Friday, January 31, 2014


This piece of graffiti was found in the aftermath of the May 22, 2011 tornado in Joplin, MO.

The red "X" and writing is from rescue teams who tirelessly searched through debris. The phrase written over it in black is someone's encouragement to those who suffered such loss.

It is in times of crisis that such questions of purpose and level of God's involvement come to the surface. But if the truth would be told, many of us daily have questions in the back of our mind on this topic.

This past Wednesday, we hit on this age old question: DOES GOD HAVE A PLAN FOR ME?

As Josh Brown shared his testimony and thoughts on the subject, I jotted down some thoughts and Scriptures I wanted to share in recap:

1)What is the GOSPEL? Josh referred to the life-changing power the Gospel has had in his life. I wanted to make sure we all had a basic understanding of that term. It is a reference to a New Testament term that means "good news" or "good message". It generally refers to the message of Jesus' life, death and resurrection. Ultimately, it is this Good News, or Gospel, that we must come to understand in order to be forgiven of our sins and become a follower of Christ. It encompasses us understanding our inherent sinful nature and how short we fall in the face of God's glory. Once we come to understand that fact, we must then understand that our sinfulness separates us from a holy God. But God, in His infinite love and grace, sent His Son Jesus (who is also fully God) to die as a substitution for our payment of sin. Upon being dead and in the grave three days, Jesus (of His own power) rose from the dead and defeated death for all who believe in Him. If you'd like to know more about this awesome truth, let me know and I'd love to share with you.

2) What is a "CALLING" and how do I know if I have one? Again, Josh referred to the calling that God has placed on His life. I believe we all have a calling. In Ephesians 4, the apostle Paul says to all of the Christians in that city: ""I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, entreat you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called". It goes on to talk about how we each have gifts and abilities and leanings that God intends to use for his church and his kingdom. So the question then is to figure out what that is for ME. While it's not exactly a formula, there are several things I believe we should consider as we try to discern our unique calling:

-WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY? God will never call us to do something contrary to His Word.
-WHAT ARE MY GIFTS? God has equipped you with natural and spiritual abilities that are a part of what He wants for you to do.
-WHAT DO GODLY PEOPLE SAY? We should seek the counsel of godly people in our life as we discern God's path for us.
-WHAT DO CIRCUMSTANCES POINT TO? This is not always a conclusive piece of the puzzle, but sometimes opportunities (or the lack of them) might point to God's leading.
-WHAT AM I SENSING IN PRAYER? As you pray about decisions and direction, do you get a sense of what God is trying to tell you? Do you have peace about the decision or direction you are thinking about?

3)What should I be doing about finding God's direction in my life? Well, I think of two specific scriptures in answer to this question.

Matthew 26:39: "And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will. Am I seeking my will or His will. We need to learn to pray as Jesus prayed.

Colossians 1:9: "And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding," We need to commit ourselves to the study of God's truth so that we will have the knowledge to filter our decisions and circumstances.

4) What if I don't like God's plan? There's always that piece of not liking the circumstances we find ourselves in and blaming God for it. But the Bible again has a good answer.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: " Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." God tells us that we don't have to like His plan but we have to trust Him. So let's practice giving thanks.

I'd love to hear your comments or questions about any of this. I can't wait to see you all back next week as we talk about "WHY DO BAD THINGS HAPPEN?"

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