Although I would like to think I am spontaneous - I am still a sucker for the occasional rush of accomplishment that comes from jotting down meetings and lists of to-dos in my calendar. I enjoy it. I like making plans. It's something that brings me a sense of security and comfort - knowing that I can expect what is going to take place, being able to see down the road.
This effort of planting the Gospel in Oakland has, as anything starting up and forming would, required well thought out plans. Timelines, goals, flow-charts, proposed budgets, etc. We drained a few pens and poured a hefty amount of coffee thinking through, writing out and scratching around our thoughts and dreams.
The Bible is funny. If you don't think it is - you may be reading the wrong one.
It is mostly funny because you end up reading things that, coupled with your past or current circumstances, just make you chuckle and smile.
"Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand."
I mean, how can you not chuckle at that? Of course the purposes of God are going to stand over our plans. Of course He is navigating this world to a desired end and goal! Of course, Christopher, of course. But we still make a lot of plans - and stress over them often.
You will have people telling you to stick with your plans.
We told ourselves that - over and over again. But God was saying something different.
We had many plans in our minds - many. How it would look, how long it would take to get to certain points, how we would grow, how we would operate, etc. None of that was wrong.
It's not bad to make plans. Make them - pray through them - get wisdom from others - get into the Scriptures and wrestle with what you see God laying out.
This past year we have seen God work to make Himself known in Oakland through our small team in unique ways. Some of it was according to our plans, most of it wasn't. God wasn't teaching me to not make plans. He was teaching me to KNOW and TRUST that no matter how many plans I did make - it was and would only ever be His plans and purposes that would unfold and last. That brings a rest to my anxious and sometimes depressed heart. It is freeing - to know that I can make plans but not have to bank on them for salvation or security. It is encouraging to know that my plans don't have to unfold for God to work.
Did our plans change? Yes. Did the end goal change? No - because the end goal is the purpose of Jesus - to make Himself known through His people, for His glory.
We still desire (I would say more than ever) to see Jesus-saturation take place; the people of Jesus living intentionally together on mission, empowered by the Spirit, in the everyday stuff of life. That is why we are taking the approach as missionaries in this next season; living among the city, loving those around us and proclaiming the Gospel over food, in our home, through our business and wherever we set foot. We thank God that His purposes will always stand - that means that we don't have to grip our timelines with white-knuckles and closed fists.
Rest. Breathe. Enjoy life.
Just make them knowing that God's plans are always unfolding and on track.