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Can We Be Changed?

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Commitment Service: Give God Your all

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Commitment Service: Give God Your All

Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill

Will you turn to Psalm 37:5. “Commit your way to the Lord. Trust in him and he will act.” The you see verse 7, “be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him. Fret not yourself over him who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices.” And if you turn back the Psalm begins with that one word, “Fret not yourself.”

I sensed this morning as I was about to look over the sermon that God had given me that there were many of you here this morning who needed to take again the stand that you took probably a year ago when we had a kind of commitment service. It was a commitment time when we came up to the front here and kneeled and committed to God certain things that we should have committed long ago to him; certain things that we should have gotten out of our own hands long ago. And if you remember it was an opportunity to take a stand together against some of the things that we’ve allowed ourselves to become fretful about.

I’ve sensed that God wanted us to take that stand again this morning. So presumably it’s for some of you here, even if it’s only for two or three of us, though I think it’s really for more of us than that. I’d just emphasize to you, loved ones, the two steps that we took: first, commit your way to the Lord. That means the whole direction of your life, that’s what “way” means; commit your way to the Lord, the general direction that things are going in. Stop fretting about the big things; commit your general way to the Lord; the way things are going in your job or the way things are going at home, or the way things are going in your own academic career or the way things are going in a certain relationship. Stop straining about it. Stop wishing it were different. Those are the things that make us fretful; where we’re not willing to commit our way to the Lord. Where we’re not willing to say, “Lord I surrender my life and its direction to you. You know best and what is happening may not be your perfect will, certainly it’s your permissive will and if you’re happy with it at this moment then Lord so am I.”

Loved ones, it’s committing your way to the Lord. What some of us do is we worry about the big things and we do nothing about the little things. And actually God’s plan is “commit the big things to me and you take care of the little things. You take care of what you’ve to do today and what you’ve to do tomorrow. Don’t be passive about those but stop trying to do my job as far as the direction of your relationships is going, as far as the direction of your career is going, as far as what’s happening in your home. It may not look good to you, but I know about it; it’s exactly right for you – for you – you don’t have to worry whether it’s good for somebody else, that’s not your job. I’m God, I look after their lives, you don’t but its right for you and I want you to live free from trying to do my job for me.”

So committing your way to the Lord, loved ones, is not being passive about your day to day life, but it’s refusing to try to be God over things you can’t do anything about; the general direction of things. God will take care of those if you will take care of the little things that are your responsibility day to day. Now I think where Satan gets some of us is he says, “Oh, but you mustn’t be passive.” No, you mustn’t be passive about the things you can do something about but let’s not all sit here and fret ourselves because it’s not raining and you want to make it rain – you can’t make it rain. You can’t

make the sun shine. You can’t do other things with the general direction of your lives so stop fretting about those. Stop straining between yourselves and God. Stop wishing they were different, start thanking God for them. Commit your way to the Lord, that’s what it means.

I think what happens with many of us is that the dirt that we gather under our feet is not really sin, sometimes it is, but often it’s not sin. It’s just that we begin to become more and more burdened about certain things; about a daughter who isn’t a Christian, about a husband who doesn’t love God, about our financial future. About our marital plans and bit by bit we become burdened about these and before long they are in our hearts and they become a burden upon us and we wonder where the beauty and the light was when we first committed our lives to God.

Well it’s because we’ve tried to usurp his place in our lives. We’ve tried to take on some of the burdens that aren’t ours at all. So loved ones that’s the first step in committing your way to the Lord, “Lord, am I willing for these things to be going the way you want them to? Am I willing to step back from wishing they were different and am I willing to say ‘have thine own way, Lord?’ If it’s going this way and you’re pleased with it then I’m pleased and you change it when you want to change it.” And loved ones remember, don’t let Satan deceive you by saying that’s passivity – no. God says “Be active in what you do day to day, be active about the little things, and be active about the things I’m presenting to you day by day. But I want you to be happy children. I want you to enjoy life, I want you to enjoy playing in your sand boxes the way you used to when your Mom and Dad looked after the big things. Now I look after the big things and I want you to play in your bigger sand boxes. People pay you now to play in them, but that’s alright, I want you to enjoy it. But I don’t want you to be involved in your sand box worrying about things that only your Dad could take care of. So I want you to commit your way unto me; the big plans, the big things, the things that you’re fretful about, commit them to me.”

Loved ones I would ask you what is causing strain in your life at the moment? What makes it a wee bit hard to sleep at night? Can you think? What do you find yourself preoccupied with when you know you should be loving your dear ones? What do you find yourself being anxious or worried about? Those are the things you should commit to God. Now some of you may say you know that’s true, but why should you come up to this stage and do it? I always thought the same, why do it physically like that, why can’t I make the step in my own heart. Well it is amazing; God has always given us helps to our faith.

You notice the way Jesus would heal a leper to encourage him to see that God was real. And it seems to me that God has given us physical things and there is something beautiful in coming up the aisles and kneeling down for a few minutes and leaving it here. Just rolling all the cares of your life into God’s hands and leaving the burden here in his house where he will bear it. There is something that helps your faith when you know that on that Sunday you left that on the stage at Campus Church; you left it in God’s hands. So I think there is a help to many of us and I would not be backward about coming forward and I’m going to make some commitments as I sit here. I think it’s good just to come up, you don’t need to spend a lot of time, in fact the last time we did it if you spend too long, there are hoards of us waiting to get up. So I’d appreciate if you come up, commit it to God, then go quietly back to God and leave it with him. Now I think some of you will want to make bigger commitments, and some of you will want to give your lives to Jesus for the first time and I would suggest that you then would go to the prayer room if you want and there will be loved ones there if you want to do that. But those of you that want to commit your lives to Jesus or want to pray a little longer, maybe you could just slip through that opening and the prayer room is right there. But the rest of us who

need just to get something out of our hands that is sticking to our fingers and is causing us fretfulness and anxiety, we just need to make the commitment.

Then you remember the second part of the verse is, “trust in the Lord.” Now let me explain that, otherwise you’ll trip tomorrow morning. Trust in the Lord means leave it in his hands even if it doesn’t look as if it’s in his hands. Because you see God has a different way of dealing with these things than us and it may look tomorrow morning that he’s not acting much. Satan will get to you and say, “Look, the thing’s as bad as it ever was – nothing’s happening.” Satan is tempting you to walk by sight. Refuse. Say “No, I give thanks to God in all circumstances for this is the will of God for me in Christ Jesus.”

Loved ones, walk in faith tomorrow, that’s what trust is. Walk in faith, don’t walk by sight. So the loved one who needs healed tomorrow may be just as sick as he ever was – he may appear to be as sick. But our job is to believe God that in Jesus he resolved all these things; he healed all of us, he brought all circumstances into line with his own will and our place until we see him face to face is to believe that and to thank him for that. Loved ones the others may not let it take place in their lives, but our place is to believe him so that he can do a great work in our village if he chooses to. So tomorrow, trust him, and the next day and the next day and this time next year let us be found in a position where we’re thanking God that he is taking care of this thing that he has taken into his hands whether we agree with it or not.

We believe him that he is bringing it into line with his will. Now loved ones do you see those two steps then? I really do believe that some of us have let something stick to our fingers and we’re walking more heavily than we need to in these days and we need to just commit these to God. And tomorrow we need to walk in faith that he’s working his plan out. So do you know what to do? Because it’s important for us to have times like this when we don’t have the television cameras on and when it’s not just me speaking to you, but it’s you speaking to God himself and us as a people going to him and putting these things into his hands.

I would suggest that we have maybe fifteen or twenty minutes, then I’ll close about ten minutes after noon so that you know that we’ll sing the last song about ten minutes after noon. So we have about fifteen or twenty minutes just to put things in God’s hands and what I would suggest is as you feel God telling you, then come up and pray here, then it would be good if you would go back to your seats so that others can come up. Let us pray.