At the end of every year, I commit myself to a time of prayer to discern a word from the Lord to focus on in the coming year. I find that word can sustain and act as a guiding light for me as an individual, Kim and I as a couple, and even for OneHope.
Last year, my word was accelerate. As a visionary, I was looking forward to another energizing word like that. Instead, the Lord surprised me as He began to impress the word remember on my heart. Soon, I began to notice the word everywhere – in meetings, devotions, emails, conversations. At first, remember seemed out of place, especially considering the season we’re in at OneHope. Right now the ministry is experiencing a season of amazing change, innovation, and growth. However, God confirmed this word through Scripture, one of the verses being Psalm 77:11: “I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.” (NIV)
God knows in the midst of incredible opportunities, there’s a tendency for people to forget who they are and what’s important. For any organization, there is always the danger of mission drift, forgetting the values, mission, or vision that God has set before you. We see the tragedy mission drift can cause in any structure, especially within the Church. It seems more and more that I’m being called to advise and counsel a church that has fallen apart due to conflict, pride, or a failure in the leadership. For the most part, these troubles have roots in them losing their way as an institution, as a ministry, as an individual. What it comes down to is they have forgotten their mission, God’s mission.
Now it feels like on an hourly basis God is asking me to remember. Just last week, one of my spiritual fathers, George O. Wood went to be with the Lord. I remember how nearly 40 years ago he was my pastor, and how God used this incredible mentor to prophecy over me when I was considering moving away from full-time ministry. Upon my reflection today, the prophecy he prayed over me is still unfolding.
I remember words of the Lord that have helped me stay on God’s righteous path, words that reminded me of what God requires of us as His people. I remember the day my dad called me weeping and told me of the vision he had. He saw children and youth lost, the enemy using weapons against the next generation. I remember how that phone call changed his life’s direction and mine. God told Dad to take His Word to children through leaders, and the Lord made a way, leading to the foundation of OneHope. Remembering these stories never gets old to me, because they are newer in my heart today than they’ve ever been. These stories are the mile markers of God’s faithfulness. As OneHope expands and we become more specialized in what we do, these are the stories that allow us to remember and never lose perspective.
The problem with remembering is that many times people begin to glorify the past, to make shrines of it. That’s not what God calls us to do. We’re each on a mission. He wants us to move forward, and always remember that initial dream He placed in our hearts.
Let us never forget that it is not our own strength, intelligence, or provision that brought us to where we are today, but God who carried us through and continues to do so.
In a time of great disruption, success, and change it is more imperative than ever to remember. This remembering, I’ve found, is critical for two reasons. First, which I’ve just presented is to ground us historically and missionaly, to remind us of who we are. However, the second is to remind us of who He is.
To remember is to rehearse the greatness of our God, that produces an unwavering faith for the mighty tests, challenges, and opportunities that lie before us. There will be kairos moments where God is going to ask us to risk everything and go all in. Rehearsing what God has done for you in those critical times in your history builds faith for those ‘All in Moments’. These all in moments take great faith that will produce great fruit.
Abraham was all in to go to a land where he’d never been. Isaac was all in to win Rebekah. Jacob was all in to become Israel. Joseph was all in to financially prepare Egypt to save his people. Moses was all in at the Red Sea, but not at the Jordan. Joshua and Caleb were all in for the Promised land. His people were all in at Gilgal, Bethel, Jordan and Jericho. David was all in at Ziklag. Danial was all in at Babylon. Ezra and Nehemiah were all in at Jerusalem. Jesus was all in at the cross.
REMEMBER the stories of triumph always have the All In Moments. It’s where faith and victory are born.
Friends, I encourage you to take time to remember. How did the Lord bring you to where you are today?