A change of direction
The original title for this blog post was going to be ‘When stopping the right thing, is the right thing’ but it seemed a bit cumbersome. The fact is though, that we can be doing the right thing, following the path God called us to and seeing success. But it’s not what God wants us to be doing in the future.
Newfrontier’s Stoneleigh Bible Week was reaching 28,000 people over two weeks when the last one was held in 2001. Wendy Virgo tells us in her description of the closure: ‘God was telling us to move on; it seems in his economy success is not necessarily a reason for staying with a thing. In fact success can become an enemy of progress: it can lead to complacency, stagnation, and then decline’.
Soul Survivor was a successful Bible camp for young people. It reached thousands of young people over 27 years. But in 2019 the last camp was held. It’s founder Mike Pilavachi knew that God was calling the Soul Survivor movement to concentrate on the local church. God was asking them to help young leaders and young people within the context of their own churches.
The Man from Macedonia
In the Book of Acts Paul was travelling from town to town preaching the gospel. He was following the call he had from God. In Acts 16:6-12 Paul was called to change direction.
‘During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.’
Paul had been doing the right thing but God wanted him to do something different which was equally the right thing.
Sometimes we are trying to do the right thing but we haven’t fully understood the path we are to take.
Have we fully understood what God is asking if us?
Martin Webb picks up this theme in the following testimony:
During a recent Jubilee church weekend retreat there were two instances when, our guest speaker, Angela’s comments really resonated with me as they illustrated precise experiences that a group of us had been previously experiencing.
Whilst talking on the subject of outreach in the community, she suggested that there may be times when the path that you had felt led to take was not working as had been expected. Difficulties and obstacles were experienced, and she suggested that this might be God telling you that perhaps you needed to re-evaluate what it was that you felt the Lord had asked you to do. As she put it, was God saying that this ‘was not your job’, and you should leave that task to others and have a rethink?
During the next session Angela referred to Paul’s experience recalled in Acts 16 where the Holy Spirit prevents him from following his chosen path and, after having a dream about a man from Macedonia, completely changes his plans.
These two episodes immediately struck a chord.
Debt Advice Project
Some months previously a group of us with financial services experience felt led to set up a small debt advice project for the local community. We received all necessary training, resources etc and were ready to go.
Unfortunately, apart from one or two initial, low key cases, we were unable to make any progress and everything ground to a halt. We then decided that perhaps we should perhaps consider offering more general money management techniques and guidance to a wider audience, but how would we find the necessary contacts to pursue this?
Given that there are other debt agencies better equipped than we were, it became clear to me that this had indeed been God saying ‘this is not your job, leave it to someone else and have a rethink’.
Having decided to rethink our position, nothing happened for some while until, out of the blue, a church member who works for a charity that helps long term unemployed people back into work contacted us to ask if we might be interested in giving presentations to groups of their clients on the subject of household budgeting and general money management tips. As with Paul, we had had a ‘man from Macedonia’ moment!
I realised at the church weekend that perhaps we do not always fully comprehend what it is that we feel God is asking of us. We misinterpret some of the details and when this is revealed in practice we need to be prepared to re-evaluate and trust in Him to redirect us back to his chosen path.
Thank you Martin
On a mission
Listen to a recent talk from Pyn and Hannah which details how they have moved around the world to follow the calling God has put on their lives. It’s a fun story about God’s goodness!
Are you listening to see if God has a new right thing for you?