Mac Brunson, senior pastor of First Baptist Church Jacksonville, laid down a deceptively simple question to those attending the 2016 Florida Baptist Pastors Conference Sunday night hosted by Calvary Church in Clearwater.
His question: How do I follow God when I have no idea where He is trying to lead me?
“God will not detour you around the difficulties in ministry and life,” Brunson told those attending the pastors conference. “He will guide you through them for His glory.”
He then offered three ways to gain a deeper understanding of this sometimes troubling concept.
Using Exodus chapters 13 and 14 as his text, Brunson said the first thing we need to do is understand that God never consults us about the course He has chosen for our lives.
Secondly, Brunson said, God never asks directions about the direction of your life.
The reason God sent the Israelites on the Exodus path He did instead of the most direct route, Brunson said, is He was getting them to a place at Mt. Sinai where they would be ready and willing to worship.
When God puts an insurmountable obstacle in front of you, an unconquerable enemy behind and wilderness on both sides, He has you right where He wants you: Totally dependent on Him, Brunson said.
“God says, ‘You obviously thought that it was about getting you out of Egypt. [But it’s really] about my glory,’” Brunson said. “What’s it about in your life?”
The third and final point in Brunson’s message was that God calls us to walk by faith. The Israelites took their eyes off God, looked back at the Egyptians and were gripped by fear.
We often do the same thing. Under pressure, stress and anxiety, we often take our eyes off God and fixate on our problems.
“It’s the easiest thing we do, especially when we get under stress,” Brunson said.
In this passage, the Israelites were able to look back at the bones of Joseph, who did not want to be buried in Egypt, for some inspiration about how God would take care of the Israelites. The passage also gives us an early reference about a picture of Christ’s resurrection and second coming.
The pastors conference will run through 4 p.m. Monday at Calvary Church in Clearwater.