At first glance, April 16, 2006, seemed like a normal Easter Sunday for Higher Calling Church and Pastor Don. But this one would prove to be different. This one was special because Pastor Don was told by very competent doctors that it would be his last. And they were right.
Multiple Myeloma, the blood cancer Pastor Don had been battling for seven years, was now taking over his body and his strength but not his resolve to preach Easter Sunday and launch the Never Settle series, a message given to him by God. His thin, frail body was an outward sign of what the cancer was doing on the inside. He could barely stand so getting up and delivering a message seemed impossible. But after his leadership team prayed over him he preceded to the stage and as he spoke something supernatural took place. His voice got stronger, he regained his strength to the point that he pushed away the chair that he was speaking from and stood on his own unassisted! He spoke with authority and power that can only come from God.
Why all the fuss about Easter you might ask?
Why was launching this series on Easter so important?
Because if you think about it, Easter is the ultimate reason to never settle. Over 2,000 years ago early on an Easter morning, real live people, not people out of a storybook or fairy tale, not people that were imagined in the heart or mind of some writer, but real people came to Jesus’ tomb and they found it empty! Christ didn’t settle for an easy way out but put His trust in God the father’s purpose. Upon his resurrection from the cross, his followers lives were forever changed.
Paul was one of them and I believe he made a decision in his life never to settle. He said,
I know I have not arrived but there is one thing I am doing: I’m leaving my old life behind, putting everything on the line for this mission. I am sprinting toward the only goal that counts: to cross the line; to win the prize and to hear God’s call to resurrection life found exclusively in Jesus Christ.
Paul understood that he had messed up; there were things he wasn’t proud of in his life but yet he knew there was still more out there to accomplish, more to do.
Ever feel like there are things in your past that you are ashamed of and hold you back?
Ever feel like there is nothing you can do to make a difference?
No matter what your doctor says or no matter what else gets diagnosed, it’s at that moment when you start to believe those lies, that’s the moment you start to die. God doesn’t work in perfect people with perfect families and circumstances. He works in regular people because He wants to show his power and just how incredible it is when he takes ordinary people and does extraordinary things. Jesus set the example. He sets the pace for us to never settle in our lives. Don coined the phrase that Easter morning that now has become the mission of Never Settle, “Never Settle for anything less than God’s best in your life.” He didn’t say never settle for anything less than YOUR best. The key is God’s best because he sets the standard. He sets the pace.
Our response to what Jesus did is we are now called and compelled. You couldn’t have been eyewitnesses to the brutal death Jesus went through and then see the empty tomb Sunday morning and be the same. Those guys were different. They were empowered. they were given new hope. They were given new life. They had a calling on their life and they felt compelled to become world changers. They were given a reason never, ever to settle. With that recognition, the church and the effort to spread God’s love through man’s actions flourished and the world has never been the same since.
The message and potential are still available to us today. Once we see that Jesus is the example, that he sets the pace for us to never settle in our lives, and once we understand that we need to respond to that calling we can no longer just sit around and do nothing. God has done too much in our lives for us not to think that there’s something else for us. When we come together as people who believe the same thing and want the same thing and empowered by the same God, I’m telling you there is great potential. Together we can change the world. In case you haven’t watched the news lately, our world is a mess. There are kids that go to bed hungry every night and kids that are orphaned without the love of a mother or father. There are kids that can’t receive an education just because they don’t have money to purchase a school uniform. According to the United Nations, 783 million people worldwide are denied the most basic of all human needs, access to clean drinking water. We can’t sit idle any longer. We must do something!
Pastor Don said at the close of his message,
“Today is a sobering thought for me because here is my reality. My reality is this will be my last Easter with you unless God, by His power and through His spirit, heals my body. My body won’t continue on this way. It won’t function this way. I’m not afraid of that and I’m not angry about that. I’m saying it’s sobering because I can see that as an absolute reality in what I’m facing. We have believed all the time that God was just waiting for the right moment to heal me. I think that right moment is getting closer and closer. What I am saying to you this morning is, I’ve made a decision never to settle. And whether I live or whether I die, I promise to you, I’m not going to settle.”
Very powerful words from the author of Never Settle. Pastor Don died a little over 3 months after delivering that message but his legacy still lives on today. The question he would now ask you is the same one he asked his congregation that day.
“Do you believe that you can be a part of something life changing and world changing?”
You can. But it is a choice. You are only one decision away from changing your life and the lives of countless others by becoming involved in something so much bigger than yourself. The decision is yours and the choice is simple. Choose today to never settle for anything less than God’s very best in your life.
–Mindy Pittman, Team Never Settle
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