I really dislike the expression ‘moving forward’. So many people say, ‘moving forward’ from the meeting, the experience, the…. whatever! Has anyone stopped to think that time continues. We can’t go back. Even if we are reflecting, or for that matter mulling, we are in the continuum of time, and unless we have a mythical time machine, we just can’t go backwards in time. Our only option is to ‘move forward’.
What does the Bible say about this ‘moving forward’ concept? The Bible tells us that Paul strained to what lies ahead.
But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead. I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus
I don’t actually think he ‘forgets’, like a person who looks in the mirror and instantly forgets what he looks like.
For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.
Instead, Paul has a lot to do and aim toward for Christ, and his focus and energy is on just that, but his game plan must include reflection of what works and what doesn’t.
When I first believed in Jesus I suddenly realised that He was totally in control, that I was safely in His arms and although life as I knew it would one day come to an end, I had an absolutely glorious future in life continuum. It gave me an extremely positive outlook. I could go through bumps in the road, and it didn’t matter because I knew my destination and it was a good one. What an amazing ‘one thing’ to do – look forward to a glorious future.
As my walk with Christ matured, I found I have always had new challenges that were just beyond my experience and expertise. One that many people face is becoming a parent! Heck! Who is ready for that! Was I ready? I had had absolutely no experience with children at all throughout my life. Now, after wanting to have a baby for over 2 years, the day arrived. At first, I didn’t get that gush of love for my newborn, I didn’t know how to feed him, change a nappy, or even why he was crying. I was sleep deprived and housebound! As my knowledge grew, the love grew and the ability to nurture him grew. Each developmental stage and each subsequent child brought new challenges – just beyond what I knew or in fact what I was perfectly comfortable with.
I have always had the attitude of ‘whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your all your might’. I had prayed that in the church setting I would be asked to do what God wanted me to do. So I learnt to generally accept it … and, like motherhood, I would be stretched.
Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might.
When our church was much smaller, I could easily oversee, for example, what was involved in the Alpha course meals – the purchase of food, the preparation, the serving, the clearing and the cleaning. I could ensure that the peripheral tasks of church life were organised. I even played the drums, did the accounts, and was on the Board as secretary. I could teach – and did so in Kids Church for over 20 years. But as our church and the tasks grew, I had to be stretched yet again.
When the preparations for Will Graham events started in 2021, I was asked to stage manage at the Launch. That was a stretch! It involved organising a bunch of people I didn’t know, including Pastors, dignitaries and people who were experts in their particular field and integrating video into it, and this was my first time of stage managing. I was then asked to do ‘logistics’ and ‘operations’ for the much larger main event that ultimately reached over 5000 people. We recruited over 300 volunteers from about 45 different churches and organised teams. Some of these teams did tasks that I knew very little about – like security, first-aid and car-parking! Oooh, this was a stretch!
I have found that God nearly equips you for each new task that He gives you. When your life prayer is for God to have His way in and through you, it is then just a matter of agreeing to do it. In this vulnerable state, you lean on God for guidance and trust His leading. This is actually the place He wants us to be, so that at the end of the task you can be assured that God did it, and you just happened to be there.
Moving in the continuum of life – have you given your life to Christ? What is immediately at hand that God wants you to do? What do we each nearly have all the skills for? In these moments, grab hold of God and His strength. What is your next step even if your final step isn’t obvious? We are destined for a glorious place that is ‘immeasurably more than ALL we … imagine’
Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!
Where are you pro-actively letting your ‘moving forward’ go?
I am convinced, as I believe Paul also was, that God is able to do [both in us and through us] more than we can imagine because ‘His power is at work within us’. Paul had the power of Christ in him and had one thing in mind – not moving forward in life, but straining forward. God’s ways are by far the most satisfying.
Your Executive Pastor,
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