People sometimes ask how I turn my outlines into sermons.  Here is an example of the sermon I would preach from the outline for blog entry for Sunday, August 21, 2011)

When I’m going on a trip, it’s important to know where I am going. It seems pretty fundamental that all of us need to know where we are going. 

In contrast, we love to quote and sing, Proverbs 3:5, “Trust the Lord with all your heart and don’t depend on  your own understanding.”  However, do we actually realize what God is saying?  Most of the time God tells us that we are to go.  Then he does not fill in the blanks.  We end up not knowing exactly where our journey will end.   

We love to reminisce about the great story of Abram and how God sent him away from his homeland, his friends and  family (Genesis 12:1-9).  The romance of the story grips my spirit of adventure and thrills me down to my toe nails.  That is, until God tells me to do something that is a tiny bit out of my comfort zone.

While I don’t like to admit it, I’m convinced that trusting God means actions–not knowledge.  Abram obeyed God.  In like manner, we must choose to obey God and we don‘t have to know everything.

Years ago, I took a lot of time when I was wrapping gifts.   It was a big deal to me.  I crafted alligators from umbrellas.  Drums and flutes made from simple packages were a part of an under-the-Christmas-tree garden I created most years.  Gifts became things that were extravagant, silly and even beautiful. 

However, when I started with each gift, I didn‘t know where I was going with the gift.  Consequently, I started with a vague idea. Eventually, that idea grew until I had a work of art made of wrapping paper, scotch tape, ribbon, glue and nick-nacks from around my house. 

It became a game to me.  As I went along, step by step, I could see in my mind’s eye what needed to be done next.  Slowly, I knew how to wrap the gift and what it should look like.

I think God allowed me to experience this when I was younger because often I would think:  This is the way God leads us.  We start.  We take one small step at a time.  Following inch by inch, we are able to understand what God desires from us. 

A friend and former Special Gathering member who moved from our area told me that she could not attend church anymore because she did not have a Special Gathering program in her town.  She said, “If I go to another church, I will have a bad attitude.  I know God doesn’t want me to have a bad attitude.” 

Special Gathering is a chapel program for people who are developmentally delayed.  We are in eight cities in Florida and South Carolina.  We are geared specifically for people who are mentally challenged.  It is true that there was no program designed like Special Gathering  for my friend in her new city.  But that was not a good excuse.

We need to put the Lord first no matter what the circumstances.  We need to have Jesus at the beginning of each endeavor, slowly working toward the end.

Abram did not know where he was going.  Neverthless, he did know who was leading him.  You and I can trust God to lead us into the right things.  Trusting God means actively following Jesus.
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