A different look at every day issues.

When a Plan Comes Together

It is hard to believe we are already at the end of a decade. Time has a way of getting by without a chance for hitting the “pause” button and slowing things down a bit.

Hannibal Hayes, leader of TV’s famous “A-Team” in the 1980’s, immortalized the phrase, “I like it when a plan comes together.” His rag-tag team was short on respect but long on ingenuity. They could improvise, adapt, and overcome in any situation forced upon them by the writers of the sit-com. They always triumphed the cause of the under dog.

Thirty years of pastoring often made me feel like the under dog. Weariness and discouragement became familiar visitors to my world of duty and responsibility. I often wondered if God really knew about my times of weakness and despair. Surely, He would step in any moment and rescue me from my own myopic perspective.

Looking back, I know for certain that God keeps good books. He has seen every tear and heard every cry of every heart that has ever wondered if one’s present lot held any significance. He knows only too well that we will get to the end of ourselves and then cry out to Him. Our crying out may be motivated by pain or just plain ignorance of the master plan. You know what? He understands.

I’ve adopted a phrase that was inspired by Hayes' famous line from the 80’s. I like it when God’s plan comes together. Along the way there will be times when we question His moves and motives. We may even second-guess some of God’s “provisions.” He is never late, nor will He ruin His perfect record on us. Much of His plan remains hidden from our understanding until we truly need to know just what He is bringing together.

Here’s the kicker. Everything that has happened in our life and ministry is plan will remain hidden from us untiolHis has happened to bring us to this very point in history. Either we trust Him to bring about the perfect plan or we do not. There’s not much room to wiggle here. This is where our faith is revealed and where it transitions from theory to reality.

I fully believe that God has brought each of us to this pivotal place in history. We may or may not have a great heritage and a noble past. But, we have a future to seize and ground to take back from the enemy. We have decisions to make and visions to cast. As we look back on this time in our history five or ten years from now, my fervent prayer is that we have heard the Father and trusted Him to bring His plan together.

The Montu Epiphany

Several years ago, I spent a day at Tampa’s Busch Gardens with a group of Master’s Commission students and local pastors. I learned a great lesson that day that may well serve me the rest of my life. It’s all about cutting edge and adventure—you know—the kind that pushes the envelope!
My previous experience with Busch Gardens came earlier in December when our three sons and their wives came to visit for Christmas. They are roller coaster freaks! No ride is too scary for them. I decided to bite the bullet and ride the ultimate thrill in roller coaster rides, the Montu—a suspended, upside-down ride that promises to flash your life before your eyes.
I do not like roller coasters—never have. They were all designed by sadistic people who like to make other people sick. Yet, there I was—in line to ride the contraption. I chose to ride back in the middle where it would be safe and all I would be able to see was the back of the seats in front of me—if I even chose to open my eyes at all.
As the ride started I tried in vain to recollect just why I was even on the ride in the first place, and why I felt this primal urge to impress my sons. Moments later, the ride was over and I was safe but woozy—oh so very woozy! That was my first impression of a cheap thrill and I was just glad to be on the ground again, vowing never again to leave my comfort zone.
Five months passed and I again found myself in line at the Montu. (The first ride must have damaged my memory.) A pastor friend told me the way to ride the Montu was in the front seats. “It would be like flying through the air,” he told me. So that’s just what I did. I had to wait extra long to get in the front seat, but the wait was worth the revelation that followed. I was a changed man! The front seat ride made the experience completely different than before. It was the same ride but I gained a different perspective. I was alive with a new sense of pushing the edge of adventure and couldn’t wait to do it again. This time, I didn’t just endure the ride, I actually enjoyed it!
I couldn’t help but think we treat life and ministry that way—safely situated somewhere in the middle where challenge is minimized. We opt for predictability and conformity with our particular comfort zone—insulated and isolated from opportunities that make us grow and gain new perspective. We endure more than we enjoy.
I determined to live life and ministry to the fullest. No more “middle-of-the-ride” seating for me! I want to sit where I have an unobstructed view of what the Father has in store for me and I want to enjoy life and ministry the way He intended—from the front seat.