It’s that time of year.
The time of year when plans are being made.
Plans for budgets, plans for programs, plans for worship, plans for outreach.
Churches, pastors, and leadership teams are all making plans.
We are making plans to move from where we are
to where we think we want to be,
and to where hopefully, we have prayerfully discerned God is leading us.
It’s that time of year.
Charge Conferences have started, and we need to have our plans.
Benjamin Franklin said it well,
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
Thank you, Benjamin.
Yes, plans are good.
The thing is, because of COVID 19, it’s not as easy to make plans.
In fact, the plans we are making are probably being held by all of us much more loosely.
Afterall, these days that we are living are certainly not what we had planned.
That’s why this scripture is such a wonderful reminder
that no matter what we plan, it is the Lord’s purpose
“that will be established.”
Proverbs 16:9 echoes this promise:
The human mind plans the way, but the Lord directs the steps.
Plans are good.
But, as the past 7 months have taught us, we know when it comes to plans — life doesn’t really care what we’ve marked on our calendar or how much of a deposit we have put down.
Long before a pandemic entered the scene,
we learned the lesson that life can change in an instant.
Regardless of our plans, regardless of our hopes, and even sometimes…regardless of our prayers.
These scriptures from Proverbs encourage us.
God has graciously given us the ability to dream, imagine, create, plan and organize.
And… God has also given us the promise, that when our plans are derailed, our steps in His will for us remain secure.
Let’s hear that again Church.
Let’s face it.
We are imperfect people living in an imperfect world.
Our plans, our lives, our will for ourselves and our loved ones, will never work out exactly as planned.
The map that we have for our present and future will most certainly include the unexpected flat tire, detour, road closure,
Things will happen in our lives to derail our plans…
but those things will never be able to derail God’s plan for us!
God has an ultimate will and plan for all of us, as individuals, churches, and communities of faith.
First and foremost, Church, that plan is love!
The scripture used for all of our Charge Conferences throughout our Annual Conference is Matthew 22:36-40
“Teacher, what is the greatest commandment in the Law?” He replied,
“You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it:
You must love your neighbor as you love yourself.
All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.”
After hearing that scripture every church is then answering 2 questions:
What does it mean to love God in this time at our church?
What does it mean to love neighbor in this time at our church?
The reason for this is that
to know, grow, and share the love of God is God’s very best plan for us!
That is why it is such good news that no matter what our plans,
God is the One Who directs our steps…and that direction is always closer and more fully into His gracious love!
Praise the Lord! Thanks be to God!
Paul, who was following God’s plan in sharing the good news about Christ and building
God’s church often had his immediate plans derailed. Whether by storm, shipwreck, arrest, grumbling churches, or other events, Paul knew what it was like to not have things work out according to his plans. Yet, Paul knew without a doubt that nothing could separate him, or us, from God’s best plan for us.
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39
Yes, Benjamin, planning is good.
But even better is knowing, that no matter the success or failure of our plans,
it is God’s purpose that will prevail, and it is God Who directs our steps ever more closely
and fully into His gracious love!
Following God’s plan with you and thankful for you,
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