I recently heard Paul Scanlon, Pastor of Abundant Life Church, Bradford preach one of the most amazing messages I have ever heard in my life!
He told us that the book of Acts was named so for a reason; “it is not the book of intentions – it is the book of Acts!” In other words, the book of DOING SOMETHING.
Wow – that simple statement hit me hard.
So many times we live our lives based on our dreams BUT we seem to wait for them to just happen. You know, somewhere after the silver lining on the cloud and the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
Life is not magic. It is a powerful gift that God has given us with great purpose and great destiny but you have to be willing to do something to get there. The good news is – all you have to do is SOMETHING and you just might get there quicker than if you do nothing.
In Acts 16 the Bible says that a dream gave Paul his map but when you read the chapter it is seemingly AFTER he has already tried a few times to go the right way:
This is verse 6 – 10
They went to Phrygia, and then on through the region of Galatia. Their plan was to turn west into Asia province, but the Holy Spirit blocked that route. So they went to Mysia and tried to go north to Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus wouldn’t let them go there either. Proceeding on through Mysia, they went down to the seaport Troas.
That night Paul had a dream: A Macedonian stood on the far shore and called across the sea, “Come over to Macedonia and help us!” The dream gave Paul his map. We went to work at once getting things ready to cross over to Macedonia. All the pieces had come together. We knew now for sure that God had called us to preach the good news to the Europeans.
Can you imagine in today’s culture if you took your team or staff on a journey not once, not twice but three times before you finally got to where you were supposed to be? Would they stay around long enough, without thinking your nuts? I can only imagine what Paul’s guys were thinking; “first he said Phrygia and that wasn’t right, then he said Bithynia and that wasn’t right and then to Troas AND that wasn’t right either!” I think they really trusted Paul and were totally submitted to his leadership but we’ll talk about that subject next time.
Paul trusted God completely and was confident enough to get on with the work he was called to do; he just got on with it. What I find interesting is that it wasn’t until after he had started his journey and some of his routes were blocked, that he got the directions to lead him where he really needed to go.
So what does that mean?
To use Pastor Paul Scanlon’s illustration; when NASA launch a space shuttle – their first step, which is the most critical, is to get the thing OFF the ground and heading up – you know, to space, the big area around our world…it is really quite simple and not hard to miss; point it up and hit the button. It is only AFTER the shuttle gets into space do they turn on its navigational systems. Why? Well, we all know where space is.
Hmmm. So, if I just get going with my life will God lead the way? YES, YES, YES! Think of it like this; you are the driver, God is the navigator. If you don’t get in the car, start the engine, put it into 1st gear and let out the clutch HOW can you ever go anywhere?
If you can just start your engine – God will lead the way in your life. If you will trust Him to co-pilot your life, let Him take you where ever He wants to, you WILL end up at your dream, remember He has the Map, but you have the ability to get yourself to your ultimate destination. So let’s be like the book of Acts and just do it!
Pray this prayer with me:
Father, thank you for giving me dreams, for giving me life and for creating my future. I know you have plans for my life. Lord, I am going to do your will for my life and I will fulfill my dreams. Help me as I do life – lead me in the right direction, show me the right way to go and clear a path of grace. I will trust You, I will listen to You and I will obey You.
Photo by: Darwin Vegher