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Accomplishing God's Purpose

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By Executive Presbyter/Region 1  Joel Wendland
November 1, 2019
 

A few weeks ago, I shared in church my testimony of a journey that I have been on for the last year. I started a journey to change health issues in my life that needed to be changed and have lost over 100 pounds.

Most people focus on the “how” you achieved something. In my case, they ask about the diet that I have been on, or what kind of exercise I do everyday. But without the right reason, you won’t have perseverance to finish what you started.

Have you ever started something and about 2 or 3 weeks into it give up? We all have!

We all focus on the method of accomplishing our purpose, but if we haven’t settled on the “why”, we will eventually quit.

So, in my own situation, why did I begin my journey? My turning point began in July of last year when our church sent a missions team to Belize. At that time I was at the heaviest weight I had been in my life. Belize is very hot, and I am not a person who likes the heat. On our first big day of work, we had a huge physical job scheduled.

We were asked a question: “When was the last time you suffered for your faith?” This project was going to be hard but had an awesome result if we were willing to suffer a little bit. So we did. We went walking through a very hot jungle and were to carry out cut lumber from the jungle to the bus we road in.

I’m not sure how much this lumber weighed. To carry a 4x4 8’ post took four people, and we had to stop a number of times on the way out of the jungle. It was heavy. We had to do this 3 or 4 times, walking probably .5 mile at a time. It was brutal. I grew up on a farm, and I have done a lot of physical work in my life. I have never hit a physical challenge I couldn’t stand up to. After making two trips, I couldn’t finish the third. I just walked back to the bus and physically struggled as we drove back. It affected my vision to the point that everything I could see had a white haze to it. It was upsetting. After getting the lumber to the proper location, we were on the bus and they told me (didn’t ask) to ride in the air-conditioned car back to the place where we were staying. I instantly began feeling better, but I was still reeling from this experience that night.

The Lord spoke to me in those moments in a profound way that if I didn’t change these physical issues, I would be limited in my use for Him in the future. What he said specifically to me is that this could be my last mission’s trip. That was a pretty hard hit, but I took it seriously. My perspective changed about why I needed to do something different. My “why” was different. I now needed to change not as a act of will but as a matter of obedience.

If there is something in your life that you need to change and don’t, it’s usually because of two reasons: It seems too challenging or it can be because you don’t want to. If you understand that it is not a choice, but an act of submission and obedience to God, you can begin to see that it can be done.

I found that God is challenging many people to obey what He is already inspiring you to do. In Acts 26:19, Paul states that he needed to be obedient to that heavenly vision. I believe that you have a purpose; you have a “why”!

Solomon had a “why”. He had a purpose. It was a purpose God gave him. In 1 Chronicles 28:6, the Lord told David that your son Solomon will build the temple. His father David had given him this purpose as well. He knew what God’s purpose was so now what? How can you fulfill the purpose that God is challenging you with? Let’s go from the why to the how.

Simply stated, how can we accomplish what the purpose of God is? What do we do to take the next step? We have to develop a plan and levels of accountability. Solomon knew what God wanted him to do. David had made many preparations for the construction of the temple, yet when does he start? He waits for four years before he begins. Why the wait? It took years to complete the acquisition of material and goods for this project. He enlisted skilled labor and materials from different countries. He developed a plan. Without a plan to fulfill God’s purpose, you will not be successful. It takes time to develop this plan.

For me, I knew getting off the plane from Belize, I needed to do something. But what could I do? How could I act in obedience to what God had showed me? It took me 2 months to figure out exactly what I needed to do. I had to clear out some things out of my house and I had to look at my calendar to have a good run where I could follow the guidelines consistently for a period of time. By the way, there is no such thing as the perfect time. You just have to make the best choice you can make!

Part of the planning process is setting goals. I had weight goals and fitness goals that I worked at. I had 5 major weight goals. I have met 4 out of 5. I’m working on my last one. I also have created and followed a 30 minute exercise program I do 6 days a week.

The second thing you need to do after you have a plan to accomplish God’s purpose is that you need accountability. Solomon had God’s purpose in mind, but in order to complete it he needed to make sure it got done. If you read 1 Kings 6, it almost sounds like Solomon built the whole thing himself. Now I know he didn’t do it himself, but he oversaw the work. He made sure that it got done. Accountability makes sure what you want to do is what you are doing. It is a measure of what you are doing and what you are accomplishing…

In my journey, I had 2 levels of accountability. I had relationships that kept me accountable. When I felt like God was challenging me, my wife, Tanda, joined with me in this challenge. We planned out meals together and made sure we both were eating and doing what we needed to do. You need someone on this journey that can understand the struggles and weak moments that we all have. You need someone to tell you to get back on track. You need someone to recognize your success.

I also had tools to measure my progress. I had to use a scale to keep myself current on my progress everyday. When I first started my journey, I weighed more than the limits of my Wii U. I was too heavy for my weight-loss equipment. Every day my wii calls me obese. That’s not what motivates me, what motivates me is the numbers are going down. I can see when I eat right and exercise I can lose weight. When I eat too much or eat the wrong thing, I gain weight. Sometimes, by the way, you can eat right and exercise and still gain weight. But, mostly when you do the right thing, good things happen.

I also got a smart watch to track my steps, weight, and exercise. It had some step goals set automatically right out of the box and I found myself trying to meet those goals everyday. It really motivated me to move more. I started at about 4,000 steps a day and now I have an average of 10,000 steps a day.

What’s interesting about the story of Solomon is that he finished. He achieved God’s purpose. He planned, set goals, had people be accountable to him and he made it. Do you ever ask what happens after you cross the finish line? What happens after you arrive, completing God’s purpose? What’s next? Is there something next?

Solomon reigned 40 years as king. He finished God’s purpose for him in the first quarter of his reign as king. He still had 30 years left. What happens next for Solomon is sad.

The Bible records Solomon's next acts. After he built the temple, he turned around and build a palace for himself. God’s purpose had been for him to build so he kept right on building. He built walls and cities and he even built a palace for his wife who was Pharaoh’s daughter. We find him most connected to God at the beginning of his life and reign as king. The rest of his life, he never found that new purpose God had for him.

When we reach our goals, when our purpose is fulfilled, it can be dangerous. About 8 years ago I loss about the same weight as I’ve lost now. Within 3 months I had regained 30 pounds. Why? I didn’t set new goals and understand God’s new direction and purpose for me. I went back to what I knew, how I used to eat, and I stopped exercising. What makes this process different for me, is the new purpose and “why” that God has given to me.

Things change for all of us and we all go through different seasons. I hope that you can find that God still has new purposes for you as well!