This week, listen into one of Pastor J.D.’s recent sermons on the life of King David as he answers the question, “How can I know where God is moving?”
David doesn’t figure out what he wants to do and ask God to bless it; he asks God what God wants to do and seeks to follow him. We see countless examples of this, like the question that opens chapter 2: “After this, David inquired of the Lord, ‘Shall I go up into any of the cities of Judah?’ And the Lord said to him, ‘Go up.’ David said, ‘To which shall I go up?’ And he said, ‘To Hebron.’ 2 So David went up there…”
One of the phrases we have started using around the Summit Church is that success in our ministry means joining God in what he is doing around us. Success is not attempting great things for God and asking him to bless us; success is discerning where God is at work and joining him in that.
- A lot of us go through life backwards. We assume that God has put us into the world to figure stuff out and fix everything, so our general attitude is; “God, this is what I think needs to be done; help me in it.”
- But in every epoch of Scripture, God is the primary actor. God is the one bringing salvation and blessing to the earth. Our job is to discern where he is at work and join him.
- Jesus explained in John 5 that this was his whole ministry philosophy. He said, “My Father is always at work around me, and my job is to figure out what he is doing and join him in it.”
A person after God’s own heart seeks to join God in what he is doing.
You say, “But what does that mean exactly?” How do you discern where God is at work? Great question!
- Sometimes it can take the form of a divine call that comes to you through an opportunity the Spirit invites you into. Think of Paul who got the vision of the man from Macedonia saying, “Come and help us.” Paul discerned that God was calling him to go over and be a part of what he was doing in Macedonia. Now, you may not get an actual vision, but God might let you sense some opportunity where you are positioned and gifted to help, and you sense the Spirit saying, “Come and join me in what I’m doing.”
- Or maybe it’s in a conversation that you sense God has been at work in someone’s heart and he’s put you in a place to participate. That’s what Jesus did with the woman at the well in John 4. He sensed the Father had created a sense of dissatisfaction in her and put him there to point out where she could find living water. All my sharing Jesus on an airplane or in a coffee shop are like that. I ask questions, and get a sense that God is at work in someone’s life, and I join him in that.
- Sometimes you discern where he is at work by experiencing unusual success in something. As a church, we have been involved in lots of different initiatives, but we’ve never experienced the success like we have in missions and church planting—it’s like there is a divine wind blowing behind us. We’ve sent out close to 1600 of our members on church planting teams. Other pastors ask, “How do you do this? What leadership strategies?” It’s not my leadership. I know that because a lot of other good ideas I’ve tried here have failed.” This is just an area where God is at work, and we’ve sought to join him.
One of my prayers for 2023 is that God would open up my ears to hear the sound of his marching so that I can join him. For most of my life, I’ve done the opposite. I’ve assumed it’s my responsibility to fix everything, and seek his help. No, that’s his job. My job is to join him in what he’s doing. At the end of the day, your greatest Strategy for Success = Submission.
Good news: this year, I’m not responsible to win my neighbors or friends to Christ. The Holy Spirit does that. I’m not responsible to grow this church—numerically or spiritually. He does that. He invites me to join in what he’s doing—which means that more important than great ideas I might have for God are ears to hear what he’s saying and eyes to see what he’s doing, so I can join him.
The first quality that makes David, a man after God’s own heart is a posture of submission. Is that your attitude toward your life? Toward your dating life? Your career? Your retirement? God, open my eyes so I can join you in what you are doing…”
Want to ask J.D. a question? Head to our Ask Me Anything hub to submit your question.
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