Sensing God’s Direction


Here’s what I’ve noticed some people saying about the book Sensing God’s Direction recently:

Kennadie Graves, Next Steps 2014

Finally had a chance to sit down and read this book and it is incredible! I highly recommend it to anyone!

Brianna Wolterman, AYC Ghana

That book changed my life! It’s the reason I went on the AYC missions’ trip to Ghana!

Amber Leigh Thompson

Sensing God’s Direction is quickly becoming one of my favorite books. I’m only a few pages in and I don’t want to put it down.

Brianna Rachelle, AYC Ghana:

I got to meet the man who wrote Sensing God’s Direction that rocked my life. The book that I sobbed over as God confirmed and told me I was going to Africa.

Mike Long, AIM France:

Sensing God’s Direction is an incredible little booklet written by Rev. James Poitras (Director of Education and AIM, UPCI) with collaboration from Rev. Bruce Howell (Global Missions Director, UPCI).  With over 80 pages, SGD will detail some of the things that you can do to foster a sensitivity to the quiet voice of the Lord, leading you into the center of his will (cultivating a love for souls, embracing solitude, being open to both surrender and sacrifice, and so forth).  Over and above the incredibly practical content provided by Rev. Poitras, various stories and anecdotes from contributors such as Rev. Howell and Melinda Poitras (MK – missionary kid – from Ghana, West Africa) bring context to the content. While SGD is written by United Pentecostal ministers and can be purchased through the Pentecostal Publishing House. The content is not limited to the Pentecostal experience. The principles are broad enough yet practical enough that people from any Christian background would find it a beneficial read… and I highly recommend it!

Author’s Note:

I am humbled and honored with the comments made about Sensing God’s Direction and pray that many will find their direction through reading the book and following God’s will. His plan is not at the end of the proverbial rainbow but is finding and doing the next right step. I trust Sensing God’s Direction will help you along the journey.

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Don’t Pitch Your Tent in the Wrong Direction

Look closely at what happened to Lot.

  • Looked toward Sodom (Genesis 13:10).
  • Chose the ground near Sodom (Genesis 13:11).
  • Pitched his tent toward Sodom (Genesis 13:12).
  • Moved to Sodom and dwelt there (Genesis 14:12).
  • Became like the people of Sodom. Acted like a citizen (Genesis 19:9).
  • Gave his daughters to Sodom (Genesis 19:8).
  • Hesitated in leaving the city (Genesis 19:15-16).

Even when the angels delivered him from destruction, he still wanted to live as close to Sodom as possible (Genesis 19). His wife even looked back to the city–longing to be there.

J. R. Ensey in the Apostolic World Report offered a book review on Slouching Towards Gomorrah. He said, “Prosperity urged him to move on into the city where he became a judge, or maybe a mayor. He never intended for things to turn out as they did for his family, but he pitched his tent too far in the wrong direction…If we don’t want to go to Gomorrah, we shouldn’t pitch our tent in that direction.” Consider the short warning found in God’s Word: “Remember Lot’s wife” (Luke 17:32). And don’t pitch your tent in the wrong direction!

photo credit: Faisal AlKhudairy \  فيصل الخضيري via photo pin cc

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Steer Away From the Drift

The church in the Book of Acts spread like a blazing fire. Persecution could not stop it. The church was vibrant, active, and powerful. Great signs and wonders were performed. Its members were strong, loved God and His truth, and shared it with everyone. You would have suspected that the church would have continued in its greatness. It did not. It slipped from being a bright light into what has been termed the Dark Ages. Paul prophesied this would happen in Acts 20:29.

History has a way of repeating itself. Vance Havner said, “All we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history.” It does not have to be like that. History is a willing teacher if we are eager students. We can avoid the pitfalls that crippled previous generations.

We must be careful we do not become like the men Paul met at Athens. They were “very religious” and “spent their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas” (Acts 17:21, NIV).

“See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ” (Colossians 2:8, NIV).

How can we steer away from drifting?

Arnold Cook in Historical Drift said, “Steer right to go straight. According to aerodynamic experts, when a propeller-driven airplane takes off, it naturally veers to the left unless it is steered to the right. Based on my observations of evangelical institutions and leaders over the past half-century, it appears to me that the same principle applies. The only way to keep on a straight path is to keep turning to the right. The prevailing winds of doctrine blow against us, and if we are to resist them then we must have a firm grip on the wheel of the good ship evangelicalism and steer it to the right.”

1. Face reality.

Where are you? How far have you moved/drifted from where you should be? If necessary, repent!

“Those who live in the past are blind in one eye. Those who never consult the past are blind in both eyes.” (Arnold Cook)

2. Know your direction.

Have a vision for the future. Chart the course by having firm direction. Make decisions now concerning tomorrow. Stick with your core values, and beliefs.

Cook said, “Those who have most powerfully and permanently influenced their generation have been the ‘seers’—men who have seen more and farther than others.”

He adds that this becomes the lonely side of spiritual leadership. Often it translates into going with the minority report, e.g., Joshua and Caleb. No leadership style breeds historical drift better than consensus—going with the flow of compromise. Stephen was willing to take a costly stand for truth. Noah was another man of God that was willing to stand alone.

The trend today is that there are no absolutes—no one is wrong, and everyone is right. The denominational world pulls us toward tolerance. The prevailing viewpoint is everyone should be united.

C. H. Spurgeon once said, “I am quite sure that the best way to promote union is to promote truth. It will not do for us to be all united together by yielding to one another’s mistakes.”

Philip Melanchton said, “In essentials, unity. In nonessentials, liberty. In all things, charity.”

What does this mean to us? We should be united when it comes to the essential, major doctrines of the Word of God. We should always speak the truth in love.

3. Stand firm for truth. Stay on guard.

G. K. Chesterton once said, “Whenever you remove any fence, always pause long enough to ask yourself the question, ‘Why was it there in the first place?’”

The National Geographic magazine (July 1985) made this interesting statement that could serve as a potent reminder to the church, “They opened up the doors of the world, but they closed up the heavens forever.”

Dr. Ralph Winter, founder of the U. S. Center of World Mission, said, “I would rather fail in that which will ultimately succeed than to succeed in that which will ultimately fail.”

“Preach the Word of God urgently at all times, whenever you get the chance… Correct and rebuke your people when they need it, encourage them to do right, and all the time be feeding them patiently with God’s Word. For there is going to come a time when people won’t listen to the truth but will go around looking for teachers who will tell them just what they want to hear. They won’t listen to what the Bible says but will…follow their own misguided ideas” (2 Timothy 4:2-4, TLB).

4. Be committed:

  • To love and maintain unity among ministers and leaders (Acts 1:14; Acts 2:1; John 13:44-45).
  • To respect protocol and ethics (1 Timothy 5:17; Hebrews 13:17).
  • To pray and fast (Luke 18:1; 1 Thessalonians 5:17).
  • To be guided by the Word and doctrine (1 Timothy 4:13, 16; Job 23:12).
  • To personal ministerial assessment (2 Timothy 1:6; 4:5; Acts 26:16-18; Acts 9:2).
  • To develop spiritually for effective ministerial leadership (Philippians 3:13-14; Luke 2:52).
  • To emphasis on evangelism and church planting (Mark 16:15-20; Matthew 19:19-20).
  • To maintain discipline and cooperation (1 Timothy 5:19-20; 3:10).

5. Be courageous in your leadership.

Cook wrote, “Although drift is inevitable in all social structures, including religious organizations, it can be curbed and even reversed through renewal and wise, godly and courageous leadership.”

Take a stand for righteousness and truth in your leadership. Lead the way. Others will follow.

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Do You Know Where You Are Going?

A man named Huxley, having finished another series of public attacks against Christians, was in a hurry to catch a train that would take him to the next city.  He left the hotel, jumped into the taxi, settled back, and closed his eyes to rest for a couple of minutes.

He assumed the driver had been told the destination by the hotel doorman so when he got in all he said was, “Hurry…I’m almost late…Drive fast!”

The taxi rushed through the streets of the city.  Before long the man glanced out the window and frowned as he realized they were going west away from the sun, not toward it.  Leaning forward the man shouted, “Do you know where you are going?”

Without looking back the driver yelled, “No, your honor, but I am going fast!”

This story humorously depicts the situation many people find themselves in; going nowhere, fast, and not realizing it. Peter exhorted in Acts 2:40, “Save yourselves from this untoward generation.”   We need to save ourselves from a generation that is going nowhere.

In a spiritual sense this entails following the biblical plan of salvation. But, once that is in order we need to put other aspects of our life in order. Setting goals, establishing priorities, and having a vision—knowing where you are going.

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Two Percent Makes a Difference

The local church walked in to visit the family doctor for a spiritual check-up. The doctor said, “There is good news and bad news. Which would you like to hear first?”

The local church responded, “Let’s get the bad news over first.”

The bad news:

Historically the trend has been for a church denomination to drift or move away from their foundational doctrines over time. Just a two percent decline in church health causes a steady, slow, sure decline.

John Trent, author of Heart Shift, and a professional counselor, tells of a plane trip where he sat beside a NASA petroleum engineer. He took advantage of the opportunity to ask the missile scientist, “How many degrees can a space rocket be off before it becomes a huge problem? Could it be two degrees off?”

The man pulled out his calculator and started punching in numbers. “To be two degrees off from when you blast off, and taking into consideration the time and distance traveled, you’ll miss not only your point of orbital entry, but you’ll miss the moon by 11,121 miles.”

Trent goes on to say, “Just be two degrees off from the right heart attitude, add in enough time and distance, and an entire church can end up miles from God’s heart.”

John Wesley once said, “I am not afraid that the people called Methodists should ever cease to exist…But I am afraid lest they should only exist as a dead sect, having a form of religion without the power. And this undoubtedly will be the case, unless they hold fast both the doctrine, spirit, and discipline with which they first set out.”

The Charisma magazine (October 1993) quoted the Assemblies of God general superintendent as saying, “We might be Pentecostal in doctrine but we’re not Pentecostal in experience.”

“Too many people,” George Wood said (in the same meeting), “are leaving our churches unchanged, unmoved, unsaved, unfilled, unsanctified and unmotivated to turn their heart and will over to God completely. We need a holy fire which sets aside business as usual in the church until Jesus comes.”

Timothy Beougher and Alvin Reid in Evangelism for a Changing World cautioned, “When adenomination’s theology changes, that change almost always begins in the seminaries that train its leaders.” It is paramount that we as Bible school educators take special note of what was just stated. Many colleges started out with the objective of teaching God’s Word but have strayed far from that. God forbid that this ever happens in our apostolic Bible schools.

Just a two degree shift in doctrine and convictions can cause change for the worse, pulling the church away from God.

The local church was devastated, “Well, that is gloomy news! I think I would like the good news!”

The good news:

A two degree shift toward correct doctrine and appropriate convictions can bring a church closer to God. Trent adds, “Even small shifts in a positive direction could move a person from ruin to renewal.”

Yes, churches drift. Churches die. But it doesn’t have to be that way. A two percent positive shift in church health has amazing, salvaging, eternal impact.

H. B. London, Jr. and Neil Wiseman in The Shepherd’s Covenant for Pastors said, “One social scientist recently expressed…the quality of a whole culture can be changed if just two percent of the population has a new vision of what needs to be done and starts doing it.”

I want to be part of that two percent, firmly focused on God’s Word, living it daily, and proclaiming the whole gospel to the whole world. A small percentage can make a large difference. We can reverse trends. We can upsurge church health.

Two percent makes the difference.

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