaming With God

 

  1. Look up

Kim Walker Smith said “In the pursuit of following Him, He brought my destiny to me. I didn’t have to chase my destiny. It came. My eyes fixed on Him, walking to Him and He aligns my steps”

God is a good God and we can take Him at His word.  He has said He has plans for us.  He has said all things work together for good.  He has said He will finish what He has started.  He has said trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding and He will make the paths straight before you.  There are so many promises of God ordering our steps.  Gods ultimate plan is for us to know Him and make Him known.

As we walk in relationship with Him, day by day, surrendered and open then we can trust that He has us.

It may seem like a simple thing but as you ask that big question “what will I be when I grow up”, as you perhaps look for a career shift or a greater sense of purpose in your occupation talk to God about it.  Ask God to open your eyes and to unfold the next step.

 

As we look back, look in, look out and look up God unfolds His plans in our lives.

 

 

 

6 months before he was assinated Martin Luther King Jr spoke these words to a group of high school students:

And when you discover what you will be in your life, set out to do it as if God Almighty called you at this particular moment in history to do it. Don’t just set out to do a good job. Set out to do such a good job that the living, the dead or the unborn couldn’t do it any better.

 

If it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures, sweep streets like Beethoven composed music, sweep streets like Leontyne Price sings before the Metropolitan Opera. Sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry. Sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will have to pause and say: Here lived a great street sweeper who swept his job well. If you can’t be a pine at the top of the hill, be a shrub in the valley. Be be the best little shrub on the side of the hill.

 

Be a bush if you can’t be a tree. If you can’t be a highway, just be a trail. If you can’t be a sun, be a star. For it isn’t by size that you win or fail. Be the best of whatever you are.

 

 

 

 

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