God’s Guidance

Things don’t always go the way that we think they will!  Isn’t life like that though?  We make plans and then life throws us a curve ball.  We don’t get into the college of our dreams.  That guy or girl you thought was “the one” laughs at you when you ask them out.  Out of nowhere, you get handed a pink slip and you are left wondering what to do next.  We wonder, where is God in all of this?

One thing you can be sure of is that there are few things you can be sure of.

So the question is: how do we have faith when we are facing a crisis, when we are looking up at those hills of life- those mountains we have to face?  What do we do when the weight is just too much and we just can’t deal with everything that is going on in our world?

ropes-on-the-tall-shipWell, the Bible has a lot to say about God’s guidance.  The Hebrew word for guidance (tachbulah) is same word for “rope”.  Back then, sailers used ropes to guide and navigate their ships.  They used ropes to raise or drop the sails and to tell the ship where to go and how fast to get there.

God’s guidance is the same way.  Here’s what I’ve been learning these last few months: God’s guidance is more something he DOES than something he GIVES. I’ve prayed and prayed- “God, show me what you want for my life!”.  That prayer has mostly been met with silence.  Silence.

BUT.

But what God does is shape and mold and guide me where to go…and how fast to get there.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the life of Joseph from the Old Testament.  He was falsely accused and thrown in prison.  And that was AFTER being thrown in a pit and then sold into slavery.  For years and years, Joseph waited on God’s plan.  But in the midst of that seeming inactivity, God was moving and shaping and molding Joseph so that he was ready to lead when the time came.

These past several months have been really tough as we’ve waited on God.  But I can see that God has been working on my heart and preparing me for whatever is next.  And for that, I can be thankful.

If life has thrown you a curve or if you are facing uncertain times- you are not alone! Your story shares a lot with many people’s stories we find in the Bible.  And in all of those stories, God was moving and shaping and molding.  Even when it seemed like he was distant or silent.  We can trust that God is good and God is great and he has good things planned for his children.

Stay strong.  Stay the course.  Trust God.

EL

Book Review: 7 Lessons for New Pastors

Before we can make any plans for the church, we must know the sheep well.  Take every opportunity to become familiar with members of your church. Don’t rush into your action plans too quickly. – from the book 7 Lessons for New Pastors, page 96

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Matthew D. Kim wrote this helpful book after his first year as a senior pastor.  Since I believe that God might be leading me to be a senior pastor, I thought it would be a good idea to do some reading on others’ experiences as new senior pastors.

Dr. Kim offers 7 good tips for new senior pastors.  The first couple chapters are about making sure you are called to be a pastor and the importance of finding the right church.  Then he moves into how to acclimate to the pastor’s life and gives some good tips on creating good habits.  Dr. Kim shares that the most important habit for a pastor is a strong prayer life.  He says: Prayer is priceless in the life of a pastor. It is the glue that holds everything together…Without prayer, we lack God’s love and power. Without prayer, we will be empty on the inside and have nothing left to give our parishioners. Without prayer, we cease to be pastors (page 53).

Chapter five is about how to develop your leadership skills.  He gives some good ideas on how to create and cast vision and the importance of developing leaders.  He shares that to be effective, learn to develop leaders and delegate responsibility…the church should be able to thrive without us.  That is the proper test of whether we have produced quality lay leaders (page 83).

In chapter six, Dr. Kim shares some great tips on how to love your congregation. He says: ministry is people. It is people that make the calling of ministry valuable and worthwhile (page 93). It is so easy to lose sight of that.  To get caught up in doing stuff and to forget that its all about people.  Dr. Kim shares some great ideas on how to get to know your congregation and to really get to know their stories.

And finally, in chapter 7, Dr. Kim shares his advice on how to be ready for when the unexpected happens.  What to do when tragedy strikes.  What to do when you get unusual and unexpected requests. And how to resist unexpected temptations.

All in all, I thought this was a great book that would be beneficial for anyone who is moving into a senior pastor role.  Check it out.