PASTOR BRANDEL: We are expecting a lot of changes. It seems like we are entering the endemic stage of the pandemic yet at the same time there is threat of a possible surge because of a new variant. We will be having new leaders govern us. There are too many transitions going on.
PASTOR JON: Change and transition happen to all of us, like a constant in life. As we go through that it’s important for us to respond in the best way we can. On my end, I’ve been set to do a certain thing. I’m ready to do it on a permanent basis and yet God may redirect me. For example, I started out as a campus missionary, around 1998, served God for 3 years, and after that I was sent to be a church planter in a city in Bicol and then within our first year, we were interrupted to return to lead the church in Victory Imus in Cavite. We served there for 12 years. After that, I was interrupted again to begin serving our provincial churches across the Philippines. After around 6 to 7 years, we began to serve with our East Asian Leadership Team and just recently, toward the end of last year, we were asked if we were open to pastor our church in Victory Sta. Rosa. My family and I, we put it this way, our lives are in a backpack. We allow God to lead us through transitions and we are ready to pick up our lives and go wherever it is. At least that’s the nature of ministry.
Now I understand, not all of us are in the ministry but one of the major things that helped me respond well to transitions is that God is sovereign in terms of the affairs of our lives.
God is the one leading things.
In fact in Proverbs 21:1, the heart of kings is in the heart of the Lord. He can direct it like a water way. So as our hearts are submitted to God and because God is a good Father to us, He knows what He's doing in our lives and when He allows or introduces changes in our lives, if our lives is submitted to Him, then we can just respond by just trusting that He is the one who’s leading us even if the transitions may seem more difficult. We really don’t understand the reason for it and yet when we factor in God’s sovereignty and God’s hand over our lives, we can be certain and sure that it will still workout for our good in the end because God is fully in control.
PASTOR BRANDEL: Thank you. There’s a lot of wisdom we can take from that. I like the disposition of the heart. When you were placed in a certain situation, you thought God will put you in it for the long haul, but at the same time, at the back of your mind, you have your backpack. Anytime God could change it. I like what you said that underneath everything that’s happening there is a God who is directing your path, who is sovereign in leading you in that path. He will be with you wherever that transition is.
PASTOR JON: When we said that God is completely sovereign over our lives then our response to that is really trust. It also matters that you are actually obeying God because when you are in the middle of obedience, you know that the things that God allows in our lives are not necessarily consequences, disobedience, or wrong actions. Rather, you just know that God is working out His plans for you. Trusting God when those changes come allows you to be certain, to take the next step with a measure of certainty.
It would be good if you can actually listen to God’s direction as you go through your season of change and transition.
For example, when the pastors and our leaders approached us at the end of last year, talked about the idea if I would be open to move and pastor this church in Victory Sta. Rosa, part of our immediate response was to trust our leaders that they probably have good reasons to consider us and ask about this possibility, but we sought God too. So my wife and I sought God for the following weeks. We’ve been coming to God and praying. One particular moment, I sat down in my usual time of solitude. I was reading my Bible and I was seeking God. I felt He spoke to me at that moment, through the Scripture and through my time of prayer, assuring me that "Jon, this is from me." It’s important to be able to hear from God when it comes to the change that you are facing.
When you hear that assurance that this is from God and He is the one who’s leading you through this, that’s what makes things different. You can look into the future without being insecure. You can take necessary steps with a measure of certainty realizing that God Himself is leading you.
There’s a story in John 21, where Jesus Christ talked to Peter, He reinstated him to his role as an apostle by asking Him, “Peter, do you love me?” and so on. As He was talking to Peter, Jesus mentioned to him that there will be a time that he will be asked to do something that he won't necessarily agree with. He was speaking about the kind of death that Peter will go through as he follows Jesus. Peter asked a simple question, “What about him, Lord?” He was talking about apostle John. Jesus' response was “If I allow him to live before I come, what is that to you?” The point is, you don’t compare your path to the path of other people.
God has His specific context for each of our lives.
When He introduces changes, God is not necessarily opposed to us. When He closes certain doors and open others, it is not that God is against you. In fact, He is working out His plans for you. In order for us to trust Him, we also do not compare. We don’t look at what’s happening at other people’s lives and ask “Why is it in this season their lives are linear, getting better while for me there’s a turn that I need to go through and that need to happen before I experience something "better." In those moments, we need to trust that God is working it out, without comparing our lives to others. He is woking out specific plans for your life. I hope that you will find comfort in that truth.
PASTOR BRANDEL: We know that God is sovereign and in control but at the same time, we don’t dismiss our actions. It is important that we listen to Him and have a time of solitude.
In the end, when we hear God’s assurance that’s what we hold on to.
It’s easy for us to compare, but God has a specific path for us. It’s hard for us to know that path when we don’t listen to Him. It may be a big transition for us but in that transition God has specific story and path for us to walk. The word is to trust. In these changes, God is present and He is leading us.
This podcast is hosted by Pastor Brandel Manalastas. In this episode, he is joined by Pastor Jon Naron, the senior pastor of Victory Santa Rosa.
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