“Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” James 4:13-15 NIV
What is the Lord Doing Today?
If you’re involved in planning for a ministry, church, business, or another organization, it is easy to get caught up in the planning, scheming, and strategizing, and to lose focus on what the Lord is up to TODAY; in the moments, memories, and relationships we are faced with in the present.
I love to plan, organize, and look ahead to opportunities we could take on, events we could plan, and gatherings or get-togethers that could be held.
A couple weeks ago, as I was praying and just thinking about planning for the coming year of ministry, I had an experience I haven’t had before. I was at at Underground House of Prayer, during an instrumental devotional worship set, sitting in my chair looking at the ground, thinking and praying. All of a sudden, my vision went fuzzy, but not in a blurry out-of-focus sense. I wear glasses, and this was different than any other time I’ve had blurry vision, with or without my glasses! In fact, it was more of a haze then fuzz. You know, like when there’s gas that creates a haze from the fumes. I wasn’t scared or worried in the moment, and I immediately thought of the passage above from James 4. Regardless of how you look at it; a spiritual or physical or other experience, God was grabbing ahold of my attention, and I very clearly sensed God’s Spirit nudging me and impressing His Word on my heart as I was preparing to look ahead with ministry planning.
We have lots of great opportunities for ministry in the days, weeks, and months ahead. As I prayed and reflected on the passage above, there are a couple things that stick out to me that I hope can be an encouragement to you as well.
First, as we plan for Shift115 ministry events in the future, I will be more intentional about people and opportunities before me TODAY. I believe that it is good and honorable and biblical to have goals, plans, dreams, and strategy for whatever work you are part of. What I believe this passage points to is the lens by which we have those things (goals, plans, dreams, strategy, etc.). Our lens is Jesus. We must abide in Christ, watch and listen, as His Spirit leads us on.
Seek God’s Leadership
Second, though we have many great and exciting events and gatherings planned, we will continue to seek His leadership and, LORD WILLING, be able to do them! A good practical example of this is planning and executing a worship service. I believe that it is important to plan and prepare well, just as I believe that we must be flexible to change and adapt something in the service as the Spirit leads. It might be something that appears simple and small, but things like adding or adjusting a prayer, going back to a verse or chorus of a song that seemed to be really moving the congregation, or taking a moment to be silent and listen… paying attention to how the Holy Spirit is speaking and moving, and adapting what we do, can help those gathered experience God in spirit and in truth. In other words, I might plan an order of worship and say, “Here’s what we’re planning on doing, Lord willing!” In the same way, we plan the days ahead in ministry and in our lives, and we say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”
So as you make decisions about the days ahead, as you live your life of worship unto the Lord, may you seek the Lord with all you have, and pay close attention to His leading as you plan, as you strategize, and as you dream of what you might do, where you might go, all for His glory! Amen!
Question & Challenge For Reflection >> Lord willing, what are three things you want to accomplish in your ministry context in 2017?