Calvary Pastors This post comes from Calvary Chapel Pastors

When Calvary Chapel first began growing rapidly, at times I had no idea what to do with it. Never in my life had I pastored a large congregation, yet suddenly here I was becoming the pastor of a large church. Many times when I stopped long enough to consider what was happening, I would get really shaken up inside. What in the world are we going to do? I worried. What has the Lord gotten me into?

I simply wasn’t prepared for the challenge. I would pray, “Lord, what are You doing? What if this should happen? What if that should happen?” And it is at those times the Lord would often speak to my heart. “Whose church is this?” He would ask.

“Well, it’s Your church,” I would reply.

“Then why are you worried?”

“I don’t know,” I’d say.

So I would throw the problem over onto Him. I’d say, “Okay. It’s Your church, Lord, Your problems. You handle them.”

I doubt that I could have survived any other way. If I had tried to carry the weight of all the problems and challenges facing us, it would have wiped me out. The Lord had to transform my thinking. I had to learn that it’s His church.

And what if disaster struck? “Hey, it’s His church.”

What if we went bankrupt? “It’s His.”

What if we went belly-up? “Again, His problem.”

God didn’t allow any of those things to happen; praise His name. And He continues to be the head of the body, His church. I’ve learned to enjoy the ride—not to worry, not to fret, not to get anxious. I say, “Lord, it’s Your church. In Your time and in Your way, go ahead and do what You want with it.”

Do you know that’s one of the best ways we have to show the Lord that we love Him? When we refuse to worry and instead put our full trust in God, we demonstrate our genuine love for Him. Of course, we can only demonstrate such love if God first does a work of transformation within us. It takes a transformed heart to love God to the utmost.

In prayer, God can change our whole attitude about a situation. In just the time it takes to bring our concerns to Him in prayer, the Lord can transform our hearts. He can bring confidence to our souls and new resolve to our spirits. As we pray, we often get a new perspective—heaven’s perspective—on the situations that confront us.

In the very early days of Calvary Chapel, I often imagined I was alone. I thought I was in this fight by myself. Sometimes I thought the Lord had forsaken me—but as I prayed, I found new assurance that God is on the throne. My faith received a lift and my confidence returned as I realized once more, God is going to take care of it!

David knew this kind of transforming experience through prayer. Nobody ever questions David’s love for God—and yet when he found himself in tight spots, his devotion and confidence often wavered, just as ours does. And how did he regain his trust in God and his love for his Savior? Most often, he did it through prayer.

David began Psalm 13 in absolute desperation: “How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me?” He carries on like this for several verses, but then his praying starts to change his heart. And by the end of his prayer he’s singing quite a different tune than the one that began his petition: “But I have trusted in Your mercy; my heart shall rejoice in Your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because He has dealt bountifully with me” (vv. 5-6).

If we want to love God with all of our hearts, we need transformed hearts. And prayer is one of the primary tools we have to cooperate with God in this key process of transformation. Oh, the mighty changes wrought through prayer!

– excerpted from Love The More Excellent Way by Chuck Smith

continue reading the views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of Calvary Southampton

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