“I didn’t go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of Port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity.” – C.S. Lewis
It’s been a long time since I sat down to write a blog.
I’ve turned over so many ideas in my head during the past couple of months, but nothing felt honest. Every idea that I dreamed up seemed to have some kind of hook or marketing ploy innocently tucked behind it. So I didn’t write.
Thank God seasons change.
Not sure about you, but I develop a short attention span when I see someone who wants to “share their heart” on social media. Just about everyone has a blog and some kind of platform. I can’t read them all (nor do I want too!), and I certainly don’t care enough about everyone else’s opinions on every minute detail of life….
With that said, I do want to share a little more than just a well thought out blog. I do want to talk about why my faith overrules my common sense so much so that it drives me a bit crazy. I have a Business Management degree. I am wired to see challenges coming. I am equipped to manage problems and to make the best decisions with the information available to me.
There is one issue. I follow Christ. That means I am called to walk by faith and not by sight, or by common sense. Talk about a challenge! It shouldn’t ever mean that I don’t use my common sense. It just means that my faith should override my common sense if God is leading me. It’s a personal call. A personal walk.
My greatest heroes in life are ones that, if listed below, you would have no idea who they were. They are regular, God-fearing people, most without a large platform. Some are still here, others have gone on to heaven. Regardless, these are the people whose lives I admire. They are a good reminder to me of the character of Jesus, a reminder that I often need.
The Difficult Path:
As I look back on most of my adult life, it seems I have often chosen the difficult path over the most accessible or even the most acceptable. Years ago, I graduated college and went to work for a fire equipment company. The owner was so gracious to give me a job, knowing full well that I was headed into full time ministry when the right door opened. That day did come after about a year and a half. I sensed a clear call to leave that job, knowing that God would provide.
He did provide. But I looked a little silly in the process. I left that job before I had another one. Not recommending it. That’s on you. You talk to God about your job!
As I mentioned before, the Lord opened a door for me that I would have never dreamed. With my background in music, it was the perfect job in the right season of life. I became the road pastor for a Christian band called Newsong. I was also the World Vision representative for a time on the road. I had the opportunity to see 46 states and thousands upon thousands of lives changed during this season of my life.
Then I met a bright-eyed, curly haired girl.
Her name was Renee and I met her at the Newsong merchandise table after a concert one night in Gainesville, FL. That was almost nineteen years ago. We’ve been married eighteen.
As we began our lives together, it seemed like a natural transition to go to work on staff at a church in Florida, settle our lives a little. We made some of the best friends we’ve ever had during this season of extreme highs and lows.
But, then here it came again….that still small voice. That heart whisper. After four years at the church, the Lord was calling my family to Argentina. Not Alabama. Argentina.
So we said goodbye to our church and flew nine ours south to Argentina to serve at a youth camp, minister to surrounding cities and learn the language. We arrived with two giant Walmart bins of clothes and stuff.
Our room was six steps long. You can imagine the shock.
We flew back to the states at the end of our time in Argentina, knowing that the door was closing and a new one was opening. Or was it?
I spent nine months looking for the “next step”. I honestly thought it may never come. It felt like I had been forgotten. You better believe that I second-guessed the decision to leave Argentina more than once a day during that time.
All of the sudden, it seemed like the dam began to break and one opportunity after another began to present itself, almost like the Lord was telling us to “pick one”. After this desert season, we picked the opportunity that we felt the Lord was leading us to. I returned to serve on a church staff in Georgia for about seven years. These were some of the greatest times of ministry for me and my family. It was great being around people who lived with a Kingdom mindset, but understood the balance of ministry and family. To add to the blessing, our children were born about five minutes from where I grew up in Atlanta. But, here it came again.
That still, small voice.
Not now! Come on…
Driving home from church one night, the Lord moved on my heart in such a personal way. He began to clarify a call that only He could initiate in my heart. It was time to take yet another leap of faith and go serve the most vulnerable. I would be entering a field where I had so little experience. But the call was clear and so compelling.
From Obscurity to The White House:
That leap of faith put me in the White House in my first year of ministry to orphans before we had even raised $5000 for our new non profit. Granted, I almost passed out thinking about speaking there, but all went great and so began our ministry to the church and to the orphan. This opportunity put me around great leaders who knew so much more than me about children in foster care and orphans globally. Many of those relationships still exist today…six years later.
By now, you would think that I get a buzz from jumping off faith cliffs or diving into the sea of the unknown. Quite the opposite. I like being normal. I often miss having a “secure” job that someone else is leading. After all, I am a second-born child. I can naturally work in the shadows of others. I love working at a coffee shop. It’s comfortable and it’s predictable.
But, the call…
I can’t get away from God’s call.
I can’t get away from the life of faith.
Nor do I want to.
I want to finish stronger than I started. I want the pure faith that Abraham, Noah, Esther, Peter, James and Paul all had. I want to be like Stephen who lived for the standing ovation of Jesus and not others. I want to take the harder road, not because it’s hard, but because Jesus promised to be on it with me.
I’m saddened that it often seems “abnormal” to the Christian world to live by faith, to desire godliness, to use wisdom to hold our opinion about every cultural shift, and to ruthlessly desire purity for our lives and the lives of our family. Christianity is not a badge for me. It’s real and it represents the deepest core of who I am. It’s a call to follow Jesus, wherever that may lead.
In every season of this journey, one thing remains true. God uses the pain, the doubting, and the second-guessing. He always does. We are no longer afraid of it. Don’t hear me wrong. We don’t embrace it. We don’t like it. But we are not afraid of it. And we feel blessed to have walked this path.
2017 is going to be a great year, not because of the way our family chooses to live by faith, but because God cares about the orphan WAY more than any of us ever will. It is His heart.
I hope mine can look more like His in 2017.
Time to leap again,
“So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.”
– 2 Corinthians 5:6-10