Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Game Plan, part 1

Funny how things start out, seeing now how things wind up. When I was a child I wanted (like most boys) to be a fireman, a policeman or a cowboy and all of life consisted of anticipating summer and Christmas. As a teen, I fell in love with literature and music, but the music bug bit harder and deeper. Summertime was filled with moonlit meanderings induced by the Bard but the deep weeping of Samuel Barber’s Adagio or the soul’s breath released from Bach’s pipe organ was life itself. My love for music was so deep that once I was punished by being grounded from music (I seriously do not remember what I did to receive such punishment) except for that required for school practice. I was devastated. That was most horrible six weeks of my entire life. Regardless, I was looking forward to spending the rest of my life standing on the podium before a full orchestra, pouring my life into those sections and drawing out music. I would conduct the sunrise. 

Life has not gone according to plan. Matter of fact, a series of significant events challenged my love for music as I discovered a new passion: reaching the lost for Christ. Actually, I get ahead of myself, but it was there. Actually, instead of seeing myself before an orchestra (with my back to the crowd), I was facing a congregation (with my back to the choir, as it were). I was going to pastor a church and to do that I needed the education. The family was packed and moved half-way across the country where we attended Bible College then Seminary. I was able to serve in various capacities in a few churches and the base of my experience broadened significantly. My wife and I prayed for “whoever” our congregation would be.
Now, it may be debated as to whether or not my life has gone according to plan. I can safely say that it has not gone according to MY plan. I may not be pastoring in the “traditional” way, but God is using me and my family to reach more people than would set foot inside a church. Not only that, but each of us have a musical talent and my love for music is growing once again . . .

Have a set a goal for my life? I did once or twice but just ‘tween you and me, such planning is a set-up for disappointment. I really can’t tell you where I will be in 5 years, 7 years, 10 years—and some people are upset when I can’t answer. If I set a goal like that, I am telling God what to do and make things harder on myself. I tried it a time or two and being stripped of my own plans hurts. I don’t like pain. My plans were only frustrated when I made plans. Permit me to rephrase that: things turned out much better than planned. Perhaps it’s good that I did not go the direction I intended for my life.
Have my plans been interrupted or thwarted? Without a doubt—and I am grateful, not bitter because (as already mentioned) life has turned out better than expected. “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established . . . The heart of a man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps” (Prov. 16:3,9) is advice to live by. “Commit” here means to take the load off my back and put in on the back of the one who is strong enough to carry. I can see how God directed our way to be where we are now and, while I expect changes in the future, I understand how I am best equipped for this current ministry.

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