Monday, October 27, 2008

The Two-by-Four Effect

How does one determine God’s will in a matter as compared to simply following our own path?

I’m reminded of Balaam and his ass (to use a KJV expression). (You can read about this account in the Bible in the book Numbers chapters 22-24) Balaam is a prophet hired by an enemy of Israel to curse Israel so that they could be defeated in battle. Balaam first resists but he is eventually convinced to curse Israel. On his way to the cursing his donkey stops on the path three times each time the donkey sees what Balaam is incapable of seeing, the Angel of the LORD with a drawn sword blocking the way. After enduring three beating for Balaam the donkey is miraculously enabled to speak and basically chastises Balaam for being so blind as to miss the Angel of the LORD standing in front of him.

It was one of those “DUH” moments in the Greek it’s called an ‘agogic” moment when we slap ourselves on the head and say something like “How could I have been so blind?”

I had one such moment recently. As you know, I became the pastor of Grace Community several months ago. Even before coming here I had a list of “goals” I wanted to see accomplished here at Grace. One of those goals was the creation of a prayer team to pray for the worship services and any specific prayer requests while the services were going on. In my mind this was an important goal but was a ways down the list of my priorities.

A new friend of mine who recently joined our grace community had been telling me about such a ministry he had been involved with at a former church and he was excited to share this with me and encouraged me to think about starting one immediately. I thanked him and assured him that it was on my list and I hoped to get around to it soon. (After I dealt with some other goals I felt were more important – at least in my own mind)

A couple of days ago we met again and over lunch he again brought up the prayer time and this time I was a little more receptive. I told my friend that I would be bringing it to the elders that evening at our elders meeting. My friend sent me some information that he had used when he developed this ministry at his previous church and that afternoon I made copies for the elders and stuck it in my folder for the meeting.

Our elder meeting run based on an agenda and the pastor gets an early slot for anything he deems necessary to share. I shared some things but decided to wait on the prayer meeting idea until later in the meeting depending on how time went.

The next item on the agenda was a discussion of how our latest series was going and if we needed anything to help bolster the series. One of my elders said that he had been praying this past week and the Lord had impressed on him the necessity of more prayer for our Sunday messages and he felt compelled to start some kind of prayer service for the messages!

Some people believe in chance encounters when it comes to spiritual things. I’ve come to believe that with God there are no chance encounters but God encounters.

I threw my hands up and said “OK God we’ll do it on your time table and not mine!” I told the elders about my meeting with my friend and showed them the material I had brought to the meeting.

We have not yet officially established the prayer time but we are off and running and in the process of creating it.

Sometimes God gives you an elbow nudge, sometimes a shove and sometime he brings out the 2 X 4 and smacks you upside the head to get our attention.

Here’s hoping that you learn to recognize the nudges of God

No one likes the 2 X 4!

Pastor Val

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