Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Where Are You Going?

We recently took a three day vacation and drove to the second largest city in Bolivia, Santa Cruz.  Santa Cruz has about 2 million people in it, however the thing that we like about it is that it is the most “American-Like” place in Bolivia.  They have a good Burger King, and a Subway, and a couple of Mexican food places.  They also have a water park (it is summer here).  We go there and stay in a missionary guest house and can do a nice little vacation pretty cheap.

Santa Cruz is about 300 miles away.  It takes us around 11 hours to drive there.  Yes, you read that correctly, 11 hours to drive 300 miles.  This is without stopping for anything but gasoline, no lunches or breaks.  In Bolivia, highways are not what they are in the States.  There are really only two interstate highways.  One goes from Cochabamba to Santa Cruz (and on to Brazil).  The other goes from Cochabamba to La Paz (our capital) and then on to Chili and Peru.  I would say that the road in front of your house is probably better than about 90% of our highway.
This last trip took even longer.  As you can see in the photo, we were stranded on the side of the highway for almost three hours.  There had been a landslide in the mountains, and the road was washed out.  They had to bring in some equipment and get it opened. I have a question for you.  Why did we sit for almost three hours beside the road (the second photo shows how exciting it was)?  What would make us add this time to our trip?  Why do this?

We estimated 600 autos stranded

Here we are feeding the mosquitos a buffet lunch

As a matter of fact, we were not the only ones. There were North Americans, Quechuas, Bolivians, and a couple we met from the Netherlands. There were a few nice cars driven by rich people, and a bunch of very poor people.  There were old and young, married and single all on the side of the road.  Why?  There are two reasons.  The first is because the road was closed.  Everyone on this road had to wait.  The second is just as simple.  This was the road we chose. 
My point is something that I have been focusing on for the last year in my life, and I will be preaching a sermon series on starting Sunday.  I am "joeizing" a series from Andy Stanley.  Here it is:

Direction Determines Destination.
 I will end up where I end up because that was the way I was going.  I may not have wanted to go there. I may have wanted to go somewhere else, but it doesn’t matter.  My destination will be the end of the path that I am on.  Imagine if you loved the warm winter that you have had so far, and are bummed out about this snow.  So, you tell the kids, “Pack up your swimsuits and goggles, we are heading to Miami!”  Then, you got all packed up and jumped on I-95.  Only, you made a small mistake and took I-95 NORTH instead of SOUTH.  No matter what your intentions were, no matter how good of a Christian you are, no matter what you want or desire…you are NOT going to Miami.  If you stay on I-95 North, you will NEVER get to Miami.  You can pray about it.  You can talk about it.  You can plan on it.  You can dream about it.  You are not going to Miami.  Your direction determines your destination.
We can easily see that this is true in geography and on the highways.  What we don’t realize is that it is true in relationships in your life.  It is true in finances.  It is true in health.  It is true in your spiritual walk.
The direction that you are headed is more important that the desires of your heart.  It is your direction, not your dreams or intentions, that will take you to a particular destination.  Yet, we don’t really believe this.  We think that we can take Path A and end up at Destination B.  We think that we can neglect our spiritual lives and yet end up being like Jesus. Here are some examples of how we don’t see the connection.

“I want to be healthy and lose weight”.  (Can you super size that for me please?)

“I want to have a closeknit family unit.” (Sure, I can work 70 hours a week, commute 10 hours a week, play golf on the weekends and watch sports all Sunday and never spend any time with the kids)

“I want my children to love and respect my spouse.”  (Then we speak to each other in anger, sarcasm, bitterness and hostility)

“I want my kids to be like Jesus, giving and loving.” ( I can’t afford to tithe, let alone support world missions until the house, cars and vacations are paid off) 

Now, if we are talking about someone else, rather than ourselves, we can easily see that the direction they are heading will not take them to the destination that they are desiring.  But when it comes to our lives, we tend to think that if we just drive faster up I-95 North, or if we drive with good intentions, or if we love Jesus, then we will go to Miami.  It will not happen.  Direction determines destination. 

So, here is my point and my application.  Where do you want to be in your spiritual life in 5 years?  Are you heading in that direction?  Where do you want to be in your marriage relationship in 10 years? Are you heading in that direction?  Where do you want to be in your relationship with your kids in 15 years? Are you heading in that direction?  Where do you want to be in your health in 20 years?  Are you heading in that direction?

Direction determines destination.  (Download the podcast from Northpoint Ministries, Andy Stanley. It is a lifechanging series).


Diary of an Autodidact said...

Good words. And from bloodsuckers everywhere, thanks for feeding the mosquitos.

Amy K said...

Hi Joe, I stumbled across your blog after seeing a link on Diary of an Autodidact. I am familiar with your family because I worked for HSLDA and knew the Halls, etc. We will pray for your work in Bolivia. What a change for your family. It is great to see that God has given you a vision and heart for missions.

Joe Holman said...

Amy, I haven't read that book, although it has been recommended to me by other people. Think I will see if there is a Kindle copy now. Also, I remember you and Kevin both...can't he do like a gazillion different accents? Send me a friend request on facebook...I would send you one, but I cannot remember your last name.

Caleb and Kirsten said...

Wonderful, convicting post--thanks! Blessings on your family; love being able to keep up through your blog and your wife's blog. You all are a blessing and encouragement to our young family!

Victoria said...

Great message! Thank you!