Monday, February 25, 2008

Getting Stretched

I have a love-hate relationship with exercise. From time to time, I get an urging to work out, and usually when I get going, I hit the ground running. I keep it up for a couple of weeks, then, the hate part of the equation comes in to play. Not that I hated the process, but it is so much easier to do other things than it is to work out. I end up choosing the path of least resistance (literally!).

But, I am not opening up with this to talk about exercise per se, but to talk about what we need to do beforehand to prepare for the impact our bodies are about to take. That is, stretching. Yup, stretching-that painful, annoying activity that serves to make us more limber and cut down on the chances of injury. It is very important whenever we are about to engage in exercise that we properly stretch ourselves.

Did you know that the physical realm isn’t the only arena in which we need a good stretching? God makes sure that we who are following Him get all the stretching we need in a spiritual sense. He has so many amazing plans for each of us. One of my favorite verses of Scripture is 1 Cor. 2:9-“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” Yet, we can never realize those things he has prepared for us unless we are willing to put up with the discomfort of stretching into areas we are uncomfortable in or unfamiliar with. That is what I like to call “getting out of the comfort zone”.

I am reminded of something the Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 2:1-5 “And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.”

When I read this passage, the verse that really stands out to me is the third verse. Paul came to this city in fear and trembling. Why was he so scared? Maybe it had to do with the fact that the people of Greek culture were known as extremely wise and learned people. Whatever the reason, it scared the pants off him. But God used this to stretch Paul, and he had a powerful ministry in that city.

Lately, God has been stretching me, as well. February 3rd marked a new chapter in mine and my family’s life. A door opened up to work as an associate pastor of outreach in a church in the Greater Orlando area. Now, nearly a month later, I am experiencing the stretching of the Lord. He is putting me into work that I haven’t had tons of experience in. I have of course worked in ministry outreach over the years, but not to the degree that I am now. I am the one coming up with ideas and plans on creatively reaching the lost of Orlando, and while I love the work, it is definitely pushing me out of my comfort zone. And, to be honest, it is a bit unnerving. There are worries about doing good work with lasting fruit. But like Paul, I am pressing on in spite of the fears. I too know that I will see God’s blessings on my labor as I reach the harvest for my Lord and my church.

Keep me in your prayers, friends, as I continue to follow the Lord. I most definitely need them!

God bless!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

hey man i sure know what it's like to be stretched. You will do just fine in the new ministry role, I have confidence in you.