When Life Gets Strange

A lesson many of us learned very early on in life is, life is not fair.  The journey of life is filled with confusing, challenging and just flat out difficult seasons.  With each twist and turn the question most often posed to God is ... why?  Why God do you allow such pain and suffering.  Why God do you allow me to experience such difficult circumstances.  Throughout the ride of life, I have certainly asked my share of why questions.

A truth that we can hang our hat on is that God is for us.  God is for us in life's trying times and has a purpose for them all.  As I have emerged from the dark times in my life I find that I begin to see God's purposes for my life so much more clearly.

God's Word is filled with such stories; beautiful narratives of God's redeeming purposes. I think of the story of Job.  A man who when all of life's joys, comforts and pleasures were ripped right out from beneath him, continued to trust that His God would not abandon him.

I think of the story of Paul.  A man who gave his life to spreading the gospel to the world around him and at the same time found himself shipwrecked, hungry, beaten, and imprisoned.  Through it all he remained set upon the call and purpose God had on his life. 

The story of Ruth is yet another amazing story.  A story of God at work in the midst of pain, confusion, and loss.  A story of a young lady who travels through a very dark season, yet because of her faithfulness to do what is right, emerges experiencing God's incredible blessing.

It is as John Piper coins it, a "Sweet and Bitter Providence."

As we navigate the twists and turns of life may we see and experience God's presence and love. May we not look for reasons to explain God away, but rather see life's strangeness as a way to allow God to reveal His divine purposes for us.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

When God Moves You On

As I have begun my new ministry this week at Foothills Community Church I have found myself thinking quite a bit about how God strategically places us where He can best use us for His purposes and glory.  Over my years of ministry I have found myself serving in 6 different churches. I have served in Gladstone, Oregon, Chula Vista, Californnia, Milwaukie, Oregon, Tigard, Oregon, Sherwood, Oregon, and now in Molalla, Oregon.  What a ride!

In each location God has had me in, I purposed to stay until He said otherwise, and that is exactly what I have done.  When I commit to something, I am one that sends my roots deep.  I am not a flighty person but rather one that is committed for the long haul.  I value longevity and relationship.  It is for that reason that it has never been easy to leave one community and begin anew in a new one.  One thing I know, is that when God is in the changes of life, it is exciting and filled with good things!  In all the places that I have served, God has clearly led.  There is not one that I went looking for.  In every move, God has made it clear that that is where He wanted me.

This last Sunday I said goodbye to Rock Harbor Church in Sherwood.  We were honored with a beautiful clock to commemorate the time spent.  I  am thankful for the time God allowed us to spend in community with the wonderful people of Rock Harbor.  We truly experienced community with them and the beautiful thing about community, it doesn't have to end.

The apostle Paul has always been a role model to me.  He is a picture of one who was radically changed by God and placed in service for Him.  He was an individual called out by God for His extraordinary purposes.  In that call God had him on the move!  He had him moving from Jerusalem to Caesarea, to Rome, Athens, Philippi, Lystra, Cyprus, Antioch, Damascus, Thesslonica, Corinth, and Ephasus.  What a resume!  I would imagine each departure was accompanied by a few tears.  Tears of sadness as well as tears of excitement for what God had next for both Paul and the people in his life.

It's never easy to say goodbye, to move on from those you love, but when God moves you, you go.  You go with enthusiasm for what is next.  Obedience to God always results in blessing.  My family and I  reap daily the blessing of following God's lead in our life. We are now eager to experience life and community with the people of Molalla.  It is already beginning and how excited we are!

When God moves you on, follow.  Follow Him into the great adventure He has for you.  As you do, you will experience His power in your life like never before.  Follow him. Love Him, and experience what Paul shared with the people of Corinth when he wrote, "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him." (1 Corinthians 2:9).