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Dr. Tony Evans is the founder and senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, founder and president of The Urban Alternative and author of over 100 books, booklets and Bible studies. The first African American to earn a doctorate of theology from Dallas Theological Seminary, he has been named one of the 12 Most Effective Preachers in the English-Speaking World by Baylor University. Dr. Evans holds the honor of writing and publishing the first full-Bible commentary and study Bible by an African American. His radio broadcast, The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans, can be heard on over 1,400 radio outlets daily and in more than 130 countries. Dr. Evans’ sermons are also streamed and downloaded over 20,000,000 times annually. #tonyevans #tonyevanssermon #Sovereignty

Providence is God automalizing your life

and causing people places things and

thoughts to happen that you weren’t

looking for

but if you’re stuck in your plan

then you may miss his Providence

and you won’t see him audibleizing


because he’s inserting things changing

things canceling things reversing things


you’ve got this plan you’ve got this

schedule you’ve got this goal nothing

wrong with that

in and of itself except if God is Not


he says because what you need to

understand is that verse 14 you are just

a vapor

you appear here a little while and then

vanish away a paper is a puff of smoke

like cold air coming out of your mouth

on a winter day you see it and then it’s

gone like the steam coming out of the

coffee or tea pot it shows up

and the older you get the more puff you


in your life and your pain in the losses

that you see around you

he says nothing wrong with planning in

fact you’re encouraged to plan

but what he says you bed not plan

independently of God

because you and I and we don’t control

the future

not only do we not control it we can’t

even see it

we can only hope for it

he says what you ought to say

verse 15.

is if the Lord Wills we will live and

also do this or that

don’t don’t don’t come out here like you

you gonna control it

you can plan it but you can’t guarantee


what you ought to say is imma make my

plan to use a football phrase with my

head on a swivel

hit on a swivel means I’m I’m going I’m

going I’m gonna leave some space

I’m not going to be stiff neck I’m gonna

be able to swivel I’m I gotta have a

little flexibility in my plan unless God

has something else in mind

that I didn’t plan for didn’t expect

because I’m not omniscient I have no

knowledge of the future he says what you

ought to say

is not I’m gonna I’m gonna I’m gonna I

will unless you add to it

unless you put a lip on it

if the Lord Wills

in other words God must be brought in to

planning because life is full of


the unexpected the surprise the unknown

you and I we must not cannot should not

plan we should plan

but with our head on a swivel that is

with fluidity built in for the will of


because God can shift things on a dime

positive negative it can come in all

kind of ways but he says you ought to

say you know it ought to be something

that you don’t just think it is see see

if the Lord Wills it’s not just the

throw in line it’s a philosophy of life

it’s it’s the way you roll it’s a it’s

an orientation if the Lord Wills I will

do this or that now I plan to do this or

that but my head’s on a swivel

I’ve got some I’ve got some built in for


for the unexpected

see the staff tries to get over on me

we’re in budget season and we have to


and they send me their budgets and when

they send me their budgets for me to

review because I got to look at the

whole thing and I gotta see I know a lot

of those numbers are padded

at least one of the staff was was honest

they said well

just in case

you’ve had a little bit for


you ought to say if it’s the Lord’s will

you and I cannot be Sovereign over our


now there’s a lot of theology here so

let’s go theological for a while to see

what how this works and how God fits

into the

idiosyncratic elements of our planning

so that we are nuanced properly

to be able to plan with solid


with our spiritual heads on a swivel

with some contingency built in

for divine intervention

there are two

top truths that you need to know as a


the number one thing you need to know is

the gospel the good news of the death

and resurrection of Jesus Christ for the

Forgiveness of sins and for the free

gift of eternal life that he freely

gives to all who come and believe in him

for it the good news of the Gospel is

the first thing that you need to embrace

but the second thing

and the critical thing for the rest of

your life my life our lives

is the sovereignty of God

that theological truth of the

sovereignty of God simply means god


God is the ruler controller and

sustainer of all things absolutely

nothing happens in history unless he

makes it happen or gives it permission

to happen

there is nothing that sits outside of

the rule of God

Ephesians 1 11 says God does all things

after the counsel of his own will job

said in job 42 2 that his plan can never

be thwarted

First Chronicles 29 verses 10 to 13 says

God sovereignly rules

nothing happens

in the smallest detail

of which God has not allowed or caused

scripture says that the very hands of

our head are numbered individually

not one Sparrow falls to the ground of

which God is not fully aware

so the sovereignty of God means he is in


The Good The Bad and The Ugly

all of it

the devil can’t even be the a good Devil

Without God allowing it

because the Bible says even evil does

not happen apart from the knowledge of


he is fully aware

of all things knowable

and all things potential he is the only

one who can answer the question what if

because he knows all potentialities as

well as all actualities

so you need to understand we need to

understand the sovereignty of God the

fact that

he rules over all things and uh nothing

sits outside of him the reason why you

must say if the Lord Wills is because he

can both Rule and overrule he can cancel

and allow he can reverse and Crush

one of the great chapters on the

sovereignty of God is Isaiah 40.

Isaiah 40.

he says when even Nations don’t escape

God he simply blows on them

and he can shift them destroy them raise

them up cancel them

he says You must know that God is ruler

sovereignty of God

but underneath

the doctrine of God’s rulership his


is the doctrine of his Providence

sovereignty that’s the big word he rules


is the miraculous and uh mysterious way

in which he accomplishes his Sovereign


sovereignty is what he’s going to



is when he doesn’t want you to see him

accomplishing it

Providence is when he operates incognito

when he doesn’t want to be up front see

sometimes God wants to be up front

and you know it was God it was just he’s

up front

but sometimes

he goes behind the curtain

and his fingerprints are causing things

to happen so you don’t see him but what

you see is what he did


that’s called Providence

and if you don’t believe in sovereignty

you won’t see Providence

if if you don’t believe in sovereignty

then you won’t see God calling audibles

at the line of scrimmage

it’s when the quarterback comes up to

the line of scrimmage they’ve already

called the plan play

they got to play they got in the Huddle

and they they gave a play that had been

previously planned and put on the books

but when the quarterback comes and he

sees a different alignment on the other

side even though he started with a plan

of a play he was going to call he

audibolizes it at the line of scrimmage

and on the spot changes it

in other words he’s doing something

different on the spot than the Plan

called for

Providence is God audible lies in your


and causing people places things and

thoughts to happen that you weren’t

looking for

but if you’re stuck in your plan

then you may miss his Providence

and you won’t see him audibleizing


because it’s if the Lord Wills

because he’s inserting things changing

things canceling things reversing things

what he is saying is

you don’t you don’t you don’t plan

independently of God

and many of us miss the Providence of


no all things work together for good

Romans 8 28 to them who love God and are

called according to his purpose which is

ultimately verse 29 to conform us to His

Image but all things are working


to create something

all things you you

you’re baking a cake you’re baking a

cake you know you don’t you don’t eat

the nutmeg you don’t eat the butter you

don’t eat the flour you know you don’t

you don’t eat those independent things

you blend them

and when you blend them and integrate

them and then heat them now you have a

cake because you’ve taken individual

parts and you’ve so wedded them to

produce something meaningful and


but if you don’t

know how to blend

then you don’t get the net result of

what you’re looking for

God has a cosmic blender he has a life


and he’s able to take all the nuances of

our life good bad and ugly

and blend them so that we see the

outworking if we love him the problem is

if you don’t love him you may not see

him blending you


so let me go over something I went over

with you if you believe in sovereignty

he rules

and if you understand Providence

that he mysteriously in an interconnects


allows or creates negatives he brings

about positives if you if you believe

that that that is the god to whom you


and you say this is my plan this is

where I want to go this is what I want

to be this is what I want to do if the

Lord Wills

I have now inserted the contingency

you know what that means for your life

that means

there’s no longer anything of chance

fate coincidence or happenstance

no such thing

the big word that you must remove from

your vocabulary is luck

you cannot have a sovereign God who

operates in Providence and luck at the

same time you can’t do that

because luck is a random chance


not a divinely orchestrated


I know I know what we mean we got lucky


we got wish me luck we got plain luck we

got blind luck we got bad luck we got

tough luck we got Lady Luck we got

rotten luck we got good luck we got pot

look we got luck

but you cannot have a sovereign God

who operates providentially he operates

directly but also providentially

that is why you must always keep your

head on a spiritual swivel for divine


the unexpected


he’s thrown in a pit

he sold into slavery

he finally gets a good job he’s accused

of rape

he’s thrown in jail

they forget him in jail

the King has a Nightmare on Elm Street

he needs somebody to interpret his dream

then they remembered as this guy in jail

who’s good at that

after he had been forgotten in jail in

bonds the Bible says

they call him up years later

he interprets a dream

he’s made second in charge of the

kingdom and then he concludes the Book

of Genesis chapter 50 with these words

you saw me into slavery you meant it for


but God meant it oh

God meant it for good wait a minute he

met my negative experience yes he met my

being in jail yes yes because you love

me I even let the negative happen to

bring you to this place