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God’s Sleight of Hands

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Recently I was scheduled to visit a pastor on the far end of the state and since it was a four hour drive I made sure of the meeting time. Enjoying the scenic drive, I contemplated the nature of the needs of this pastor because I had heard through the grapevine of a couple possibilities. I was seeking the Lord on how I may advise him when the time came.

Upon my arrival I notice there were no automobiles in the parking lot. So, I took a look to make sure I had not crossed a time zone I was not aware of, making sure I was still in the Eastern Time zone. While starting to second guess myself I saw a car drive up and park under the portico. I noticed this pastor seemed a great deal younger than I had expected.

As I approached the young man and introduced myself, I found out it was not the pastor but the youth pastor. I was quickly informed the pastor had a change of plans and would not be there for the meeting. I was pretty amazed I had not been notified and I was about to complain to the Lord for having me drive four hours for nothing when the youth pastor said, “I do not have any plans for lunch and I would be glad to go." Thinking I needed to justify an eight-hour round trip, I agreed to this young man’s invitation.

During the discussion over lunch I was asking several questions regarding the health of the church and trying to get some information of what the pastor was going through. As the youth pastor was sharing his story at the church I realized God had so masterfully pulled a sleight of hand on me.

I thought I had been summoned to go and visit a hurting pastor, but all the time God positioned me there to encourage a brilliant young youth pastor who had been fighting hell by the acre and was about to throw in the towel and quit. He was so discouraged and felt all his options were depleted and needed some advice on what to do.

The devil had been telling me for some time that I no longer connected with the younger guys in the ministry. But, the Lord was about to make a fool of the devil and his lies. I began to share with the youth pastor principles about loving and serving people. I also shared how to raise the level of expectation in the lives of the youth and their parents when it comes to the spiritual aspect of youth ministry, how to involve the older generation with the youth through mentorship and the fruit he could and would see from it.

I had not seen a young man so happy to have someone sit down and tell him that life was not as bad as it may seem. He was so eager for help, he began taking notes of the things I was saying. I thank God I was able to pray and encourage this young man in ways I thought was no longer possible. I also am thrilled that God knows better than we do about who needs His help through the Church Minister Relations team and the Georgia Baptist Mission Board.

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