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What's Your Agenda?What's Your Agenda?
by Michael Harbour

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    We are arriving home with our friends after a long day in the trenches. Our children are with us. Emily has already set out a game that she wants to play. She has an agenda! She has worked hard to make it as easy as possible for the others to join her in her game.

    Jacob has something different in mind. He has just bought an electric guitar. Stephen and Wendell had lit his passion for the guitar when we were all on vacation last summer. Jacob wants to experience music with the source of one who lit his fire.

    I am bone weary with my head swimming with Old Testament scripture because I have been immersed in it for sixteen hours a day for the last four days. Yet, My agenda is with you! The blank page is looking at me, or it was! Everyone has an agenda.

    Last week I gathered with some friends to talk about spiritual growth. What we heard was that spirituality is not a matter of what you know. Knowing about God is not enough. Spirituality is not about what you do, either. Doing is important and essential, but doing is not enough. Our knowing and our doing spring from somewhere. Spiritual growth happens when we spend time with God and open ourselves to being the person that He has made us.

    God has an agenda.

    Much of God’s agenda is revealed to us in Scripture. Consider this beautiful passage from Hosea. The prophet is talking about the relationship between you and the God who loves you. “And I will take you for my wife forever; I will take you for my wife in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love, and in mercy. I will take you for my wife in faithfulness; and you shall know the Lord” (2:19-20) God’s agenda is for you and me! He wants us in this particular way.

Spiritual growth happens when we spend time with God...
    Sometimes when we are trying to be more spiritual in our prayer lives, we find ourselves praying more, but not more effectively. We bring a longer laundry list of needs. We wrestle the agenda back from God. We tell God what we want. We sit back expecting God to do something about our agenda. Now in our better moments, we send up our needs before God with some thanksgiving, or even some thanksdoing, but if we were to tell the truth, most of our prayers are about us, about what we want, about our agenda.

    How do we surrender ourselves to God’s agenda in our prayer life?

    Perhaps we could set apart some time when we could come to God. We would have to create some space in our schedule, a little Sabbath time, time devoted not to ourselves, but devoted to God in silence. Have you ever thought of coming to God without saying anything? Does God need a word from you for Him to know that you have come before Him, offering yourself? Could you come not only with nothing to say, but with no expectation of what God will do with you in the time? Is that still praying? The prophet says, “The Lord is in his holy temple, let the earth keep silence before him” (Habbakkuk 2:20) What would happen if you were to keep silence before God? Maybe some of that bad stuff would bubble up in your mind. Is that okay? Maybe your mind would wander. Is that okay? I think it is.

    Elijah went to stand before God on Mount Sinai when he was profoundly discouraged. Elijah did not find God in the great wind, or the powerful earthquake, or the blazing fire. Then after the fire there was the sound of sheer silence (1 Kings 19:12, NRSV). Elijah knew that God was present.

    I want to pray in such a way that God’s agenda is met. I want to come to God to listen without the expectation of a direct revelation. I hear God in the text. Scripture reveals the God who works on my heart in the silence. I trust that He will do good and useful things to me, with me, and through me. I trust that He has a better idea, and a better plan. What God will say will be like what he has said. He makes promises that those who will trust him will live in his pleasure. He does not promise that our agenda, even our best ideas, will be approved. We will live in the “Yes!” of the promises of God for us. God will set the agenda. “For in him every one of God’s promises is a ‘Yes.’ For this reason it is through him that we say the ‘Amen,’ to the glory of God.” (2 Corinthians 1:20)

    As our evening closes, Emily has won the game and gone to bed. The guitars are silent. The article is done. All of our agendas have been met!

    God have mercy on us, and may His agenda be done!

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      © 2002, Michael Harbour. Used by permission.

      Title: "What's Your Agenda?"
      Author: Michael Harbour
      Publication Date: August 16, 2002


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Michael Harbour is the preaching minister at Southeast Church of Christ in Houston, Texas.


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