Thursday, September 22, 2011

Sermon Catch-up Project: Soul Print Week 6 (The

Over the Summer I got very lax with the blog and even stopped uploading the messages I gave.  So over the next week or so I will be 'catching up' on the messages that I haven't shared.  I then hope to start blogging again regularly, but we will see.  This first message really should have uploaded a long time ago as it is the sixth and final message in a series based on Mark Batterson's book, 'Soul Print'.  Sorry it took so long for those of you (must be thousands, right?) that have been waiting.

Revelation 2:17 (NIV)
   17 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it.

2 Samuel 7:1-21(NIV)

 1 After the king was settled in his palace and the LORD had given him rest from all his enemies around him, 2 he said to Nathan the prophet, “Here I am, living in a house of cedar, while the ark of God remains in a tent.”
 3 Nathan replied to the king, “Whatever you have in mind, go ahead and do it, for the LORD is with you.”
 4 But that night the word of the LORD came to Nathan, saying:
 5 “Go and tell my servant David, ‘This is what the LORD says: Are you the one to build me a house to dwell in? 6 I have not dwelt in a house from the day I brought the Israelites up out of Egypt to this day. I have been moving from place to place with a tent as my dwelling. 7 Wherever I have moved with all the Israelites, did I ever say to any of their rulers whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, “Why have you not built me a house of cedar?”’
 8 “Now then, tell my servant David, ‘This is what the LORD Almighty says: I took you from the pasture, from tending the flock, and appointed you ruler over my people Israel. 9 I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have cut off all your enemies from before you. Now I will make your name great, like the names of the greatest men on earth. 10 And I will provide a place for my people Israel and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own and no longer be disturbed. Wicked people will not oppress them anymore, as they did at the beginning 11 and have done ever since the time I appointed leaders[a] over my people Israel. I will also give you rest from all your enemies.
   “‘The LORD declares to you that the LORD himself will establish a house for you: 12 When your days are over and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, your own flesh and blood, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with a rod wielded by men, with floggings inflicted by human hands.15 But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. 16 Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me[b]; your throne will be established forever.’”
 17 Nathan reported to David all the words of this entire revelation.
 18 Then King David went in and sat before the LORD, and he said:
   “Who am I, Sovereign LORD, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far? 19 And as if this were not enough in your sight, Sovereign LORD, you have also spoken about the future of the house of your servant—and this decree, Sovereign LORD, is for a mere human![c]
 20 “What more can David say to you? For you know your servant, Sovereign LORD. 21 For the sake of your word and according to your will, you have done this great thing and made it known to your servant.
Prayer: God, we have gathered together to worship you and to seek you and to know you more.  As we come into your presence, help us see you, but also help us see who you have truly created us to be and who you are calling us to be today and tomorrow.  Guide us by your Spirit to leave a legacy, a legacy shaped by not what we have done but by what you have done through us.  Amen.
Today we finish our series based on the book ‘Soulprint’, working towards understanding who God has uniquely made us to be who we are and searching for the unique call and destiny that God has placed on our lives. Over the last two months we have looked at five pieces that help us get to understanding who God designed us and is calling us to be
First, we are who we are on purpose, for a purpose.  The secondly, to be ourselves we need a Holy Confidence in a God that is Holy, that loves us and that has planned nothing but the best for us.  This Holy confidence is trusting and leaning on God.  Third, we looked back at our lives and the ‘life symbols’ that help remind us that ‘the ultimate objective of every circumstance is to cultivate the character of Christ in us.
Then we talked about integrity and how its directly connected to our destiny.  God is less concerned with what we do than with who we are becoming in the process And God won’t get you where God wants you to go until you become who God wants you to be. 
We also talked about how God can use even the embarrassing moments of our lives to let us know who we are, who we aren’t and what God might be calling us to do.  Then, finally, we looked at sin and how our sins affect our ability to reach how we were called and created to be.  But we were reminded that it is not our mistakes or sins that define who we are but rather the person of Jesus Christ
All of that leads us to today and our final look at the Soulprints God has given each and every one of us.  Each of us has a unique destiny which only we can fulfill and each of us has been given our own combination of gifts, interests and abilities that fit perfectly with that destiny.
When we view our lives properly they are evidence of God’s providence.  But gaining the right perspective on who we are and what we were made for requires not just asking the ‘right’ questions, but also asking the right questions to the right person.
In our passage from 2 Samuel, David is asking the right question, ‘Who am I?’.  David is not only asking the right question, but he is addressing the right person – as the question is asked of God during prayer.  If David would have asked his father this question, he might have said he was simply a shepherd.  His brothers likely saw an delivery boy that brought them their meals on the battlefield.  Saul at first saw him as ‘only a boy’. 
None of these people had the vision for David’s life that God had.  None of them saw who David was designed and destined to become.  Self discovery begins with sitting in the presence of God and asking God – and no one else, not even yourself – to define you
Batterson says: The reason so many of us are strangers to ourselves is because we don’t sit before the Lord.  If you want to discover your destiny, you’ve got to spend time in the presence of God.  There is no alternative.  There is no substitute.  True self-discovery happens only in the presence of God.  It’s only when you seek God that you will find yourself
Let me say that again: It is only when you seek God that you will find yourself.  And if you try to find yourself in anything outside of a relationship with the one that designed and created you, it will lead to a case of mistaken identity.
I am an only child and when Jack was born, I quickly realized that our two boys were very different.  And as different people, with different personalities I began to understand – and am still working to understand – that I needed to interact differently and parent differently with each one of them.  I needed to love each one of them uniquely, because they are unique.  This is how God loves each of us – uniquely, as if there were only ever one of us – precisely because there is only and will only ever be one of us.  God’s love for you is unlike God’s love for anyone else ever.
And if you remember, that is where we began this journey to understand and discover our soulprints - with the fact that God has created us each to be unique, with no one else, ever just like us.  But, this isn’t a testimony to us, it is a testament to the God who created each of us.  
Our uniqueness is a gift from God.  It is also our gift back to God.  And it is our uniqueness that enables us to worship, serve and share about God unlike anyone else.  No one can worship God like you or for you.  And as we have talked about many times, worship isn’t just about what we do during this hour in this place every Sunday morning. 
The best and truest form of worship is becoming the best version of who God has created you to be.  Worship is more than a lifestyle.  Worship is a life.
In the passage we read a few minutes ago from the book of Revelation, we hear described a time when we will hear the Voice of God.  And we will hear God call us by a name that only God knows, a name we have never head, but a name we will know.  A name written on a white stone.  Our true name.  That name, somehow, will encapsulate all that we are and all that we have done. 
All the pain and all the joy.  All the hopes and fears.  Everything.  In that moment all of our lives will click into place and make sense because God will reveal who we really are – as God sees us. 
Our God-given name will capture the essence of who you are and it will include all that we will become in an eternity spent in the presence of God.  In that moment our Soulprint will be given its true name.  Names are an interesting thing.  And names carry meaning.  Names and nicknames, what we choose to call people, reveal thinks about how we view the people we are naming.  Nicknames especially reveal different aspects of people’s personalities.  Nicknames reveal what we see in the people we are naming.
We usually get our nicknames from others, but sometimes we ask to be called something because of how we want to be viewed.  We had this experience when we went for Charlie’s first parent teacher conference this past year.  We discovered that while at school he was asking to be called Charles.  I don’t think either Traci or I had ever called him by his full name. 
Over many discussions for the rest of the year we gathered that he was asking to be called Charles at school – actually just in his classroom – not because he liked it better than Charlie, but because he sensed that it was the more formal or serious name.  Charlie loves school, but he takes it very seriously and he deemed Charles more appropriate than Charlie for his school work.
What we want to be called and what others choose to call us tell us about how we want to be viewed and how others really see us.  Jesus often called people by names that meant something. 
He looked at Simon and saw Peter – the rock that he would build the church on.  He saw James and John as the ‘sons of thunder’ calling out in them the potential buried deep within their personalities. 
Similarly, when God looks at you, he sees the real you.  The you that He created you to become.  And in calling you your true name Jesus is calling us to live into the destinies that we were created for. 
Who are you?  How will you be remembered?  What is your legacy?
Ultimately, our destinies are determined by the choices we make – It is in our actions and our reactions that we live into the name that defines us.  That daunting idea is made wonderful by this fact: In Jesus Christ we are redeemed and made clean.  We are not defined by our bad choices or our mistakes –what we have done wrong.  Instead we are redefined by what Christ has done right. 
When we accept the grace of Christ we are defined by His righteousness, His perfection and His obedience.  That is both our destiny and God’s legacy. 
It is never too late to become who God has called and named you to be. 
Let this be the moment that you begin to live into that name, by entering into the presence of God and asking the question: Who am I? 
Then allow the Holy Spirit of God write the answer on your heart with the life you live. 

1 comment:

  1. Not sure that the ultimate goal is not "The ultimate objective of every circumstance is to cultivate the character of Christ in us." Would Christ ask us to be so self-interested? Or is the ultimate goal not the one he taught us to pray for, that the Kingdom of God would "come on earth as it is in heaven"? We are formed in the process, but we cannot be the ultimate goal. This kind of thinking is why the church is becoming irrelevant.