Monday, November 30, 2009

God's Awesome Plan For Our Lives Far Exceeds Our Imagination Or Expectations

"I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Talk about culture shock! When my family and I arrived on the mountain in Garrett County Maryland I felt God certainly had made a mistake. How could a family from Northern Virginia where there were millions of people, cars and houses possibly minister to this laid back community 3,000 feet above sea level? Even though I was praying that God wasn't really calling us to this ministry, I knew the minute we pulled onto the church parking lot that this was going to be our new home!
The next 5 1/2 years are history but the ministry proved to be many things for our family. For me it was a time of incredible spiritual growth and a great lesson that God can use anyone to do anything if we simply are obedient and willing to obey His call on our lives. Jeremiah 29:11, says it all. God has an awesome plan for each of us but so many times we hinder that work. We tend to look at things through our eyes and become discouraged because we only see the possible. Things that seem impossible to us create fear in our lives and many of us will never accept the challenge God has strategically placed before us because it involves risk.
When God planted the burden for youth ministry in my heart shortly after we had accepted the pastorate in Oakland, Maryland, I was totally bewildered and afraid. How could a former banking officer pastor a group of screaming teens who possessed roller coater emotions and raging hormones? I knew absolutely NOTHING about pastoring young people and had absolutely no experience in ministry. I was afraid to accept the risk that God placed before me. But as I began to seek God's face for guidance and direction, He overwhelmed my heart with excitement, new ideas and peace. God equips the called. When He nudges our heart and whispers that it is time for us to step out and do something for the Kingdom, He gives us everything we need to accomplish the task.
Those 5.5 years were some of the most precious memories of my ministry. Our son Brandon and daughter Brooke were a very active part of the youth group. There were times when Brandon stretched his mom more than you can imagine. Yes, those years were more than challenging and I often became weary and discouraged but God was awesome throughout the journey. The youth group became the heartbeat of the church and were very active throughout the community.
I have so many fond memories of those years. Several of the young men (including our son) are now active in ministry. To think that maybe I played a small part in encouraging them to take a risk for Christ excites me even today. What if I would have ignored God's calling? What if I had refused to take that risk? God made the impossible come to life. He wants to do that with all of us.
As this year is quickly coming to a close, I encourage you to pray with expectancy about your role in ministry in 2010. I truly believe that God's desire is to do great things, I encourage you - be willing to take a risk and watch God do the rest. When things look like they are absolutely impossible look up and hold on for the ride of your life. We truly miss so many blessings because we are looking at things through our eyes and not His. Don't restrict Him. Put God first in all things. Seek Him and allow Him to do the impossible and unimaginable with your life and ministry!

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