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 ? Of 52: The Good Old Days

img_0004-1“I Wish there was a way to know you were in the good old days before you actually left them.”

-Andy (The Office)

Over the past two weeks God has shown me so much about who I am, the community He has placed me in, and how each moment over the past 28 years of my life have built up to where I am today. I have spent time with family, I have seen friends I haven’t seen in years, and I have been surrounded by amazing people I get to do life with every day. In these weeks I have begun teaching a class focused on community, and have spent time dreaming up the possibilities of writing a book focused on community in the church.Through it all, I have realized more than ever that I am exactly where God wants me, and His plan is very much alive in my life.

I began this post with a quote that so many of us can relate to. We look back at the times when “life was good” often realizing that years from this moment we may look back and think, “dang, life was good.”

There are many moments that stand out to me in my life. I can look back at moments with my family up in Oregon, Christmas’ with Grandma and Grandpa as we decorated the house and made sugar cookies. Fast forward a couple years, and I can remember making it to state in swimming as a freshman in High School, or getting the lead in the school musical as a Sophomore.

These moments were great, amazing, and they lead me to opportunities to find out more about who God create me to be. Later I was introduced to a group of people in college that became family, these could easily be referred to as the “good ole’ days”. Trips to the bay with Matt and Garrett, or late night mischief with Guz, and Jordan, Carl’s Jr. Runs with Ian and Kyle, or just long talks with my RA team about what God is doing in our lives. How could this not be the best it’s ever going to be.

But as I spent this weekend with family, and some of those friends that became family, I was brought to a moment with the Lord where He reminded me of the promises that He has for me. I began to look around, and though each moment is met with fondness, I am thankful that it only gets better from here.

Though many of us can relate to Andy, I would like to take a moment and remind us that when we are walking with God we can know that His promises reign true. We can walk in confidence that even in times of struggle, even in times of tribulation, we will look back with fondness of how God has worked in each of our lives.

Reflecting on those memories is not wrong, but when we dwell in those moments as “the good ole days” we miss out on the moments God has for us today.

I am so thankful for weeks where I am surrounded by people who I truly love and know love me, but if we were still in those moments of long ago, I wouldn’t be blessed with 5 Nieces and 2 Nephews. I wouldn’t get to see friends live out life long dreams and pursue vocational ministry. If we were still in the “Good Ole Days” I wouldn’t get to pursue creating community at Little Country Church, and God wouldn’t be placing writing a book on my heart. If we were still in the “Good ole days,” Jud and Scoot would still be running around as dinosaurs not realizing their amazing wives were just a building away.
So no matter what you are walking through, what ever struggles are knocking at your door. Remember, there will be a day when this was “the good old days,” and God will use this moment too to draw you closer to Him, and this moment will be a moment you can look back on knowing that He is preparing you for something great.

Week 16 of 52: God is doing work!

IMG_1368HBC 2017

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 15 of 52: A Journey Not Complete

IMG_6365The story is not finished.

The the page is yet to be turned.

We often wait for the last page, realizing if we skip to the end we miss out on why the end happens the way it does.

We must embrace the storms, we must conquer the mountains, we must endure the hardships to truly appreciate the peaks.

This past weekend I was able to lead program for 165 students on Lake Shasta. We set 13 houseboats strategically on an Island where we proclaimed the gospel, sharing the hope found in Jesus Christ.

IMG_7095Every year we see countless lives transformed as we pack 4 days with friends, food, fun, and Jesus. This year was no different and I was able to be a part of seeing students experience God in a new way.

This year as I process the weekend, I look at my own process in ministry. 7 years ago on this Island a man I had barely met sat me down by a tree, it seemed as if we talked for hours, but the only thing Iremember him saying was that I was called to youth ministry.

I laughed in his face and let him know that I had no intention of stepping foot on a church staff. Over the next 5 years he reminded me of this conversation, he reminded me of the call that was on my life. A call to be an influencer in the lives of High School students, walking day by day, side by side as they experience God in a beautiful way.

This weekend, I am looking back at two years of vocational ministry. A journey that has been anything but easy. But an adventure that I would take again and again. This weekend I watched as students gave their lives to the Lord, I listened to the stories of those that have been broken, and prayed constantly for restoration.

IMG_8802I can’t believe I would ever deny that this is what God has called me to do. I don’t know where this journey is going, but I am seeing that the hardships, though not over, are all a part of me growing into the man God created me to be.

I am overwhelmed by the stories, and I cannot wait to see God move in the lives of these students as we continue growing as a body. Seeing God move in a huge way.

Thank you to each student that reminded me of the calling God has placed on my life, and thank you Chad for seeing it in me so many years ago. I will share more stories next week about how God moved in my life this past weekend, but I wanted to share how God reminded me of where He is taking me. I don’t know the time and place, but I know that God has given me a passion for high school ministry, and I needed this to remind me that this journey is not over.

God is good, all the time.IMG_9023

Week 13/14 of 52: A Tribute to Graduates

This post is all about the graduates in our lives. I had an opportunity to speak this week at an 8th grade graduation. That combined with Swan Wedding 2017, I have been crazy busy this past week. So here is a post to make up for the last two missed posts.

This is the speech I was able to give to the 8th grade class at Country Christian School last night. I hope you enjoy.

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Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

 

Robert Frost

The Road Not Taken

 

Congratulations 8th Grade Class at Country Christian School.

I am so excited to be a part of your day, sharing what God has placed on my heart.

I want to take a look at the poem I just read. In this poem, written by Robert Frost we see a man coming to a fork in the road. At this junction, the man must make a choice, this choice is between a road that many have taken, one that is easy, one that will rarely be lonely. This road is wide, this road is even, and the scenes are what we can expect. This is the road we are told by society to take.

The other path is a path that is narrow, a path that is overgrown with branches and shrubs. This path is not taken often, the end result is unknown, and there will be times that you may want to turn back dueto the tough turain. This path is a mystery, a path that the world tells us not to take. This path can often be lonely, this path may lead you wondering why you took the path in the first place. Each step forward is a step into an unknown place. But when you walk fervently forward, you will get to see what few see, you will grow, you will be stretched, and in the end you will see how God blesses those taking that path less traveled.

As you look around this room you are surrounded by those that love and support you, you see your friends and family who have all had to make that same choice. Will I choose the road with a destination I can see, or will I choose that path that is less taken, will I trudge through the wilderness, seeking the life that God has called me to.

1 Corinthians 9:24-25 says

24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize?Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.

As students at Country Christian School you have had an amazing opportunity to build your educational foundation in the truths found in scripture. Each class showing how Christ works in all and through all. This foundation is a launching point into your future. A catalyst into this journey we call life. Each of you responsible for the decision you make and the consequences that come with those decisions. Each of you being grounded in the truth of the gospel has prepared you for this fork in the road.

Like in a race, we must prepare ourselves for this journey.IMG_1308

What happens when the path we take gets too hard, what happens, when we are left alone standing firm in our convictions when those around us seem to be drifting away. The road I challenge you to take will not be easy, are you ready. Are you ready to stand firm.

I believe you are!

As each of us have seen throughout this evening, you are prepared, you have been trained, and you are ready to take on the road not taken. You are surrounded by a support system that loves you and wants to see you succeed. Each of you are surrounded by people who believe in you, who know that you have what it takes to run in a way to win the race.

As the summer turns into fall, each of you will have an opportunity to choose a path to step forward on. Will you choose the path that of least resistance. The one that is easy, the one that will get you a participation ribbon. Or will you choose the road not taken, will you endure the hard times, knowing that in Christ you can run a race to win the prize.

We believe in you,

McKenna

Bryleemae

Demi

Kaden

Marita

Dylon

Georgia

Ryan

Abigail

Emily

Presley

Irisa

Drew

Tristan

Lily

Elijah

We Believe in you!

Take the road less traveled, and though it may be difficult at times, I promise you, it will be worth it.

Thank you.

Week 11 of 52: A Week of Humility

IMG_1259Praise the LORD all you gentiles!

Praise the LORD all you peoples!

For HIS merciful kindness is great toward us,

And the truth of the LORD endures forever.

Praise the LORD !

This week has been hectic, so much so that this post is coming out about 4 days late.

As I sit here writing this, I look back at a week full of life, a week full of anxiety, and a week full of God’s continued faithfulness.

This week started off as I had some work done on my mouth. The process was nothing too extravagant, and it brought about two months of pain in my mouth to an end. Though any time you have any work done there is a bit of angst that comes along with the the journey, more so I was overwhelmed with the financial burden of having dental work done.

I don’t know if I realized what it really meant to be an adult until I had to trust fully that God is going to take care of the finances that come with the procedure.

During this time I have also been house sitting for a family at the church who have two very energetic dogs. I didn’t realize that dogs could be nocturnal, but these dogs proved that I don’t know everything. From barking and jumping on my bed to lick my face, my sleep pattern has been an adventure.

I don’t think that any one of these items would bring me to my knees, but the combination of life, lack of sleep, finances, and dogs constantly testing my stability and patience, I am brought to a place where I realize that I have nothing, and the LORD has everything. I am brought to a place of humility where I am reminded how blessed I am to be able to walk step by step, knowing that I have a good Father who desires to know me in a deeper way. IMG_1290

Through trusting HIM, I am able to see how God is continually drawing me closer to HIM, how each step that I take, He has built me a firm foundation to move forward in.

I wish I could say I have have it all under control, but that would be prideful and not true. What I can say is that HE has it under control, HE has my finances, HE has my hope, HE has my future.

Psalms 117 is very simple, praise the LORD, HE is kind, HIS love endures forever.

I am so blessed to know that even through this week filled with anxiety I am not alone, and I can, in peace, give that anxiety to the God who cares not just about me on a surface level, but cares about my finances, my mental well being, my dreams and passions. I get to serve a God who is bigger than my fears, He lives outside my understandings, and truly desires the best for HIS children.

So my prayer is this…

Lord, may I sing praise in the good and the bad, may I see your faithfulness when I don’t know what is next. Lord may I bring you glory in how I walk, each step moving toward you, even when I don’t know what that looks like. Lord may you be my foundation, may my life reflect your will. May I be a light in darkness, may I be truth where truth is not the accepted dialect. Amen

Week 9 of 52: A Dream

This morning while I sat drinking my coffee in a local cafe, I had an opportunity to share my story. I entered the door carrying “Peace Child” a book written by Don Richardson, a missionary about a tribal community that went from “Cannibals to Christ Followers.” To be honest I am still working on the first page, but it opened up an opportunity for the young man sitting behind the cash register to ask the questions whirling through his head.

As I drank my coffee and ate my bagel, we started talking about the importance of international missions, how one person can step out of their comfort zone and transform a nation by simply being obedient to the call. He shared his experience doing short term work and how he desires to one day step back into the mission field spreading the word of God across the nations to unreached people groups. He is just waiting for that door to open.

IMG_1255.JPGAs we discussed life the conversation turned to me, what do I do, what is my passion, what is my dream?

These questions made me think, vocational ministry is still a new avenue I am on. As I sit here just two years into my journey at Little Country Church, I often forget to look back on why I took that first step. As we talked I was able to share my role of Community Life Coordinator to him, how God has allowed me to walk in my gifting, creating community, building a culture of hospitality, and being a part of stories. I was able to share my heart for KOINONIA, the idea of coming together for one purpose, having community and fellowship that point towards Jesus Christ.

It was in sharing these things that I was reminded of the answer to the second question. What is my passion?

My heart and passion is to see lives transformed. We live in a place where the average person has been broken down and beat up before they even leave the house. I want to see hope found for the hopeless. Not just a sense of hope, but truly realizing that through Jesus Christ there is hope! I want to see those that have been told they are worthless to realize that through Jesus they are made worthy! And I want to see those without a home to see that they are home in the Body of Christ!

We have an opportunity as believers to show our broken world that it is not too late. We can love greatly, speak life, share the truth, and trust that God is good. This leads me to the final question…what is my dream?

My dream is to not get lost in the walls of the church bubble, but to live as Christ. How we live speaks much louder than how we say we live. Will we talk about loving the least of these, or will we love the least of these. My dream is to see the Church be a place where restoration can take place, and through Jesus it does take place. My dream is to see people coming together in KOINONIA, coming together for the soul purpose of giving praise to the one true God!

As we talked about these things I was reminded why I stepped into vocational ministry two years ago. I took that leap of faith because God has given me a dream, and through that dream He has given me a passion. I love that I am able to walk in these passions, that God is using me to bring HOPE to a generation that lives without hope. I am able to LOVE deeply, not just believers, not just the desirable, but all people. Lastly I get an opportunity to show people that Jesus is alive and is moving!

Sometimes we lose sight of the journey we are on, but when we take a step back, we are reminded that God has us exactly where we are supposed to be! We just need to take that step, and see that our God is doing work!