Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Called?

I woke up on January 12th this year, my birthday, looked in the mirror and said, “I’m 33 today. Jesus died when he was 33. What have I done in my 33 years to advance his kingdom?” I didn’t answer it, just asked it.

So what is this blog? What is this guy doing? What is he about? The best answer I can give is this, “I DON’T KNOW!” I know God is smarter than me and He has spoken loudly now and I must listen. I’ve been hearing for a while but not listening.

For several years God has been working something in me that I have suppressed. I’ve denied it to my wife and friends long enough. Now I must say, “I’ve been Called!” I really never understood what that meant until it happened to me. This has only been my admission for a few weeks now. Whoa, what a relief!

Called to what you’re asking? Called to the ministry. As in pastor, preacher, minister…whatever you want to tag me with. The Lord has filled me with something to say about his Son, you know our Savior the guy that died for me and you then got up and walked after being dead for the three days, yeah that guy. I can’t hold it in any longer!

I won’t try to get into the whole spiritual journey I’ve been on for ten years. That would be WAY too much to digest in one setting. But if you stay with me somewhere along the way you’ll get to hear my whole story piece by piece.

Right now let’s rewind over the last couple of months.

Let me warm up the crowd a little first. You’ve heard of Jesus Freaks right? Well how do you know when you are a Jesus Nerd? When you start listening to other preacher’s sermons, about twice a day, every day during the week. That has been my idea of fun for a while now! SERIOUSLY! Gimme some tape for these glasses.

Anyway, I was listening to this preacher a few months ago and he said he challenged his staff with this question. “What would you be willing to attempt for God if you knew you couldn’t fail?”

I thought to myself that’s an awesome question. Then the first thing that popped into my mind was. “I’d quit my job and start a church.” WHAT! NO! WHERE DID THAT COME FROM! So I played my mulligan card and read it again. DOH! Same result. So, I think to myself I’ll type this question out, print it, tape it to the top of my computer screen, look at it everyday and surely I’ll think of something else worthy of the King.

Fast forward to July 5th. My grandmother passed away. An awesome farmer’s wife that could love a baby with one hand and chase you out of the kitchen with the wire end of flyswat in the other. And let me tell you what she was not shy about washing your mouth out with Lava soap if the wrong word came out of your mouth. But then turn right around and feed you an apricot fried pie when you had understood the error of your ways. A good woman! By the way I’m convinced there will be an all night apricot fried pie stand when we get to heaven!

Anyway back to the ranch, after a little tug from God and nudge from my beautiful bride I volunteered do perform her funeral service. I spent an entire day in solitude at my parent’s country home preparing my words and felt very confident in what God had laid on my heart. But I wasn’t confident in me being able to get through the funeral without breaking down.

When the time came though, well, it was indescribable. It just flowed! Or it felt that way to me anyway. Usually when I preach or teach I get a little excited and accidently skip over some of my finer points. Nuh uh, not on this day baby! The Spirit was choosing my every word. It felt awesome for my best outing to be in honoring my late grandmother, my family and most of all the Lord!

I finished up and sat with the family as everyone passed by to pay their respects. When out of nowhere this guy I've never seen before in my life puts his arm around me and says, “Are you a minister somewhere?” My answer very clearly was, “No.” He then asks, “Have you ever felt the call from God.” Quickly I say, “No.” As he walks away his final statement is, “Maybe you aught to be praying about that son.”

My instant reaction, “WHAT?” “Who was that guy?” “I know everybody in this church, but that guy!” “Who’s he to ask me that!” “The audacity!” “He doesn’t even know me.”

Then from the other side I get this elbow into my ribs and hear the gentle voice of my loving wife Christy say, “So when are you going to start listening to God? Everybody sees it but you.”

Later I tracked the phantom complimentor down at the family dinner and found out he was the pastor at the church where my aunt attends.

This total stranger and I had one of the most awesome spiritual talks I’ve ever had. Again, another story that is a lot to digest right now but maybe in a future post. I will tell you this, the Lord through this total stranger spoke many wise words to Christy and I before we left there that day. He spoke a lot about God’s plan for us and how to handle what He is about to lay before us when He decides to reveal it to us whatever it may be. For me personally his parting words before we walked out of there were huge, “Hey, if you get a burning in your gut and you gotta get it out, you can preach at my church anytime. Just pick up the phone.” WOW! This guy has known me like 15.4 minutes. I am humbled. God is good and God speaks in crazy ways.

The next day I finally admitted it aloud to Christy, God is calling me to minister. To do what? I don’t know. I’m fasting and praying about it daily. That’s the reason for this blog. An outlet for my thoughts. Follow us on this journey and let’s see where He leads us.

Let me share my thoughts with you from day to day. Just don’t hold me to every day because I’m a notoriously sporadic blogger.

For a couple years I’ve been praying this prayer “Lord give me the wisdom to see what YOU want for me and the courage to act on it.” I prayed it, but suppressed His calling out of fear because I thought surely it had to be something else. I’ve finally taken another step down His path, this one maybe the biggest. This maybe more than a step, I’m thinking this is a flippin’ leap. Let me share my thoughts, my successes, and struggles. Oh, yes there will be struggles and I will stumble. And, did I mention I’m a sinner!

This passage spoke to me just the other night after talking to my cousin who is an awesome minister of a church in Tennessee. (Insert shout out here. Hello Marc, love ya brother, thanks for the talks!)

Acts 4:13-14 They couldn't take their eyes off them—Peter and John standing there so confident, so sure of themselves! Their fascination deepened when they realized these two were laymen (ordinary men) with no training in Scripture or formal education. They recognized them as companions of Jesus…

Laymen, ordinary, fishermen, tax collectors and tentmakers. All called by the Lord. I LOVE IT! I’M HUMBLED! I’M HONORED! I’M FIRED UP! That’s me…”ordinary.” It gives me hope. I love it because I have no clue what I’m doing but He does. Faith is like that though. It’s like a roller coaster ride that invites you into the car even though you can’t see any of the tracks. That sounds fun! Let’s ride!

So “What would you be willing to attempt for God if you knew you couldn’t fail?” No, I’m not going to quit my job this week and start a church…at least I don’t think. It’s up to Him and He’s smarter than me.

Stay tuned…