Providentially Delayed

Providentially Delayed

closed due to snow - jpg

The major roads are passable, but has frozen back over due to the melting from yesterday and the freezing back overnight.  The backroads along with lots of driveways have not been cleaned off or even touched.  Which is why we will not be having services today (1/24/16).

While we are closed today due to snow, we also what to provide you a couple of resorces for you to have for a devotional for today.

The Beast, the Book, and the Beauty of the Lamb

by John Piper

Click here to checkout an online sermon

Providentially Delayed


Picture it.  It’s Friday afternoon.  It’s a snow day and we are stir-crazy.  We had to get out of the house for a bit.  So, Amy and I decide to take the garbage to the end of our driveway, which we share with our neighbors.  It’s snowing, that’s all it had done all day. We bundle up (like Floridians living up north…yes, Tennessee is “up north” for us), grab the garbage, and head out.

Halfway to the garbage cans we notice our neighbors have just arrived home from braving the icy roads in their Nissan SUV.  Amy and I are excited and a bit nervous…we haven’t met our neighbors yet and now’s our chance.  We say hello and begin a conversation that lasts for a good 20 minutes.  It’s nice, we share a few laughs and they seem genuinely glad to meet us.  The feeling is mutual.  It couldn’t have gone much better…accept we nearly froze to death!  20 min conversations are great but not while it’s snowing and your beard is icing over (my beard…not Amy’s…Amy doesn’t have a beard).

As we said farewell to our neighbors, Amy and I finished our walk to the garbage cans and began to talk about our first encounter with our neighbors.  We both remark about how random it was that our first meeting with folks that live just feet from us happened outside during a snowstorm.  It’s definitely not the way I would have planned it, but life rarely happens according to our plans.

However, everything happens according to God’s plan.  Everything that happens, happens according to His will.  Nothing takes the all-knowing God by surprise.  Everything happens according to plan, even when it’s not according to “our” plan.

Take for example this Sunday (1/24/2016).  Our plan all along was to worship together at 105 Church Street in Hartsville, TN @ 10am like we have done as a congregation for nearly 6 years without fail.  However, God had other plans.  We were providentially delayed from worshiping together this Sunday by snow, ice, and treacherous roads.

You may be asking, “Matt, what does providentially delayed mean?  Theologian Wayne Grudem helps us here by supplying us with a definition of “providence”:

Providence is the doctrine that God is continually involved with all created things in such a way that he (1) keeps them existing and maintaining the properties with which he created them; (2) cooperates with created things in every action, directing their distinctive properties to cause them to act as they do; and (3) directs them to fulfill his purposes.

In simple terms (just in case that big definition proved to be a little too much for a Sunday morning), God is at work in and through his creation, moving all things (time, history, natural processes, human actions, and even weather pattern) to fulfill his purposes.   We were prevented or providentially delayed from gathering for corporate worship this day according to the God’s plan and for God’s purposes.  (Here are a few biblical examples of providential delays in the Bible:  Acts 16:6-10; Romans 15:22-29)

Now, I don’t know the exact reason why God chose to send the storm and I don’t know what he is seeking to accomplish in each of our lives through this delay.  In fact we will likely never fully understand God’s work in the world, because God himself said “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.” (Isaiah 55:8).  However, I’d like to give you 3 insights into what God my be doing in your life through this providential delay:

1) Slow Down.  We live life at break-neck speed.  Running here, going there.  Taking kids to practice, going to work, dropping off a bill at the post office, and the list goes on.  When the snow hits the south, everything stops, and things slow down.  Maybe God is speaking in these moments that you need to slow down, be still, and listen to his voice.

Psalm 27:14

Wait for the Lord;

be strong, and let your heart take courage;

wait for the Lord!

Psalm 37:7

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;

fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way,

over the man who carries out evil devices!

2) Pray.  Icy Roads and the prospect of losing your power in this cold weather have prompted many of us to call out to God more than usual.  Maybe the Holy Spirit is at work these last few days reminding you to fellowship with God through prayer.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

3) Awaken.  Most of us like to be in control, or at least feel like we are in control.  We plan our lives and expect everything to go accordingly.  When things don’t go according to plan we get all worked up and out of sorts.  The delays and hiccups in life remind us that we are not in control.  May we be awakened to God’s providence and submit all of our plans to his will.

James 4:13-17

13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— 14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. 17 So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.

In Christ,

Pastor Matt