Here we are, just a week into a brand new year. The shine probably hasn’t worn off the Christmas gifts just yet and the goals and resolutions we have made are still fresh and in focus. We might be facing the winter blahs, but many of us are still full of enthusiasm at this point.
The new year is a time for taking stock of where we are and looking at how we would like to do better. We often look at our spiritual lives, our physical bodies, our finances, and our families and seek to be intentional about all of those things with renewed fervor. I think God wired us this way, to reflect and remember and then move on with purpose. We are so open to His leadership during this season. I personally love it.
As I was considering all of these things and looking ahead at what 2019 might bring, our body of believers here at FBCW has been on my mind. It occurred to me that in all of my taking stock of things, I have never really evaluated where I am in connection to our church, or where our church is with regard to our community for that matter. My goals and plans, although all very good things, are usually centered on myself, my family, my business. I suppose without even thinking about it, I must have expected our church leaders to be the ones looking at the future for our church body. I know that God places leaders over us to shepherd and guide us, but don’t I bear some responsibility to listen to His direction with regard to service, ministry, and relationships within (inreach) and outside of (outreach) the church?
If the church is the vehicle God uses to reach the world, shouldn’t I be considering how to be intentional within it in 2019? It is so easy to be lulled into spending my time and efforts within my own little bubble and not really looking outside of it. I confess that I tend to be selfish with my time and talents. I have been convicted of late that God places opportunities for connection in my life and if I am not paying attention, it is so easy to see them instead as disruptions to my well ordered plans.
Isn’t that what Jesus does? He disrupts. My daughter Grace planted that idea in my mind and it has taken root. I see it played out in the lives of the disciples. Jesus disrupted everything about their lives when he showed up and called them to follow Him. Nothing could remain the same. Yet how often do I attempt to fit Him into my carefully planned life instead of being open to disruption? Pastor has challenged us to say “Yes, Sir!” to God. Am I really ready to do that? What if He asks me to do something outside of my comfort zone? What if I have to sacrifice something (time, energy, money, myself) to say yes? Will I? Am I willing to say “Here I am, Lord?” Or am I more like the rich young man of Matthew 19:16-22 who went away sad because he was unwilling to have his life disrupted? (that is my interpretation)
On January 7, 2019, my daughter boarded a plane for New Zealand. She is saying “Yes, sir!” to God’s call in her life to missions there. Her life has been completely disrupted by this calling. In fact, many, INCLUDING MYSELF, have wondered if it was a foolish decision. So many questions about the details, how the Lord would provide and what it would all look like. Yet she has continued with steadfast faith, a constant unwavering belief that this is the path God has called her to and therefore He will provide. Guess what? HE HAS. Please do not misunderstand me, I am not advocating that we all start doing things based on what we feel and toss out wisdom and common sense. What I am saying is that when we seek God’s direction and follow it he will disrupt our complacent ways and use us to bring glory to Himself as His name is spread. What an amazing thing.
So where does this fit in to God’s plans for FBCW in 2019? I don’t know the answer to that. But I know the One who does. I know He is looking for stewards who are available to have the lives disrupted for the sake of the gospel, for the sake of loving others. I know He will have opportunities for all who seek them and are willing to say “Yes Sir!”. I know there are those in our family of believers who need connection. Mentors. Teachers. Friends. I know that there are those who have not yet come to believe, who need love and compassion and people who are willing to look outside their own friends, families, dare I say cliques, and reach out to them. Are we willing to be disrupted?
Here is how I am going to start. I am asking God to show me in 2019 where he wants me to say yes to Him. Is it serving in a ministry? Is it teaching? Is it opening our home for a Bible study or fellowship? Is it mentoring? Discipling? I don’t have the answers to that, yet. But I am starting the year with a willing heart and a prayer that he soften me to be more willing in areas where my flesh resists. As we study the book of Acts this year through Pastor’s sermons, I am also starting out January reading a chapter a day. There are 28 chapters, so you can easily finish the book in a month. I invite you to join me in these things. Perhaps God has been waiting for people willing to be disrupted to do great things in our community and in our church this year!