On 10 December I had the privilege of preaching in a wonderful church located in a city in the western part of France. The pastor welcomed me and my assistant warmly before the start of the service. Their church facilities are located in a residential neighborhood at the foot of a large hill overlooking the city.
The pastor had heard about my ministry through the encouraging testimonies of several ladies of the church who had attended the national Women’s Aglow conference in the spring of 2016 where I was one of the speakers. Since then the pastor has been trying to get me to give their church a Sunday morning. Back in February I promised him that I would get to his church before the end of the year.
As I prayed regarding their congregation the Spirit of the Lord spoke strongly to my heart that the church was going through some important transitions and I needed to establish certain things in the spirit of the church. I spoke a message entitled « Change your boat » based on the story of the apostle Paul being shipwrecked on the island of Malta en route to appear before Caesar. (See Acts 27 and 28.)
Paul’s mission was very clear: Go to Rome. Preach to Caesar. God never spoke to him about the three month revival that would take place of the island of Malta as a result of their shipwreck.
Many times God shows us the final destination and along the way there are unexpected twists and turns. During these times we can doubt the promise we’ve received from God. When we see the structure in which we put our trust go through shipwreck, we can lose faith in the mission and even in God.
My friend, God is in the mission, not in the structure. And just because one boat got wrecked, it doesn’t mean the mission is over.
Paul had to swim ashore. He was cold, tired and hungry. While picking up wood to make a fire he got bitten by a poisonous serpent. Paul had every right to complain. Where was God in the cold, the hunger and the snake bite?
Sometimes we obey the Lord and everything goes sideways. We get hurt; we suffer; and the devil gets a hold on us. We need to keep our eyes on Jesus, remember the promises we’ve received. We need to shake off the devil into the fire of the Holy Spirit and press on to the miracle.
The Holy Spirit used this message to speak to the pastor who had recently gone through some health issues and is planning some major changes to the leadership in the church. The Word that God sent was the right word at the right time. God knows us and knows just how to speak to us.