Right Place. Right People. Right Plan.

Questions For God

Acts 9:5-6, "And he said, "Who are You, Lord?" Then the Lord said, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads." So he, trembling and astonished, said, "Lord, what do You want me to do?" Then the Lord said to him, "Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do." 

Paul encountered Jesus on the road to Damascus to persecute Christians. In his encounter, he asked the Lord two questions. Many people have questions for God. I can guarantee you that you would not ask the question you have for God right now when you encounter Him. Once you encounter God, you will have questions. These are always different questions than the ones we had before we encountered God.

Almost everyone in our culture has questions for God. Why does God allow evil? Why do bad things happen to good people? These questions are normal but when you encounter God, in God’s presence there is so much joy, peace, and beauty that these questions will not be asked.

Job had a lot of questions. I would call the book of Job the book of questions. When he meets God, the Lord had questions for him. Job, where were you when I created the planets? God bombards Job with questions and when God gives him a break, he puts his hand over his mouth in silence. Job said, ‘God, I had heard about You and served You, but I never knew You. I repent of everything that I said and I just want to know You.’

If you have questions about why, when you encounter God, your questions change. I want to warn you, encountering God does not answer your questions, it changes them. Some questions will only be answered in eternity. On this earth, when you meet Jesus and His presence fills your heart, you will not be asking why something happened but ‘Lord, who are You,’ and ‘what would You have me do?’ These will be the two questions that your encounter with God will produce.

It is not that you do not know about Jesus but you have never experienced Him. It is like watching lions in documentaries. You may think you know about lions but when you are face to face with a lion in the wild, you realize you know nothing.

Encountering Jesus

When you meet Jesus, you will want to know Jesus more. The real sign that you have met God is that you realize you don’t know Him yet and you want to know Him more. The second thing that happens when you encounter God is you want to ask Him, what would You have me do?

Apostle Paul had today’s equivalent of 4-5 PhDs. He was the intellectual of that day. Paul had a plan, dream, and ambition for his life. He was not one of those people who didn’t know what to do with his life. Yet, his encounter with God changed everything because his ambition lost its appeal. Paul’s plan for his life lost its attraction compared to knowing Jesus more. He was the son of a pharisee but he didn’t know Jesus and he wanted to know Jesus after his encounter. He had plans but asked the Lord what He would have him do.

You know you have really encountered the Lord when you submit your dreams, ambitions, and desires under God’s feet and say, ‘That is what I planned but Jesus, what do You have for me?’ If you only come to the Lord and ask Him to bless your plans, you haven’t encountered Him. With a real encounter with God, you discard your plans and ask for His. Not my will be done but Yours. What would You have me do?

Everybody wants to know what God’s plan is for their lives. God has a plan but you will never discover it until you first meet Him. It is not found in university; it is found in His presence. When you encounter Jesus, He wants to reveal His plan to you. How does Jesus reveal His plan? It takes the right place, right people, and right plan.

Right Place

Jesus answered Paul’s question by telling him to go to the right place, where the right person would meet him and he would know what to do. That is the right place, right people, and right plan.

Jesus did not tell Paul everything at once. He only gave Paul directions to the right place where he would meet the right people who would tell him the right plan.

In the right place, you will meet the right people. God will lead you to the right place before He brings you to the right people. How many people are looking for their Boaz? You must understand that Boaz has a field. If you want to find a Boaz, you need to be looking at his place because the right people don’t hang out at the wrong places.

God wants to send the right people into your life this year but He first wants to send you to the right place. God reveals the right people in the right place.

Four Characteristics Of The Right Place

Fasting, (Acts 9:9). The right place is not a location; it is an attitude. The right place is not necessarily somewhere you go but something you do. Paul was fasting for three days after his encounter with Jesus. That was the first thing he did after his salvation. That is the right place. We have a generation today that meets Jesus and does not fast.

Prayer, (Acts 9:11b). The second thing that makes it the right place is prayer. God went to Ananias in a dream and when He told him about Paul, He said he was praying. Paul wasn’t just starving himself, he was fasting and praying.

The third thing that makes it the right place is being planted (Acts 9:11a). Paul was planted in someone’s home. The Lord directed Ananias to the Christian home where Paul was planted. This tells me that God not only wants us to pray and fast, but to be in somebody’s home group. Whose house are you in? To be in the right place is a place you will be known, loved and encouraged. Paul was not planted in the temple; he was planted in a house.

No matter how busy you are, this year you must step into your purpose and that is to be planted in the right place.

The fourth sign that you are in the right place is vision, (Acts 9:12). While Paul was there, he got a vision. When you start to fast and pray and be planted in a local home group, while you may still be confused about the future, but you will not be confused about your identity. Paul was blind but he had a vision. This means in some areas, we might not be able to see what to do next but we will have a vision and know in our spirit who we are in Christ.

Right People

When you are in the right place, God sends you the right people. For Paul, this was Ananias. God will send the right people to you this year. Right people play such a big role in God’s plan. Interestingly, God did not tell Paul what he needed to do. But He sent Paul to and made him dependent on Christians whom he had sought to kill.

The challenge for many people who have an encounter with God is they develop independence from a local church. They say things like I don’t need church and I don’t need other Christians. While you may be able to answer questions about Jesus, an encounter with Jesus will lead you to the question of what He wants you to do.

Jesus’ Answer

Jesus’ answer to the Apostle to the nations was not a step-by-step guide. The Lord told Paul that He wanted him to go to the right place, where other believers are, and wait for people there, whom he was trying to kill, to give him directions. God’s purpose will always be connected to the right place and the right people. He will not tell you everything because the church is not an island, it is a body. God will teach us to relate and depend upon each other. God will send an Ananias your way, who will open doors for you.

I also want to warn you, you can be in the right place and meet the wrong people. The blindness of the right place is this: if this is the right place, it means everyone here is the right person. You can fall for the trap of meeting a wrong person, a toxic person who will damage and derail your life because not everyone in the right place is the right person. Judas Iscariot was in the right place but he was the wrong person. How can you detect the wrong people?

Right And Wrong People

1.A right person is connected to God, (Acts 9:10). A wrong person is simply gifted, successful and someone you want to be like but in the area of their walk with God, you won’t want to imitate them. They are a wrong person for you. They are not walking with God. Ananias walked with God and knew the voice of God.

If you come to a local church, live a life of commitment to God, be wary of people who have opinions and intentions but don’t have depth with God. Beware of people who don’t love God’s Word, or the presence of Jesus but are successful, charming, attractive, or good on the outside. Single people listen to me. You will meet people in the right place who are hot but are not holy. A person in the right place who does not have a relationship with God is not the right person for you to become deeply connected with. You can influence and evangelize but the moment you get into a closer bond, if they don’t know God, you will get contaminated. If you get to the right place but don’t meet the right people, you will have a messed up plan. It will jeopardize your future.

2. Are they speaking into your destiny or are they speaking about your history? A right person does not live in the past; a right person lives in the future, (Acts 9:17). God doesn’t consult your past to determine your future because through the blood of Jesus Christ, you are a new creation. Ananias spoke into Paul’s destiny as an apostle; he didn’t condemn him about his history as a persecutor and murderer of innocent Christians. Be wary of people who live in your yesterday. Be wary of people who want to talk about who hurt them; they will get you stuck in your past instead of the future.

Every place has people who have been wounded and traumatized. There are people in the right place who live in the past. But some of us choose to forgive, not get infected and move on to what the Lord has in our future. I do not want to live in my past. The Bible says old things passed away, (1 Corinthians 5:17). Be wary of people who have information only about the past but have no revelation about your future. The right person is not just somebody who has the dirt about your past but who had the gold about your future. Just like Lot’s wife, you cannot move forward while looking backward.

I want to challenge you this year to stop associating with toxic naysayers. Those are people who have decided that the future is not worth pursuing. They always get stuck somewhere. You were not saved to talk about your past. You have a future that is bigger than your past.

The promise for the future is what you should focus on, not the pain of the past. Victims focus on what they have been through. Victors focus on where they are going.

Israel was in the right place but of the 12 spies they sent into the land, 10 were the wrong people. These ten were toxic, negative, and always talked about bad things and they poisoned the minds of people in the right place.

Stop living in the past. Shake off the past. God has a region for us to conquer. We cannot spend this life talking about the giants; we have to slay them.

3. The right people minister to you, (Acts 9:17). After talking to them, you do not feel sick; you feel more hungry for God. If you speak to people, and afterward you hate the church, pastor, and you don’t want to read the Bible, you might have been food poisoned by them. Some people carry bacteria, they themselves are poisoned and they will poison you. Be careful. If you are pregnant with a promise from God, if you had an encounter with God, protect your heart from toxic people who don’t increase your love for Jesus.

4. The right people will help you build a foundation, (Acts 9:18). While the right people speak into your destiny, they actually don’t help you fulfil your destiny. Those people work with your foundation. One of the reasons we have small groups or home groups is that everyone has a destiny. A small group is not a place you will learn how to fulfil your destiny right away. Small groups help you build a foundation. The Lord doesn’t start with a roof, He starts with excavation. When God reveals your destiny to you, you don’t start moving in it the next day. That’s when the excavations start. You might have a calling, a business and a promise but you also need to be cleansed from generational curses and demonic bondage first.

Don’t write off people who don’t seem to help you build your destiny because they are busy helping you build your foundation. They might not have the secret to taking your career to the next level but they help your foundation to go deeper so when God blesses you, you don’t fall with the storm, you don’t fumble with the rain and you don’t disappear with the hardship. The right people come into our lives to help us build our foundations in God that His glory will be built on.

The Right Plan

Paul was in the right place. He met Ananias who helped him build foundations, get water baptized and prayed for the scales on his eyes. Then Ananias gave him a prophetic word which unlocked Paul’s destiny. We may not all do what Paul did but we are all called to serve the same God. God has a plan for each one of His children.

God’s Plan For Your Life Has A Promise

God has a prophetic promise for each one of us; He wants to use us in some way. God’s purpose and promise is the make the name of Jesus glorified and to use you to accomplish that purpose.

Your Purpose Also Has Perks

There are perks to serving God’s purpose.

Your Purpose Also Comes With Persecution

The size of your calling will always be consistent with the size of your persecution. Nobody can have a grand calling and only a little pain or persecution. You cannot have a calling if you do not have a cross. When you get a calling, it is often your family who are the first to turn against you because it hurts the worst. If you can endure that, you can handle anything and God will turn your family around in time.

Don’t become bitter or offended. Simply understand that the calling has a cost. You cannot have a great calling if you have a weak spine. Moses had to endure suffering. Endure suffering as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. Stop being a snowflake that melts when things get hard. God will begin to increase your strength and endurance. “Run the race with endurance, looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith,” Hebrews 12:1-2. Everyone who desires to live godly will be persecuted. “In this world, you will have tribulations; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world,” (John 16:33).

In our culture, we have stopped embracing suffering. We know how to be successful but we don’t know how to suffer successfully. I want to encourage you, if you have a great calling, you will have a great cross but God will give you the strength to bear it. His Son bore the cross and tells us to do the same.

Your Plan Needs Patience

God’s plan will be unfolded and revealed in God’s time but until then, He will cultivate endurance and patience. God will test you to see if you are more willing to serve than to shine. Are you more interested in the towel than the title? Are you desperate to hold on to the perks or are you willing to do your purpose for God?

Paul faithfully did that and in Acts 13, while Paul was praying and fasting, the Holy Spirit spoke and called Paul to what He had told him about long ago. Paul started to go from country to country, synagogue to synagogue until his critics said of him, he turned the world upside down. God promised, there were perks, there was persecution and there was a process. Then, he stepped into it. God will give you the promise, you will see the perks, you will pay the price, and you will walk through the process of stepping into the fullness of it.

Sermon By Vladimir Savchuk; Blog By Edward Gardiner

Watch The Full Sermon Here: