I’m old enough to remember the Carly Simon song, “Anticipation.” I recall it was used for a Heinz Ketchup commercial to build a sense of tasty expectancy in consumers. I’m young enough to still enjoy the experience of anticipation. This is especially true when considering what the Lord has in store for Pittsburgh Baptist Church.
Our current series through the Minor Prophets affirms a central truth about God; He and only He directs events by the power of His sovereign will. A recent message from Amos confirmed this. Amos 9:7-15, is clear about God’s determinant will to divinely cause things to happen. Space does not permit a full exegesis of the passage, but read it for yourself and notice how often Amos records the Lord saying, “I will” or “I am” and “declares the Lord.” History tells us what Amos predicts regarding Israel and other nations comes to fruition. These are a few of the many verses making the point that events are not the result of random circumstances nor are they just the accumulation of human efforts. God makes things happen. It is also biblically sound to acknowledge He invites people to join Him in the process but we don’t always cooperate with God’s plans.
There are many examples from Scripture of individuals and groups encountering divine guidance for their activity, too. Regarding Paul’s traveling ministry, Acts 16:6, records, “They past through the Phrygian and Galatian region, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia.” Certainly Jesus’ Gethsemane plea and submission to His Father’s will is further evidence of Divine direction. (Matt 26:39)
Returning to Amos 9, note the positive nature of the prophet’s closing words, “In that day I will raise up the fallen booth of David, and wall up its breaches; I will also raise up its ruins and rebuild it as in the days of old.” (11) So, it is with hope-filled anticipation we imagine what the Lord has planned for our lives and the life of our church. This is the stuff of faith; to dwell on God’s sovereign design of world and personal events even when it seems He is nowhere to be found. Jeremiah assures believers of the Lord’s blueprint for their lives as he writes, “For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” (Jer 29:11) Paul echoes this encouraging assurance in Romans 8:28, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
Yesterday (9/29) the purpose of PBC was demonstrated twice. First through our joint service with Pittsburgh Vietnamese Baptist Church and two more Vietnamese congregations from neighboring states for the commissioning of Pastor Dan Nguyen. Clearly the Lord is using Pittsburgh Baptist to expand His kingdom into ethnic communities throughout the city. I joyfully witnessed the second expression while worshiping with our Bhutanese partners that evening. Over thirty believers and future believers gathered in a small apartment near Sewickley to sing hymns, pray and study the Word. Please join me in hopeful anticipation of what God is bringing to PBC for His glory!