Transcription | Sunday, March 7, 2021 | Surviving the Storm | Find Your Calling

 

 

 Pastor Eric Gilbert

I want you to look with me in the book of Genesis chapter six, verse nine. Genesis chapter six records the story of a man named Noah and the ark that he constructed to save his family, as God was about to bring destruction to the world that they knew. Others could have been a part of being saved by this construction project, but they chose not to me. In fact, they mocked and ridiculed Noah and his family for the decisions that they were making. Even if you're kind of new to church, or you don't have a lot of familiarity with the Bible, you're probably familiar with the name Noah and his Ark. It has become that famous of a story throughout the timeline of history. But I want you to see these verses, verse nine through 14 of chapter six in Genesis, “This is the account of Noah and his family. Noah was a righteous man. He was blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God. Noah had three sons.” Verse 11, “Now the earth was corrupt in God's sight, and it was full of violence. God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways.” We learned in the full context of this passage of texts that people had actually become so evil that even their thought lives were filled with wickedness. So, God said to Noah, “I'm going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence, because of them, I am surely going to destroy both of them and the earth. So make yourself an ark of cypresswood, make rooms in it, coat it, and put pitch on it inside and out.” The passage of text that we've just read, records, the verses that describe God calling Noah to build the ark. So these four, five verses that we've just read through, they record God calling Noah to build the ark.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

 Think about the calling of God. Do you realize that there is a universal call of God upon the life of every single individual to build something. Every single one of us are called of God to be a part of building his kingdom in earth, impacting lives. But what you will discover is that not only is there a general calling to be a part of building God's kingdom, there also are specific callings to be a part of building God's kingdom. And you will discover that you have a specific part to play in what God wants to do in the earth. And as God calls you to build things specifically, there may be seasons that you go into where you feel like that God's really calling you to build a specific relationship and really focus on taking that relationship to the next level. Maybe moments where you feel like that God is calling you to build a family and to just really lean into that and to really teach your family the things of God. Moments where God is calling you to build an education, because maybe you're going to need that education later, or it's going to be a part of some role that God desires for you to play in the earth as you build something on his behalf. Maybe God calls you to build a business, not just so that you can be blessed, but so that you can be a blessing. God calls you to build a ministry and impact the lives of others. Maybe God calls you, especially in this season for our church, to build a small group and to be a part of growing other people in their walk with God and playing a part in discipling others. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

I can tell you that I know without a shadow of a doubt that God is calling our church to build a ministry that seeks the lost, makes disciples, and meets needs. Can I get a witness from somebody somewhere on a Sunday morning? Like, build. So, you're gonna have these moments where that you know that there is a universal call. But you're also going to have moments where that you begin to realize there's something very specific that God wants you to do. Build a relationship, build the family, build the education, build a business, build a small group, etc. So, I want you to notice this, 2 Timothy chapter one, verse nine, “For God saved us and called us to live a holy life.” God saved us and called us. Say that out loud with me, God saved us and called us. If you are saved, you are called. God saved us and called us. But I’ll also say this to you, if you are not yet saved, if you've not chosen to have that experience with Jesus yet, then you are called to experience salvation first and foremost. Jesus died on the cross so that you can experience the calling of his grace and salvation. But if you are saved, you are called, and 2 Timothy 1:9 lays it out, that you are called to live a holy life, to live a holy life. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

When God tells you that you are called to live a holy life, he's not making that statement in a casual way. Because when God thinks of life, he thinks that you will live life and live life more abundantly. And he describes life being associated with abundance, it also is not in a casual way, but it is associated with Ephesians chapter three, verse 20, “That it will be exceedingly abundantly above all you can ask or think according to the power that he will deposit on the inside of you.” So if you are saved, you are called, and if you are called that is to exemplify a holy life on earth that overflows with abundance that is exceedingly and abundantly above all or anything that your flesh could comprehend or even imagine. If you are saved, you are called. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

You know, Jeremiah, chapter one, verse four, tells us that God spoke specifically to Jeremiah and he wanted to help him understand his calling. And the way that God related to Jeremiah is found in verse five, he said, Jeremiah, I knew you before I formed you in your mother's womb. Before you were born, I set you apart, and I appointed you. That word appointed in the Hebrew is interchangeable with the word called. And so what God is telling Jeremiah is you are not an accident. Furthermore, you are not just the idea of your mom and dad. God is telling Jeremiah, I was intricately involved in your life to the point that I formed you before your mama and daddy even knew you. I shaped you, and I made you, and I molded you, and I chose the womb that you were to be made manifest through. I chose the family that you were going to be raised in. I chose the zip code that was going to go on your birth certificate. And God is telling Jeremiah, like I was a part of forming you, even before you were in your mother's womb. And while I was forming you, I had a specific calling in mind for you, once you began to live your life on Earth. Think about that, that God chose your mama. God chose the community that you would be raised in, developed in. And God did all of that, according to what he said to Jeremiah, with a specific calling in mind for his life. That God chose to piece all of that together, so that specific things could be accomplished through the life of Jeremiah. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

It's no wonder that the enemy is so active in the realm of abortion. Because the enemy knows that every baby is formed by God with a calling. And so every baby that he can take out, he feels as though he is attacking the manifestation of the callings and the assignments of God in the earth. The enemy always attacks in infancy when he is afraid of maturity. Maybe you were raised in a home where you wrestled with abuse and you wrestled with things that you've even wondered why you had to face, and why you had to overcome so much to even get in this room. today. I'll tell you why, the enemy assaulted you in your infancy because he is afraid of you in your maturity. He tried to snuff out the call of God over your life before you got to the moment where it was fully revealed to you and you could step into that thing and bring it to pass in the earth. Jeremiah, I formed you, I appointed you for a calling on your life specifically. God had a generation, a time, a skill set, a community, a family in mind, when he formed you. It was going to be associated with the calling that he was going to bring to pass in your life. And when you read 2 Timothy chapter one, verse nine, as we've already done, what you discover is that the calling of God has nothing to do with anything associated with your works. 2 Timothy chapter one, verse nine, “For God saved us and God called us to live a holy life.” He did this not because we deserved it, but because this was his plan from the beginning of time. Sound familiar? And so when you think about what God has in mind for your life, I don't want you to be intimidated by what is not on your resume. Because when God calls somebody, he doesn't consult your resume. As far as we know, when we are looking at the life of Noah, he had no experience building boats, but God called him to build one. As far as we know, the earth had never even really experienced rain up to this point, but yet God designed a calling for Noah's life that was not going to make sense. And I think that's something else that we all have to realize is that God is not concerned about making sense to you and me when he calls us to do something. Can I say that, again? God is not concerned about making sense to you and me, when he calls us to do something. If you've never heard of a boat, it doesn't make sense to build one. If you've never experienced rain, it doesn't make sense that there would be a flood that was coming to the earth. But God is not concerned about making sense to you and me, like he's just trying to find somebody that will trust him and obey him, and do what he says do when he says do it. I was thinking about how that God's plan rarely makes sense because man's mind is so limited. Like God's thoughts are above our thoughts and God's ways are above our ways, especially according to the book of Isaiah chapter 55, verse eight, and when you think about the fact that God's not concerned about making sense to you and me. When you feel like that you're not smart enough, it doesn't make sense that God would call you, but God says I like to take the foolish things and use them to confound the wise. When you don't feel strong enough, when you feel weak, it doesn't make sense that God would use you. But God says, I like to use the weak things so that way I can confound the mighty. So the fact that you don't feel smart enough, and you don't feel strong enough, is probably a really good sign that God wants to be up to something in your life with a specific calling that probably doesn't make sense. Doesn't make sense, you didn't come to the right side of the tracks; you don't have the right network; you don't got enough money in the bank. You don't... But it doesn't always make sense, because God doesn't consult your resume. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

The Bible says in the book of Acts that Peter and John were being used by God literally to turn the world upside down. And people of the religious order of that day, they're like, this doesn't make sense to us, like, how are they being used so mightily by God. And in an interview, Peter, and John looked at him and said, we get it, we know we're ignorant, and we know we're unlearned, but we have been with Jesus, and that changes everything. So I wonder, this morning, if maybe there's times when God is calling you to something, and you sense that calling unfolding in your life being revealed to you and your life, and you start feeling, I don't feel prepared for this. My friend Rich says it this way, he says if God is calling you to something you don't feel prepared for, that means he already has a plan in place to prepare you. Maybe you've heard it said this way throughout the years of God doesn't call the qualified God qualifies the called. So it's right here that I would like to stop. And I'm going to pick out three people. Your hand will not be raised,  I'm just gonna pick you randomly. And I want you to come up here and I want you to describe the call of God on your life. Y'all ready? People were literally leaving. I'm done. I'm out of here. Like, Beula, no way. Why is it that we're so intimidated to describe the call of God on our life? Why is it that we feel so confused about the call of God on our life? Why is it that there are so few of us that could actually describe what it is that God has called us to do? What's the deal with that? I think many of us want to be able to describe the call of God on our life. And we want to be able to do that in a way that is very specific, so that there's not even any confusion associated with it. So how do you reach the point to where that you can describe the calling of God on your life. How do you hear God, when it comes to describing the call that he has for your life? I think you can actually look at the life of Noah and gain a lot of clarity. Because in Genesis chapter six, verse nine, it tells us what happened. Noah was a righteous man. He was the only blameless person living on Earth at the time. Watch this, and he walked in close fellowship, close relationship, with God. 


Pastor Eric Gilbert

Like, Moses is just walking with God, and he receives the revelation of the specific thing that God is calling him to do. Just walking with God, in relationship with God, and God starts getting very specific about what it is Noah's supposed to do with his life in the earth. Have you ever noticed that God will call you to relationship with him. He invites you into a relationship, like just walk with him. And then it's from that relationship that your purpose will be revealed as you learn the specifics of your calling. I’m gonna say that again, God will invite you into a relationship with him. And then from that relationship, your purpose will be revealed as you learn the specifics of your calling as you walk with him. You’re just walking with Him. Now, envision with me. There's this guy named Moses. Moses has made a mistake, he murdered somebody. Now he's on the backside of a wilderness. He's hanging out with the sheep. But God begins to do something in his life. The way that it unfolds is he’s tending the sheep. He's just kind of meandering around taking care of his current assignment, and there's a burning bush that shows up over here, and God starts calling Moses from the burning bush. Like, hey, Moses, like, I know, you've been over there hanging out with the sheep, and you've been licking the wounds of your past mistake. But I'm calling you into something, that if you will leave those sheep alone, I'm going to invite you to be a part of setting millions of people free from Egyptian bondage! But hey, Moses, like we got to get you away from the sheep first! Moses, over here! Like over here's the path, not there, here! David. David’s daddy didn't think much of him. But one of David's brothers is going to be chosen as the King. David's dad thinks so little of him, he doesn't even invite him to be considered. But Samuel is at the house, and Samuel knows that there's somebody in this home that is anointed to do something beyond all the others. And Samuel, he starts pressing, he's like, there's got to be another kid somewhere, somebody is missing. And finally they discover that there's this boy named David, and he's out there in the field, and he's just singing to the sheep. And Samuel starts calling out to David, of like, hey, you can sing to the sheep some other time, because God's got his hand on your life, and he is calling you to write hymns and to write songs. And it's gonna fill up a whole section of a holy book someday, that people will reference for 1000s upon 1000s of years into eternity itself. And oh, by the way, I know you've been killing a lion, and I know you've been killing a bear when nobody was looking. But hey, David, God is calling you to get out of that field, stop fooling with those sheep, and come kill a giant with the whole world watching that, David! Like he's calling. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

Isn't it amazing how God will put his will for your life over here in a path, and then he will bring mile marker moments. And he'll say what you please get over here into what I've got for you! I'm calling you! And it's great when God uses the burning bush. And it's great when God sends a Samuel, can I get a witness? Like that's awesome. Like, God gives you a dream or a vision, that's your burning bush moment. God sends somebody in your life with a word of wisdom, a word of knowledge and confirms a bunch of stuff. You’re like, that's awesome, I love the Samuel and the burning bush moments, but that is not at all how it happened for Noah. You cannot find a burning bush in his story. You cannot find a moment where there's an angelic visitation. There doesn't appear to be any Samuel that stopped by Noah's life. What Noah seems to have may be even more potent. He's just putting one foot in front of the other and walking that thing out. And there is evil, and there is perversion, and there is corruption, and there is the attitudes of the world all around him. And he just keeps putting one foot in front of the other. And he says, I'm going to walk with God today, yesterday, and forever. Like, I'm just going to walk with God, and that settles it. And, what happens is, as he's just letting God order his steps, as he's just kind of walking life out, God starts speaking to him specifically about, hey, I've got some blueprints for you, I want you to start building this boat thing. This is the message I want you to associate with the people who are going to be a part of experiencing this deliverance that's going to be brought through your life. Hey, Noah. Hey, Noah, Noah, Noah! Noah! Just keep walking with me. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

I think sometimes, we believe that the only way the calling of God can come is through a burning bush. And so because we think that, we often get over here in our little pity parties, and we start licking our wounds, because we haven't had the burning bush. And sometimes we delay the things that God wants to do, because we're looking for this incredibly divine moment. These are the moments where God if you just send somebody to straighten my daddy out for me and tell him that I am who I think I am. But Samuel doesn't always show up. Like, sometimes, you just got to choose to walk with God every day that you get up. And the next thing you know, there starts to be this innate understanding of the specific things that God wants to do in your life, despite what's going on all around you. And there was all kinds of wickedness surrounding Noah. So you know what that tells me, your workplace can no longer be your excuse. Oh, I just helped somebody, and I can't get no help on a Sunday morning. Hey! Noah is surrounded by people who are so evil that God says I'm gonna have to destroy the world for just the way they think. And he still walked with God, and he still heard the specifics about his calling. So whoever's in your house, and whoever sitting on the row beside you can no longer be the excuse that you have for not knowing the calling of God. Oh, I'm preaching good. Oh, I'm telling you, I wish somebody would’ve preached this to me about 20 years ago. Because it is amazing how much we delay by making all kinds of excuses for why we're not walking with him on a daily basis. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

But we learned last week that before you can walk right, you got to think right. And the way that that unfolds for us in Romans, chapter 12, verse two, is you don't copy the behavior in the customs of this world. But you let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. And then, watch this, you learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. It does absolutely no harm to this passage of text to bring us to the understanding of saying, don't copy the behavior and the customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think, and then you will learn God's Will, God's calling for your life. Of like where he wants you to be, when he wants you to be there, who he wants you to be there with, that you would be in the right place at the right time with the right people and the right plan. Because you choose to think differently so that you may walk differently. And as you walk differently, you come to these revelations of this is the call of God for my life. And that is why my family's not going to blend in. But instead we are going to stand out with the light of Jesus Christ like a city set up on a hill that we might glorify his works to all men. Can I get an amen, please, from somebody this morning? Why don’t you  just look over somebody and tell him you will survive the storm. Come on, tell somebody else you will survive the storm.  Noah survived the storm because he chose to walk with God. And as he was walking with God, there becomes incredible clarity about the calling of God on his life to the point that he literally gets blueprints for what that calling is supposed to look like. Don't underestimate what God can do, in and through you when you just keep letting him order your steps. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

They’re gonna play some music softly, and as they do, I want to share this with you. I don't know, I'm 40, I'm getting old. I cannot use technology. It is so bad. And we're in this era of Google meetings and Zoom calls, and I cannot ever get logged on. I try. Like, I want to be there on time, and something always happens, like something always goes wrong. The other day, one of the last meetings that we had scheduled, I was 12 minutes late for, and here's why. Because when I clicked the button, all I saw was a rainbow wheel. And it's just spinning, and spin... Like, Noah, rainbow, I….And I was so frustrated. I hollered down the hallway, I’m like somebody help me! Two or three staff members came in there, and they're like looking at my computer, and they're trying to help me get logged on to this meeting. And, and they're kind of just sitting there looking at it, and then finally one of them said, you know, Pastor, I really, I think you probably need to update your computer. And I said, update, like what does that mean? This is what you need to do is you need to download this new software. And then what's going to happen is

you will run a process that will bring an update to your computer, and then the little rainbow wheel won't be there any longer. And all these people that are waiting on you will be able to receive what it is you're supposed to bring to the meeting. Gotcha. Yeah, I can see it. Some of you right now you got the rainbow wheel like right... I wonder how many people are waiting, because you haven't gotten the latest update? I wonder what situations are delayed, because you haven't been able to bring what it is you were to specifically bring. And the only thing you're missing is the download that processes the update, that allows things to happen as they were designed to happen all along. To receive that download, all you gotta do is accept the invitation to a relationship that allows you to sync up with God. And when you come in sync with him, the callings, and the purpose, and the plan, and the will of God just starts unfolding in your life in a way that the coincidence can't take the credit for.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

My wife and I have talked about this so many times over the last week. It has been a year. And different people have experienced different things. But it has been very challenging from a leadership perspective in my own life of trying to do this the right way. And yet over the last few weeks as we've just tried to keep taking one foot and put it from the other and just walk with God. Mandy and I've talked about how we feel like we have a greater clarity about the call of God on our life than we have ever had before. And I'm watching even as the blueprints just become more specific of what it is that truly called to do. And that happened in the middle of a storm, a horrible storm. And I'm so grateful, and I'm so thankful, and I know some of you have testified to me having the same kind of experience in your life, as God has just specified that calling over your family, over your business, over your ministry. And if you haven't had that experience yet, I want you to know don't give up on walking with God because you haven't seen a burning bush, and you didn't have Samuel stop by. You keep maintaining your relationship with him. And here's what Joshua's said in chapter one, verse eight, “If you will keep this book of law always on your lips, and you will meditate on it day and night so that you may be careful to do everything that is written in it, you will become prosperous and successful. If you receive that word over your life could you just give God praise this morning. Of just God, I meditate on you. I stay in sync with you. I want to be in alignment with you. That God I would be prosperous according to heaven's standard.