During the past two weeks most of us have been brave enough to identify
an area of our life that's unmanageable. Some forgot to do the work sheets
and others deny they have a problem. Your problem may be major or it may
be minor. The point is, it's a problem and I want to remind you that all
major problems begin their life as tiny little minor baby problems. Rev.
Weekly had a vision of a church that would one day be one of the great
churches of North Carolina. A church that would one day send ministers
and missionaries around the world. The church grew, no one held back. Everyone
gave and prayed for the church. Gordon's wife, Norma Lou, seldom saw him
except at bedtime and at church functions. There was no time for this busy
young preacher to spend with his family.
Gordon had lunch with his doctor one day and told him, "Really Doc,
things couldn't be much better except I've been feeling a little jittery
lately. A bit edgy. My days are pretty full and I'm having a hard time
getting to sleep at night. I just lie there and think about all the things
I have to do that I love doing." His Doctor friend said, "I can fix that
for you. I'll give you a prescription for a new drug called Doriden, it'll
help you get the sleep you've been missing. Somehow Gordon missed hearing
Jesus say, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will
give you rest."
I have a question for all you armchair doctors, "On the basis of what
I have told you, what was Gordon Weekly's greatest need at that point in
his life?" Gordon needed management brought into his life. His physical
and emotional being was unable to cope with the demands he was placing
His jitters and insomnia were cries from his body for help. His body
was saying, "Gordon, you're pushing me beyond my limits. Gordon's response
to his body was, "shut-up and do your job and if you insist on bugging
me I'll give you a shot of Doriden." At this point, Gordon needed to give
God the steering wheel of his life. He was desperately in need of practising
what he preached and listening to what he read from the Bible.
"Unless the Lord builds a house, the builder's work in useless.....It
is senseless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night.....God
wants His loved ones to get their proper rest." Psalms. 127:1,2. Drug companies
profit because we're an out of control generation that's abandoned biblical
values. We desperately need to hear Jesus' wonderful invitation to "Come
unto me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest."
Billy Graham asked Rev. Weekly to go to Africa with him. While over
there a friend said to Gordon, "Why are you so out of it at night." That
was a warning flag Gordon missed. The group was to visit Mt. Kilimanjaro
very early one morning and Gordon would have to help drive. This worried
Gordon because he was always very drowsy early in the morning. The mission
Doctor said, "No problem, I'll give you a Dexamyl." The next morning when
it was Gordon's turn to drive he took a Dexamyl. In 15 min. Gordon had
a rush of energy and a wonderful feeling of Euphoria. Gordon Weekly returned
from Africa with a zeal for missions and a fondness for Dexamyl.
One day while at lunch this busy dynamic, missionary minded man of God
leaned over to his doctor and said, "a physician in Africa gave me some
Dexamyl that made me feel peppier during the day. Do you think you could
get me some?" "No problem" said his Dr. friend, "come by the office and
I'll give you a prescription." Now Rev. Weekly was set, energy tinged with
euphoria in the day; drowsiness tinged with euphoria in the evening.
The circle was complete. Gordon rejected the invitations of Jesus to
carry his load and quench his thirst. Instead of letting God take the steering
wheel of his life, Gordon gave the steering wheel to America's drug companies.
Why would Gordon not listen to the wonderful invitation of Jesus? "Come
unto me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest."
I guess Gordon rejected them for the same reason we reject them....
We're in denial, "My problem is not that bad" or else we say, "I can handle
it by myself." That's why many of you have not made the time to take the
work sheets, get alone and face the hard facts. You say to yourself, "How
can answering these simplistic questions make any difference in my life?
Submit to the process and find out. The fact is, you can't handle your
problem by yourself. If we could we would, since we can't we won't. Remember,
the ten messages in this series is a Biblical strategy for getting on the
road to getting your act together.
These steps are for everyone, just because we use the letters AA don't
think the process is only for alcoholics and drug addicts. This process
is aimed at Pastors, Lay Pastors, Elders and all the rest of you straight
people who want victory.
Step One: We admitted we were powerless over our separation from
God and that our lives had become unmanageable.
Step Two: Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves
could restore us to sanity.
Step three: We made a decision to turn our will and our lives
over to the care and direction of God.
How can we give God the steering wheel of our lives? How do we accept
the wonderful invitation of Jesus to bring our fatigued, overburdened lives
to Him for rest? If there was a way that I could show you how to do this,
how many would like to do it?
People do this in many symbolic ways. At camp many of you threw sticks
on the fire, others make out sin lists and burnt them, some went forward
to pray at the altar, others put up their hands and the preacher would
say, "I see that hand." There are three phases most people go through before
they begin the process of turning their will and life over to God.
I. Desperation Is An Emotion We Experience Before Giving God The
Steering Wheel Of Our Life You have to be desperate, what else would
motivate a person to turn their will over to God? Some call it hitting
the wall, others call it hitting bottom, kissing concrete.
When I review my life I discover that any changes in direction that
I took were preceded by a shift in my core values. The shift in my core
values was preceded by a significant emotional jolt. The emotional jolt
seemed to create an intense prolonged thirst for reality.
It's at those times that the words of Jesus have fresh appeal. "If anyone
is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the
Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him."
(John 7:3739) Who does Jesus direct this invitation to? Thirsty people.
What does Jesus invite them to do? Drink. What is the condition that Jesus
places on the drinking? Whoever believes in me. What is the net effect
or the result of the drinking? The thirst will be quenched.
Whatever it is that drives us crazy and leaves us with this unsatisfied
feeling, Jesus promises to quench it. Step one told us that our separation
from God has caused problems that show up in our lives. At the base of
these problems lie the 5A's that I talked about in another message. The
unquenchable thirst we have is for affection, acceptance, appreciation,
approval and attention. We have a voracious appetite for these 5A's. The
corruption of them and the lack of them is what lies at the base of all
our addictions. We turn to our addictions for our affection, acceptance,
appreciation, approval and attention instead of to Jesus. The promise of
Jesus is that we will change from being emotionally addicted to the 5A's.
The promise of v.39 is that streams of living water will flow from within
us if we turn the steering wheel of our lives over to Jesus and begin drinking
at His fountain.
Our addiction to affection, acceptance, appreciation, approval and attention
will go and we will have it to give to others. The promise is that we won't
be giving out of our drivenness like Rev. Weekly was giving. We will be
giving out of the overflow of what God has put in us. You will know healing
is happening when the river begins to flow from you. Thirst alone does
not motivate thirsty people to give Jesus the steering wheel of their life.
There are at least four desperation points in our lives that give us a
strong enough emotional jolt to motivate us to take our hands off our steering
God is not that kind of deal maker. You can't trust Him by hesitation
or holding back. You can't trust him by being passive. When you blank cheque
it and say, "Okay God, here it is." Then He will give you the joy to do
His will. He will guide you step by step in the way that you should go.
Psalms 32:8 "I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you and watch over you." Step one is you have to be desperate.
Step two was you can't deal with God.
III. We Give God The Steering Wheel By A New Obedience To His Written
Word. What do I mean by a new obedience? Most of you can identify some
activity, action or attitude in your life to which the bible clearly says
a loud no. Ephesians 4:2232 gives examples of areas of obedience.
You replace an old habit with some new habit. You must put off and put
on, say no and say yes. You can't do that on your own, that's why you have
to turn your life over to the will and direction of God.
I began the message with the AA STEP THREE, We made a decision to turn
our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him. One
biblical counterpart to that is the invitation of Jesus, "Come unto me
all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest."
It's been my experience that rest and balance return to your life as
you begin to obey in the little areas that you've been neglecting. Once
small step of obedience will produce a bumper crop of love, joy and peace.
All it takes is one small step of obedience and you'll know God has a firm
loving grip on your steering wheel and you'll feel so secure.
Some of you are still saying, "My problem's not that bad yet." You admitted
there are areas in your life where you have been disobedient to God for
years. You have the feeling that God has been overlooking your sin. You're
saying to your self, "I think I'll get away with it. I think I'll continue
to hold tightly on to the steering wheel. You remind me of the man who
jumped from the 20th floor of a sky scraper. As he passed the 10th floor
his friends heard him say, "So far so good."
I see the bottom line of the message like this. You can give Jesus the
steering wheel and accept His offer of rest and refreshment . . . OR you
can kiss concrete at the end of a thrilling 20 story free fall. Next week
we'll find out what Rev. Weekly was saying as he flew past the 10th floor.
We may even find out if he kissed the concrete.
Statisticians tell me that 20% of you will leave this morning saying,
"God I accept your invitation for rest, refreshment and direction. Please
take the steering wheel of my life. 80% of you will walk out the door saying,
"So far so good." I would love to rub the statisticians nose in his own
numbers. Let's make it 80% who say, "God take the steering wheel" and 20%
who say, "So far so good."
Step 3 Personal Discovery Exercise
2. To finish well in life it's important that we have a clear picture
of what the finished product will be like. Write a brief description of
the achievements, contributions, character traits and values you want each
of the following to remember and say about you. I would like my spouse
or parents to remember me for the following character traits and values:
(see Appendix A for a list of character traits)
I would like my spouse or parents to remember me for my following personal
I would like my spouse or parents to remember me for the following contributions
I've made to mankind.
I would like my children to remember me for the following character
traits and values:
I would like my children or friends to remember me for my following
I would like my children or friends to remember me for the following
contributions I've made to mankind.
STEP THREE is the central theme of all the steps. It is the point
at which we make a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the
care of God. In Steps One and Two we established the basis for turning
our lives over to the care of God. The commitment we now make in Step Three
must be repeated more than once, for we are just beginning to turn things
over to God. Repeated working of the first three steps helps to build a
solid foundation for working the total program.
3. As you think about turning the steering wheel of your life over to
God describe the fears and reservations you experience.
4. What does Psalm 127:1,2 tell you about living?
What did you learn from the story of Rev. Gordon Weekly?
5. READ PROV. 3:5,6. What three actions does this verse encourage us
to take and what promise is made?
How do you expect the Lord to help you make your paths straight?
6. Many of us begin Step Three by deciding to turn over only certain
parts of our lives to God's control. We are willing to surrender the most
difficult problems when we see they are making our lives unmanageable.
We cling to other areas of our lives because we think we can manage them.
We eventually realize that we cannot barter with God. When we truly accept
this fact our journey to wholeness has begun. List the areas you are willing
to turn over to God.
List the areas you are unwilling to turn over to God.
7. Desperation is an emotion we experience before giving god the steering
WHEEL OF OUR LIFE. You have to be desperate, what else would motivate a
person to turn their will over to God? You must be desperate, some call
it hitting the wall, others call it hitting bottom, kissing concrete. When
I review my life I discover that any changes in direction that I took were
preceded by a shift in my core values. The shift in my core values was
preceded by a significant emotional jolt. The emotional jolt seemed to
create an intense prolonged thirst for reality. Describe how a desperate
situation has made an impact on your values and relationship with God.
It's at those times that the words of Jesus have fresh appeal. How are
you experiencing the promise of John 7:37-39?
8. One of the great thirsts we experience is for affection, acceptance,
appreciation, approval and attention from those we hold in esteem. Underline
the ones you currently sense the greatest need for. Explain how you sense
God giving you affection, acceptance, appreciation, approval and attention.
9. Write a line about one of the following.
* Tragedy or crisis in our own life makes us thirsty for God's
* Failure and loss make us desperate for God's wise hands on
the steering wheel of our lives.
* Broken relationships fuel our desperation for the security
of a relationship with God. When you continue to hurt the ones you love.
When you continue to have wreckage around you. When you look behind you,
you see that the trashing of relationships just isn't worth it.
* The fear of death generates desperation for God to grip our
10. READ Ephesians 5:14. People go along in life and then they experience
a "wake-up call." The wake-up call comes when enough is enough. Write a
few lines about a "wake-up call" God has given to you.
11. The second phase we go through in giving God the steering wheel
of our life is negotiation. In our desperation we try to cut a deal with
God. Many people pray, "God if you will save my business, I'll give my
life over to you." "God, if you'll just keep the deals coming in I'll talk
about you everywhere." "Lord, if you'll promise to save my marriage, I'll
turn my will over to you." "Almighty God if only you'll heal my child,
I'll turn my will over to you." What's the problem with cutting a deal
12. We give God the steering wheel by a new obedience to his written
word. Most of you can identify some activity, action or attitude in your
life to which the bible clearly says a loud no. READ Ephesians 4:2232
and list the negatives we are to stop doing and the positives we are to
13. Why is obedience to the written word of God so critical to our recovery
and balanced living?
Romans 10:9-11 gives us very clear instruction on how we give God the
steering wheel of our lives. Carefully read these verses and then write
a prayer that contains the essential steps to turn our life over to God.