Recently, I had the opportunity to discuss life, plans, disappointments, shattered dreams, etc. with someone.  I decided to write out pieces of the story of my life, from one plan and one experience to the next.  What I discovered totally caught me off guard.  When I started putting it down on paper I suddenly realized, NOTHING IN MY LIFE HAS GONE THE WAY I PLANNED IT!  NOTHING!

My life is the sum total of my plans that got blown up or never quite turned out the way I planned.  It's a stream of broken dreams, broken promises, broken plans and HUGE MESSES.

I also realized another thing...if given the opportunity, there is very little I would change.  Very little happened the way I planned, dreamed and wanted it to.  But, it happened.  Here are the truths I've discovered:

*Life is not about getting around the mess that thwarts our wonderful plans we make for our life.  Life is the mess.  Life is found in choosing to live life in spite of the mess.  Life is found right, smack-dab in the mess.

*Joy in life is not found in sitting on the sidelines and trying to figure out what they next play is.  It's about moving from the stands to the field of play and getting into the action.  It's about getting dirty.  It's about getting your nose bloody.  It's about completing a pass now and then.  It's about losing and winning...but, playing the game.

*Many of the things we categorize as DISAPPOINTMENTS would more aptly go into the category of HIS APPOINTMENTS.  Too often we see God as just the God of the "WIN".  But, He is just as real and just as powerful and just as present in the "LOSS".  Sometimes, more so.  I actually believe some of the things we sweat and stew and stress and cry over are the things that make God smile.  I don't think He smiles because we're crying.  I think He wonders why we're crying when He has us right where He wants us.  We interpret the situation as a DISAPPOINTMENT, because it wasn't the way we planned it.  God sees it, rather, as HIS APPOINTMENT...what He appointed for our life.  A better plan.  His plan.  One that may possibly bring us less glory, but bring Him more.  Is that a win or a loss?  It's all a matter of getting God's perspective.

My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.
    “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.  Isaiah 55:8 (NLT)




Last Sunday we had 25 first-time guests (that filled out a Communication Card).  I email all our first-time guests, and many respond (maybe just to see if it's really me!).  I was amazed at some of their responses.

"We are so glad we came.  We just want to know how we can be members".

"I was invited by my friend _______.  We've been friends since 2nd Grade.  I'd put my spiritual life on hold for a long time, and knew I needed to renew my relationship with Him.  I'm so glad my friend invited me.  It's just what I needed.  I'll be back next week and am so excited to start my relationship with God again".

"As soon as the service was over, I couldn't wait to call my daughter and tell her, You've got to try this church!".

Those are pretty awesome responses.  But, the point is, none of those responses would have been possible without the fact that someone said, "Please".  They just took a minute to invite someone.

Sure, we were having our GRAND OPENING.  That helped.  But, the point is, all it took was an invite.  A simple, "Please come to church with me".  And, people said "yes".  Not everyone, but some did.  But, more importantly, it made a difference.  It started something.  It gave them just the push they needed to do what they had been meaning to...putting off...thinking about...thinking they wouldn't like, but did.

And what did it take?  Just the power of Please.