Before I began full time ministry, my wife and I were working in eastern Tennessee. We were newly married, just out of college, no money, living on a college campus (which was part of my job), and we were praying about what God wanted to do with us. Partly out of dissatisfaction over our current situation, but mostly out of a desire to be used by God in more and deeper ways, we starting asking Him in earnest where He would have us go and what He would have us do. Within the span of about three weeks, both my wife and I were offered full-time jobs (mine my first full time ministry appointment as a Worship Director), packed up our few belongings, got a cheap apartment in the Chicago suburbs and moved. It was a whirlwind month, but neither of us will forget what God did to make that transition possible.
Fast forward four years.
We had been living near Chicago and doing ministry there for awhile. I was nearing the end of my first Masters Degree and again Katie and I began wondering if God might be calling us to take another step. We started paying attention, listening for His direction, this time a little more experienced at knowing what His voice sounds like. Often, we had come to discover that whatever the strangest possibility offered to us, God could be in it. Though we loved where we were, what we were doing, the friends we had made, the ministry possibilities knocking on our door (not to mention having just bought and renovated our first house), this strange opportunity called.
Months prior, as Katie and I were praying for God’s direction, part of those prayers included asking Him to give us more opportunities to share our faith with non-Christian friends. We wanted to see God use us to bring people into relationship with Him. This strange opportunity was partly an answer to our prayers for direction, and partly an answer to prayers for greater evangelistic activity. A Lutheran church in Peoria, IL (somewhere we had never heard of) called looking for someone to train and program their congregation for evangelism. Neither Katie nor myself had set foot inside a Lutheran church before (not because we were opposed to the idea; simply because we both came from non-denominational backgrounds) and it would mean completely giving up on everything we had worked for years to build near Chicago, starting once again from scratch.
This was one of those strange, exciting, dangerous, unknown leaps of faith we had grown accustom to God calling us to do.
So we did it. God has richly blessed us in this new endeavor, and each time we take these steps following God, we get a little better at paying attention to what He’s doing around us.
Awhile ago I was reading in the book of Exodus for the umpteenth time and read a phrase I hadn’t caught before. Moses was wandering around Horeb and saw something strange, exciting, dangerous, and unknown: a bush ablaze but not consumed. Exodus 3:3 picks up the story,
“So Moses said, ‘I must turn aside now and see this marvelous sight, why the bush is not burned up,’ When the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called him from the midst of the bush and said, ‘Moses, Moses!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’”
Did you catch that? Only when Moses took the time to investigate the curiosity before Him, and only when God saw that Moses was paying attention, did He call him over.
That moment, that moment of investigation and paying attention, changed Moses’s life and the fate of the nation of Israel forever.
So what burning bushes in your life should you be paying more attention to? Is God doing something near you that is strange, exciting, dangerous, or unknown? Look into it and talk to Him about it. It may be the moment God uses to start something amazing in your life.