The Sunset pastor on Sunday continued our series “Running the Race: Facing Life’s Challenges with Confidence and Hope.” The message was titled, “Running with Hindsight.” The text was from Proverbs 3:5: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart… and he will direct your paths.”
Sunday was the pastor’s 54th spiritual birthday. He gave his life to the Lord on October 1, 1963. He testified: “When I came into the Lord as a teenager, God took me out of the deep miry clay, out of the pits of depression and despair, and set my feet on the King’s highway. He took fear out of my heart, and gave me a spirit of love and optimistic joy. I believed that God was my helper, and in Him I would be ok. In the intervening years, God has been very merciful to me and my family, as we’ve made a serious attempt to honor, love, serve and fear Him.”
A guiding Scripture has been 1 John 2:1: “Dear friends, I write this to you so that you will not sin; but if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous One….”
Today’s message, “Running with Hindsight,” highlighted some of the things the pastor has learned about running with Jesus over the past 54 years.
The preacher made two points: (1) Looking Up to the Lord; (2) Looking Straight to the Path.
(1) Looking up to the Lord. The wise man Solomon instructed his son: “Trust in the Lord.” What does it mean to trust in the Lord? It means to live in such a way that you know that you are not your own guide in your life.
“Lean not on your own understanding.” God is our guide and director. We need Him. If you try to direct your life on your own, without asking God for help and wisdom, you will surely fail.
James 1:5: “If anyone lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” Wisdom is knowing what to do in a situation.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart.” Don’t trust him just for the small stuff, but with everything. Don’t hold back anything, and he will direct your path.
The pastor said: For me, this means two things:
(a) Pray about everything.
What should you do? Pray about it.
Where to go? Pray about it.
Who to marry? Pray about it.
Where to work? Pray about it.
Where to live? Pray about it.
“Pray without ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
(b) Stay open to God changing your plans. In fact, I never did plan much in my life, but I always wanted to do and be where God wanted me to be.
I went to seminary, but not to be a preacher, just to study the Bible. The first church I preached for, I was not looking for it. They called me. I got into prison ministry when a jail preacher “accidentally” (sliding on the ice into my church’s driveway) showed up in my church. I wasn’t looking for him, nor he for me. God put us together.
I did not at first apply to be a supervising chaplain, but when an official encouraged me to apply, I did. I became the Sunset pastor when a Board member called. God has been my guide, and has provided all the way.
(2) Looking Straight to the Path. V6: “In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” When God directs us, he will direct us into a straight, not a crooked, path.
There is much evil in the world, but God is holy and righteous, and he wants his children to be holy and righteous as well: to avoid wrongdoing and evildoers. When God puts us on the path with Jesus, we must pay attention to His path. If you fall, he will help lift you up.
“Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless his holy name. ” [Psalm 103:1]
May God bless you as you bless him this week—our prayer for you from your friends at Sunset Christian Church.