I’ve been reading Charles C. Ryrie’s Basic Theology over the last year with my fellow McLean Bible Church Residents (second year Future Leaders). We meet monthly to discuss different theological topics and gain a solid understanding of where MBC stands doctrinally. I really appreciate that I have the opportunity to learn and grow in my understanding of Scripture – and it’s part of my job!
As this year has progressed, I’ve found myself always eager to dive into the next section of Ryrie’s book. I don’t always agree with him, but I’ve enjoyed skimming the surface of a lot of doctrinal topics this year and it’s built great anticipation in my heart for the coming three years I’ll spend in seminary.
Lon’s Solomon’s message on Sunday was all about vision and expecting God to do great things. He talked about William Carey and his statement – “Expect great things from God, attempt great things for God.” According to Lon, expectation is rooted in a person’s credibility and power. The main point of the sermon was that “because of God’s boundless power and His proven faithfulness, we can have unlimited expectations of what God can do […] and to approach life in any other way is an insult to the Almighty God.” You can find the full sermon (entitled “Expect Great Things From God, Attempt Great Things For God – Part 1”) here: http://www.mbclive.org/
Josh and I talked on Sunday about how much we love vision messages – maybe because we’re both so visionary and have the tendency to look way out and dream really big. Almost daily one of us makes statements that begin like this: “When I run…” or “If I ever am in charge of or have the opportunity to lead…” But I think last night I realized that sometimes even I don’t dream big enough, I don’t expect enough. Last night, when I found myself surprised by God drawing someone to Himself via very non-traditional means, I also found myself disapointed in my own faith. I want to be in a place where I’m constantly amazed by God, but never surprised at His almighty power and absolutely incredible faithfulness. And even though I don’t always expect enough, that’s one of the things I LOVE about God – that sometimes He sweeps us off our feet by His grace and shows us to what lengths He will go to pursue one single individual.
If I’m going to be in ministry, even as a part-time volunteer, such expectation and faith needs to be standard, even baseline, in my heart. Especially since my long-term goal is to be in full-time ministry in the next few years. It’s understandable to be in a state of constant amazement and wonder at the greatness of our God, but we must also expect Him to intervene in our lives, change us, draw us closer to Him, and to be shaped into His image.
Jesus had such incredible expectation, in relation to the Father, that He submitted to the Father’s will and suffered on the cross (Matt. 26-27). I know I’ve previously discussed how expectations can limit and stifle… however, when expectations are placed on the God of the universe… our faith grows and we begin to dream big dreams and believe big things about the God we serve. For all of the ways that sometimes a relationship with God resembles our earthly relationships, this area is completely different. In a relationship with God, expectations EXPAND our lives and our love for Christ. He wants to be expected to keep His promises and to show Himself to be who He is – the God in whom we live and breathe and have our being (Acts 17:28). It’s a truly beautiful thing.