Michael Fuelling - March 26, 2020

0707 How Should Christians View Planning, Flexibility, And Interruptions?

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This is the Village Church Q & A podcast where our goal is to create digital, shareable and helpful content. To make disciples who will go, grow and overcome.

Suz Macleod: Hey it’s Suz MacLead here with the Village Church Q & A podcast. This question, Pastor Michael, this question hits home for me because I’m a planner. I love to plan. I have everything organized in the right order at home. I view it kind of, it’s my job. This is what my job is. I love to plan. But I think even if it wasn’t my job, it’s just…

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Pastor Michael Fuelling: It’s what you do.

Suz: It’s what I do. Yeah, I love planning. I always planned. When I was 7 I wrote a plan for every day of the week and gave them to my Mom and she was like, what? Yeah, so this is my personality.

Pastor Michael: You remember telling your Mom what to do? I love it.

Suz: Well, I was kind of like writing the rhythms of the home down for her so she could see it. My Mom is a 7, so she’s very spontaneous. She needed someone with a plan.

Pastor Michael: Mom, I have a plan for your life.

Suz: Yes. So here’s our question that we want to get after today. With the coronavirus going on, it can be hard to plan right now which is really, really a thorn in my side and so this is hard. But I want to know, how should Christians view planning, flexibility and interruptions?

Pastor Michael: Couple of things. Number 1. Planning is really, really good. So I think it’s fair to say, God is a planner. God has plans. I know the plans I have for you. I mean, at every corner, we’re watching the plan of salvation unfold but the cross was planned before the creation of the world. God is a planner, planner, planner. So we’re made in his image and I love to watch the instincts of people and to see the good things that they do that are really just the image of God in them, okay?

It’s interesting, because when we think about people, I think about people in terms of 3 different time orientations. Some people are what I call historists, meaning they live in the past. Well, God is a historist. He lives in the past.

Suz: Yeah, He loves story telling.

Pastor Michael: He remembers the past. He tells his stories, right?

Suz: Absolutely.

Pastor Michael: There are people I call presentists. I don’t have a better word for it. They live in the present. They’re just very available. God is so present. He’s so available. Always listening to whatever you say. Always willing to give you an ear. Never distracted by his phone.

And then there’s futurists. They’re the planners, the dreamers. You know what I mean? My time orientation is definitely towards the futurists, right?

God is a planner. He’s got all of these things and he documents them. You watch from Genesis to Revelation, the plans of God. He sends prophets to tell people of these future plans.

Big picture, planning is good. Planning is by nature for the people who are future minded.

Suz: That makes a lot of sense.

Pastor Michael: It doesn’t mean that presentists and historians don’t plan, it just means futurists plan in maybe different ways. So planning is really good. I would tell everybody, man, plan. Make 3 year plans, 5 year plans, 20 year plans, lifelong plans. Save your money.

Suz: That’s because you’re a planner too.

Pastor Michael: Right. This is the part of the attribute of God that I really love. Now when people tell me document the past, remember the past, I’m always like argh, argh, argh, argh. The historians will do that, right? I have to. I have to remember. This is why I’ve been learning to tell stories about what I’m experiencing to immortalize these moments in my life because it’s not my nature.

So, number 1, planning is good. Proverbs 21:5. ‘The plans of the diligent’, it’s good to be diligent, so the diligent are planning. ‘They lead surely to abundance but everyone who is hasty, that can only lead to poverty’. So if you’re only thinking about today, the Bible’s like, eh, common sense, you’re not going to have anything for tomorrow. So we plan for tomorrow.

The second thing is God loves to interrupt our plans! Wow. Oh my goodness. I had when I was in my twenties, great plans for my thirties.

Suz: Oh, I had plans into my fifties.

Pastor Michael: Right. Nothing has turned out like I thought it would. I mean, if you took every script that I had and you read them over me now, you’d be like, that’s not his life.

Suz: Oh, I pulled these on of my first date with my husband and he was like, I’m not going to marry you. That’s scary to someone who doesn’t, and none of it actually happened.

Pastor Michael: What a great first date. Yeah, we’re not getting married.

Suz: He was like, what do you want to do with your life? Well, he asked. Here was the plan. The next 30 years.

Pastor Michael: In 6 months, we’ll get engaged, you and me.

Suz: When God interrupts our plans, it shows for me plans can become a hard idol. This is what’s so challenging about this time that we’re in. Each day is new and different and I’m like, what about tomorrow? What are we going to do at 4 o’clock? Well, 4 o’clock might change tomorrow. Right now, that’s what’s happening.

Pastor Michael: Right now, yeah. I would say planning is an act of stewardship. But God, we steward, but then God can do whatever he wants with it. So you hold your plans as a Christian real lightly. James, Chapter 4, verses 13 to 17, Suz, do you actually have that in front of you?

Suz: Yeah, I do, I’d love to read that. ‘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. 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. Instead you ought to say, if the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that. As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil, so whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it for Him, it is sin’.

Pastor Michael: Yeah, I love in verse 15 it says, ‘Here’s what you ought to say, if the Lord wills, we will do this or that’. So the person here is still planning, but they’re planning with their palms up, their hands open saying I’m putting my plans together, but God, I’m going to be flexible because you have a tendency to interrupt plans. Often what I find is when I start to save resources for my plan, God doesn’t mind the saving of resources, they just get allocated very differently, you know what I mean? So I think more times than not, God is actually more about building rhythms of resources and then he asks us to allocate them in weird ways.

Now, I will say this. Satan also loves to interrupt plans.

Suz: Yes.

Pastor Michael: God has allowed Satan in the demonic realm some level of permission to make things harder than they absolutely need to be. When you have the serment that it’s Satan interrupting the plans, this is where we have to overcome, we have to pray through them, we have to fight through them and we have to figure that out.

Now, I would add another one which is the plans of God are always better than the plans we put into motion. So I love my plans. I think my plans are great. I had a lot of plans in two thousand nineteen and twenty. So far, none of my plans are happening. I had a lot of plans. January of 2020, I started plotting out this year in some really intentional ways.

Suz: Yeah, absolutely.

Pastor Michael: More excited than I have ever been in my life. The coronavirus has screwed up all of them, you know? So I’m going through a little bit of grief, what’s the word, sadness, over just letting my plans go and just believing I that had plans for an Easter Egg Extravaganza and it was going to be awesome!

Suz: You and I were talking about that. Easter Sunday plans are now possibly, going to be taken off the table. That’s so extremely painful.

Pastor Michael: Totally. Even just thoughts like, hmm, could we have a May Easter service? It’s not on anyone’s calendar, but we’re going to call it our Resurrection Sunday and make up a new Easter this year. Well, why not? Right. Who decides Easter anyways? Come on. We do. So Gods’ plans are better. We put all these plans in but his plans prevail. They’re better long term. It’s good stuff.

Suz: So at the end of all this, Pastor Michael, let’s be very intentional to look back and see how His plan was better. We’ve got to do this for our Church. We’ve going to tell the story.

Pastor Michael: We’ve got to figure it out. So remind me to do that. Let’s plan to do that.

Suz: Because I love story telling.

Pastor Michael: Let’s plan to do that.

So interruptions, I would say, welcome them. Whether it’s from God, or Satan, or just life, don’t give Satan the joy of ruining your week or your day. That’s what he wants. His job is to ruin you. His job is to destroy you, to steal Gods’ plans. To do whatever he can. If the Lord allows Satan to interrupt your plans, key word, then He has allowed it. Don’t give even Satan the moment to even think for a second that he’s actually in control. Even if he is given that opportunity, God is like, yeah, I’ll let you do that. If God didn’t want to let him do it, He wouldn’t let him do that, you know?

Even when I see that there’s demonic influence on my plans, I’m still seeing the hand of God behind it, because He’s permitting it. That’s important, because now I can say, okay, why did you permit it? What are you up to? How do I have your heart as you said in one of our previous episodes. How do I get your heart on this?

Suz: Lord, give me your heart on the matter.

Pastor Michael: So, planning is good. God loves to interrupt our plans. God’s plans are always better. Welcome the interruptions.

Suz: Yeah, let’s trust Him.

Pastor Michael: Yeah, it’s a lot, but it’s worth it. This whole season right now is just one big living illustration for believers everywhere with all of our planning and all of our 401ks and all of our argh argh argh, you know, okay God, it’s all yours now.

Suz: We have a plan tomorrow to release another episode.

Pastor Michael: If God wills.[/bg_collapse]

In This Episode:

Michael Fuelling
Michael Fuelling
Suz MacLeod
Suz MacLeod