When I was 11 years old, my dad’s company that he was working for in California closed their doors.  They had offices all over and we were offered four different places to move.  We could move to Sacramento, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City or glorious Denver.  Praise be to God, my parents chose wisely!!  I grew up in California and that was all I knew.  My whole family was really involved there, so leaving that place was like tearing up roots that had been drilled deep into the soil of where we were.  It was a difficult thing to leave.  I can remember two things about leaving:  1) There were a lot of tears.  2) At one point in time, there was a circle of people who surrounded my family and me.  To the glory of God, we all sang, with tears pouring down our face, Friends are Friends Forever by Michael W. Smith.

Transition times, moving, change is a difficult thing, isn’t it?  It can be.  A number of years later, my wife and I….I was serving as a college pastor at a church in San Diego.  I got a call to come to serve as lead pastor of a church in Colorado—that’s you guys, South Fellowship Church!  As we tried to think through whether God was leading us down this journey and come and serve as pastor here…..that decision point, that transition time was one of the most difficult times in my life.  I can remember driving with my two kids in the back seat of my car.  I was taking my oldest son to pre-school and my daughter to a friend’s house.  I drove right passed my son’s pre-school and thought, “What am I doing?”  I turned around and drove right passed it again! I thought, “Someone’s stolen my brain!”  I get there and dropped him off.  I forget my daughter’s in the back seat of the car.  I drive to church and park.  I’m getting out with my bag over my arm about to shut the door and from the back seat my daughter says, “Hi, daddy!”  I’m like a moment away from being a statistic you hear on the news!  I’m going, “What is wrong with me???”

I don’t know if you’ve ever walked through a season of change or a transition, but they can mess with our heart and our soul and our mind in some pretty crazy ways, can’t they?  I think there are two types of people in the world.  One type is the person who’s probably a little more realistic and they go, “Change is coming and that’s a difficult thing.”   It stirs up anxiety in our heart and in our soul and in our mind. Then there’s these other people—-they’re sorta like a unicorn—-who like change.  Anybody like that?  They love change.  They thrive on it and it feeds the excitement that their soul needs to really feel alive.

I don’t know how you approach change.  I only know that change is inevitable in life.  It’s not if it comes for us, it’s when it comes for us.  For some of us today, we’re in a season of change.  I think the timing of this message is divine in that this happens to be in the flow of our year when graduations happen.  So they’re not in elementary school any more, they’re now in middle school.  The middle schooler gets into high school.  There’s some high schoolers that are graduating and they’re moving on to whatever God has for them next—into the work force or college.  There’s some parents in this room that are looking at their calendars and going, “Alright, in three months we are going to have no kids in the house anymore.”  Some of you are transitioning out of the work force and retiring.  This is the year and change is coming for you.  It comes for us all. It came for Jacob, too. 

If you’ve been with us for over the last few weeks, you know we’re studying the life of one of the great patriarchs of the Hebrew faith.  His name is Jacob.  His grandfather is Abraham and his father is Isaac.  If you’ve been with us, you recognize that Jacob’s life didn’t get off to the greatest start.  He was the second born in a first-born society.  He was loved more by his mother than by his father.  In a patriarchal world that didn’t work all that well for him.  He wasn’t a hunter like his beastly brother; he was a gatherer and liked to cook soup—-that worked to his advantage sometimes, but it didn’t earn him the affection from his dad and the people around him that he deeply longed for and that his soul needed.  Jacob stole the blessing from his brother by pretending to be his brother.  He was on the run; his mom sort of shoves him out the door and tells him to go live with his crazy Uncle Laban.  Laban is the only person in the Jacob-narrative who is more shady than Jacob. When Jacob encounters Laban it’s like he’s looking in a mirror.  He works for Laban for 20 years.  We’re going to jump into the story about midway through.  If you have a Bible, you can open to Genesis 30:25.  Jacob has married both Leah and Rachel, Laban’s daughters, his cousins.  He is at the point now where he starts to think about going home.  Here’s what the Scriptures say:  As soon as Rachel had borne Joseph, Jacob said to Laban, “Send me away, that I may go to my own home and country.  {Just a quick timeout.  We start to recognize that Jacob has been there about 14 years, at least, but when he says this you start to see that he’s never felt like he’s been home.  There’s always been something else on the horizon.  There’s always been an unsettled nature in his soul.}  Give me my wives and my children for whom I have served you, that I may go, for you know the service that I have given you.”   Jacob senses that it’s time to leave.  It’s time for a transition.  He’ll go on to say—-you can read about this in Genesis 30—-the reason he feels that way is because he’s grown as much as he can in the place that he is.  He’s maxed out, he feels like, under Laban’s wing.  He can only acquire so much. He can only gain so much.  He can only grow so much.  He reaches the point where he’s grown as much as he can and he says alright, now it’s time for me to head into a different season.  It’s time for me to chase that dream, that promise, that God placed back in his heart and on his life in Genesis 28:15 — Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land.   He goes, “Alright, Jacob, there’s going to be a time where you’re going to outgrow where you’re at and there’s going to be a time where you’re going to need to think about not staying where you are but coming home.”  What God promises Jacob years and years and years ago, is that when that time comes, as scary as it is…..and let’s be honest, transitions are hard, aren’t they? Change is scary.  There’s a reason that there’s a promise of God’s presence that undergirds this promise of change.  “I’m with you and I will keep you.”  

I wonder for us today what type of transition we might be looking at; what type of change might be coming in our life.  For Jacob, it was the change of where he physically lived.  We live in a transient society where people move all the time and that’s sort of the world we live in.  But for Jacob and the world he lived in, that was rare. Because their very livelihood, their wealth, their identity was tied to the land that they lived in.  For them to be uprooted and for them to move would have been earth-shattering, risky faith, bold, like-you’ve-never-seen-before.  When Jacob’s grandfather, Abraham, gets a word from God, gets a promise from God—when God says I want you to leave the place that you’re at to go to a land I will show you—we don’t have a modern-day equivalent for just how risky and crazy that was.  Now Jacob is following in his grandfather’s footsteps.  Maybe it’s that stirring from God that just……the ground that I’m planted in is not where I’m called to flourish long term.  Maybe that’s it.  Maybe not.  If it’s not, please don’t say, “Well, this message isn’t for me.”  Because change is a part of our lives even if we stay where we’re at.  Change has to be part of the way that we think. We’re all in the process, hopefully, of diving deeper and deeper into what it means to be a child of the Most High God.  We’re all in the process of learning what it looks like and what it means to not just sing a song that says, “I’m no longer a slave to fear, but I am a child of God,” but to live with our feet on the ground in a way that reflects that theological truth.  Sometimes that means that we need to change some of the things going on in our head so that we can walk in truth of what God has declared.  Maybe it’s not “we’ve got to leave physically,” but maybe God will challenge some of you this morning to say, “Alright, maybe it’s time to ditch the lie that I’ve been sinking my heart and soul into and to move forward into the truth that I know God has declared.”

Maybe for some there’s this sadness over your life.  I can remember for a long time after my mom passed away, I almost felt guilty about being happy and laughing.  My thought was, “I should be upset and I should be sad, but in this moment I’m not.”  For me, it was a change to say, “Ok, there’s freedom.  There’s freedom to find joy again.”  There’s freedom to walk in the goodness that God has made, to see not the pain that’s out there, but to see the joy that’s on the horizon.  Maybe that’s it for some of you.  Maybe for some of you, you’re angry and it comes up in different ways in your soul and it comes out on the people around you.  There’s an invitation on the table this morning from God to say, “Alright, maybe it’s time.”  Maybe it’s time to walk out of that season and into something new.  Here’s the thing….  {Will you look up at me for just a moment?}  It’s better to be uprooted than it is to be grounded in the wrong field.  It’s better to have to wrestle with the change that comes and the uncertainty and the pain that inevitably comes along with it than it is to be grounded in the wrong field.  Maybe you’ve grown as much as you can; or maybe there’s this calling of God on your life; or maybe there’s a promise you feel that God has given and it’s time to step into it…..that’s the way Jacob felt.

Here’s the truth that we’re going to circle around today and this is the reality—you know it and I know it—times of transition or change are filled with unprecedented challenge and immense growth!  Part of the challenge of life is that it’s BOTH of those things.  It were just one or the other, we could either dive into with both feet—full on—or we could avoid it like the plague, but the reality is change brings both challenge and growth in a way that maybe nothing else in our life does.  Change is hard!  When we encounter Jacob at this part of his story, he’s lived with Laban for 14 years.  He’s 91 years old at the first part of the story and when he ends up leaving he’s 97 years old!  That’s a heck of a time to make a life-altering change!  {I’m going into a new career field!}  Wow!  You wonder, as he steps out, if the questions swirl in his soul—What if what I step into is worse than where I’m leaving?  What if I don’t even make it there?  What if my brother sees me and, after these many, many years, is still holding that grudge and takes me down?  He has this conviction that it’s better to be uprooted than it is to be grounded in the wrong field.  Change always comes with uncertainty.  But it also always comes with growth.  I love the way Benjamin Franklin put it: “When you’re finished changing, you’re finished.”  Period.  Change is a part of life.  Another person said, “Change is inevitable—except from a vending machine.”  It’s inevitable.  That’s a great thing for you and I.  Not an easy thing, but a really, really good thing.

So Jacob says to Laban, “Hey, it’s time for me to go home.”  Laban says back to him in Genesis 30:27 — But Laban said to him, “If I have found favor in your sight, I have learned by divination that the Lord has blessed me because of you.  Name your wages, and I will give it.”  So, Jacob says,”It’s time for me to go,” and Laban says back to him, “Not so fast.  What were you making a few days ago?  I will give you as much as you want as long as you’ll stay with me.”  So Jacob has this promise from God stirring in his life and Laban, his uncle, says, “Just work for me a little bit longer.”  To make a long story short—-Jacob says yes and he works for his uncle for another six years.  From the time God stirs the promise in his heart to the time he actually leaves to go where God’s leading is a time period of, at least, six years.  Don’t you ever just want to say back to God, “Could you condense the time a little bit?  Just give the promise when you want me to go and I’ll go.”  But here’s what Jacob does….we learn so much from Jacob’s life….here’s what he does and you may be entering into a season of transition and it may be coming faster than you think or it may take a lot longer than you ever dreamed.  If it takes longer, you’re in good company with Jacob.  And when it does, keep working while you’re waiting.  That’s what Jacob does.  Jacob enters into a season of being a shepherd—-of caring for Laban’s flocks.  God’s plan of delay is actually a plan to prepare for what He has for Him on the horizon.  We often see it as waiting—-and every life is filled with waiting.  But what we call waiting, God often calls preparation.  We don’t have a huge value of preparation in our culture and our time; we live in a microwave culture where we want it our way and we want it right now.  But God knows better than that—this just in—He’s smarter than you!  He will often put a dream in your heart and a promise over your life and a calling and then and then and THEN He will prepare you to step into what He is calling you towards.  Let’s just admit that that’s a really hard season sometimes—-to walk with God in the waiting.  For Jacob, there’s this dream that’s been birthed inside of him that he just can’t let go.  He knows the future that’s on the horizon; he knows the calling of God that’s on his life and God says no, I want you HERE right now and I want to prepare you for what I have for you THERE.

If we want to wait well, there’s three quick things we gotta do and things that Jacob does.  Waiting is not passive.  Seasons of waiting cannot be passive—-where we sort of take our hands off the wheel and go, “Well, whatever happens happens.”  Seasons of waiting must be actively engaged.  In this waiting season, God expands Jacob’s flocks; he expands Jacob’s wealth; he expands Jacob’s reach of his tiny kingdom; and He’s preparing him to step into the land that he left.  Had he gone right away, he would not have had what he needed to flourish where God was going to plant him.  That’s a word for some of you here this morning—if you just go there right away, you will not have what you need to flourish where God wants to plant you.  Now, this is for my generation and younger—-we hate the process.  We hate working our way up.  I can’t tell you how many people that I talk to—-they may be younger than me and graduating from college or seminary—-that have a dream job in their head.  They’re not going to say yes to anything but the dream job.  You know what that means?  They’re going to be unemployed.  They aren’t ready for the dream job yet.  God hasn’t stirred in them; he hasn’t prepared them; he hasn’t readied them for that.  So what if we committed to walking the journey with God rather than looking for shortcuts to the destination.  God stirs in Jacob:  1) Be actively engaged.  2) Value preparation.

But as you do that: 3) don’t lose sight of intentional vision.  God, this is where you’re calling and God, this is what you’re doing.  Jacob starts to flourish.  He starts to be mightily blessed by the hand of God.  His flocks are expanding.  He lives three days away from Laban now, so he put some distance between he and Laban after he accepted the job offer to stay with him.  He goes, “Yeah, I’ll stay with you but I’m putting three days between you and me, buddy, because you’re shady and I know shady.”  His land is expanding and his people are flourishing and it’s getting bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger.  What I love about Jacob is there comes a time where he says, “I’ve grown as much as I can in this place and it’s time for me to leave.”  I love that, because sometimes God’s biggest blessings can also be some of the greatest hindrances to being obedient to Him.  Isn’t that true?  God, you’ve blessed me where I’m at, so I can’t leave.  I can’t touch that.  I can’t mess with that.  You’ve been so good and your hand is so on this!  I can remember when we were thinking about leaving the college ministry we were a part of in California and it had grown a lot in the five years that we were there.  God’s hand of blessing was all over it.  One of the hardest things about embracing transition and change was leaving something we knew God’s hand was on.  The blessing can sometimes block us from obedience.  Sometimes it’s easier to say, “God bless you as you go” to kids leaving the house if they’re just a pain to be around.  My parents didn’t shed a tear when I left!  Other kids….they’re a huge blessing and it’s harder to let them go.  Sometimes God’s blessing can be a hindrance to our obedience. 

Genesis 31:1-3 — Now Jacob heard that the sons of Laban were saying, “Jacob has taken all that was our father’s, and from what was our father’s he has gained all this wealth.”  And Jacob saw that Laban did not regard him with favor as before.  Then the Lord said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your fathers and to your kindred, and I will be with you.”   This is six years later, after he gets the call to go; after he senses the stirring to go.  He gets this word from God, “Now is the time.”  So they start to pack up all of their things.  They start to get ready to make the move.  Genesis 31:19 — Laban had gone to shear his sheep, and Rachel stole her father’s household gods.  As she’s getting ready to go, she says, “I’m going to go and take my dad’s little idols and I’m going to bring them along with me.”  Just sorta tuck that into the back of your head, because we’re going to come back to that in just a moment.   They leave.  They’re a three-days journey ahead of Laban and he gets word that they left and he goes and he starts to chase them down.  Verse 25:  And Laban overtook Jacob. Now Jacob had pitched his tent in the hill country, and Laban with his kinsmen pitched tents in the hill country of Gilead.  And Laban said to Jacob, “What have you done, that you have tricked me and driven away my daughters likes captives of the sword?  Why did you flee secretly and trick me, and did not tell me, so that I might have sent you away with mirth and songs, with tambourine and lyre?    If you believe that Laban would have actually sent him away in this form and this fashion, I have some ocean-front property in Arizona I’d love to sell you!  There’s no way!  But here’s the picture:  Jacob has decided it’s transition time and God, you’re calling me go.  He’s packed up everything that he owns—all of the people that are with him—the wives, the children, the possessions—and he’s taking all of them and he’s walked somewhere around 300 miles on this journey.  He’s gotten to a certain point and now, standing in front of him and the promise that God’s given him is crazy Uncle Laban.  Isn’t that the way that change feels sometimes?  You get going and you’re walking with God and then right in your way stands some opposition, some resistance, some pushback.  So not only, if we’re in that season, do we need to work while we’re waiting, but we need to expectresistance…..but hold on to promise.  You’ve never seen a good movie that didn’t have resistance.  You’ve never read a good story that touched a piece of your soul that didn’t have some form of the protagonist being blocked from getting what he wanted, what he set out to get.  It is the form of every good story and here’s the truth of the matter, friends: it happens in every good life, too.  It’s not just the stories that we read, it’s the lives that we live.  Anytime we want to follow God into something new and into a new season—-maybe it’s in a mindset or an emotional stronghold that’s in our life and we sense a transition out of that—-you better believe that if you decide to go, there’s going to be some resistance along the way.  There just is!

History, though, is filled with men and women who pushed through opposition, said no to destructive fear and ended up changing the world.  History is not filled with people who’ve had an easy road—-you know that, right? Martin Luther King, Jr. was thrown in jail over 20 times as he led the Civil Rights Movement.  He had multiple crosses burned in his front yard.  His house was bombed and was lit on fire.  Eventually, he was killed.  But he believed in this movement; he believed in the value of the personhood of every single person that walks the face of the globe.  He wanted that equality and fought for it.  You better believe that he encountered resistance and he pushed through it.  It’s why we still read about him today.  We live in a culture where it’s so easy to tap out and say, “Listen, if it’s hard, I’m done!”  But praise the Lord for people that have said, “If it’s hard, I’m going to hold onto the promise and I’m going to keep going.”  You may have read about Malala Yousafzai who stood up to the Taliban.  In 2009-2011, she wrote this underground blog that the BBC newspaper picked up and started publishing.  It was how women were getting robbed from education by the Taliban.  In 2012, she was getting on a bus and there was a Taliban soldier there who identified her.  He shot her three times at point-blank range.  She didn’t die, miraculously enough.  She had a bullet that went through her left eye socket, down through her shoulder and out the other side.  She refused to stop.  She continued to fight as an activist for women’s rights, for women’s education under the oppressive regime of the Taliban.  She was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2013 and she was the youngest winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014. She said, “I will not stop!”

You will never go through a season in your life where there’s fruitful change that happens and you DON’T encounter opposition.  You never will!  You will never grow your faith in a way that leads to you flourishing without opposition.  I love the way Frederick Douglass said it:  “Without a struggle, there can be no progress.” We love looking at that for somebody else’s life, don’t we?!  We can identify that—Oh, that’s true!  But what about the things you’re facing in your life right now?  What about the problems you’re looking at?  The giants on the horizon?  The mountains that you have to climb–relationally to repair things?  Or as a transition—moves in job or career or where you’re living?  You’re looking at the mountains and going, “Man, there’s no way we can do it!”  I’ll say back to you, “There’s never been a time in your life where you’ve grown and you didn’t face opposition.  Ever.”

Jacob believes this promise of God and he immediately encounters opposition.  He’s just a few days along the way.  God has spoken to him, “Hey, Jacob, it’s time to go.”  Jacob’s like, “Alright, I’m gathering my stuff. I’m gathering my people.  I’m gathering my multiple wives.  I’m gathering all my kids.  I’m on my way!”  A week into his journey, he sees his nemesis staring him in the face.  Don’t you wish a promise from God equaled easy passage to the fulfillment?  We can try to read the Scriptures in a way that suggests that, but you can’t read them in context and think that.  You just can’t.  He believes the promise and then he encounters resistance.  He confronts it directly, he speaks truthfully and he remembers God’s provision and he keeps going, he keeps pushing.

Genesis 31:30-32 — We have this issue with these stolen gods, these household idols that Rachel took.  So after a back-and-forth between Jacob and Laban, Laban says, “And now you have gone away because you longed greatly for your father’s house, buy why did you steal my gods?”  Jacob answered and said to Laban, “Because I was afraid, for I thought that you would take your daughters from me by force.  Anyone with whom you find your gods shall not live.  In the presence of kinsmen point out what I have that is yours, and take it.”  Now Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen them.  So Laban went into Jacob’s tent and into Leah’s tent and into the tent of the two female servants, but he did not find them.  And he went out of Leah’s tent and entered Rachel’s.  Now Rachel had taken the household gods and put them in the camel’s saddle and sat on them. Laban felt all about the tent, but did not find them.  And she said to her father, “Let not my lord be angry that I cannot rise before you, for the way of women is upon me.”  So he searched but did not find the household gods.   What an interesting story! First of all, wow!  But second of all….here’s the narrative.  Step back for a second.   Jacob senses a new season is on the horizon.  Jacob is leading his family into a promise. Into seeing God move and seeing God work.  And in his caravan of his possessions are these little household gods, these idols.  Worship of foreign gods, not Yahweh, the One True God.  The question we have to wrestle with is will new seasons and seasons of change also invigorate and invite us to new devotion or will we just carry with us the old and plant it down in a new field.  That’s what we’re wrestling with.  That’s what we’re seeing.  So the encouragement I hope we all take away is that seasons of change would also mean—-we work while we’re waiting, we expect resistance—-that we embrace refinement in the midst of disorientation.  That’s what this whole story revolves around — God, you’re at work and you’re moving and you’re leading and we’re doing our best to follow.  Receiving the promise from God always, always, ALWAYS carries with it a season of God’s refinement in us.  Will we let go of the things that we’ve put as ultimate on the throne of our heart and follow our good God to the new season that He leads?  We can fight that or we can surrender to it.

When these household gods are brought up, they have this decision:  are we going to hold onto them and just take them with us and plant them in a new place or will we…….we call it repentance.   Will we turn from the false gods that we’ve been worshipping and will we bow at the throne of the one true God, Yahweh.  Will we repent?  Will we change our mind?  It’s interesting that this story is thick with irony—-what Jacob says is you can kill whoever you find holding the idols.  It’s ironic because idols always kill!  They always kill!  They always lead to death.  Bowing at the wrong throne and centering our life around the wrong thing always leads us to a place of regret and pain and hurt, because idols always promise something that they cannot deliver. Refinement in this way is hard because it requires repentance.  It also requires that we step out into this place—-this is why most of us hate change—-where we’re out of control.  So, God, if I let go of this thing, what are you going to replace it with?  What are you going to put back?  God, if I let go of this anger, what’s going to fill that place? God, if I let go of this sadness, what’s going to dwell there?  If I let go of the bitterness and the unwillingness to forgive that’s driven my life for years and years and years, what do I put back in that place?  That’s why change is hard.  What Jacob and Leah and Rachel wrestle with is God, in the midst of being disoriented, will we allow you to mess with us?  Refine us.  Shape us.  Make us more into your image.  Here’s the thing—-this just in—-God is ruthlessly, passionately, ferociously committed to that in your life.  He’s committed to refining you.  The Scriptures say that he will use any and every situation that you walk through in life in order to do that.  And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.  For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son. (Rom. 8:28-29)  That’s His plan in your life—-to shape you and make you and mold you to the image of Jesus.  One of the seasons He does that most is in seasons of change and seasons of transition.

So, the story ends with Jacob and Laban coming to terms with each other.  They make a covenant.  It says in Genesis 31:44, 51-52 — Come now, let us make a covenant, you and I.  And let it be a witness between you and me.  {They decide how to divide all the stuff and they decide that they’re not going to go any further than this pillar that they set up, roughly halfway between Laban and where Jacob will eventually land.  This is how that account ends.}  Then Laban said to Jacob, “See this heap and the pillar, which I have set between you and me. This heap is a witness, and the pillar is a witness, that I will not pass over this heap to you, and you will not pass over this heap and this pillar to me, to do harm.  {I can remember my brother and I sharing a room when we were growing up.  We used to have a line down the middle of the room.  You’re not allowed to go passed it. Conveniently, the door was on my side.  He had to figure that one out, right?}  What’s going on? Jacob, at this moment, encounters the point of no return.  He’s saying, “OK, I can’t go back now.  My face has to be set towards where You’re going.”  There’s boundaries that are set and there’s a commitment now in Jacob’s heart and mind and life to the new future that God has placed in his soul.  So how do we navigate seasons of transition well?  Commit definitively and walk confidently.  That’s where he finds himself.  I can’t go back. God, I’m going to remember your blessing in the past and I’m going to build my life on what you’ve done and remembering your goodness, but I’m not going to live in the past.  I’m going to walk with you into the future.

I don’t know about you, but Jacob’s life strikes a cord with me.  That there’s some new things that God is doing in my soul.  Some things that I’m passionate about that He’s leading us—-as a Body, as a community of faith—-into and I am so excited about that.  I think a lot of times we want to see God’s faithfulness, but we don’t want to take the risk to step out in faith.  So much of our life is spent longing and hoping and praying and dreaming—-and those are all good things.  But there comes a moment, friends, in all of our lives, where we are called to step out and to put our faith in practice—-not just songs that we sing on a Sunday morning that are absolutely true, but a life that we live.  If you want to see the faithfulness of God in your life, it demands that you take a step of faith.  Take a step of faith.  That’s going to require some change.  Maybe in a mindset.  Maybe something in your heart and your soul that you’ve just held onto.  Maybe it’s geographically and physically.  But what is the thing that God’s calling you to say, “It’s better to be uprooted than it is to be planted in the wrong field.”  Seasons of change/times of transition are the most fruitful times we’ll walk through in life.  They’re also some of the most difficult.  Which is why the Scriptures’ instructions are so clear — Work while you’re waiting. Trust God’s promise.  Walk with Him.  Know what He’s called you to.  Know there’s going to be resistance.  Know it’s going to be difficult.  Just file that in the back of your mind.  See it as a time to clear the deck—-to refine your commitment, to give your life fully and totally to Him.  Then, friends, step out in faith.  Let’s pray.

Some of you know God’s calling you to something new, something different.  Maybe it’s a thought pattern. Maybe today you want to trust God with your life.  For some of you, it’s letting go of some of the anger, the bitterness, the lack of forgiveness that you’ve walked in for a long time.  For some of you —- I’m planted in the wrong field, God.  I want you to uproot me and I want to follow you into this and I don’t know what that means. {Ryan asked for raised hands if anyone was in any of those categories.}  So Father, we know that these are really hard times—-times of transition and times of change.  They’re times of uncertainty.  They’re times of questions, doubts, fears—-all of those things swirl.  Father, for my friends who have raised their hands to say that they’re in that season right now, I pray that you would remind them of your goodness today.  That you’d remind them that while seasons change that you remain.  That your love remains.  That your steadfast goodness holds them tight, even when their hands get weary of holding you.  Father, I pray over my friends and the resistance that they’ll face; the refinement that they’ll encounter.  Lord, may they accept it and walk in it with grace—clinging to you, Author and Perfecter of our faith.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.