I don’t know if you enjoyed this last season of “Survivor” on CBS, but I’m enthralled with the show. I’ve watched most of the 22 seasons (except the one season I gave up for lent 2010) and wonder how long I might last as a contestant, should I ever have the courage to apply and be accepted. One of the memorable quotes from this season in Nicaragua is from Matt, the outspoken Christian in the finale show. He said a line that few may have paid attention to, but it struck a chord in me that is still ringing true. Matt said, “God carried me through this adventure. God does whatever He wants to, and we have to be respectful of that, whether it’s what we want or not.”
I also believe God is at work in my life, and I am respectful of that. God has a way of orchestrating His Kingdom purposes in and through my life as a pastor, so much so, that I need to respect His work, whether it’s what we want or not.
I also believe God is at work in your life and in the heart of Pine Lake Covenant Church. Author Henry Blackaby once expressed in “Experiencing God” (1990), “God is up to something in this world. It is our role to discover where God is at work and then join Him in His work.” I believe God is at work at PLCC and the Holy Spirit is asking you to join Him in this important work here. I also believe that God is at work in transitioning my family out of PLCC to experience Him in a ministry and a people that only He can call us into. We don’t know what ministry, people or place God is leading us to, but we stand open and ready to receive God’s leading. As we spend time in Panama together discerning God’s calling for us, we’ll all agree that “God does whatever He wants to and we have to be respectful of that, whether it’s what we want or not.”
God continues to show my family three ways to live, no matter the circumstances…
1. Grace in all things.
God has given us his Son, Jesus Christ. He extended an insurmountable grace to the world in reconciling us to Him through Christ. It is our response now, back to God, that we show grace in all things. When you respond in grace, you reflect the grace of the living God into this world among people who so desperately need to taste grace.
2. Trust in God’s sovereign plan.
God is still on the throne and He actually knows what He’s doing. When we trust Him, whether we understand His ways or not, we are acting as Jesus acted in the garden of Gethsemane, “Father, not my will, let Your will be done.”
3. Participate with God, not against Him.
Why does the Apostle Paul spill so much imprisoned ink talking about “submission” in the NT? When we resist the working of God, we miss the blessing of God. When we walk in step with the Holy Spirit, as Jesus walked with the Spirit of God, there is common union (communion) with God and life will go well. Not all circumstances are God’s discipline, chastisement, or pruning… rather when we participate with God, circumstances of life seem to decrease as God increases.
I don’t know about you, but my family and I are committed to live by grace in all things, trust God’s sovereign plan, and participate with God… “and we have to respect Him, whether it’s what we want or not.” Thank God the game of Survivor is only a reality show, not real life. We love you Pine Lake Covenant. You have shaped us and formed our pastoral ministry into something that God can use for His will and we are better people for walking in faith with you.