What's Next

Text: Luke 4:42-44
At daybreak he departed and went into a deserted place. And the crowds were looking for him; and when they reached him, they wanted to prevent him from leaving them.  But he said to them, ‘I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other cities also; for I was sent for this purpose.’ So he continued proclaiming the message in the synagogues of Judea. (NRSV)

I want to look at this same text within more of the context of Luke’s writing.  Yesterday, I admitted that I was taking it out of context but that I felt God speaking to me through it.  Today, I hear this text speaking to me from within, what I believe to be, the context in which Luke intended it.

Jesus has been doing amazing things in the community in which he finds himself.  He has been healing and casting out demons.  The crowds have grown, and they want him to stay with them and continue to do what he has been doing.  They want him to put down roots in their town and care for them.

One could easily describe this as a success story.  If Jesus were just a rabbi and a healer, this would be an incredible beginning for his career.  But Jesus is not just a rabbi and a healer, Jesus is the Son, and he is on a very specific mission from the Father.  He has come to share the good news that God’s kingdom has come near in him.  He has come to share the fact that God desires to be in an intimate relationship with everyone.  He has come to share the love and grace of God that leads to salvation and eternal life.  And, he has come to share it in as many places as he can.

The thought that comes to me within this context, is that I can be easily distracted from God’s primary call on my life.  I can easily feel like I’m doing a good thing right where I am in the very way that I am.  This feeling has the real potential for causing me to resist change, even when that change is what keeps me on track with God’s plan for my life.

I’m reminded of how I had spent 11 years in my former church and things were going very well. According to the records kept in the church, it had grown to its largest average attendance since its beginning.  There was little if not any conflict.  The church was doing more community outreach.  The youth group was reaching unchurched kids that were also attending our worship services.  Some of the unchurched youth’s parents were even beginning to attend.  We had gone on mission trips in other states, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic.  

So, when I was told that the Bishop had intended to reappoint me to another church, I fought it as hard as I could.  I was successful where I was, I was comfortable where I was, I wanted to stay where I was.  But deep inside, I also knew that the ministry to which God had called me, was one in which I had agreed to serve God in the United Methodist Church and to go where the Bishop sent me.  He sent me here to Absecon where Linda and I were received with open arms and amazing love.  This appointment has truly been the best appointment of my career.  God knows best.

Have you allowed your comfort to keep you from doing the things God has put upon your heart?  Are you allowing “success” to keep you from moving forward and following God’s plan for your life?  Have you allowed your comfort or success to keep you from even listening to see if God has more planned for you?

Pray with me:

God of love and God of sending speak into my heart that I might always be looking for what is next.  Do not let me become so comfortable or successful that I stop listening for your new callings on my life.  AMEN.

No Comments





no categories


100 Bill Anger Authentic Bible Body of Christ Brigantine Beach Broken world COVID Centered Changed Charlie Brown Child of God Chosen people Christian Education Comfortable Denominations Dimock PA Discipleship Discipline Doubt Faith Following Jesus Generosity Gifts of the Spirit Giving God at work God is Love God's Glory God's call God's creation God's economy God's face God's first words God's leading God's light God's love God's plan God's presence God's story God's timing God's voice God's ways God's way God's will be done God's will God's word God\'s Glory God\'s face God\'s first words God\'s leading God\'s light God\'s love God\'s presence God\'s story God\'s will be done God\'s will God\'s word God\\\'s leading God\\\'s love God\\\'s story God\\\\\\\'s love God\\\\\\\'s story God\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s story Godhead God Grandparents Day Grandparents Hands and feet of Jesus Hearing God Holiness Holy Spirit Jealous Jesus Loves Me Jesus is Lord Jesus the healer Jesus John Wesley Justice Kingdom life Kingdom of God Knowing God Laughter Light of the world Living Word Lord and God Lord Love One Another Made new Mesa Newness of life Norms Obey PPE Peanuts Psalm 130 Psalm 91 Radical Transformation Recreate Refreshed Rock Sabbath Sanctified Satan Saul Savior Seeing God Shalom Soulmate Spirit of God Standing before God Stumbling Sunday School Testify The Church The Gospel of Jesus Christ The Great Commission The family of God The new people of God The people of God Transformation Trinity Truth in love Truth Unconditional love VBS Values Voice of God Weary Worship Written word abundance action affirmation air anchor answered prayer anxiety arguing arguments armor ask God asking God assurance attentive awe b r e a t h e baptism be ready be strong believe birds born again born from above bread of life bright broken call to ministry calm camp meeting caretakers celebrate character children of God choice choir choosing church comfort commandments community compassion confession conversation with God creation decision defending God dependent depression depths devotions direction discouraged disney distractions diversity divided do no harm dream big dream empowered enjoy equality eternal life evangelism evidence examine excuses expectations expecting God experience failure faint faithful fear fellowship finding God finding Jesus focus follow through forgiveness free from sin free will freedom gathered giving God the glory goals godly good neighbor good news good works grace grief grieving guidance happiness hard hate healing helpless help hide and seek holy living holy hope humility hunger ice cream image of God infinite worth injustice intentional intercesor intervene intimate joy justify knowing Jesus knowledge learning letting go life in the Kingdom life lightning light listening living together living looking for God love God love neighbor love of God love self love loving God loving Jesus loving others mature meaning meditate meditation mercy ministry miracles miserable mission mistakes motivation murmuration music neighbors new begging new life ocean olympics overcome overflowing partnering pass it on pay no attention peace persecuting Jesus perseverance persistence power praise pray big pray for students prayer praying predestination prepare priorities proclaim promises of God pure purity purpose real deal reconciliation recreated redeeming redeem refining refuge rejection rejoice relationship remember repent rescue response rest resurrection revelation righteousness risk rules sacrifice salvation sanctification scarcity school scripture searching seeking God self-assessment self-care selfish selfless servant servent service set apart share shine brightly shine simple simplicity simplify sinners sinner sin solitude spending time with Jesus spiritual disciplines spiritual exercises spiritual gifts spiritual growth spiritual health spirituality start over status quo stewardship steward storms stress struggle students success suffering teaching temptation test thankfulness thanksgiving the great commandments the sky the unknown thunder time with God tired together transfiguration troubles trust in God trust understanding unexpected united methodist church value victory vision waiting on God walking with God wear out welcome wisdom witness wonder worries worry your story