Monday, January 16, 2012


I like positive thinking. I like the feeling of accomplishment. I really like to listen to the testimonies of the successful. But I'm not sure setting goals in the church is as major as some would believe. I'll try to explain.

Please understand that I'm not anti-goal. I want to see specifics develop in my family and in the kingdom. I have a firm goal of paying my bills. On the other side, I am also aware of the potential to miss-God-in-our-lives if such an infraction is due to our infatuation with a worldly orientation called "setting goals" where we muscle and mind our own fleshly ways.

God has chosen to let me do several things of which I surely feel blessed....and I didn't plan any of them. I didn't intend to preach anywhere but Quincy, Illinois to the extent I told the Memorial Drive elders in 1977---twice---that there was no way I was moving. But God entered in.

I didn't plan on going to the St. Louis Cardinals' Legends Camp more than once. But God entered in and I head out next week for my twenty-ninth year. I didn't see this coming.

I never gave a thought to hosting a nation-wide weekly television program for three straight years in which hundreds were baptized. I didn't have such a goal; but God entered in.

Since truth is stranger than fiction in places, I had no goal of writing a blog. I accidentally set this one up when all I was trying to do was make a comment on Tim's (my son) blog. I didn't understand how blogville worked and in making that comment to him, I established a living blog site that had two hundred and eleven hits the first day....and there were no words. God entered in...and thus you are reading this post.

The list goes on; but enough. I am not against the setting of goals. We at Memorial have Baptism Sundays and Missions Days, etc. where we intend to reach kingdom marks.

I am, though, not enamoured with the idea of establishing high-pressured goals as if we are on a humanistic sales campaign. It is my conviction via observation that Jesus stands at the door and knocks is not only for a lead into an invitation song. It is God's effort to get us to open to Him that He might enter with His surprise mode of operation for the moment.

It also seems to me that during the very times I was trying to appear active and leader-ish in the church, I was simultaneously missing God opportunities while I was trying to reach up the ladder.

We should have goals. One of our first ones should be to note God in the very center of situations we might label as mundane...or even hopeless.....Romans 4:17-25. You see...even in the tomb of dead Jesus....God entered in.


Tim Archer said...

Last year, I was asked at the last minute to give a talk in Spanish at the Lipscomb Summer Celebration. (By last minute I mean 3 hours before!)

Given the topic of "The Early Church," I spent what time I had meditating on what the early church was about. I realized that they were never about "restoring" what another church had been. They were about being like Jesus. Their goal was Jesus.

When we take our eyes off of Him, we can end up in strange places. I very much agree with you: our goal has to be to know God and His Son Jesus Christ.

drjimwhite said...

Terry, I understand what you mean by setting goals. I agree goals are good, but they do two things. First, the emphasis is usually on ourselves when we accomplish those goals. God is not given glory or perhaps a little bit of credit. Second, goals limit God. God must laugh when we set our goals, no matter how high. So I prefer to listen and see what God wants accomplished. Thanks for the words...and for the book! It was terrific! I've already passed it on. JW

Brenda said...

When we set our eyes on a human made, self determined, goal...we limit what God can do in our lives. The goal IS God. I've noticed that if I don't set a goal, and I keep my focus completely on Him as my ultimate goal, then the dream of which I have set forth...just continues on. It think that's pretty awesome. Although, I may frustrate some personality tyes when they as "What's your goal here?" and I just say "Not sure...let's see what God does" :) Ha!