God's Will Is An Industry

 

In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps (Proverbs 16:9)

God’s will is an industry. If you don’t believe me, do an Amazon search for the term, “God’s Will” and see how many hits you get. It’s around 334,000.  The reason for this is that Christian publishers know that God’s will sells. Big.

And the reason that God’s will sells is that it is often less about God and all about us. Whom shall I marry, will I get the mortgage modification, and should I move to France and become a potato farmer?

Like many of you, I am in the God’s will business. 40% of the conversations I have revolve around helping people sort out their future. The other 60% is a mix of sin management, past guilt issues and the joys and sorrows of this life.

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The Noah Factor: Following God When Everyone Says You’re Wrong

The Noah factor is when everyone tells you that what you are doing is crazy and insensible, but you go ahead and do it anyway. If you follow God long enough, you will probably have to employ the Noah factor at some point.

Jesus used the Noah factor when he went to the cross. Noah used it when he built his ark on dry ground and in a land that had never seen rain. Ultimately, Jesus and Noah knew something in the depths of their hearts that eluded all others. Like the couple Karie and I had coffee with this morning. They adopted a son from the Ukraine. No big deal, lots of people do that—but how many go through with it when seven days before they are set to get their son, the wife is diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer and given months to live?

Karie and I sat amazed as we heard the story. It's now five years after the fact and with the cancer in remission and a 9-year-old adopted son part of their family. At the time everything and everyone told them not to go through with it. Both sets of their parents were adamant and a best friend angry. To do this would be unwise and going against the counsel of their trusted inner-circle. But like Noah, who was the only one that saw a flood coming coming, our friends saw and heard something in the quiet of their souls that said, “Go, go get your boy, the cancer can wait.”

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Ambition: Should Christians Be Concerned With Their Success?

The church has had a lot of latest things. In the 80’s it was the discipleship movement and seeker friendly services. The 90’s were all about men keeping promises and reaching Gen X. In the early 2000’s we focused on worship, Jabez and social justice.

This brings us to now, the age of the multi-campus church movement. If you are not aware of what that means, think franchise, but with a church planting twist.

In the thirty or so years since I have been Christian, I have seen a lot of these shifts. Some have been the authentic breath of God on his bride. Other times, not so much. Even then, God seems to have the ability to work all to His glory. So what about the multi-campus church planting movement? Is God on the move?

While we are too close to its genesis to answer that question, I think we are far enough in to dissect it a bit. Let’s start by looking at what it might possibly be.

While I’m only a novice church historian I would assert that the multi-campus movement seems reminiscent of classic denominationalism. This is the tendency to form distinct groupings based on common socio-religious practice. 

Since the 80’s and perhaps before, the American church has been moving away from denominationalism; First Baptist and Main St. Presbyterian have been replaced by congregations with names like Journey, Solomon’s Porch and Sanctuary.
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The Little Idol Factory in Your Heart

Have you ever had a million dollar idea, but not known what to do with it? Ten years ago, I thought I had that idea and started a dog leash company. “The Dingo”, was a multi-functional leash that did everything from tethering your dog in the back of your car to walking three dogs. You can find its remains online.

Back then, Google was pretty new, but still very effective. I searched something like, “make prototypes” and came up with about six results. Ten days later I had the first "Dingo" in my hand.

Deep in my heart there is another little factory with even faster turn around times. This one creates idols. It’s ability to shift the entire production operation in alignment with the newest desire of my heart or mind is unparalleled. One minute it is cranking out little bobble-headed idols fashioned to look like me with the word “pride” on its forehead, the next moment it is mass-producing idols that look exactly like you with the inscription, “Man’s approval”.

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Acceptable Legalism: Finding God in a Stop Sign

God is not mad at you. If you are a believer, it is actually impossible for God to be mad at you. For God to hold anger towards you would mean that you are still under wrath. Simply put, if God could be mad or hold any form of condemnation towards believers, covered by the blood of Jesus, then Jesus failed on the cross.

            When I tell Christians this, they often balk. Few believers know how to live their lives in the freedom of Christ-completed work. Instead these believers live lives in a three-step dance of sin, guilt and confession; the second step being unnecessary as guilt is a useless commodity for believers in the kingdom of God.

            This process of sin, guilt and confession is what causes some Christians to hate sin for the wrong reason. Think about it. Why do you hate sin? If you are like me in the past, you've hated sin more for the way it made you feel or the results of your sin then hating sin itself. Yes, we need to hate the consequences of sin, but the primary reason for hating sin is because sin is everything God is not and when we sin we break God’s heart. For God, lack of condemnation towards you and a broken heart can co-exist.

            Thus, the amount you hate sin is tied into how much you experience love for and from God. When you love God, you no longer avoid sin because of the law or fear. Instead, you avoid sin, because you want to bring pleasure to the Father. Your righteousness becomes a love language. This is why freedom from sin is found in the place you least expect it. Freedom from sin comes from focusing on your love relationship with God rather then creating a fail-safe program for sin management.

            Since the Devil knows this, he will continue to convince Christians that God is mad at them. Why? The reason is that we tend to avoid people who are angry with us. When we avoid God, we are also avoiding his love and acceptance.

            Here’s the truth, God’s not mad at you. Go in peace.

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Does Your Marriage Matter?

            Almost twenty-three years ago, my friend Torry pulled me out of a Tijuana gutter. It would be the last gutter I would lay in. The next day was the first in a continuing two-decade journey into my sobriety. I spent that final night of intoxication sleeping at Torry’s parents. It was a place I had been inebriated many times before.

            Even as a self-focused, addicted teen, I knew something was different about Dick and Connie’s place. Whenever there, my life seemed to find more ballast. There was just something about the spirit of their home. There was something special about them together.

            More then anything, when I was there, I knew I was accepted. Conversations were never started with an ulterior motive.

Panic Attacks & Radio Interviews: Living beyond yourself

    Life is only an adventure of faith when we are living beyond ourselves. The problem that comes with this type of existence is that it is uncontrollable—there is excessive margin for failure.

            I recently experienced this when God allowed some of my dreams to be realized. After getting published, I was pretty ecstatic. Granted, it’s a big deal. Not long after the initial emotional inertia wore off, I began to fear. Self-doubt, worry of others opinions and the weight of the task at hand bogged me down.

            Then, somewhere back in January, the panic attacks set in. What was I doing? Maybe I should call my publisher and tell them to cancel the whole gig.

            Things came to a head during my first live radio interview.

Dodgeball and Common Grace: A shot at long devotion

   I got a call from Lily’s kindergarten teacher asking if I would come in and volunteer at lunchtime as a playground dad. Someone else could not make it and they needed a replacement. It was early September and the year had just begun.  I agreed and showed up the following Friday for duty.

            Somehow, that one afternoon has turned into four years of Friday lunches, countless dodge ball games and amazing opportunities to let kids know they matter.

            More then anything, it has been a chance to be available—available to my daughter, available to her friends. I never show up with an agenda and I don’t really consider it ministry. It is just life. It is my daughter’s life, and I get tobe a part of it in a way that matters to her.

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About
Adam Stadtmiller is an associate pastor at North Coast Calvary Chapel in Carlsbad, CA, where he oversees the 30-something ministry and the Discipleship Training Center. Adam is the author of “Give Your Kids the Keys" (Regal Books).


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