Catt: God is the Lord of detours

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ORLANDO–Michael Catt, senior pastor at Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Ga., said he knows a little bit about life’s detours when he spoke to pastors during the Florida Baptist Pastors’ Conference at First Baptist Church in Orlando Nov. 9.

He has been fired from churches twice; served congregations where business meetings were “small scale wars;” discovered he was adopted at age 39; and lost 800 members in his present church during the decade of the nineties.

Now the pastor who served as executive producer of several Sherwood Picture films, including “Facing the Giants” and “Courageous,” is dealing with a cancer diagnosis that has resulted in 42 proton radiation treatments.

“God used those detours to mold me,” said the megachurch pastor. “If you travel the road of life long enough, you will learn there are lessons in the setbacks, detours and the unexpected. In those moments you learn lessons you can’t learn any other way.”

Florida Baptist State Convention, Michael Catt, Florida Baptist Pastors' ConferenceGod is the Lord of detours, Catt said, citing Deut. 8:1-5. As the people of Israel roamed in the wilderness for 40 years, they discovered “God is the same God in the wilderness as He is in the promised land.”

Throughout the Bible God has taken His people on difficult paths. Jesus suffered in the wilderness, as did Abraham when he was asked to sacrifice his son, Isaac. He led people into bondage until they cried out to him and led Joshua to face the insurmountable wall in Jericho. But God was faithful in every detour, he said.

There is a choice when God slows us down “to whine or to worship,” said Catt. “It is easier for us to whine than it is to worship.”

God prunes us so we can bear more fruit, Catts noted, referencing John 15.  “You don’t prune dead branches. You prune the most productive bushes so you can produce more fruit.”

One of the greatest traits God prunes is “our own self pride,” Catt said. “He will bless a limp, but he will not bless a strut,” Catt noted.

“God teaches us, he humbles us, he tests us, so He can prune us more.”

God leads to show His purpose. “You must be full of Jesus whether you’re on the mountaintop or in the valley,” he told the pastors.

“God knows our hearts. My strength is no help to God and my weakness is not a hindrance. I have discovered that God is incredibly attracted to desperate people.”

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