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His Will: Be His Where You Are
11/11/2007
Scripture: Esther 4: 14
Track 7 of 8 in the Inside~Out: Discovering the Will of God series
Running time: 36 minutes, 06 seconds.


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Chuck Sackett Speaker: Chuck Sackett
Dr. G. Charles Sackett is minister of Madison Park Christian Church.

View all sermons by this speaker.


"His Will: Be His Where You Are" November 11, 2007

It must have been some kind of a party. 180 days of celebration, at the end of which there was a seven-day gathering in the city where the wine flowed freely and everybody just enjoyed themselves. The end of seven days the king was feeling good shall we say, and he decided that he wanted to show off his beautiful queen. So he invited her in. She was to wear her royal robes and she was to put on her crown and she was to parade in front of the people as guests. She said, I don't think so. Not exactly the response that the king was looking for. In fact, a bit of a frustrating response in light of the fact that you just can't let wives get away with that kind of stuff.

So he asked his advisors what he should do, and their response was exactly the same thing. Hey, listen, you can't be letting your wife get away with that kind of thing because if your wife gets away with that, our wives will get away with that. All the women in the kingdom are going to start getting away with that nonsense. We can't have that. Banish her. So he did. He you are no longer queen. So he told her.

It sounded like a great idea when he was still recovering from the embarrassment, but you know after awhile a queenless king is not a very happy man. So he decided that he needed a new queen, and they decided they would have a contest and they would just bring all of the lovely young ladies in the kingdom and he could choose a queen. Now, if you're a lovely young lady in a kingdom and you have aspirations, this is a great idea; and if you're not particularly aspiring to be queen, if you've got a father that wants you to be queen, this is still going to be all right.

So they start coming. The whole process takes like a year before he finally sees a young woman walking in with whom he is enrapt. Whew. That's a good bible word. He liked her. So he named her queen. It was great. King is happy. The queen is happy. If the queen is happy, everybody is happy. Sort of. But there is a guy in the kingdom who's not. His name is Haman. He has been elevated in the kingdom to a particularly high post. In fact, he was the second ruler of the kingdom, and he is a really quite arrogant man who is really happy to be elevated in the kingdom, except for one small problem. Well, actually I'd guess probably maybe five foot eight. His name is Mordecai, and he will not bow down. I mean, everybody else in the kingdom kowtows to Haman and bows to Haman and makes Haman feel good, except one particular guy absolutely refuses to bow down. Won't do it. And Haman hates him. I mean, it spoils every day because Mordecai sits at the city gate, and when Haman comes into the city up to the palace, there he is. Frustrating.

Mordecai is an interesting guy. I didn't tell you this earlier, but Mordecai actually is the queen's cousin. She was orphaned, and he took her into his home and raised her himself, and so he is not only cousin Mordecai, but he is kind of like stepdad Mordecai. Queen Esther really does like her cousin and respects him deeply, and Mordecai is a man of principle. As you can tell, he is not bowing down to Haman or anybody else.

And one day when he is sitting at the city gate, he overhears a couple of the king's servants making a plan to kill the king, and so he tells Esther about the plan. Esther tells Xerxes, the king, about the plan. Xerxes' life is protected, and it gets written down into the annals of the king's story.

Did I mention to you that Haman doesn't like Mordecai? One day he is on his way out of the palace, and Haman won't let go of this I got to have everybody bow thing, and Mordecai refuses to bow. And so he does what any self-respecting man would do. He goes home and starts pouting and crying on his wife's shoulder. What am I going to do? Haman, you ought to just get rid of him. What a great idea. But, you know, it's a little hard to get rid of just one person without it looking personal. So here is what we are going to do. We are going to eradicate the whole Jewish nation. We will just get rid of them all. And so they set a date about a year out, and they passed an edict that said everybody can just attack the Jews and kill them all. Well, that went over really big in the Jewish nation, and they began to mourn and they began to grieve and they began to throw dust in the air and they had sackcloth on, and the word is passed throughout the kingdom. Mordecai is outside the city gate, he is out by the palace, and he is Jewish. He has got sackcloth on and he is mourning.

Esther is embarrassed. So she sends word out with clothing. Mordecai straighten up. Mordecai sends word back, hey, listen, just because you live in the palace doesn't mean you are not Jewish. You are going to die with the rest of us. You got to do something. You don't understand. The king hasn't even asked for me for a month. Now, by Persian law nobody could visit the king except by personal invitation, and if they walk into the room and he has not asked them to come into the room and he doesn't acknowledge their presence, you're dead. It doesn't matter who you are, queen or otherwise.

So Esther decides to take the risk. She gets herself all gussied up. She walks in the room hoping that the king would be honored by her presence, and he lifts up the golden scepter, which allows her to come in. He says, what do you want? She says, I want to have lunch with you and Haman. Okay. Tell him. You can just see it, can't you? Haman, ooh, he gets to have lunch with the queen and the king all by himself. He cannot wait to get home and tell his wife the good news.

And on the way out guess who he runs into? Mordecai. You know there is nothing like an insolent person to ruin a perfectly good day. And Haman is on cloud nine. I'm going to have lunch with the queen, except that there is Mordecai and he won't bow down, and by the time he gets home he is just mad. What am I going to do? Well, I tell you what you ought to do. Wives always have great ideas. Erect a 75-foot pole in the backyard and impale him. What a great idea. Everybody needs a 75-foot pole in their backyard.

So that's what he does. He sets his servants to work putting up a 75-foot pole, and he gets ready for lunch. Well, lunch comes about, and the king says, what do you want? And Esther says, well, I want you to come back tomorrow but bring Haman and come back tomorrow. Okay. Haman, you can see it, can't you, he has got a pole in his backyard to kill Mordecai and he is invited two days in a row to the palace for lunch.

That night Xerxes can't sleep. He wakes up, and he does what any self-respecting king would do. He calls for a servant to start reading the history of his kingdom, and out comes the story, and he is reminded of the day that Mordecai saved his life. Well, did we ever do anything to honor the man who saved my life? No, we never did. Well, we got to do something about that.

So the next morning first thing he called for Haman. Haman comes in. Haman, what do you think I ought to do for somebody who needs to be honored in my kingdom? You can just see Haman, can't you? Oh, it's going to be me. I think you ought to dress him in one of your robes, I think you ought to put him up on your horses, and I think you ought to have one of your officials parading through town and shout out, this is the way kings treat important men. Xerxes says, great idea. Haman, I want you to do that for Mordecai. Ooh. You talk about a bad day.

So here he is walking through the streets leading the horse with Mordecai and shouting. You can just here the shout, can't you? This is what the king does. Oh, but he has still got lunch to look forward to. So he makes it to lunch. They are sitting at the table. Here is Queen Esther, here is King Xerxes, here is Haman. The king says, listen, what is it you really want? I offered you half of my kingdom. What do you really want? I really want you to save my life. What do you mean, save your life? Well, there is a decree that the entire Jewish nation is to be destroyed, and I'm Jewish, and so I'm going to be killed because no decree of the king cannot be carried out. And you can just imagine Xerxes saying, well, who did that? Haman.

And the king rushes out of the room absolutely enraged. Well, Haman does what would you expect. He runs around to the other side of the table. He wraps himself around Queen Esther's legs and begins to beg for his life. Well, just about the time he is wrapped around the queen's legs in comes the king. You know what this looks like? Would you even attack my own wife right here in the palace when I'm here? Get rid of him. Well, what should we do? And one of the servants says, oh, by the way, did you know that there is a pole out in Haman's backyard? And the king said, use it. So they did.

And Mordecai gets elevated to Haman's position, and there is a second decree passed in Persia that the Jews will be allowed to defend themselves against all antagonists on a certain day. Guess which day?

There is a place in this story that is so utterly important there is a turning point, and this turning point is not unlike other turning points in the life of Israel, because you have to understand that without the coming of Jesus through this lineage we're all in trouble because we have to have Jesus, and all through the history of Israel there have been these moments when Satan has tried to stop his coming.

And so you've got Sarah being given to Pharaoh as a wife and just about kills the kingdom before it ever gets started, and then you got Moses and the bulrushes and Israel and Egypt, and you got this problem. Then you've got Haman and the instruction of the Jews, and you've got Herod and the killing of every two-year old boy in Israel. And God just seems to intervene in every situation to protect the lineage and make sure that Jesus is able to come.

In Chapter 4 of the book of Esther, the chapter I want you to look at this morning, just a couple of verses I want you to refer to. I would highly encourage you to go read Esther this afternoon and find out the parts that I missed because I didn't tell you the whole story. It will only take you 20 minutes. It's just a short ten chapter book. But in Chapter 4, Verse 14 is this line that you probably have heard before. Esther Chapter 4, Verse number 14. This is cousin Mordecai to Esther, the queen. "If you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place." Now, you can hear Mordecai's confidence in God. But, he says, "You and your father's family will perish." And here is the line I want you to notice. "Who knows but you have come to royal position for such a time as this." For such a time as this. And Esther's response in Verse number 16 is, "If I perish, I perish." I'll do whatever it is that I have to do.

The fascinating thing about this story is this principle which it allows us to see. You are where you are because God wants you there right now. You are where you are because God wants you there right now. There is somebody who needs you wherever you happen to be. It could be a co-worker, could be somebody in a play. It could be a fellow teammate. It could be a school mate. It could be somebody where you work. It could be your family member. It could be your neighbor. But God has you where you are because he needs you to be his image of Jesus. He needs for you to be his voice.

All of us -- with rare, rare, rare exception, all of us have come to faith through someone. We have a spiritual family tree. Now, there are the rare exceptions of somebody who just picked up a bible and read themselves into faith, but those are extremely rare. Most of us are able to say, I came to faith in Christ through, and we have a name that fits in the blank. Dan is my name in the blank, and Dan came to faith through Gary, and Gary came to faith through, and we can trace our lineage. We have this incredible family tree of spiritual history because God put somebody in the right place at the right time to influence us for him. You all have that story, and we can be asking just virtually anybody in here to tell that story this morning.

We did ask some people to tell their side of the stories so you could actually see it from among us. I suspect that we could repeat this story multiple times. You probably could repeat it yourself about yourself. But we want you to hear this story. So we got some folks who are going to come up. They are going to introduce themself, tell you who they are and tell you just a little bit about their faith journey and their spiritual tree.

PAULA REINHART: Good morning. I'm Paula Reinhart, and I must say this is easier with a violin than with a microphone. My story is, as I'm sure many of yours is, full of so many people that God used in so many different ways that I could probably fill this stage or this room from parents, grandparents, relatives, just a lot of people, but I'm just going to touch a on a few today. Ultimately our journey really happened out of the desire for our own boys, the love and desire for them, for their spiritual needs.

I grew up in a great church family. I even watched several of you sitting here today actually leave before us and blaze a trail before us so to speak. I was married. Our boys were born. We went to church every Sunday, went to Sunday school every Sunday, but I still wanted more for them spiritually, but I just didn't know where to turn.

Through the years of my own teaching I had the privilege of teaching two very special violin students, and I can't look over here or I'll choke up. They are members here. So you have the privilege of being touched by their lives, too. Sam and Debra Hyde are brother and sister, a wonderful family. They came in my house every week after week for a long time, several years, and I watched them grow from ten-year olds to teenagers to young adults, and I knew they had something that I wanted my own kids to have. Well, we still didn't really know what to do.

I didn't want to leave my family, but eventually my brother-in-law and sister, Jamie and Debbie Fitzgerald, who happen to be our very close friends, broke away from our previous church and started attending here at Madison Park. They tested the waters for us and convinced us after a few months to come and visit. Well, by the end of Chuck's sermon that day I knew that this was a place where our boys could be spiritually filled, and it became very, very apparent to me that I had and still have a lot of growing to do myself.

About a year later on the 4th of July of 2004 our older son John gave his heart to the Lord. A few months later J.D. and I were both emersed also and became members here at Madison Park. But here is the exciting part. Just like our stories, or just like all of your stories, ours continues.

BEN REINHART: My name is Ben Reinhart. I was in Miss McClelland's fourth grade class two years ago. Corbin Myers was in her class, too. We like Kids Church and Sunday School so much we talked about it a lot in school. Mrs. McClelland came up to us one day and asked what church we go to. That's when she started coming Madison Park.

MATINA MCCLELLAND: Here I am. My husband Eric and I weren't church goers when we were first married, but towards of end of my pregnancy with our son we started thinking that we needed to attend church. We just felt led to start going, and it was during that time that Ben and Corbin were both in my classroom and invited us to come. And truthfully lots of other friends had invited us to come to church with them, but it wasn't until Ben and Corbin were in my room that we really made that move. We wanted to make sure that we were going to attend a church that had a strong youth program. Because of how Ben and Corbin spoke about church and just because of who they were, we felt led to try it.

So shortly after we started attending my husband and I took the peace treaty. We were baptized and became members. And as we talked about how welcome and comfortable we felt here, some other friends and family started attending as well. My mom was baptized, my dad rededicated his life, and both became members here. They have since moved to Florida where they have a new church home, but they are attending regularly. They love it. And actually through them my aunt and her son were recently baptized. Eric's brother Shawn and his wife Alisha became members here. Shawn was actually baptized here, too. And we continue to invite other friends and family to attend as well.

CHUCK SACKETT: Wouldn't you love to be able to trace those stories in both directions to see who is on the other side of the Hyde's this direction, who is on the other side of her family this direction, to just find out how wide God spreads this word through just a few contacts. And every Sunday morning there are multiple trees out here with lots of branches.

You impact somebody somewhere. God has you where you are for a reason. And the reason is that you can well represent who he is in your world, co-worker, teammate, neighbor, friend. It's an opportunity for you to be the person that touches somebody, who introduces somebody to Jesus, who keeps this lineage going, and it's really just a matter of intention. It's a matter of recognizing that when I walk out of my door on Monday morning or Friday afternoon, I don't go anywhere without assuming God has me there for a reason. It's intentional. I am attentive to what God is up to. I'm always looking to see what God is going to do next. I never assume it's going to be an ordinary day, because God does extraordinary things through people who are open to what he wants to do, just attentive to the people around me and their need to know about Jesus.

One of the really simple ways we have of doing that is simply inviting people. We recognize that for some of us people, like me, asking other people about Jesus can be really hard because that's just not our nature, but if we had something that we could hand them and say, hey, here is our Christmas program information, would you like to come, it eases that difficulty. And so we have a whole bunch of these. In fact, our folks are going to pass these out. We want you to take these. As you can see, what it has on here is the information about when our Christmas program occurs and when our Christmas Eve program is.

Folks, start passing them out now. You are supposed to have them in our pockets, so please start giving them away. If you don't have them, they will get them to you. Just pass out as many as you can pass out. We want you to take these and just give them to friends and say, hey, will you come with me, sit with me during the Christmas program? Will you come Christmas Eve just to hear the story of Jesus afresh? Would you allow yourself to be intentional in the process of allowing yourself to connect with at least one other person who needs to know something about Jesus.

You see, God has you where you are because he needs you there. He wants to use you to spread the word. Now, I don't want to sound insolent. I don't want to cause anybody any difficulty. I want you to know that I know that this will probably never happen, but if I have the opportunity, and I'm not so absolutely totally overwhelmed by what I discover when I get to heaven, I have a question for God. My guess is I won't ask because I'll just not care anymore. And I don't want it to sound like that I don't trust God because I do. And on a scale of one to 100, 99.9 percent of the time I think God is right, but I really think he blew it on this one, and I need for him to explain this to me because, frankly, I'm just not sure that God did the right thing. And the reason is because every time I look in the mirror I see me and then when I look out here I see Dan and I know that the kingdom of God has got to be in better hands than us, and yet God always uses people like us to finish the job. I don't get it.

I want you to think about two or three texts in the book of Acts. Acts Chapter 2, Jesus has come. He has died. He has been raised from the dead. He has gone back to the Father. There is a bunch of folks gathered in Jerusalem at the temple celebrating, and this really bizarre stuff begins to happen. There is a wind, but nobody knows for sure if it's a wind. And there is fire, but nobody knows for sure if it's fire. And then these 12 guys that are standing there start talking in languages they have never learned. They are speaking different languages representing every nation in the city, and the people who are hearing them speak understand the languages. And the gospel is being preached.

And then Peter -- well, see, that's the problem, Peter. It's not that Peter is the problem. It's the fact that there is somebody in the mix. It would make sense to me if I were God -- and, by the way, just in case you don't know this, I'm not. I mean, I've got it figured out. I'm hoping you do, too. I wouldn't let somebody get in the way of this. But rather once he has got everybody's attention with all this spectacular stuff going on, rather than just converting people himself, he prompts Peter to preach. And Peter in preaching -- well, I teach people how to preach, and he just ends the sermon really bad. Here is the end of Peter's sermon, "God has made this Jesus, whom you killed, both Lord and Christ," and he quit.

And I'm thinking, Peter, could you say a little more? Could you at least like ask them if they want to do something? And the response of the crowd is, What do we do? And Peter says, Well, you need to repent and be baptized and that will provide the forgiveness of sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. And 3,000 people jumped up and said, Can we do it right now? And I'm thinking, that's a lot of risk.

And you go a few chapters later in Acts Chapter 8, and here is this treasurer from Ethiopia, and he is driving home from Jerusalem where he has been to worship and he is reading Isaiah Chapter 53. Isaiah Chapter 53 is among the most profound old scripture texts there is when it comes to the prophecy. It's about the death of Jesus. It's about the sheep that has been slaughtered on behalf of the people, and he has got him right there. He is reading this old testament passage about Jesus. And I want to say, you got him. And what does God say? Join yourself to the chariot there. Philip, join yourself to the chariot. You got to be kidding. And he gets up in the chariot, and he says -- here is what the text says. He preached to them about Jesus. That's it. He preached to them Jesus. And the Eunuch says, Hey, here is water. Why can't I be baptized? Philip says, You can. So they do. They both go down into the water and he baptized him.

A few chapters later, this one I really don't get. The other one I understand better. Saul, whom you come to know as Paul, is crippling christians. He is trying to stop the church. He is on his way to Damascus in order to stop the church to arrest more christians, and Jesus himself appears to him. He falls flat on his face down in the sand. I'm saying, get him while you can. And you know what God says through Jesus that day? Go to Damascus and wait 'til I tell you. You're kidding, right? Go and wait?

And then he comes to a guy and he says, I want you to go over on Straight Street and talk to him. And you know Ananias' response to that, right? You're kidding? That's Saul of Tarsus. He kills people like me. I'm not going. It just came that close, by the way. The vast majority of you are of European extraction. The gospel went to Europe by way of Paul. If Saul does not become a christian that day, your roots are cut off, no tree on which to grow. So Ananias under God's prompting finds himself over on Straight Street at the house where Saul of Tarsus is blind and waiting for something to happen. He walks in, and according to Acts Chapter 22 he says, Saul, what are you waiting for? Get up and be baptized. Call on the name of the Lord. And so he does.

And I'm going to ask God why you took a risk like that? Why did you use a human to get in the middle of the process, because we humans are terribly frail? And I think the answer is going to be this. I put you where you are for a reason. I need you to talk for me. I need you to be my example right where you are because you are where nobody else is. You touch people nobody else touches, and I want to use you to reach them.

I get weekly e-mails from the new England area about our various church plants. If you are ever interested in reading about them, I would be happy to share that with you, and you could just receive these e-mails as well. This last week I got this e-mail from Reunion Christian Church in downtown Boston not far from Fenway Park. It's a brand new church. It's a very young staff. It's a little scary in that I have had every one of the staff members in class at some point. That's a little weird. I just want to read you two or three excerpts from the e-mail.

Matt came to Reunion with his girlfriend about a year ago, started attending one of our community groups. Then it begins to talk about the relationship that he developed with Phil and some others in the church. A couple of weeks ago on a Saturday night Matt was baptized. A Boston University student through one of our community outreach events he started coming to Reunion. Joe came as a result of a couple who are what this guy calls relational evangelists in Boston. There is a couple of people who are just living in the Boston area, and they just keep introducing people to Jesus. They keep making friends, and they ask people to get connected to a church. After his first visit to Reunion Joe's response was, this is the best experience I've ever had at church, and then he explained that he really didn't consider himself a christian and he asked if it was okay if he came back. Of course, they said no. No, not really. God has you where you are for a reason because you work with or play with or live with or are neighbor to somebody who needs Jesus, and he wants to use you to accomplish this task. The thing about this is that that is so significant because the silence of even one person can be eternally fatal to those around you. Some things in life are worth giving yourself to. Some things aren't. Some things are worth investing in. Some things aren't. This is.

I ran across this story from USA Today. This gentleman's name is Rafael Lozano. He is on a mission. He started back in 1997. His goal is to visit every Starbucks on the planet. So my guess is he will be coming to Quincy soon. Now, at the time that this story was written there were 6,000 Starbucks in 37 different countries. He had managed by this point to visit 4,918 Starbucks in North America and 213 in other countries. Here is his comment in the interview. "As long as they keep building Starbucks, I'll never be finished." And then he says, "Every time I reach a Starbucks I feel like I've accomplished something." And he finishes that sentence this way, "Every time I visit a Starbucks I feel like I've accomplished something when actually I've accomplished nothing."

Some things are worth giving yourself to. Visiting Starbucks is probably not one of them. But being the person that you need to be in the context where God has put you is worth pouring yourself into. And that's what we are asking, that you become attentive to God's activity in your life, that you become sensitive to the people around you to see if God hasn't placed you right there at this moment for just such a time as this, because that's one thing worth committing yourself to. If you're willing to follow Jesus, if you're willing to make him the center of your life, he can use you to make sure other people know about him.

Let me introduce you to somebody who just recently has gone one more step in their journey. I'm going to ask Michael Hinsen if you would to stand up. Michael, where are you? Over here. Michael just gave his life to the Lord and was baptized this last week and is coming be a part of Madison Park. Would you all make him welcome? I don't know who his spiritual roots are, but I want to find out.

And I don't know who's out on your spiritual limb that God is trying to reach through you, but I'm confident somebody is out there just one word away.