You have seen it in movies and read about it in books… those plot changes that get slipped in to the storyline to show you what would have happened if…  If she had turned right instead of left.  If he had accepted the challenge to drag race.  If he had never been born.  These are some quality references, but you can insert your own… I think you get the gist.

We usually have to imagine what might have been if we had done something or said something differently, but unintended consequences… those things that happen because we did or did not do something… they are not limited to our past.  If we take time to think about our present choices and even our future plans, we might be able to imagine some unintended consequences that could arise if we just skate through without considering some of the real possibilities.

For the record, I know we can become paralyzed by the myriad of things that could go wrong as we consider the possible outcomes: What if the plane crashes? What if he has a heart attack?  What if she says “no!”?  What if too many people show up?  That is NOT what I am talking about.

“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”  (2 Timothy 1:7)

I love this passage – it helps us to remember we have this amazing gift of the Holy Spirit, and He gives power and love and self-control.

You may be fearless. I hope you are. Those who serve students need to be!  But there is this other passage about fear that comes to mind when I think about how we sometimes operate, “The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.” (Proverbs 29:25)

You may have a PhD in avoiding the snares of fear, but the application of this truth requires that we put our trust in the Lord. I am pitching softballs here, but let me throw a slight curve. Being lazy, failing to plan, neglecting to pray before you make the decisions, and not taking time to consider the unintended consequences, these are prime examples of not trusting God.  I pray you hit this one out of the park too!

So, with all this in mind, especially in light of the fact that a new year is fast approaching, “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Phillipians 3:13-14)

Since we are a fearless bunch, and since we are committed to making the name of Jesus great as we make disciples, consider these questions as you approach ministry and relationships in 2017:

  • How can I be more effective at making disciples of those who are currently committed to the church?
  • As we see students following Jesus in deeper ways, how can we empower them to share what they have learned with others, especially on campus?
  • How do we model, train, and equip students to be evangelists on their campus?
  • How can we break through the red tape of the schools to establish meaningful relationships with students who will be disciples of Jesus?
  • What is holding me/us back from being a part of the next greatest movement of students coming to Christ?
  • What are some steps we can take in the communities God has called us, to place our trust in the Lord for the glory of His name, and not our ministry or our church?
  • Can you bring the Principal or office staff a cup of coffee and some donuts? And pray while you are there?  Covert op: Anoint the doors as you walk into the school?
  • Can you prayer walk when no one is there. Before school? After school?  It is amazing what you see when you do this!
  • Is there anyone (student, teacher, parent, administrator) on the campus I can support, encourage, and love on?

There are a million questions we can ask to get us thinking and praying and seeking the power of the Holy Spirit for our campuses and our ministries. The point is we need to keep asking them, keep seeking, and respond as the Lord leads.  We cannot afford to set back and wait or be lazy in our approach. Not only does this show a lack of trust, it comes with a whole truck load of unintended consequences.

Don’t worry or wonder in fear “what if.” Consider the possibilities and actively trust God!


Chris Coggins
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