Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Get Out of the Way

It's a simple question: Do you really want God to do something great with your life? I mean REALLY...

When I look at people I know who are seeing a great work of God unfold before their eyes I notice at least one common thread: they get out of His way. I don't mean they utter some figurative phrase you might say in a prayer, but they literally take their own agenda and put it to the side and allow God to determine their next step. 
Proverbs 16:9 - "The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps."
As I am around more and more leaders who are striving to stay out of God's way, I see them accomplishing things they never dreamed or saw coming. That's a little different from what we hear these days...
"If you dream it, you can achieve it." - Walt Disney
"Dream no small dreams for they have no power to move the hearts of men." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
I'm beginning to think that it's not the size of the dream as much as it is the size of the dream-maker. If you are the dream-maker, then don't expect great things to happen. But if God is the originator of your dreams, you should be little intimidated. If we can create the plan and strategy, then we're just getting in the way.

Allow me to share three examples of leaders I've met who are striving to get out of God's way so they can be used in a great and powerful way for His kingdom.

1) John Estes, Woodlands Camp, Cleveland, GA
John is the CEO, Director and CVC (Chief Vision Caster) at Woodlands. (I pinned the CVC on him...) God has used John to build an incredible campus on the outskirts of Cleveland, GA. I love to visit there annually to see the next installment of the vision God has birthed within John. If you ever have the privilege to have a conversation with John, you will quickly know clearly that he strives to stay out of God's way. He constantly uses phrases such as, "if the Lord wills" or "in God's timing."
Even when obstacles arrise like a drained lake not filling up in the midst of a drought or a small hiccup with a Certificate of Occupancy, John quickly takes them to the Lord. That's the best part of getting out God's way. If it's His plan, then the problems are His as well. We get in trouble trying to "solve" problems that are beyond our ability. That was John's approach and the Lord was faithful each time: the lake is filled and campers are sleeping in two new cabins.
2) Wallace Nix, Chosen Children Ministries, Inman, SC
A few years ago, Wallace Nix was spending his weekends pulling race cars to dirt tracks and racing into the early hours of the morning. Today he's pulling a well-drilling machine to a barrio in Nicaragua and racing to find for water for a group of people who need it to survive. When he took the helm of CCM, something was birthed in him as to what could and should be happening in Nicaragua. So he and his wife, Kim, began to pray and seek God's direction as to what they needed to do. God responded by sending people to help and resources to fund the projects all without him asking for it.
Wallace will be the first one to tell you that when he tries to plan something out, it usually falls apart. He has learned to allow God to direct Him as he strives to minister to and love on the Nicaraguans. What does this look like? For Wallace it's just doing what he can to connect with people by giving them food, water and Jesus. As he gives 100% to these tasks, "random" opportunities just open up for him to expand his influence.
I was in Nicaragua recently with a team of adults. One of our tasks was teaching an ESL (English as a Second Language) lesson in a school. As the team responsible for teaching went back for a second day, the director of the school showed up to express gratitude for helping the students learn English. He was so humbled by CCM's willingness to help, he invited them to visit two other schools he oversaw. These are two schools that CCM didn't even know about and now have an open invitation to visit in the future.
This is just one of many examples of the "random" opportunities the Lord is providing as Wallace and Kim get out of the way. 

3) Caz Mccaslin, Upward Sports, Spartanburg, SC
Caz is the President of Upward Sports. Upward Sports is a Christian based sports organization designed to provide a safe environment for kids to not only learn teamwork, but life lessons built around principles from sports and the Bible.
When people ask Caz to share his vision for Upward Sports, he is quick to say, "It's not my vision." When Caz shares the story of how Upward came to be, he likes to share John 5:19, 20...
19 Jesus gave them this answer: 'Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. 20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, and he will show him even greater works than these, so that you will be amazed.'"
Caz learned a long time ago that the only way to be sure he was doing what God wanted him to do, he needed to put his plans aside and embrace what he saw the Lord doing. He knows too well, that his plans were way smaller than the national organization that Upward has become today. 
I have to save the exhaustive details for all of these stories for another project. The point is simple: If we want to make sure our lives count, we have to quit trying to figure out the plan. I say you start where you are and use the passion, skills and abilities you have to start serving the greater cause, the cause of God's Kingdom and allow Him to unfold the future. It's like Jeff Goins says in his book, Wrecked‎"What if the purpose of my life is not about me? Am I willing to give up all my dreams...to find it?"

"What if the purpose of my life is not about me? Am I willing to give up all my dreams...to find it?"  Click to Tweet

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