I want to be known as a husband to Lauralea. A dad to my kids, papa to my grandchildren and just a guy who followed Jesus.
I've been helping churches get healthier for a long time, and usually that's about praying and staying a long time in the same place.
I was thinking about you and your calling through the night.
We don't get into this business for the fun and glamour of it all. We don't do it for the big bucks or for the great cars we will drive or sweet office views we will have. We do it in spite of the toll it will take on ourselves and our families and the options we will have in life. In fact we give up all claim to our lives because inside of us we have heard a distant call.
It comes and it builds within us a deep desire to answer the distant call of the one we know as King. We can't help it, when the call reaches our hearts we have no real choice but to begin to move in the direction we heard the call come from. So we get up and begin the epic journey to follow the call right to it's source. The heart of God.
Down through the ages men and women have heard this calling in their own hearts. Some have answered in dramatic fashion, pouring out their own lifeblood in answer to their call. While others have answered in less dramatic fashion, serving the call faithfully day after day after day, perhaps in one location, perhaps in a few. But being faithful to the call and seeing lives change direction over a lifetime.
This journey to the heart of the call is never an easy one. It can't be, because then it would be easily done in human strength. And if humans could do it, then we'd take the credit for it. No, it's a journey that will call you to deeper and deeper faith and trust in the one who called you. It will involve his provision for your daily need and will test your resolve to follow and to submit and obey. This is why I encourage people not to go into ministry in their own strength because it will not be enough. They should go only if they have heard a call from the One who calls, as though they have no option, but to follow.
Remember Moses who sensed a call in his own life. He who was born a Hebrew, yet raised an Egyptian Prince, knew a call of God in his own heart to lead these Hebrews to a better place. His quick response to this call resulted in the death of an Egyptian and he had to run for his life. The calling he heard must have felt dead as he ran away and at the age of forty, began to work with sheep. He was by all accounts, a failure.
Then began forty years of working with sheep, raising a family, and God shaping the man to fit the calling. This forty years of God remaking Moses and reminding him that the call was still alive resulted in a very different man. When God visited with Moses at the bush that burned but never burned up, Moses was a much more humble man. In fact it's said that Moses was the most humble man on the face of the earth. He had to be convinced that the calling was still active, but that meant that he was ready for it. The result was that throughout Moses life and his following of the call, God was glorified and not himself.
I want to affirm the call in you and echo yours and your wife's sense that the call is still real and active, and worthy of following. God is not done with you yet. It may be a season of shaping and making you to be the person who will fit the calling God has given you, but see it as a part of the following of the Call. Obedience, faithfulness, even brokenness are not lessons that are easily learned when things are going well. I expect the person who comes out the other end of this time will have strengths and insights that they would never have known if they never knew this season.
As I was doing through the night, thinking about you and praying for you, I will continue to do. I am excited for you and your future, because you do have a strong sense of call.
May you know Gods peace through these days of turmoil and may you gain some extra tools for your toolbox as you continue to answer His call.
Well I can continue to testify that that terrible debilitating back pain is still gone far away, and sometimes when I am walking in a store where I remember I used to have to stop and rest because of the pain, I am re-excited about the freedom. It is so good to be free of that.
So I've been thinking lately about how well I made it through the winter season, without colds or the flu or anything, which for me is quite remarkable. I mean usually I get two bad bouts of cold or flu or even a couple of years ago it was that swine flu thing when I saw bugs on the walls.... yeah. Usually I get something.
Except for this year.
And interestingly enough there were a couple of occasions, some of which I mentioned here, where I would start to get something, or feel something coming on. A slight cough or sore throat or feeling the start of a flu thing. But what would happen is that as quickly as those symptoms came, they would just go away. Gone. Poof.
Now I did get the flu shot late last year, but even when I get those I will get some small cold type thing.
And with all the travelling and flying we've done this year, that alone usually gets me sick. But not this year.
So I started to think, when was the last time I got a full-blown cold or a put me to bed flu, and I can't recall anything for over a year. In fact I can't recall anything hitting me since before I got those people to pray over me for my health.....
So it's got me wondering, how long will this Vitamin JC shot last?
The Rubicon was a small stream in northern Italy that Julius Caesar crossed in 49 BC with his unstoppable army. It was the point of no return and it was a sign that at that point you were committed, you were there to stay and everybody knew that.
I wonder if we have crossed the Rubicon here.
In the field I mean.
I've been wanting to do a post here for about two weeks on how we are making our way here, but busyness has kept my attention elsewhere.
But we are doing ok here.
We are enjoying field life and learning what it means to be a rural pastor. The location is nice and there is a sense of peace about being here that makes it feel alright. The speed of life is a little slower and people have been cautious with building relationships with us, yet more and more people are trusting us and inviting us into their homes and lives, and that's just been something we've known is going to take a long time.
We were told that the people out here are good people and that is true. We are strongly supported here for the most part. Yes I've made mistakes along the way but people are gracious and forgiving and that gives me hope too. For us and for them.
The workload and busyness of life seems in such contrast with the pastoral setting of life in the field. On one hand it may appear serene and reflective, yet underneath the workload is full on and the emotional demands of the work are really surprising. I think that just has to do with being able to leave your work at work. I've never been great at just shutting it off inside myself and going home, but I had been learning that in our last place. Here it seems like I have to relearn that again.
So it's good, and Lauralea and Micah seem ahead of me in coming to that conclusion, which makes my life much more liveable.
But this Rubicon thing, this crossing of an invisible line that makes one committed to the whole endeavour seems to have happened somewhere along the way.
I had an epiphany the other day that went something like this. If I don't do my work well, I could lose my work (job) and not only that, but I would also then lose our home (Because we live in the churches house) and then lose my sons school and his friends and Lauralea's friends and on and on. How horrific that all would be.
I mean, I could face losing my job, but then our home and life too? I don't like that one bit.
Then came the epiphany, I like it here and I want to be here and be part of this community. Yes losing my job I could deal with, but leaving the community, I'm not sure I could do that easily.
Yes on one hand that then puts amazing pressure on me to keep it all together because our life seems to hinge on my success at work. But better and clearer still is the sense that I want to be here.
I haven't always wanted to be here you know. :) I mean, I came here because I was asked to come here by, I believe, God. But you drag your emotions by the scruff of the neck along with you and eventually the feelings start to get in line.
It feels like we may have crossed that line, into the land of liking it here.
Yes Lauralea and I are really struggling with what it means to be parents and grandparents with only one child left in the house, and it is a real hard season for us right now. And yes the work is very demanding and challenging and I work hard to try to carve out some time off each week with limited success, but...
We like it here. I like it here.
Honestly that is a hugely vulnerable thing to admit. But here we are, fumbling towards eternity living in a place God brought us to. A place and a community and a people. And we like it here.
May we be able to remain here just as long as He ordains it to be.
Just in a mood I suppose. Feels really sad around here. And by "here" I mean "me."
I've been working a lot lately. Working with people. Energy gets depleted, tensions can develop, and let's face it, people who come to you for help don't always want to hear what they have come to you to hear. If that makes sense.
"Be my pastor, pray with me, watch for God in my life, speak into my life, just don't say the things I don't want to hear." Really?
And the pain some people carry on a daily basis is sad beyond belief. Relational pain, rejection pain, pain of loss, pain of separation. Or the one that completely seems like there is no way out, pain as a result of mental illness. Really. Most people wouldn't be able to carry what they do each day.
It all just catches up with me some days.
And on those days I am sad.
Today was just one of those days.
Look, it's nearly 2:00 am now.
I'm off to bed again. Tomorrow I start early.
The joy of working with people who have been forgiven much is vastly different than working with religious types who have never even allowed themselves to be forgiven, for they have no forgiveness to offer others.
Friday night was our youth year end party so we headed to a turkey farm (fitting place, I know) and played games, had a wiener roast, burned some marshmallows without burning any person, and generally had a good time.
And so today I pulled out my precious Jets Jersey and wore it all day long.
You remember when and how I got the jersey? It was a miracle of huge proportions. (First Link, Second Link) And though I've worn it occasionally now and then as an act of remembrance more than an act of faith, today I put it on with confidence and some excitement that Pro Hockey is returning to Winnipeg.
It's time we celebrated a joyful day around here.
Now if we can at least wish them into not naming the team some mad crazy fluffy cloud like name, like the Mighty Ducks or the Wild, or Pooh Bears or some such thing.