Off the Map
One of the most compelling and challenging verses of the Bible is found in Genesis 12:1. “Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.”
This verse is compelling because it presents the commanding call of God delivered personally to Abram (later known as Abraham): “Go!” It is challenging because of the shocking lack of detail. All Abraham knows is that somehow, at a time yet to be revealed, he will find “the land that I will show you.”
At Hope Church just now, we have some sense of what that is like. Our leadership enthusiastically embraced a new logo and new language for a new season at Hope Church. Our congregation joyfully received these things on April 2. God met us and encouraged us on that special day of worship (in a service that went 1 hour and 45 minutes, yet didn’t seem too long).
“Creating a crossover community – moved by Jesus, toward one another.” Question: what precisely does that mean? Answer: we don’t precisely know. We are excited by what we can see already. We are trusting God to show us more.
Session and staff leaders gather on April 20 to seek further direction from God. We hope to identify goals and supporting strategies for the coming year. We will listen together for God. Prayer teams are lifting up this meeting. We know that prayer is foundational in every good thing that happens at Hope Church. As we say about prayer in our new “pursuits,” “the Spirit is our compass.”
I remember well a compelling illustration given by my seminary president Thomas Gillespie to a graduating class. He told the story of Alexander the Great’s sweeping movement through the known world. There was victory after victory, across Asia Minor, through Persia, and into the mountains of what we know today as Afghanistan. Alexander’s generals came to him and said, “We don’t know what to do next. We have marched off the map.”
We would enjoy the precision of GPS-determined directions. But God seems not to operate that way very often. The way of faith means trusting God even we don’t see every step of the way before us. But we can keep taking one step at a time, the step that God shows us.
Over the next weeks and months (and even years) we will gain a surer sense of where God is leading us. We need patience and faith. Isn’t it exciting to march off the map?
David Lenz, Lead Pastor