Balance. How many times have I heard that word since I began working in youth ministry? Let’s just say that I hear it A LOT. But there is so much work to be done. Who has time to pursue balance? How can I go after balance when there is so much to do in ministry? I don’t have time for a social life!

Jesus did. And His ministry calendar was much more intense than mine! In John 2:1-2 we read of Him taking time out to attend a wedding. Jesus Christ, the Messiah, took time out to go watch someone get married? He sure did! His ministry was just getting off the ground at this time. He had a million things to do. Yet, in the midst of saving the world, He took time out for a social life. He took time out to just be with people. Why? Because He understood something. He understood that without people, there was no ministry.

Later on in this chapter, we read that Jesus performed His first miracle here at the wedding in Cana. He turned the water into wine. He didn’t go to the wedding for that purpose. We know that Mary, His mother compelled Him to do something when the wine ran out. Had Jesus not taken time out of work to pursue balance, He would not have been present to do the miracle. If we don’t take time out to pursue balance, we won’t be able to minister to people.

We should take Jesus where people are. Our ministry is not just in the church. It’s not only on the platform, preaching the Word or leading worship. Our ministry is not just in our Sunday school classroom. Our ministry is where people are. Take time out to go to a ballgame. Go ahead and sign up to go on the outing with a group of friends. Go to lunch with a co-worker. Take your kids to the amusement park. Leave the laptop at home next time you go on vacation. It’s ok! Your work will wait! (And you’ll be more focused when you return) True balance is when we learn to take Jesus into times of pleasure as well as times of work.


Plans, Plans, and More Plans!

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD.” –Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT)

I don’t know about you, but the fact that God is a planner puts me at ease. I love knowing that He already has all the details worked out ahead of time. It gives me great peace that nothing surprises Him. It warms my heart that He loves me enough to have those plans for me. That means He’s thought about me. I’ve been on the mind of God!

I am a planner myself, so I know the great deal of thought that goes into planning. I like to be prepared so I go through everything that could possibly happen. What will I do if plan A goes south? What if plan B falls flat on its face? I like knowing what is going to happen next. I like knowing what I am going to do tomorrow. Or next Friday. Or next year. I do not like surprises and I find it hard to be spontaneous.

Recently, I sat down and made a “five year plan” for my life. I prayed. I planned. I wrote everything down. It’s all right there in black and white. I have goals and I know what I should be doing in October of 2016 to get to where I’m going in my life. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s good to have goals. It’s good to be conscientious about the future. If God is a planner, then I think it’s ok if we look ahead in our lives, too. The problem is, however, that there are times when we can be so caught up with what God has planned for us in the future that we forget to live in the present. We’re always looking ahead to what is next instead of embracing the moment we are in. We neglect to realize that He also has plans for us right now. We pray, “Lord, show me Your plans for my life,” expecting Him to show us 10 years from now, but forgetting about what He has planned for us in the present.

God is not a procrastinator. His plans for your life do not begin in five years. In one year. In a month. Or even in one day. His plans for your life began before you were even born. He has orchestrated your whole life up to this point, and He’s in control of the rest of it from this moment forward. Pray for God to show you the plans He has for you, fully expecting them to start immediately. And then live in the moment. God has a plan for your life right now!