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Running From Duty

Marc Swearingen



  • February 17, 2009
    7:00 PM
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hi believing folks why we had a long day today well hopefully will provide a blessing for you tonight so that your heart will be uplifted after a long day and tonight would like to do is add like to share with you a message and I'll call running from duty and I wonder if there's anyone in here tonight that might be running from duties and to develop this thought as we proceed but before we do that let's have a word of prayer together and we will once again invoke the Lord 's presence father in heaven tonight thank you so much for blessing us through another day and seeing us through this day Lord we come into your house tonight seeking a blessing because we realize we need one in this time of verse history so father we humble ourselves to you tonight we ask you to accept our heartfelt surrender we pray that you would cleanse us from sin that you would bless our hearts with the Holy Spirit please heavenly father send your Spirit tonight I pray to your message would come through in a powerful way to each person in Jesus name we pray on by the way before I began I wanted just mentioned I know that we've we've mentioned these little expected cars that lists the messages you problem some of you probably Artie figured out on cotton ongoing by the titles on this all so don't hold me to these titles I'm just trying to let the Lord leaving us as far as what to preach on but I'm in a try to announce the titles before every sermon so you have an idea of what subject because but I want to say tonight that for those of you who don't know who I am on pastor Mark Swearingen on the past and the Carolina conference I've been there for two years at the Hickory seventy minutes church and by the way my wife Sarah and her three children him yell Jonathan and Samantha send their greetings they say hello and they wish they could be here and base they sent me word earlier through phone call and also through Facebook that they are praying from praying for me and the meetings and it's always good to know that your family back home in Springfield they wish they could be here but my wife currently is teaching kindergarten at our church school at our current church so she could not get away for this week but I want to tape tonight that I am a follower of Jesus Christ that I love Jesus with all my heart and I really believe that he has changed my life in a credible way and tonight I hope to share with you just an overview of my personal testimony on how I came to the point them out right now and I hope and pray tonight that you will be blessed as a result of that and that you will see how God is pursuing you even when you run from duty and that he wants you more than anything and hopefully tonight you'll see how God is leading in your life to begin with I like to say that I grew up in southern Maine Mena I like this at the main RI and was that's a little main speech for you it's interesting growing up there people said to me you're not from Maine where your accent and him I laughed and lived in different places this figure from the wind when Archie so I guess I don't know what happened there with the accent but I grew up in Bath Maine and one day when I was five years old my mother came home and made an announcement to the point she said starting next weekend weirdness are going to church now the first five years of my life I never went but starting in particular time my mother dragged the whole family kicking and screaming to church every weekend I went against my well in fact one time my mother in particular person that was in my class school who wasn't in my peer group and I thought I was better than I got so upset my mom mom why we picking up this person one of my friends see me but she nevertheless was trying to be a good Christian woman and gave people rise the church when they needed it but nevertheless was interesting about that is one day my heart was changed when I was ten years old and when I was ten I made the decision to give my heart to Jesus Christ and was baptized by immersion into a church in Bath Maine it was a Seventh-day Adventist church but you know I believe that I had a conversion experience at that young age in which we should never discount the possibility to reach even the young people amount of beryllium learning unless it was a rush use your real young youth and autism but but nevertheless we should never discount God 's ability to reach even the little ones and I believe this may sound crazy but I believe that God 's Holy Spirit began to speak to me in my thoughts even at that young age because shortly after I was baptized by the way when I was baptized I saw my mother out of the congregation and she was weeping tears of joy that her son finally got the picture on there forget that picture of my mother just sitting there in the congregation just crying out and praises the God that her son made the decision to follow but remember after that baptism thinking to myself why am I here what am I doing here on this Earth what is my purpose in life can you relate that you ever wondered what your purpose is in life now I know some of you your students here so you may have figured that out already hopefully nevertheless I wondered that and you know God began to speak to me through my thoughts I never heard an audible voice like some people claim but I believe the spirit of God speaks to the brain nerves and the mind and begins to walk us through our thoughts and he impressed my mind with the thought you will be a minister one day and you know because of my peer group because I was I was educated in public school and I got caught up with the athletes and played football baseball and basketball every year and I started getting around the jocks and all the stuff you know I worried about reputation and I thought to myself will you know when I thought the limits of the Lord wait a minute you I can do that because none of my friends are in the religion what would they think if I went into the ministry I be the laughing stock of my peer group and you know I dismissed that box soon thereafter I was faced with a temptation one of my friends who live down the street from me was having a party one day after school this is probably enough of a year to actress eleven twelve years old when that range and other forget going home from school that day I said you know what I'm going to that party in all kinds of things it would be transpiring there that were not approved by God as you can imagine and so when I went home I got changed I put my school work away active since gone working in my mind again saying you know you really shouldn't go there because you be walking around the tree of knowledge and your mind will snapshot things that you have no business being exposed to at that young age I wanted to go because self was still in control I had not learned what it meant to surrender my heart in the moment to Jesus as a already I want to walk out the door and an something incredible happened my father pulled up he came home early from work and by the way he never asked her came home early from work and that didn't day he came home and said somewhere you don't consider among banana David Easton what was your run with me and been around Samantha Ronson on you to come with me and I will stop spoiling my plants I know that was a supernatural intervention to keep me from walking around the forbidden tree so to speak and so I be grudgingly got into that car shaking like this that have been saying God is doing this to me what you think you do when I have an agenda and to see that agenda through but I knew God was merciful shielding from something that would impact my life in a negative way well I drove around back with my father he ran his errands and I got so frustrated in that card I finally shook my fist evidence that you know what got I don't care what you do I'm going to that party when I get home and you know God quite often will enlighten us he will convict us he will show us the path of duty and we know in our soul if we pray to Jesus what he is asking us to do we know it but the real issues will be healed to and see quite often when we persistently cream away the spirit God steps back and says okay you are free moral agent you are free to act out your own will I've enlightened you and have shown you the path of duty but if you want to go your own way of the lecture because I can't foresee that in a nutshell you know what God revealed to me and so when I got home I went to that party and I expose myself to things that a twelve -year-old should not ever have any business being exposed to and did you know that one single decision friends led me on a path where I left Jesus for seventeen years of my life and you know what I wasted all that time a could of been preaching much earlier I could've been training for ministry much earlier I could been winning souls much earlier but because of that one stupid if I can use that word decision it led me astray now I managed to graduate from high school a graduate of Karabakh high school in nineteen nineteen eighty six ago it was outdated idea how old I am but I went to the University of Maine or no and I graduated there in nineteen ninety one with a dual bachelor 's degree in ancient history and physical anthropology which is basically human evolution was an evolutionist of the pagan evolutionist finally moved out to Los Angeles as I was engaged to a young lady and she got a job out in Los Angeles so she asked me she said looking up I know you want to pursue graduate work in you please may be we can have a life together let's move onto Los Angeles in and see the world after all a from Maine we haven't really been exposed to the real world I so we moved out there through an interesting series of events we ended up going a separate ways and I thought you know what let me try the military so I went down to the local Marine Corps recruiting office and I received an appointment as a Marine Corps officer candidate in early nineteen ninety four my train for a year I was in the best shape of my life going to Officer candidate school at Quantico I can do eighty situps in a minute and a happy new twenty eight pull-ups I can run three miles in twenty one minutes course that was that could've been improved on but I was in the best shape my life and death some of your brother-in-law to but I want to Quantico Virginia in January of nineteen ninety five cubic Tom a Marine Corps officer in the third week of Officer candidate school I sustained a lower back injury was medically discharged from the Marine Corps and I was sent back out to California and what's interesting is is when I lined up for a call at OCS it was interesting how they let me go I I walked up to the table to get my K and the company first Sergeant who is this a few tyrannosaurs Samantha stood up I mean this guy wasn't up almost the start of me was just one rank below a sergeant major this guy was up on me I would want to mess with the run is a Vietnam vet Marine all his life get ready to be promoted to sergeant major the Marine Corps he stands up anything he busts me any fires in front of the whole company case lines in your NP Junior medically discharged just as busted me and humiliated me in trouble whole company so I walked back to the barracks of material between the legs of his being backed up my gear and then he comes and goes in your eyes and said we give Reggie come see us as we want you back I think I think they were put on a show just as yummy I think that if they had a certain part back up they want these candidates do not know but it but the commitment and passion behind closed doors but anyway you know what's interesting is when I like put on my sea bag with a call that it military duffel bag and out they sent me back to the train had to take a train from Quantico to Washington DC to fly back to Los Angeles here I am sitting on this train and you know it was one of those times where I had a chance to reflect on my life and you know I didn't realize this at that point but God was still working with me he was still pursuing me even though I had left Jesus and became stupid and in and in the end and evolution in and in paganism and all this kind of stuff goes for an education even other things in my life right I can still see God working with me every step of the way personally made an end this is a terrible terrible illustration but almost like God is a lovesick lover pursuing us saying please I don't want to let you go because the alternative is eternal death and I want to save you any pursues after us until every Avenue has been exhausted that's that's that's the dog least hopefully sir right but as I'm on that train that forty five minute train ride from Quantico to Washington DC I fell into a depression I was all alone I was afraid I was unsure the future my faith was putting much gone I had a death wish I wish that I would die right then but you know what this thought came into my mind that carried me back to when I was well and I begin to think about that decision I've made to go to that party this is incredible and he got it carried me back to the years and I can trace the path of destruction from that one choice and it was almost like this thought came into my mind you can be okay just go back to Los Angeles and so I went back to LA but you know I wonder if anyone in here tonight feels like I did on that train you feel alone tonight are you running from duty because God revealed to me on the train that I had and I can understand this until later when when God 's revelation came more strongly to my mind as I began to surrender my heart again to Jesus but when I ran some duty and I wonder how many of us tonight are feeling like I did on that train because you have run from duty what's interesting and here's a little caveat here this is why one of ring in the Bible tonight in this what's interesting is when you look at the experience of a man like you aligned just had a similar experience in his life the Bible and James chapter five verse seven says that Elijah was a man of like passions as we are and did you know that a large periods the very same feelings that I did on that train and maybe the very same feelings that perhaps some of you are experiencing here tonight know what I want to do for a moment 's giggle of the Bible into my Outlook at the experience of a life death and then under that come back to that train from Quantico to Washington I now want to turn to first Kings chapter nineteen I just want to highlight a couple of things to show you how God handles people that run from duty I first instructed nineteen will begin reading in verse one now as you turn this passage I'd like to just bring up to speed on the man we understand to be alike in the Bible alike it was a tissue bites from a place called Gilead and alive it was called to be a prophet of God a mouthpiece for God and a time when Israel was in its deepest apostasy in Israel the history of ancient Israel is an interesting object lesson that reveals there are times when they were faithful to God and are also times when they were unfaithful to God and what was interesting about the time of Elijah was that they were in their deepest apostate condition at that time King Ahab was the ruler of Israel and Ahab was an unconscious crew to King Ahab entered into a union with a woman called Jezebel who was the daughter of a of a about three him out which is basically son worse yet and so I live you are a half-brother was unequally yelped when Jezebel and through her influenza she used a husband to fit in and they is real with male worship possibly leading them into a deep condition of apostasy in fact that apostasy led to three and a half years of a dry spell which nearly destroyed Israel now we pick up the story in verse one but but just fine for that we have to remember that that Elijah had a famous showdown on Mount caramel with the priests of Bale some of us remember the story right where Lida went to the mountain makes me they wanted to see who the true God was in and that the priests of bail set up their alternate cut themselves and they chanted all day long at all they'll hear us consume the sacrifice and nothing happen and finally a lot to step up to the place and he basically said where is your God I guess he doesn't hear you and I and so he was able one the watermark them I think you get the sanctified way I Western five yet not doesn't exist and then Elijah the Bible says built a simple altar at a simple sacrifice put a little trench of water around it and he knelt down and prayed a simple pre- and God answered his prayer by consuming the sacrifice and then later on they slew the prophets of a now he picked up the story in verse one of chapter nineteen in first Kings is says and Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done and with all how he had slain all the prophets with the sword then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah saying so let the gods do to me and more also if I made not by life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time so he is writing to his wife allowed to kill all our prospects and Jezebels Laura know a lot of you will be as one of those dead profits by this time on the taken my now in verse three it says and what he saw that you rose and went for his life and came to beer Sheba which belonged to Judah and left a servant bear but he himself wanted to journey into the wilderness and came and sat down under a juniper tree and he requested for himself that he might die and said it is enough now oh Lord take away my life for I am not better than my father 's you see here is a ligand that some mountaintop experience and then after the death decree of a healing clean the runs for his life unafraid even though God had given him evidence that he was with him and gave him a sanctified holy boldness we can stand up for the truth and rebuke by Stephen King to his base and then stand for God at Mount caramel and then after the death decree of an evil queen he runs like a whip pop notice he flees into the wilderness he sits down under a juniper tree and he wants to he's discouraged he's on his faith a shaky and he has a death wish now watch how God deals with him verse five this is awesome because God does this with all of us but a lot of times were so busy to even discern heavenly realities of how God is working in our lives now in verse five as he lay and slept under a juniper tree below then an angel touched him and said under him arise and eat and he looked and behold it was a cake bacon on a cold and a cruse of water at his head and he did eat and drink and laid them down again and the angel of the Lord came again the second time and touched him and said arise and the because the journey is too great for the and he arose and eighty and drank and one in the strength of that meet forty days and forty nights unto our mount of God now what you notice something and what we just read here is alive Jessie 's downtrodden he's depressed he's afraid he's alone his faith is just about collapses he wants to die but that godforsaken Jesus is low I am with you always even unto the end of the well by being unafraid neither be thou dismayed by the Lord thy God is with me when this elaborate although I will never leave me nor forsake me that's what Jesus says in the Bible and in like manner God did not leave alive alone he sent to him the ministry of angels did you know that every single one of us enjoys angelic protection when asking a question have you ever discerned the presence of angels near you in your life you know it's happened to me occasionally I can't say that it happens as often as I like to but I can remember one time I was in a particular city I was scheduled to preach on a particular Sabbath day at this particular church and I know in this particular church there was a was a man bad it was at that was against me he did not like me and and and I was so afraid to go preach a distrust of those afraid this man's anger toward me was in a cause them to stand up and belligerently rebuke me for the whole church for no apparent reason evidently and I was intimidated I'm got into this town on Friday night you know just all anxious and stressed out and worried about what might happen the next morning in church and I came to the stop light it was red of course I stopped and what was interesting is this stress begin a just cause my body just to tighten up and then all of a sudden this incredible peace came over my soul I mean it was can describe it to you but I felt totally at peace and in that verse came to my mind I will keep him in perfect peace mind is that only because he trusted the main Isaiah twenty six first three right in this piece flooding me and then this thought came into my mind who preach the word of God tomorrow in the power of the Spirit of God be not afraid of the face diminish not a word stand in the sacred desk and thunder the truth to the people of God that impression socialized in my mind and then expertise withdrew and the stress came back at MOMA I realize that the fact that was an angel I believe that God said it is a just touching this given the sign and then let Jonah go preach the Nineveh are I know what friends I think sometimes was so busy in our lives when the treadmill of life and especially some of you are student you know that treadmill can get pretty fast in and it's hard to to maintain a connection with God when we were stressed out or not were overloaded in our time but you know what I believe still that God wants us to come upon rest a lot times and I believe that if we will step off the treadmill people discern the presence of angels working with us just like angels worked with Elijah praise God now notice what happens there in verse nine and he came fairly relocated and launched their and behold the word of the Lord came to him and he said under him what he was founder Elijah in other words what you doing here why are you running from duty I goes on to say he said I have been very jealous for the Lord God of hosts but the children of Israel have forsaken my covenant thrown down mine altars and slain my prophets with the sword and I even I only him left and they seek my life to take it away and he said go forth and stand upon the mount before the Lord and behold Lord passed by and a great and strong wind rent the mountains and brake in pieces the Rocco for the Lord but the Lord was not in the wind and after the wind an earthquake that the Lord was not in the earthquake and after the earthquake a fire but the Lord was not in the fire and after the fire a what still small voice you see there is God working through the fall 's in a still small voice but was not in all that conflagration God spoke to her logic is still small voice and you know what I meant by the message later this week all the voice of conscience to talk more about discerning the voice of God little bit so hopefully we can benefit from the discussion somewhat but God spoke to Elijah he didn't forsake alike and even when Elijah ran from duty friends God still pursued him God still went after him you know I think sometimes we cast ourselves off quickly to God wants to years ago when I was going to the University of Maine I used to work construction for a carpeting carpet contracted with a hot remain in between school years and wanted to get a summary with their harbor we built a house on it talk in Boothbay Harbor and I worked with two of my other friends from college and ended up and what was interesting is my boss each gave us a duty to go the digital and that he was to go to the hardware store and once Americans so they gave us a responsibility a leftist to do it unsupervised while he went to the hardware store and my responsibility was to cut a stair tread K I had to just trim the back edge of his stair tread and and put in place that was my only responsibility but instead of cutting the back of the stair tread like this I cut it like that and I was so disappointed I made a mistake I just walked around the sofa of Georgia can be very upset with me you know I may look to spire myself as he told me explicitly mark this is the only start I have don't mess this cotta and when I do a person I so I walked around just being myself up in a just and just I don't know what the right words with myself to just put myself down I was ready to walk all the way home the thirty miles and was bit about just just to atone for my sin right and my boss and unlike all year ago I guess I ramped it strikingly can come on the documents was Chuck Mister George Imus Scott Norton understand your let me go sorry on the woman at the mess it up but I messed it up I'm sorry he said were to fire you over one mistake was go take a look and we can fix system where you don't beat yourself up you know you have a lot of potential to the schoolwork on and you know we went back this decade we fixed it in your endpoint is set always resonated with me and how God treats us like that another tradition we make mistakes at times and sometimes God convicts us of rebukes us from stakes because we wouldn't learn anything if we didn't get stung by tension the burner so to speak but you know what God is always willing to work with those who are willing to be taught and learned in the mistakes just like my boss wants me see that how God treated alike allegedly made mistakes but you know what to care for you to send you diminish it in just those ages and media Temple needs an enemy to come and meet with you myself and still do speak you with my still small voice and going a step further I'm in a re- commission you and call you back to do so what in the world are you doing here why are you running from duty guard up your loins like a man and go do what I called to do and that's what that basically and in a sense what God says beginning at verse thirteen and once so when Elijah heard it but he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the in the entering and McKay and behold there came a voice under them and say what do without neurological peace and I have been very jealous for the Lord God of hosts because the children of Israel have forsaken my covenant thrown down on altars and slain my prophets with the sword and I even I only and laughed and they seek my life to take it away and the Lloyd's of London and go return on my way to the wilderness of Damascus and when thou comest anoint cause a out to be king over Syria and GQ the sum of mentioned the synonyms you shall knowingly to be king over Israel and Elisha the son of shape out of a memo a whole lot shall now anoint to be profit in my room and it shall come to pass at him and escape with the sort of Isaiah strategy you slay him with a statement from the sword you shall Elisha slay yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel all the knees which have not bowed unto Bale and every mouth which had not kissed him that is a lot that's going on this text but the thing that I want to bring out is that God recommissioned a lot get back to duty even though I like it ran even though I like his fate was about to crumble even though Elijah felt alone and tired and lonely and afraid and even though he had death wish God pursued him and recall them and recommissioned him back to duty he will not let him go praise God and your logic guess what humans translate to have that hope there's hope for us I wonder if any of you again here tonight around now you see how God deals with those whom he has called to duty in Iraq and so I'm on that train on the way back Quantico and I have this death wish God came to me in that train I didn't realize until after became to mean that Cheney said listen you just go to Los Angeles and things will be okay and you know that when I went back to Los Angeles after washing the Marine Corps I managed to find a friend of mine who allowed me to move in with him for some time and did you know that one night when I was in his house staying there it was a knock on the door his parents came in and they lived about eight blocks away in Glendale and they were Seventh-day Adventists and I found out later from my friend 's mother she said the first time I met you got impressed me to ask you for a Bible study that was to frame I ran from duty and the second time they came over the top of me asking for a Bible study I ran from duty and in the third time I find a conviction was so heavy that a given monarch Joyce W please chatted and learned that she was so afraid of rejection I said was sure on what to lose and did you know they began to share with me some principles of the Bible they share with me that the concept of the biblical Sabbath being the seventh day of the week they shared with me the concept of life after death as the Seventh-day Adventist church understand the understand to be sleep that they also shoot me the concept of the spirit of prophecy which is the operation of the gift of prophecy as far spiritual gifts are concerned and that's not an ideal evangelistic order a man right do evangelistic series I don't usually use that water went for each present I but nevertheless they showed me the truth and the seed was planted and a few months later I moved to San Diego to to to to sit to live with a friend of mine that remained would live down there and as it turned out he broke up with his girlfriend I went back to me in the spring of nineteen ninety five and as it turned out my adopted father had a heart attack in a nervous breakdown because of things it took place in his professional life and the doctor said listen you got to get out of Dodge get into a warmer environment and so my family in Maine decided to move the Florida Lake City Florida where we had some relatives and I thought to myself you know I'm back in man to lose your job not really doing too well maybe I can go to Florida and start over with a day after I set foot in Lake City I got a job with Alltel communication selling cellular phone was actually about design I was working on the Sabbath and when I went to my boss and it got maybe one a little bit I started feeling the Lord convicting me of coming back to church and said I had myself a little bit there but really really want is for the when I started working for all tell my boss was a born-again Christian he was not a Seventh-day Adventist he was a member of another denomination anyway good Christian man and he he he told me later on he thought you know what Mark needs Jesus I Imus start sending some people in the church around to see him at work because at the time I was selling ALLTEL service in the local Walmart they had like a wall display I was responsible for going in there and selling the phones and services to people that walked by his office on his youth pastor from for my bosses local church started conveniently and viciously suspiciously done by Sidney Raghavan think about what is going on with these people and finally convinced me to go to Wednesday night youth Bible study and I could feel God coming back into my life to the point where I made a decision to be rebaptized in December nineteen ninety five well one day before that baptism I got a call out of nowhere and it was my friends parents from California and I don't know how they got my number but they called me said listen how you doing it on her gas on about maybe I what charges it I sent lan I revealed the denomination is that when a minute twenty nine and and I have great respect for Christians of all things I don't don't want to get the idea that I'm trying to think that I'm better than any other faith but truth is truth friends we have to remember that there is an absolute truth and that truth comes from right here okay and when I became a Seventh-day Adventist I discarded my evolutionary thinking I realized in my estimation as I study God for that that's not a viable option and I renounce that whole philosophy even I have been educated in the whole thing thinking that was just one of many things that happened but be that as it may also the phone went with my friends back listen listen hang up the phone and wait right by the phone so I hung up the phone and a little while later I got a phone call come find out they had called like three or four different they are called the General conference of Seventh-day Adventist they call the Southern Union conference is a limited bank all the Florida conference of seventy minutes and then finally they got the Lake City pastor 's number and he called me solicitous ladies club in California she said that your open I like to come study the Bible you and did you know that night he was on my doorstep and an pastor Ron is a pastor Pastor Ron Patterson is a patch that baptized me and gone is is a very athletic man and he walks in on every high walking about a couple Bibles and a couple concordances he walks in you know just as they abide with you and I told him I said listen rather said a study with you than with a right now and write down every word you say and now medical background and hammered out myself and if I find anything wrong with what you're teaching me you will never come to my house again any any subliminal pressure I know you turn off the you know what God 's word will stand the test if we rightly divide the word of truth industry for fatal to the text that we look at but anyway starting with the estate of the dead root down everything I went back as wrong about Thursday combat any stubborn study with me this wonderful concept about how how sinners don't burn for eternity after while a strong comeback and then I started basically a sequence of about twenty five studies over three month period and many came to me in late January of ninety six he said listen to baptism on February three I think you're ready I believe God you into the ministry I've never seen the kids soak up what you soaked up in such a short amount of time got to call you to the ministry you need to be baptized as a Seventh-day Adventist born-again Christian so I made a decision that way three nineteen ninety six baptized Seventh-day Adventist Christians in Lake City something the church now what's interesting is a few months later my pastor came to me said Mark look at the time I pastor had two churches is passing Lake City was pastoring a hot Baha'i spring Sunday the church which is near for some of you been in Florida for seven day that you can't co-op up on at the American clockwork but anyway can't clock was right near that of the church when he told me to listen because he went every other week at each church any psychiatric fellow pulpit on June eighth ninety nine six I can't find a speaker and I think God might be opening this up for you would you like to preach and I said will foster mom I'm a three month minutes I can even get up with television story we have to understand friends on stage for our I suffered from stage fright all my life I I me I would get up and I would sweat profusely from the foyer I mean if you shake my head tonight my fellow clan and I still get that way because I think it's God 's way to keep me home but did you know I went I didn't feel the resistance to preach and so I went as a pastor sign me up I think God 's given me a message so he signed up for that date and did you know that Sabbath morning and I had a need for two days I was so nervous I didn't eat I mean that Thursday and Friday leading up to that Sabbath morning so to speak I did not eat I was so nervous about that sermon in fact my mom and dad came down to the church and he shook my hand and they said man you you have a pulse gun that was so nervous and I got up on stage and I was undecided the other was on the other side and not an M just it now you know and were singing the opening him and start to get lightheaded and out and I went and I and I gave the invitation of the textbook Jesus blesses your spirit no and I said to him not in the pulpit had like to show sienna set him about an actress I think I'm just collapsed and there was a mic stand right here and I just collapsed the mistaken past that and and what was interesting is that every nurse in the congregation prayed Law Review nurses right converged on the stage and began to try to show grape juice and juices down my throat and I was out cold I and I woke up in an ambulance with smelling salts you want to talk about the road to Damascus I and you know what was interesting I am on and I can joke about it now but okay at the time was very humbling thing at night I came to understand Desmond is crying I'm just weeping because South had been totally obliterated I mean I had no self respect and dignity left and I thought you know what Lord on them to show my face Mister Keegan you want on the run from duty earlier you you watch me now now but you know what then I began to get angry God you know I thought you called me when you told me way back when I was ten that would do this why did you allow that to happen to me and you know I went to the hospital they took me to a hospital in Gainesville Florida and they wheeled me into this isolated room and the nurse came in as I was just I'm serious I was weeping in this bed I was so devastated she just help me and say were maybe she was an angel she just held my hand like you and look to me like this could be okay and God began to again work through my thoughts as I had I had a chance in that bed to really search myself and here have those moments where it where you know that God is speaking to your heart and you just eat yummy it's a most like in panoramic vision in your mind flashes of light before you and he basically said to my thoughts you don't understand this right now but you will later on when you tell this testimony it will be a blessing and by the way you were you were very full of self today you would understand up and pistol whip the Saints you would interview the Junior Holy Spirit and you need to understand itself can never be allowed in the desk you must be surrendered to the spirit of God if you do break the bread of life to souls and I learned very quickly on himself you know we have our moments right honey just because we come to Christ doesn't mean that we don't struggle with us a sinful nature myself still raises its ugly head and we've got to learn to cooperate with the spirit of God so that the Spirit of God can subdue yourself and we can live the life of Christ but God taught me itself had to die and he took a huge chunk itself out that in the interim between the seven-month between now and the actually preaching my first sermon it was a time of a writable incredible agony for me was a time trouble I'm barely even could walk into my home church and people talking it's a Walmart if you ever go to his outing against that of the treaty yet how have you ever scare us like that again I keep unlike left a little compassion I mean I met me as we deal of compassion just like this morning when your left and you and a girl broke my heart right anyway but you know what was interesting is seven-month I think my last and with the Toastmasters and learn how to actually get up in front of people and not take and I met I actually learn how to get up and speak your and get comfortable he and God began to work at me in my past would have me do prayer meetings and to do mission stories I started getting more acclimated to getting up in front and then finally in January of nineteen ninety seven I definitely preach my first sermon and you know I've been preaching ever since and what's interesting is a few months prior that my pastor held in evangelistic series and I videotaped every meeting and one night after one of those meetings I want to pastor Ron is a test run you know what you're doing tonight I can do that is a marketing amine with all due respect vagina a wound that you pass about me you have increased adverse or homework needed evangelism I said I can do exactly what you preach your first sermon and then you take the next year and you write a set of evangelistic meetings and evangelistic sermons and now go to the conference about future meeting as a layperson and we'll see what the Lord will do and in the meantime I thought I needed to go to school I thought I had to go to school to become a pastor and so I sent out all these applications the different schools in the Adventist church and one by one I kept coming back sorry we don't have time Simon Donovan of financial aid sorry the deadline is passed so I would run my mouth I mean every excuse under the sun and and and and and and and begin to get frustrated with yup I'm trying to become a minister why don't you help me and the Lord just kept impressed me look if you would get away I will put you in the managed without school in ministry and did you know that my pastor set up a meeting with the evangelism coordinator in Florida and he was just happen to be looking for a lady that house and he said I will give you meetings if the Lord blesses I will keep rolling you meetings you don't know us anything we don't owe you anything and did you know in our first Crusade we planted a church in it in an area where there was no floriculture God bless and I get three more meetings that year they rolled me three by four more meetings the next year in two thousand and then by two thousand two they came to me and said look we would pick you a full-time and then along the way I met my wife Sarah wonderful seventy minutes Christian woman on Nodaway she was on the front row when I fainted no I know beautiful introduction I knew I had once I have a topic you know along the way I'm married my wife Sarah and we have three beautiful children and you know I once we discovered that that my wife was pregnant with our first daughter Abigail was now five we decided to leave full-time evangelism and pastor part-time at Plymouth Sorrento and do part-time event is in Florida and after about four years at Sorrento I thought you normally go back and leave Angel 's love I'm not a pastor and evangelist and the amazing facts was looking at us very seriously the fact that an interview set up with them it was then everything was looking like it was to be a government one morning my wife came to me we said look honey I know that I told you to follow you wherever God leads you but we have three children as well we had two inches pregnant with her third and she said look you know we can we can even travel statewide in Florida with two kids now have three and want to go nationwide with amazing facts and not only that you need to go international and we can do that and I don't want our family sent me from him can we please look at another option at any seat was my dream to go with a fax on the eye wanted to work for amazing facts ever since I was baptized may think that those you don't know if that is diminishing Sacramento headed by the bachelors it in an Adventist evangelist incentive in his church and is a very powerful soloing ministry was all around the world every year preaching evangelism in winning souls to Jesus and Anna and I had my dream right there but yet my wife was standing in front of me that morning sing please can we look at another option it was interesting she was standing right in front of the windows of the sun was coming up that morning and she was radiating with the sun behind her and and and I was on most like it was an angel about eight feet harnessing because you will destroy your family and full-time inventions are not ready so I said okay honey I'll put my dream on hold but see how the Lord lays in the Lord let us to Hickory nuts we currently are right now and we are so thankful that Jesus has worked in our lives in a tremendous way and listen I cannot tell you all this not to attract attention myself I I pay this ticket to convey to you that God has given you a testimony to how you may not think I hope you told thing furniture but you know what uptight right now God wants to work in our lives and give us a testimony that we can share with others but unfortunately quite often we run from duty when God reveals our duty to us quite often we resist I pray tonight friends that as you've heard this testimony that you will be encouraged not to run from God if you're running from God and maybe if your downtrodden are or are feel alone depressed afraid like your faith is about to fail maybe even you have a death wish I don't know but you know what just like God dealt with the logic and just like God dealt with me God wants to deal with you in the same way he can use you in a tremendous way which you must choose to respond to be used to be willing to be used by God so don't run from duty France let God call you back to where you need to be maybe a heart astray from God for many years like what happened to me but you know I will promise you right now God is very new to you you may not sense his presence in you not to go on feelings anyway you go on principle to know that God is pursuing you every step of the way calling you back to where he wants you to be and maybe you are in God 's call right now and praise God for that because God needs people that are willing to be used in the center of his well whatever your cases to nine friends please allow God to use you allow God to use your testimony to reach us and by the grace of God you will win many souls to Jesus you will so many seeds that will bear fruit and when Jesus comes again you will see those souls have the crown of glory placed upon the row a crown that is more precious than life itself God bless you tonight as you consider this testimony may God help all of us not to run from duty anymore but to follow him all the way he meant let us go ahead and have prayer as we close in father in heaven thank you so much for the way you work in our lives in a tremendous way and were sorry Lord for the times when we really don't discern your providences as we ship sometimes life can get very busy sometimes we even make choices that lead us down paths that you had not designed for us to go down but even so Lord you are pursuing us you want us back like Elijah you want to call us back you send heavenly influences to work with us to guide our minds and to bring us back to where we need to be we pray tonight Lord that you would help all of us to be back where you would have us to be Lord if we won from duty would make a commitment tonight to come back to you for help all of us to fulfill your purpose for a loss mode we realize that starts with a total surrender to you so tonight in this moment of time I pray that each one of us would make that decision to yield ourselves to you the father God in the name of Jesus I pray tonight that your spirit will still strive with each one of us and that you people continue to bless us abundantly above all that we can ask or think as we leave this place tonight Lord maybe angels go with us to keep us safe and father I pray that as we continue through this your spirit will continue to bless us thank you for all that you do for us we realize when not working Florida is continue to strive with us and bless us as our prayer in Jesus name


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