My attention focused more on the Full Moon BBQ sandwich in front of me than the introductory remarks at a recent state evangelism conference lunch meeting.
My eye caught the poised position of both the writer and photographer in the room, and I knew they had the coverage well in hand.
With that assurance, I chose to finish my meal cautiously and quietly as Kansas pastor Mark Clifton shared.
Clifton, senior director of replanting for the North American Mission Board, wove stories throughout his presentation that sent my mind wandering down a few familiar trails.
Many of us have experienced moments in our ministries where we ran ahead of God, didn’t keep prayer as a priority and got caught up in all the possibilities at the expense of excelling in the present. We also sometimes complicate daily life rather than choose simplicity.
Clifton says a simple strategy is the best option, and his suggestion is to “love people, practice generosity and seek Jesus’ direction in every endeavor.”
Think about it — so simple, yet massively powerful.
What if we spent more time loving people where they are, praying for them and mentoring them to make needed next step
What if we eagerly approached each day intentionally looking for ways to be generous — with our attention, time, resources, prayers and compassion?
What if we had an ongoing, never-ending conversation with Jesus? What if we talked every aspect of every day out with Him?
Of course, use discretion with when to have that conversation out loud and when it should be in your heart and mind.
Otherwise, you might start concerning those around you. Ha!
Along with urging us to stay focused on loving, giving and praying, Clifton shared another point that hung heavy in the air for me.
“Jesus won’t resource our plan, but He won’t spare resources for His plan.”
Is it really that simple?
Is it truly as simple as seeking out, listening to and following the Lord’s plan? Absolutely.
Still, we so often rely on our own thought processes, decision-making skills, research from the experts and personal preferences. Many times we blame others for not following our lead rather than carefully evaluating how we are leading.
The Lord brought this concept home for me last week when He solved a puzzling situation in a matter of hours after I had spent years attempting to figure it out.
Instead of praying through it and seeking His guidance from the start, I worked in my own strength, assessing the options and contemplating proposed next steps in the process.
I’m a pretty good problem solver, so in my mind I should have been able to handle the issue easily. However, once I released it to Him, He gave me — within minutes, by the way — a clear, efficient and beautiful outline of what to do next.
It’s a plan that far exceeded my expectations of what was possible for all involved.
How God is working through our team…
Last year, the Lord laid it on my heart to encourage our staff to really dig into the power of prayer in our lives.
With the consistent weekly deadlines of our industry, it can be easy to get caught up in a routine or in the next news story, and I felt strongly that we all would benefit from slowing down and focusing on prayer.
It didn’t look the same for every staff member. Some read books. Some listened to podcasts. Some added extra and more engaged prayer time to their everyday routines. No matter how each individual pursued a deeper understanding of prayer, the team as a whole had a consistent conversation about prayer throughout 2022.
Now as we are well into the first quarter of 2023, we are sensing clearly how the Lord has worked in our hearts and ministry.
Almost daily, we are met with an unexpected kindness from the Lord or clarity for the next step, and I find myself excited to wake up each morning just to watch Him work.
It has been an incredibly humbling and heart-warming season, and we find ourselves wanting and needing to share how we are seeing God work.
As our closest circle of support, would you be willing to lift up our team in this endeavor? Pray that the evidence of God would be obvious in our individual lives, our team as a whole and the content we share.