Monthly Archives: February 2012
So, for the last few months, Nicole and I have been soul searching and discerning what God may have for us in the near future. As you might know, last July I made a departure from our full time ministry position. A position that made us a decent living with benefits and a pension. We stepped out in faith and it’s been much harder than we expected and now I am currently working three days a week at a local Verizon store (no I can’t give you a free iPhone) for a fraction of what I used to make.
The truth is, we fully expected to be in a new ministry by now, and have come close several times but nothing has come through. This can be really daunting at times, and quite honestly discouraging, but this is teaching me a few things:
1. God’s ways are not as our ways. I’ve said this many times before and counseled people with this thought but the reality of it is that we cannot always see the plan or even make sense of what God does or calls us to do.
2. God’s timing is not our timing. Again, this one is pretty obvious but when we start complaining about God not doing a work in our lives within a few months or a few weeks we are truly missing that point all together.
3. When God says ‘humble yourself’ he means it. In the last year I have gone from counseling youth about their life’s struggles to helping them upgrade to a new iPhone and I have gone from leading in a church’s programming and leadership to changing the filters in that church’s basement on my knees (while the young janitor who is now making more than me snickers). This was not just humbling but humiliating and I think that is what God needed to do in my heart.
So for right now, Nicole and I are still interviewing with multiple churches across the country but we are praying about what God would have us do today, not tomorrow. Sometimes even when we know what we need to do in life it isn’t easy but we trust and know in the Spirit that our lives will bring God glory and we will be used in spite of our weakness. I will post more on this site to let you know what things we will be doing locally. We have hosted a concert recently and plan on doing more of that as well as possibly hosting our own prayer retreat.
This year I almost missed Lent. Having worked at a church that follows the liturgical calendar for the last four years and now not being connected there I almost forgot about it completely. In years past I have been a smarty pants and have said things like, “I’m giving up Lent for Lent” but the last two years I practiced the tradition of giving something up for forty days and have received much spiritual reward for it. The thing that I personally struggle with the most is that I’m not a very religious person and I tend to dismiss religious holidays altogether as fun or interesting but of no spiritual value.
Here’s what I’ve learned: It’s all about motives. When we approach a religious ritual out of habit or just because it is what we have always done we lose any opportunity to really connect with God. However, when our motives are right we can really take advantage of an opportunity to deepen our Christ-connection. That is the beauty of Lent; a true opportunity to deny oneself in order to better focus our deeper and more real need for Christ.
I have found that some of my very best times of prayer have come through fasting or times of sacrifice and I do not feel that it is simply because God wanted that sacrifice, but because He wanted the right motives in my heart.
Here is my warning to those of you who are practicing any kind of Lenten fast. If you are giving up chocolate, fatty foods, or the like, make sure your real motive isn’t to lose weight or get in shape. Our sacrifice to God should never have hidden motives to benefit ourselves. That is exactly the wrong motive and you’d be better off to not practice Lent at all.
Also, here is a thought for those of you who don’t practice Lent. Could you be missing an opportunity to deepen your life in Christ? The Lenten season is at a perfect time to prepare yourself for the celebration and reminder of Jesus’ victory over death!