The Small Whisper 

Victorious. 
It’s no secret that stepping into ministry has been one of the most difficult seasons of my life. I haven’t hidden the fact that there have been moments where I felt without hope, wondering if I had made the right decision to step out of the secular work force and move into full time vocational ministry. 
These past two and a half years have been highlighted with countless opportunities to walk away, to let go, and pretend my call to ministry was never heard. What would my life look like if I had taken one of those moments, would I be married with kids, would I have a house, a job that paid enough to start making a dent in my student loans, would I be enjoying the little things, would I be happy? 
These questions bring thoughts of an unknown, a world where I can walk confidently knowing that I was enough, walking in a world where I was responsible for the outcome. This thought is so tempting, but I know that a world where I am responsible for the outcome is not a world that I want to live in. 
God has been reminding me of HIS simple whisper. HE is reminding me of those moments in these past couple years where HE reminded me that I am HIS. HE has a plan, HE has a life for me. He is reminding me that in the moments where I feel like I am doing this on my own, HE is not only walking with me, but HE is walking steps ahead of me, making a way for me. 
Two weeks ago I was realizing that I was in need of a new bed. The idea for me to spend money on anything big at this moment is over whelming, but it was something that was needed. I spent time trying to figure it out, I looked at my budget, figured out how I could get by on only ramen for a few months, and nothing seemed to work out. I thought about every thing that I could do to make this happen. 
A few days into this I woke up with a reminder that one of my usher’s owns a mattress and bed store. I felt a whisper tell me that I am supposed to drive myself to the mattress store the following morning and talk to the owner and see what options he had available. He shared an amazing opportunity for me to buy one of the floor models, it would be reasonable and I would even be able to make payments without any interest. I felt like this was the golden option, the one that I was praying for. 
I took some time to pray and ask the Lord if this is what I was supposed to move forward on. The next part was frustrating. As I sat with the Lord I remembered that He asked me to go to the mattress store, but HE never told me to buy anything. I know what you are thinking. 
Adam you are crazy, God provided that for you, but seriously, God is so much bigger, so much better than we could ever imagine. God asked me to once again wait. I have waited so much this year so you would think that waiting is easy for me, it’s not. So I sat on that bed, the one that was such a good deal and I fought the Lord, thinking that what HE was saying to me was a mistake, and then I left. 
The following day I went to church and was sharing with one of our campus pastors what had happened. The journey God was taking me on, and how HE was teaching me to wait on HIM. That pastor then let me know that someone in the Church was giving away a bed and bed frame. The bed had been in their spare room and needed a new home. Not only that, but they would give me the bed frame which was hand crafted by their father over 40 years ago, and it included sheets, blankets, anything that I would ever need at no cost to me. 
I thought that I had seen God provide in an amazing way at the mattress store, and then He asked me to wait just a little bit longer and He was going to show me that once again, HE is so much greater than I had imagined. 
I can look at the opportunities that the world would tell me it’s time to move on, but as I look back at each of these moments I know that God was telling me to wait on HIM. HE was reminding me that HE is in control and that HE has my back, my front, and is always leading the charge. 
Sometimes victories come in tangible things such as a bed, but often the victories are never seen. The battles taking place in front of our path, the ones that are making way for God to do amazing things in our lives. 
Ministry is hard, and the enemy does not want victories to be had. He doesn’t even want us to know there is a battle, but when we listen to the small whisper, we realize that victory is ours through Jesus Christ. 
God providing a bed may not seem like a huge victory, but what an incredible reminder that we get to serve a God that meets even our most basic needs. 

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Week 16 of 52: God is doing work!

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A week has passed, and I still don’t feel like I have fully soaked in all God has done through HouseBoat Camp 2017. This weekend was one for the books. Between the rain and hail, we saw that there is always a silver lining. As we sat under tarps filled withlanterns, and soaked in the the nightly teachings, we were reminded that God is in all, and through all. Thisis the great adventure.

Last weekend I had an opportunity to see God working through 165 students lives. These students ranged from graduating 8th graders to graduating seniors. Each student with their own story, their own journey that God is taking them on. IMG_1376

Over the past 7 days I have purposed time to reflect on each of these stories. As I have sat looking back at each face, at each story, at each journey, I am reminded that we all have a story needing to be told. These students reminded me that we are here for the person, not the program. As I sat down with students sharing their heartbreak, I was overwhelmed with a desire to see their lives transformed, to see them experience God in a big way.

These students stories don’t end here, their transformation is not complete, and some are still lost, looking for something more, someone more. I continue daily praying that the seeds planted in their hearts do not come up void. These students have potential, they are strong, they are courageous and kind. These students have pain, they have been broken and hurt. Their hope is not in this world, our hope is not in this world. My prayer is that they discover this hope, a hope found only in Christ Jesus.

This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil,  where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.

Hebrews 6:19-20

I am challenged to look past the surface. As I sat with these students I was reminded that each of us has a story to tell, sometimes we just need an audience.

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When we make ourselves available to be used by God, He will use us. It isn’t because we deserve to be used, but because we realize that we have nothing to offer, and it is only in Him that what we do is used for the Kingdom. There are people around you that are hurting, people that look on the surface to have everything together. These people have a story, and their story is important. You have a story and your story is important.

I am challenged to be an avenue for the voice of those around me to be heard. Will you be a minister of the gospel, placing people over program. Will you be a place where stories can be told, where Christ can be shown.

I am finding the silver lining, I am learning daily how God is using me in ways I never planned. Sometimes all you need to do is be open and willing to the voice of God, even when it doesn’t make sense.

I am so thankful for the students brought into my life, those that were willing to share their stories with me. I am thankful for a God that uses me in ways greater than I ever dreamed. And I am thankful for Holiday Harbor Marina who rescued a generator after it plummeted to it’s demise in front of me. IMG_1366

Week 3 of 52: A Challenge to Pray

IMG_1041A friend of mine recently made a comment to me that blew my mind. We were talking about depth in relationships, and how it is easy to create surface level friendships, but it is often difficult to go deep, especially as guys. We tend to keep to topics that show that we care, without forcing depth. The comment, which I don’t want to misquote, but probably will, went like this, “if you want deep friendships, you need to have deep prayer for your friends.”

BOOM, mind blown, I should probably stop here!

How often do you pray for your friends? More specifically, how often do you pray for deeper relationships with your friends? How about deeper community with your family, or those you work with? How often do you pray for those things?

In my journey to find deeper community at LCC Redding, I am reminded by this conversation that we must pray specifically for depth in relationships. As I dream, and strategize how to move “numbers” to “people” in the body, we must do so with a heart of prayer, a heart praying specifically for depth, for walls to come down. We must take time out of our day to pray for connections that point toward Jesus Christ.

This post is a short one, but to me a heavy one.

I want to move this conversation I had with a friend to be a challenge for you. Are you praying for those in your life? Are you praying for deeper connections? Are you praying for healing in relationships? I want to challenge you to pray!

It’s amazing what God will do, when you simply ask.

1-of-52: Living in Community

IMG_0774I read in an article last week that one of the main reasons that a young Christian leader gets burned out is because they don’t have an outside community speaking into their life. Two years ago I would have seen this and put it in the “maybe I will need this one day” category of my filing cabinet and then never looked at it again. Now I look at this article and am blown away by the idea.
As I have stepped into my role as Community Life Coordinator at LCC Redding, I have realized more and more how crucial community is to life as a follower of Christ. The idea of walking through life with a group of believers who, in their own way, are trying to just get by.
Community isn’t just a weekly list of highs and lows, it isn’t a cup of coffee as we laugh about the awkward moments of walking into walls (I have learned I am really clumsy this past year) though those can be a part of it. It’s about going deep, having real conversations, sharing real struggles, and taking down the walls that we have up in our own lives. Community is real life with real people.
As I am studying this idea of community within the church body, dreaming up ideas about small groups, deeper discipleship and events that promote community, I have realized how I have been going about it in all the wrong ways.
At this point in my life I have been in 17 weddings as a groomsman. 17 tuxes, 17 walks down the isle, 17 rehearsal dinners, 17 receptions. Friendships are there, I am not lacking in friends, but what I am realizing is, though I love each one of these friends, and family members, the deeper side of friendship is lacking. I have taken these friendships for granted, they mean the world to me, but I haven’t let it go past that surface level. There may be a time or two that I start to go deeper, but the walls inside me go up as soon as it goes too far.
As I read this article, and I am reminded of how God created us. God didn’t want Adam to walk this earth alone, so he created Eve (Gen 2:20-22). God in the Garden of Eden created companionship, friendship, relationship. God allowed in that moment for Adam to have someone to share all of who he was with. In the same way God does not want us doing life on our own, He has created community for each one of us.

Hebrews 10:24-25

“And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”
God did not create us to walk the streets of our town surrounded by people, all while carrying the weight of our world on our shoulders. He created community, people surrounding us to take on this weight, to share our burdens, to cry with us and laugh with us. He created community so that we don’t have to stay in the shallow end of the pool, we can take off our life jacket and dive on in.

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As I walk forward in my roll of Community Life Coordinator at LCC Redding, I am reminded of the community God has placed me in. The friends who are my family, and my family that have become my friends. I am thankful to have friends who know me so well, they no what I say when I have a lot on my heart. I am excited to the body at LCC and encourage those who are in hopeless situations that there is Hope in Jesus, they aren’t alone, and He who created the earth, created a community for them to walk in.
I am in the process of learning what community looks like in my own life. I am realizing that I can’t just stay shallow, but I have to go deep. I must pursue strategic community, those people who I can do life with, going through the trenches of what ever comes up in this adventure we call life. In this community I cannot hold up walls, but remain vulnerable, realizing that it is in the moment’s that we try to do things on our own, we are keeping the body of Christ from working.
I want to encourage you, if you have read this far, don’t try and do life on your own. Get plugged in, find a home fellowship, ask a pastor or another leader at your church. Realize that by holding the world by yourself you are not allowing those around you to fully embrace what God has for them, and you are not allowing God to use you how He plans for you to be used.