This week I am in Massachusetts for a conference just north of Boston at Gordon College. There are about 400 people at this conference, most of which are pastors, wives of pastors, elders, and other church leaders. I know a surprising amount of people at this conference. As I was walking around the campus yesterday it was like every 10 seconds I came across someone I knew. I must've spoken with 30 people who all asked me the same question: So, how's your church going? I think there are a thousand other questions packed into that one question. People are really asking:
Is your church growing?
Are there new young people starting to come?
Has your church listened to your suggestions?
Have you faced a lot of conflict?
Have you started any new ministries?
Do they like you?
Does you family like it way up north?
But I don't tend to get into all of that, I just respond, "It's great, I love it and I have no complaints." Believe me, I asked that question to a lot of people yesterday as well. I'd say, "So, how's your church?" and the number one response was something along the lines of "it's going okay..." Not great, not awful, but "just okay." Sounds depressing, doesn't it? But most churches are in that season of conflict resolution, they are either not growing or growing very slowly, yadda, yadda, yadda... And these pastors and church leaders are just desperate to figure out how to get their church to grow, to reach young people, and to be peaceful again. I hear stories of everything they are trying to do, the great lengths they have gone to show love to people, the many sacrifices they have made for their church family and their community. As I was hearing story after story yesterday it was like God hit me over the head with a giant billboard that said, "MIKE! PRAY FOR OTHER CHURCHES AND PASTORS!" Sure, I pray for our church all the time. In the shower, I am praying for our church. In the car, I am praying for our church. During church on Sunday morning, I am praying for our church. But I definitely need to pray a lot more for other churches and other pastors.
It really hit me when a couple that I know (I don't know them very well) came up to me and said that they had a picture of my family on their fridge and every time they see it they pray for us and our church. I was very humbled by that. And the truth is that most of the people I spoke with yesterday told me they are praying for our church. Incredible.
So here is my challenge to myself and to each of us: Would you write down the name of at least one other church and pastor that you know about and commit to praying for them regularly? It could be a church nearby or a church far away. Maybe you could consider writing an encouraging letter to a pastor or a church that you know letting them know you love them and are praying for them. I know personally what it means, as a pastor, to have people praying for me and our church. It is very powerful. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 says this, "Therefore, encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing." Just as you all have been a great encouragement to myself and to one another, let's be an encouragement to other pastors and church.
I use to vacation with my family in Cape Cod as a kid, my grandparents use to have a house in West Yarmouth. One time we were out and about doing some shopping and my little brother and I stumbled across a lonely $20 bill on the sidewalk.... My gut reaction? BUY SOMETHING COOL! Like a water gun or an inflatable killer whale! But my little brother, being more thoughtful and considerate than I, tamed my selfish ambition. He argued that we should use the money to buy something nice for our mom (after all, she did do our laundry, feed us, buy us stuff, etc...). I think we ended up buying her a tie-dye shirt or something like that. Back then I felt cheated out of 20 bucks. I mean, I found it after all! But, today I'm glad for the lesson my brother taught me:It's more important to give than to receive.
The bible story for this week is from Matthew 10:5-15 and I have titled my sermon, "Freely Receive, Freely Give." In this episode Jesus is preparing his disciples to go on a mission to the Jewish people in the region of Galilee. They have to go out and heal people and share that the king of heaven, Jesus, has come to the earth. But Jesus is clear with them, he says, "You received without paying, give without pay." They had to go and heal people without writing up a medical bill. They had to walk countless hours without compensation. Why? I think Jesus is teaching them to learn to live a lifestyle of giving without expectations. You know, the disciples have been given one of the most exclusive of opportunities the world has ever seen. They were personally coached and trained by the God of the universe, Jesus! Talk about an incredible internship. Not only that but Jesus will soon give them the gift of eternal life by dying on the cross as a sacrifice for their sins. Talk about a good deal! But these disciples did not earn such an awesome opportunity and they did not deserve the gift of new life that Jesus would give to them. They received such amazing gifts free of charge. Now Jesus is sending them out to give freely, no strings attached.
When we serve God we often do so without a word of "thanks" or reward. Believe me, I do my best to say thanks or write thank you cards to our church family but I could never keep up all of the work you are doing to serve God and others. And I know what it is like to give without receiving anything in return. When we learn to live a lifestyle of giving without expectations, it truly frees us up to serve God. We cannot be slaves to selfish ambition, rewards, and appreciation. Because if that is our motivation then when we don't receive those things our motivation to serve others will quickly dry up. Rather, focus on all of the gifts God has given you, focus on the eternal hope and the eternal home you have freely received from God. Let this be our motivation. And just as you freely received these gifts, give to others freely.
Imagine a representative from the IRS comes knocking at your door demanding you owe thousands of dollars in taxes. I hope this has not happened to you! But in your imagination, what would you do if this did happen? I guarantee you would not invite the representative into your house for dinner. Why do I bring this up? Well in this week's passage, Matthew 9:9-13, Jesus comes across a tax collector named Matthew. Then Jesus invites him to be his friend and they have a celebratory dinner together. Let me give you a little background on Matthew. He was a tax collector outside of the city of Capernaum by the Sea of Galilee. Matthew would have sat at his tax booth at the gates of the city and taxed people for goods. It's likely that since Capernaum was a big fishing city that a lot of fishermen came to the city to fish and then took their fish out of the city to sell all over the place. When the fisherman left the city who did they have to check in with? You got it, Matthew. Nobody liked tax collectors back then because many, if not all of them, were corrupt. The tax collectors would demand more money than necessary so that they could make an extra buck for themselves. But no one could do anything about it because the tax collectors had the Roman Empire to back them up and no one was gonna mess with Rome. So if Matthew said "give me X amount of money", you gave him that amount no questions asked.
Now according to what we know from the Bible Matthew was likely the 7th disciple called by Jesus. Why might this cause some tension? Well, some of the disciples who were called before Matthew were fisherman from Capernaum! Peter was a fisherman from Capernaum. Andrew, Peter's brother and co-worker, was a fisherman from Capernaum. James and John were fishing partners from Capernaum. So do you think they knew who Matthew was? You bet! Do you think they liked Matthew? Well, would you be too fond of a corrupt tax collector taking all your hard earned money? So now imagine that the disciples following Jesus out of the city see Jesus starting to walk toward Matthew. "Oh brother..." Peter must of thought. "There's that jerk again..." James might have thought. But Jesus looks upon Matthew differently. While the other disciples may have looked at Matthew as a lost cause, Jesus looks at Matthew's potential.
This is what Matthew 9:9 says, "As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector's booth. "Follow me," he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him." Next thing you know Matthew has Jesus and the disciples over to his house for a party to celebrate this decision Matthew has made to leave tax collecting to go and follow Jesus. Heck, later Matthew even wrote a whole book about Jesus so that many could come to know the wonderful savior like Matthew knew him. Here's what I am getting at: No one is a lost cause to Jesus. The other disciples may have written Matthew off as a hopeless criminal. But not Jesus. We are tempted to write people off as hopeless. But not Jesus. Just look how Matthew's life transformed and grew and flourished as a result of an encounter with Jesus! No one is a lost cause.
This Sunday we are looking at Matthew 9:1-8. But first, I want to talk with you about weeds. Has anyone started their garden yet? If you have gardened recently or in the past then you know about those pesky weeds that creep in around your tomatoes and squash. I guarantee that you all have different methods for getting rid of weeds. We have tried pulling them, spraying them, yelling at them...and yet they keep coming back. Recently, however, we got one of these deluxe stand-up weed puller thingys. It has a long handle and claws that go deep into the ground around the weed and then the claws grasp onto the deepest roots and you pull the entire weed plant out of the ground. It is a great tool. That's what you have to do to get the weeds to go away, get to the roots.
In the passage for this week, that is exactly what Jesus is doing: getting at the root of the problem. In the story these people bring their friend, a paralyzed man, to Jesus. They lay the man in front of Jesus and ask Jesus to heal their friend. So what does Jesus do? Does he say, "Yes, I will heal your friend of being paralyzed?" No. Jesus heals the man of something else first. He looks at the paralyzed man and says, "Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven." The paralyzed man is lying there, his sins have been forgiven but he is still paralyzed. You know when you ask for help but the help you receive is way different than the help you were looking for? That's what is going here.
But here is what I gather from this story. Everyone was going to Jesus to be healed in some way. Deformed people, sick people, blind people, paralyzed people, all these people were going to Jesus to be healed of these surface level issues (which is great! and important!). But Jesus knew that the root of humanity's problems is sin. Jesus is like a gardener who picks weeds from the deepest roots. Yes he wants to deal with our issues at the surface but here he shows that he also wants to take care of our deepest rooted sickness, which is our sin. Well, of course Jesus heals the man of being paralyzed and the man gets up and walks home, but not without dealing with the man's sin first.
You know, I hear a TON of prayer requests every week (every day, really). I love prayer requests. I want to pray for you all. I want to pray for people who pop up out of nowhere, like this paralyzed man did with Jesus. But it is striking how many surface-level prayer requests I get.
"Can you pray for me, I have a cold."
"Can you pray for my husband, he injured his knee."
"Can you pray for my co-worker who..." Fill in the blank.
Are these prayer requests important? Yes! But what about praying for the forgiveness of sins in your own life and in the life of others. There are two sides to this coin: on one side of the coin we have physical healing (which we ask for all of the time) and on the other side of the coin there is spiritual healing. But we often treat prayer as a one-sided coin, only dealing with the surface level issues when Jesus also wants to deal with our sin. The two are connected, really, and we'll talk more about this on Sunday. I heard a quote a while ago that goes something like this, "we pray a lot of sick people out of heaven and we forget to pray lost people out of hell." That quote has stuck with me. We do spend a lot of time praying for physical healing for people forgetting we are also supposed to be praying on a spiritual level for the forgiveness of sin and the salvation of lost people. Will you commit to dealing with your own sin and praying for the forgiveness of sins for others? Will you continue to pray sick people out of heaven while desperately praying for lost sinners to find salvation and be spared hell?
You know what would be amazing for this country? If all of our leaders were like the "centurion" in Matthew chapter 8. In this passage a Roman officer (centurion) comes to Jesus and pleads with Jesus to heal one of his servants. This was a man who had great authority, he could say to a soldier, "'Go,' and he goes, and to another, 'Come,' and he comes, and to [his] servant, 'Do this,' and he does it" (Matt. 8:9). You may be wondering, like me, what in the world is a centurion? A centurion was a Roman commander who was in charge of a "century," or a hundred soldiers. Centurions gave orders all day long, it was their whole job to tell people what to do, where to go, how to do it, etc...
If you look at Matthew 8:5-13 you may notice something peculiar. This man of power and authority approaches Jesus and calls him "Lord." The mighty and powerful centurion approaches Jesus the same way as the weak, dying and powerless leper from last week's passage. These are two very different men, a leper and a centurion, and yet they submit to Jesus calling him the same name, "Lord." But why? Because the centurion, powerful as he is, realizes that he is in the presence of someone who is far greater and more powerful than he. This is why the centurion looks at Jesus and says to him, "I am not worthy to have you under my roof." This centurion submits completely to Jesus just like one of his soldier-lings would have submitted to him. This is why I say it would be amazing for this country if all of our leaders were like this centurion, submitting completely to Jesus. Now, we should pray for our leaders and ask that God would guide them and we should pray that they would submit to God. Maybe they will, maybe they won't. All that we have control over is ourselves. So more importantly WE can submit to God.
I would Imagine that many of you have a great need or crisis in your life right now. I guarantee you have tried to take care of your need. I guarantee you have researched how to fix it. I bet you have come to the end of yourself trying to reassemble your life and piece your life together. Picture that thing, whatever it is, that is weighing on you right now. Could you simply approach Jesus, like the centurion, and admit to Jesus that your abilities to fix your problem are nothing compared to his abilities? I love how the centurion puts it, he tells Jesus, "Just say the word, and my servant will be healed." Now I wish I could say that I have as much faith as this centurion, I'm not so sure that I do. But I do know that I have been knocked down plenty of times. I've found myself on my knees pleading with Jesus to answer a prayer and Jesus has answered (in his own time, of course). Maybe for you it is time to get down on your knees and submit your life and all your needs to God right now. Believe in your heart that Jesus is powerful enough to just "say the word," and know that Jesus has incredible and infinite love for you and your life. You know, what better day to get down on your knees and pray than the National Day of Prayer?
Follow Up Questions:
1. What is weighing on you today? Could you spend some time in prayer proclaiming the power of Jesus and submitting your request to him, like the centurion?
2. On this National Day of Prayer will you take some time to pray for our nation?
"Catch" is a funny word if you think about it. You can catch a ball. You can catch up on finances. You can get caught in a storm. I can "catch you later." Sometimes people say, "you're such a catch." Did you catch that joke? Or my personal favorite, I love to catch fish.
My least favorite, though, is to catch an illness. As in, "I caught a cold." Just like the word "catch" can be seen in different ways, some passages in the bible can be viewed in different ways from different angles. When you really take the time to look at a passage in the bible you'll realize just how much is loaded into it and how important it is for our lives. With that in mind let's take a look at the passage (Matthew 8:1-4) for this week:
1 When Jesus came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. 2 A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, "Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean." 3 Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. "I am willing," he said. "Be clean!" Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy. 4 Then Jesus said to him, "See that you don't tell anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them."
Here's the thing, Leprosy is an awful skin disease. In fact it takes root so deep within the skin that it affects the nervous system. It makes your skin look dead and pale. It causes the loss of sensation in parts of your body. Worst of all it begins to deform your body. Needless to say, people in the time of Jesus did not want to catch this horrible disease and so they outcasted people with leprosy. To touch someone with leprosy was actually against the law. If you touched someone with leprosy you were considered "ceremonially unclean" and you had to go through various cleaning rituals and pay a price by making a sacrifice at the temple. Now, you may not have caught this, but when the man says, "make me clean" he doesn't just mean he wants to be clean from the disease but also from his sins. You see, they believed that someone with leprosy had to have done something horrible and sinful in order to be struck with such a disease. So to be clean from this disease meant 1. you had to be healed of it physically and 2. you had to go to the temple to go through the process of being cleansed from your sins.
This man was desperate to be fully healed and cleansed from this disease. Now, did you catch how Jesus healed the man? He didn't just heal him by saying, "Be clean!" but he also touched the man. "Well, isn't that against the law Jesus?" his disciples may have thought. Or, "won't you catch leprosy, Jesus?" Wouldn't Jesus be ceremonially unclean? But Jesus doesn't worry about all of that as he jumps through 3 or 4 hoops to heal this man. Why? Because Jesus had something more powerful than any disease, more important than any law system, and more urgent than any social customs. He had compassion. That is why he reaches out and touches this man, to show the ultimate act of compassion. As we go through the book of Matthew we will see that Jesus is willing to do the unthinkable just to show compassion.
However, in showing compassion to others we often worry about what is going to happen to us. When we decide to help other people how will we be effected? Will I have to give up a few hours of my time to help this person? Will the love I show to others be reciprocated? Will I be infected by someone's sickness if I spend time with them? But guess what, Jesus didn't care about any of that. He put his life on the line to show compassion for this man, to reach out and touch him, to go around the laws and social customs. While everyone else was worried about catching leprosy from this man, Jesus was more concerned that people would catch his contagious compassion.
1. Is there someone you know of who is desperate for compassion?
2. Will you follow after Jesus and act selflessly compassionate towards others?
Sometimes I'll ask my 3 year old daughter Isabelle, "What does daddy do at church?" and she replies, "Daddy talks tuh people." To her that is what she sees me doing. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to talk to dozens of people for a long period of time without any interruption? That's my job! I get to speak for 30 minutes, non-stop, without any interruption every Sunday. It's kind of a funny thing if you think about it. A bunch of people get out of bed and get dressed up and wander to church and then everyone sits quietly and listens to me talk...From my point of view it is a very strange thing, why would people want to sit and listen to me talk for such a long time?
Well, I believe people listen because when I open the Bible there are invaluable words of life and wisdom. Its not so much that what I have to say is worth your Sunday morning, but what Jesus has to say. And when we come to church we come hungry for these words of life from Jesus. In this week's passage we learn just how essential the word of God is. Here is what Jesus has to say in Matthew 7:24-27:
24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”
The words of the Bible, the words of Jesus, are essential for our life. Without hearing and obeying the word of God we are like a building that was built on the sand. This reminds me of the "Leaning Tower of Pisa." When it was constructed in the 12th century the Leaning Tower of Pisa was simply called the "Tower of Pisa." However, because is was built upon an inadequate foundation, over time it began to lean. Today the tower is displaced from the center by almost 13 feet. What is crazy is that the tower's lean grows only by one twentieth of an inch each year. The tower has very slowly fallen over.
From time to time we are falling away from the word of God and sometimes it is so incremental that we don't even notice. Stop and think for a minute, are you really living your life based on the word of God? When we really stop to think about it we might realize that we don't have as strong a foundation as we thought as we start to lose our footing and lean away from the Lord. But there is hope, we can always turn back to Jesus and build our life upon him and his word.
1. Are you like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, slowly leaning away from God?
2. What would help you to build your life upon the foundation of Jesus?
Happy Easter Week Church Family!
This Sunday we will look at John 20:19-29. It was the first day of the week, most of the disciples are gathered in a room and the door was securely locked because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders who hated them. After Jesus died on the cross and came back to life he did not go directly to his disciples. So there are the disciples locked in their hideout, discussing what to do next. Do they go and look for Jesus? Will they have to lock themselves in hiding forever? Then all of a sudden a man appears in the room, a man who was not there before. As the disciples are talking they hear a familiar voice say loudly, "Peace be with you!" They may have been startled at first but almost immediately would have rejoiced when they realized it was Jesus.
None of the disciples had seen Jesus since he was betrayed and taken to be tortured and put on the cross. When Jesus had been taken away there was no peace. Judas betrayed Jesus. Peter attacked a man in the garden and then he denied Jesus three times. John was there watching in agony as Jesus suffered and died on the cross. So it is needless to say that the past few days had been some of the least peaceful days for the disciples. The last few nights had been some of the most sleepless of nights. The disciples were in the deep dark valley of despair and they were clearly terrified as they securely locked themselves in their hideout. But then, a voice in their dark hideout declares, "Peace be with you!" This is exactly what the disciples needed to hear, a proclamation of peace. The passage says that after Jesus proved who he was, the disciples were overjoyed.
The story of Easter is a story of Jesus unlocking the door to peace and new life. By his death and resurrection, Jesus unlocks the door to eternal life. When Jesus willingly sacrifices his life for our sin he unlocks the door to forgiveness. When Jesus proclaims "Peace be with you!" he unlocks the door so we can escape hiding and live in the joy and peace of the Lord. For some, you have not yet turned away from your sin and believed in Jesus and so this Easter Jesus offers forgiveness. He offers the hope of a new and eternal life to you. For some of us we have been locked away in anxiety and fear and Jesus desires to unlock the doors to free us from whatever hideout we find ourselves in. For some of us Jesus is calling us to serve him. Just like Jesus says to the disciples in verse 21, "As the Father has sent me, I am sending you." Perhaps this Easter Jesus is unlocking the door of your potential to serve him in the church and community. Whatever door you are locked behind, our Jesus is an expert locksmith.
One of the most encouraging aspects of this passage is that the door was so securely locked. The disciples believed that their life depended upon that lock on the door. They looked upon the door and thought, "Surely, no one can unlock that door." And yet, Jesus entered the room as if there were no door or walls at all. We can look upon our life and say "surely there is no way God can open doors for me. My fears and anxieties are too great. My potential is too limited. My sin and shame are too overwhelming. There's just no way God can unlock me from these things and open the door to freedom!" But it is in moments like this that Jesus breaks in and declares, "Peace be with you!" Even when when we don't have much hope left, he appears anyway to open doors.
1. Can you take just one minute today to ask God to reveal to you what door you have been locked behind?
2. Then, ask God to unlock that door so you can enter into the life he wants for you.
Have you ever wondered what Palm Sunday was like through the eyes of Jesus? In just 5 short verses we learn what it was like for him. For our Lord it was a day of cheers, jeers, and tears.
1. It was a day of cheers.
37 When they came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:
"Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord"
"Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!"
2. It was a day of jeers.
39 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, "Teacher, rebuke your disciples!"
3. It was a day of tears.
41 As Jesus approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it 42 and said, "If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace–but now it is hidden from your eyes."
In the midst of the cheers and celebration Jesus is ridiculed by the Pharisees. Then upon viewing the city of Jerusalem he begins to weep. So for Jesus it is not exactly the happy day like we celebrate in church on Palm Sunday. For him it is a day of tension with the religious leaders who are trying to have him killed. For Jesus it is a day of weeping. Now there is a big difference between having teary eyes and weeping. Someone weeps when they experience powerful grief and the tears are uncontrollable. This begs the question: why after being applauded and praised does Jesus feel a deep and powerful sadness? Maybe Jesus weeps because of the tragedy of a lost opportunity. You see, it was the week of Passover. The population of Jerusalem was normally around 70,000 people but during the week of Passover the city swelled to about 250,000 people. The hope of Jesus is that the people gathered at Jerusalem would see that he is the Savior who has come to rescue God's people from their sin. Jesus would love for all 250,000 people to turn from their sin and come to him for salvation. However, he knows his fate. He knows that although there was a crowd cheering for him as he entered the city there would soon be another crowd rooting against him saying, "Crucify him! Crucify him!" But I don't think Jesus weeps because he knows he has to die. I think he weeps because he desperately loves these people and yet they are so far from realizing the truth about who Jesus is and why he came.
Even though Palm Sunday is typically celebrated in church as a day of joy and celebration, Jesus does not choose to celebrate. He weeps. So why all the fanfare in church? Why are we not saddened on Palm Sunday like Jesus? Why are we not grieving for all the people who do not know Jesus? This Palm Sunday I am committed to praying for the people in my life who are far from God. This Easter I am heartbroken with the heart of Jesus for those who don't know him. How about you?
Do you ever wish that God would just give you a quick "yes" when you pray? There's just one little problem, we don't always know what is best for us. In the passage for this week, Matthew 7:7-11, Jesus teaches:
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
Jesus is pretty clear that God's children are more than welcome to go to God and ask of Him. He is also very clear that God wants to "give good things to those who ask him!" But again, we don't always know what is best or good for us. If God gave us everything we asked for then our lives and the lives of those around us would most likely be worse off.
For example, you might have a neighbor whose dog barks incessantly all hours of the day and night. Or you may have a co-worker who drives you absolutely nuts. So you might pray to God, "remove this neighbor from my life!" or "Lord, may your spirit persuade my co-worker to move to California!" But guess what would happen if God answered all of those kinds of prayer requests...soon enough you'd be the only person left in Vermont. So sometimes instead of getting a "yes" from God we get a big fat "NO!"
You see, the "good things" Jesus talks about are not always what we think to be good, rather what God knows to be good. So how do we discern the "good things" we should ask God for? Well, if you spend some time in the Bible you will learn what those good things are. Showing love to enemies and loving your neighbor (or annoying co-workers) may be what you should actually be praying for. When you learn to discern what is good to pray for then your prayer might sound more like this: "Lord, help me to love my neighbors and co-workers despite my frustrations with them."
I guarantee we all have dicey and difficult life situations right now and when we pray we are eager to get what we want from God. You may be asking for improvements to your health, your marriage, or finances. You may be seeking God to give you a break from all the hardship you have been going through. You may be knocking on the door and asking God to bring you into a new season of life. Whatever it is bring it to God in prayer. Then, in the waiting period, seek God's wisdom in the Bible and discern what might actually be best for you. Finally, when God answers your request and opens the door to you, enter boldly and faithfully trusting that God's answer is truly what is best for you.
1. What are you asking from God lately?
2. Are you praying for what God wants or what you want?
3. Could you take some time to explore the Bible and learn more about the "good things" God wants for us?
Mike is the pastor of Derby Community Church in Derby, Vermont. He enjoys being outside fishing, spending time with his family, and playing guitar. Mike and his wife Norma have two young children.