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Affirmation

Posted Oct 12 2012 12:13am
Sometimes it’s difficult to discern God’s direction during challenging times.  Yet other times, God’s will is so crystal clear that it’s like a clarion call for those who are listening.  The week after LCBC and BranchCreek announced that the churches would be merging, God spoke through my devotionals so clearly and in such a specific, timely manner that it could have only been His voice!
I’ve been using Rick Warren’s Daily Devotional found in the YouVersion Bible app on my iPhone.  Even though I know the topics and scripture passages were chosen well in advance, I was amazed at how specific they were–each and every day–to my situation on that particular day.
One of the biggest changes for BranchCreek during this transition in the area of music.  To accomplish this, it was determined early on that LCBC would provide a worship leader for the launch and moving forward.  I’ll admit that I was shocked and hurt when I first heard the news.  I didn’t understand why I couldn’t do it.  What would happen to me?  What would happen to my job?
The next day, I was encouraged by the scripture text in Warren’s devotional from Philippians 2:1-4 which reads,
“Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. 
I was immediately convicted.  Here I was worried about losing my position or a job that I love.  But God reminded me that it wasn’t about me.  It wasn’t about my position or my preference.  It was about what God wanted to accomplish.  It’s about the 6 million people in the greater Philadelphia area that don’t yet have a church home.  It was clear that I would need to trust Him, His will and His timing and have faith that God is in control .The following day (Aug 30) Warren focused on dreams.  He writes,
“When God wants to work in your life, He’ll always gives you a dream – about yourself, about what he wants you to do, about how he’s going to use your life to impact the world.”
Amazingly–and I kid you not–the scripture text for the day was Ephesians 3:20; the very same passage that we have identified as the theme to our Exponential announcement and series!  I was floored!  He continues,
“In other words, if a dream comes from God, it will be so big in your life that you can’t do it on your own. It also will never contradict His Word!”
At this point, it was clear that God was speaking directly to me.  To my circumstances.  But He didn’t stop there . . .The following day, (Aug 31) Warren offered a brilliant analogy that perfectly captures the way I was feeling:
“A great illustration of God’s plan is a trapeze artist. They swing out holding onto a trapeze bar, and then they let go in order to grab hold of another trapeze bar that swings them to the other side. But, at one point, they’re not holding on to any bar. They’re suspended in air for a split second.”
I’m living in that split second right now.  I know that God is in control; that He’ll never let me fall.  But He affirmed and acknowledged the terror of living in that split second.The day after, (Sept. 2) Warren writes,
“In Habakkuk 2, God says, These things I plan won’t happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled.”
That Sunday, (Sep 2) Warren writes,
“The truth is you’ll have difficulties as you’re pursuing your God-given dream. This isn’t because he doesn’t care about you. It’s one of the ways he pushes you toward the deep end of faith.”
On Monday, I was reading Jim Tomberlin’s book “Better Together” in preparation for our joint staff meeting.  It was then that God hit me with the most shocking .  On page 6, Tomberlin writes,
 “In the pages ahead, we’ll identify many theological reasons why church mergers make sense, why they are increasing, and why the results are increasingly positive.  But those explanations are all secondary to our sense that God is clearly behind the momentum.  In Biblical terms, we believe mergers are another example of God doing a “new thing” (Isa 43:19), helping existing congregations to reach new levels of unity, maturity, and fullness of Christ (Eph. 4:13).  We believe this is contingent with God’s desire for “divine makeovers” as expressed through the prophet Isaiah, “Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will rise against the age-old foundations; you will be called the Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings” (Isa. 58:12)
Here’s why that is so incredible:  Fifteen years ago, on September 10, 1997, Amy and I were at a Bible study in Dayton, TN where we I was serving as the Minister of Music at a small home church.  The pastor felt that God was giving him a prophetic word for Amy and I, and he shared it with us.  He turned to Isaiah 58:11-12 which reads:
11 The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. 12 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.
He said to us, “this verse is for you guys.  You two are going to raise up age-old foundations.  You’ll be called the repairers of the breech!”  To be honest, we never really understood what that meant.  Then I read that excerpt from Tomberlin’s book and nearly fell out of my chair. God had prepared my heart for this transition fifteen years ago!  He let me know that this was coming that that I would be a part of the process!  It’s absolutely unbelievable, and yet so totally God!So I’m all in!!  While my exact role is uncertain at this point, I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that God has ordained and affirmed this union and that I have a role to play at some level.  None of us are privy to the details of God’s timing at this point, but I can tell you with a grateful heart that I’m fully content to be where God wants me to be; doing what God wants me to do.  God’s best has never failed to exceed my wildest expectations, and I want to be faithful and obedient in this historic season for LCBC and BranchCreek.
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