Destiny Can Need a Tough Call

Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you [Genesis 12:1]

Walking with God is not easy. Anyone who says that has never really tried to. If you are Christian, one endeavouring to live the full life that you believe God has called you to, then one thing is probably certain ~ you will have experienced how tough it can be.

Living out your God-given purpose may require a tough call.

A CALL to GO
Abram’s call to GO had him leaving his country, his family, and his home. We may be asked to do the same but even if we are not, the call from God will still be one that needs us to GO.

To GO into all the world, to GO to our neighbours, to GO the lost, to GO to those in need, to GO and be an example, to GO and make a difference. However insignificant it may seem to us, to the one that you go to, it may just change their life.

A CALL to TRUST
Abram didn’t know where he was going, God just said that He would show him. Being willing to go involves stepping out in faith, uncertain of how the future may unfold, but confident in the one who is unfolding it.

Faith by its very definition is believing in those things you cannot see. That can be tough. Many times we have to begin to move as God directs before He will reveal the purpose or the direction we should move in.

A CALL to ADVENTURE
Abram stepped out and into a journey to ‘somewhere’. He placed his fragile human life into the hands of an almighty and powerful God. It would turn out to be the best decision he could ever make, the adventure of a lifetime as he continued to go and to trust in God.

A CALL to RECEIVE
At the time Abram may have wondered how it would all turn out, I know I may have thought that way. Follow his life and you discover a man who received all that he needed from God.

As we go, trusting and experiencing God at work in our lives, we too will never be left helpless or forgotten by Him. Abram would become the Father of many nations. We may not have the same reward but we have rewards nonetheless. Instead we will build up treasure in heaven, the most secure kind to accrue.

Q: How have you found what God is asking you to do tough? Why not spend some time today thanking Him for all that He has done for you as you have continued to journey with Him?

What Would a Win Look Like For You in 2016?

There are some powerful reasons why this question is important enough that means each of us should to take time to consider it.

If we don’t know what a win looks like, how do we know if we have won.

If we don’t know why the win is important to us then giving up when it gets tough will be easier.

If we don’t have a win to go for, then another year may be spent putting our energy into anything.

I recently tried to articulate some of the wins I am looking for in 2016 – more WOW moments, digging into the Word of God, helping my family flourish and other stuff too. Each represent one or more WHAT’S, each of which need a WHY to be attached that can help me connect more purposefully with them and then each need a WHEN to help me to focus.

There is no guarantee for achievement but I am going to give it my best shot. It needs to be more than just a bunch of good intentions, I have done that too many times before, this time I better prepared and focused. To work like it depends on me, but also to pray like it depends on God. To win ~ personally, as a family, within my roles, and spiritually too.

How about you? What does your win look like? Why is it important to you?

More WOW Moments

Over the next few days I thought I would share some things I am excited about for 2016, or some things I want to see, experience, be ready for, be focused on. Hope you know what I mean.

This is not a to do list, just my thoughts for my year. They won’t necessarily be for you but they may inspire you to think about what you want 2016 to look like.

I don’t mind looking back like I did the other day with my leadership observations but the future is where we are heading. I am 46 next year so I need to stop saying ‘I’m going to do’ and actually ‘do’.

I want more WOW moments.

I know what some WOW moments will be but for most of them, I haven’t got a clue and maybe that’s the point. WOW moments can be planned but are often to be found in those unexpected moments. I think this also includes the times when God does something,  a prayer gets answered, an experience that changes you. As well as just seeing some stuff get done in my life.

I know 2 WOW moments in 2016.

I’m off to Bangalore in February to help with the launch of Xcel Church. Spending time with Immy and the team he is beginning to build, experiencing a different culture, and just getting excited about what God is going to do in people’s lives. That’s definitely a WOW moment. I’m also going to Israel in May, there’s another WOW moment too.

What would you want your WOW moment to be in 2016?

The Next Big Thing

We expend energy on many things. Not all bad either. Lots of worthwhile ventures.

We can get caught up with the future though. Don’t read me wrong, I am an advocate for setting some goals, having a dream and having a desire to head somewhere on purpose. Yet I also see a danger when this becomes our main focus, the source for our drive in life. To put it simply, there may be times when we chase the next big thing rather than chasing after the one who can helps us in our pursuit of that next big thing.

Let’s make sure that God is the big thing in our life that we chase.

Remember that it is God who gives us the power to create wealth. It is God who is able to do exceedingly abundantly more than we can ask, think or imagine, according to His power that works in us. Not God working according to our power in Him.

What’s the next big thing? I don’t honestly know. What I do know is this, whatever I think it may be my responsibility is clear ~ I will continue to pray about it like it depends on God and work hard towards it like it depends on me.

And Release

If you grasp and cling to life on your terms, you’ll lose it, but if you let that life go, you’ll get life on God’s terms. (‭Luke‬ ‭17‬:‭31-33‬ MSG)

Hold on tight. When that rides about to begin this is one of those phrases we hear quite often and eventually just becomes second nature. It goes against all natural sense to enjoy the ride with your hands in the air, arms raised heavenward. It may add some excitement but it maybe adds a little bit of scariness too.

When it comes to the way God wants us to live we have to go against what seems right. We have to not hold tight. We have to let go. It’s the scary ride, hands free, releasing your life into Gods hands. It takes faith to live this way. It involves trusting God, completely.

Hold on tight to your life and you lose it.

Release the grip on your life and you live it.

Me in control or God? I know which one brings the best out of me despite it being the tougher, less natural choice.

Your thoughts on living for God?

Hearing What God Says

The birth of Jesus took place like this. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. Before they came to the marriage bed, Joseph discovered she was pregnant. (It was by the Holy Spirit, but he didn’t know that.) 19 Joseph, chagrined but noble, determined to take care of things quietly so Mary would not be disgraced. 20 While he was trying to figure a way out, he had a dream. God’s angel spoke in the dream: “Joseph, son of David, don’t hesitate to get married. Mary’s pregnancy is Spirit-conceived. God’s Holy Spirit has made her pregnant. 21 She will bring a son to birth, and when she does, you, Joseph, will name him Jesus – ‘God saves’ – because he will save his people from their sins.”

I imagine Joseph as a fairly typical bloke. He loves his woman and is excited about getting married and the future they will enjoy. Then, out of the blue, his world gets rocked. Some incredible ‘story’ about an angel, God and giving birth to a baby that’s not his.

Not sure how he did it but he responds with dignity, he responds respectfully. After all, he could have had Mary killed for such behaviour. Instead, he just wants to do what’s right, to do things in a correct and godly manner.

This was his defining moment. Get it wrong and the story changes. He could become bitter or he could become better. This moment demonstrates the fragility of God’s redemptive plan. Using humans with all of our emotions is the unstable element in the process, yet God knew Joseph was up to the task. There is no temptation that God cannot help you bear, overcome or make a way of escape from.

Perhaps you feel life is at one of those defining moments. The next step you take seems very significant to the future of your life and maybe those closest to you. What if I get it wrong? What if I make a mistake and head off in a different direction?

While he was trying to figure a way out, he had a dream.

From what I observe, the key to Joseph’s success was a willingness to hear what God was saying. No doubt his mind was racing through the options and I think that’s alright but he still made sure his ear was attentive to any leading from God, in whatever form it happened to come.

It might be a dream for you, it could be through reading the Word, it could the message on a Sunday, a prompting from the Holy Spirit in your time with God, it may even be through a trusted Christian friend.

The one thing I know is this: while you are trying to figure it, God will speak, so put yourself in a position to hear. Then like Joseph, don’t doubt it and respond according to what God has said.

This Christmas, in the busyness of it all, create some space for you & God and listen to what He wants to say to you about the next step in your life.

What’s With All The Drama?

In my preparation for this Sunday’s message I thought about Mary and her incredible attitude to all that the angel Gabriel said to her. Imagine being told you that you would give birth to the Son of God.

Thing happen to us and we can go crazy. We lose all sense of perspective. We question our faith. Maybe we have a momentary ‘freak out’. Something unexpected is happening and we start to fall to pieces.

Yet with Mary…no drama.

As usual the Bible is understated in it’s recalling of this encounter. Mary maintains a coolness that most of us probably would not have managed. Not even a shriek, or a ‘no way’. Just a simple question, ‘How can this be?’

I’m not wanting to make little of all that we can be called to trust God in but I look at Mary and marvel at how sometimes I have possibly over-complicated my response. She had trust in God. She took the angel at his word. She was not so precious about her wonderful life to consider that the life that God was asking her to embrace would be even more wonderful.

She didn’t say no. I’m guessing the reason we hear about Mary is because she said yes. She held loosely to the thing which most of us hold tightly to and went with what God was saying. Her future laid aside for Gods future.

‘Let it be to me according to your word’.

I want my life to be wonderful. Help me Lord to have that simple faith that Mary displayed. I may not always understand or even like what is happening sometimes but my faith and trust are in You. Let it be to me according to Your word.

Who Knows Where You May End Up

Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him quickly out of the dungeon; and he shaved, changed his clothing, and came to Pharaoh [Genesis 41:14]

Joseph could have never known that he would end up where he ended up. From favourite son, sold by his brothers, to time in prison, to second only to Pharaoh. It’s quite a journey.

Our journey may not be quite so dramatic but it may be familiar in one aspect, we never know what’s ahead. We can have dreams about the future but we don’t really know what it will actually look like. We can’t control everything so the key is take control of what we can, which means we need to know what that particular thing is.

Joseph demonstrates the ability to continue to do one thing very well – walking with God, through all different experiences of life. Whatever is happening, he choice to walk with God and then just to keep walking with God. He knew a God life was a bigger life. He knew that walking with God was about growing with God. He understood it would bring freedom with boundaries.

I think I know what I would like to see in my future but I don’t know what the actual future will hold. As a Christian I keep walking by faith. Through calm and rough alike, it is just a matter of trusting that God is better at working out the future of my life than I am.

Who knows where I might end up. It could be that I end up before kings.
Thankfully God knows, so I’m of the opinion, like Joseph, that the best place for my dreams are in His hands.