Journey to Bethlehem: December 10 - Word&Way

Journey to Bethlehem: December 10

As believers, we are all on an exciting journey with God. While God gives us the general call, he withholds the details.

J. Ken Smith

J. Ken Smith is pastor of Forest Avenue Church in Kansas City, Mo.

Looking back, I can see how God has directed our path. As with Abraham, there were many things that my wife and I did not know concerning the details of the journey. I was sure that I would be a traveling evangelist. In seminary, church administration classes seemed unnecessary for a guy who would just preach. 

We came to Kansas City from New Orleans to work on a doctor of ministry degree, and we needed a church setting. Feeling drawn to the urban core, I accepted a call to an inner-city church.

The first Christmas, a year into my studies, we had 15 for worship. It was a terrifying time. The treasurer told me that the church would be dead in five years. Understanding this was a temptation that needed to be met with the Word of God, I cited Psalm 37:25 and told the treasurer that, if God chose, he could send money from the outside.

Faced with a huge job, I made the painful decision to leave the degree behind to focus on the church. Now 30 years later, I look back and see it was the right thing to do. The church began growing. We later began a homeless shelter, then an Urban Missions Training Center. Forty hear the gospel nightly. Hundreds of students come yearly from all over the United States. God has faithfully continued to send support from as far away as Switzerland.

I have learned that God may not give you all of the details, but you can be sure that he will never lead you where he will not provide for you, and he will never lead you where he will not protect you.