Saturday, June 22, 2024
Saturday, June 22, 2024
HomeAll The NewsHEALTHY CHURCH: God's Timing-God's Agenda

HEALTHY CHURCH: God’s Timing-God’s Agenda

         One of my wife’s favorite quotes is from Jim Elliot, who was martyred for his commitment to God’s calling on his life. He stated, “Wherever you are, be all there. Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God.” There are some important observations to make out of this statement:

         • First, make sure you are paying attention to the here and now. Adrian Rodgers said that some Christians are so focused on worshiping the past or wishing for the future that they, unfortunately, waste their present opportunities. Faithfulness keeps you prepared for whatever assignment God has for you.

         • Second, the goal (what you desire) is intimacy with Christ (Phil. 3:10) and the means (how you discover it) is spiritual disciplines (Joshua 1:8). Taking the correct actions to achieve the end God intended necessitates a resolved commitment to daily habits that will produce that intimacy. Charles Swindoll said, “Discipline is training that corrects and perfects our mental faculties or molds our moral character. Discipline is control gained by enforced obedience.” From this daily spiritual discipline, God can surprise you and introduce a change into your life or ministry that is completely against your desires and dreams.

         • Third, this statement leaves the future to God’s timing and in His hands. This means that, quite often, it will not turn out the way we thought it would. Henry and Richard Blackaby stated in Called to be God’s Leader, “God continues to work through those who are willing to pay the necessary price to walk with Him as Joshua did.” Maybe it has become cliché, but it is still true that God is not looking for your capability but your availability. How available are you, right now at this very moment, to God’s timing and God’s agenda for your life and ministry? Are you willing and prepared to make the necessary adjustments?

      The word discipline can be a difficult pill to swallow sometimes, but it is necessary for us to be prepared for God’s timing and accepting of His agenda. Hall of Fame Football Coach Tom Landry, of the Dallas Cowboys, said, “My job is to get men to do what they don’t want to do in order to achieve what they’ve always wanted to achieve.” That is the beauty and the curse of the word discipline. If you want to get into shape, you have to discipline yourself to be dedicated to the often grueling and painful workouts. When I began my weight loss journey over 12 years ago, two words were staring me in the face — diet and exercise.

      Here is what Paul said in I Tim. 4:7 on this topic, “Exercise thyself rather unto godliness.” If our desire is godliness, the reality is it will require the discipline to build, strengthen and train our spiritual muscles. Swindoll says, “When I see the word discipline, I think of punishing workouts that produce results everyone admires… and no one enjoys.” While that may be an overly negative perspective on discipline, you must admit it does not always bring immediate joy. You must contemplate and embrace the “discipline” needed to achieve the desired outcome, whether physical or spiritual.

      Here is the question: will you be ready for God’s assignment when He calls and is ready to reveal it to you — whether that is in your present assignment, a different ministry focus, church revitalization or He is about to transition you to a different ministry? Study the lives of ordinary men God used greatly to accomplish extraordinary things — men like Moses, the deliverer and Joshua, the accomplisher. Joshua was a man who stood for God even when it was unpopular and when he was outvoted 10-2 in a business meeting. Like the apostle Paul (Gal. 1:10), Joshua stood for God’s Word even if he had to stand alone.

      Consider how Joshua paid the price of wandering in the wilderness for 40 years because of other people’s disobedience and sin. What did he do with this transition time while things were not going as planned? Would he be ready when God called his number to lead His people into the promised land? Henry and Richard Blackaby stated it this way: “This could have been an unproductive and wasted time, but Joshua chose to spend it walking with God, and time spent with God is never wasted.” Remember, “Wherever you are, be all there.”

      If you are young in your ministry, realize that God has a pattern of using those who are young. He gave a young Joseph dreams and He used Samuel with His hand on him even before he was born. Jeremiah was hesitant because of his age, but God told him to go where He sent him and speak what He told him. In I Tim. 4:12, Paul advises young Timothy, “Let no man despise thy youth.” Walking with God will prevent you from getting ahead of Him; instead, you can serve Him according to His timing and agenda. Be faithful where you are, be patient in what God is doing and obey Him in all He tells you.

      If you are more seasoned in ministry, remain faithful. Continue to be the godly example for those younger in the ministry to follow. Imagine the struggle Joshua must have had seeing Moses disqualify himself from finishing the task of leading the people into the promised land. The generations behind you need to see someone who is determined and dedicated to walking with Christ faithfully, no matter the challenges. God’s timing and agenda is for you to endure as a good soldier of Jesus Christ and be faithful even unto death. The Blackabys state, “Wise leaders refuse to let crises crush them.”

      God’s timing and agenda involve having the same determined purpose (discipline) and goal (to know God more intimately and personally) that Paul emphasized in Phil. 3:10. Charles Swindoll reminded us, “Our great tendency in this age is to increase our speed, to run faster, even in the Christian life. In the process, our walk with God stays shallow, and our tank runs low on fumes… the means (discipline) leads to a very satisfying end (intimacy).” Remember, “Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God.”