Monday, September 2, 2013

One person makes a difference

Photo courtesy of Salvatore Vuono/

When was the last time you heard a message and thought the speaker was directing it specifically to you? It’s like you’re the only person in the auditorium, an audience of one.

I had that sensation last week at church when a visiting pastor from the UK, Paul Scanlon, spoke. His message didn’t really have a title but it was about encouraging us all to know that we are useful to God.

When God wants to do something He always finds someone who He can use. Whether it was to wipe out all living creatures (he used Noah), to building the temple (Solomon), or to evangelize to the Gentiles (Paul).

David and the Temple

Scanlon anchored his message around David. David was chosen to be king when he was a teenage shepherd boy who wrestled lions and bears if they dared go after his sheep and wrote poetry to God as he tended the flock through the lonely nights.

“If we compare ourselves to David, we’re probably over qualified.”

When David was king he had a passion to build a temple as he was affronted by the fact he was housed in a palace but the ark of God dwelled inside tent curtains. (2 Samuel 7:2). So Nathan encouraged David to build it:

“Go, do all that is in your heart, for the Lord is with you.” (2 Samuel 7:3)

God didn’t give David the idea, He didn’t need a temple, but He honoured David’s idea. As most of us know, David didn’t build the temple, his son, Solomon did.

I often find myself having an idea and rather than starting the process of engaging others or moving on it, I wait for some validation from God. Somehow confirmation will miraculously appear.

Sure the world is full of hair-brained ideas that have failed. And we don’t need more of them. So we shouldn’t be shooting off to do everything that comes to mind.

When I received a co-publishing offer for Angelguard I sought counsel from others in the industry. I could have gone yippee (I did do that) and signed the deal believing that was the path the Lord wanted for Angelguard.

But it was that counsel that had me turn down the offer and more significantly opened a door to another publisher who offered me a traditional contract.

Active Waiting

I’ve always been more of a thinker than a doer. These past few weeks I’ve been thinking a lot as I’ve waited. Whether it’s for new work, more sales of Angelguard, or the right words for the second novel.

God has chosen all of us to be a move of God. Sure some people will have BIG roles to play like leading mega churches, or massive revivals, or whatever. But we’ve all been chosen. We all have a responsibility to further the kingdom. It’s not just those revivalists or our pastor’s job. It’s for all of us.

That might just be by asking our neighbour to come to church with us rather than simply praying about it, or choosing to take the self-published route for your novel because it’s a genre not too popular in the CBA market at present (as a friend has recently done), or writing an email to a prominent author that I’m encouraging another friend to do.

“God isn’t fussy: He uses someone who is useable.”

So enough passive waiting for me. Time to start doing, and sharing with others the one or two of the ideas that have been percolating for a while.

Thanks Lord for the kick up the backside.

How do you actively wait when you have the seed of an idea? And especially one that you believe will bring God glory?

When did you last hear a message (it doesn’t have to be a Church one) that stung you into action?

Ian Acheson is an author and strategy consultant based in Northern Sydney. Ian's first novel, Angelguard, was released recently in US, UK, Canada and Australia. You can find more about Angelguard at Ian's website, on his author Facebook page and Twitter


  1. Thanks, Ian--and God bless those ideas that are percolating in you! Re your question about how I actively wait when I have an idea or feel I have something to offer that God will use, from time to time, I email contacts and places I know where I might be able to be used to speak, just putting myself 'out there' and explaining what I can speak about etc. At first, I felt uncomfortable doing this, but now I realise that if I just take that first step of faith, God will unfold the results. And the worst that can happen is that people will say no!

    1. Love that you've taken the initiative. Funny, only on Saturday a pastor spoke a word of encouragement to me about starting to speak into some men's lives. Now to find those 1 or 2 blokes.

      Appreciate the encouragement, Jo-Anne and all the best with your speaking gigs.

  2. Thanks, Ian, for that 'kick up the backside'! I've been doing a lot more of the pro-active stuff this year (it's only taken me nearly ten years - I'm a slow learner!) but was starting to get timid again. It's important I don't do that, due to the fact that I need to be active in promoting my book - to be released by Even Before Publishing (Wombat)next year. I look forward to reading more from you.

    1. Congratulations on your book being published, a significant achievement. Yes, may I encourage you in building your following ahead of your publication date.

      I look forward to reading more about it.

  3. So true. Praying about things is valid, but so is doing and testing the waters (which takes more courage :) Thanks, Ian.

    1. Thanks Margaret for the encouragement.

  4. Hi Ian
    Isn't it great that God can and does use any one of us - we just have to be available and willing to launch out in faith. I've had a few occasions in the last few weeks when I've felt the Spirit's subtle prompting to reach out to someone - to find it was just what was needed at that time.

  5. Hi Jenny. I do love that line above that God isn't fussy, He'll use anyone who is available. Too often we can get too caught up in our world so God finds someone else.

    Great you've been able to speak into others lives in recent times as a result of allowing yourself to be used by the Lord.

  6. Thanks Ian for that interesting post. You are right that we shouldn't run off with every idea we get - it's better to wait for confirmation from God about it. I too have been seeking lots of wisdom from Him of late - it seems like it's only too easy to have my own agenda thinking it's God's agenda for me - when it isn't. Awesome that the right publishing contract came through by listening to God and following His lead. May God do awesome things through your book.

    1. Anusha, one of the things I'm learning is the importance of positioning ourselves. Jo-Anne provides a great example: she has a desire to speak and seeks opportunities. Through putting herself out there, opportunities present themselves. Similar to when i sort counsel on the co-publishing deal, I could have sat and waited for confirmation or allowed others to be used by the Lord to provide conformation.

      May the Lord confirm what's on your heart through others wise words and/or actions.


  7. It happens regularly Ian and I find if I don't respond fairly quickly God makes sure I get the message again from someone else. I love that He never just gives up on us.

  8. Great point Dale about God's persistence in pursuing us. I too have experienced that a number of times when I've failed to hear Him or to act when I have. I'm glad I haven't been swallowed by a whale though.


  9. Some good thoughts here Ian. It's like that saying you often hear about how you can't steer a stationary car. So if we want God to direct us, we should start moving.