- The Washington Times - Monday, September 20, 2004

The following are excerpts of a sermon given recently by the Rev. Bill Shuler at Capital Life Church in Lorton:

As a boy, I loved to listen to stories about individuals whose lives truly made a difference in the world. Whether the person took a heroic stand on the battlefield, saved lives with a surgeon’s knife or fought for justice in a court of law, each inspired me to live a life filled with purpose.

Acts 13:36 tells of a king named David, who “served God’s purpose in his own generation and then fell asleep.”

Found within that simple statement is the key to unlocking a life filled with eternal value and meaning.

It is amazing to think that one life can change the course of a family or a nation. Joseph, in the Old Testament, was such a person. As a teenager, he cherished dreams placed in his heart by God. No adversity could stop him. Even in his most difficult times when he felt forgotten and alone, the Bible says that “God was with him and rescued him from all his troubles.” (Acts 7:9-10).

When he achieved great success as a leader and saved the lives of his family and all in Egypt amidst a famine, he showed us how to forgive and set an example of staying true to God even when we don’t always understand Him.

Exodus 1:8 says that years later a king arose in the land who did not know about Joseph. This is all the explanation needed for why innocent lives were slaughtered in that generation. Joseph’s reputation saved lives. When he was forgotten, a nation lowered its standards and a generation was enslaved and oppressed. One life really does matter. …

When I was a boy, my mother told me that I would change the world someday. In my teenage years, I recognized how big the world was and how others had better looks, higher intelligence and greater talents. She sat me down and told me something that forever changed me. “Your world is the 2/3 square feet of soil that you occupy,” she said. “You have every right to say what will exist in your world. Choose to welcome God by accepting his Son, Jesus, into your world. When someone enters your 2/3 square feet of soil or you enter his, ask God why. He is very strategic. The day may come when a microphone is placed in your hand and you reach hundreds or thousands as you speak.

“Let God take care of that. You be faithful to God in your 2/3 square feet. Someone may give you a pen and offer you a contract to write a book. It may reach lands you will never enter and generations in which you will never live. Let God take care of that. You be faithful to God in your 2/3 square feet of soil.”

We really can make a difference in our world, and we can enter the purposes of God in our generation. …

The Bible says that God chose the times and places in which each one of us would live.

That means that we are here on assignment. It isn’t by chance that we are alive in the year 2004. It isn’t by chance that we find ourselves in or near our nation’s capital. We are to fully enter our generation and live as those who are called by God to establish his purposes in our homes, in our places of work and in our nation. In so doing, we remember the words of President John F. Kennedy, who said that here on Earth, God’s work must truly be our own.

I challenge you to live in such a way as to make it evident to yourself and others that you have fully entered your generation and God’s purposes in the hour and location to which you have been assigned by God. When you pray, move beyond the realm of small requests that have within them no eternal value. Pray like David and Esther and the Apostle Paul. Great men and women of God asked for nations, for the deliverance of God’s people, for wisdom to bring justice throughout the land.

Let us believe God for more than the meeting of our bills, for more than promotion and wealth. Let us pray that God will fill the Oval Office with his presence. Pray that Capitol Hill will seek God’s face and find wisdom there amidst national decisions. Pray that God will guide our justices so that He can exalt our nation. But amidst these prayers, let us not forget to pray for our own hearts, that our 2/3 square feet will be fully about our heavenly Father’s business. Pray that your family will know peace with God through his Son, Jesus Christ. In so doing, you will fully enter your generation.

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