Winning Ways - from Hillcrest Baptist Church, Austin, Texas  Contact Tom Goodman, Pastor
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“Changing Course With the Spirit”
by Tom Goodman
May 11, 2005

It wasn’t what we had planned—it’s better!

God has a way of doing that.  This year, he’s done it with Vacation Bible School.  Even if VBS isn’t your thing, keep reading.  There’s a larger lesson for your life and our church.  The lesson is:  Change course when the Spirit tells you to.

Solomon said, “We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps” (Proverbs 16:9).  This year’s VBS plan was to do what we did last year.  And the year before.  And the year before.

When the leadership team had trouble staffing yet another week-long morning VBS, they began to wonder what God was up to.  It was then that they got a picture of a churchwide VBS stretching across five consecutive Sunday nights.  Immediately, our church began to sign up for the empty spots!

It’s like what happened to Paul and his companions in Acts 16:6-10.  They tried and tried to bring the gospel in Asia, but, as the Scripture puts it, “the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to.”

Read that again:  The Spirit prevented them from preaching the gospel in Asia.  After Paul’s attempts to get into Asia were thwarted time after time, it was only then that he got his “Macedonian Call.”  In a midnight vision, he saw a man from Macedonia calling for help.  Responding to that vision, Paul went into the province of Macedonia where he met Lydia, the Philippian jailer, the noble Bereans, and talked with the philosophers of Mars Hill.

Paul trip into Macedonia wasn’t “Plan B.”  Neither is our new Vacation Bible School schedule.  It wasn’t what we had planned—it’s better.

When I read Acts 16:6-10, I don’t see Paul and his companions spending any time complaining to God over why they couldn’t make it into Asia.  As they saw it, the Spirit had blocked them and the Spirit had called them to Macedonia.  So, they simply changed course.

Oh, if we could always change course with the Spirit so easily!  When teaching people to let the Spirit lead, though, sometimes it’s like teaching an arthritic to dance.

Let’s set aside “our plans” when the Spirit hinders us from carrying them out, and let’s sacrificially commit to what he wants of us.  As the old hymn-writer put it:

We have heard the Macedonian call today,
“Send the light! Send the light!”
And a golden offering at the cross we lay,
Send the light! Send the light!

Come lay your “golden offering” at the feet of Jesus by doing your part in this year’s VBS!  We begin July 10.


Important Notes:

Get in the Zone!  This Sunday, May 15, all adult classes will meet in the gym for breakfast and a stewardship challenge.
Discover Hillcrest.  We’ve had thirty people take this class in the last three months, and twenty-three of them have joined!  This is a great number for a church our size!  Our next “Discover Hillcrest” class is Sunday, May 22, following the morning service.  The lunch and the class are free and child care is provided.

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