Have you ever had a season where you had a real sense that God was at work? You may not have known how or where, but you knew that something was about to happen. While we seek discernment and the outcome, we feel an intense anticipation. How do you experience, process, and lean into this tension while also be a part of what God is doing to move it forward?
Within the Christian calendar, there are two distinct seasons where we are called into anticipation. Advent precedes the arrival of Emanuel and Lent leads us to Jesus’s crucifixion and resurrection. The Church’s liturgy helps define this anticipation and walk us towards the celebration of these cornerstone events.
But there are times when we see God at work – either in a specific or a general sense – where we know that something amazing is going to happen. We get excited because we know that it is beyond our capabilities to orchestrate or bring it about, and we are equally aware that the outcome is going to be something greater than we could do ourselves.
I have had two events on my horizon for a long time that are both on the verge occurring and I’m in the final days of awaiting what God is going to do; knowing that it is going to be amazing.
First, for the last couple of years we (Missions Development International) have had a vision to serve more leaders in more ways. Since early last year we’ve had the idea to bring together a small group of Christian ministry leaders on a regular basis in hopes of facilitating a conversation that allows us to be instruments that God uses to break down the isolation of leadership, build community and speak into one another’s lives. So many leaders feel called to the position they are in, but at the same time they feel lonely in their role. We’ve envisioned a place where a group of leaders can walk alongside one another and allow God to build us up and remind us that we aren’t called to go it alone.
After formulating the ideas, discussing it with some focus groups, and planning, a group of nine leaders recently met for the fist time to begin what we’ve called Thrive Leader Groups. God has placed a burden on my heart to bring this together so that He might do something very special. I truly believe that He wants to pour into the lives of these leaders in a way that they cannot currently find in any other venue. I am filled with anticipation to see what He will do!
Second, we are going to Africa. While MDI has served leaders in several countries in Africa for more than a decade, I have never had the chance to go. Along with our Co-Founders, I will be leaving in just a few days (March 18) to spend time with nearly ten different leaders around the country of Uganda. They are involved in many kinds of ministry within various organizations. We will have the chance to be face-to-face to listen, discern, encourage, and pour into them in the unique way that God has called MDI to serve. Because I have never taken a trip like this, I’m somewhat at a loss for how to wrap my mind around my expectations. I am so eager to be a [very small] part of the amazing work that God is doing in and through these leaders’ lives. To be placed in a position to serve the Lord by serving His leaders is both humbling and incredibly exciting. Again, I anticipate great things.
Finally, now that I have been in my role leading Missions Development International for 20 months, I have a broad/general sense that God is on the verge of doing something amazing with this ministry. While I can’t yet point to what that means or looks like, I sense His movement and the Holy Spirit’s presence in what we’re doing. I am praying expectantly for what is on the horizon.
Last week I came out of a meeting with a new Leader/Client that we’ve been introduced to. They are a husband and wife who are serving in Lyon, France. God has placed them each in unique ministry roles and He is using them greatly in incredibly impactful ways. Needless to say, they are shining the Light of Christ in the midst of a culture and people who need it desperately.
As I returned to my office, I was trying to mentally shift gears to the things on my plate that need to get done. We are in a strategic time and I’m giving a lot of thought to the future of MDI. But before I could move on, I felt called to just sit in prayer. I praised God for these leaders, the opportunity to serve and what He is doing in their lives and how they are impacting others. Before I got up, I felt a desire to hear from the Lord and picked up my Bible. I asked Him for specific guidance where to turn and (without knowing how to describe it) felt Him leading me to Isaiah – and specifically, chapter 60. When I read it, I was awed… it says,
“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.”
“Lift up your eyes and look about you: All assemble and come to you; your sons come from afar,
and your daughters are carried on the hip. Then you will look and be radiant, your heart will throb and swell with joy; the wealth on the seas will be brought to you, to you the riches of the nations will come. Herds of camels will cover your land, young camels of Midian and Ephah. And all from Sheba will come, bearing gold and incense and proclaiming the praise of the Lord.”
The glory of the Lord rises. His glory appears over you. Your heart will throb and swell with joy. Proclaiming the praise of the Lord!
God has called MDI to serve leaders from around the world. He is on the move transforming lives. And He is on the verge of taking His ministry to new heights. So “in view of God’s mercy [we] offer our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is our true and proper worship.” And we know that He can take what we bring Him and multiply ministry beyond what we can imagine. So now we wait in eager anticipation to see it unfold.