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 Directionis 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!
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.
If we were to try to explain all Jesus did while on the earth it would take more than all the books available (John 21:25). However, let us look at a sampling.
We see Jesus performed seventeen healings of individuals (fever, leprosy, paralysis, withered hand, blindness, deafness, internal bleeding, dropsy, and severed ear.) He still heals today.
He supplied needs by feeding the hungry on five different occasions; financial need of tax money; stood in the boat and calmed the storm (protection); and walked on water. He said, “Greater works than these shall he do” (John 14:12).
He did His miracles anywhere and everywhere; weddings, funerals, graveyards, synagogues, houses, mountains, pools, and boats. Is there anywhere we can allow Him to use us?
How He performed His miracles: He touched, was touched, spat; wept; groaned; and was moved with compassion. Couldn’t we touch, weep, groan or be moved with compassion over the needs in this world? We are to complete what He started.
Jesus stated what He was beginning to do in Luke 4:18-19 when He said the Spirit of the Lord was upon Him and He was anointed to….
preach the gospel to the poor
sent me to heal the brokenhearted
to preach deliverance to the captives
recovering of sight to the blind
to set at liberty them that are bruised
preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
When He had finished stating what He was going to do He “closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister” (Luke 4:20). This is symbolic of the completion of His earthly ministry and giving us the responsibility to carry on what He began.
“Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions” (Luke 10:19-20).
“And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing; it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover” (Mark 16:17-18).
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father….I will not leave you comfortless, I will come to you” (John 14:12, 18).
I never imagined the airport hall was so long. She purposely walked toward the security check; never looking back. When I yelled out, “I love you MORE” she threw her hand behind her head in acknowledgement but kept moving. My heart leap-frogged into my throat and I lightly pounded my chest a couple of times to hopefully knock things back in place. So, this is how parents and loved ones feel when letting go of their precious AIMers as they leave for the field! Thirty-years ago my own wife made such a journey. A trip of three or four months turned in to a lifetime of mission’s service. Things have come full circle. What will happen to our fledging AIMer? Time and God will tell!
As our own missionary prepared, packed, repacked, and repacked I pondered what the next five or six months on the field would bring. She had purchased white mugs from the Dollar Tree (expensive shopper!). Special friends and family took colorful Sharpie markers and designed a special keepsake for her. (I’m not sure what she is going to do with eight coffee mugs in one hundred plus weather. She doesn’t even drink coffee!) To solidify the ink and art I guess you put the mugs in the oven, bake them, and the ink doesn’t come off. I thought of her time overseas as an opportunity for increase. I designed her mug with life’s purpose in mind and depicted her AIM tour as 2013, the year of increase. Increase of what, you might ask? Well, I will tell you since I think it also applies to you—whoever you are; wherever you are.
I pray that 2013 will be a year of increase for you. I’m sure this involves many things but here are a few I sketched on the mug:
…and last—but not least—souls!
Her time in all of these will increase. Like John the Baptist reminds me, her time with me will decrease. I’m a little bitter about that. Why must I increase? But, she will be a better person because of AIM and I’ll be a better father and leader in the process. So, I leave her and each of you to a time of increase.
I love the picture of her and one of her friends as she was about to step out and walk that long road to the security checkpoint. Her mother and I are in the background, tears in our eyes, smiles swelling in our hearts, backing her up, and cheering her on. So, the Poitras household is quieter this evening, lonelier tonight, but the mission team in Ghana is on the increase.
So, dear AIMer and friend, we back you up, and cheer you on, as you proceed down the path of increase in 2013.
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5, NKJV).
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11, NKJV).
Ever dropped something made of glass? Come on. In all truthfulness pretty much everyone has the typical glass breaking trauma story. Mine may or may not have something to do with the Rodenbush’s butter dish…or I guess I should say, former butter dish. The bad thing about glass breaking is that you can’t put it back the way it was. After you have shattered something on the kitchen floor, it isn’t exactly possible to simply put it back together. Once broken, there is no going back.
Ever felt much like that broken glass? Lying on the floor, shattered in dozens of pieces. Unfixable. Permanently damaged. Past the point of hope. Perhaps you now feel as though you are broken into hundreds of tiny pieces and you will never be put back together into one whole piece again. The situation is a Mission Impossible; a dying cause. Or so you think. What if all your concepts are wrong? You see, for the most part, the breaking of glass is always viewed as a bad thing, when in reality it can be very good.
In the Middle Ages, a new art form became popular and has carried through even till today—the fine art of the stained glass window. I don’t know how much you know about stained glass windows, but I Googled them and everything, so I am now quite the expert. For all of you less informed in the art, stained glass windows start out as panes of glass that must be broken into pieces. Actually, more specifically, they aren’t broken at all, but rather, cut to fit a specific design. The glass isn’t stained, but painted in great detail by the master’s hand.
“For I know the thoughts that I have towards you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” Before you were formed in your mother’s womb, God had a specific plan for you. The blueprint is already made; the end of your story written. Now, here is the thing. What if all the things we have been through, all the trials, heartbreaks, failures, and disappointments, what if all the things that left you broken, what if they didn’t leave you broken at all? Perhaps, it was the Lord cutting, shaping, and molding you to fit his master plan. What if the things that you thought left you broken, useless, and stained, were actually the Lord shaping and cutting you into the masterpiece He always intended you to be?
Romans 8: 28-30 says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn amongst many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and who he called, them he has also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.”
First of all, “all things work together for good to them that love God.” I think a lot of the time we can interpret that incorrectly. It does not say that everything will always be good, that we won’t have problems, or pain, or suffering. It says that if we love God and are called, He will take all of those things and use them for your good.
Secondly, “to them who are called according to His purpose.” How many of you feel like God has placed a calling on your life? Ever feel like you have been called and things have gone on, and mistakes have been made, and you feel disqualified a bit from your calling? Well, that isn’t what my Bible says. My Bible says that as long as you love the Lord and are called, He had a plan for you before you were even born. He already knew the end of you story as well as the beginning and middle. And He justified your past. Therefore, he knew long before you were born how things were going to turn out and He has already taken care of it.
The last component of a stained glass window is the glue or mortar that puts all the pieces back. It comes along and fills in all the cracks. It is the finishing; the thing that holds our world together. Our strength when we are weak, our comfort when we are weary, our help in time of, He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. He is Daystar, Prince of Peace, Everlasting Wonder, Great I am, and Counselor. His name is Jesus; the glue that completes the puzzle of His master plan for your life. Without the last component, you can do nothing. If you step out His will and purpose, you become nothing more than little broken pieces of glass. His master plan for your life has to contain both you and Him. Without both, the plan cannot succeed.
The pain may be great, though the process may not be pleasant, but if you will just submit yourself to His master plan and allow Him to be the glue that hold your world together, the end result may just stun the world with its beauty. And don’t you find it interesting that the most intricate stained glass windows are the ones that must be broken/cut the most? Surrender to His plan, follow His will, stick to Jesus in the process, and know that the end result is going to be simply beautiful. Allow Jesus to fill in the cracks of your life and shape you into His masterpiece.
I’m not sure why finding the will of God is so difficult. But, it is. It’s as complex at eighteen as it is at fifty-one or seventy-three years of age. You would think that it would be only a colossal task for teenagers making their journey in life. I guess that unveils the secret right there. It is summed up in the word “journey.” Too often we focus on the will of God as the destination, the completed journey, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Our focus is faulty. The journey is never over as long as we have breath to breathe and a heart to do something for God and His people. We mistakenly focus on the road in the distance and bypass watching the single steps.
The journey—the Christian walk—has always been about traveling from one place to another. Like any journey it takes time; a long time. The road is etched with ups and downs. Occasional tough times meet our moving onward and upward. There are mountains and valleys. Sometimes we falter. Sometimes we fall. But, we get up and keep on going.
Like Kathryn Scott beautifully penned, “We still believe and though the journey has been hard we will confess your goodness…” I love it when she sings from “soaring wings to the shattered dream.” I’d quote the whole song here but it’s really not the Lord’s will to break copyright laws.
So, what is the will of God? It’s not so much about the destination as it is about the journey. Amazingly, “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going” (Hebrews 11:8, ESV). Was it some sort of blind faith or ruthless, risky abandonment? Probably not! He just took the next right step. The will of God is all about taking the next right step. We don’t have to know twenty steps or ten miles down the road. Just get a grip on the next step. God told Abram, “Go.” And he went. He journeyed one step at a time.
Like the heroes of Hebrews 11, we are all pilgrims on this planet. They believed. They had faith. They trusted in God’s promises. They obeyed His Word; the road map in life. So it is with us. We are not moving aimlessly or living without direction; walking around in circles. Our steps are ordered. They are established. Remember, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, And He delights in his way” (Psalms 37:23, NKJV). We are walking in step with God. He blazes the trail. It sounds so easy. It is. However, we make it difficult. How? By trying to see the whole trip instead of today’s instructions.
Abraham’s servant testified, “As for me, the Lord has led me on the journey” (Genesis 24:27, NIV). How did that happen? The answer is simple. He heard from the master. He embarked on a journey. He believed he would accomplish his purpose. He found the will of God one step at a time.
Seeking God’s will for your life? Just concentrate on taking the next right step.