18 July 2014

I've never known how I was gonna get where I'm going


I've never known how I was gonna get where I'm going but I've always known the path.
I didn't know how I was going to afford to get married in college... but I knew the path.
I didn't know how I was going to get a job that paid apartment rent... but I knew the path.
I didn't know how I was going to get to Africa like that vision in my head... but I knew the path.
I didn't know how I was going to get into ministry like that picture in my mind... but I knew the path.
I didn't know how I was going to afford kids... but I knew the path.
I didn't know how I was going to shape the culture... but I knew the path.
I don't know how I'm going to get through my car repairs, my debt, my next visions, my growing grocery bill, my kids college, my mortgage, my retirement.... but I KNOW the path.

These are not trite religious statements.  They are neither small nor uncommon issues.  They are not easily, carelessly or flippantly stated.  I know WHERE I'm going... generally.  I know THAT I'll get there... in one form or another.  But I've NEVER known how, right up until this very moment thinking about the end of THIS weekend.

It's been 9 months since I left the broadcasting industry which I'd been working professionally in for 15 years and cumulatively for 20 years.  I never did make much money in broadcasting because I always had either a ministry or tent-making mindset. For the non-church folks, tent-making refers to when the Apostle Paul actually used his skills making physical tents in Greece to afford to live and eat while preaching around the countryside.

But just when I won a national radio advertising award and potentially stood to be able to leverage it into enough money where I could "know how" somehow... I was called out into the church.  Another "I don't know how" on my part AND the church's part.  Then I very much wanted to start working freelance using these skills to "know how" somehow.   I finished a GREAT pitch email that still sits in my "drafts" file.  It's not that I won't send it.  It's just that...


OBEDIENCE is "The Path"  

Obedience to God is the path.

Without FAITH, you see, it's actually impossible to please God.  Weird thought isn't it?  You can't fully please God and live a life that fully displays him if you totally know how you're going to get where you're going.

When I didn't know how Krissy and I would be able to afford newlywedhood... we prayed and obeyed and jobs came.   When we didn't know how we'd get to Africa... we prayed and obeyed and the money showed up at the right time from the right person. When we didn't know how we'd ever get to do ministry in a meaningful, culturally significant way... we prayed and obeyed and God orchestrated friends who let us start Freedom House with them. When we didn't know how to see city transformation... we prayed and obeyed and now we just hosted the Transform Your World North American Conference and they are shooting a documentary about Brantford that will be shown across the earth to encourage other cities that a tangible difference IS possible.

I DON'T know how God's gonna save the day today.  Literally.
I DON'T know how he's gonna save the day tomorrow.
I DON'T know how he's going to make my next decade of dreams come true.

As I sit on my porch... I truly don't. 
But I DO know "The Path" and so I have confidence that He WILL get me where I need to go.
 

23 June 2014

Morning Musings ~ Being a "SLAVE" to the call


The moment I understood what "serving" God is, was the moment I understood that it wasn't really serving at all.  Accra Ghana 14 years ago in a business meeting, my friend Albert Ocran rebuked one of his whining missionaries saying,

"I am a SLAVE to the CALL of Christ."  

He said it with fire in his eyes and words and I saw "his call" play out voraciously in his life. EVERY day, rain or shine, early morning and late night.  Not because he had to... but because he HAD to.  It BURNED in him. Slave is a hard word but a biblical word. It's "doulos"and it doesn't have much nuance.  It's slave.  Paul didn't have the Road to Damascus smackdown for anything less.  He writes,

"Remember, if you were a slave when the Lord called you, you are now free in the Lord. And if you were free when the Lord called you, you are now a slave of Christ."
1 Cor 7:22

Serious and encompassing?  Yes.  Harsh?  Not as much as it first seems.  John gives us a marvelous insight into God's view of this relationship saying,

"I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn't confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me."
John 15:15

At the cross, Christ bought and conquered our sin that wanted to choke the life out of us.  We've been paid for.  When we, in the freedom we've been mercifully granted, chose to turn over our whole self to God's plans in the spirit of friendship... it's not a passive, balanced, hedged-bet ordeal.  We have a vital role in The Kingdom of God TODAY that will require us to go above and beyond to even approach success in.  And to do that, we don't try to achieve on a higher level of human striving.  Instead, we take our lead from Paul, the man who became a "slave" to his call and... and "die daily"

19 June 2014

The Myth of "Elsewhere"


John grew up "Here."  After brushing his teeth and combing his hair a satisfactory number of times, his father an adequate machinist, would tell John stories of "Elsewhere." John loved "Elsewhere" with all his heart. It was a beautiful, storied land with mountains that shone in the morning sunlight and valleys that smelled of sweet alyssum. “Elsewhere,” there were men who loved as he imagined love being. That perfect love that poets wrote idyllic sonnets about. A love that John had grown jealous of, being part of the pedestrian masses subjected to a birth and rearing "Here.”

“Here” was different than “Elsewhere.” The sunsets weren't as a red. It's streets were cracked and too many “Hereians” smoked. Not pipes either. They didn't think twice about it. Monsters really. There were problems “Here’... and “There” too. Sometimes John's Father would take the family stationwagon "There". "There" had a modest mall where John's father could buy camping supplies for their trip “Elsewhere.”  What a trip this would be. At the end of every month, there would be enough money leftover to buy one piece of the expedition gear. A tent here and a Coleman burner there. But the problem with "There," were the “Thereians.” They were a rude and inconsiderate folk who thought only of themselves. John's father was sure that they had never heard of “Elsewhere.” How could they have?  You see, “Elsewhere” was a copious country that the small minds of common “Hereians” and “Thereians” couldn't comprehend.  “Elsewhereians” would never be like that.  

John grew to hate “Here.” And he loathed “There.”

John's father died. It was not a sad story except to say that hard times had hit “Here.” So much so that the tent had been sold to buy stacks of canned corn and the Coleman burner had turned into a side of “There's” finest beef to salt and preserve for the “Hereian” winter. But John's father's death was sad enough that John couldn’t take “Here” any longer.  In the willed-wagon, John began driving for “Elsewhere” without so much as a goodbye, although there were no neighbors he knew well-enough to say goodbye to anyhow.  He cursed “Here” as he sped through town. “I’ll never darken a doorway in 'There' again!" John shouted as he tore a strip down the ordinary “Thereian” streets with “Elsewhere” on his mind.

John drove and drove. The speeding ticket from an unfamiliar land he didn't know existed didn't deter John's zeal for “Elsewhere.” Finally he arrived “Elsewhere.” It felt...

...familiar.

“Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage. Seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”
Jeremiah ~ 600BC
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