Apr 22, 2022

Looking Ahead When the Flagman Is Ahead

Police officer directing traffic

Have you ever been stuck in traffic because of road construction? These unexpected delays can be notoriously frustrating on two lane highways when you see the ominous flagman sign and then see the brake lights. Being the less than patient person I can sometimes be, I often find myself trying to move over just a bit to look ahead and see how far the line goes or how far ahead the road worker with the double sided “Slow” and “Stop” sign is. Oddly, looking ahead does nothing to speed up the process—I suppose it just gives peace of mind knowing how long this delay may take.

There is another type of looking ahead that is far more valuable than looking ahead in traffic. It is the looking ahead that I am encouraging our student and adult Connect Group leaders to emphasize on Sundays. It is the looking ahead that thinks intentionally about what can or should look differently tomorrow based upon what God’s Word says today.

For those of you who participate in a Connect Group at Woolsey Baptist Church, you may have noticed over the past few months a more concentrated effort by your leader to look back, look up, and look ahead. By way of review, when I say look back, I refer to looking back to the past week—how did the Lord answer prayer requests? Who did you share gospel hope with the past week? What ways did you see God at work in your home, job, school, etc.? When I say look up, I refer to looking up to the Lord and his Word. At Woolsey, we make a big deal about holding God’s Word up high and that is for good reason—God’s Word is fully authoritative and sufficient!

When I say looking ahead, I refer to maximizing the final few minutes of the Connect Group hour with the deliberate focus of asking and answering what should look different in my life this coming week because of what God’s Word says. We could call this looking ahead application with focus. It is not just asking how do I apply the biblical text but, more concretely, how do I apply the biblical text to my life this coming week? It is doing the challenging work of identifying specific goals and actions steps to put in place within the next few days.

One of the greatest beauties of this type of looking ahead is that when we do so, we create very natural “look back” questions to ask the following Sunday. For example, if I am studying from 1 Thessalonians about Jesus’ Second Coming and I look ahead saying I want to share the gospel with a friend this week because I do not know for sure when Christ will return, hopefully someone will ask me next week, “Did you share the gospel last week to your friend?”

No doubt, there are a lot of ways to look ahead. Like myself, one common way of looking ahead when I am stuck in traffic is really fruitless. But looking ahead to envision how I will apply God’s Word in the days to come can be a powerful tool to apply and integrate the Bible in my day to day life. Will you take the challenge and look ahead this Sunday towards the end of Connect Group?