Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Direction in Life: Acts 1:12-26

The convergence between the text and life never ceases to amaze me. Months ago I selected the preaching texts for this coming Sunday, following the broad outline of the life of Jesus, aligning Holy Week and Easter with the schedule. So now we are following the days after the resurrection until Pentecost (May 27).
The title for this week's sermon is "OK, so what's next?" following the instructions of the angels after the ascension to stop looking up into the sky but to go back to Jerusalem and wait. Wait...for what? Waht's next?
Graduates have talked with me and emailed me about the uncertainty what to do next: grad school, home, stay in Santa Barbara and put together a bunch of part-time jobs to afford housing costs? People in transition have talked with me about being unhappy where they are, but not certain of what they should do next. They face too many options, each with significant down-sides. I talked with a person considering retirement who is not sure when to leave full-time work that is less and less enjoyable and what to do with full-time retirement. Couples were huddled on campus last night as Martha and I walked through and I overheard two snippets of conversations about their summer separation and what to do with their relationship...what's next?
Life maps are confusing arrays of choices, a lot of them good choices. The Acts text has two little driving words that shed major light on life: "it is necessary" . Necessity implies a transcendent order or purpose. That Jesus rose from the dead to ascend into heaven to reign right now means that his purpose for me(us) gives my life a necessity, a purpose beyond what I like and don't like.
There are times I grieve the move away from Minnesota to California: leaving friends and family, stepping away from owning a home and back into a parsonage, leaving a pipe organ and full choir, leaving a large staff and long-standing relationships. But all that vanishes in the moment I remember God's purposeful call. He wants me here now. Then that's all that matters; to do what God wants for me next.
So to all the graduates and those looking for direction in life's choices; what does God want from you next? What next step must you take to align your life in line with God's purposeful will for how he wants to use you? That's all that is necessary.


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