A few years ago, while I was working for the National Leadership and Resource Center, Dr. George Wood presented a message in our Christmas chapel. The message centered on the story of Leah, which begins in Genesis 29. Leah’s story may not seem to be traditionally Christmas-themed, but the message Dr. Wood shared was titled Your Life, Your Legacy. (He wrote a short book and shared a message with the same theme at the 2009 General Council, which you can view and download here.)
To the untrained eye, Leah lived a rather depressing life. She was the less-attractive sister of the very beautiful Rachael, her father tricked her husband into marrying her and her husband didn’t really love her until late in life. But, without Leah’s obedience, we don’t have Moses, Caleb, Boaz or David.
Ultimately, the key players in the Christmas story all derive from Leah.
“Leah’s story teaches us that the effect of your life cannot be measured within the time span of the few decades you are on earth. Leah’s story, like all of ours, fits into a long-range tapestry of God’s weaving.”
So, if you’re having trouble seeing how your life fits into God’s plan, rest assured that it simply may be that you aren’t seeing it yet.
Not yet, anyway.
This is a video produced by Willow Creek about the prophecy found in Isaiah.
“Not Yet.” As parents, this two-word answer was sometimes a frustration to our children. Every adult has probably relayed these disappointing words to their kids who anxiously question from the back seat of a car, “Are we there?”
As we look back over 2011, it is a good thing to review events and ministries geared to the women in our local churches and our communities. As we ask the question, Are we there? we may hear these same two words—“Not Yet.” Rather than looking at this though the eyes of frustration, however, I encourage you to make a commitment to seek God in renewing your vision of ministry to women, connecting them to one another through healthy relationships and helping them apply the truth of God’s word to their lives.
Prayerfully assemble a team of women if you have not done so. The best team to help you are those who care, dream, believe and think. Then sit down together over coffee or a meal in someone’s home and ask the following questions:
1. What is our vision? It should be a short, simple statement that will get in the heart of women–even those at the farthest end of leadership.
2. What would we like to see women in our church/community become?
3. To fulfill our vision, what must our priorities be?
4. What steps will we take to fulfill our vision?
5. What should we continue doing?
6. What should we do differently?
7. What should we stop doing? (Do not ask this question first.)
8. When will we implement this plan?
I pray for God’s wisdom and guidance as we look toward 2012–that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God. (Colossians 1:10 NIV)
For more help starting or re-starting your ministry to women, click here to download a helpful guide.
Waiting can be hard. This video is a commercial for a British store, but I think it captures the feeling of waiting pretty accurately.
by Heath Adamson
Bible scholars tell us that the wise men, or Magi, were more than likely zoroastrian priests who were looking to the stars for divine guidance at the time of Christ’s earthly arrival. The Sovereign One drew the attention of those who were seeking to worship someone they didn’t personally know. I have read many accounts estimating a two year journey of the wise men before they finally lay eyes on the Christ child. Imagine with me for a moment: a long journey, filled with anticipation in lieu of meeting the One who makes life worth living, following the star as it rests upon an unsightly place, and peering in to see not a king on a throne but a King with His mother.
Scripture tells us further that the wise men demonstrated what their name implies. In wisdom, they laid their gifts at the feet of the Master and worshipped. Sometimes the paths we take in life lead us down roads we never expected to traverse. In moments when our destination is less than expected, like the wise men, we must remain sensitive enough to His reality to see His Majesty in the midst of what we don’t understand. Someone once said that “Advent whispers in the dark: the not yet is worth it.”
We are a people who embrace God’s promises. We tread lightly when our emotions and circumstances declare something apparently contrary to His Word. I am thankful for a King who is found in the most unlikely places by the most unlikely people. Wherever His star settles in your life, even if you don’t fully understand the journey or the destination, remember that it is worth it. When He is there, and we are not yet there, the journey is always worth it.
by Cary VanKampen
We have been enjoying a great Advent reading plan from the You Version. As we anticipate the holidays and the reality they represent. Anticipating means not yet. Here is a personal example of anticipation dear to my heart.
Years ago, my Dad had a decision to make. He was in his twenties, married, a father of two and trying to make ends meet on a small farm. He knew he would need more land to be able to make an adequate living, so he temporarily took part time work at Clow Manufacturing in Oskaloosa to supplement his income. He immensely enjoyed teaching Sunday School as well as other leadership positions at New Sharon Assembly of God, and therefore was contemplating pursuing higher education in Springfield, Missouri at Central Bible College. As the quandary came to decision time, an offer came out of the blue to rent a farm with enough acreage to provide for his young family. The decision was made for farming now, and not yet for education.
Now, years have gone by. His children have grown and had children of their own, all of whom have graduated or are in the process of graduating from college. The time of not yet continues, but is soon to be over in many ways. Christ has not yet returned, but signs indicate it can’t be long. Also, Doc and Colleen just finished their first classes in the Iowa School of Ministry. As Dad participated in the class taught by Rev. Gary Pilcher on evangelism, he brought with him years of valuable life experience to share with his classmates. Part of the importance of ISOM is the development of relationships and camaraderie among the students to further encourage and equip one another for service in His kingdom. In the time of not yet, Dad did not sit idly by waiting. He was busy about the ministry God had for him, occupying until He comes. (Luke 19:13)
Speaking of ISOM, the IMN wants to encourage and equip people for ministry. This is done in a variety of ways, including offering courses that can be used towards all three levels of credentialing or just to enhance the knowledge of the Word of God and its effectiveness for building His Kingdom. In your time of not yet, what will you do? Classes at ISOM could be in your plans! Click here to view the offering of classes available. Note that a reduced fee is available for those interested in the option of auditing the classes without the test.