I've learned that sometimes my plans aren't always God's plans. Through many years of ministry, He has shown me that He works in mysterious ways, and often He wants me to step out of my comfort zone in order to do His will.
Last Sunday was one of those times. I traveled to Oklahoma to preach at First Baptist Church of Broken Arrow. As with anytime before I preach, I was praying for God to reveal the message He would have me to give. At 1 a.m., I felt God calling me to preach a topic I typically stay away from - hell.
I have only preached on this subject once before in my entire ministry. To be honest, I didn't want to preach on it again, and tried to negotiate my way out. Obviously, I believe in hell, but find no pleasure in discussing eternal separation. After much prayer, I still felt God calling me to preach the message.
On the way to church the next morning, I was literally sick to my stomach. I debated whether to simply change the message and disobey God, but chose to continue on, resting in Philippians 4:13, which says, "I can do everything through him who gives me strength."
I preached two services that morning. During the early service, not one single person responded publicly to the invitation. This is only the second time I could ever remember preaching where this happened. I was very discouraged and started second guessing my decision, wondering if I missed God. But God gave me a peace. I knew I was doing what He required of me, and I could sense that the people had been moved by the Spirit, even if there were no public decisions.
I preached the same message in the second service and 60 people came forward to make commitments to Jesus.
God worked in both services, but it was just in different ways. It felt good to know I did what God asked of me.
Sometimes there may be times in your life that God asks you to do something that is difficult for you. In these situations, offer your prayers to God and remember Joshua 1:9, "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."
Is God asking you today to step out of your comfort zone and be a witness for Him? If so, I hope you won't delay.