Granada is the most enchanting place. The Alhambra citadel complex with vast gardens and huge medieval structures graces this Southern city in Spain. It was here that I first met Europe. It was here also that God taught me about prayer.
As a penny-pinching missionary, I never thought I
Part of the Alhambra complex
could visit the Old Continent. By preaching for Bro. Gregorio Ponce, I got housing, transportation, and tour for free. There I saw Carlos V’s palace, a circular structure with an amazing echo when you’re in the exact middle.
There I learned once again how to pray. You see, I was worried. For some reason, I feared that
Part of the Alhambra complex
while I was cavorting in Spain, my church back in Guatemala would go to pot. So I prayed like crazy. When I got back to my church, it was better than ever. Not only had it not crumbled from within, it had blossomed in my absence.
So I didn’t need to be there in person because God was there in person. His Holy Spirit was tending the sheep in my absence. All I did was pray. Prayer is amazing stuff. You can accomplish much more with prayer than you can with your own strength.
Carlos V’s palace
I cherish the memories of Granada — the beauty of the city AND the beauty of prayer.
Posted in Financial Talk, ministerial motivation, prayer
Tagged Alhambra, Christian, Christian success, God, Granada, Guatemala, Holy Spirit, prayer, Spain
The strategic planning classes in seminary were the most useful and useless I took. “Useful” because they helped me to understand business planning applied to the church. That avoids the church-adrift syndrome.
“Useless” because you can’t plan God. You cannot anticipate what He is going to do, or what he is NOT going to do. You cannot tell Him what your plan is and expect Him to fulfill it. And it’s darn hard to hear what His strategic planning is. Generally, God does whatever He darn well pleases and brings the growth He wants.
So we see Paul trying to go to Asia, but he can’t. Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, HAVING BEEN KEPT BY THE HOLY SPIRIT FROM PREACHING IN ASIA — Acts. 16:6 NIV (caps mine). In the strategic planning meeting with his buddies, Paul PLANS to go to Asia. But God has another plan that even Paul could not anticipate.
Hence, the Christian life is both exciting and difficult. It is exciting because God is always pulling out surprises. It is difficult for the people who want to control the future.
Prayer is expecting the unexpected. God comes through always but almost never in the way we expect. So don’t try to figure out what God should do. If you have a church, don’t flout strategic planning. If you plan, don’t try to twist God’s arm to do your plan.
After taking the seminary class, I remember laying down on paper an ambitious five-year plan. Then God did things completely different. The goals I put as attainable, were not. The goals I didn’t try to attain were the ones He did. In a way, it was funny. Prayer, then, is fun and funny.
Posted in Financial Talk, prayer
Tagged business model, Christian, Christianity, church, leadership, ministry, pastor, planning, plans, prayer, strategic planning