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*Divine Appointment I; /Begin with Prayer/*-nv 030608am (Col 4:2-6 & Phil 2:13)
*OS:* *1* John Thomas Oaks is musician in NYC [www.oaksengine.com] .
On a chilly November, in Manhattan, he was playing at the Starbucks Café on 51st & Broadway.
Others had said it was the most lucrative Starbucks in the world; tips were good if you played your tunes right.
John was playing tunes from the ‘40’s to ‘90’s on his keyboard, and doing back up singing with his partner.
He noticed a lady in chair swaying & singing along with “If You Don’t Know Me By Now.” Afterwards, she apologized for singing.
John asked if she would like to sing the next selection.
She asked if he knew any hymns.
John picked His Eye Is on the Sparrow.
Everyone in Starbucks listened attentively as they sang: "I sing because I’m happy, sing because I’m free.
For His eye is on the sparrow & I know He watches me."
The people in Starbucks gave her thunderous applause.
She turned to John and said, It’s funny you picked that hymn.
It was my daughter’s favorite.
She was 16.
She died last week of a brain tumor.
I’m gonna be OK.
I keep trusting the Lord & singing His songs.”
This was a Divine Appointment where two paths crossed and relief was granted.
We shouldn’t be so surprised because God has been arranging such encounters since the beginning of time.
Consider the Life of Joseph:
They were traveling to Egypt, making another haul of goods and merchandise to sell at a great profit.
Along the way they had a Divine Appointment probably never realized.
Little did they know that the survival of a Nation of people depended on that timing.
He was in charge, a slave owner, going to the sale simply to purchase another slave for his household as he had done many times before.
Little did Potipher know that this purchase was a Divine Appointment.
*2* Colossians 4:2-6,/ //Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.
//And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains.
//Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.
//Be wise in the way you act toward those outside your own number; make the most of every opportunity.
//Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone./
*3* Philippians 2:13, /for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose./
*TS]* Scripture combination - God works in us providing opportunity to do His will.
Life is not lived by chance, fate, or luck – Life is lived by the providence of God.
So vital – commit to memory - *4* Memory verse: “Devote yourselves to prayer ~/ being watchful and thankful…~/Be wise in the way you act ~/ toward those outside your own number ~/ making the most of every opportunity.
*I. **Opportunity** for what?
What is God’s will?*
A. Bible = All men be saved….none
to perish ~/ thus the eternal wellbeing of people will often weigh in the balance of a Divine Appointment.
B. Jesus = ministry to the hurting, mending broken hearts, helping the poor, etc. Relief from pain and suffering often weigh in the balance of a Divine Appointment.
**Divine Appointments are called “opportunities” in Col. 4*
A. When our paths cross and ministry happens.
We help someone in need
We share the hope we have in Christ.
B. Like being a servant to the king – He sends us out to run errands, deliver messages, etc.
C. “God works in you”
** Paul understood – Acts 21 – riot, Divine appointment.*
*TS]* How do we not miss these Divine appointments?
*Prop:* *5* In order to experience and discover Divine appointments we must first enter the adventure of prayer.
**6** Prayer puts us on God’s page - lines us up with God.*
A. Affects how you see daily life – like putting on your glasses –
Prayer provides the proper focus on our daily encounters.
– Maybe an appointment.
B. Without prayer we forget that life isn’t all about us.
**7** It don’t happen if we don’t pray.*
A. Appointments must be made.
B. *:*James 4:2-3, /..
You do not have, because you do not ask God.
//When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures./
C. Biblical examples
*Moses* and the battle prayer in Exodus 17,
*Gideon *prayed and was given a great victory in Judges 6-7,
*Hannah*, who was barren, prayed for a child and God gave her a son, Samuel, who became a great prophet in 1 Samuel,
*David*, lived a life of prayer, a man after God’s own heart.
*Nehemiah* cried, fasted, and prayed – God used him to lead the remnant of Israel back to Jerusalem to rebuild its walls.
D. The trend continues into the NT and especially the early church in Acts – 2:42 they continued in prayer…the church grew.
We have experienced the same – “when we started praying…”
*TS]* “O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.”
Obvious: *8* If it doesn’t start with prayer it doesn’t start at all.
You can do more than pray, after you have prayed, but you can never do more than pray until you have prayed.
It is a divinely ordered sequence.
Only when we start with prayer do we realize or recognize the true source.
**9** What do you pray for?
A. Paul instructs the Colossians to busy themselves with prayer concerning Kingdom opportunities and their recognition.
Paul is in prison yet he doesn’t ask for their prayers concerning his ‘chains’ but rather prayers concerning opportunities to clearly proclaim Christ.
Paul did not ask for the prison doors to be opened, but that doors of ministry might be opened.
It is worth noting that in all of Paul’s prison prayers, his concern was not for personal safety or material help, but for spiritual character and blessing.
B. I think it’s time to add some things to our prayer list.
How often do we pray for impact on this community?
Opportunities to serve this community and demonstrate the love of Christ?
How often do you pray for Divine Appointments?
Close: *10* The good Samaritan – let us not be like those who pass by on the other side of the important.
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