G.P.S System

Hollywood spends so much time, effort, resources, energy and creativity in getting their message out and most of the time they have nothing to say.  But most churches spend very little time using creativity, resources, energy and effort getting the message out and we’ve got the greatest message of all, the gospel of Jesus Christ.  At Bethel we want to get the message out.

Somewhere in space right now is a satellite that is emitting a signal that’s coming down to this little machine and this little machine then tells me where I’m located on this earth.  This machine can also tell me how to find my way.  How to get directions to wherever I want to go.

To find your way in an unfamiliar city I highly recommend a GPS System.

But the question I want to ask you today is how do you find your way in life?  How do you locate your position, your place, your niche, your purpose on this earth?

Have you ever looked up at a clear sky at night and looked out at the stars and thought where do I fit in the grand scheme of things?  We’re on this little blue ball in infinite space.  Have you ever asked yourself out of the vastness of all of God’s creation where does my location, my niche, my place, my purpose on this earth.

David asked the same question in Psalm, chapter 8:3-5, our first verse.  Look at it with me.  “When I look up into the night skies and see the work of your fingers – the moon and the stars you have made – I cannot understand how you can bother with mere puny man, to pay any attention to him!  And yet you have made him only a little lower than the angels.”

David was saying, God when I look at all that You’ve created, I feel like just a speck of dust.  Who am I and what is my place, what is my location, my niche, my position in the grand plan of life?

God says to you and I emphatically today, I have a grand purpose for your life.  I have a great plan for your life.  That’s why I want to Discover the “me” I was created to be.

So, how do I find my way in life?  Well, I have to take a closer look.  Just as an astronomer has to take a closer look through a telescope into the night sky to understand it, you and I have to take a closer look.  First I have to look up and then I have to point the telescope at myself and look in and then I have to look out.  If I am going to discover my location, my position and place on this earth and why I’m here then first I have to

LOOK UP AT WHO CREATED ME.  To discover who I am created to be the first thing I have to do is look up at the One who created me because that’s where I’ll find all the clues as to why I was created.

Romans 1:20 says “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen” Paul was saying, when I look at creation I see proof that there is a God.

Because wherever there is a creation there must be a creator.

In 1995 scientist pointed the Hubble Telescope into an empty patch of black space about the size of a grain of sand that was just above the handle of the Big Dipper constellation.  They wanted to see how far out the Hubble Telescope could go and they were shocked when the pictures came back.  Where that little patch of empty space was, wasn’t empty at all.  Just look what it showed.  It revealed over 1,000 previously unknown galaxies.  Scientists now estimate there are over 125 billion galaxies in the visible universe.  Each one of those galaxies contains over a billion stars.  It’s mind boggling.

My little finite mind can’t even begin to grasp that.  How big our Creator is and how powerful He is.  I don’t see how anyone could look at all of creation and the vastness of space and how infinite it is and not come to the conclusion that intelligent design created it all.

When you look at the complexities of creation here on this earth, how could you not come to the conclusion that there is Someone behind it all, an intelligent designer who created every bit of it.  When I look at creation I know that there is a creator.

A Professor of Biology said this.  The probability of life originating from accident is comparable to the probability of a dictionary resulting from an explosion in a printing factory.  I like that.  When we look at creation we know that there must be a Creator.

In fact, I believe it takes a lot more faith to be an atheist then it does to believe in God.  But the point I’m making is, if there is no Creator, then we are just here by accident.

And, if we are just here by accident, then there is no purpose in life.  There is no need to go any further to understand our location and our position and place on this earth because if there is no Creator we’re just here by accident then there is no meaning.

There is no purpose.  Just go out and have fun, live it up, there’s no meaning.  But the Good News is, because of creation, we see there must be a Creator.  It’s right under our noses.

Through creation we see that God is a creative God, but through Christ we see that God is a caring God.

When God invaded time and space 2,000 years ago and became one of us and put on human flesh we learned that God cares about us.

Not only is God powerfully creative, but God personally cares.  He cares about every detail of my life.  He has a personal and purposeful plan for your life.

So, if I’m going to discover my global position and place and purpose in life I have first to look up to the God who created me because He’s the only one who knows why He created me and what I’m created for.

I have to connect with my Creator.  In the Disney classic, The Lion King, if you can get past all the circle of life stuff which is kind of difficult there is a spiritual truth there.  A very important spiritual truth.  You know the story of the young lion, Simba, who was heir to the kingdom.  His dad, Mufasa, is murdered and Simba is blamed for it.  So Simba runs off in guilt and fear.  He gives up totally on his dream of becoming king until one day out in the wild his dad comes to him in a vision and in the voice of James Earl Jones says, “Simba, you have forgotten me.”   And Simba says, “But dad, how could I ever have forgotten you?”  He says, “You have forgotten who you are and therefore you have forgotten me.  Remember who you are.  You are my child the one true king.  God says to you and me today – remember who you are.  You are my child. You are a child of the king.

A lot of people today have forgotten our creator. They have no purpose and meaning in life.  They are just existing.  They’re not really living.  They have no plan, no purpose.  They’re not living from a purpose.

They don’t know their place in life because they have forgotten whose they are and therefore they have forgotten who they are.

Because of this computer age in which we now live, there are a lot of new, high-tech crimes.  The most prevalent is probably identity theft where people steal all your personal information.  But identify theft is the oldest one in the book.  Satan’s number one strategy has always been identity theft.  He wants to steal your identity.

In fact, the Bible says God has a purpose for your life.  His purpose is to bring you life to the full.  To give you life to the fullest.

But it also says that Satan has a plan for your life and the thief’s plan is to steal, kill and destroy.  He wants to steal your identity and destroy your dreams.  For he knows if he can steal your identity, he will destroy your dreams and your purpose in life.

You see, if you are a believer you are a child of the king.  But Satan will come to you and say, you’re not valuable.  God can never use you.  In fact, God is ashamed of you because you’ve blown it.  God is going to put you on the shelf.  God can never use you.  You’re not worth much.  You’re not valuable to God.  God’s not going to use you.  You’re not talented enough.  God uses other people, but He doesn’t use you.  God can’t use you – you’re not spiritual enough, you’re not talented enough, you’re not valuable enough, you’re not worth enough.  He tries to steal your identity.

But today God says to you, remember whose you are.  You are my child.  You’re a child of the king.  That’s your true identify.

Remember whose you are and remember who you are.  You’re forgiven.  You’re righteous in Me.  You are a child of the king.  You are so valuable to Me.  You are worth so much to Me that I came to this earth and I died for you.  That’s how valuable you are to Me.  God says you are worth dying for.  He loves you that much.  He says I have a great plan for your life and the problems you are going through right now can’t derail My plan and My purpose for your life.  So I have to first look up and connect with my Creator because when I do that I begin to discover why He created me.

Then after I look up, I have to take the telescope and turn it on myself and look in.  If I’m going to discover my position and place on this earth then I have to

LOOK IN AT HOW HE CREATED ME.  I have to look in at how He created me.  Because when I look in I begin to discover how He made me, I begin to discover what He made me for.  Look at Psalm 139.  “I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”  Did you know that you are wonderfully made?  I want you to turn to the person on your right and left and say did you know you were wonderfully made?

If I’m going to discover how I am created I have to look in and see how God made me because that’s how I know what He made me for.  I have to discover my GPS.  GPS stands for Gifts, Passions and Struggles.

Those are the three factors that help us find our way in life.  G of GPS is Gifts.  God has given out a galaxy of gifts and He didn’t leave you out. He has given you some gifts and talents.  You’re not the only one out there who has gifts and talents.  We all have gifts and talents.  God didn’t leave you out.

Look at this next verse.  1 Cor. 12:4.  “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit.  There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.”

Now, some gifts are the natural talents you get at birth, and then there is also a spiritual gift or gifts that comes alive in your life the moment you commit your life to Christ.

But this verse says it doesn’t really matter because whenever you do something that you do well and it brings honour to God, it’s a spiritual thing.  They are all from God whether they are natural talents or spiritual gifts.

God loves it when you use your gifts.  Some people are good at speaking.  Some people are good at singing.  I’m not one of them.  Maybe you are.  Some people are good at accounting.  Some people are good at designing.  Some people are good at art.  Some people are good at decorating.  Some people are good at leading.  Some people are good at creating.  Some people are good at cooking.

Bar-be-queuing is definitely a spiritual gift.  You know that, don’t you?  Some people are good at organizing.  Some people are good at developing.  Some people are good at teaching.  Some people are good at strategic planning.  We’re all good at something.  The bad news is you’re not good at very many things, but that’s okay, because the good news is you’re good at something.

God has given you some gifts so how do I discover what my gifts are?  I ask what do I do well.  You ought to ask your friends.  What do you see as my main gifts.  Where do you see my gifts lying?  Ask your friends because often when you are gifted it comes so easy to you that you don’t really recognise it yourself and you need someone else to point it out to you.

So just ask yourself, what do I do well?  What have I succeeded at in the past?  What am I good at?  That’s how you discover your gifts.  What comes easy to me?

Then you move to P of GPS, Passion.  You find your place and purpose in life when you discover your passion.

Romans 12:11 says “Never be lacking in zeal, serve the Lord enthusiastically.” Circle the word enthusiastically.  That word comes from two Greek words.

Theos is the word for God and in which means within.  So it just means God within.  Enthusiasm and passion comes from God within.

God has placed within my life, the passions of my life for a reason.  He wants me to pursue those passions.

There is a real misconception among many believers who think that if I’m passionate about something and I’m gifted to do something, God probably doesn’t want me to do it, He wants me to go over here and do something completely different which doesn’t come easy to me which I don’t really like to do which is really boring and really difficult to show how sacrificially I love God because I’ve dedicated my life to doing something I hate.

But it’s because I love You, God.  That’s what a lot of believers think and that’s ridiculous.  God has given you gifts and He wants you to use them.  God has given you a passion for something and He wants you to develop that and pursue your passion.

So, how do I find out what my passion is?  I just need to ask.  What do I love to do?  I need to ask what do I enjoy doing?  Because when you are passionate about something you enjoy it.  It’s not painful, it’s enjoyable.

I love watching Micah in his shows he has one next week at school if anyone wants tickets speak to Micah at the end. I used to love watching Aaron play football, for some reason he won’t let me go and watch him boxing, probably just as well.

But I love watching my kids enjoy life and that’s the way God is.  Your Heavenly Father loves it when you do what you are passionate about.  When you live out and pursue the passions that He has placed in your heart – He loves that.

When you are smiling and enjoying life – He loves it.  He finds so much joy in you living out your passions and enjoying life.  That’s the way I am with my kids.

God loves it when you pursue the passions that He’s placed in your heart.  He loves that.  It makes God smile when you pursue the passions and the gifts that He has given you.  He loves it when you enjoy the gifts that He’s given you.  So we need to find out what our GPS is so that we can pursue our passions, we can understand our gifts.

But then S of GPS stands for Struggles.  You say, Mark, that sounds kind of strange.  I understand I need to look in to find my gifts and my passion, but struggles?

Yes, struggles.  God allows you to go through struggles and problems and difficulties to teach you to depend upon Him because when I learn to depend upon Him, He fills me with His power and His strength.

That’s where all the power for my life comes from to live out His purpose for my life from depending upon Him.  If I never had any struggles or problems I would never depend upon God and I would miss out on knowing what it feels like to have His power in my life to live out His purpose for my life.

Not only does it help me to depend upon Him, but the struggles in my life help me to see what He wants me to do and to find my way in life.  Look at what 2 Cor. 1 says.  “He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.”

God allows problems and struggles into my life so that I can come alongside someone else and help them.  Some people are going through the same things that I’ve already been through.  God wants to turn your struggles into stars.

Many times it’s the very struggles that I’m embarrassed about that God wants to use to make a difference in the lives of others.  If I’ll admit them and share them and come alongside someone else who is going through them.

Don’t neglect looking in at the struggles that you are facing because when you do many times you find your whole purpose in life.  You find your whole place in life.

We need to discover our GPS.  Our gifts, our passions and our struggles.

God has given you a creative license to be you.  God has created you to shine brightly – to be a bright, unique star that shines for His glory.  But the problem is early on we experience a solar eclipse.

Many times we are eclipsed by the expectations of others.  Instead of being the bright star, the unique star that God designed us to be that shines for Him, we experience a solar eclipse, an eclipse of the expectations of every one else around us.  We succumb to peer pressure.  We try to fit in instead of stand out.

Most youngsters today are just trying to fit in and don’t want to be noticed.  Just want to fit in.  They don’t want to stand out.  There is all this pressure today to fit in and God says, I want you to stand out.  I want you to shine brightly.  I want you to be you.  I made you uniquely and I want you to be who I made you to be.

You have a creative license to be who God made you to be.  The great theologian, Dr. Seuss, once said, “Be who you are because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”  That’s true.

Be who you are.  I have to look up to my Creator and connect with Him to understand why I’m on this earth and then I have to look in to understand my position and place on this earth, but then I have to take the telescope and look out.

I can discover my GPS, my gifts and passions and struggles, but if I never use them to make a difference in the lives of others, I’ll never understand my purpose in life.  So, I have to thirdly look out so that I can make a difference in the lives of others.  I have to

LOOK OUT AT WHAT I’M CREATED TO DO.  Look at Ephesians 2:10.  “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”  You were made to look beyond yourself.  To use your gifts, your talents, your passion and even your struggles to make a difference in the lives of others.

There are a couple of things that are really important to point out here.  To do that I need to Gravitate to My Strengths.  You need to gravitate to your strengths.

From very young we are taught to be “well rounded.”  That’s our ticket to the teacher’s approval to soften our sharp edges.  To be smooth and well rounded.

Really what they are saying is become as dull as you can possibly be.  God never meant for you to be well rounded.  Focus on what you’re good at and forget what you are not good at.

I am not good at singing, but I could spend all my time taking voice lessons and I would just go from lousy to bad.  What I want to do is find out the few areas that God has given me gifts in and develop them.

I want to become a better communicator, to develop that.  I want to become a better leader, to learn some leadership skills.  I want to develop the gifts that God has given me and I want to forget about all the things that He didn’t give me.  It’s an insult to God when you focus on the gifts that you don’t have and the passions you don’t have and you try to develop those things.  No, focus on what God has given you.  He gave them to you for a reason.  He wants you to be you.

He created someone else with other gifts, but He wants you to be you.  That’s why I need to gravitate to my strengths.

Early on we are taught that we need to focus on the things we’re not good at.  Let me just give you an example.  When your child, parents, gets a report card and brings it home and let’s say they have an A, a couple of B’s, a C and an F.  What do you focus on?  Yeah, you go right to that A and you say, “That’s awesome.  You made an A. You’re really good at that subject.”  No, you go right to the F and you say, “What in the world is that?  An F?  What were you doing?”  We focus in on the F rather than focusing on the A.

We focus on what they are not good at and then what do we do?  You’re going to have to really work at that.  Let’s spend all of our time working on that subject because that’s the one you’re doing really bad in.  Who cares about all the things that you’re good at.  Let’s focus in on what you’re bad at and really work at that.  Now kids, I’m not saying that it’s okay to make an F, okay?  Don’t go home and say Pastor Mark said it’s no big deal if I get an F.  Don’t focus on that.  Forget about the F in life.  Don’t focus on that.  No.

It’s important for your discipline, for your character, to bring those grades up.  But, do you see what I’m saying?  We don’t even think about the A.

In life we need to focus so much more on the things that we’re good at so that our weaknesses become irrelevant.  Gravitate toward your strengths.  Someone once said each person can do something better then 10,000 other people.  The goal is to discover what that something is.

Secondly, to make a difference in the lives of others I have to Launch into Serving.  That is, I have to dedicate my gifts and my talents and my struggles to God to say God, You’ve given me these gifts and talents and You’ve allowed these struggles into my life.

I give them back to You to use to make a difference because then and only then will I find my place and position and purpose in life.  So I dedicate it to You and I want to make a difference in the lives of others.  Show me how.

Show me how to be me to make a difference in the lives of others.

If you’ve never used your gifts and your passions and your struggles to make a difference through your church in the lives of others then you’ve missed out on a big reason why God has placed you here on this earth.

Maybe you are a behind the scenes person and you want to help out in the children’s area and love the kids and be there for the kids and do that for an hour.  Or maybe you’re a people person and you are kind of friendly and you can smile.  That’s a good spiritual gift.  Maybe you want to greet people and be one of our greeters and make people feel welcome.  That’s so important.

God has the perfect GPS System.  It’s infallible.  Wherever you go He knows how to locate you.  Knowing that may change some of the places you go, but everywhere you go He knows right where you are.  You can’t run far enough to get away from God.

He has a perfect GPS System.  He knows how to locate you.  You can’t hide from God.  Remember Adam and Eve?  They tried after they sinned in the garden.  They hid from God and God came to them and here’s what He said in Genesis 3:9.  “The Lord God called to Adam, ‘Where are you?’ ”

Now why did God ask him where are you when God knew exactly where he was?  He was hiding behind that little bush.  God knew right where he was.  God’s GPS System is infallible so why did God say that?

Because God wanted Adam to start thinking where am I?  He wanted him to start thinking about how he had moved away from God and how he could come back to God.  That’s the very question God asks you tonight.

Where are you?  Where are you spiritually?  Can you think back on a time in your life where you have been more passionate about God then you are right now?  Where are you?  You see, if you are far from God, God hasn’t moved, you’ve moved.

You have to take responsibility for your spiritual growth.

You have to take responsibility for meeting with God every day and spending time with Him and growing spiritually and getting involved and using your GPS to give back to make a difference.

Can you think back on a time in your life when you were closer to the Lord, more passionate about Him than you are now?  Who’s moved?  God says to you, where are you spiritually.

Some of you would have to answer the question where are you by saying I am far away from God at this moment.  I have run away from God.  I’ve just done what I’ve wanted to do and I’ve just said God, forget about You, but you know He’s tugging at your heart right now because His satellite system, His GPS System knows right where you are.

He’s never left you and you can come home to Him right now.

Let’s bow our heads.

Lord, I thank You that You made us for a reason.  I thank You that when we look at creation we see that there is a Creator.  That there is a purpose, that there’s meaning to all of this.  Sometimes when I look at the stars and I think about how vast the universe is I feel so insignificant, but yet You tell me that I am valuable to You and You say to me remember who you are, you are My child, a child of the King.

I pray for every one of us tonight that You would help us remember who we are.  That You would help us remember whose we are so that we can know why on earth we’re here.  Lord I pray that every one of us would learn about our GPS System so that we can learn what our position and place is on this earth and that we can give back to make a difference.

Lord I pray for those right now who have never connected to You, their Creator, that right now in the silence of this moment they would just say.

Dear God, I believe in You.  Jesus, I ask You to come into my life and forgive me of all my sins and make me new.  I ask You to give me a fresh start and I want to follow You.  Guide me, help me find my way in life.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.