My wife and I moved here to Lufkin 4 years ago to serve the Central and the youth. It feels like a REALLY long time ago! So much has happened! More trips than I can count with more teens than I can count; fortunately, my wife was with on almost every single one of these trips (she’s much better at counting). I’ve taught more lessons than I can remember and been taught even more lessons. I’ve learned a significant amount concerning grace as it was given to me on a consistent basis. I discovered the power of patience as I witnessed our adult leaders work tirelessly beside me through constant trial and error. I’ve been shown the power of youth as I’ve seen some of the most selfless acts of love and service coming from teens who showed me they are concerned for more than just themselves. I’ve watched kids and adults suffer and grow and falter and fight all while being developed into a greater image of Christ Jesus Himself. It’s been a wild ride, one we chose knowing we would be stepping out of our comfort zone, knowing we were inviting God to move through us because we were incapable of doing anything substantive on our own. We have been thoroughly blessed by our time here at Central and we pray the same blessings over you. We don’t know what the future looks like but we know God has way bigger plans that any of us could dream. As a parting word I’d like to share our Youth Ministry's theme verse, you can find it all in Ephesians 3:14-21. “I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God."
We’ve been exploring the Bible, and our every day reactions to this challenging season in light of Proverbs 3:5-6. A devotional stood out to me this week that I wanted to share as it has some great encouragement and truth within. You can find this devo and others at utmost.org <http://utmost.org> this one is entitled: Don’t Plan Without God. It is based on the verse in Psalm 37:5 “Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.”
Don’t plan without God. God seems to have a delightful way of upsetting the plans we have made, when we have not taken Him into account. We get ourselves into circumstances that were not chosen by God, and suddenly we realize that we have been making our plans without Him— that we have not even considered Him to be a vital, living factor in the planning of our lives. And yet the only thing that will keep us from even the possibility of worrying is to bring God in as the greatest factor in all of our planning.
In spiritual issues it is customary for us to put God first, but we tend to think that it is inappropriate and unnecessary to put Him first in the practical, everyday issues of our lives. If we have the idea that we have to put on our “spiritual face” before we can come near to God, then we will never come near to Him. We must come as we are.
The devo continues, check it out for yourself and grow to place God first in every aspect of your life. Then, come before God just as you are!