REFLECTIONS ~ Dragged into the Purposes of God ~ December 2008

March 6, 2009

Around Christmas, we hear a lot about Mary and Joseph traveling to Bethlehem where Jesus was born. On that eighty-mile walk, Joseph had plenty of time to think. He probably felt like he had been dragged into a wild adventure. I have spent time praying and studying in order to prepare myself for ministry. I have also networked with leaders in hopes that doors of ministry would open for me. However, I have learned that God sometimes drags us into ministry situations. Things that I initially resist often end up being surprising blessings.

I never wanted to move to Phoenix. I first came here with my Pop Warner football team. We used a sneak play to eke out a 19-14 win. I never had the desire to visit Phoenix again. The Lord used our son Matthew’s asthma to bring us here. We resisted that move because it tore us away from our family, our church and our friends. Yet God used it to heal our son and increase our fruitfulness.

In 1986, I was approached by the manager of KXEG radio, who asked me to do a talk show. I told him I did not have the time. I was focused on Living Streams. He continued to pursue me with the idea. I eventually told him that the only way I could do the program was if it could be broadcast from my office. Within a month, he installed a dedicated line in our office, brought in the equipment and we were broadcasting a live one-hour talk show five days a week.

For the next fifteen years that radio program gave me the opportunity to interview senators, governors, professional athletes, authors, musicians, and ministry leaders. For a pastor without status who likes to talk with people and ask personal questions about how they handle the challenges of life, it was a blessing.

We just completed The Wave at Living Streams. This was a program designed to raise money and unite our congregation in the ministry and mission of our church. I had resisted this type of campaign for a long time. Fund-raising goes against my nature. Yet, we were given the opportunity to purchase a wonderful facility for a price less than the value of the land itself. The facility was forty years old and it needed a lot of restoration. The gap between what we believed God wanted us to do and what we had the money to do made fundraising something I could no longer escape. By the time we were ready to start, our economy was entering turmoil. The convergence of our needs with those economic realities heightened my anxiety.

The Lord dragged me once again into a situation that became a blessing. Many faithful people made sacrifices that lifted my heart. We have not seen all the money come in, but the Lord has delivered me from fear and given me peace. The pressures of life are a spiritual furnace that burns away our fears and insecurities. When we trust God we experience His favor. Jesus has come to bring peace on earth to men upon whom God’s favor rests. Trust God and hold on to the dreams the Spirit puts in your heart. Jesus has given you favor with God. He may drag you into situations that bring those dreams to pass.

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