As a pastor, I like to preach and pray with people. I also like planning church services which help bring people closer to God. And sometimes that works out as I hope but often it doesn’t. And occasionally God encounters people in ways that are completely unexpected.
Last Sunday night, Brad Thorn came to speak. That, as well as having Brooke Hooper’s baptism, attracted a number of people from Taieri College who wouldn’t otherwise darken the doorsteps of a church. The baptism was a wonderful event as was the baptisms of Ruth, Rachel and Sarah Baines that morning. And Brad shared some great insights. Jeremy glued the night together well, and Gareth Bruce wrapped up brilliantly at the end.
But since that night we have heard a number of stories. Stories of people finding God in some way. And those stories planted little seeds into the hearts and minds of others. There is something in that that makes me stop and wonder. I wonder what God is up to in our world. I wonder how God is encountering different people—in big ways and small ways. I wonder how God is shaping and changing and transforming people in ways that we can’t plan for or imagine.
That causes me to thank God for being a God who can’t be controlled or won’t be controlled. He is a God that reaches out in surprising and wonderful ways. Sometimes he chooses to use us through our plans. But often times he chooses to use us despite our carefully laid plans. And when he does, all I can do is stop and watch him as he works within our world.
Originally penned for East Taieri Church bulletin