Love, Blessings, and a Pathway Forward
My life has been filled to the brim with God's blessings. I don’t always see it that way, but it’s true regardless. Case and point, in the midst of national economic shutdown and global hysteria resulting from viral pandemic, I've continued to work, had a beautiful and healthy baby girl, and my immediate family has come through unscathed. Blessing! At every stop in the road and every step in life there have been Godly people there to love, and nourish, and mentor me. When my path seems to veer off course, there is always someone there to push me back on track. Blessing! I was born into a Bible-believing, Spirit-filled family. That didn’t automatically make me Christian. I’ve had to find Jesus myself, and try to reconnect with him daily, but it has been so beneficial to have been shown His truth from the very beginning. That’s a beginning most people aren’t afforded. Blessing! At the times in my life where I’ve felt most stirred, discontent, and irritable, I’ve never been alone. Jesus has always been a guide. Even when I didn’t understand His plan, He still had one. One such time was in 2005. I felt so stirred for change. And worse, I had literally 10 different paths that all seemed right and I could have easily walked down any of those. But through a dream, and through reconciliation, God directed me almost inexplicably to Murray State University from Southern Michigan. Without that step, I wouldn’t have found my wife, or had either of my children. Blessing! There are over 3 billion women on the planet. There are 350 million people in the USA, and 4 million in Kentucky. There were also close to 10 million in Michigan where I lived for 8 years. Out of all those, God led me to a woman of incredible faith, that loves God, that is a friend and soulmate better than I could have ever designed for myself. The odds of me finding someone of such equal yoking to myself are astronomically low, and yet, she was clearly God's plan for me! Blessing! Let me start this piece by thanking and praising the God who created heaven and earth for loving me so completely to have this plan in mind, to give me so many blessings, and to keep me searching for the goodness in the center point of His will. His promise in Jeremiah has been so true for my life--His plan to bless me and not curse me, to give me future and hope! How great is our God!!!
And now I ask for prayer. I’m still seeking the center point of His perfect will because I am again at a place of total discontentment and stirring. I know that a mother bird stirs the nest so that the baby birds don’t become too comfortable. If they aren’t stirred, and pushed, if they remain content, then they never learn to fly. I sense that I’m on the cusp of my next learn-to-fly moment. I know God has something in store for me. I know that I need to leap from the nest, to walk by faith and not by sight, but I also know that God's Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. I don’t want to waste time with missteps. I want to walk in the direction He’s sending me. I want to do His will and not my own. So start by praying that I know where to take the first step. Like my decision in 2005, I’m faced with many attractive roads. Continue on in a career I’ve spent my entire adulthood in. It’s a career I am capable of succeeding in. It’s a career that has many opportunities for me, and within the framework, I deal with people, which gives me a chance at sharing the gospel. But it feels like a trip I took to a Christian University in the spring of 2005. In seeking God, I assumed I would find Him there--only I didn’t. In fact, by the end of a weekend visit, I was only sure of one thing, God wasn’t calling me to Tulsa, Oklahoma. The obvious choice seems like the one that I’m leaning against. And here is part of the journey. I saw a man say recently that the thing you tell others about the Lord is the thing He’s planning to try in your life. Almost a money-where-your-mouth-is moment. Mine has been faith. I want Christians to act like they believe the gospel of Jesus Christ at least as much as they believe the gospel of the World Health Organization And that takes faith to stand when it’s not easy. I believe the next step in my journey is one that will take faith. Pray I have strength. I’ve been trying to figure out what God has called me to change since I was a teenager. You know, the thing that makes you angry, where it meets talent, and skill, and favor is where God is usually planning for you to be. Well, as anyone who knows me can attest, many things make me principled and angry. So many that I’ve often wondered if God was calling me to change the entire world. I realize that’s silly of course. But I’m starting to really hone in, I think, in my mid-30s. I hate, hate, hate apathy when it comes to God. I hate to see a blessed church, an ordained people, a beautiful bride, cursed in lukewarmness. I hate seeing the church fracture and fragment because life has been so easy. I hate to see Christian people developing a complex that they deserve the blessing of God rather than humbling themselves in submission. I hate to see the mandate, to shine, being missed so badly. The world needs Jesus! That is, in my humble opinion, the greatest fact of all. But, the church needs him far more! Peter warned us of an age when people would have a form of godliness but deny the power thereof. I say, Welcome to 2020. The church has convinced itself that Jesus casting out evil spirits was a result of his being misinformed because he wasn’t aware of the future breakthroughs of modern medicine. Apparently, the theories of Freud and the advances of big pharmaceutical companies have surpassed the capabilities of the Light of the World by which everything was created. Or that Jesus didn’t command us to do greater works in His name than even He had done. Or that He was taken out of context when he told countless people that their faith had made them whole, healed, saved...or that Jesus Christ isn’t the same yesterday, today, and forever. We’ve worked so hard in our world to create a gospel that is all about our works, our innovations, and our successes. People get mad about many of the “prosperity” teachers, while missing the impotent gospel they themselves propagate. How is our world different than the one Nimrod was creating, where they didn’t need God? That’s essentially what our actions say. I sound angry. I feel angry. I feel like Bible literacy has given way to some weird hybrid of positive thought, and “common sense.” That church is equal to Sunday service. How are we that far off? We are the church. Our life is to be lived in dedication and service to the King. We are to be showing the way. Church service is a gas station. We should get a full tank and go out and BE the church. That requires us to spend real time with the Lord. Put down the remote and pick up the Bible. Shut down our brain and open up our heart in quiet, uninterrupted prayer. Stand on the Word of God when we see lies all around. It’s our relationship with Jesus that makes us a peculiar people, and in our intimacy with Him, He can work through us...like he did Peter, and Paul, and John, and Moses, and Elijah, and Elisha, and Daniel, and on and on. I told my mother-in-law that I feel like flipping over tables of money changers every time I see Christian people living in fear. Don't we remember that “Perfect love casts out all fear” (1 John 4:18)? In other words, Jesus Christ paid for our eternity, so even in death, we don't have to be afraid. I’m mad that mine is the faithless generation. I praise God that He saw us coming. That He knows the end from the beginning, and that Jesus is coming soon regardless. But my hope is to help my peers see that we have to be a bride like Rebekah, so eager to see the face of our groom, that we jump from the horse and run to Him. I love life! But I’m a stranger in a foreign land whose home is heaven and whose Maker is the Lord. And I’m homesick for a country that I’ve never been before. Everyday I want to be less attached to the things of this world, a lover of God rather than a lover of pleasure, and I want the church to want the very same thing. And I’m scared that, in large measure, our American Church is more interested in the things of this world than the things of God. Revelation differentiates earth dwellers, those who want to be a part of this earth. I don’t want to be an earth dweller. You shouldn’t either. In 2017, my wife told me I had become too zealous. She warned me that my every conversation was Biblical, that people weren’t going to want to be around me anymore. At that time, she thought that was a criticism. Recently, we were with friends and when we got home, she told me she didn’t know what to talk about because every conversation made her want to talk about the things of God. Nothing else really seems important to her. That makes me so excited! How fortunate I am to have a woman like her! I pray that her zeal, and apparently mine, wear off on people. We should all be so happy to tune out the world system and tune into God. John 6:66 says, “After this many of His disciples turned back and no longer walked with Him.” Truth has always been hard to accept, but it’s what we’re called to. Thank you for praying for me. He’s calling. He’s leading, guiding, directing. I know I’m being stirred, and I know what I want to see changed, now it’s just knowing the right apparatus. What do I do? Who do I tell? What forum do I use? Is it a hobby? Or a career? Is it here? Or somewhere else? And when is the timing? I know God will illuminate that path for me. But it will take intimacy, and faith. I pray He does this for me, and for you too.
His love keeps changing me every day. And it's the love that changes the world.