Monday, September 20, 2010

Guest Blogger: Ben Miller

"When Your Greatest Obstacle is God"
Ben Miller- Campus Pastor of RWOC of Asheville, NC

As a pastor and leader, I’m learning that God is not bound to my calendar and appointment book. In fact, many times He hates it because usually it’s nothing more than filled up space and personal agenda rather than living my life to be filled up by Him. But that’s another subject for another day.

In 2008, my wife and I were asked to be the campus pastors of our church, Redemption World Outreach Center’s, first satellite campus in Asheville, NC. Excitement began to grow as we anticipated a move of God hitting a region that is spiritually dry and desperate for rain. So, naturally our team began searching for a building to hold our worship services. On paper, we are a slam dunk. Several hundred people in our database already drive upwards of an hour to Greenville, SC (where RWOC is located). In our eyes, this process won’t take long to complete – we’ll find a place right away. Now, two years later, we’ve seen probably two dozen or more locations and are still without a building.

As you can imagine, I became pretty frustrated. For the better part of those two years, I didn’t weather the storm well. Here I was ready to step out in faith and be a part of something bold for God, and I couldn’t understand why He wasn’t letting that happen. So, I did what any person who believes in Jesus does in a time like this – I opened my Bible and went on a search for truth. So I want you to do that now. Stop reading and grab a Bible. Seriously, open to Acts 16 and read verses 6 through 10, spend a few minutes meditating on these words, and then come back.

Okay – so tell me, did this statement stick out to you as much as it did me? It’s in verse 6 where it says, “they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit.” Not an angry mob of God-haters, not a bad decision in developing their leaders, and not a malicious, physical attack but rather a spiritual stop sign being held by none other than God Himself. Think about the reality of this for the Apostle Paul. The One who radically transformed his life on the road to Damascus, the One who he spent three years of One-on-one training with in the desert, the One who deposited an incredible, white hot vision to reach the Gentiles with the Gospel was now the barrier in his path to fulfilling that very same vision. Did God become a schizophrenic all of a sudden? Did He develop amnesia somehow and forget that He called Paul to reach these people? If not, then what in the world is He doing here?

Take this into your situation now. Is there anywhere in your life where you feel like God has promised you something yet you see no divine activity working alongside you? Is your circumstance like Paul’s here and it seems like God is actually preventing you from accomplishing your purpose? If so, then you have most certainly encountered frustration. Unfortunately, I believe most people surrender to this frustration rather than seek to understand its purpose and work it in their favor.

In my meditation with the Lord on this matter, He’s shown me three areas that blind us from discerning the ways of God in our life. Read the Scripture associated with each point and spend time allowing God to speak to you on this:
1)We forget God works in the fullness of time. (Galatians 4:1-4; Habakkuk 2:3)
2)When things aren’t working, we begin to assume control. (Phil 1:6; Rom. 4:21; Eph. 3:20)
3)We become “destination focused” & lose sight of our original call. (Mk. 10:35-38; Acts 16:9)

I’ve heard it said that expectation is the breeding ground for the miraculous. Well, I believe that frustration is the breeding ground for fulfilling our assignments in life. Any assignment worth giving your life to will have an equal amount of conflict also assigned to it. Don’t let the experience of frustration rob you of its benefits. The movement that is being birthed through your life right now is birthed through adversity. And it is the testing of our faith that produces patience in us (James 1:3).

Listen, a row boat can go through a tsunami as long as one thing happens - the water doesn’t get inside the boat. You can weather any storm in your life, even when God frustrates your plans and timelines, as long as you don’t let the storm of misunderstanding get inside of you. Your steps are ordered and He will birth this thing that beats so passionately inside of you. But He will do it His way and in His timing. Proverbs 4:7 says, “In all your getting, get understanding.” I pray God reveals that to you as you chase after Him to finish the work He’s begun in you.

Ben Miller, Campus Pastor of Redemption of Asheville

...Ben is a long time friend and college dorm mate while I was at Emmanuel College 2004-2007.

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