Thursday, July 8, 2010

Our agenda and God’s direction

Here is the July/ August newsletter article.

Proverbs 16:9: In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.

A month and a half before we got married, the hotel that we had reservations with canceled our reservation. Veronique and I had feared that it would happen, but they kept promising that they would not. Then, they changed their mind. The reason was understandable. They had been hit by hurricane Wilma, Katrina’s little sister, and despite their plans to be open before our honeymoon, they had recognized that it wasn’t going to happen.

Their rebuilding plans had gone amiss. On our end, we were in a jam. We were 6 weeks out from our wedding, with no honeymoon location. Thankfully, as we looked for an alternative God allowed us to find a great trip to St. Lucia, one that I believe would have been way better than a trip to battered Cancun.

Why am I telling you this? Because while we make plans, we need to remember that God is in control. While we try to decide how to go forward, and map out our future, scripture says, in the end, God is the one shaping our path. What should our response be when the plan doesn’t come together the way we hoped, or when God doesn’t act that way that we think he should? We should follow his leading, knowing that while we make plans “it is the LORD's purpose that prevails” (Proverbs 19:21).

A wonderful example of changing plans and following God’s leading is found in Acts 16. Paul was on his second missionary journey. He had traveled through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, and when he and his team tried to enter the city of Bithynia, the Spirit of the Lord would not allow them to. They had planned to go and minister in this city; it was the next place on the agenda. They were intent on doing good work for God there, but for some reason, God said, no. So what happened? They kept going, they went to another city, and while there Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, "Come over to Macedonia and help us" (Acts 16:5-10). They did; and the gospel entered Europe. Their plan was replaced by an even better plan.

While we make plans, we need to be open to God changing them, and understand that He is the one that determines our steps. In the next few months, we are hoping to do a couple of things here at First Baptist Church. We are hoping and planning to start a long range vision committee, and we are hoping that this committee will be able to draw out a map for long term growth. But as we do, we need to remember, we can plan, but God is the one that determines our steps. The other thing we hope to do is acquire the property next to the church. Right now, the going is slow. Maybe the church will get the property, but maybe not. Whatever the outcome, we need to remember it is the LORD's purpose that prevails”. God is the one that in control. While we make plans, while we try to find the right offer, and pray that God will give it to us, God determines our steps, He controls the outcome.

In your own lives, I would encourage you to remember the same thing. You plan, you organize. You seek God’s directions, and then you implement your plan. But as you execute that plan, be open to God changing it, remembering that He is the one that determines your steps, remembering that He is faithful, and that remembering that in the end, "He works all things together for the good of those that love him and are called according to his purposes".

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