The Pastors Retreat--Day 2
Dr. Ray PritchardDr. Ray Pritchard is the president of Keep Believing Ministries, in Internet-based ministry serving Christians in 225 countries. He is the author of 29 books, including Stealth Attack, Fire and Rain, Credo, The ABCs of Christmas, The Healing Power of Forgiveness, An Anchor for the Soul and Why Did This Happen to Me? Ray and Marlene, his wife of 43 years, have three sons-Josh, Mark and Nick, three daughters-in-law--Leah, Vanessa, and Sarah, and seven grandchildren. His hobbies include biking, surfing the Internet, and anything related to the Civil War.
- 2004 Nov 16
This morning Howard Duncan shared something the Lord had put on his heart overnight. He said that as pastors, we are called to ask, "What is God doing and how can we join him in his work?" That's different from asking, "How can we get God to bless what we are doing?" He pointed out that lately, we've been talking about this phrase--"It's all about God." How should that apply as we think about the church--where it is today and where God wants to lead us in the future? Three things should characterize our attitude:
Restless but not upset
Waiting but not hopeless
Willing but not proud
Restlessness can be a good sign that God is at work. Restlessness is definitely better than complacency, which is deadly because it leads us to think we are doing better than we are. But too much restlessness can make us upset, causing us to lose our bearings and then we become hasty and try force things.
Waiting is one of the hardest spiritual virtues because it forces us to acknowledge the First Rule of the Spiritual Life: He's God and We're Not. But waiting is not the same thing as giving up. Waiting means believing that God is present in every situation even when he seems to be absent. We wait because we believe God operates on his own timetable. He's never early, he's never late, he's always right on time. We wait because our hope is in the Lord.
Willing means being ready to do what God calls us to do. The great danger is thinking that our willingness equals God's readiness. Pride is utterly destructive to God's work. As a friend told me once, "Do you want to make God laugh? Tell him your plans." It is good for us to meet and pray and make our plans, but in the end, it is the Lord who will direct our steps (Proverbs 16:9).
Being restless and waiting and willing is a good place to be, not just for pastors but for all of us.
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