Jesus Our GPS! Decision Making in the Book of Acts

you

amen I'd invite you to open your Bibles

to the book of Acts Acts of the Apostles

chapter 16 we are working through this

book of the Bible written by the Apostle

Luke that talks about the early

Christians and what happened in the

early church and from their experiences

as early Christians right after Jesus

ascended to heaven he poured out the

Holy Spirit and these early Christians

were starting to build the church and

spread the gospel we read what happened

to them and we learn about what can

happen with us in different ways so and

we've already discovered that there's

some amazing stuff in the book of Acts

and we believe that God has not changed

he's the same God yesterday today and

forever if God did miracles back then he

can do them now if there was drama among

the early Christians well then we

shouldn't be shocked when there's drama

among us 2,000 years later right but God

is the same powerful God who can do

powerful things and so today we're going

to talk about a little section a very

little section from the book of Acts

chapter 16 starting in verse 10 and it

talks about the Apostle Paul and his

little group of missionaries as they had

to make decisions of where they were

going to preach next and it's easy to

buzz through this little section but I

believe it has a powerful message that

we're going to look at together today so

acts 16 inverse will start in verse 6 16

verse 6 okay 16 verse 6 book of Acts the

Bible says Paul and his companions

traveled throughout the region of

Phrygia and Galatia having been kept by

the Holy Spirit from preaching the word

in the province of Asia when they came

to the border of Messiah they tried to

enter bethania but the spirit of Jesus

would not allow them to so they passed

by Messiah and went down to Troas during

the night

all had a vision of a man of Macedonia

standing and begging him come over to

Macedonian help us after Paul had seen

the vision we got ready at once to leave

for Macedonia concluding that God had

called us to preach the gospel to them

the Apostle Luke must have joined the

group at this moment because suddenly he

starts talking about we and us right so

let's pray dear God I thank you for this

moment in the story of the early

Christians I thank you Father that they

tried to go a couple places where you

wouldn't let them for some reason and

then you specifically invited them to a

different place and god I thank you that

you are the same God who is able to

close doors and open doors today in our

lives as well I pray that your Holy

Spirit would move in this time and we

would have a deeper understanding of how

you guide us and the decisions that we

make speak to us today Good Shepherd I

pray amen amen how do we make decisions

maybe you found in your own life

sometimes you have some hard decisions

that you face and you have to figure out

do I do this or do I do that and

sometimes you don't know which is best

to do I don't you've ever found yourself

in that situation and you will never

found themselves confronted by difficult

decisions they have to make and they're

trying to figure it out we have tough

moments right and sometimes we can feel

lost we're like God I would like it if

you would just send me a text message

and say you should take this job not

that one know if you're single you

should date her and not yeah it wouldn't

be nice just to get a text message that

just tells you right let's say you're

trying to decide all kinds of things how

is it that we're going to figure things

out and do the right things well this

story is an interesting one because it

shows a process of trying to figure out

what God wants and that's what I want to

talk about

today how can we make good decisions as

Christians what's the process we go

through now there's three big elements

we're going to address first is the

concept of Providence you say that with

me Providence it's not a city in Rhode

Island in this message here right I talk

about this regularly because it's a

theological topic I love it's the idea

that God is involved in human events

that God sees what's happening and he

can orchestrate history and make things

work out the way they're supposed to be

Providence God is involved number two is

the concept of presence that God is not

just a watchmaker who winds up the world

and then lets it run that he is actually

present in situations and able to move

people's hearts and guide them

Providence and presence right and then

there's a third P the concept of purpose

purpose that God is unfolding things

according to a purpose he has for you

that we're not accidents we don't just

try to get through life till we die that

you have a mission to fulfill God has a

purpose for you and he's writing a story

that's going somewhere I don't know if

you've ever felt like the story of your

life is not going anywhere it feels like

you've gone down a detour and there is

no way out well it's not like that God

is writing a story for each of our lives

and he knows even though there's some

chapters that seem kind of dark and what

you don't see how it's going to work out

he is a great story writer he's a great

author and he's going to unfold things

in the way he wants if we will allow

ourselves to be moved by his presence in

his providential purpose amen so the 3

p's providence presence and purpose now

i want all of those things to be in our

mind as we make decisions now first I

want to think about how the earliest

Christians made decisions you know how

they made their first big decision they

had to decide who was going to replace

Judas remember Judas had betrayed the

Lord he'd gone off he killed himself he

didn't have to he could have repented

but he didn't he kill Judas was gone

eleven apostles they find themselves

thinking well we got to replace him

somehow right you know how they made

that decision they basically flipped the

coin they basically picked two men that

had had fulfilled certain qualifications

and then they cast lots and the lot fell

does anyone know to whom the lot fell

and became the replacement apostle I

don't remember his name how many people

had ever heard of Matthias before here

okay don't do to it maybe three or four

of you you know why you haven't heard of

him because he's never mentioned again

in the New Testament how about the

Apostle Paul you ever heard of him well

just a few chapters later God knocks

over Saul who is persecuting Christians

Saul Saul why do you persecute me who

are you lord you're going to be my sent

messenger to go to the Gentiles and he

becomes the Apostle Paul now I don't

know for sure but in my opinion I think

maybe the Apostle Paul was number 12

right and maybe this coin flipping

wasn't I don't know I don't know for

sure right the Bible at no point

condemns what they did and casting Lots

was the normal thing to do in the Old

Testament they would pray and they would

seek the Lord's presence and then they

would cast a lot and they would get

yes/no answers from the Lord and God

would speak to them that way and that

was good and that was God's Way of doing

it as well as speaking through prophets

and doing that but they do this at the

beginning of the book of Acts and then

they never do it again so flipping a

coin I don't know I wouldn't say it's

sinful to do it but neo-noir would I say

I think maybe we can do better than

flipping a coin right usually unless

you're trying to decide which kids going

to get which piece of candy or whatever

they don't they would flip a coin so

flipping a coin one site now on the

other side as you read through the book

of Acts and I hope some of you by the

way in these months have just decided to

pick up the book of Acts and read it

through cover to cover it reads like an

adventure novel you'll be glad you did

it

an easy read in the Bible as you read

through you see that God also speaks in

some dramatic ways where people have

visions or or or God will give the gift

of prophecy where a person here's a

message from God and says we're supposed

to do this and there's like dramatic

ways of God speaking there's one of

these if you'll jump ahead with me to

the book of Acts chapter 18 and verse 9

the Apostle Paul was in Corinth the

Greek city of Corinth and apparently

things were I don't know how they were

going there was good things happening

but there was also a lot of danger and

in verse 9 it says one night the Lord

spoke to Paul in a vision do not be

afraid keep on speaking do not be silent

for I am with you and no one is going to

attack and harm you because i have many

people in this city so Paul stayed in

Corinth for a year and a half teaching

them the Word of God now is that cool or

what the Lord Jesus visits him in a

vision in the night and says you're in

the right place keep it up keep

preaching and he stayed there for a year

and a half you ever heard of the

Corinthians before and will never read

the book of Corinthians first and second

Corinthians if you do you'll discover

that this city where Jesus told Paul to

stay the church that started there gave

Paul more headaches than any other

church he started it was a headache they

were doing crazy stuff there was drama

there were conflicts there was

sinfulness there was double life so many

headaches and I wonder if that's why

isn't it an interesting coincidence that

the most dramatic guidance the Apostle

Paul got to stay in a particular see at

City leads to the church that ends up

being the most difficult for him could

it be that the Lord knew you might be

tempted to doubt you're in the right

place there might come a time when

you're wondering i'm at a current man i

gotta go somewhere else where people are

just easier all right but no he'd had a

vision

telling him stay here i have many people

in the city I have another personal

theory all right this is I not the

Lord's my personal theory I have a hunch

that God speaks most dramatically and

most vividly sometimes in moments where

we would be most tempted to doubt that

we're really doing the right thing in my

own life it's been like that some of the

most vivid miraculous cases of God

guiding me had big cases where later i'm

wondering god are you really in this and

it's because he knew i would need to

look back to something dramatic to

convince me so i don't always want the

big vision or the big miracle because if

you tells me something really

dramatically then I wonder it's going to

be that hard right it's going to be that

complicated you know but I found that in

my life and you see that in the book of

Acts God speaks most dramatically in

situations where his guidance is most

unexpected or most complicated or more

difficult take for example there was a

man named Ananias right Ananias not

Ananias and Sapphira a different Ananias

he was praying one day and God visited

him in a vision and spoke to him Ananias

I want you to go down the street I want

you to go to number 15 straight street

there's a house there second floor knock

on the door asked for a man named Saul

because he has seen a vision of you

praying for him now Saul was a man who

he come to that city to kill Christians

right and Ananias is like but but Lord

this man is a violent man he's come here

to kill us he's arrested your servants

men and women as if God didn't know any

of this right it's like God you must be

mistaken are you sure you know I think

the connection here the server is not

working I'm getting emails or getting

scrambled the communication you're

giving me can't be true and then the

Lord gets a little annoyed go you cannot

kind of here this urgency go he's my

chosen instrument and so Ananias goes

knocks on the door and greets all as

brother Saul puts his hands on and prays

for him and Saul ends up becoming the

Apostle Paul amen but God needed to

speak to him vividly and dramatically

because he was telling him to do

something crazy something illogical

sometimes God is going to call us to do

things that don't make sense things that

don't seem logical that it doesn't seem

to fit but he speaks to us in a very

clear way so that we have that assurance

so that happens in the New Testament it

happens later we'll talk about it with

Peter and Cornelius but we'll come back

to that a little later so God visits

people in dramatic ways sometimes and at

the beginning they were flipping coins

so is that normal when you have to

decide what class let's say you're a

student what you're going to take next

semester when you have to decide between

a job or what ministry you're going to

do what situation should we wait then

for God to visit us in a vision and tell

us what to do wouldn't that be nice I

wish he would always do that I believe

he does do it every now and then but the

normal way that God guides his people in

the book of Acts and I believe today is

simply prayerful common sense can I hear

an amen amen common sense damn and I'm

feeling the anointing now but I know

that's not very exciting but it's the

most common thing God gives orders go

into all nations and make disciples of

all the nations baptizing them a name of

the Father Son and the Holy Spirit and

surely I'm with you always to the end of

the age those are your orders now just

go do it in whatever way seems best to

you just follow your last orders in acts

18 he says wait here in Jerusalem so

you've been clothed with power from on

high and you will be my witnesses and

you will receive power when the Holy

Spirit comes on you and you'll be my

witnesses here in Jerusalem Judea and to

the ends of the earth now so you've got

the general plan now just to use your

common sense just figure it out just

follow your last orders in the best way

you can as you pray and seek wisdom the

Bible says if anyone lacks Wiz

he or she should ask God who gives

generously without finding fault and

it'll be given to you but don't be

double-minded you're looking to serve

the Lord but to say God I don't know

what to do I need wisdom and then just

trust the wisdom will come sometimes he

uses diff circumstances right when when

the early Christians were persecuted

after Stephen got killed you know what

they did when they were in danger of

getting killed they ran away doesn't

that seem bad it's like they ran away

jesus said if you are persecuted in one

city run to the next that makes sense

right the normal the normal routine is

if someone's going to kill you to run

away that's okay that's not necessarily

a bad thing to do and God use they're

running away because you know what they

did is they ran away they preached and

God used persecution to spread them and

to spread his gospel it's rather a

counter intuitive way of sending people

when you say but I found that my own

life sometimes God just makes a

situation complicated he makes it so

unbearable that I need to go and it was

his way of moving me right right he got

me there was one job that I had held for

way too long and I was getting paid more

than the boss I was a security guard

right and I kept just coming back and

picking up hours and picking up hours

every time I'd be back in town and next

thing you know I'm getting paid more

than the boss because I was

grandfathered in and like what are we

gonna do with bishop he's getting paid

more than me they said next time we want

you to turn in your uniform come back as

a rehire like five bucks last it now and

I was like I guess God wants me to get a

new job now right you know so he found a

way of pushing me along right there's

different ways sometimes right so God

uses circumstances we use our common

sense we talk to one another we talk to

wise people and seek wisdom in first

current pin in the book of Acts chapter

15 when they're trying to figure out

what do we do with the Gentiles who are

becoming Christians or should they obey

the Jewish law they got together for a

conference

where they talked about it and they

argued about it they shared ideas and at

the end they said it seemed good to the

Holy Spirit and to us to take this

course of action so it seemed good not

just to the Holy Spirit but to us too

because we talked about it we worked on

this for a while so we need to talk to

wise people now we talk need to talk to

the right people amen and what ever

gotten advice from the wrong person

right you ever get advice from the wrong

person there's some people that you

don't need to be sharing your problems

with because they're not going to tell

you anything good if you're married you

want friends that will take his side or

take her side and not say what he said

what do you know you want look you got

to see the other side of things you know

someone who's going to give you a

different perspective who's going to

help you do the right thing not the

wrong thing right so we need to talk to

the right people prayerful dialogue

logical decisions at one point the

Apostle Paul and Barnabas decided you

know what we planted all these churches

maybe it would be a good idea to go back

and visit them and encourage them they

just thought that would be a good idea

and God blessed it because it was a good

idea that God gave them now they had a

disagreement remember we talked about

this a couple weeks ago the Apostle Paul

wanted to take mark but no Barnabas

wanted to take mark in the Apostle Paul

said in no way and they had a fight

about it that was a Spirit led fight

because even in their argument

discussion why didn't God just intervene

with a prophet to say God is saying

Barnabas is right he wanted them to just

process it and you know in that case I

actually believe God wanted them to go

different directions because as not just

one missionary team but now we had to

Barnabas and Mark and Mark becomes the

Apostle more the the gospel writer Mark

and the Apostle Paul brings with him he

goes and finds a young man named Timothy

you ever heard of Timothy as in first

and second Timothy those letters are

written to him well Timothy might not

have existed if they still had mark

there right he went out and found

Timothy he got Silas God wanted to guide

them through that God guides us through

a number of different ways he's not

always going to speak to us he sometimes

going to use very natural

processes if we're praying and seeking

wisdom now we see it and are coming back

to act 16 we see God guiding them

through closed doors right closed doors

have you ever experienced in your own

life God closing a door right God not

letting you do something that you wanted

to do and then later you're like it's a

good thing I didn't do that but you

didn't know at the time well that's what

happens here I want to look at this text

again Acts chapter 16 and at the

beginning it says Paul came to Derby

then to Lystra oh no I'm sorry let's

give me acts 16 verse 6 it says Paul and

his companions travel throughout the

region of Phrygian Galatia having been

kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching

the word of the province of Asia then

they came to the border of Messiah and

they tried to enter bethania but the

spirit of Jesus would not allow them to

in that interesting the Holy Spirit

blocked them right stop them from doing

something and they are just trying this

they figure it would make sense for us

to preach here so let's just try to go

there and the Holy Spirit stops them so

like okay well where do we go now you

know let's try over here and there go

ahead the Holy Spirit stops them again

and then the vision came God used

supernatural means to keep them from

doing a good idea they had that wasn't

necessarily God's idea how many of us

know that you can have a good idea that

might not be God's idea for us and we

would have no way of knowing unless we

trust God in His Providence presence and

purpose to steer us and to keep us from

going in certain directions and we kind

of go and you try this door and that one

until you get to one that you know God

is opening for you sometimes I've

experienced this of God closing doors no

in my own life I shared this just just a

couple months ago so I don't want to be

too repetitive but i'll share it again

anyway as a seminarian

member i was going to seminary an

awfully long time ago and i was looking

for a church to attend and in my life

wherever i traveled i always found a

church quickly i would be you know and

Dickie this place at that place I would

go to a church right away boom the first

place I visited I would stay and that

was my church I never I never had to go

a week without finding a church I always

found a place in and very different

churches gospel Pentecostal churches

country you know brethren kind of

conservative church just a whole variety

of places where I just went and God

blessed by then when I'm in seminary

preparing to be a pastor I couldn't find

a church I go to places and just it just

didn't feel right and then i would go

somewhere else and no this isn't a good

fit either and then i found a church and

I'm like this is the place for me I want

to learn from this pastor and the next

week he announces that he's like you

know quitting and moving somewhere else

and it's a it was door after door after

door closed I got my god what's wrong

what kind of loser seminarian can't find

a church right and we got any

seminarians who felt like that a time

and I remember I had the hardest time

and I'm and I visited here I visited

congregation line is due to once and I

thought wow this is cool Spanish basa

direktor whoa you know this is this is

something and then I said well that's a

nice place to visit and didn't even

think of staying until someone gave me

some advice and dr. Gibson actually

gordon-conwell said why don't you give

that another try you know I think there

might be a future there and and it came

back here I didn't have an angel visit

me I didn't have a sign from above I

didn't have a word from God I just

figured well a little here and so I

started going here I respected pastor

Roberto as a mentor that I could I knew

it was a healthy place okay and I I felt

the call to cross-cultural work anyway

so I just started coming and then God

provided a scholarship when it but then

it got hard it got difficult because I

was a getting go in a Spanish church and

it was great for a year or two but then

it got a little clunky because I started

missing understanding things and I

didn't know how things worked and I was

not getting things and making some

pretty ugly mistakes and finally I was

like maybe this isn't for me and boom

right then God provided the scholarship

for me to travel in Latin

America for two years right and I knew

then okay there's a future here but it

took years for me to figure that out and

I see now that God closed one door after

another door after another door because

in that particular case there was a

specific door I was supposed to go

through and he was going to see to it

that I wouldn't miss it amen I think

usually God just says I've given you

orders go and make disciples you have a

purpose you have a mission now just pray

about it and do the best you can and

make a decision and God is with me here

there the other place and I don't have

to worry about missing God's will

because God's with me but every now and

then God has something very specific and

he'll shut door after door after door

and you start feeling like there's

something wrong with you what am i doing

wrong but no you're not doing anything

wrong God is guiding you through a long

frustrating process of trial and error

it's not easy and if you or maybe still

going through that in some area of your

life where you're trying to figure

things out well you know what there's a

beautiful phrase all that wander are not

lost right Tolkien wrote that you know

Abraham obeyed and followed God even

though he didn't know where he was going

sometimes we don't know where we're

going but we know who were following and

I know he knows where he's going so I'll

just turn and follow that car and I

think I'll get where I'm supposed to be

and so we just go along and we follow

him when we figure out our way and it

might not make sense right the Apostle

Paul skipped over preaching in some of

the most strategic cities in the world

at that time so there was a city named

Alexandra intro oz right I had never

heard of it it was a big deal it was

located right on the tip of Turkey right

near the Bosphorus straits right near

modern day Constantinople Byzantium it

was a key spot where everybody traveled

through there on business roots if you

are traveling by water you went right

through there

all kinds of boats if you're traveling

by land you got to go right through

there it was a strategic spot and God

basically said I want you to walk

through here I want you to skip this

city and I want you to go to Macedonia

it's like you're called to evangelize

the United States and God says you know

what I don't want you going to

washington DC New York LA or Boston I

want you going to wampa tuck Rhode

Island right you find I was just driving

through their last week I thought that's

a great name I want you to I want you to

go to this little and that's where I

want you sometimes God's going to call

us to do things that don't really make

sense to us but we but God has closed

other doors and he opens that one and so

we just follow the best we can we try to

make sense of it now even if it's not

logical we know that I'm not just called

to do good things I'm called to do God's

things you see that's why as we make

decisions we need to be very clear that

we are on a mission from God and that

we're making decisions based on what God

has called me to do and not just

achieving my own goals and dreams for my

life amen sometimes we orient all our

decisions around achieving certain goals

that are not God's goals for us

necessarily or maybe they're things that

he'll provide but he doesn't want us to

pursue them around our decision making

right now I sort of view it like this

it's as if you got the GPS and you got

to clicked on the wrong state right so

it doesn't matter what address you put

in you will get to the wrong place

automatically even if their places that

happen to have the same name right so

because you're not even in the same

universe of decision making but if i

have decided i am a christian i am on a

mission my life is not oriented around

being happy or successful or comfortable

my life i exist these few years to serve

God's purposes on earth whatever that

means and I will do whatever I think you

want me to do God I belong to you then

he guides us but if I'm orienting myself

around other go

rules and it doesn't matter how much I

pray I'm not praying for the right

things the first step is not God speak

to me it's God help me be submitted to

you your kingdom come your will be done

here on earth as it is in heaven I'm

just going to live for a little while

I'm going to heaven I want to do things

the count on earth so God guide me so

that my life I will do things of eternal

significance and not just things that to

make me happy or successful fulfill some

other goal so we have the right goals

and when I do that when I have that

mentality then God shut certain doors

and I can know that there is no such

thing as failure that if I go to a door

that ends up being the wrong door and

God pushes me out I know it's not wasted

time I've just learned that God's use

that to guide me to a different door and

that's okay what did thomas edison say

after ninety nine failures of an

experiment he said I didn't fail I

discovered successfully 99 ways that

this does not work you know no failure

because you're serving God it's about

his purposes and he'll use everything to

form me into the likeness of price for

those who love God and are called

according to his purposes all things

work together for good because God is

forming me he's calling me to His

purposes it's not an automatic it's only

if I am on God's path and I'm submitted

to his purposes amen we're not just

called to do good things were called to

do God things you know King David before

he died he was a man after God's own

heart he had a desire in his heart to

build a temple for God he said I want to

build a big beautiful temple and God was

so touched he said because you had this

in your heart I'm going to bless you and

everything but then he said but you know

what David not now not you your son is

supposed to do this not you sometimes

we're going to conceive of things that

are good good things that God's going to

say not now or maybe not you there's

some I have had some great ideas for

this church first things i would love

to do projects that i know are good

projects and I know the church needs

this and I would love to do it but I

just don't have the time to do it I was

doing other projects and then God brings

along other people to do those projects

now I'm like hey you're doing what I

wanted to do yes it's happening I would

have liked to have done it but that's

okay I'm glad you're doing it you know

at least it's happening right but it's

naturally oh but I wanted to but yeah I

could just imagine King David be like

but I want to build a temple well sorry

sorry not your job someone else is going

to do it but it's a good desire you have

we are not just called to do good things

there are the book of Ephesians chapter

2 verse 10 says that we are called to do

good works which God has prepared in

advance that we might walk in them I

believe that each human being there is a

plan of good works and purposes that you

are called to do in your life and your

job is to discover them and walk in them

and it's exciting because every day you

say God why am I here you know just this

this past week I was talking to a

beautiful couple in the church I don't

know if you've met hermano Roberto

naranjo aneta Monteleone order this

beautiful Chilean couple elderly they

have grandkids they live somewhere in

the building that you'll never know that

even I don't quite know how to get there

but they live in the facility somewhere

they've lived here for 20 years the

brother Roberto basically was part of

building the new Harrison building all

the beautiful craftsman work this couple

if they had not been here in the church

the past 20 years it would not be what

it is today they really are there

they're absolute jewels you know why

they came from Chile to be here because

their cousin Gonzalo's house burnt down

and he needed help rebuilding and so

because of a tragedy they came and not

only did they rebuild his house but they

built God's house 20 years later God has

a purpose God closes some doors to open

other doors now I got a question for you

did you notice that it says that we

tried to go one place but the Holy

Spirit would not let them and then a

little later said then they tried to go

to a certain place

but the spirit of Jesus would not allow

them to did you notice that why does it

say in one place the holy spirit and in

the other place the spirit of Jesus

there's no way there's very few other

places in the New Testament there refer

to the Holy Spirit as the spirit of geez

you ever wondered that is it just that

he was trying to spice it up a little

bit let's change the language I don't

think so you know Jesus made a certain

promise when he gave the Great

Commission before he ascended to heaven

he said go into all the earth and make

disciples of all the nations baptizing

them in the name of the father and of

the son of a holy spirit and surely

what's the next part of it I will be

with you even to the end of the age

jesus said I will not leave you alone i

will send another counselor to be with

you and to be in you I will not leave

you as orphans I will come to you the

Holy Spirit you see Jesus where's Jesus

right now is he is he in Jerusalem is he

in you know zein Paris is Jesus is in

heaven right is in the heavenly

dimension ruling at the right hand of

the Father and he has sent his spirit

into this dimension and he's ruling

through His Holy Spirit but the Holy

Spirit is not just his agent the Holy

Spirit is Jesus himself in spiritual

form with us Jesus here Jesus in control

Jesus calling the shots and directing

the story I want Jesus directing my life

and the spirit of Jesus can make

decisions and guide me and stop me and

direct me and open things and I'm not

going alone isn't that beautiful God

could have just given us a road map but

instead he says better than a road map I

will give you a shepherd I'll give you a

guide I'll be with you and I walk with

you you're not always going to know

where you're going but you'll know who's

with you and I'll never leave you alone

and even in times of uncertainty and

confusion

right there by rod and thy staff they

comfort me that's beautiful because God

is guiding my steps now he closed a

couple doors and now it was time to open

one the Apostle Paul has a dream vision

I don't know if you've ever had that

some of us may have had it where you've

had dreams that you know God is speaking

to you not every dream is God speaking

to you please but sometimes God can do

that so he has a dream of a man from

Macedonia pleading with him to come help

him now pastor Sam and I were talking

about this how I don't know what does a

man from Macedonia look like you know

how did he know oh that guy he's

Macedonia yeah how I don't know did he

have a baseball hat on that said you

know Macedonian Red Sox or you know

university of Macedonian I somehow the

Apostle Paul knew this man is from

Macedonia and he's pleading with me to

come help him Wow I encourage you there

are going to be certain moments where

God is going to put a particular person

place or situation on your heart and

you're going to know it's from God you

care about something in in a deep way

there's something that brings tears to

your eyes there's a certain need in the

world you hear about a particular

country next thing you know you're

you're crying as you think about them

listen to that I have learned also to

listen to the joy of the Holy Spirit

there are certain times what I think of

a particular situation or a particular

person and there's this joy and I know

God is leading me in that direction to

talk to that person to call them as a

pastor sometimes I experience prophetic

worry I wake up and I'm worried about

someone I for no reason I don't call

them and say hi Bob I'm worried about

you what's going on with you what you up

to you know I don't do that right but i

might just you know shoot an email hey

how you doing just wanna let you know

I'm praying for you because now next

time I do that you're all going to know

I'm worried about you it's I don't need

to do it but it's got to

putting people on my heart putting

situations on my heart a particular

passion I want to read a particular

story a beautiful example of this from a

great book called the cross and the

Switchblade who hears read the cross and

the Switchblade okay not enough of us

everybody must read the cross and the

Switchblade okay it's a great book it's

about the beginning of a particular

ministry called teen challenge which are

Christian spirit filled drug and alcohol

recovery discipleship programs all

around the world I loved Teen Challenge

there's one right in brockton and

there's one right in Dorchester they're

all over the world they've helped

millions of men and women and this is

how it begins with a particular pastor

in the countryside of Pennsylvania his

name was David Wilkerson okay and here

i'm going to read how he introduces how

he received this calling so are you with

me i'm going to read this to you so you

can appease story time it's very time

with uncle greg okay so we're cool

you'll pay attention it starts by saying

chapter one this whole strange adventure

got its start late one night when I was

sitting in my study reading Life

magazine and turned a page at first

glance it seemed that there was nothing

on the page to interest me it carried a

pen drawing of a trial taking place in

New York City 350 miles away I'd never

been to New York and I never wanted to

go except perhaps see the Statue of

Liberty I started to flip the page over

but as i did my attention was caught by

the eyes of one of the figures in the

drawing a boy one of seven boys on trial

for murder the artist had caught such a

look of bewilderment and hatred and

despair in his features that i opened

the magazine wide again to get a closer

look and as i did i began to cry what's

the matter with me I said aloud

impatiently brushing away a tear I

looked at the picture more carefully the

boys were all teenagers they were

members of a gang called the Dragons

beneath her

was the story of how they had gone into

high highbridge Park in New York and

brutally attacked and killed a 15 year

old polio victim named Michael farmer

the seven boys stabbed Michael in the

back seven times with their knives then

beat him over the head with garrison

belts they went away wiping blood

through their hair saying we messed him

up good the story revolted me it turned

my stomach in our little mountain town

such things seemed mercifully

unbelievable that's why I was

dumbfounded by a thought that sprang

suddenly into my head full-blown as

though it had come into me from

somewhere else go to New York City and

help those boys I laughed out loud me go

to New York a country preacher barge

into a situation he knows less than

nothing about go to New York City and

help those boys the thought was still

there vivid as ever apparently

completely independent of my own

feelings and ideas I'd be a fool I know

nothing about kids like that I don't

want to know anything but it was no use

the idea would not go away I was to go

to New York and furthermore I was to go

at once while the trial was still in

progress how about that so you know what

he did he went to New York City to talk

to those boys I got it said him and you

know what happened they wouldn't let him

talk to the boys but he said I've got to

talk to the boys and and and they said

why do you think you need to talk to

these boys he says because God has sent

me here and there's like aa and the

reporter said hey preacher hold up your

Bible and he said why and he said just

just hold it up so he held it up and he

got in the newspaper crazy preacher from

Pennsylvania tries to break into trial

in New York

city and he was like this was a complete

failure it must not have been God I made

a mistake and then next thing you know I

think something happened his car breaks

down he bumps into some kids on a street

corner and the like hey it's the crazy

preacher and he gets to know these kids

and one thing leads to another and kids

start meeting Jesus and next thing you

know he's starting teen challenge

millions of people helped because this

man had a burden that God put on his

heart listen to what the Holy Spirit

puts on your heart he's got a mission

for you he has something for you to do

and we need to hear what God says now

after the vision it's interesting

because things never pan out quite like

what we thought after this vision they

said we concluded that we were supposed

to go to Macedonia it uses an

interesting word a Greek word the word

is soon be buzzed oh right see so all

that money in seminary was worth it

Zumba Bosco which means literally

piecing together isn't that interesting

it's like it's used of ligaments in a

body that holds something together it's

like they tried to piece together what

the vision meant see you might have a

vision you might have a burden you might

have a prophetic message but you don't

necessarily know what it means until you

talk to people and seek wisdom and try

to figure it out that's really important

because we can get it wrong guys we can

get it wrong there was a man named Agra

basai preached on I mentioned him a few

months ago in a sermon he was a prophet

in the early Testament the Apostle Paul

was traveling to Rome to preach the

gospel agathis comes up to him and he

says can I borrow your belt mr. apostle

yes sure here's your belt he has someone

tie him up and he says in this way the

owner of this belt will be bound and

dragged to Rome as a prisoner so what do

you think God is saying to the Apostle

Paul how would you interpret it should

he go to Rome no they're going to attack

they're going to kill you they're going

to bind you that everyone said god

is telling you not to go and the Apostle

Paul says no God is telling me I'm going

to get arrested he's not telling me not

to go so you don't know God's will for

me God's will for me is supposed to be

hard and God is giving me a warning to

strengthen my will so that I'll know

what's coming we need to be very careful

what we do with our prophetic visions

and revelations because you might have a

dream but you don't necessarily know

what it means and that's why we need to

piece it together and talk to people and

get wisdom about what God wants for us

so they went to Macedonia and they

preach the gospel because Jesus was

steering the car now I want to conclude

with this being a mature Christian means

yielding more and more control of my

life to the guidance of God in the Holy

Spirit Jesus had something very

interesting to the Apostle Peter he said

when you were young you went wherever

you want it but when you're old you will

stretch out your arms and someone else

will dress you and take you to places

that you don't want to go maturity means

I become increasingly like a child the

older I get the more successful i might

get the more powerful i get means the

less control I have over my own life God

where do you want me to go what do you

want me to do it's not my will but thy

will be done thy kingdom come in my life

as it is in heaven being a mature

Christian mean saying not what I want

but what you want and if that's the

decision of my heart if I'm saying God

I'm ready to do whatever go whatever

they go wherever you call me do whatever

you call me to do I know that you're in

control and I will obey you as best as I

possibly can if that's my heart then

don't worry about anything else because

if you're going the wrong way God will

close the door listen to him God will

find a way to steer us if I am fully

submitted to him and his purposes

seeking his wisdom being guided by

them the question is what does God want

me to do I invite us today to renew our

commitment as Christians and as a

Christian community to say God I want

you to steer me I want you to work out

your purpose for my life maybe I have

dreams and visions that are not

necessarily from you God give me your

vision for my life your purpose for my

life I don't want to do just good things

i want to do God's things for me and I

know it'll count even if it looks like

I'm doing things that are irrational or

illogical or don't make sense if I'm

doing it following you as best as I can

I know that you're gonna make it count

and I will be faithful let's do that

let's be a people guided by the spirit

of Jesus Christ amen