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My Plans, His Steps

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My Plans, His Steps

My Plans, His Steps

Intro - Talk about last week leading to this week, although, not in the way I first intended. But that is just the way it goes sometimes. Our plans, our most well crafted ideas, no matter how noble, or how technically correct they might seem, are nothing when compared to His plans.
Intro - [Recap last week and talk about last week leading to this week]...although, not in the way I first intended. But that is just the way it goes sometimes. Our plans, our most well crafted ideas, no matter how noble, or how technically correct they might seem, are nothing when compared to His plans.
It turns out that our plans are probably better described as aspirations - something we want, or long for. But our lives, every part of who we are and what we do, those have always, and will always, belong to Him.
My plans, but His steps.
His steps, because He knows the way. His steps because if we went where I want to go, we would all no doubt be lost. No, our plans, no matter how noble or seemingly correct, they must be made in accordance with God’s direction and God’s intentions!
Only God knows the way, because He is the way. And today, I want to talk about that way, and how we are to respond to it - even when doing that was never a part of our plans.
1 Corinthians 1:4–9 ESV
I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge— even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you— so that you are not lacking in any gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
-----
pray
[firstslidepic]
I am sure you have heard the phrase, expect the unexpected. I know I have. I think there was even a candy bar that took that slogan up as an ad campaign once. But that old adage holds a lot of truth! Perhaps the hardest things to do in life, are the most unexpected. Even if you have prepared yourself with prayer, finding out God is moving in a direction we aren’t can be overwhelming and can feel impossible.
Proverbs speaks to just that idea several times. One of which inspired the title for today’s message. There we read that “A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”
I want to tell you, today, that there have been fewer verses in my life that ring more true than that.
This morning, I shared with the deacons a letter, outlining my intent to resign from Mount Calvary Baptist, effective at the end of this month. And this morning, I want to talk through some of that with you.
[read letter]
From my first moment here with you, until very recently, it was my plan - the plan that I held so dearly in my heart - to retire from this church. Those aren’t empty words, it was absolutely my intent and my purpose.
God, though, has a way of refining our situations, our thoughts, our lives, so that we can better see His plans - even if we don’t understand them in the moment. Over the past 6 months, I have been torn apart by my heart being pulled in two directions, one of my own design, and one of God’s. And while I praise God that I have had time to not only grow accustomed to His plans for me and my family, but to become truly excited to see what He has in store; at the same time I acknowledge my sorrow for this church because, like most churches in this position, you have not had that same time.
So today, I want to be for you the Pastor I was called to be. I want to talk through this difficult moment; one that for some might be hard, or painful, or upsetting, and get to God’s truth, at least in part, so that we might find His path for each of us.
[transitions]
To do that, I want to start by reiterating my feelings for this church, because you need to hear it, if you hear nothing else.
It all starts with where we are today, and where I was over three years ago. I have been speaking to the youth about this for several weeks now, but transitions are hard. They just are. We are stretched, and we are challenged, and ultimately - we are changed. So it was for me when I was preparing to come here.
And I praise God that Mount Calvary was, for my family, a soft place to land. First pastorates are always difficult, and I praise God that you have been the exception. You not only took a chance on a young pastor, but you loved us as well.
Through all the bristling moments, through the differences of theology, differing views on the vision and direction of the church; through all of that, you tried to remain a family to me.
And let me tell you today - you will always be my family. My love for you was never forced or fake, and it will remain even though I am gone. You will always be, in some way, a part of me.
But just like a child who is growing up, eventually they must leave their parents - the home that for most of their lives they thought of as the only place they would ever be - and go out into the world. And as they go, church, we know that they take us with them. We know that they will love other people, that they will go other places, but deep in their heart, we will ALWAYS be a family.
That is exactly what I feel for you.
I give thanks to God for you. Just as Paul thanked God for the Corinthian believers. And like Paul, I will no doubt always keep an eye on you. I will always keep you in my prayers. I will always be rooting for this wonderful church, because no matter where I am in life, this will always be part of my home - part of who I was made to be, and filled with people that I love.
Some of my best memories will always belong to you.
That is especially true for the youth - whether at Caswell, or St. Augustine. Carowinds, concerts, ball games, lock-ins, sitting in my office talking, being on the field, on mission, whatever - I count just being able to get to know you and being blessed to be your friend as some of the most wonderful and important moments in my life. You are all my people. And I will love you as my own children all the days of my life.
And please, in this difficult moment, understand this clearly. I don’t care where I am. Call me. Text me. Let me know when you need help. Let me know when you need prayer. Let me know when you need to talk. Let me know where to be to celebrate, to root you on, to be a part of your life, because honestly, I desperately want to be that for you, no matter where I am.
Intro - Talk about last week leading to this week, although, not in the way I first intended. But that is just the way it goes sometimes. Our plans, our most well crafted ideas, no matter how noble, or how technically correct they might seem, are nothing when compared to His plans.
You mean the world to me.
And honestly, that sentiment goes for everyone in this room.
But life, church, and God’s call on our lives moves us forward. We go on, from strength to strength, from promise to promise, searching for truth. Things change all around us, but understand, that in the craziness of our situations, God doesn’t change.
Our text today reminds us of that fact. And it reminds us of something that we all need to hear today. But really, it reminds us of something far greater! Something that is so much bigger than Jeff Carter, or Mount Calvary, or anything that man can come up with!
1 Corinthians 1:7 ESV
so that you are not lacking in any gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ,
You see, life changes. Some of you are going to college soon. Some might be starting a new relationship, or a new job. Soon this church will be starting a new reality, and a new path. But there in the midst of all that, do we forget about God? Do our plans cause us to step away from God’s path and His steps for us?
Do we forget how blessed we have been, and how prepared we are, for His new reality?
After all, we have Him! We have His Spirit! We have exactly what we need to do His work!
Sure we might like some other truth or some other reality to be ours, but it isn’t! So we must honestly assess where we are, and more importantly WHOSE we are, so that we can know better where we are going!
And for you today, and everyone who hears this message and reads this text, this is where you are: You lack nothing.
Nothing.
As you sit here, and work through whatever emotions might be working in your body, understand that you were made for this moment, but not for this moment alone! This moment is just another on the long list of moments that God has in store for you! Sure there is something to be learned from it, there is good and bad to be taken from it. But hopefully, when we frame it in the proper perspective - that of Jesus Christ, and living for His glory alone - we can see that, immediate emotions aside, He is calling us to not be sad because this time is over, but to be happy because it happened.
After all, what gift do you lack? As you, and I, wait for not only the revealing of Jesus physically, but as we await the revealing of His will in our lives, what has He failed to give us?
We have it all! There is nothing that we need in order to do His work! He has set the stage and prepared us for all that He has called us to before today, and all that He will continue to call us to in the future!
1 Corinthians 1:8 ESV
who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
He will sustain you. And more than that, church, He has sustained us all thus far! Every moment, every laugh, every tear, every joy, and every pain, they all come to us in light of the surpassing greatness and love of Jesus Christ! Nothing that we do, or experience, is outside of His reach. But it is us who can be short sighted. It is us who can look at all He does, and selfishly ask for more, or for better.
But church, Christ sustains us, now and forever, by His power and sacrifice, not by our desires. We are His, and we go and do what He tells us, unmoved by the opposition, and unafraid of the obstacles, because we know that He will sustain us to the end! So we press on toward that goal! Whatever goal that He might be giving us.
And more than even that, church, He will sustain us for eternity! The end isn’t even the end! Christ will sustain us for all time, if only we let Him rule and reign over all we do. He is the one we should trust, not our own thoughts or actions! Christ alone is our guide, and our guard! No matter what we face, if we just trust Him, it will pass as we are sustained through all things - even through death itself!
1 Corinthians 1:9 ESV
God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
And church, He does that because He is faithful.
He is faithful when life is easy. He is faithful when life is hard. He is faithful when the rains come. He is faithful in the drought. In war, in peace, in poverty and wealth - Christ is faithful! And faithful not to just love us in a way we can understand, but church, He is faithful to sustain us, and to empower us, and to deliver us!
We can do all things through Christ! Not just some things! And when I look around at this body, my family, and wonder about the future, I know that God will sustain! I know that He who began a good work in this body, will see it through to its completion in Christ Jesus! I know that no matter what we might think right now, we see only like looking into a mirror dimly, and one day, church, one day we will see clearly the goal and plan of Christ to reach this whole world, and to use us all to do it!
No matter what our hearts tell us. No matter what we might think. God is bigger than all of that. He gives us the steps to take. He makes for us a path. He sustains us. And church, He is faithful to lead us to His truth if only we let Him.
walkingthepath
Some of you know I hide quotes from movies or music in my sermons. I know it seems funny to do that, but I feel like it keeps people engaged sometimes. But there is no hiding it today.
There is a difference between knowing the path and walking the path. And with God, it matters less where the path leads in our life than that it ALWAYS leads to Him if we actually walk it! You can know all you need to know and still not walk down that road.
I praise God every single day that you let me walk down that road with you for the past three years. I pray that as our relationship changes a little, that you all will let me continue to walk with you now as a friend, and a loved one. As family. More than all of that, church, I am so grateful that God has sustained us for a time, will sustain us in the future, and will see His will done to the end - the completion of His plan in Christ Jesus. How grateful we should be just to be a part of that plan. Even when it doesn’t look just like we want it.
Today, our invitation will be to everyone an invitation to our true soul’s need, our true dependency, our true love. Jesus Christ. Our sustainer, redeemer, and faithful Savior. Confess today your need of Him alone, and church, pray that He might be glorified and all that we think, say, and do.
# 552 “My Jesus, I love Thee”
Intro
Intro
It turns out that our plans are just our plans. But our lives, every part of who we are and what we do, those have always, and will always, belong to Him.
My plans, but His steps.
His steps, because He knows the way. His steps because if we went where I want to go, we would all no doubt be lost.
Only God knows the way, because He is the way. And today, we will talk about that way, and how we are to respond to it.
1 C
1 Corinthians 1:4–9 ESV
I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge— even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you— so that you are not lacking in any gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
-----
pray
[firstslidepic]
Perhaps the hardest things to do in life, are the most unexpected. Even if you have prepared yourself with prayer, finding out God is moving in a direction we aren’t can be overwhelming and can feel impossible.
Proverbs speaks to just that idea. There we can read that “A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”
I want to tell you, today, that there have been fewer verses in my life that ring more true than that.
This morning, I shared with the deacons a letter, outlining my intent to resign from Mount Calvary Baptist, effective at the end of this month. And this morning, I want to talk through some of that with you.
From my first moment here with you, until very recently, it was my plan - the plan that I held so dearly in my heart - to retire from this church. Those aren’t empty words, it was absolutely my intent and my purpose.
God, though, has a way of refining our situations, our thoughts, our lives, so that we can better see His plans - even if we don’t understand them in the moment. Over the past 6 months, I have been torn apart by my heart being pulled in two directions, one of my own design, and one of God’s. And while I praise God that I have had time to not only grow accustomed to His plans for me and my family, I acknowledge my sorrow for this church because, like most churches in this position, you have not.
So today, I want to be the Pastor you called me to be. I want to talk through this moment; one that for some might be hard, or painful, or upsetting, and get to God’s truth, at least in part, so that we might find His path for each of us.
[transitions]
To do that, I want to recap my feelings for this church, because you need to hear it, if you hear nothing else.
Mount Calvary, was for my family, a soft place to land. First pastorates are always difficult, and I praise God that you have been the exception. You not only took a chance on a young pastor, but you loved us as well.
Through all the bristling moments, through the differences of theology, differing views on the vision and direction of the church; through all of that, you tried to remain a family to me.
And let me tell you today - you will always be my family. My love for you was never forced or fake, and it will remain even though I am gone. You will always be, in some part, a part of me.
But just like a child who is growing up, eventually they must leave their parents - the home that for most of their lives they thought of as the only place they would ever be - and go out into the world. And as they go, church, we know that they take us with them. We know that they will love other people, that they will go other places, but deep in their heart, we will ALWAYS be family.
That is exactly what I feel for you.
I give thanks to God for you. Just as Paul thanked God for the Corinthian believers. And like Paul, I will no doubt always keep an eye on you. I will always keep you in my prayers. I will always be rooting for this wonderful church, because no matter where I am in life, this will always be part of my home - part of who I was made to be, and filled with people I love.
Some of my best memories will always belong to you. To the youth - whether at Caswell, or St. Augustine. Carowinds, concerts, ball games. Just being able to get to know you and be blessed to be your friend. You are all my people. And I will love you as my own children all the days of my life.
And please, in this difficult moment, understand this clearly. I don’t care where I am. Call me. Text me. Let me know when you need help. Let me know when you need prayer. Let me know when you need to talk. Let me know where to be to celebrate, to root you on, to be a part of your life, because honestly, I desperately want to be that for you.
You mean the world to me.
But life, church, and God’s call on our lives moves us forward. We go on, from strength to strength, from promise to promise, searching for truth. Our text today reminds us of that fact. But it reminds us of something far greater! Something that is so much bigger than Jeff Carter, or Mount Calvary, or anything that man can come up with!
1 Corinthians 1:7 ESV
so that you are not lacking in any gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ,
You see, life changes. Some of you are going to college soon. Some might be starting a new relationship, or new job. Soon this church will be starting a new reality, and a new path. But there in the midst of all that, do we forget about God?
Do we forget how blessed we have been, and how prepared we are, for His new reality?
After all, we have Him! We have His Spirit! We have exactly what we need to do His work!
Sure we might like some other truth - or some other reality - to be ours, but it isn’t! So we must honestly assess where we are, and WHOSE we are, so that we can know better where we are going!
And for you today, and everyone who hears this message and reads this text, this is where you are: You lack nothing.
Nothing.
As you sit here, and work through whatever emotions might be working in your body, understand that you were made for this moment, but not for this moment alone! This moment is just another on the long list of moments that God has in store for you! Sure there is something to be learned from it, there is good and bad to be taken from it. But hopefully, when we frame it in the proper perspective - that of Jesus Christ, and living for His glory alone - we can see that, immediate emotions aside, He is calling us to not be sad because this time is over, but to be happy because it happened.
After all, what gift do you lack? As you, and I, wait for not only the revealing of Jesus physically, but as we await the revealing of His will in our lives, what has He failed to give you?
You have it all! There is nothing that we need in order to do His work! He has set the stage and prepared us for all that He has called us to before today, and all that He will continue to call us to in the future!
1 Corinthians 1:8 ESV
who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
He will sustain you. And more than that, church, He has sustained us all thus far! Every moment, every laugh, every tear, every joy, and every pain, they all come to us in light of the surpassing greatness and love of Jesus Christ! Nothing that we do, or experience, is outside of His reach. But it is us who can be short sighted. Us who can look at all He does, and selfishly ask for more, or for better.
But church, Christ sustains us, now and forever, by His power and sacrifice, not by our desires. We are His, and we go and do what He tells us, unmoved by the opposition, and unafraid of the obstacles, because we know that He will sustain us to the end!
And more than even that, church, He will sustain us for eternity! The end isn’t even the end! Christ will sustain us for all time, if only we let Him rule and reign over all we do. He is the one we should trust, not our own thoughts or actions! Christ alone is our guide, and our guard! No matter what we face, if we just trust Him, it will pass as we are sustained through all things - even through death itself!
1 Corinthians 1:9 ESV
God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Church, He does that because He is faithful.
He is faithful when life is easy. He is faithful when life is hard. He is faithful when the rains come. He is faithful in the drought. In war, in peace, in poverty and wealth - Christ is faithful! And faithful not to just love us in a way we can understand, but church, He is faithful to sustain us, and to empower us, and to deliver us!
We can do all things through Christ! Not just some things! And when I look around at this body, by family, and wonder about the future, I know that God will sustain! I know that He who began a good work in this body, will see it through to its completion in Christ Jesus! I know that no matter what we might think right now, we see only like looking into a mirror dimly, and one day, church, one day we will see clearly the goal and plan of Christ to reach this whole world, and to use us all to do it!
No matter what our hearts tell us. No matter what we might think. God is bigger than all of that. He gives us the steps to take. He makes for us a path. He sustains us. And church, He is faithful to lead us to His truth if only we let Him.
[slidehere?]
I praise God that you let me walk with you. I pray that as our relationship changes, that you all will let me continue to walk with you now as a friend, and a loved one. As family. More than all of that, church, I am so grateful that God has sustained us for a time, will sustain us in the future, and will see His will done to the end - the completion of His plan in Christ Jesus. How grateful we should be just to be a part of that plan.
Today, our invitation will be to everyone an invitation to our true soul’s need, our true dependency, our true love. Jesus Christ. Our sustainer, redeemer, and faithful Savior. Confess today your need of Him alone, and church, pray that He might be glorified and all that we think, say, and do.
# 552 “My Jesus, I love Thee”
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