Christine Caine - Divine Assignment - Part 2
What is the divine assignment that God is calling you to do today? What is the simple act of obedience that if you say yes today could open up doors of opportunity in your tomorrow that you never even imagined? I am so excited that you've joined me for today's episode of Equip and Empower. What I'm about to share with you is a message that's so near and dear to my heart. It's all about your purpose and your calling and empowering you to live on mission for Jesus. So let's not wait another moment. Let's dive into today's message right now.
Hey, everyone. I am so grateful that you have joined us today. I know that God has a word for you. You haven't tuned in by accident at all. You have tuned in right on time for a now word from God. And you're in the midst of an awesome series. We're continuing our series on Jonah and what it is to accept God's divine assignments for our life. We want to live our lives on purpose and for a purpose. There's not one accident in this world. Every single person is created in the image of God, and we are filled with God-given destiny and God-given purpose. And we don't want to waste our one and only life on this earth living our lives for ourselves or living our lives to please other people. We want to live lives that please God. We want to step up and into our God-given purpose. We want to step up and into our God-given destiny.
And we're looking at a man in the scriptures who was given a divine assignment by God. And the fact of the matter is, at first, he did not want to accept that divine assignment. And I think for many of us, God wants to work in our normal, everyday lives. And he wants to use us for his glory. But often we just don't say yes. We're waiting for one day out there someday to fulfill God's purpose for our lives. And God's saying, "Right where you are now, right in relationship with that person in your life right now, that family in your life right now, that school, that university right in your world right now is where I want to use you for my glory".
And so many of us are not willing to say yes, and we miss our eternal purpose because we are waiting for a spectacular command from God, instead of fulfilling a supernatural act of obedience with the help of the Holy Spirit that lives on the inside of us. And in the book of Jonah, we are going to read from Jonah chapter one verses one to three. It says, "The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai. Get up! Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it because their evil has come up before me. Jonah got up to flee to Tarshish from he went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish. He paid the fare and went down into it to go with them to Tarshish from the Lord's presence". So basically the Lord said, "I want you to go to Ninevah".
Now, Ninevah was a immoral town. It was a dark town. It was evil. It was full of crime and violence and iniquities, like so many of the cities of our world today, places of darkness, and the Lord was sending Jonah into this place of darkness to declare the word of the Lord, to give them an opportunity to repent and live lives on purpose for God. But Jonah did not think that they deserved forgiveness, and so he did not say yes to God. In fact, he did the exact opposite. Jonah decided that the Spanish coastal resort town of Tarshish was going to be a better option.
Now, I mean, if you had Ninevah, which is sort of located in that region of Iran and Iraq, or a Spanish resort town on the beach, who's not going to want to go to the beach? But so many of us do that. The Lord says, "I'm going to send you to a hard place". And that hard place could be right where you are, your family, your school, your university, your workplace. And we go, "Uh, I think I'd rather go to Tarshish. I think I'd rather go to the resort town because, you know, Lord, it's just too hard there". And so the scripture says that Jonah, he got up, 'cause the Lord said, "Get up and go to Ninevah". It says Jonah did get up. He got up and went to Tarshish. He's like on his way, he says, "Peace out, God. I'm going to a Spanish resort town".
Now the fact is, he had purpose in Ninevah, but he wanted a holiday in Spain. I wonder how many of us are missing our purpose because we'd rather pursue our comfort. You know, what happened to Jonah was he did not like the people, he didn't like the place, and he did not like the purpose of his divine assignment. I wonder whether sometimes even if we don't put words around it, whether we are the same with God. We're like, "No, I don't really like those people you're sending me to. I don't like the place you're sending me to, Lord. It's just too un, and I don't like the purpose that you are sending me there to do". So often we miss our own purpose because we don't like the people, the place, or the purpose that God has been sending us to.
You see, oftentimes God sends us to places we don't want to go in our natural flesh. Sometimes it's our families, our schools, our communities, our workplaces, our friends, or our neighbors. It's just like too much like hard work. Who wants to go and be Jesus to those people that are like Satan's brother? Most of us don't want to go. We're like, "You know what? That's like Lucifer's cousin. I don't want to go and be at thanksgiving dinner with that person". And the Lord's like, "I'm sending you to Ninevah. That's where I'm sending you". What we want to do is go, "Okay, let me pick a place that I want to go in the world and a mission that I want to do". But the fact is, God often gives us a divine assignment right there in our backyard.
And it seems easier to go somewhere else for Jesus rather than be an outpost for the kingdom right where we are. We prefer a spectacular assignment on the other side of the world than we do a supernatural being a kingdom outpost right where we are in our world. The fact is you are where you are on purpose, not by accident. You know, maybe you're on your way to something else ultimately, but you can't bypass Ninevah. And I think so many of us, we want to bypass Ninevah. We want to give God our resume and we want to give him our suggestions about where we think we could be used best. God, these are my gifts. These are my talents. These are my abilities. I've done my strength finder. This is where I fit on the Enneagram. This is where I fit on the disc program.
So God, this is where I think you can use me for your glory to the best of my ability. And the Lord's like, "Um, would you just go to Ninevah? Would you just go to Ninevah"? You know, some people will never fulfill their greatest purpose because they simply want to skip Ninevah. So stop scrolling through everyone else's life wishing you were somewhere else with someone else, doing something else, and start living on assignment right where you are, with what you have, with whom you are around, right where you are today. That's how you step into your God-given purpose.
You know, I didn't just get here today, talking to you on the other side of the screen. It's been a lifelong process. The last 3 1/2 decades of following Jesus. I've had to say yes to Ninevah all along the way. I remember when I started a youth center in December, 1989. You know, the fact was I had never prayed about youth ministry or whether I felt called to youth. I was just serving in the youth ministry at church back in Sydney, Australia, because that was the place that I was. So it was like, okay, this is where I am right now. And this is what I'm doing. And I'm at school in this place right now. So God, use me right now. So I would just turn up wherever I could be used.
So I remember one day the youth pastor said we need to have a church cleanup day. And so I turned up to the church cleanup day. The fact was, I was one of the only people that turned up that day. And I always say this, if you want God to use you, just turn up and nobody else does, and God runs out of options. So it's like, tag, you're it. I've got no other choice. Most of my life that's how it's been. God's like, "Well, nobody else is here. I think I'll take Chris. There she is again. I'll definitely get glory through her life because people will know it really isn't because of her gifts or her talents or her abilities. It's because of my power that's at work within her".
So I just turned up. I started serving, and the assistant youth pastor came that day to the cleanup day and said to me, "You know, you're Christine caryofyllis," because that was my name back then. Nick thinks that he's redeemed me and given me like Caine, but I love caryofyllis too. I love that Greek name. But anyway, you know, he said, "You're Christine caryofyllis and you've done psychology and we are starting a youth center. Would you like to help us"? I mean, I had nothing else going for me. I said, "Lord, here I am. Send me". And then the Lord's like, "Yes, I'm going to send you down the street to start a youth center".
It wasn't glamorous. It wasn't spectacular. Nobody was thinking it was any big deal. But I turned up every day and we started what became a very, very significant youth center ultimately in our nation. And I started to have the opportunity to talk to different government departments about youth policy and speak at lots of different schools and lots of different not-for-profits and in lots of different areas of the community. I didn't know then that God was training me for what he had for me. I didn't know then as through a local government youth center, I was learning to write submissions. I was learning to work with people of all different denominations and faiths. I was learning community development.
The Lord was training me today by God's grace, Nick and I oversee A21, one of the largest anti-trafficking organizations in the world with 19 offices in 16 countries. But if I wasn't in 1989, 1990, 1991, '92, '93, '94, '95, if I was not running a local community-based youth center, I would not be doing what I'm doing today. I was just saying yes and yes and yes. They didn't seem like spectacular divine assignments when I was doing them. But I just did the next thing and said yes to God. And out of that, I began to speak at youth alive rallies all around the country, and thousands of young people would come to Christ, and then I would be invited to churches and I would begin to speak in churches.
And again, if I didn't go to all of those small youth groups, if I wasn't in all of those small country towns, if I didn't say yes to God in all of that, I don't think I would be speaking to you today. Some people think, "Well, how do you talk to millions of people around the world on television"? Or, "How do you do all of the conferences that you do today"? It was because I said yes to small country towns, small youth groups, small young people. My next yes led to the next divine assignment. But so many of us, we devalue the small thing where we're starting right now. And we won't say yes to God right now. And then we wonder why we're not fulfilling our God-given purpose down the track.
We have dreams in our hearts. We have plans in our hearts. We have purposes in our hearts. But we're not willing to say yes to the next thing that seems insignificant, that's definitely, maybe unappreciated by people, seems invisible. It's out of the limelight. If we were willing to do all of that, you don't know where those doors will lead to, but I was as satisfied back then as I am today, standing in front of this camera, speaking to you. I was as satisfied and fulfilled in doing what God had called me to do, because my satisfaction is in my obedience to God, not in the task itself.
So in order to fulfill our God-given purpose, in order to fulfill our God-given destiny, we must choose to accept daily our divine assignment. You know, we read right here in verse one that the word of the Lord came to Jonah, and the scripture says, but he arose to flee to Tarshish. I wonder how many times the word of the Lord comes to us, and perhaps it could come to us in our quiet time when we start the day with the Lord and we're in his word and we read something that might say to us, and we know it's the Lord saying in our hearts, "You know, you need to forgive that person. You need to go and reconcile with that person. You need to have more integrity at work. You need to make sure that you are really, really working all through the day".
Or, you know, maybe we hear a sermon and we're convicted about a thought or an action or a deed, or we listen to a podcast or maybe even tune in to this TV show right now. And what we do is the word of the Lord has come to us and God will use so many different things to get his word to us. And instead of saying, "Yes, Lord, I'm going yes, Lord, I'm going to obey you in that. I'm going to stop gossiping. I'm going to stop lying. I'm going to stop slandering. I'm going to stop maybe living a sexually immoral life. I'm going to stop that habit. I'm going to go and get the help I need. If I need Christian counseling or therapy, I'm going to go and get that help. Lord, I'm going to forgive that person. I'm going to reconcile with that person".
Instead of doing that, we basically do the same thing that Jonah did. We get up and we run the other way. I don't know what it might be, and I don't know what the Holy Spirit might be convicting you of right now. Maybe it's a word on the Fruit of the Spirit. The Lord's saying, "You know what? It's time to extend more love, growing joy or peace or kindness or goodness, or self-control". Maybe in an area of the Fruit of the Spirit, and you've just been running and fleeing the other way, not dealing with that anger, not dealing with that lack of love, not dealing with not being good or kind, and to you it doesn't seem like a big deal.
You're like, "Lord, I want that big ministry, Lord. I want to flourish in that area". And the Lord's saying, "We're working on kindness today. We're working on goodness today. We're working on faithfulness today. We're working on long suffering today. We're working on patience today". And a lot of us run the other way because we're like, "God, that's not spectacular enough". But the Lord saying, you need supernatural help from a supernatural God in this day and age of chaos and divisiveness and arguing and gossip and slander and lying and cheating.
We need the help of the spirit of Almighty God to walk in love, to walk in joy, to walk in peace, to walk in kindness, to walk in goodness, to walk in long suffering, and to walk in self-control. The word of the Lord comes to us, and so many of us, I'm not dealing with it in this situation. Lord, they don't deserve it. They don't deserve me being loving. They don't deserve me being kind. They don't deserve me. We just are like, "No, we don't like Ninevah. We don't like that, so I'm going to keep calling them out instead of calling anyone up, I'm just going to keep calling everyone out". And the Lord's like, "I'm just asking you to work on love and joy and peace and kindness".
So much divisiveness, so much chaos, so much pain and so much suffering. So much sin or so much iniquity in our world. And we just keep adding to it because we don't want to do the thing that God has called us to do. We don't want to love our enemies. We don't want to address that sin in our lives. We'd rather call out the sin in everybody else's life. We don't want to really be kind to our spouse because they don't deserve it. You don't know how they speak to me, Christine. We don't want to go and apologize to our parents because they're just so outdated. You know, we don't want to go the extra mile at work. We just want to do the bare minimum, and if necessary, maybe not even do the bare minimum. You know, we don't want to obey, so we run the other way. You can have a heart after God and still refuse to accept your divine assignment. You know, our purpose is so often in obeying the very next thing that God is asking us to do.
See, the Bible says the word of the Lord came to Jonah. So often he obviously had an ear that was attuned to the word of the Lord. You could be someone that's having a daily quiet time. You could be in church every weekend. You could be in a small group, listen to podcasts, read Christian books, listen to Christian music. The word of the Lord can come to us and does come to us. The issue is, do we obey it? The word of the Lord came to Jonah. He heard it clearly. He knew exactly what he was supposed to do, but he got up and he went the other way. And I think for many of us, the word of the Lord does come to us.
If you are in these scriptures every day, the word of the Lord is coming to you through the Word of God every day. And I wonder sometimes, how can we post the things that we post if we are in the scriptures? How can we not love our neighbor as we love ourselves, if we're reading the Bible? How can we not do good to those who hurt us if we're not in the scriptures? See, the fact is you can be in the scriptures and you can know the right thing to do, but still not do it. And metaphorically speaking, you're running to Tarshish when the Lord's calling us to Ninevah.
So often the Lord calls us into places that we don't really want to be, to do things that in our flesh, we don't really want to do, to say things that in our flesh, we really don't want to say. That is why we need supernatural empowerment from a supernatural God. If we could do all this in our own strength, we wouldn't need God. If we were good enough to do it, we wouldn't need the help of the Holy Spirit. That is the whole point. It's in our weakness he is made strong. It's when we feel like, God, I could not forgive that in my own strength. We need God. God, I can't stop doing that in my own strength. We need God's help to do that. And the fact is, that's why we come to him as children, because we need him. We never graduate from this stuff. Every single day in our lives, we have a choice, Ninevah Tarshish. Ninevah or Tarshish. Which one are you going to do?
The fact is that Ninevah, it's often not glamorous. It's not spectacular. Often the thing that God is calling us to do, it seems in the natural so insignificant, but what I'm here to tell you today is that it is supernatural, and it can often open those very doors that you are waiting to open. On the other side of your obedience, you have no idea what God has for you. That's the door to your purpose. Obedience is the door to your purpose. Obedience is the do to your destiny. And so often, because we refuse to obey, we do not fulfill the desires that God has put on the inside of us.
You know, I remember that when I was a youth leader in the back of Sydney, Australia, I went to a place in New South Wales, in my state called Wagga Wagga, a country town, just down on the south coast of New South Wales. I went to speak to 20 teenagers. It didn't seem spectacular. It wasn't like speaking at passion conference to 65.000 people, or speaking here to you on TBN to millions of people around the world. It was 20 teenagers in a country town in Australia. Do you know someone recorded that message, and this will freak you out. Back then you could record over. I'm as alive as long as the dinosaurs. So you press play, record. It was an old AC/DC tape. They actually taped over an AC/DC tape.
And the fact was that that message went to a place, a country town in Alberta, Canada, called Bole, the northern tip of Alberta, Canada, a tape done on the southernmost tip of New South Wales, Australia, someone sent it to their cousin, the message that I had taught, in Boyle, Canada. And when their cousin listened to that message between a trip from Boyle, Canada, to Red Deer, Canada, it was a five-hour car trip, they listened to that cassette tape over and over, the spirit of the Lord did something in them. And out of that, they found out who I was and they sent me a fax.
I told you I'm old. Some of you don't even know what a fax machine is. They sent me a fax to invite me to the word of life youth conference in Alberta, Canada, which was my first large-scale international speaking opportunity in the 1990's. And out of that, God opened so many opportunities all around the world, by his grace, which over the last almost three decades have continued to open. Why? Because I said yes to my next divine assignment. What was that divine assignment? Get in a car, drive hours and hours to a small country town on the south coast of New South Wales in Australia to 20 young people. And out of that, God opened up an international speaking opportunity. And then here I am, all of these decades later, talking to you. Imagine if I said no to that divine assignment. What is the divine assignment that God is calling you to do today? What is the simple act of obedience that if you say yes today could open up doors of opportunity in your tomorrow that you never even imagined?