Scripture of the Week: Ephesians 3:20, 2 Corinthians 1:3–4, 2 Thessalonians 1:11–12, Acts
Ephesians 3:20 says, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us…”
What does this verse mean?
Immeasurably = incapable of being measured; limitless.
“God is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine...” God is not limited by what you ask of Him. He can give so much more. God is also not limited by your creativity. He could
do things through you that you would not even be able to dream up right now.
“According to his power that is at work within us…” God will do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, and he is not going to do it separately on His own, but through you.
Does God want to do stuff in and through your life that will just blow your mind? Yeah.
In SOUL SURFER, there is a powerful scene when Bethany receives hundreds of letters from
people all over the world that have been inspired by her. She definitely didn’t ask God to be an inspiration for so many people she’d never met, nor could she have even dreamed up something that big.
The question is, “How do we figure out what God wants to do in our life?” It’s easy to stress out over this and wait for God to tell us precisely what He wants us to do. But in the Bible, God has already given us tons of direction for what He wants to do through us.
God never wastes a hurt. If you look back at the experiences you have gone through, most often you will have clues as to what God is calling you to do. For example, I’ve got a friend who’s son committed suicide. She went through a traumatic experience during that time in her life. God rescued her from those experiences, and now she
pours her life into helping other people who are experiencing pain.
You will uncover part of God’s mission for your life when you look at your past experiences, and another part of it will come from looking at your present passions. What things do you get superexcited about?
In the movie SOUL SURFER, Bethany is addicted to surfing. It’s no wonder that God uses her passion for being on a surfboard as part of her mission. God gave her that passion for surfing and wanted to use those passions to bless others. The same is true with your life, but so often we settle for so much less than what God wants to do through our lives.
There is really only one way that God can take you on the ride of your life, a ride where you see Him do things through you beyond what you could ever ask or imagine. Does anyone remember
what is that way? We’re ending our series by looking one more time at our main man, Simon Peter. At this point, Peter is the leader of the movement that would soon be known as Christianity, and God has selected him to take the gospel to the Gentiles—everyone who is not a Jew. But the Gentiles are outside Peter’s sphere of concern right now. It makes sense: Peter is Jewish. He loves his Jewish people. He is most comfortable in a Jewish world.
But God hears the prayers of a Roman named Cornelius, who is crying out to Him. Cornelius is doing all he knows to follow God. He’s caring for the poor and serving people humbly, but he still hasn’t found what he’s looking for. God sees Cornelius’s heart, but since Cornelius is not a Jew, there is no one ready to help him. No one who is a follower of Jesus Christ cares about
this Roman man…yet. So, God speaks to Cornelius through an angel to go send for this man Peter.
Meanwhile, Peter is spending time at home praying, and he has a dream. That’s where
this story begins. For Peter, a Jew, there were things that were considered clean and things that were unclean.
There were only certain animals that the Hebrew scriptures specified could be eaten. This was huge for the Jewish culture, and it was huge for Peter. Eating “kosher” was one of the ways that you showed you were a good Jew. So, Peter is hungry, but not for anything he sees in his dream. I wonder if, because it was Cornelius the Roman coming, Peter might have been dreaming about Italian food, like seafood pasta! And God is saying, “Peter, I want you to eat Italian. You just want to eat Jewish. There are some clams next to that baked ziti. I want you to eat them, Peter.” But Peter just looks at the food in disgust. And God says, “When I tell you something is not unclean, don’t you dare call it unclean. You eat it. You value it!”
Now do you think this dream is really about food? It’s about people. What God is saying through this dream is, “Peter, your vision is too small. I am expanding your sphere of concern. I am
deepening the burden of your responsibility.” This is huge! Whenever God gives you a dream or a vision for your life, He raises the bar. God
wants to call you to a more heroic life. If you will allow Him to expand the parameters of your concern, your dreams will increase, as well.
So, God is saying to Peter, “You have a vision for all the people of Israel, but it’s way too small. You can’t focus on something as small as a nation when the whole world needs you.” So, God expands the boundaries of Peter’s concern and deepens the burden of his responsibility.
Maybe your life impact is too small because your concern is too small.
In SOUL SURFER, Bethany’s primary hope is that she could just go back to how life used to be before the attack. As she realizes that this dream is virtually impossible, her natural response is
sadness and hopelessness. But then she steps out of her comfort zone by going on a mission trip to help people in Thailand recover from a horrific tsunami. Through that experience, Bethany’s whole perspective is turned upside-down. Her heart is broken through interacting with so many people whose life experiences were far worse than hers. In those moments, God began to grow her level of concern for the poor around the world and enlarge her dreams for
what she could do, as well.