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Following a busy season, I planned a three-month sabbatical from normal church ministry.

Because I love to plan even my “spontaneous” time, I worked on this schedule for a year, creating a spreadsheet with my activities and directions for each day. I am positive Jesus laughed at me struggling with my plans.

As the time got closer, my pain of not being able to schedule every moment grew, and I gave up. The whole point of this break, I realized, was to retune my ear to the voice of Jesus and go where the Spirit led.

This reminded me of the journeys of Paul in Acts. He planned to visit one city and ended up in another. He planned to stay a couple days and hung around for a couple months. His travels never seemed to go as planned.

Isn’t that like our pastoral plans? They never seem to work as we expect. So, I made a compromise with Jesus for my sabbatical. I set the general direction and activity I would engage in each day. But my most successful plan was to wake up and let Him plan the rest of my day.

This Week’s Prayer Focus [5 in 5] 

Personal Prayer

1. God, forgive me for being so prideful by thinking my plans are the right and only way.

2.  Jesus, tune my ear to Your leading today so that I can be a conduit of Your love, acceptance and forgiveness to those around me.

3. Lord, I pray Proverbs 16:9 daily this week: Please direct my steps and give me a willing heart to comply.

Foursquare Focus

4. As the Lord imparted to us fresh perspective and faith for evangelism, Spirit-filled renewal and vision for the next generation at Connection last week, we pray for a great harvest in our churches and families in the coming years.

5. Please lift up our presidential selection committee and possible candidates, asking God to prepare our future president’s heart and mind for the tasks ahead.

Share your thoughts. See comments below, and add your own.

is the senior pastor of three congregations of Grace Northwoods (Rhinelander Foursquare Church) in Eagle River, Rhinelander and Westboro, Wis.

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