What do you do when you look out the window of life and keep seeing the same mile marker? How do you know if you are making progress through life? We need mile markers.When you go on a long trip across country in your automobile, especially if you have never been where you want to go before, don’t you usually plot a course? You have a beginning point, waypoints, an ending point, and you know approximately how long it will take you to get to your destination.
GET A LIFE
By Pastor Delbert Young
Am I Making Mile Markers?
Am I Making Mile Markers
Scriptures: John 10:10; Matthew 3:13, 16-17; Matthew 16:21; Matthew 16:13-16; Haggai 2:9; Luke 10:17-18, 21
How do you know if you are making progress through life? When you go on a long trip across country in your automobile, especially if you have never been where you want to go before, don’t you usually plot a course? You get a road map, or Google up a map and directions on MapQuest. You might even purchase and install a GPS device to show your location. You have a beginning point, waypoints, an ending point, and you know approximately how long it will take you to get to your destination. Plotting a plan and directions for a long journey you have never been on is an intelligent thing to do. When you need a little directional assistance, you don’t ask directions to “someplace.” Imagine asking directions from a service station to “Someplace.” “Sir, can you tell me how to get to Someplace?” He would say, “Where do you want to go?” “Oh, Someplace?” He would look at you like you were crazy. He couldn’t help you. No one can when you don’t know where YOU are going. Yet, that is how many travel through life… looking for “Someplace.” Sadly, many think they are making progress getting there when in fact, they don’t even know where they are going and they have not begun the journey.
How do you know if you are making progress through life, or even gotten into your vehicle? The answer is mile markers. Today, I want to talk about the importance of mile markers in your quest toGET A LIFE. Let’s talk.
John 10:10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they MIGHT HAVE IT more abundantly.
Admit it or not, like it or not, you are in a journey for your very life. The thief comes to steal it and is very good at doing just that. The thief comes to stop and wreck your journey in life. However, you can get to your destination. You can GET A LIFE.
Reggie McNeal said, “You only have one shot at this life. Take your best one. Don’t live in such a way that you will look back at the ‘what-could-have-beens’ or play the ‘if only’ song as you rehearse the disappointments of life.” So…
HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN YOU ARE MOVING IN LIFE? How do you know if you are moving forward, backward, or standing still? You may know why you are on this planet and you may know what is really important to you, but do you know if you are progressing toward those things? How do you know?
ACTUALLY BEGAN THE JOURNEY. Let’s be honest. Many people never realize exactly why they are on this planet, so they never begin the journey of accomplishing their life’s mission.
One thing I want to do today is ease the pressure on some of you to be able to articulate your life’s mission now. If you are under twenty-five or thirty years of age, you might not know your life’s mission. You should have several clues. (What lights your eyes, gives you energy, brings passion and enjoyment, etc?) However, if you are over thirty and you still don’t have direction, something is wrong and the enemy is stealing your life.
I know we don’t think about it this way, but even Jesus did not seem to actually get a clear heaven on his life’s mission until into life (age thirty). If so, the Bible doesn’t say he did. We don’t hear anything about him from age twelve until thirty. Let me show you what I mean.
Matthew 3:13, 16-17 Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him… (v16) As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. AT THAT MOMENT heaven was opened, andhe saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
His life’s mission had always been in him and known by Father God. Mary pondered what she knew in her heart (Luk 2:19). Several clues pointed Jesus to his life’s direction, i.e. his parents encounters with angels, the star, the wise men, and the love Jesus had for God’s word at age twelve. He had clues, however his life’s mission literally began that moment with John at age thirty (Luk 3:23). At that moment, heaven opened for him. At that moment, he saw his life’s anointing come upon him. Don’t miss the pleasure expressed by Father God as Jesus experienced that moment.
I was thinking about my life. Had you known me as a child and observed my intrigue with people like Billy Graham and Oral Roberts, you might say, “That’s unusual that the kid will sit and watch Oral Roberts?” Had you known me as a young teen leading a Methodist youth ministry and sharing from the pulpit on Youth Sundays, you might have said, “That boy might be a preacher one day.” In fact, my pastor (Marcus Booker) asked me to consider that very thing. Had you known me in my late teens and young adult life, you would never have thought I would become a pretty good pastor/preacher. In fact, you would probably have thought I would become… the opposite. Things were crazy in my life then. I had no passion to accomplish much in life. I did not like my work. In fact, I did not even like myself. It was not until I was close to thirty (age 28), when I actually came to a preacher named John and was baptized that “heaven opened” for me. It was my “that moment.” Something came upon me out of heaven and remained. It was my anointing to do what I am on this planet to do. I had a passion for something and that passion remained. I never enjoyed reading or teaching, but at that moment of my life, I could not read the Word of God enough. I had an unquenchable thirst for God’s Word. I could not talk about it enough. Grasping God’s word and teaching it came easy for me. I was immediately more knowledgably about God’s Word than others exposed to it for years and decades. I amazed myself sometimes. Around eight years after heaven opened for me, I came here to this city and here we are today. The passion is just as intense and I am much better today at what I do.
I am making two points. One is I did not know my life mission until I was thirty years old. Heaven opened for me at that moment of my life. The other point is I look back at that moment in time and see mile marker number 1 and the beginning of my journey. How about you? Can you look back and see when your life’s mission – the reason you are on this planet – began? When did “heaven open” for you? When did an anointing – special ability – come upon you? When did your life’s mission really begin? You will never know how far you have come unless you know where you began.
KNOWING WHERE YOU WANT TO GO.
When I ask people where they want to go in life, they usually give me vague answers. Often, I get, “Oh, I don’t know. I just want to be happy.” Or, “I just want someone to love me.” Another says, “I want my life to matter.” Some say, “I want to be successful.” Well, who doesn’t want those things? I’ve never heard anyone say, “I want to spend my entire life being miserable.” Or, “I want everyone to hate me.” Or, “I want to be a failure.” Or, “I just want to waste my life away.” No, everyone has dreams and ambitions, but somehow we think that because we have dreams and ambitions that makes us special. Let me make you aware of something. Dreams and ambitions do not make you special. What separates a person who does GET A LIFE from the pack is the ability to translate dreams and ambitions into actual living. They know where they want to go on their life’s journey. Jesus knew his destination.
Matthew 16:21 From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that HE MUST GOunto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and beRAISED AGAIN THE THIRD DAY.
Jesus knew exactly where he was going. It was determined intentional living. His getting there, not dreaming it, is what separated him from every other person who ever lived or will ever live. He translated his dreams and ambitions into actual living. Your GETTING A LIFE is the translation of your dreams and ambitions into your life’s journey. Do you know where you want to go? Are you translating where you want to go into life? What separates you from everyone else?
MAKE MILE MARKERS. To translate dreams and ambitions into life, you must make MILE MARKERS. Many people have no idea as to where they are in their life’s journey. Midway through the ministry of Jesus, we read…
Matthew 16:13-16 When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
Why did Jesus ask those questions? He knew who he was/is. He was checking his “mile marker.” How am I doing? Where am I with people? Where am I with you? Am I where I need to be on my life’s mission? Am I making progress? His MILE MARKER told him exactly where he was at that time on his life’s journey.
As you move along the road of life with purposed intentional living, you establish mile-markers. I will say that another way. Purposed intentional living will establish mile markers for your journey. On a highway, a mile-marker is a pole driven into the ground with a number attached to it showing the distance to (or from) a location. Every highway or main road has a mile marker every mile. It is a frequent checkpoint. We need to frequently check our location. It is your specific location at that moment in your life. When you look out the window and see a mile marker, that is where you are in time right then.
I was coming back from vacation several years ago pulling my boat when a wheel bearing locked down on my boat trailer. I safely navigated to the shoulder and called 911 for assistance. One of the first questions the 911 operator asked was “At what mile marker are you?” Once that was established, assistance came quickly and I was able to get going again toward my destination. What if I had asked, “What is a mile marker?” Or answered, “Oh, I don’t know. I’m just on I-85 someplace.” They would have eventually found me, but when you know specifically where you are even in a breakdown, you can quickly get going again.
The scriptures tell us that Jesus was constantly checking his mile markers. He was extremely aware of the time/speed at which he moved toward his life’s mission.
Mark 1:15 And saying, THE TIME IS FULFILLED, and the kingdom of God is at hand…
Matthew 4:17 FROM THAT TIME Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
John 7:8 …I go not up yet unto this feast: FOR MY TIME IS NOT YET FULL COME.
Matthew 11:25 AT THAT TIME Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven…
Matthew 12:1 AT THAT TIME Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn…
Matthew 16:21 FROM THAT TIME FORTH began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.
Luke 9:51 And it came to pass, WHEN THE TIME WAS COME that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem
Matthew 26:18 And he said, Go into the city to such a man, and say unto him, The Master saith, MY TIME IS AT HAND…
At what mile-marker are you on your life’s mission? What time is it in your life? Are you making progress, or are you broken down? ARE YOU MAKING MILE MARKERS?
WHAT DO I DO WHEN I BOG OR BREAK DOWN? What do you do when you look out the window of life and keep seeing the same mile marker? That sort of happened here at Life Gate with me. We arrived at a certain position of success, but bogged down, or broke down, or went in circles, whatever… I tried to do some things that once worked, but only discovered that I was taking us backward and not forward.
I have seen lots of mile-markers in my decades of leading this church. For example, in the 80’s people would sit and listen to me teach for hours. There was a hunger for teaching in the body of Christ, i.e. Kenneth Hagen, Kenneth Copeland, etc, but we, and the entire body of Christ passed that mile marker. If I were to go back to that mile marker today, most of you would not even come to church to begin with. How many remember the mile marker of “laughter” when we would fall in the floor and laugh? What if I tried to go back to that mile marker today?
I remember trying to revisit a mile marker a few years ago. At one time, the prophetic filled the church with people. I would have different prophetic ministries in and people came out of the woodwork to get a personal prophecy. I invited a prophetic ministry. Do you remember what happened? That Sunday was an average crowd, but after that, most of you did not come to any of the meetings. Judy and I were embarrassed. My point is I learned not to go backward to old mile markers.
The Bible tells the story of the rebuilding of the temple. Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon destroyed the glorious temple of Solomon. Those who experienced Solomon’s temple wanted to go back to that glory, but not God.
Haggai 2:9 ‘The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,’ says the LORD Almighty. ‘And in THIS PLACE I will grant peace,’ declares the LORD Almighty.”
God’s glory moves on. Our God is a progressive God. He does not stay in the same place and neither does he want you to stay in the same place. Father God is making mile markers too.
So, what do you do when you bog or break down? This year, for Vision Sunday, I shared with you a lesson I called One Thing. It’s about staying on focus by using the overlapping of three primary God given issues (circles) of life: (1) What are you deeply passionate about:; (2) What drives your economic engine?; and (3) What you can be the best in the world at doing. Whey you process out the answer to those three issues, you will find what it is you should focus upon smack in the middle (Good to Great book).
For Life Gate, it is the teaching of God’s Word. I learned when I bog down, or break down, I have gotten off focus. This year has been one of our most successful years at Life Gate simply because we have remained on focus. We have seen and experienced more salvations than ever. Hands go up nearly every week to rededicate or come to Christ. We have exceeded attendance from last year. We experienced our largest crowd ever at Easter. Going back to a former glory is not the answer for Life Gate, or for you. THE ANSWER FOR BREAKDOWN OR BOG DOWN IS TO GET BACK ON YOUR FOCUS. Get back to your ONE THING. What is it that you are deeply passionate about? What drives your economic engine? What can you be the best in your world at doing?
I want to close with this thought. Mile markers prove you are progressing. They are also your reward for success and progress. I look back at some of my personal mile markers. I relive the reward of them again and again. For example, I remember the mile marker of being ordained. I remember the mile marker of wearing my cap and gown when I received my degree of Theology. My entire family was there both encouraging me and exhibiting how proud they were of me. It was much better than receiving my degree in business. I remember the mile marker of my first Sunday service in this town; the first marriage I performed; the first people I baptized. I remember the mile marker of the first service in this building and burning the note when we paid the building off. There are many mile-markers that show me my progress on my life’s journey. They give me great joy and reward.
Jesus sent out about seventy disciples. That was a big move for his ministry. Their success would prove his life’s mission was progressing. He awaited the results.
Luke 10:17-18, 21 The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. (v21) AT THAT TIME JESUS, FULL OF JOY through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth…”
Mile markers were joy and reward for Jesus. That was a huge mile marker to Jesus. So huge that it caused Satan to fall. The enemy comes to steal your life by wrecking your journey. You can bring him down out of your heaven as you make mile markers along your life’s highway.
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