It Was New Years Day, January 1, 2017….
After missing every Sunday but one in December of 2016 I arrived at church “expectantly” on New Years Day in 2017. I had been told to be there, that part was unmistakable.
I often leave the big house on Sunday with at least a page of “Notes to Shane”, sometimes two. However, on this particular Sunday I left with just one single point.
It was the the closing statement from the sermon. Nothing else rang with me,or even warranted writing down, which was odd, but those few words that did were perfect on multiple levels.
Looking back now, I believe the fact that nothing else in the sermon rang with me was too ensure that the message, the reason I had been told to be there, was heard with unmistakable clarity.
Ben Rockwell’s closing statement , just thirteen words, was what I needed to hear that morning…. “Take your place in God’s story and let Jesus be known through you”.
In other words…. “Shane, stop trying to write YOUR story and take your place in MY story”. That’s strong!
2016 was in the books as I sat in church that Sunday morning, but if I learned anything that prior year it was this…. “Never underestimate what God can do in you and through you”.
Those words came from the same pulpit, but were spoken by John Riggin, as he closed his sermon on March 29, 2016. I wrote them down in that little book too, even underlined them.
I took Ben and John’s words with me into 2017, and I still carry them with me today.
I also took with me from 2016 what I have come to call “the 1:6 verses”. There were four of them, specifically:
- Philippians 1:6 – He who began a good work in you will see it through to completion…..
- Philemon 1:6 – Be active in sharing your faith…….
- Romans 1:6 – You are among those who have been called to belong to Christ….
- James 1:6 – When you ask, believe and do not doubt……
I didn’t realize it until that New Years Sunday morning back in 2017, but I had mainly been working at writing my story (focus on Shane).
After all, that is what the world tells us right? Be The Man! The one with the plan, leave your mark on this world!
While my story, and your individual story, is important, God’s plan isn’t for us to write a stand alone story of what we can do with our life.
God’s plan is for us to take our place in His story, and let Him show the world what He can do with, and through, our life. (focus on Him).
What God ultimately wants from all of us is participation. Our participation in the greatest story ever told, the one that continues to play out to this very day, and we all have a part, a role…. should we choose to participate.
That role is simple but requires His direction…. identify the gift He has given you, and put it to work for His kingdom, so that your life, your story, points back to Christ. That’s it.
If you are searching in 2020 try incorporating what I learned back in 2016:
- Know that you are called to belong to Christ. (Romans 1:6)
- Know that if he begins a good work in you that He will see it through to completion. (Philippians 1:6)
- Be active in sharing your faith. (Philemon 1:6)
- Believe and do not doubt. (James 1:6)
- And lastly…. never, ever, underestimate what God can do in you and through your life.
May God bless you and keep you in 2020 and beyond.
Get in the boat. Do your part.
From Nose To Toes!
Shane / #16