My future past, calls back

12 years ago I was 29 years old about to be a dad and was settling into my new office digs at Ramada Corporate when God called.

On Jan 16th 1998 I was called to spread (effectively preach) the gospel of Jesus Christ. “The Good News”. As I have written on this blog before I wrestled with this calling and avoided dealing with it for a long time before I brought this revelation to my Pastors at the time.

A few months later I was (ie: we as a couple, Dawn and I were) conscripted by the out-going senior pastor to take up the mantle of the also out-going youth pastor and run the youth program.

So we did for a solid year, before we “burned” out and stepped down as the then new in-bound Pastor came on board and our first child was due any day…

Thus ended our career in ministry.

In the years since I prayed the “sinners” prayer in my youth (age 11) and all thru High School and growing up I have had a faith and a belief in something much bigger than I was. And in the years since my temporary run as a Youth Minister I have been nagged by the calling…or perhaps it is just God tapping me on the shoulder reminding me of his gifts and his calling I left unfulfilled.

It feels like a lifetime since that night in January 1998 and having settled (more or less) into a new church within the last year I am beginning to feel the pull back to his original calling. Not quite like it was yesterday, but close.

I am feeling responsible now.

I’m older and perhaps less likely to “talk” myself out of accepting the job. I used to keep a journal and some minor “sermons” written for the purposes of writing online for an internet community church I was going to start. I blogged in this direction for a little while but never really gave it my all.

I likened my restlessness and reluctance to Jonah who fled God when he was instructed to go to Nineveh and get the Ninevites to repent. I called what I was going thru and sort of dealing with “My Own Private Nineveh” and scribbled on the notebook were the letters MOPN.

I am older now and wiser and having been thru some crap in the last 4 years or so (see other posts here and on my previous blog for that story) I am really getting the urge to deal with addressing this calling and my faith.

I’m not saying I am planting a church, but I might strike out online again and perhaps write more about this stuff ala Anne Lamott and Donald Miller. (two of my favorite writers, by the way)

It seems every Sunday I sit in church and Pastor Nick shares what God has put on his heart it feels like he is only talking to me. Reminding me that I am not living my life to its potential because I have dodged God’s calling and ultimately I am missing out on a wealth of blessings I can only begin to imagine.

Do I think I missed the bus? Maybe. But God as I am learning is a patient God as demonstrated multiple times in the bible and he is just reaching out to me again…nudging me, gently reminding me I was set apart for bigger things. It’s subtle but he’s doing exactly that.

And this time I am ok with it.

The Apostle Paul was called and he went. He didn’t seek permission from a school or university or seminary. God equipped him and off he went. Two thirds of the word GOD is “GO” and as Christians we are all called to witness to the lost.

One of Dawn’s favorite stories is about the boy running along the beach where dozens upon dozens of starfish have washed up after a storm. The boy picks up one starfish and flings it back into the ocean. He runs to the next one and does the same thing. Over and over again. A man watching this boy exhaust himself starfish by starfish calls his attention and says, ” son, you realize you can’t possibly save them all” and the boy replies, “I know, but I can at least save this one” as he throws another starfish back into the water…

That attitude is something we all must have. We are all flawed, broken human beings. We make mistakes everyday and screw up everything we touch. We are sinners, period. Without God’s intervention we are headed straight for hell. A place designed for Lucifer (formerly the Angel of Light, became known as Satan) and the angels he took with him after his rebellion in heaven.

We were not intended to go to hell, but Lucifer plans on taking as many of us with him as he can. Since the “fall of man” and sin entered the world God’s creature (us) designed to live forever now only lasts about 75 years. Our bodies give out, become diseased and just fail us. We die physically.

God bridged the gap sin created between himself and his beloved (us) by coming to earth as a helpless child. Living a mere 33 years and paying the ultimate sacrifice for us. It’s an awesome story if you really take it apart and think about the creator and what his Love for us really means.

Most other religions or “gods” want their believers to pay the same ultimate price first in order to collect a reward afterward. But the one true God saw fit to correct the problem himself and sacrificed his son instead of letting us pay that price for our sins. (Jesus is God, God is Jesus) it’s complicated and so simple at the same time. And the bible says the wages of sin is death. No escaping that. And bible says everyone has sinned (except Jesus of course, he had to be blamelss in order for his sacrifice to count). No escaping that either.  

Bottom line I am coming around full circle (I think) and may start writing about faith and culture and God stuff etc here or in another blog.

I have a few other ideas that need to be mapped out before execution but if it’s God’s will it will succeed.

After cancer I wondered why I was still here. Why was I spared? What am I supposed to contribute while here on this decaying planet? 

Why am I still here? Did God spare me for a reason? If so and I continue to ignore him I deserve to have my ass kicked (by him).

In recent weeks since we have settled into “Faith with Love Fellowship church” and begun to swing back toward restoring our commitment to our faith I believe God has honored our faith and has provided for us. A new place to live. Some responsibility at work (which may lead to other opportunities down the road someday) a new job for Dawn and some surprises every now and again that if taken for granted wouldn’t be so amazing but viewed thru spiritual eyes (if you will) I see the grace everyday.

I am not taking my new promotion at work lightly. We are making slow progress on moving but we are getting there. A lot of little things you might not see suddenly become very apparent when you look at them from the right angle.

All I am saying is, expect me to continue to post what is on my heart here and having lived thru what we as a couple and family have since 2006 we are seeing changes everyday in our lives in big and small ways. Pastor Nick mentioned to me when acknowledging our story that we indeed have a testimony to share…and I am beginning to see the value of sharing that testimony.

I have the credentials to back up my calling.(not that I need them) but I pursued them thru an organization that believes like I do that if God called me, that is sufficient enough and they offered me ordination based on that. So while I need to further my education on some of these matters I can borrow some of the materials my father has amassed in his education thru the channels he chose and reinforce the knowledge I do have.

It all comes down to the simple fact that God loves us and sent his son to die so that we might live eternally (as designed)…I pass a huge rock on Route 23 North on my ride home every day that has been spray painted over and over again “Jesus Saves” and we have all seen the verse: John 3:16

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”

This verse is the whole point. This is where I start over…this is my beginning. This is my Second Chance Mission. (to live life better) 

Amen.

More on this later.

-S.

Have a good night.

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Brother I read your story, I’ll share mine I’ve been seen by so many and recognized by just a few. I follow my faith and i’m in this world not of it. What a beautiful place to build my kingdom. I listen to what my Father tells me I touch so many people and less than a few have received. You said sin is death it causes illness and desease. Why sin only sinners sin. I give you everything you need and more to live eternally me the Father, me the Son, me the Holy Spirit. You say your are christian so why do you struggle and why do you stress? You sound like your waitng for something to happen and it already has and is and forever will be. Follow the one who is perfect and you will be to. I came across a church that had a sign saying no one perfect allowed, so I did not enter. I even called a prayer hotline to ask for prayer not for myself, and was told I can not request my patiular type of prayer. I would have to belong to a church and go speak to a pastor who has the correct title. So I could not share. Give true value and meaning to my cross. The way a true christian lives is eternal, no stress, no worries, no sickness, no desease, no dying, building there kingdom on this beautiful planet. I haven’t met anyone like me. This is me sharing with you. There are know ill intentions of any kind, just responding by sharing.


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