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Archive for December, 2009

As I Wait

In yesterday's post I talked about waiting and the fact that you might be waiting because you're not ready for the next thing that God wants to do in you and through you. As Andy Stanley states,

"What COULD be and SHOULD be CAN'T be until God is ready for it TO be."

Often during my times of waiting I find myself wanting the action to take place NOW only to later realize that I am not actually ready for the vision to come to pass. You see, the stuff I often find myself thinking about are things that could only happen if God shows up which begs the question: What is my place in the preparation for making that vision come to pass?

  • I have to stay focused on God during that time: If the things that you feel has been planted in your heart can't happen without God it is so important to keep your heart and mind on Him during the time of waiting. 
  • It is my job to focus on WHO will make it happen, not HOW He will make it happen. God doesn't expect you to work it out, He expects you to faithfully believe that He will work it out. Have you ever seen a story in the bible where God calls someone to do something then in turn asks the called person how he's gonna pull that off? Me either. God knows you can't do it – You need Him. If you can make the vision happen on your own what is God's place in the plan and why aren't you making it happen already?
  • I must be expecting that vision to come to pass. As you wait God will make your desire for that thing to come to pass grow. You think about it, you pray about it, you dream about it. Everything you read in scripture points to it (in your mind). You know this thing will happen, you just don't know when.
  • I must remain faithful to Him. It is so important that as you wait that you wait on Him and not on the dream. If we aren't careful the dream will become so all-encompassing that you could make the dream an idol. Once the dream becomes an idol it will take the place of God in my heart.

The vision that God has given us for our life is a good thing, matter of fact, it's a God-thing and that vision is so worth waiting for. So as I wait

Preparation for the Vision

I think about the future. I think about it a lot. I have felt God's leadership in my life almost from the day that I asked Jesus to be my Savior. I have tried to be faithful to follow that leadership from day one. That leadership has caused me to come to the conclusion that everything that happens in our life is preparation for that which He will do through us in the future.

I have often found in my own spiritual life that God gives me the vision way before the time it is to come to pass. I have found myself at times as I wait getting frustrated with the waiting. It's like this "thing" is burning inside of me and I'm all about doing all I can to make it happen as if I'm screaming: LET'S GET TO IT! Sometimes what I have found is that while I may say "Let's Go!", God says, "wait".

Waiting is good – waiting makes me think. I have discovered much through waiting as I know God uses the time in between the vision and the accomplishment to grow the vision, to make it firm in my heart. During the time I wait I have found that my understanding grows and that it has time to mature in me. You may have seen this Andy Stanley quote from me Monday night, "What could be and should be can't be until God is ready for it to be".

Did you see that? I'll say it again: What COULD be and SHOULD be CAN'T be until God is ready for it TO be.

Take Moses for example: For years I have thought about the incident where he killed the Egyptian because he was beating the Hebrew (Exodus 2). Why did he do that? I believe it was because he had a God-led concern, the beginning of a vision: the freedom of his Hebrew brothers from slavery. His choice to kill the Egyptian was a wrong reaction to a God-led burden and it caused him to have to go into hiding for forty years in the desert.

Moses wanted to do something about the situation – so he did and it was premature. Not only was it premature, it was not God's plan… he would have to wait until God took the burden he had placed in him and grew it to the place that he could do something about it. It happens all the time…

  • Joseph spent years in a prison before he was released into the blessing that God had prepared Him for: to rule Egypt and devise a plan that would save them during famine.
  • Moses spent years in the desert shepherding his father-in-laws sheep before he encountered the burning bush which God used to tell him he would free his people.
  • David spent years hiding in the wilderness and caves running from Saul AFTER Samuel had anointed him King of Israel.
  • Nehemiah was the wine-server to the King who would eventually give him permission to go back to Jerusalem to rebuild the walls that his forefathers tore down (he also funded the work and made Nehemiah Governor of Judah)

I have had to learn not to despise the time that feels as if I'm not doing all I could be, not living out the vision accomplishing the thing that I feel so deeply inside of me. I am learning, little by little, that as I do all I can with what I have I am doing what God wants me to do in this time…

…as He prepares me to carry out His vision in His time. When the time comes I'll know – we'll all know – and He will be glorified in it.

A Quick, Not A.D.D. Driven…

…Friday post!!! I know that I am always acknowledging that my A.D.D. is kickin' on Friday's, but today, it's not – but I AM!! I am slammed as we pull close to the big Christmas weekend.

Not only am I slammed but I am pumped! We are going to have amazing Christmas services this weekend – here is what I would like for you to know:

  • I encourage you to invite some friends! Statistics show that more people attend church on Christmas and Easter than any other time of the year. If you have non-church attending friends invite them to hyde park! We promise that if you bring them we will share the Good News of Christmas with them!
  • Get here EARLY!!! You will not want to miss a moment of this weekend's worship experience!
  • Sunday Nite is our Christmas Nite of Worship – 6PM. If you weren't planning to come I encourage you to join us for this wonderful Sunday before Christmas experience.
  • Hyde Park Band and Choir: If you are part of the worship band and choir: one last rehearsal Sunday afternoon at 4pm
  • Wear your Christmas Colors – let's make this place bright Sunday.
  • Pray. Pray that lives will be changed, that directions will be altered, that life-decisions will be placed before God. Pray that Pastor would be filled with the power of Jesus to bring the words that God uses to change lives.

I cannot wait to be with all of you – it's gonna be a glorious weekend.

Does God Still Speak through Dreams?

In Sunday's message I preached from Matthew 1:18-25 where Joseph finds out that his "wife" (they were actually betrothed) is pregnant though they had never been together as husband and wife. Joseph, ready to divorce her quietly, changes his mind when the angel of the Lord comes to tell him what is really going on (and that she's not lying and, by the way, is carrying the Messiah). Joseph, upon waking, does exactly as the angel commanded in the dream. 

One of the WholeHearted readers asked an excellent question: Do you believe that God speaks to us today thru dreams? Here was my response:

"To answer your question, I do believe God CAN speak to us through dreams, however, I believe that a dream would be supplemental to the word of God. What I mean is, God speaks in so many ways (people, circumstances, issues) but He HAS spoken through His Word and continues to do so. If God uses a dream it would be (my opinion) in addition to the Word. I would never base a decision or even an action upon a dream alone for that would be an unwise action . The Word of God is the only 100% reliable voice of God."

I think that at times people try to look to everything and anything they can find to answer their spiritual and life questions without consulting the one thing that they know they can count on: the Word of God – if you truly seek God through the filter of His Word He will never send you in the wrong direction.

Thanks for the excellent question.

This IS NOT a Sunday Nite on a Monday Post

Our God takes things that appear to be irrational and makes them appear rational.

In yesterday's message I tackled the supernatural aspect of following God (we studied that from here). In the story Joseph was about to divorce Mary, whom he thought had been unfaithful to him during their engagement; that is until God intervened: 

behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit." (Matt 1:20)

I don't know how open Joseph was to the supernatural in the beginning; the story that his wife was telling him was certainly "supernatural" but his life experience told him that it wasn't true. I think that we have all allowed our life experience to occasionally influence our decisions. Once Joseph had the dream the crazy story was no longer so irrational, it had in fact become quite rational.

It's not like the angel took away all of the issues: Joseph was still going to have to deal with the fact that people knew that his wife, whom it was said that he had not slept with, was pregnant – people would still talk, right? The step that Joseph was to take would still take faith, right? What would he tell people when they asked why he changed his mind about divorcing Mary? "I had this dream…" – that in itself seemed irrational. But God, through the angel, took all of the major questions away from Joseph, enough so, that Joseph was willing to walk in the decision to take Mary as his wife and raise the young Jesus as his own son.

Joseph opened his heart to God, to the supernatural – he couldn't explain it, he didn't know what it all meant, BUT HE BELIEVED.

Once you open your heart to the things of God, once you open your heart to Him and tell Him that you are prepared to believe, He will flood your heart with belief and all of a sudden the irrational seems rational – WHY? Because you are no longer looking through the eyes of life's experiences, but rather, you are viewing life through the eyes of faith. 

What if…

we were the type of followers of Jesus who were truly open to the things of the Spirit in such a way that whenever God told them to do something THEY DID! Knowing that, EMMANUEL (God is with us – God is with you), are you willing to do whatever God tells you to do.