How can we seize the opportunities that God has placed before us?

What has your attitude been like during the pandemic? Do you see everything as a challenge? Are you focused on what you can’t do? Has negativity or impatience crept into your mind? I have personally struggled with negativity and impatience and been disheartened at times. There is a battle for the mind.

It is easy to slip into a negative and pessimistic mentality in this time of wilderness and wandering. Just glancing at social media or watching the news, we see anger, frustration, and confusion in our world.

A former pastor and team leader of a church I worked for had a famous mantra. He would drill this into our staff team almost every single day. Mick Woodhead would constantly remind us, “Look to what God is doing, not what He isn’t doing.” I thank Mick for teaching me a lesson I needed to hear and apply every day!

God is always moving, working, and blessing. He is the redeeming God, making all things new! He takes the wastelands of our world and turns them into beautiful gardens. We have a redeeming God who is at work constantly.

God did not create COVID-19 and the mess in our world. However, He will redeem this situation and turn it for our good!

When we look for what God is doing, it changes our attitude and builds our faith. We see an active God! As C.S Lewis wrote in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, “Oh yeah, there’s a right bit more than hope. Aslan is on the move.”

Further, looking to what God is doing helps us to step into the opportunities that God has laid before our feet. One of my favorite Bible verses is John 5:19 (NIV), “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” Jesus only did what He saw the Father do because of His intimacy with the Father and acted in the power of the Holy Spirit.

It’s time to innovate

With every great challenge, there is a great opportunity! Do you see what the Father has for you? Do you see a new way to reach people for Jesus in your context? Do you see new and creative ways to worship? What hasn’t been done in the church before that could bring significant breakthrough?

Craig Groeschel said, “The difference between a good leader and a great leader is one who anticipates rather than reacts.” This is his definition of anticipatory leadership. He went on to tell why Wayne Gretzky was the greatest hockey player of all time. When Gretzky was asked in an interview how he was better than all the other hockey players, he answered, “Most players skate to where the puck is. I skate to where the puck is going to be.” 1

Instead of continued adaptation to the world around us (chasing the puck), where is the new frontier in the church that hasn’t been discovered yet (moving to where the puck is going to be)? Adaptation is management, but leadership is pioneering. It is exploring new, undiscovered territory.2 Instead of calling it anticipatory leadership, maybe we should call it prophetic leadership.

The land of challenging circumstances is the birthplace for innovation. Adaptation will help you to survive; innovation will help you thrive.

Imagination

Tracee, our team leader, is always encouraging our team to use our imaginations! She is constantly pushing our team to be creative! On the wall of our office at Church Doctor Ministries we have a poster that says, “God doesn’t want you to worship Him with just your memory. He wants you to worship Him with your imagination as well” (Mark Batterson, The Circle Maker).3

You have God’s creativity in you by the power of the Holy Spirit. On the day of Pentecost when the Spirit was given, Peter in Acts 2:17 (NIV) stood up and quoted the prophet Joel, “In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.”

In a world of many challenges, how will you innovate? What will you create? How will you prophetically and creatively lead the church to new territory?

“Look to what God is doing, not to what He is not doing!”

1 Craig Groeschel, Looking Forward. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YW-fHAsaT_g&feature=emb_logo
2 Tod Bolsinger, Canoeing the Mountains: Christian Leadership in Uncharted Territory. Downers Grove: IVP Books, 2015.

3 Mark Batterson, The Circle Maker. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2011.