Chapel Service

 Phoenix International Raceway

March 3, 2012

“Consider God’s Plan…

Before YOU Plan”

  Bob Butcher

 Here we are …the first race of the 2012 season!  Everyone’s been busy building new cars, preparing every facet of the 2012 plan to get the job done this year with a Championship in focus.  Now, here we are in Phoenix at not only the first race; but in front of all the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Teams and Owners!  That’s huge with respect to the fact that it is a wide open opportunity to display one’s talent before the very people that hold the key to your career at the top of the sport.

 It is easy to think everyone has done their job to the best of their ability.  BUT …yes, there’s that big, huge word that often leaves us wondering.  Let me tell you about not only human nature’s mistake but also our usual mistake in times like this.

 There are a number of places in scripture where God’s people made the same mistakes so let me tell you one of the costliest times they did.  Go to 1 Samuel chapter 4 to find this sad event.

 1 Samuel 4: 1-3:

Now the Israelites went out to fight against the Philistines. The Israelites camped at Ebenezer, and the Philistines at Aphek.  The Philistines deployed their forces to meet Israel, and as the battle spread, Israel was defeated by the Philistines, who killed about four thousand of them on the battlefield.  When the soldiers returned to camp, the elders of Israel asked, “Why did the LORD bring defeat on us today before the Philistines?

 You will note if you read this in the Bible that I left off the very first part of verse one.  You see God had raised up Samuel to become His prophet to the nation of Israel.  It was a time before Israel had kings.  Instead they were led by men called Judges and they had God’s prophets to consult as they led the nation.  Unfortunately, they chose not to listen to Samuel and because of that, alienated God.

 The first part of verse one is the result of verse 19 – 21 of chapter three.

1 Samuel 3:19-21:

Samuel grew up and God was with him.  Samuel’s prophetic record was flawless. Everyone in Israel, from Dan in the north to Beersheba in the south, recognized that Samuel was the real thing—a true prophet of God. God continued to show up at Shiloh, revealed through His word to Samuel at Shiloh.

 So here they were …defeated and wondering why.  So, what do they do now?  Look at the next verse:

1 Samuel 4: 3-4:

“Why did the LORD bring defeat on us today before the Philistines? Let us bring the ark of the LORD’s covenant from Shiloh, so that he may go with us and save us from the hand of our enemies.” So the people sent men to Shiloh, and they brought back the ark of the covenant of the LORD Almighty, who is enthroned between the cherubim.”

 What they had done is think back into their history with Joshua leading them against Jericho.

Joshua 6: 2-5:

God spoke to Joshua, “Look sharp now. I’ve already given Jericho to you, along with its king and its crack troops. Here’s what you are to do: March around the city, all your soldiers. Circle the city once. Repeat this for six days. Have seven priests carry seven ram’s horn trumpets in front of the Chest. On the seventh day march around the city seven times, the priests blowing away on the trumpets. And then, a long blast on the ram’s horn—when you hear that, all the people are to shout at the top of their lungs. The city wall will collapse at once. All the people are to enter, every man straight on in.”

 Well …they had a great idea.  It worked before.  They thought: “Hey, it’s our God and His Ark.”

 I don’t believe they were thinking the Ark was their lucky charm.  It was far more than that.  The trouble is that this generation was only giving God lip service for many years now.

 The deal is that they should have known better!  They failed to consult God about using the ark.

 While they were right about the ark being carried into battle at the very front, they did not stop to consider that God’s plan, NOT the ark’s involvement, allowed Israel to defeat Jericho.

 The results?  The ark was captured despite the Philistines great fear and 30, 000 Israelite troops were slaughtered.

 A Side Bar at this point:

I have always snickered at the cost to the Philistines by taking the ark back to their holy city.

They placed the ark into their temple to their god Dagon.  The result was Dagon statue and their others falling over and laying on the ground before the ark morning after morning and then finally they were smashed.  But that wasn’t the worse ordeal.  God smote the Philistine people and all their cities they kept moving it too (in order to get rid of it’s effect) with tumors.  (If you dig into the translation of the word used it comes out hemorrhoids)   Finally, after 7 months they begged the Israelites to take it back.

(You can read about this in 1 Samuel chapter 5 and 6.)

 You see, no matter what our resources, we will likely fail unless we use them according to God’s plan.

 Then what’s the solution?

 Let’s study the Word,

  • Let’s pray for God’s direction
  • Let’s trust His leading
    • Let’s also remember that God has people close by who would be a good confidential partner to assist you in the first two above. However, choose wisely!

BEFORE we step out in any adventure!

 That is because we only see in part, while God sees the whole.

 Let me share Kathy’s and my personal story here.  In over our 25 years in “full time faith – for – provision” type of ministry with only donations for even our family’s needs, we have annually taken a season of time to seek Him for our next direction.

 At the end of each year through the beginning of the next New Year, we would begin to evaluate each part of our previous year’s operation and ask about what, how, and where, we would minister in the New Year, plus how we are to finance it.

 Our daughters learned this Biblical principal early in their own lives as we ALL would go before the Lord each year and ask whether He wanted them to attend Home School or a Christian Academy, (either of which was their dream) or public school and be a witness for Christ.  For history sake, Leeanne got to be home schooled her Kindergarten year and following that both attended Public School.  Sarah graduated a year early and then attended Home School/On-Line Community College to add to her Senior year records in which she excelled dynamically differently than all her public school years.  It simply met her learning style unlike public school. Each year all four of us received that unanimous direction from God as we sought His plan for their education.

 In the financial area you need not be surprised that it was a struggle annually.  Just stop to consider the consequences if we are wrong!   Yes, we have had our misses, and that’s why I am telling you this.  We have learned some lessons the hard way.

 A couple of times now, we have tried doing things like…

  • listening to the way the experts say fund raising works best and going that direction
  • and just plain trying to do it the way we always have done it before.

 The results?  Hahaha …well, not only did we fail to gain new donor sponsors, but we began losing ones we have had for years!  It was almost a catastrophe … Almost? …No, it was!

 As soon as we changed our approach and sought His direction again, things turned around immediately, but slowly I might add.

  • I want to note that there was always a cost that never got covered each year, every time we did this.

 How was that for an answer concerning what we were doing?

 That is exactly why I am dealing with this subject at the very first race of 2012.

  • Have YOU ask God about HISplan for you and your team going into this season?
    • Are you supposed to change anything?
    • Team personnel positions, etc.
    • What about your personal life?
      • What about your family commitments versus racing commitments?
      • Let’s think about another area:  What about habits or addictions you have tried desperately to remove.
        • There’s your way, the ways the experts say or others used with success…
        • But have you sought the personal, special way God plans for you to be set free?

 Hopefully you get the idea because God DOES HAVE A PLAN for your life …one which is His BEST!

 Sometimes it includes other people’s involvement to accomplish His plan for you.

  • Kathy and I are an example for this …Look:
  • Consider all of this Series involvement in helping to keep our involvement in our K&N Pro Series.

 Remember, no matter what our resources, we will likely fail unless we use them according to God’s plan.

  • Let’s study the Word,
  • pray for God’s direction
  • trust His leading

BEFORE we step out in any adventure!

 Please remember that Kathy and I are here to help you at any time night or day 24 x 7 x 365 (oops 366 this year!)

Seriously, Kathy and I most usually do not even share our ministry to someone with each other unless the person suggests that we do or Okays it.  Please pick your confidants wisely!  Normally, a reputable Pastor is safe.  If you do not know any in your area, let us know and we will help you find one that we have confidence in.