“Out of Context” is a series dedicated to verses of scripture, often used in today’s conversations, that have little to do with the context by which it was written.
Context | (1) the circumstances that form the setting for an event, statement, or idea, and in terms of which it can be fully understood and assessed; (2) the parts of something written or spoken that immediately precede and follow a word or passage and clarify its meaning.
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”
This has to be one of the top 10 verses that I hear Christians use today that has little CONTEXT for when and how they use it.
Sometimes it’s innocent, like an email signature or an encouraging verse for the day. However, most of the time it’s read (all by itself) by a high school student getting ready to go to college with the promise that God has great things in store for them. Or by the person getting ready to go on a mission trip and are excited about the “good plans” God has in store for them… and no bad plans. Or it’s in a social media post that goes along with someone’s brand new goal in life (new job, new city, new opportunity) in which they claim that God is leading them and has nothing but sunshine and success waiting for them.
God does have a plan for your life. Don’t get me wrong. He does LOVE that you’re stepping out of your comfort zone to go on that mission trip or move to a new city where He’s given you a job opportunity. However, there are more verses in scripture that better align with those circumstances than Jeremiah 29:11.
I would guess that more than 90% of people who have ever spoken this verse has absolutely NO IDEA the context in which this Word from God was given to His people. However, if you just read the 5 verses before it – it would be very clear.
Every year, I choose ONE WORD that I feel God is giving me to use for the year to help filter my goals/resolutions.
2016 will be the year of “What if?” #whatif
“What if?” unlocks the power of possibilities in your life! It is the difference between almost doing something (which is nothing) and taking a step into your future.
With every #whatif possibility – fear will also show up. Fear of the unknown…fear of being wrong… fear of failure!
However, if your goal in LIFE is to avoid FAILURES, then you have NO LIFE!
I’m looking forward to sharing more of my#whatif ideas, goals, and projects with you this year. Stay tuned!
“The future of the church is not going to be built on implementing Best Practices, but on our willingness to attempt Better Experiments” – Will Mancini
I love this quote and it has stuck with me for over the past 2 years. As a matter of fact, I even added “Better Experiments” to a list of CORE VALUES we have in our church organization. It’s not printed on the wall or stuck on the back of any bulletin – it’s just a core value that guides the WHY WE DO decisions of our organization. I encourage our staff to step out into new directions and take risks as we move ministry forward.
However, this blog post is about the early lessons of adopting this value as an organization. I’ve spoken many times to our church about the freedom of being able to say “We don’t know” and walking into the unknown future with God leading the way – but it takes a certain mindset to be okay with tripping, falling, or even being launched into something bigger than you could possibly imagine with nothing but faith that God knows what He’s doing. For most folks, the loss of control (good or bad) is the loss of stability in an organization. If we live by fear and make decisions that limit our risk in life – then we are not really living.