Find out what God is doing and go there.
MARCH 23, 2022
Find out what God is doing and go there. Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.
Key Life is a radio program for struggling believers, sick of phony religion and pious cliches. Our host and teacher is seminary professor Steve Brown. He teaches that radical freedom leads to infectious joy and surprising faithfulness.
Thank you Matthew. If you have your Bible open it to the 11th chapter, and we’d been looking over the last week or two at a question. And the question is, how do you know which direction in which the church should move? And you need to know that some of the things that we’re seeing here are applied individually too, in terms of God’s will. And we’ve talked about a number of things. God doesn’t speak to one person, he speaks to a bunch. The church is the place where you ought to be able to say anything and not be kicked out. The church is a place wedded to God’s word, and so you don’t decide God’s will by a vote, you decide it by checking the Scriptures. We’ve seen a number of things, but let me show you one more thing and then we’ll move on to the next text in Acts. This is final, notice in the early church, they took great pains to find out where God was going and then made sure that they went there. Look at Acts 11:17 through 18.
If then God gave the same gift of them
talking about the Gentiles
as he gave to us
talking about the Jews
when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand God?
This is it.
When they heard this they were silenced. And they glorified God saying, “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance unto life.
That is so good. You know, find out what God’s doing, you may not like it, but go there. Find out who God loves and go there. Find out where God is moving in significant ways, culturally and spiritually and politically, and go there. Look and be still and watch for God. And when you hear the sound of sandaled feet, walking by your doorway, leave your house and follow. When I was in seminary, I was serving a small church and God was beginning to change me. It was down on Cape Cod and I was part of the ministerial committee that planned a youth rally down on Cape Cod. And for some reason I had met John DeBrine, who became my mentor later. He’s in heaven now. And he adds a great attraction to heaven. I used to tell my students when they would ask, who was the best Bible teacher in the country. I would say John DeBrine, when he’s on. And they would say, well, who’s the second best? And I’d say John DeBrine, when he’s off. I used to love to listen to him teach the Scripture, but he had a youth rally and it had kind of corny name to it. It was called Youth Time. And he had it on Saturday nights in some very big auditorium. And literally thousands of teenagers would come to those rallies and they were exciting. We, on Cape Cod, when we had our youth rally, were fortunate to get 23 kids together. And I remember saying because I wasn’t sure in those days, saying to the committee, look, I know that those fundamentalist, evangelical Bible thumpers are wrong. I know they are securitists and their theology isn’t proper and sophisticated, but I do want you to know that I went to one of their rallies last Saturday night, and there were 3000 kids there and we can’t get 30. Something’s going on here and I’m not exactly sure what it is and I’m going to find out what it is. And I did. And that was a part of a radical change in my life. I found out where God was moving, where lives were being changed, where things were happening. And I went there and I watched, and I began to understand. And so, as an individual and as a church, look around and say, where’s God doing stuff, with whom is he doing stuff and what is that stuff? And then go do it, go join them because when God moves, he doesn’t make a secret out of it. He lets others know and that would be the church. Each year in churches that I served, we sat down and decided what ministries we were gonna support and how many of our people should be involved in those ministries. And those were wonderful times of discussion. Do you know why? Because we sat there and we said, alright, what’s happening in Africa? What’s happening in Haiti? What’s happening downtown? What’s happening in the mission downtown? What’s happening? Oh heavens, in the church, down the street? What’s happening in our city? What’s happening in our nation? Is God doing something? Is he beginning to move? And once you can define that, then go there, go there as an individual and go there as a church because that’s the direction that God would have his people move. What’s God doing? He’s always doing something and there are places where he’s just not doing anything. And if nothing’s happening, if no lives are being changed, if people aren’t coming to know Christ, if the hungry aren’t fed, if there isn’t a change in racial attitudes, if there isn’t something happening in your church, then Jesus has left the building. Either get them to go with you or go where Jesus is doing stuff. He’ll let you watch. You think about that. Amen.
Thank you Steve. Steve Brown there continuing to teach us from Acts 11, more good stuff tomorrow. Don’t miss it. You may recall that over the last few weeks, we’ve mentioned the name Dan Allender. Dan and his colleague Cathy Loerzel are both authors and counselors and we spoke with them a few months ago on Steve Brown Etc. And I could tell you that conversation was warm and moving and life-giving, but we can do one even better than that, I think. Take a listen to this excerpt, then I’ll be back to tell you about a special free offer.
Tell us that story, if you’re not embarrassed.
Dan Allender: Not at all. I mean, in one sense, I’m sad, but the reality is I saw some good friends, peers, colleagues, at Starbucks. Crowded table, but there could have been a place for me, but it became clear, the invitation was not going to be extended. And that sense of a snub, look, it happens in friendships, it happens in marriage. And that moment, when I walked away from the table, At one level, it was so little of a event, but on the other hand, kind of like a paper cut. You know, we use that as a metaphor, but they hurt. I mean, it’s not the same as being stabbed, but it hurts. And, but the result, was the rest of the day, it would rise with a kind of like, why, you could have easily invited me to sit at the table? And I had made it somewhat clear. I was not rushing off. On the other hand, every time it came up, kind of like, oh, that hurt. And I’m also standing back with this criticism of, what is with you, that you can’t get over something that small, far more easily. So, in one sense, the snub created a context for me to evoke and be provoked by my own contempt. And in some ways, this is a hard sentence. We cannot escape current pain, with the reality that there is a past that shows up, moments of minor issues have a history and that experience of feeling strange, not fitting, not being invited. Part of what we do in this book is talk about the reality that trauma opens the door to facing the past that is not resolved. That has to be engaged, if we’re going to deal better with the present.
Cathy Loerzel: What I found was that I was having patterns and I still do, there are things that I do in my day-to-day life, where I think, huh. I wonder why I’m feeling what I’m feeling right now. Like Dan said in Starbucks, you know, earlier in the first segment, you know, we experience heartache every day, but how we decide to encode that, how we decide that, what does that mean about the world? And what does that mean about me, is directly related to the harm that happened to us early on. So, you know, if our premise is that you, we all live in a fallen world, but we’re created for Eden. So we’re created for a perfect relationship with God, self, others and the earth. That’s what we were designed for by God’s intention. And now we live in a fallen world. When we experience the fallenness of the world, we start to make choices around how we’re going to protect ourselves and how we’re going to engage. And that happens early on. And then that plays out in the present. And those things are so interlinked that if you just try to fix the anxiety right now, without going back to, how did I learn how to read anxiety of a room? How did I learn how to read the faces of the people that I’m seeing in a Starbucks? You know, so Dan is reliving not only the occurrent snub, he’s reliving every other snub that happened to him throughout his lifetime, particularly the first ones where he first figured out that people can be cruel. And he made decisions about what that means in terms of his heart and what that means in terms of how he is going to protect himself from it. So, is he going to harden himself and, you know, brush them off. Is he going to go back in and try to weasel his way in, so that he can like them again? Is he going to have side conversations later? Like, what was going on there? You know, that was really mean what they did to me. Right? All of those interactions all have to do with how we learn that in the beginning.
And that is just a tiny, tiny little slice of a larger conversation that we would love to send you on a CD, for free. So, call us right now at 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] to ask for that CD. If you’d like to mail your request, just send it to
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