Tuesday, July 17, 2012

"Exchanging the Now for the New" by Garris Elkins

As I drove to my office this morning I turned on the CD player and a worship song began to declare these words, “Take me where I’ve never been.  Take me where I’m scared to go.”  Those words began to touch me and I found myself pressing the replay button letting the words sink deeper into my heart.

The “never been” places in our lives are those new places where we might be afraid to go because they are unfamiliar, untested and unknown. The fear that can surround our future is the very place into which God invites us to step as we learn to trust Him at new and deeper levels.

Today, I am sharing with our pastoral staff the long-term ministry-transition plan the Lord has revealed for Jan and I.  The plan was actually given to us before we arrived in Medford, Oregon in 1999.  We have been walking out that plan for the last 13 years. Making the plan visible and verbal today is causing a whole host of emotions to rise up within me. 

Our transition will take a few years to fully accomplish, but will take a visible step forward today. This is the beginning of the closure of three decades of doing ministry in this known and familiar pastoral assignment.  With every closure there is always an opening if we are willing to look by faith into our future.  Moving into the new requires that we let go of the now. We need faith to do this. If we are willing to let go we will have the empty hands required to receive the new season God has been preparing for us. 

Today, as we reach out in faith and begin walking towards our new future, Jan and I will be taking hold of something that will feel as new as it did to us 30 years ago when we took hold of our first ministry assignment. With God, each season is new.

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