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I just want to read to you today from Genesis Chapter 11. Genesis Chapter 11:30-32. And it says this, and Torah took his son Abraham and his grandson Lot, the son of Haran and his daughter-in-law Sarai, his son Abraham’s wife and they went out with them from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to the land of Canaan and they came to Harran and dwelt there.

Told my message today is don’t settle for second best. Let’s pray. Father, I thank you for the Word. I ask and pray Lord, that you help us to fix our eyes forward. I ask and pray that you help us to lay a hold of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus that you have for every one of us this year. I thank you and praise you for that Lord in Jesus’ name. Amen. Genesis chapter 11 and 12. Very significant chapters in the Bible. We see at the start of this little these two verses that I read. A sandwich between two significant events. The first event before this is the destruction of the Tower of Babel. So basically all the people in the world got together and they wanted to build themselves a tower that reached to God. And with great unity they started doing that. Now it’s so funny, you may not notice but if I go back to read it, you will notice that God came down to have a look at their little tower. And so basically what that means is it doesn’t matter how hard you work to try to get to God, there’s nothing you can do about it. But then God actually says you know that you know if they work together they’ll be unstoppable and then he did something. He confused their language. Gave them different languages and then there was a great diaspora and they actually started moving out amongst the rest of the earth.

So at that point we see here that a man by the name of Terah actually leaves Ur of the Chaldeans to go to the land of Canaan and he settles in Harran. After this, immediately after this, one of his sons known as Abram at the time ends up being known as Abraham. The father of Israel. The father of the faith is actually called by God in Genesis Chapter 12. And in Genesis chapter twelve, God says to him get out from your father’s house. Get away from your family and start going to a land that I will show you. So that’s a significant moment. But right in the middle of it we see Terah who’s part of that diaspora who’s actually leaving and moving out amongst the world. And it says there he was determined to go to Canaan but he ended up settling in Harran and actually dying there. Genesis 12, God calls Abraham to go to a land that he will show him a promised land. What was that promised land? It’s actually Canaan. So notice this maybe. Like just maybe, that maybe instead of God being the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He could have been the God of Terah, Abraham, and Isaac. Maybe it was Terah that actually had that initial call to go to the promised land. But he came to a place called Haran. A nice place. And he actually settled there. Have you ever thought to yourself when you’ve been on holiday? You’ve been Simon. You thought, you know what? Maybe we should move here. This place is so nice.

Trish and I had a little bit of a moment a couple of weeks ago. We went over, you know it’s so hard when you live on the Gold Coast. I mean where are you gonna go? Where do you go for holidays? I mean it was easy when I lived in Ipswich. You know anywhere, man. I was like oh. You know but now. We live on the Gold Coast. It’s like where are you going to go? So, we decided to go over to Western Australia and went to a place called the Margaret River region. And I don’t know if you’ve ever been there. Places like Busselton, Dunsborough, that sort of thing. It is unbelievable man. It’s not like you know, there’s just like it’s foodie heaven for a start and ultimate surf beaches. It’s kind of like the Hunter Valley by the Sea. It’s amazing. But also because it’s not as you know.. progressive over here. It’s kind of like Byron Bay for normal people. So it was just like, she thought, just amazing. And we were there for a week, staying at a manor, being waited on hand and foot. And you know, when you’re in a situation like that, you start thinking, you know at Margaret River there’s just that feeling, you know, you’re at a place of great comfort and you start thinking to yourself, you know, this is, this is nice. You know, maybe I could just settle here. I guess we’ve all felt that we’ve all at times felt like maybe we should settle where we are but that’s maybe what happened there with Torah. He was going to go to Canaan but he settled in Haran.

I put it to you that he probably settled for second best. He probably settled for what was slightly less than what God actually had for his destiny and for his future. It’s very tempting. The Bible tells us that we have to walk out to the journey that God actually has for us. The Bible tells us in Hebrews Chapter 12 to lay aside every weight and sin that ensnares us. Let us run with perseverance. The race set before us. We are supposed to, in this race set before us. We are supposed to keep going until we hit the finish line. You don’t see people on July 1st this year, the Gold Coast Marathon is going to be on. I know some of you are going to go to it. I have rarely seen someone stop at the drink station. They get there and say, oh, this is good enough. This is nice. It’s so much nicer than running. No, no, no, no. They know they have to keep on going. If they’re going to pursue, if they’re going to finish the task that they started in the very beginning.

Philippians Chapter 3 verses twelve to fourteen. The apostle Paul actually says forgetting that which is behind and reaching forward to that which is ahead. I press on toward the upward call of God in Christ Jesus and so settling could actually be the one of the most damaging things to our destiny. Because settling could stop us from fulfilling the glorious destiny that God has for us. What are some reasons for why people settle? Well, I’m glad you asked because that’s what I’m going to talk about this morning. Five possible reasons for why Terah settled which might be five reasons for why we settle as well. Five things that can stop us from fulfilling the destiny that God has for us.

The first one is this. Says in Genesis 11:27 says this is the genealogy of Terah. So this is a few verses before what I read to you before. Terah became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran. And Haran became the father of Lot. While his father Terah was still alive, Haran died in Ur of the Chaldeans, in the land of his birth.

Let’s jump forward to verse thirty-one. And Terah took his son Abraham and his grandson Lot, the son of Haran and his daughter-in-law Sarai, Abraham’s wife. They went out with them from the other Chaldeans to go to the land of Canaan. And they came to Haran. And dwell there. So Terah had three sons. One of them died. That’s tragic. That’s horrible. It’s something you probably never really get over. It’s a catastrophe and he leaves and he’s leaving to go to Canaan and then he comes to a town. What’s the name of the town? Harran. It’s the name of his son that died. And here he is and it’s probably a nice place. And there he stays a little while. Maybe the reason why he didn’t keep going is because maybe he didn’t want to move on from Haran a second time. Maybe he never actually got over what actually happened to him before. The first thing that can stop us, causes us to settle from pursuing the destiny God has for us is catastrophic. Sometimes we go through something that stops us wanting to try. Sometimes we go through something that stops us from hoping again. Sometimes we go through something that stops us from actually moving forward. Maybe when he arrived at Harran, this triggered something. That’s the latest term we own in society right now. Maybe he was triggered. And reminded of the suffering he went through before. And maybe he couldn’t bring himself to leave Haran again. Maybe what he went through stopped him from fulfilling his destiny. I don’t know about you, you have a major disappointment. Disappointment. When you have a trauma, one of the last things you want to do is to keep on going. You want to stop. You want to throw your hands in the air. You want to give up. And you don’t want to keep on moving. But I’m here to let you know that the Bible tells us as God’s destiny is in front of us. And we actually have to keep on walking in spite of some of the difficulties. And in spite of some of the things that we go through. Seen it many times in scripture and you see it many times in life. That some of people’s greatest moments is when they’re finally able to let go of the thing that happened to them. And they’ve moved on into the glorious future that God has from.

We are not designed to stay forever tied to the worst moments of our life. We are not for it. We are not supposed to stay forever tied to the terrible things that have happened to us. Every single one of us has had some kind of suffering. Every single one of us have been through something that if you told other people, it’d be something that they would realise is very, very difficult. There wouldn’t be a person in this place that hasn’t gone through something that would cause you to say, you know what? I’ve just had enough. I’m going to stop and I’m going to move on. You know, you hear me talk many times about Psalm 23 and in verse four, it talks about a valley. Yeah, although I go through the valley of the shadow of death. Valley talks about a dark time. It talks about a difficult time. It talks about a tough time but once you eventually come out of the valley and if you are willing to keep on walking, you will eventually get out of that valley. The only way is if you stop moving. Eventually, when you come out the other side, you realise that on the other side is so much better than anything you have experienced before.

Some of the greatest highs and some of the greatest victories happen after some of the biggest disappointments and maybe you’re here and 2022 was not a good year. Maybe you’re here in 2022. There were some things you thought to yourself, you know what? I’m going to throw my hands in the air. I’m not going to try anymore. I’m going to give up. I’m here to let you know that if you are willing to master enough to just keep on walking, eventually, you will come out on the other side. Catastrophes, difficulties, disappointments are some of the things that can cause us to settle and stop moving on with our lives. The second thing that can cause us to settle is comfort. Says in third it says thirty-one and in verse thirty-two, it says that when they went from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to the land of Canaan they came to Harran and dwelt there. You’re not going to dwell somewhere that’s not comfortable. You’re not going to dwell somewhere that you don’t enjoy. Have you ever been somewhere where you don’t enjoy it? What’s the first thing that you want to do? You want to leave? You want to get out of that place? You can’t handle it. But have you ever arrived in an environment that’s incredibly comfortable? What happens when you’re comfortable? You don’t really want to move.

Number of years ago, Trish and I house sat for friends of ours, their place and they actually had three massage chairs. And they actually had three different types and it was amazing and so we would go from one to the other and that sort of I’ll be honest with you. There was never a time when I sat in a massage chair and thought to myself you know what I’ve had enough. Get me out of here. Every single time I had to tell myself, come on, you guys can’t sit here forever. You gotta get out of this joint and that’s what happens with comfort. We can get to a point in our life where we’re comfortable. Everything’s really nice. Everything’s really cool. But can I tell you that comfort could be the enemy of God’s best for our lives. How often has God called us out of our comfort zones into the future that God has for us. I love the story of Peter when he’s actually in the boat with the other disciples and he sees Jesus walking on the water. Sees Jesus walking the water and says to himself, Lord, if it’s you, bid me come. And he and Jesus says, okay then Peter, come. And he calls him out to walk on the water with him. The Bible tells us that clearly the wind and the waves had not settled down. And I would be, and I would be sure that the boat would be more comfortable than being out there on the water. But notice this, Jesus actually called him to come and walk out on the water. Jesus didn’t actually say to him, hey listen Pete, don’t worry mate. Look, trust me, it’s nicer where you are. Just stay there, you’re going to like it better, don’t come out here and walk on the water. No, no. He called him out. God called him out of a place of comfort into something even greater. We need to understand in our society where it’s all about comfort, that we need to understand that comfort is not the end destination. That God can call us out of our comfort zone. I think one of the most dangerous times in life is when everything’s perfect. We got everything sorted. Everything’s in order. Everything’s really nice. Get ready I’m here to let you know that you might be amazed.

God might say to you, you’ve dwelt long enough here at Harran. I’ve got somewhere else for you to go. Comfort can be one of the things that cause us to actually settle. We actually have a lion out the front. And the lion represents Aslan from the Narnia series by C.S. Lewis. And it was said that in the story of the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, one of the children asked one of the animals there. They said, there’s a lion. Aslan? Is he safe? And they said safe? Of course, he’s not safe. But he’s good. Thing about God is he’s not safe. If you want to live a safe life, don’t be a Christian my friend. It is not a safe life. Safety and security is not highest on one of God’s priorities. Let me tell you. He’s not safe but he’s good. And God has a good future for you. Behold the plans I have for you, says the Lord. Plans to give you hope and a future. They’ve got God’s got good plans for your life. But let me tell you it is probably outside your comfort zone. I am preaching to myself today because I’m someone who actually greatly desires comfort. I have a natural desire to settle and when things are perfect, I like things staying like that. I remember many years ago when I first became a Christian, a preacher preached that, I guess, the preacher came and he preached and he convicted me greatly. He said that one of the greatest enemies to your destiny is comfort.

You never want to be completely comfortable all the time and so then, I prayed the dumbest prayer. Think I’ve ever prayed. Lord, don’t ever let me get comfortable. Unfortunately, for you, you’re on the journey with me now. Make no mistake, sometimes comfort, it’s great for a season but comfort could be the very thing that causes us to settle and stop us from fulfilling our destiny. The third thing is this, it’s compromise. Compromise. It says that he went to go from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to the land of Canaan. They came to Harran and dwelt there. So, he started with her and he started. Don’t have too much of a crack at the guy. He didn’t disobey God. He started with all the best intentions. He left. He left her. That was his place. It’s pretty good. And he was going to Canaan and he got to Haran and he actually settled there. So he was partially obedient. He had started moving. He’d done something but he actually didn’t complete the task. What is that? That’s compromise. Compromise is when we actually settle for less than what God actually promises us. Sometimes impatience can cause us to compromise. You know, compromise. Compromise. Sometimes, God makes us a promise and if it doesn’t happen in the time frame that we actually want it to happen, then, sometimes we can actually compromise. Sometimes, our impatience can cause us to do that. The perfect story of this is Abraham himself later on. Abraham is actually promised a son and he had to wait a lot longer than what he wanted to. So he and his wife came up with a plan. And the plan was a plan of compromise. That he was going to actually have a son by one of her maid servants. And the son’s name was Ishmael. It was equally his son but it actually wasn’t the full promise that God actually had for him. His impatience actually caused him to compromise from what God actually had for his life. Compromise means we start but we don’t finish. Compromise is not where we were but we haven’t achieved what we’re actually supposed to achieve. A classic example of this can be found in second Kings chapter thirteen. Talks about the prophet Elisha and he’s actually on his deathbed. And he has a visit from King Joash, the king of Israel. And King Joash comes to him and he’s sad because Elisha was a mentor of his. Elisha basically prophesied over him that he was going to have victory over his enemies over the Syrians.

And so he said he said to Joash, grab my bow and arrow and shoot the arrow out and as he shot the arrow out the window, out into the field, Elisha prophesied over him that he would have victory over the Syrians and then he said to him, I want you to grab these arrows so he had some other arrows there and keep striking the ground. So, he started. Once, twice, three times, and then he stopped. Cause he thought, what’s good enough? Isn’t that what you asked me to do? And Elisha got angry at him. He said, what are you doing? He should have struck it five times. Should’ve struck it six times. That way, you would have completely defeated your enemies, the Syrians. But because you only struck it three times, you’re only going to defeat them three times, which means you won’t have complete victory. What had happened? He started on the journey but didn’t complete it. Maybe some of you here that on the inside of you, you’ve started what God has called you to do. And it’s better than it was. But then there’s the part that thinks, you know, that’s pretty good. Maybe it’s time to settle down. But I feel the word of the Lord today to say, no, no, God has got more for you. Don’t allow a partial victory. Don’t allow a partial journey, stop you from completing what God actually has for your life. Amen.

God has more for every single one of us. The fourth thing that can cause us to actually settle is actually complacency. Complacency. Complacency and laziness. Maybe it’s procrastination. We’re going to where they settled in Harran for a bit and we’ll get to Canaan eventually. We’ll get to Canaan one day. One day, we’ll eventually go there. Here’s pretty good. Let’s stay here for a bit. but eventually, we’ll get there. No plans are made, nothing’s set. Eventually, we will get there. That’s actually complacency. You have good intentions. We’re going to eventually do it but one day actually never comes around and before you know it, it’s actually too late. Complacency, thinking it’s just automatically going to happen. We need to be careful with our theology and doctrine that basically we need to understand the grace of God that all things are available in Christ. But there is an element where to in order for us to get what God has for us in our future. We actually have to walk it out. We actually have to step out in faith and do some things. The Bible tells us that faith without works is dead. Ephesians 2:10 says we are God’s workmanship. Created in Christ Jesus. To do good works. That he has prepared for us to do. You know what that means? It means that in order for us to get what God has for us, we actually need to keep moving. That in Christ, all the promises of God are. All the promises of God are available and many of them can get dropped into our lives and we can inherit them but some of the things that God has for our future is that we need to step up and move forward and being happy with where we are lead to complacency and can cause us to settle for what is less than what actually god has for our lives. I’m a very goal-oriented person and the problem with being a goal-oriented person is when you actually achieve them. That’s actually the worst moment because it causes you to relax. I’m trying to be more of a growth-oriented person but I can’t help it. I’m very much a goal-oriented person and maybe it’s because I grew up playing so much sport and that sort of thing and I remember a number of years ago in the early years of my ministry, within a very space and time.

Trish and I had gotten married and then we built our first house. And then Trish gave birth to our first son Amos. And then I remember very shortly after that, our youth group and I have been believing in God for so long. Our youth group grew too. We took it over. It was less than 20 kids and it grew to over 100 kids. And I was sitting there one day and I thought That’s it? I’ve arrived, got married, got a kid, got a house and a youth group of a hundred. I mean, is there anything else? Obviously my goals weren’t very big you can tell. But I achieved them. This is it. But if we’re still here God’s got more. He can do exceedingly, abundantly. Above all you can ask or imagine. This is what I imagine but I can tell you 20 years later. God’s got more. And I’m here to let you know for yourself. Some of you may have just got your dream house. Some of you may have just got your dream job. Some of you might now have the lifestyle you’ve always dreamed of. That’s nice but I’m here to let you know God’s got more. Don’t allow complacency to cause us to stop us from pursuing the high call that God actually has for our lives. Thinking that someday, one day, it’s going to happen.

You know, many years ago, God had put on my heart that I was supposed to write a book and it was a book on giving and it was called Get Blessed and he started speaking to me about that in about 2005 and now, the thing is, I hate writing and I like speaking. I don’t like writing and so I know people come to me after I preach and say, man, I got so many notes and I think, can you give them to me? Cause you’ve got more than me. So I don’t really like, you know, I don’t really like writing and that sort of thing and I thought, yeah, I’ll get around to it. I’ll do it eventually and kept putting it off and then, you know, and then I remember I was going to meet someone prophesied, I mean, you’re supposed to write a book. Yeah, yeah, I will. I’ll get to it. I’ll do it and you know, but I just hated, hated writing and then there were some things that God was promising me in my life that I wasn’t stepping into and I’d be praying about. I said, Lord, you know, when’s this going to happen and I remember one time in my quiet time with the Lord, I just felt him speak very, very clearly in my heart. I said, Lord, when’s it going to happen? He said, where’s the book? And I said, I’ll get to it. One day, I’ll get around to it but I just found that unless I actually put plans in. Unless y’all put strategy in. Complacency would stop me from doing it. And eventually, it was a little bit like pulling teeth but eventually, I managed to churn out, churn out that book. Complacency can be the thing. Funny thing about the book is that now, so often where I go, people bring the book. I’ve been to a few places. People have bought the book.

I mean, I haven’t sold it for like 12 years and they get me to sign it and that sort of thing and you know, and I’ve even lost a transcript and that sort of stuff but I know that people have said to me, man, it’s been a blessing to us and so, people I’ve never met before, people I’ve never been able to touch were actually blessed by that book but I had to get off my backside and actually do it. The last thing that can cause us. And this may be the last thing that caused Terrah to stop moving. Was convenience. Convenience. Genesis Chapter 12 verse one. I told you that Genesis Chapter 12 verse one was a very significant passage. The Lord said to Abraham, get out of your country from your family. Don’t hang out with those settlers anymore. Can’t fly like an eagle when you’re surrounded by turkeys. And from your father’s house to land that I will show you. He doesn’t say, hey, look at this. This is the land I got for you. Come. Look at this prize home. This is what I got for you. Come. He says, no, no, no. I want you to get moving and I’ll eventually show you where. Now, it’s alright for Abraham. He’s a young man. I get why Terrah didn’t do it. Cause you know, you get to a certain age. Got the medical centre there. Got the service station there. I got the supermarket right there. I know all my neighbours. They look after my house. I ain’t going nowhere. My parents are funny. My parents live in quite a normal kind of place. A suburb called Kilsyth where you would never go for a holiday. They love it. Why? Servos there. Supermarkets there. Lawyers there. Accountants there. All within walking distance. Perfect. Said to them many times, why don’t you move? No, I got it all here. I’ve got it all. Convenience. Convenience can often be the enemy of what God actually has for our lives. I’m not leaving here, mate. I know what I got here. To my land, you’re going to show me. Maybe it’s not better than what I got now. There’s no way I’m going to move.

Convenience. I’m preaching to you. I’m preaching to myself. I love convenience. Love 6 minute. I live six minutes from the office. Live in an apartment with no grass. I love it. It’s wonderful. I’ve got a pool that other people clean. It’s amazing. There’s a gym there that I walk by sometimes. It’s got everything you want. Can walk to Blackboard Coffee. Amazing. I’m not leaving, darling. You know, God’s beyond our convenience. Sometimes God’s beyond our comfort zone. A number of years ago, my natural tendency was to want things to come to me. Number of years ago, I was about to start as an itinerant minister. Trish and I did not tell anybody that I was going to do it. And I was waiting for the invitations to preach to come into my just to come into my world. And I remember it was January of 2012. I was coming off staff at the end of January and I was going full time itinerant in February and I only had six invitations for the whole year. So I was not going to last for a month. Financially, I would have gone under. And I was at a conference and I’ve told you the story before. The conference had a preacher by the name of John Gray. Some of you have Christian television that might know him. John Gray was a very theatrical, outstanding preacher and what he was doing was he was preaching along the stage and then he would walk to the edge of the stage as if he was going to fall off. Very theatrical and then someone would come up and stop him and then he would give them a prophecy. And so he walked to the other side of the stage and he looked like he was falling off and as he looked like he was going to fall off someone would stop him and he would give him a prophecy.

So, everyone realised, okay, this is how I get a prophecy, right? I gotta stop it. And so, then he went again to the other side and he’s about to go off the side of the stage and one of the other guys, greedy guy, who had actually got a prophecy before, gets up to try and stop him and he stopped him, he says, no, not you. And he pointed at me and he said, I wanted you. I said, alright. So, I get up and he goes, no. Too late. And I thought, oh, okay. I thought he’d walk to the next side and he didn’t walk to the next side. He went back behind the pulpit and started preaching. Trisha was so mad at me. She said, that’s typical. You won’t get off your butt for anything and so afterwards, I actually got to have dinner with him. So, I thought, this is it, man. He’ll give it to me at dinner. Heading up, give me a prophecy of dinner. Nothing and I was kind of like, Trish, you know, told me off again and I was like, something on the inside. I said, Lord, you had a word for me to get it. What’s the word? He said, that is the word. I said, what’s that? He goes, if you don’t get off your butt, nothing’s going to happen. and I thought, oh. So, I thought I couldn’t but I told people I’m on the road. I better use a bit of smarts about it and that sort of thing and then, I was, you know, a number of years, did it quite well but I realised something. Not everything God has for me is going to come to where I am. Sometimes, I gotta get up. Away from that place of convenience. Away from that place of comfort. Away from that good place. It’s easy to run away from Egypt. It’s easy to run away from a horrible time but when you’re in a pretty good time it’s not quite what God has for you. That was the hardest time.

And I want us to say and I want us as a church not to pat ourselves on the back. I want us as a church to celebrate all that God has been doing the last few years. And it’s in my nature to say this is just great. Let’s just leave it the way it Is. But I just hear the Holy Spirit saying God has even more for you King’s Church. God even more. Exceedingly, abundantly, above all that we can ask or imagine. What we’ve got is pretty good. But I know God has got even greater. Amen. And even in the same with your life as well personally. You’re still here, if you’re still alive, you might feel like a dog but Ecclesiastes says, it’s better to be a live dog than a dead lion. God’s got more for you in this life, amen? Let’s never settle. Let’s keep on going. I love what the apostle Paul said right before he dropped dead. I fought the good fight. I finished the race. I’ve kept the faith. Amen. God has a race set before us. Amen. Let’s never, never at all have anything short of what God has for our lives. Amen.

Ps Ben Naitoko

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