Trust me, I wouldn't suggest you listen to this message unless I felt compelled and thought it could have an eternal impact on your life. I value my time, and I value your time. I know everyone who reads this blog is busy, you come here to spend two or three minutes skimming through my writing. You weren’t preparing to spend 30 minutes listening to a sermon from some guy you’ve never heard of. But if you will spend that half an hour listening to his message, it may change the rest of your life.
Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love him. (2 Cor. 2:9)
I don’t believe I found this message by chance, and I don’t believe I feel the burden to share this with you by coincidence. I have listened to probably 20 messages in the past week, and this is the only one that I felt compelled to share. Do I think it was Divinely ordained that I hear this message? Absolutely. Maybe you, too, are divinely ordained to hear this. Please don’t pass up the opportunity.
I have been hearing messages in church since before I was born. Assuming I’d only heard one each week, I’ve heard well over 1200. (I’ve heard far more than that. We had camp-meeting last week and I heard just ten that week alone). Of all those messages I have heard, I have NEVER come across one that has impacted me like this one. If you want to know where I’m at in my life right now, listen to this message. I've listened to it with tears streaming down my face each time.
I had transcribed some of it, so I’m going to include parts of his message interspersed with some of my story below. Come and read through it afterwards, if you care to, but please, PLEASE don’t just read this in lieu of listening to the actual podcast.
The five dynamics of finding your place of destiny, as told by Jentezen Franklin:
1) You must have the ability to hear God. You must have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ for Him to be able to speak to you. Fortunately, it's simple. All that is required is that you "confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead and thou shalt be saved." (Romans 10:9). Once you do this, then you will find the words of this old song true, “He walks with me, and He talks with me, and He tells me I am His own.”
As you surrender your life to God, he will begin to speak to you and the Holy Spirit "will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.” (John 16:13). Pastor Jentezen explains this verse in a way I had never thought of before. I won't tell you what he says. You've got to listen for yourself.
Franklin doesn’t mention this next verse, but it’s one that has meant so much over the past months as I am seeing my destiny unfold before my eyes:
“And your ears will hear a word behind you, saying, This is the way; walk in it, when you turn to the right hand and when you turn to the left.” (Isa. 30:21).When I turned down a position in DC to volunteer with the kiddos in Atlanta instead, it didn’t make a lot of sense to anyone else, but I knew beyond the shadow of the doubt that I had heard a voice behind me leading me where to walk.
2) Not only do you have to hear His voice, you have to believe what you hear. When you hear His word, faith has to grab hold and you have to believe. “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” You can’t second-guess God. When God speaks, the enemy will try to talk you out of that Word. The Bible says, "A double-minded man is unstable in all of his ways – let not that man think he shall receive anything from the Lord."
He will confirm what He’s told you. I know this for a fact. I have had confirmation after confirmation on my move to Atlanta to work with Metro Kidz. But it wasn’t like that at first. I had to turn down the job by faith. Then, the confirmation began to come.
Franklin offers this warning that made my blood run cold: it is possible to lose your destiny. You can lose your destiny by being comfortable, refusing to push forward out of your comfort zone. Or, it could be as a result of sin. If you think about it: Adam and Eve touched one thing - the forbidden fruit – and it destroyed their destiny. There is one thing for everyone – could be pornography, drugs, alcohol, even pride. There is one thing that the enemy knows you have a weakness in and he will try his best to tempt you with it and get you bound to it because it can cause you to miss out on your destiny.
I can identify with this firsthand. I know what my “one thing” is, and having laid that down over six months ago, I can clearly see how it was standing in the way of my moving towards my destiny. I’ll never go back.
3) For me, this was the most powerful concept of the five, probably because I recently lived through it. The third key to finding your destiny, is to go through a season of denunciation. This season is about moving out of the “safe” zone into the “faith” zone. (I did a post about venturing outside your comfort zone a few weeks back).
Franklin explains that sometimes, you have to denounce the present blessing to get to the future promise. This is a divine denunciation. It happens when you cry out to God, “My life is yours. Everything I have is yours, and whatever you want me to do I’m willing to do it, even if that means releasing some things. I’ll lay them down so that I might gain your eternal destiny for my life.”
All of the great figures in the Bible (he explains many of them), went through this season. Each of those figures had to take a step down in the flesh to take a step up in the kingdom.
I know how gut-wrenching this season can be. I had my season back in April when I layed down a job, a sure paycheck, doing what I had always wanted to do in order to give myself up to His plans . Now, I shudder to think of the direction my life would have taken if, in that moment, I hadn’t had the courage to make heed His call. I’ll warn you of this: when you tell God you’ll go where He wants you to go, you’ll do what He wants you to do, that everything you have is His, be ready for Him to act on your surrender. Don’t expect to say that, mean it, and have things stay the same. It just won’t happen. I’m living proof. And, I praise Him for that everyday.
4) The fourth step in reaching your place of destiny is having the courage to take the step towards it. A lot of folks talk about doing it, but few people have the courage to actually move forward. Most people want the full picture, all the answers, before they move on to the next thing. But if God has to give you every answer to every question you’ll never move any higher, you’ll never grow any further, you’re all you’ll ever be. Remember, you’re not doing it alone. “It’s not by might nor power but by my Spirit saith the Lord.” (Zech. 4:6).
I came to a point where I realized this a few weeks ago. I had been struggling under a burden of inadequacy. Feeling so incapable of doing what I know I’m going to be called to do in Atlanta – sharing hope and love with kids and adults as a full-time ministry. I thought, I’m not that naturally positive, I’m not that loving, I don’t have enough of my Bible memorized. I thought, “I haven’t been through the situations they have, how can I possible identify with them and encourage them?”
And, this is where I may lose some of you, but God spoke to me through two people at church recently. It was the end of service two Sunday’s ago. The man in front of me turned around and said, “I’m supposed to tell you that the Paraclete, The Helper, is coming with you on this journey. He’ll be walking right beside you.” I knew that was confirmation from God, as I had been praying for peace about the situation. Then, a few minutes later, my pastor’s wife came up to me and said “God wants me to tell you something. The Paraclete, the Helper, is coming with you through these next steps of your life.”
As much as I’ve read my Bible and been in church, I had never come across the word Paraclete. That was one way I knew it was God confirming Himself. The wording of both the man and the woman to me was nearly identical. Of course, now I know what the word means having looked it up. Paraclete is a reference to the Holy Spirit, specifically used to imply the meaning of “Helper” when accomplishing a task. Often, the Bible talks of the Holy Spirit as a “Comforter” to the Christian, but in this case, God spoke “Paraclete” to both of those individuals because He wanted me to know he would be my Helper. I wasn’t doing this alone. You can tell me all day long that was a coincidence. I know it was God.
A day or two later, he led me to this passage in II Corinthians 3: 5-6:
Not that we are fit (qualified and sufficient in ability) of ourselves to form personal judgments or to claim or count anything as coming from us, but our power and ability and sufficiency are from God. It is He who has qualified us (making us to be fit and worthy and sufficient) as ministers and dispensers of a new convenant of salvation through Christ..." (emphasis added mine).As I mentioned earlier, when He gives you a word about your destiny, He will confirm what He’s told you. But it may take time. For me, I had to make the choice and move on faith. And, that took courage.
5) I have gone through the first four phases over the last few months. I heard Him. I believe what He told me. I went through the season of denunciation. I had the courage to take the steps forward. And now, I’m preparing to go through step five. This last key isn’t about reaching your destiny; it’s about staying focused on it. You do this by determining to focus on the promise and not the problems during the journey. He explains this in terms of Peter stepping out on the boat to walk on the water towards Jesus. It’s an awesome explanation, unlike any I’d heard before.
As he closes, Franklin captures my heart by reiterating the three words I’ve lived by since my dad began telling them to me 20 years ago: “Dream Big Dreams.” He says it this way: "Dream no small dreams for they stir not the hearts of men. The bigger the dream the more people want to get behind something. Opportunity is a visitor. Don’t assume it will be back again tomorrow. Move while the door is open."
The door opened for me. I’m heading to Atlanta in six weeks. It’s the beginning of my finding my place of destiny, and I pray (really, I do) that everyone who reads this will be spurred into seeking your place of destiny.