THE POWER OF THE PLAN
Today we’re talking about the power of a plan. Now the reason this is such a big deal to have a plan is because it’s been proven that people who have a plan are up to four times more productive than people who don’t have a plan. Four times more productive and we haven’t even talked about whether it’s a good plan, just having a plan makes you more productive, let alone whether it’s even a good plan or not. It is critical that we understand the power of having a plan in our hand for our lives. A few years back, my wife and I built a house. And we were excited about this, and it’s one of our dreams for us to always build a home one day. And we’ve been saving for this, and preparing for this, and so we secured the land, and then we went to the bank and secured the note, and then we went and found the builder and we began the whole process. And we began to ask the question of what do we want, how many, how many bedrooms, and do we want it two story or one story, and do we want a play room, no play room, office, no office, what’s the kitchen gonna look like, are we gonna do carpet or you know, are we gonna do you know, wood floors or Pergo, what are we gonna do. You know basically, you, you just start from scratch, you just have this blank piece of land and you draw up on paper what you want. Then they take those drawings and they turn those drawings into blueprints, and the reason that’s important is because the drawings, you’re not sure if everything is gonna work, and so the blueprints have to go through a whole inspection process, has to pass all the building inspection codes and all that. So they have to make sure that this thing will actually work. And once you have all the plans laid out, then and only then are you ready to build. In fact the truth is about half the work is done before you actually see anything. A lot of planning goes into building a home. But if I were to go into a builder and say we’d like to build this home and we’d like to draw up some plans; can you imagine if the builder would say to me; you know rather than wasting all the time on plans, let’s just get started and see what happens. (Laughter) You probably wouldn’t wanna build with that person.
You’re probably thinking you know I really wanna get someone who’s a pro, I wanna get someone who knows what they’re doing and they understand the power of a good plan. Cause if you don’t have a good plan, you’re probably not gonna have a good home. Have you ever gone through an old neighborhood and saw a home that was leaning? You ever seen that? When you see that you think man, that is, that’s a bad plan. Someone did not have a good plan, or you know either the plan went wrong somewhere: something did not go right. Have you ever seen a virtually new home leaning? I’ve seen that. Have you ever seen a home to where the windows are busted out, but the windows are not busted out because someone broke them, but because the pressure became so great on one wall, because the home was not built structurally sound that the windows pop. This happens. And so the power of a plan is critical. And the reason why we want a really good blueprint for a home is because we want that home to last a good 20, 30, 40, maybe even 50 years or more where our lives are 70 to 80 years, hopefully. And so wouldn’t it seem necessary then to have a really good blueprint before you get started? Most of us just kind of wander aimlessly throughout life and then wonder why our life doesn’t look like we want it to look like. Well the only difference between the one that you’re envying and you, is that they have a plan and they worked their plan. They weren’t smarter, they weren’t better, they probably didn’t have really anymore advantages than you did, and I bet even if they did; I can find someone who doesn’t have the advantages that you have, who also got the same result, just because they had a plan. You don’t have to be smart, you don’t have to be fast, you don’t have to know everything there is to know, you just have to have a good plan. So let’s start the planning process today, and I wanna challenge you to be with us for this entire series. I’ll be talking about this for the next month; the Power of a Plan. Acts chapter 22 verse 17 is our first verse for today. It says: “Later when I returned to Jerusalem, this is the Apostle Paul speaking, I was praying in the temple and I saw a vision.” The Apostle Paul says I was at church and I got a vision. Now there are really two times, two types of vision God gives us: the first vision is a warning vision and this is where God says you’re going down the wrong path. He did this to the Apostle Paul right off the bat, blinded him, said you’re not doing the right thing. You’re killing my people, that’s not right. That was when he was Saul, then God changed him in his heart, and openly changed his name to Paul, but he also gave him warning visions along the way, and then he gave him a big vision to go to Rome and to influence the influencers. That’s what, that’s what he wanted to do. If the Apostle Paul lived in America, he’d be moving to Hollywood to influence the influencers, or to Washington to influence the influencers, or to New York. He would wanna go where everyone else is looking. And so that, that was his game plan. And so that’s what he did. So it says later when I returned to Jerusalem, I was praying in the temple and I saw a vision. So God began to give him a vision, but the place God gave him the vision was in the house of God. When he was praying, when he was seeking the Lord, when he was opening scripture, that’s when God gave him a vision, and that’s the same time God will give you a vision. Your vision should get stronger from the messages you hear in church. They should not become weaker. If they’re becoming weaker, that’s a warning that God’s saying that was the wrong direction. But it will get stronger in some area, and that’s God saying this is the direction you are to go. Philippians chapter 2 verse 13 says: “For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. So the way God gets his action plan accomplished, the way he gets his will done is, is he puts it in you.”
So his kingdom agenda, his plans, kingdom of God just means his plans; his plan is, the way that happens is he puts it in you. So he puts it in your wants, in your passion, in your desires; that’s how he gets his kingdom accomplished. Look at Luke chapter 17 verses 20 through 21, Jesus is speaking here: “Asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he replied to them by saying: the kingdom of God does not come with signs to be observed or with visible display.” Wouldn’t we, wouldn’t we love that? Wouldn’t it be great if God was like, do this? It was like some huge Vegas sign saying “Kingdom of God Here, Kingdom of God Here” Wouldn’t that be great, that you could just see some huge sign pointing in the direction, do this? You know these little arrows going: this is who you’ll marry, this is who you’ll marry, wouldn’t that be great? (Laughter) People are like oh, there it is, that’s who it is, you know. I mean I just wish it was that obvious, right? Well that’s not how it works, but actually, I believe it’s even more obvious than that, I really do. Look at this, it says you can’t see it with signs to be observed with visual display, nor will people say look, here it is, or see, it is there. God doesn’t do it that way. You ever wonder why you can’t just go to your preacher and say ‘what’s God’s will for my life?,’ and they just go, well do this, this and that. Well because that would set me up as your Jesus, and I, I may be an okay pastor, but I’m a lousy Jesus. You need to have a personal relationship with God, where he talks to you. And that’s why he will not give you all the information through others, because he wants you to know him. And the funny thing about it is we go to him for advice, we go to him for direction, but the real direction is for us to go to him. That’s what he really wants; he just wants us to go to him. You say oh God, what’s your will? And he says this, you seeking me. That is my will. That’s it, that’s his will, that’s his plan. Look at the next part of the scripture here, it says, it says: For behold, the kingdom of God is within you. It’s in your hearts. Says the kingdom of God is within you, and among you, surrounding you. And here’s what happens, when God, whatever God’s put in your heart, the passions he’s placed in you, when they begin to match up with what is outside of you, now you’re in God’s kingdom plan. This is why when what God put in your heart, suddenly you meet this other person and you go well what’s in me matches that person. Ah, this must be a kingdom connection. What matches me seems to match the dream of this ministry. This must be where God wants you to be involved. What matches in my heart, this resonates with me at this company, this means where God wants you to work. What matches in my heart, matches with this people, this is what God wants you to be involved in. In other words, God always first puts it in you before he gets it out of you. And so the kingdom of God, his agenda, his plans first come in the form of a dream within you. This is why it’s so critical for you to become a success. This why I talk about success, it’s not because of the American form of success. Oh no, not at all. It’s about you becoming all that God has for you, because within you is the kingdom of God, and if we want God’s agenda to happen, then your dreams need to be accomplished. God’s agenda can’t happen unless your agenda happens, because you know what? When you walk with the Lord, he makes your thoughts his thoughts. That’s how he works. And so what does this mean for us today? Number one: It means become a person of prayer, then follow your God given passion. Become a person of prayer, then, then follow this God given passion. Here, here’s the question I’d like to leave you with today: when you leave his presence, what do you want? When you leave his presence, when you really spend time with God, then what do you want? Cause God shapes your wants. He makes you hungry for something. And the reason he makes you, you know what? When your body’s hungry, what is it trying to tell ya? This isn’t complicated. I can start with an easier question. When, when you’re hungry, what is your body telling you? (Crowd noise) To eat. When God gives you a soul hunger for something, he’s trying to say the way I get something accomplished is I give you an appetite for it. And so you got to be hungry, you got a want more. That’s critical that you desire that what it is that God has for you. So I wanna challenge you to make a want list. To make a wanted list, just get alone, just you and the Lord, take a Bible, take a pen and paper with you, no one else around and just write at the top of the page: I Want, and write everything in life that you want. And listen, I wanna encourage you, please be selfish. You say well, what? No, no, no, if you’re trying to follow the Lord, then what you selfishly want becomes what God wants. So it’s okay, be selfish. Write all the things down that you want. At the top of the page should not say what God wants, because you’re gonna give all the Sunday school answers, don’t do that, this is what I want. And what do you want, list all those things. Because once you get past the house, the car, and the boat, then you start to get to the things that you really are meant and put on this earth to do. Everybody wants a house, a car, and a boat. Once you get past all that, then you start to get to the stuff that really matters. See, the person that says well I don’t want any of that; I just want a million dollars. Right, so you can buy a house, a car, and a boat, I understand. (Laughter) See the point is that the whole money thing is really not about money. We say oh, I want a million dollars. It’s not about money; it’s about options that money gives you. That’s what you really want, isn’t it? Why do you want the money? So I can quit this job. Oh, you want freedom then. See you thought it was the money, no, it’s about the freedom. Oh, I want the money. Why? So that I can then go back and teach. Okay, so you wanna teach, that’s what we’re really hearing here. Oh what I really wanna do is I wanna you know whatever, you fill in the blanks. It may be about the money for you. God has certainly given many people a vision for business, that’s a wonderful thing. Whenever I hear preachers knocking it, I think you foolish person, how do you think your ministry runs. We could not do the work of God without you advancing in your business, are you kidding me? Billy Graham never rented one stadium, businessmen did. He could not have reached a soul without the business community honoring God. So do not discount your dreams. Don’t let someone think you’re unspiritual cause you have a vision for something like that, something that seems worldly. Listen: were, we’re all worldly, we’re in the world, we’re just not of it. And so the dreams you have begin to be shaped and you begin to realize that that dream, that someone may say oh that’s just selfish, that’s just about you. No, you know what it’s about. You know your heart, this is where you go with the Lord, you got a go before the Lord and he will shape those dreams. I heard a guy tell me one time about how he went from wanting to be a millionaire to wanting to be a kingdom millionaire. This is where instead of just saying I wanna have a million dollars; you say I wanna give a million dollars to the kingdom of God. That’s how, that’s how visions happen. That’s when God gets _____, that’s when God puts his wind behind your sail, is when you say oh, okay. Now you understand that when you tie our ambitions to God’s ambitions, then God ties his ambition to your ambitions. And that’s when great things happen. And so that is not a bad thing. So I wanna, I wanna challenge you to make an I Want list. Write everything that you want. You may say well people are gonna look at this and think I’m really selfish. Well don’t show em, I didn’t tell you to show anybody. (Laughter) This is just between you and God, and God already knows how selfish you are, so don’t worry about that. (Laughter) Just write down everything that you want. And as you look at that list, you’ll begin to have some real clarity about what you really want out of life. And once you begin to look at that list; when you, when you have about 30 or more things, a lot of these will be things you wanna own, things you wanna experience, relationships you’d like to make, I mean all kinds of things like that. You know people that are single say I wanna be married, people that are married, you wanna be single again, whatever. (Laughter) Anyways, just kidding, hopefully you’re not saying that. But the point is, we all say well you know, I wanna be healthy, you wanna be happy, I wanna be wealthy, I mean okay, those are kind of typicals, right? So that‘s fine, write all those down if that’s for you, that’s fine. Write all those down, but then keep going. Oh, I wanna teach others, I wanna help children, I really just love sports, man, I just wanna do something sports related, or I just really wanna do. Whatever it is for you, I like to build stuff, I like to use my hands, I really wanna, whatever is for you, it could be completely off the map from what everybody, everybody else wants. The point is this is your life, this is you, this is between you and God and the list of all those things. Then begin to say okay now, out of these lists of 30 things, what are the top ten, what matter the most? Okay, now you’re getting somewhere. Now out of the top ten, what are the top five, what are the top four, what if I can only choose three, what if I can only do one, what would it be? Gets pretty clear doesn’t it? Now most of us only get down to one or two; it’d obviously be the Lord, our families, you know our marriages. I mean obviously we had those things as, as the top one. If you don’t, then I have some other series that you need to buy, (Laughter) but anyways the point is you’re gonna have those. But what you really are looking for is what your life sentence is? See, if you don’t have a life sentence, your life becomes a life sentence. Hope you get that. If you don’t have a life sentence, this is what my life is about; you are guaranteeing you’ll have a life sentence. You’ll be in your prison of your own desires, never accomplishing anything you really want, and therefore you become a prisoner of your wants, never seeing it happen, never seeing the reality of it. Isn’t it time, isn’t it time for us to finally see the things we dream of happen? Isn’t it time, first to quit putting off those things, isn’t it time for those things to become a reality? I believe it is. And I believe now is the time for it to happen. I’m convinced, I’m convinced that God has been preparing us, he’s been getting us ready for something he’s about to do. I’m convinced that he is creating a large hunger in you, and the only reason he creates hunger is because he satisfies hunger, because he satisfies it. And so, go with what God pours on you. He will do this through prayer, through seeking him; he will give you a passion. T. E. Lawrence once said: “all men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, awake in the day to find that it was vanity. But the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act out their dreams with open eyes to make it possible. Dream, dream big, and then let’s go for those dreams.”
So once you have that plan, that purpose, that all encompassing purpose. Now to have a plan doesn’t mean you have everything figured out; it just means that you know what your life is about. What you do and why you do it. The why by the way, must come before the what. You got a know why you do stuff before you know what you do; otherwise your what may be all wrong. You may be climbing the ladder only to find out when you get through the clouds that the ladder was leaning against the wrong building. See, you wanna make sure you know why you do it. Then once you determine the why, then you can figure out the what. Here’s the thing I’ve discovered; if you just make it about getting the house, the car, and the boat, then you’ll never really achieve your dreams. But here’s the funny thing about the way the Lord works. If you really go for the dreams that God gives you to make a difference in the world all around you and to really help others, and really tie your dreams to making an impact on the kingdom of God, touching lives, impacting his house, his purposes and his plans. And guess what? God just throws in the house, the car and the boat. That’s the way he works. He just throws that stuff in if you make it about him. Make it about him and his plans. They’re far bigger. And you know I discovered I used to be scared that O Lord, I don’t know if I want your dream, because you may make me give up mine. Only to discover the whole time that he was the one who gave me my dream anyways. So what I’ve discovered like Abraham who had the child that God gave him that he had to be willing to sacrifice that child; not because God really wanted him to sacrifice it. God didn’t want him to sacrifice a child; he just wanted to make sure that the child that represented Abraham’s dream, which was to happen to be a father of nations. He just wanted to make sure that Abraham loved God more than the dream. God’s fine with your dream. Just make sure you love him more than the dream you have. That, that’s the reminder that the dream came from him. It came from him, it’ll be fulfilled through him, and it’ll be fulfilled for him. So it starts with him, it’s all about him and it ends with him. That’s the way that works. But go for that dream; don’t hold back, it’s time to go for it. We’re supposed to be bold. We’re supposed to step out in the faith that God gives us. It’s time to move, it’s time for action at this point. Look how back in chapter 2 verses 2. It says write down the vision, write it clearly on clay tablets so whoever reads it can run to tell others. To write it clearly on clay tablets so people can run. Well if you’re running by a sign, needs to be a pretty big sign. I mean it can’t be one of those detailed government types signs with like 28 little lines and you’re like I can’t, I can’t, wait you guys, stop, hold on. Don’t interrupt me; I got a read this entire thing. Nanananana, and it can’t be that kind of sign, right? Too much detail; it’s got a be just a big simple sign. And so what this teaches us about vision is that if your vision cannot be said in one or two sentences, it’s too broad, too big, no ones gonna get that. You need to be able to clarify. This is what I’m about. This is my life sentence, this is what I do. What is it that God has called you to do? Another translation says write it on a billboard. I love that one. If you cannot write your vision on a billboard, that can’t be very wordy on a billboard, then it’s too big. It’s too complicated, it’s, it’s not clear enough. What you’re really about; you got a know what you’re about.
For one of the reasons why you need to know what you’re about, so you know what you’re not about. What this teaches us, number two is to set goals based upon the vision that God gives you of your future. We got a learn to set goals. And let’s not talk a lot about goals, but it’s so critical. And you know it’s, it never ceased to amaze me when every once in a while someone comes up and says to me, you know you always talk about goals, and I’ll ask him, well do you have any? Oh no. Well, I’m gonna keep talking about it. You need to get some goals. I went and talked at a church one time, and they asked me to come and share on Evangelism and we, we were very blessed to see a lot of people receive Christ here at Bay area. And they asked me just to come share our experience and what we do. And so I just kind of told the story of how we reach out to people, and what we do, and different tactics and techniques and stuff that we use to reach out to people. A guy come up to me afterwards, very upset. He said I don’t agree with your approach to evangelism at all. I said I’m okay with that. What’s your approach? He goes; well I don’t really have one. I said I like mine better. (Laughter) I’m not saying you have to have the perfect plan, I don’t have the perfect plan, but I have a plan. Do you have a plan? Let’s start with that, just have a plan. Do you have written down goals? Write them down; know what you want so you know what to go for. If you don’t know what you want, you’re not gonna get it. If you don’t know what you want, you’re not even gonna know the step to take. So it’s important we know what we want and that we write it down and make it clear. We got a make it very, very clear. Now I know that we serve an unlimited God, but the ultimate limit is really not money. The ultimate limit is your time. We all only have maybe 70-80 years, and so if you’ve only got this much time, how are you gonna use it? The real challenge with our goals is not what we wanna do; the real challenge is to quit doing the things that don’t matter. The real challenge is to eliminate distractions that are getting in the way of the dream that we have. So I wanna challenge you, what is in the way? What do you need to cut out of your life? What needs to quit happening in your life? How are you wasting your time that’s keeping you from the future that God has for you? And so what is it that God wants you to eliminate? Look at Matthew chapter 6 verse 33, a very famous verse. It says: “The thing you should want most is God’s kingdom and doing what God wants, then all these other things you need will be given to you. So don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will have its own worries. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Boy, that’s true isn’t it? It says don’t get all caught up and worried about tomorrow. You know we spend so much time, an _____ of time is, amount of time is wasted in our lives worrying about things that will never even happen. Have you ever looked back at old journals, or old prayer requests you wrote down somewhere, of things you were so worried about that never even happened? Most of the stuff we’re worried about never even happens. We’re worried about things that typically aren’t even a reality. Worry does not add a day to your life, it does not add a moment, it adds nothing. And worry really is just negative faith, cause all that is faith; it’s just faith in the belief that things are gonna go bad. So I just encourage you, instead of being faithful and believing things are gonna go bad, be faithful and believe that God is in control and he’s gonna take care of it. Don’t spend your time worrying; spend your time living out your life, taking action, moving in the direction that God has led you to go. Look at Ephesians chapter 5 verse 17, says: “Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.” And so God just called us all fools if we don’t focus on his will. What is his agenda?
So I wanna challenge you, now that you, you know the, the dream that God has given you to set goals on that, and number three is to change your priorities to reflect the vision that God has given you, change your priorities. My real question for you today is not what you’re gonna start doing, what are you gonna stop doing? What are you gonna eliminate from your life this year? What are you gonna do differently? What is it in your life you say okay, I don’t wanna cut this area, but I’m willing to cut that? We’ve got to get down to the priorities about what matters the most.
You wanna come to our church, I’ll tell you right now, if you wanna know in a sentence in the billboard version of what we’re all about? We are all about people who are unchruch, who don’t know Jesus Christ, walk in the doors of our church, hearing and seeing the love of God through people all around them, hearing a message that inspires, motivates, and touches their lives, and leaving with Jesus Christ in their heart. We’re about changed lives, (Applause) that would be the billboard, changed lives, that’s it, that’s what we’re about. Why are we not gonna turn off the television? Changed lives. We’re not gonna turn off the TV ministry. You know why? Because it’s changing lives. Why are we gonna keep doing services and pouring money into our weekend services; you know why? Changed lives, that’s why, because that changes lives. So I wanna ask you the question; what are you doing that matters? What are you doing that really counts in your life? Focus on those things and only those things, and everything else in your company, in your family, in your business, in your personal time that really doesn’t matter; cut those. Don’t cut what matters. Would you bow your heads with me? With your head bowed and your eyes closed, as we talk about the power of a plan; God has a plan for you. He has a great plan for you, a plan to bless you, a plan to change your life. He has a plan that goes far beyond this life. He, it says in scripture that he is building a mansion for you. Did you know that? He’s building a house and it’s a nice one, all the amenities for you. God is creating a future for you in heaven as well as on this earth. I’m gonna challenge you, the core of who you are. You know there’s something inside you that wants more. There’s something inside you that believe that there’s something bigger than all of us, cause it’s true. God created us with a desire for him, to know him, to be given the gift of faith. With your head bowed and your eyes closed, would you pray a simple prayer with me by faith? Would you just push the button? You don’t have to understand how the computer works, you don’t have to get all that, if you just take it by faith. Alright, that’s true, I don’t get all the circuitry, I don’t really understand how that all works. I just plug and play. It just works. God works. Why? He sent his Son to die on the cross. That’s all I need to know. You know you get the package and the computer in the mail, and you open it up and it’s just got that one sheet that says just open this first, just do this, this, and this. Here’s the package. Before you try to figure everything else out, accept Christ that he died on the cross. Believe that he paid the price for your sins, repent of your sins saying God; I wanna turn from my life. I wanna live for you from this day forward. And then last, I wanna make you the Lord of my life, which means I wanna put you as my boss. Let’s do that right now. You can pray this prayer, you say Jesus, I believe that you died on the cross for me. I’m gonna accept what you done for me. I believe you paid the price for my sins, that you gave your life to pay the price for all the things I’ve done wrong. I believe he rose again from the grave, proving that you’re God, and therefore I repent of my sins, I turn from living for myself. I now wanna make you the boss, the Lord of my life. I put you in charge. Thank you Jesus for saving me. I wanna follow you from this day forward, in Jesus name, Amen, amen. Isn’t God good? (Applause) His words so clear, it’s so clear. Thank you guys for being here.
Bil Cornelius>> If you put in the ground certain seed, it’s only gonna give you what that seed can produce. If you treat your spouse disrespectfully, why are you surprised when they’re disrespecting you? Are you willing to invent new opportunities? Instead of waiting around to invest in old opportunities that are dying, it’s time to invent new opportunities. When you say my problem has just gotten out of control. It got out of control not because of them, it got out of control because you’re afraid to confront, and until you confront, it will get out of control. For everyone gets honor on those who deserve it, but what do you do when you got a honor someone who is not deserving of it?
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