I was going to share part 2 of the previous post today.
But I have a change of plan.
This change of plan is inspired from last Thursday evening.
A group of my fellow staff, church members, and myself were returning from attending the Exponential Conference in Orlando.
Our flight had been late to leave the gate so we already knew we would probably miss our connecting flight in Atlanta. We were also spread out throughout the plane so the person who was closest to the front planned to ask the flight crew or first flight attendant after deplaning to call the other gate to request if they could hold the flight for our group of 15 people. Our thinking was that they might not hold the plane for one person but hopefully would for a group of our size.
We began to taxi away from the gate to get in line for flight.
The picture above is what forced another change of plan.
The tire you see in the picture above is the result of what was dubbed “metal fatigue” by the tech crew that came out to find out what the big bump was that we had felt followed by a constant flapping noise that forced us to come to halt on the tarmac.
Two and a half hours later we deplaned to board a bus that took us back to the gate.
Another Change of Plan
We were sent to the help center to learn that our flight was reschedule for 9:45 pm and we were granted meal vouchers. If we accepted this change, we would be given hotel vouchers in Atlanta since we would get there too late to make any connecting flights until the next day.
After finding our gate we received notification that the gate had changed as well as the departure time to 10:15 pm.
Considering Another Change of Plan
We discussed securing a rental vehicle or two or three that would accommodate our group, but this proved fruitless.
Shortly after arriving at the new gate, we received notification that the departure time would now be 12:30 am.
We chose to use our meal vouchers while we waited and to use the promised hotel voucher upon arrival in Atlanta.
Change of Plan Again
Sometime around when we should have started boarding the 12:30am flight we were notified our flight had been delayed until 9:45am and that we would be given a hotel voucher in Orlando.
We arrived at our hotel around 2:00 am. It took multiple transport vouchers to get our group to two different hotels.
Approximately four hours later we were all getting up to start the departure process once again. We had also gained the knowledge that even if we made it to Atlanta on Friday by noon the next flight out was at 5:0 pm and only had about 7 open spaces. Further there were no rental vehicles available either at the airport or nearby.
Final Change of Plan
We were able to secure two spouses in our hometown to drive a large passenger van and a large SUV the two plus hours to Atlanta to pick us up.
A trip that should have only taken about four hours ended up taking about twenty-seven.
- What does this frequent change of plan experience have to do with Bible Study?
The theme of the Exponential Conference in Orlando was: Moving with the Spirit
Every main session and most, if not all, of the workshops talked about this theme of Moving with the Spirit.
Here are three of my take-aways from the conference that also connect with the change of plan travel journey we experienced:
- Be who you are called to be right where you are.
- We had opportunities galore to practice grace and patience with each other and all those around us during the conference and especially during our travel journey.
- This is a lesson for us now that we are home to keep our hearts, minds, ears, and eyes attuned to the Spirit’s leading towards grace and patience where we work, live, and play.
ESV John 20:21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.”
- God makes a way when we think there is none. What teaches the rhythm of faith is crisis.
- Whether we are discussing how to share our faith or simply get home, God’s Spirit is at work within us and through our circumstances.
- This is a lesson to surrender our plans to the divine goodness of God’s plans so that our coworkers, family, friends, and neighbors can see our faith in action.
- Our role is to be faithful and leave results in God’s hands
ESV Psalm 20:7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.
- Living an empowered life is less about achieving than letting go of our own plans.
- The Holy Spirit is who empowers us with gifts of the Spirit for collective impact in our culture of work, home, and play.
- This is a lesson that the faith with which we listen to the Spirit and those in need around us is more important than what we say.
ESV Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Reflection Questions for a Change of Plan:
- Who are the people God wants you to be near?
- How is Jesus good news to those near you?
- What is the Holy Spirit saying is your next step to practice faithfulness?
- Where has God been intentional in your life? Even if you haven’t been?
- Read Acts 27
- How many times did the plans change in this chapter?
- What do you learn about Paul in this chapter?
- What do you learn about God in this chapter?
- What action or principle from this chapter will help you when faced with a crisis forcing a change of plan in your day, week, year, life?
- Are you loyal to God?
- Is your vision aligned with God’s?
- Are you open to God growing you?
- Are you making time to be fully dependent on God?
No matter what change of plan we are facing on any given day the unity we can achieve comes from this tension.
We must play the “long game” for spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional change within ourselves and as we seek to practice grace and patience with our surrounding culture.
The key to making an impact for God is to remember that God comes where he is wanted.
- What change of plan is God stirring to move you to be 100% in the sweet spot of your calling?