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-- © GodSpeak International 2005 --
-- Do not republish without written permission from <copyright@godspeak.org> --

Author: Rodney Hogue <rodhogue@aol.com> http://www.icgrace.org
Editors: Teresa Seputis, Earlene Bown
Transcribers: Sharon Farris, Rita Joyce, Erma Kummerer, Fred Pekkonen

Prayer-School Course #32

Grace and Christian Values

By Rodney Hogue

Lesson 5
Restoration and the Master Plan

By way of a quick review, this teaching started when my church recently changed its name. We made that change because we wanted a name that better reflected our destiny and values. We feel like God has been leading us into a new level of our destiny and into some new areas. Over and over in the Bible, whenever a person came into a new destiny, there was often a name change associated with that to describe the calling, to describe the destiny.

This "new destiny" does not seem to be isolated to just my church. The church at large is also moving into some new levels of penetration, into the different realms in our culture in order to advance the kingdom of God. But it is also deeply impacting our local congregation, so the leadership there felt that as God calls us into a new place, into a new level, we need a new name to describe and simply to define who we are and what God has called us to do and be. So, we're calling ourselves Community of Grace. We're sort of moving into that and we're beginning to lay the foundation.

As we did this, we wanted to give our members something easy to remember what is important in the House of Grace, by giving them as an acronym for what G.R.A.C.E. stands for -- five values that we have. (This teaching was originally developed just for my own church to underscore our church values. But since these five values are kingdom values and are universal to many churches in the body Of Christ, I am making this teaching more generally available. Of course, each church will have its own unique calling, and that calling may define some other values in addition to these five. Any given church may end up placing a much lower emphasis on some of the values I am talking about, but they will embrace them to one degree or another. That is why I am going ahead and sharing these five values with you in this teaching series.)

The first letter, G, stands for "God's presence" and our pursuing that. A better name might even be "glory chasers," because we are to pursue His glory, to chase after Him. If you don't have His presence, you don't have much of anything. Our highest value is going after, pushing in, pursuing His presence. We talked how to do that and some things related to that.

Now it is time to move on to talk about the "R" in grace. It stands for "Restoration" or "restoring lives." And that is very important in the body of Christ, as we tend to be sinful and imperfect beings who need to be redeemed and restored. The redemption part was accomplished when Jesus died for our sins and rose again. We have instant forgiveness and are made pure and holy in God's eyes when we believe in Jesus. But the restoration part is not instant. In fact, it usually takes quite a while because God often tends to work through a process.

This value of Restoration is based on the premise that God really does have a plan for each of our lives. God does have a purpose, a plan. This is a foundational thing. When God made and created you, He also designed you. He did it on purpose and with intention, and you are not an accident. You are not a mistake of God or a boo-boo of some sort. Some people think because they may have gotten on planet earth by illegitimate means, that makes them illegitimate people. That is not true! God's not limited by legitimacy or illegitimacy. That statement may mess with your theology, but the Bible says that God planned everybody. That is the premise we focus upon, that everybody who lives on planet earth, God knew about in advance.

God planned a perfect will for each life and wants to give each person an invitation. Now, that's the foundational principle by which we operate on. When we first begin to walk in this area of restoration, we didn't really know what the calling of God was bringing us into. Fourteen years ago, our church was a mess and we had to go through a conflict resolution process. That is when we began to find who we are, we began to set a very generic statement of purpose. We were just here to impact our city and its surrounding communities with the love of God.

About four years into this, we began to see that there was an anointing upon us for healing and restoration. We developed a new statement of purpose because we had pulled back and turned inward so that God could heal us. Now it was time to begin moving forward again. We began to realize that some of the people in our congregation were developing into ministers of healing. So we began to say, "OK. Let's be very intentional in what we do and how we do it." In 1995, we developed a new statement of purpose. The first couple of lines say this:

We are here as a church to equip you, to discern and to carry out God's call on your life, by accepting you where you are and restoring you to be completely all in Christ.

The first thing we have to embrace in restoration is that God really does have a plan. We muts believe, "God really does have a call on my life. I am not a mistake; I am not an accident." God really planned you and has a purpose for your life.

The word of God says this in Psalm 139:13-16, "You made my whole being. You formed me in my mother's body. I praise You because You made me in an amazing and wonderful way. What You have done is wonderful. I know this very well. You saw my bones being formed as I took shape in my mother's body. When I was put together there, You saw my body as it was being formed. All the days planned for me were written in Your book before I was one day old."

There is one phrase in the middle of that which says, "What You have done is wonderful and I know this very well." God wants you to know this very well: He thought about you. He planned you. He designed you. Now some of us are still mad at God for that one. Why did you give me the parents that You gave me? Why was I born when I was born, where I was born. How come You gave me the color of hair that I did. How come You gave me the genes that I would lose my hair?

Some of us have been designed with things we'd rather not have, and these may be issues we have to address with God. But the first thing is that we must embrace that God really does know everything. His design and everything about your life is going to fit His call upon your life. The first thing that we have to embrace is that God really did do things with intention and on purpose. We just take faith that God's wisdom is far above our limited human perspective.

Sometimes, some people really blow it in their lives. They just mess up horribly. Then they say, "How can God ever use me? Look at all I've done! How can God ever, ever use me?" There is not any mistake that's so big, so huge and massive that God's love and His grace can't heal, restore and make new. That is a good thing about God, isn't it?

The first thing is that God does have a wonderful plan for your life. The second thing is that there is accountability about following the plan. God did not just say, "Here's a plan and I hope you will be able to follow it." Then one day He says, "Did you happen to follow the plan that I gave you? Oh, you didn't. Okay, well, that's all right." Nope, it does not happen that way. God really expects and wants us to follow the plan.

One of the roles of the church is to help you to follow the plan. That is because one day you're going to stand before God. It says in 2 Cor 5:10 that "we must all appear," and that word is a rather inclusive term. We will "all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may be recompensed for his deeds done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad."

God entrusts us with His most valuable possession. He has entrusted us with our own lives and we are valuable and precious to God. When you look at the stories in the gospel, you see in the parables of Jesus, He speaks about faithfulness to what God has entrusted to us. He talks about the guy with the talents, how He gave one five, one two talents, one, one talent. I don't know why he gave one five! I mean the guy that had two said, "What? How come you didn't give me five?" It's up to God as to what God gives you. But, it's up to you to be faithful with what He gives you. If He gave you two, you don't have to be faithful with five, just with two. Whatever God has given to you, whatever He has entrusted to you in your life, your time, your abilities, your talents, whatever God has given to you, He just wants you to be faithful with what He gave you, not with what He gave someone else.

Again, the first step in restoration is accepting that God carefully and intentionally designed us, that we are not an accident or a mistake, and that He has a purpose for our lives. And that purpose is why He designed us the way we turned out. We have been carefully designed according to His plan and purpose. We need to stop disliking God's design and stop complaining about it and we need to begin to allow God to show us what His purpose is and to teach us how to walk it out.

-- © GodSpeak International 2005 --
-- Do not republish without written permission from copyright@godspeak.org --

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