Sarah Prince ―Choose To Be Chosen‖ Sermon Hillsong Mitchell‘s Plain January 26, 2014

 Introduce myself – I am a pastor and a neighbor – those are my favorite roles in Ocean View and I want to play those roles to you today  Today we have a word from God. I have been reading through Isaiah for the past year and God has been using it to speak into my community of Ocean View  Today God wants to speak Isaiah over your life and it‘s stirring in my life too  God wants you to know you are chosen  But even more God wants you to CHOOSE you are chosen today  We are going to read in Isaiah today and as you know Isaiah is one of the most known prophets in the Old Testament  Isaiah is called ―The Book of Salvation‖ and Isaiah has been called the Prince of the prophets. His language is like poetry and is powerfully moving.  Isaiah was called to confront the people of God and they didn‘t always like what he had to say.  But God speaks into our world to make things clearer. God wants heaven not to just be up there but to be DOWN HERE.  God wants heaven to be forcefully advancing every single day in our world. But that means we need to make place for Him. Make space for Him.  So today in Isaiah 45 the prophet is speaking to His people and speaking to US here Mitchell‘s Plain and wants to make space for heaven. God has called us to HIS work and so it‘s time to step up. He wants to use the chosen. READ Isaiah 45:1-13  In Isaiah, God‘s people are in captivity. They have been pushed out of their own land and put into exile. They are God‘s people and they have promises and hopes over their lives. But right now they aren‘t happening. They

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aren‘t seeing the promises come true. They are struggling to believe. They are struggling to keep going. They want to give up. And so in the middle of this book, this collection of prophesies from Isaiah he begins to speak about this dude named Cyrus. The crazy thing is that Cyrus isn‘t ALIVE during this prophecy. There isn‘t a person named Cyrus that Isaiah is talking to. God just gives him this name. Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever had a dream or a vision for your life but when you got it, it made absolutely no sense? I have. When I was in college, there was a visiting black preacher that came to my class. He looked right at me and said ―You are going to preach and teach and will be used for God‘s purposes.‖ And right when he said it I knew it was true, but it made absolutely no sense. I would try to preach at our campus ministry and I was horrible! God had a lot of work to do in my life. At the time I was just a measly, average student among so many others. But I knew he was prophesying over me. Even though it made no sense. When Isaiah gives this prophecy it‘s over 200 years before Cyrus is born. It makes absolutely no sense to us, but it makes complete sense to God. "For the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God." (1 Corinthians 3:19) Sometimes God wants to say something, God wants to dream something, God wants to give a vision and see if we will hold on to it. But it might mean we have to hold on to it for a long time. And it might seem pretty foolish. This kind of anointing that is put over Cyrus‘ life had never been done. We hadn‘t seen such an anointing on a non-Israelite king in all of history. There is precedence. There is a path. There is a ladder that people are supposed to climb before they get to a place to be used in such a spectacular way. This kind of anointing is uncomfortable. We like things to have a path and system that makes sense to US. When it‘s their time or our time, but it must make sense to us. But that thinking is RELIGION. But God doesn‘t care about our ladders or systems or paths. God will use WHO he wants to use WHEN he wants to use them. He might even want to use you and me.

Say ―I COULD BE CYRUS‖

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 So let‘s look at what Isaiah says about this Cyrus.  This is so interesting, because Cyrus, as I mentioned was a pagan King who wasn‘t even born yet. But he was just a normal guy, put in a position of power, and God decided he was the one who would be used.  Cyrus was probably a good speaker, talented, powerful, and commanded an audience. But none of those things mattered to God. God just saw someone he could use.  Cyrus was just the right person, but just a conduit. A conduit is a cable that power goes through. The cable itself is useless. But when hooked to power it can be used for mighty things.  So the question today is do you want to be Cyrus. Do you want to be an ordinary person of God that will be used as a conduit to bring heaven down. Do you want to be used not for your glory but to bring others to Him?  God is looking for someone he can USE.  Say to the person next to you, ―I am Cyrus‖  The word that has come to my heart this week as I prepared for out time is CHOSEN.  Being CHOSEN is a powerful word. It means that you have been selected as the best of the group of the most appropriate.  Cyrus was CHOSEN.  Cyrus probably thought he was the best choice for certain things. He liked being king. He liked being powerful, he liked being a ruler. These were roles he could see himself in.  But I am guessing that he never thought he would be chosen for the great purposes of God.  But if you are CHOSEN you don‘t choose what to do. You just choose to be chosen.  There are many things in our life that we would see and CHOOSE ourselves for. I choose to be someone who worked with the poor and broken. I didn‘t choose to live in Ocean View; God chose that. I chose to put great people around me and try to influence them for good. I didn‘t choose to be a parent; God chose that for me.  We choose things that we think we can reach or attain, but God wants to choose much more for us.  Think about the things you are reaching for today. What are you preparing for? What you are choosing? Are they things that seem within your gifting?

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In your understanding? The next logical step? Because then maybe you should ask if you chose them or if God chose them. When God chooses things for us it‘s beyond our understanding. It‘s past our gifting. It‘s higher than we would ever dare to dream or reach. Casey says that everyday when he is working for Ubuntu Football, his nonprofit that he started here, to run the organization, coach the boys, lead them to be great men and teach them about Jesus. It is way beyond anything he would have planned for his own life. Casey says that everyday he lives right on the edge of his faith. That is what our lives should look like. They should be pushing us so past what is comfortable that we are on the edge of faith and clinging to God for life. What God chooses for you is way beyond what you would chose for yourself. And in the same breath I want you to know that sometimes what God chooses for you is far smaller and harder and more humiliating then what you would choose for yourself. You only see one part. You only see the first step. You only see chapter one. The story God is choosing you for is GRAND. You just have to choose to say yes.

 HEAR THIS. To be chosen doesn‘t mean you choose your task or mission or assignment. God will lead your path. You are Cyrus and God has work for you to do. But you DO choose to be chosen. You DO choose to be used by God  Because at any point Cyrus could have decided he didn‘t want to be chosen. He didn‘t HAVE to be used by God. God only knocks on our door, he never bashes the door down. He never forces.  This is the story of the Bible. Ordinary men and women who became saints, not because God grabbed them on the ear and dragged them to his purposes. No, God‘s saints have always made the CHOICE to be chosen.  God will invite you to be chosen, but you have to CHOOSE to be chosen. You don‘t choose your mission, but you do choose if you are chosen. So what are three marks of a chosen person? They are laid out in this passage of Isaiah 45 1. Make the secret things of GOD  Verse 3 says, ―And I will give you treasures hidden in the darkness—secret riches.‖

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 I love this verse and think it is incredibly holy. God is telling us that He will give His chosen treasures and secret riches that others won‘t know about  I love this and I think it‘s definitely a mark of the chosen. The chosen have words, dreams, prophecies, and promises over their lives that are truly only known to them.  Why I bring up this point is that I think sometimes as God‘s chosen people, we have other things in the darkness. Things that aren‘t treasures at all.  I see God‘s people around me often holding on to secret sins in the darkness. Things they don‘t want to let go of. Lifestyle habits that they justify. Anger and bitterness that they don‘t want anyone to know about. Past things that have been done to them that they can‘t forget.  I like to go big or go home. When I have a habit I do all the way. For many, many years in my life I was obsessed with Coke Light. While in college I traveled around Europe and the FIRST thing I would do in every new city was buy a Coke Light. It was a part of every single day and I loved it. Then one day I realized that it was horrific for my help. Diet colas cause liver damage, it causes headaches, it erodes your teeth, can cause depression, can wear down your bones, and even cause a stroke or heart attack. Geez. So I stopped.  Many of us have these bad habits. Things in our world that aren‘t ‗that‘ bad but are tearing apart our bodies, homes, or minds. Maybe it‘s sleeping pills or spending money. Maybe it‘s drinking or smoking. Maybe it‘s anger or gambling. There are many things. Secret things. Maybe you don‘t even realize they are that bad. Anything that is secret and not of God will rot our bones. It will erode us from the inside out.  Some of us know our bad things, we know our darkness. You know the bad things, that if someone was in your home for a whole day they might see?  Here is the truth about our secrets in the dark. They may seem to be in the dark to us, but everything is in the light of Jesus Christ. God sees all things and nothing is hidden from Him. So it might be a secret to you, but God sees it.  But here is the Good News. Even though your secret causes you such profound shame and regret, God is not embarrassed of you. God sees it and still loves you. God sees it and still chooses you.  But it‘s time to make our secret things the things of GOD and not the things of sin. It‘s time to get in accountability. It‘s time to let go of anger. It‘s time to change our habits. It‘s time to confess and move past our own

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darkness. Our secrets should be promises and dreams that God has given us. Not our sins that cause us shame and hopelessness.  It‘s time to let go of our secret places and come into the light. God is ready and you are ready. 2. Don‘t argue with God:  Verses 9-10, ―What sorrow awaits those who argue with their Creator. Does a clay pot argue with its maker? Does the clay dispute with the one who shapes it, saying, ‗Stop, you‘re doing it wrong!‘ 
 Does the pot exclaim,
 ‗How clumsy can you be?‘ How terrible it would be if a newborn baby said to its father,
 ‗Why was I born?‘
 or if it said to its mother,
 ‗Why did you make me this way?‘‖  Oh man this one really bugs me, but I think God wants it to be a mark of HIS church.  You see, I have always justified arguing with God in my life.  I see the story of Jacob wrestling with God in Genesis 32 and I have always said, Yes I am a wrestler too. I wrestle with God and what he says to me and it‘s okay. I am a Jacob. I love to fight.  But it‘s time to stop justifying our Jacob ways. God doesn‘t bless Jacob for that wrestling match. Jacob lives but walks with a limp. We were not created to wrestle and fight with our Maker! We were created to listen to Him, be in communion with Him, and follow Him.  I think about what if my kids had a Jacob spirit. Oh wait, my son does! My son Keller is the cutest and happiest little one-year-old… when he wants to be. But wow does he have a Jacob spirit. If you stop him from being hit by a car, he cries. When you tell him it‘s time to leave somewhere, he cries. When you make him stop brushing his teeth, he cries. It‘s exhausting.  God must get exhausted by our fighting. God is our holy creator and savior. He is the lover of our souls and holds us by his mighty right hand. We have nothing to fear with him, even if the path makes absolutely no sense. Even if he is asking us to do the absolute last thing we ever wanted to do. Let‘s stop fighting. 3. Let God order your steps –  When we stop fighting we can actually start listening  verse 13 says, ―I will raise up Cyrus to fulfill my righteous purpose,
 and I will guide his actions.‖

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 This is so profound. Even though Cyrus wasn‘t a believer, God wanted to use Cyrus. But Cyrus had to ALLOW himself to be used by God. And this isn‘t an easy task.  I wonder if it‘s HARDER for us as Christians to allow God to guide our path then it would have been for Cyrus. When Cyrus heard from God he must have been like WHOA! But we don‘t even open our hearts to hear from God. WE think WE know the right path.  Maybe this is just me. But let me say this to someone else in the room today. Just because you have wisdom doesn‘t mean it‘s GOD‘S WISDOM.  Unfortunately for God, I always think I have a LOT of wisdom “This foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God’s weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength.” -1 Corinthians 1:25  Just recently in our Football ministry we were looking frantically for months for homes for boys to stay in while we are building a new residence. Just for a couple months, Casey asked me to pray about hosting one boy. I told him I would pray but I didn‘t.  I didn‘t even ASK God if he wanted us to take in a boy. OBVIOUSLY God didn‘t! It was foolish! A 12 year old boy? No! I have my own kids! I have my own ministry! I am an introvert! Boys are gross! No no no!  But then just for one second I asked God if he wanted us to host a boy. And he said yes. I literally leant over to Casey in the middle of church to tell him that God wanted us to host a boy because I was scared I would change my mind  And so now I have a 12 year old boy from Kayalitshe living with us who doesn‘t speak English. And I adore him! And he loves us! And my heart is so at peace!  Stop trying to decide you know Gods plans. God does the choosing not you! Let God choose your path. He has chosen you. Proverbs 16:9 says, “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.”  We are the chosen ones. Say it with me ―we are the chosen ones.‖  We are Cyrus. We are chosen. We have been picked for an incredible life with God. But first we have to CHOOSE to be chosen and walk as the chosen.

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