One of the things I’m constantly growing in my understanding of God is how he responds to us. How he listens to us. How his answers to our prayers can sometimes be so quick and other times can seem like a lifetime of waiting. I don’t always understand why, but I understand this; God responds. Here is one of those verses that speaks to me about that.
We have to seek and knock. Sometimes we have to do it over and over. But what did that verse say? It says that God responds! God helps us receive and find. God is the one who opens up the door. And yes, He does it in his own way. In his own time. He responds.
When I think of my life, I can identify with that verse. I vividly remember moments where God responded right way. To be honest, isn’t that what we prefer? I can think of moments where God has provided an opening in a school for our kids within days. I can remember where God responded for a health need within minutes. But I clearly also remember moments where God’s answer took months or even years. We prayed to God to have our own family for so long. For so long! Literally, it took years. But when God started answering, wow!
The cool thing is that we’ve seen the same as we have all prayed for this church. The dream of Turning Point took years of talking with God. Years of listening to God. God changing our hearts. God putting things into place like relationships and finances. Years of God’s behind the scenes preparation that only can be seen now on this side of the launch of our church.
But I’ve also seen God answer our prayers so quickly that it’s blown me away. I remember talking with several people, some of you, in our pre-launch days and casting the vision for Turning Point. We’d finish some of those conversation leaning across the table, ‘hey, pray about it. Get back to us. We’d love for you to be a part’. God worked. Many times right in that moment sitting at that table. Hours later on a phone call. Days later over coffee. People would say, ‘I’m in’. God moved and brought some incredible people to help launch our church so quickly and with such buy in. And by the way, yes, God is still doing that!!!
How about this one? I remember about 8 weeks out of our launch, we lost a ‘guaranteed’ contract for a different facility. Yes, I was freaking out! But God...within a week opened up the facility we have now. In a week we walked out with a signed contract. God answered quickly! It was another ‘yeah God’ moment, among many, in the short life of our church.
So, here’s a little secret. I don’t always know God’s timing? I don’t know why sometimes God moves quickly or why he seems to move much slower? I do know that no matter what, God responds. I'm still learning and I hope you are too. I’m still learning to trust and be faithful. I’m learning to seek his wisdom. I’m learning that we are called to respond in faith. I’m learning to let others into my life and my leadership to pray with me. To support me. To speak into my life and the process of discerning God’s will. Not only for my own life but for the life of our church.
Such has been the case for our search for our new Worship/Arts Director. We have been praying. We have been searching locally and nationally. We have been pouring over resumes (tons of them!) and having conversations on the phone and in person. We have bounced ideas off of some leaders within our church and other church leaders that we value outside of our church. And I should not be surprised, but God has moved in an incredible way; again!
I was chatting with a couple of friends in the middle of this search process. I was bouncing some ideas off of them and seeking wisdom. I remember saying, ‘Well, we are doing the hard work in the search, but man, God is lining things up so quickly. So easily.’ Almost like I doubted God could do that. You follow? One of my friends responded, ‘So we are worried that God is making this too easy for us?’ The moment I read that I realized that I was limiting God. Why would I do that? Why do we do that in life? If God isn’t making it hard, then it’s not God? Where did that come from?
I was also talking with another friend. I said something like, ‘It looks like God is doing again what he has done so many times in our short history as a church. I’m pumped.’ To which this friend responded, ‘Sometimes we have to wait on the Lord and sometimes the next opportunity is immediately ready and we have to have faith to be ok with both.’ That’s good too! I do believe God can move in any way and any speed that he wants. It’s up to us to step out in faith no matter what. It’s up to us to pray and pray and pray. It’s up to us to be diligent in asking the right questions of God. It’s up to us to invite others in our lives to speak wisdom into us. I am still learning how to do that more as a Jesus follower and as your pastor.
So, with that as a context, I am pleased to announce that God has answered or prayers about a new staff member. We would like to officially welcome Chris and Stephanie Vang and their son August to the Turning Point family. Yeah God!!! Chris will serve primarily as our new Worship/Arts Director starting this Sunday, March 11th. So, be there. And yes, don’t sleep in with the lame-o excuse of Daylight Savings Time. Oops I forgot!' Instead let's show up like crazy and support them on their first week.
If you would like to get to know them a bit better, navigate on over to our staff page and read their bio. As they arrive, reach out to them and care for them. Make sure you connect with them on social media. As they begin to adjust to life here, remember to reach out and say, 'how can we help? They are awesome people and will fit in well with the culture of Turning Point!!! So, Chris, Stephanie, and August, we welcome you here to SWFL and to the TPC family! We are so excited that God has brought our lives together.
It’s good to know that God has a plan for our lives and for our church! Let me leave you with a verse that reminds us of that.
Thank you God for having a plan for our lives and for our church! Give us the wisdom to see that. Give us the faith to step out no matter what. Give us the courage to respond in ways that honor you.