The wait is over...
Wow, things were moving fast! Yet, I knew that even though very few things were making sense at this point, I was being awakened to a whole new world that would soon come into focus. I had to come to the realization that I didn't have to be on staff at some local church in a certain location to be in full time ministry. What a wake-up call. That's one of those things that I always knew...but I didn't know it! Know what I mean?
It was at this point in my life that I was reacquainted...reintroduced to my calling. That I was to go and do wherever the Holy Spirit directed...not to search out a certain position in a certain location. I had to go back to the beginning and take a long hard look at my spiritual inventory and the spiritual mile markers in my life.
Spiritual Gifts tests have always proven to me that I have two unique gifts: music/worship and evangelism. And not necessarily in that order. I have an indescribable passion for worship and to lead His people before His throne. Being a musician has always given me a vehicle for entering His presence at the highest level. My favorite place is to be in the 'zone' and imagine myself at His feet, with guitar in hand, singing my most intimate praise to Him. And to take others along with me for that ride is absolutely chilling. One day, I'll be able to stay in the 'zone'...
For my other gift, evangelism is not something I do...it's just me, it's a way of life. I'm the guy that slows up the checkout line at Wal-Mart because I'm telling the cashier just how great my Jesus is. Again, it's not something that I think about doing, or think I should be doing...I just do it...it just happens. So many people have this misconception that by inviting people to church is the same thing as witnessing...NO IT'S NOT. Witnessing is when you are so in love with Jesus Christ, that you can't help but tell others about Him and what He's done for you. The phrase that rings so true is "It's not about religion...it's about a relationship!" It's never been if you 'love' Jesus, it's are you 'in love' with Jesus. And fear has gripped the hearts and mouths of so many Christians that it's become difficult to share Christ with others.
Churches, in my experience, are notorious for putting so much pressure and demands on staff members, that it becomes difficult for them to actually 'minister'. Demands for office hours, 'job' requirements, attempting to please everyone (which by the way, can NOT be done), and so on, hinder many men from doing what God called them to do. And I'll be the first to admit that I've allowed it to happen to me to the point, that my focus has been more on churchy stuff, and not on God stuff. (This paragraph is a definite post in the making!) I found myself falling and falling deeper and deeper into a never-ending black hole...further and further away from my family, my calling and myself. Not only was I speeding in the wrong direction, I was asleep at the wheel...
Just like many a father over the years have taken their young sons outside to the woodshed for guidance and direction, so it was that my Heavenly Father had to grab me by the knapp of my neck and drag me out to His spiritual woodshed. And just like those other young men, I came away with a better...a much more clearer understanding of where I was and what I was supposed to be doing...I came out of it, a better, a much stronger man.
"You want me to what?"
"You heard Me."
"You want me to do what? You're sure? You know there is absolutely NO WAY I can do this myself."
"Now you're getting it. Remember what we've talked about...more of Me, less of you."
"More of me?"
"More of You, less of me. All of You, none of me."
Imagine that. Through years and years of secular work, business travel, church politics and dysfunctunal churches, I've been allowed to do something that I always had dreamed of doing. Having the freedom to be...do...go...daily as He calls me. Being in a place where I can be myself, be with my family, love my friends, make countless new friends and induldge in my favorite pastime...coffee. Being able to put 'feet to my prayers', to show others what a Christ-filled life is like in the real world, not secluded or condemned to stay behind the four walls of a church. I'm actually able to be part of His church for the first time in my life. Having a place where people can come in and be themselves...to laugh...to cry...to pray. A place where the unloveable can find love...the hopeless can find hope...a place where Jesus is found at the intersection of church and the real world. A place where I can call home...a place my family can invite countless others to in a non-threatening environment...a place to serve....serve others through Him. A place that's easy to remember...a place you would want to be...a place that reflects me...Dad's Place...but we all know it's His Place.
To say the very least, I've learned a lot in the past two years. I've learned that the love my family has for each other is indescribable and incalculable...that God truly provides for you on a day-by-day basis if you let Him...that if you will just listen and watch, God will speak in a very direct way and He will open and close doors for you that only He can. I've learned who my friends really are, because there are many who just don't understand the fact that I still serve in full-time ministry, just in a much different method. I still get offers from churches to come back on staff, yet each time God very lovingly reminds me about why I do what I do. I've learned that the measure of a man is not determined by the amount of money he makes, the home he lives in, the car he drives, the church he serves in, or the people he tries to impress...he's measured by the God he serves, how he serves Him, how he leads his family and what effect he has on the Kingdom.
What does the future hold...I honestly don't have a clue. But for now, I'm enjoying the ride of a lifetime...the cruise control is set...my seat belt is buckled...my sun glasses are on...and the coffee is brewing...