I have to admit that I'm not the most organised and structured person, but today's to-do list was really stressing me out! Added to the things that I really needed to accomplish and would place as high-priority, like semon prep, appointments with members of the church family, preparing for the upcoming marriage seminar and more, I also had to complete some mundane tasks: pay a couple of unexpected bills, buy items for tomorrow's ladies' breakfast, email announcements for Sunday's bulletin, attend to a commitment I'd made for a friend, and a couple of other home tasks that had landed unexpectedly in my lap. I think most of us enjoy feeling in control of our life and schedule and grow frustrated when things don't go according to plan and yes, I felt frustrated. But if we truly desire to walk in the centre of God's perfect will, we must become willing to cooperate with His priorities and His time frame. It reminded me of something I was reading recently:
"God loves to gift people with healthy- spiritually, physically and emotionally- passion for all of our life. The life motto of C.T.Studd (1860-1931), an English missionary to the people of China, India and Africa was 'Some want to live within the sound of church or chapel bell; I want to run a rescue shop within a yard of hell.' That's an amazing, healthy ambition and passion for something- others' salvation. Maybe we should be known as human doings rather than human beings! But in our doings, instead of checking out, we need to create checkpoints. I've asked myself point blank: Am I doing things, living life, just for myself, or does what I do benefit others and give God glory? Is what I'm doing giving the Devil a foothold (see Ephesians 4:27) with which he can send me tumbling into the pit of self-service and greed? Am I aligned with God's will, or will God say my alignment needs service?
As long as we're examining ourselves, it's also tempting to take a good punch in the jaw and accuse ourselves of out-of-whack priorities. We need to get ourselves off the top shelf and put Christ there, put Christ first on our priorities list. On second thought... I'm not going to do just that, because, first of all, we shouldn't put Christ on top of our priority list. (Wait! Before you call the heresy police, hear me out- or read me out, in this case.) Christ should hold top position in every aspect of our lives. In other words, the priority list doesn't just put Christ as number one and continue down the line with faith, family, job, friends, mundane tasks, etc. Rather, Christ obviously is first in our faith; He's also first in our family; first in our job etc. If that's the case, we'll walk humbly whatever we do, giving the glory and honour in our lives to Christ instead of self. He's part of everything we do, think and say. He's the priority in every part of our lives.' (T. Weseman)
Submitting to God's timetable requires faith and courage. Then, as you follow God's schedule, you'll experience the joy of watching Him make all things beautiful in His timing.
I don't belong here. I really don't. Paradise is the last place I expected to end up after all I've done. Let me tell you my story.
I am -- I was -- an armed robber, I guess you'd call it. Me and Jake and the others would live in caves in the Judean hills near the road from Jerusalem to Jericho. We made our living by violence. A family alone would be an easy mark, as well as anyone fool enough to travel by himself.
Brandishing a strong staff would usually do the trick. Threaten them with a beating and they'd give up without much of a fight. But I've been known to break a few bones in my day, God forgive me. I don't think I actually killed anyone, but then I never stayed around long enough to find out.
The first time I meet Jesus is when I am invited to a party in his honour in Jericho at the home of a rich tax collector named Zacchaeus. I am introduced, we shake hands, and Jesus looks me in the eye for a long moment. He can see right into me, who I am, every crime I have ever committed. Then he smiles this big friendly smile. "You know," he says, "there's forgiveness for you in my Kingdom. How about it?"
I drop my eyes, say something non-committal, and shuffle away. The next day I'm in the crowd, hanging on every word he says. Jesus is talking about his Kingdom, comparing it to a mustard seed, calling it the Kingdom of Heaven. I want so much to go up to him after he has finished and take him up on that forgiveness thing, but I just can't bring myself to do it.
I wish I had.
Church planting and growth has been a focus for most of my ministry. I frequently lecture and speak on church planting and have been actively involved in many church plants. Under God's hand and direction, my wife, Kaye, and I planted the