A Stroll At Leisure With God

The Temptation to Rush

Sitting here on this couch, it already looks as if today is shaping into an “interesting” day, to say the least.

One of the things that is very important to me is that each worship service is planned well. I know that Connor shares this conviction, especially with our current configuration on Sunday mornings.

Several months ago, in response to the leadership of the Holy Spirit, we felt the need to put our small group Bible study ministry in a better position to reach and keep younger folks.

So, we made a switch of sorts. We moved our worship to 9:00 AM and our “Community Groups” to 10:15. This puts the onus on Connor and me to plan well so that we finish by 10:00, allowing folks time to get to Bible study.

Connor does an excellent job with the worship time. He has a great feel for what fits and what doesn’t. We both agree that the Holy Spirit can work through planning. However, good planning does not exclude Him, at all. We want to be open to his leadership, even if it is at the last minute.

That statement brings me to the service today. We have three opportunities to follow His leadership, opportunities we had not “planned” on before.

First, we have a young couple that serves overseas with the IMB. They are in the area on vacation. We have invited them to come and share about their work. I’m looking forward for a chance to visit with them and allow others to do so as well.

Second, I so appreciate the diligent work of Duane. He was able to fix the heater in the baptistery! Hooray! We didn’t really know it was fixed until Mary Ann confirmed it yesterday morning at the Work Day.

Third, I feel that we need to spend some time commissioning those who are volunteering to serve at Leroy Elementary School. This is just as much a missions opportunity as going to India.

Okay, so we have those three “insertions” from the Holy Spirit. By using the word “insertion,” I am not implying any negativity. In fact, I’m excited. We are giving the Spirit’s immediate leadership just the same priority as the planning leadership of several months ago that led Connor and me to map our worship as well as preaching for today.

So, all of this brings me to my point: in the past, I will be honest to say that all of this would have made me nervous and inside, I would have felt the need to “hurry things up a bit.” What do I mean by this? Well, maybe it meant speaking faster, getting nervous, looking at the clock more, worrying about what people will think if the service lasts longer, telling Connor to move things along faster … a number of worrisome and nervous responses.

As all of these pieces to the puzzle have been coming together over the past few days, I have to tell all of you that I have a miraculous sense of peace about all of it. Why not? If the Lord is putting together, why should I hurry? Why should I fret?

Now, I will confer with Connor this morning and we will take some time to see if there are any cuts or adjustments we need to make. I’ve already sensed some of those shifting of gears in the message.

But I am just telling all of you that I am not going to allow Satan to distract me as I am involved along with Connor in the leadership of this service today because I am nervous or in a hurry.

“Get thee behind me, Satan!”

All of this fits what I read this morning in Jesus’ instructions to the disciples as he sent them out. “Do not acquire gold, or silver, or copper for your money belts, or a bag for your journey, or even two coats, or sandals, or a staff; for the worker is worthy of his support. And whatever city or village you enter, inquire who is worthy in it, and stay at his house until you leave that city. As you enter the house, give it your greeting. If the house is worthy, give it your blessing of peace. But if it is not worthy, take back your blessing of peace. Whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake the dust off your feet. Truly I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city” (Matthew
10:9-15 NASB).

These instructions apply to us today! One might argue, “No, John, they don’t. These are Jesus’ words to the disciples as He sent them out. You are dealing with a worship service.” Right but wrong.

In this service, we are obeying the Great Commission. Thus, we can learn from what Jesus says. Here is my summary of the above instructions: travel light; join in fellowship with those who are responsive to the message; turn the unbelievers over to God; and move on.

Honestly, none of us has time to worry and fret. The bottom line of the above instructions is: trust Jesus. He will provide for us and guide us as we continue to seek to fulfill the mission.

The Stroll at Leisure continues … Amen.
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