First Day – Major answer
At the Moody Pastors Conference in Chicago this week, I’m asking God for what I always do:
Lord, please give me one or two strong take-aways that I can use. I don’t need a long list, just something that will make a difference. It’s the advice I gave to Joe, our youth pastor, who I’m rooming with this week – his first time at a conference like this. One or two big take-aways, that’s all you need.
Lord, You surprised me this year, bringing a major take-away to me in this morning’s first general session. Thank You!
In this morning’s first session, Alistair Begg spoke from 2 Chronicles 20 and I sensed you sitting with me. “Hear this, Phil.”
For the last year and a half or so I have had moments where I feel supremely inadequate, not knowing what to do. Torn. Conflicted. Powerless to deal with my setting.
Begg’s first point today was:
Admitting weakness fully opens the door for God to move in His might and power. (emphasis mine)
I wrote in my notes:
God I don’t know what to do. But you are God, and in control. You have called me to Western Nebraska -again- and I want to spend-it-all in serving You, like I have wherever you have called me, thus far. But my family wants me closer. In the Mid-West. The result has been perplexing. How can I serve you AND honor the wishes of my family?
In the wings of life, even as I have been on stage, leading Your people in praise, has been the nagging, defeating uncertainty: Is this where you belong? Shouldn’t you be somewhere else?
Sitting on the window ledge as I read, pray and work at my desk is the thought “You’re still here? Shouldn’t you be exploring some Midwest opportunities?”
It has sucked the confidence out of me. The American Indian proverb: He who chases two rabbits catches neither has become a daily quandary.
I don’t know what to do – Just like 1 Chronicles 20. But, like 2 Chronicles 20, I’m seeking You. What do You want? what You say, I will do.
You reminded me today that obedience is a daily thing for me, just as it was for our kids when they were growing up. So when you say “Give me your all again today.” I will.
To Your church. And mine. To my family; which is Yours, on loan to me. Today. Tomorrow. The next day. And on Sunday. I will. And when you provide – each day – I’ll thank you for choosing to flow through me – again. Your power. Your love. Your influence. I’m just the straw – the serving spoon – bringing to my family and your church what You have for them.
Years ago I learned that I’m a long-range thinker, strategizer, planner. Today You reminded me that while that is true I need to obey You one day at a time. The strength of being forward thinking can be a liability when it is taken to excess.
You place people in my life to shape me, grow me, develop me into maturity. You the the same with settings and circumstances.. make me what You want and need me to be. This morning it was Alistair Begg with a message about Jehoshaphat’s uncertainty, need to know, and obedience.
God, my Father, I promise You today I will love You with all my heart and with all my soul and with all my might – right where I am. Today. Here. Now. I will do it again tomorrow.
And next week. As long as you have me here. I am totally, fully committed to bringing you my best each day without the uncertainty about tomorrow. Next year. Five years from now.
And when one day you say “Phil, listen. I need you.”
I’ll listen. Go. Love. Do. Serve – again.