Life is often shaped by circumstances beyond our control.
As I write, Wibke and my two older boys, Alec, and Jonas are arriving back from my in-law's home in the Black Forest of Germany. It's been years since Wibke was last able to be with her parents. It's more than a decade since Alec was there. High school, college abroad, a wedding, and ministry made it impossible until now. Jonas visited with a friend from Tampa during the summer as a middle schooler. That friend was tragically taken from this world in an auto accident two years ago. Life is shaped by circumstances, many of which are beyond our control.
The same is true of ministry.
I regularly find myself responding to situations and circumstances, like a global pandemic, that I did not expect. Like life, ministry is often shaped by circumstances beyond our control.
In the BADVICE series, I shared from 1st Kings 12 how Rehoboam was blindsided by his blind spot in a season of unexpected turbulence. As I've sought to discern how to move us forward, I've asked God to make me aware of the things I fail to see. A crowd of committed sojourners offers so much insight and wisdom.
I've also recognized that despite the events of the last twenty months surprising me, these events did not catch the Lord off guard. While I may have been surprised, God was not.
In 1st Kings 12, even the unwise behavior of all concerned did not stop God specifically directing His people (1 Kings 11:9-13, 29-33, and 12:21-24). What was a surprise to the nation was not a surprise to the Lord!
As a result of all that we've gone through, the Spirit has challenged me to embrace unexpected trials and challenges as foundation stones for obedience and faithfulness. I have often found more joy in the fruit of obedience than in the fact of obedience. Through circumstances beyond my control, I have found the Spirit purging me of attitudes that were not right.
As I embraced obedience, I have experienced the Lord guiding Central and our family of churches in unmistakable ways. Can you believe that we started a new location in a pandemic? I still pinch myself! While I would never have voluntarily signed up for what we have experienced, I bless God that He has proved Himself faithful. More than that, He has renewed my soul, refined my heart, and given me a fresh passion for what He wants to do through His people.
I am ready for what is next!
I am ready to wish COVID good riddance!
Are you with me?
So long ago, I last shared strategically about how we could impact our town, our nation, and the world. Having to press pause on our actions did not stop us from seeking God. Over the last few months, the Lord has led us to discern the strategic steps we need to take. In this season of waiting, the Spirit has hardwired us for continued obedience to the cause of Christ.
Hardwired describes connections in our homes that are directly wired to a source. Something hardwired is complicated to remove. When a hardwired light is flipped on, darkness is repelled. Just as our homes are hardwired, an obedient church is 'heartwired.' God has hardwired His vision for the world onto our hearts. We have been heartwired to fulfill His purposes. This embedded source of vision and power is impossible to remove.
My desire for Central is that we continue to follow God's bleeding heart for this world. The reality that the Lord will not ask us how many people we sat each week, but how many people we reached, equipped, and sent drives us. It’s our sending capacity not our seating capacity that matters most. Of course, the more we seat, the more we send, but God has heartwired us to embrace the truth that church goes well beyond the seventy-five minutes we gather each weekend.
After a long pause in sharing what’s next, I invite you to note Sunday, November 7, 14, 21, and 28 on your calendar. Kory, the elders, senior leaders, and I invite you to join us for Heartwired, a series unveiling the exciting next steps in our vision to reach "Holland and Beyond" with the Good News of Jesus.
These are uncertain days filled with the confident hope of the Gospel. I am so excited to partner with you all in sharing that hope. I am confident that Heartwired will inspire you as it has already inspired me.
See you Sunday,