Allow Myself to Explain Myself
Ever have one of those moments when you make a big decision only to have the following thoughts soon after: “what the what??? Did I just quit my job?”
I’m kidding…Kind of.
More on that in a bit.
As of this weekend, the word is out, I’ve resigned my position as Creative Arts Pastor at River Valley Church. Kristie and I have been a part of this church for almost nine years and it’s been a great experience. We’ve already expressed our appreciation to Pastor Rob and Becca for the opportunity to serve and for nine wonderful, challenging, eventful years of ministry together.
“So what gives Jeff? What now?”
Please allow myself to explain myself.
This whole deal began almost two years ago. I was in the process of getting ordained as a minister. Before that I was a licensed minister, which is still good. So for all of you wondering if everything I did as a minister before getting ordained was legit, it was. If I performed your wedding ceremony before that, it’s still valid. You’re still married. If I performed your funeral service before that, it’s still valid….you’re still…. Dead.
Anyway. I was in the process of getting ordained. And the MOMENT happened at the end of one of the days of teaching and training. (right away, I can tell you’re wondering what goes on at a day of ordination training…. Running, pushups, sleep deprivation, training in baby dedications, worship wars, sword drills both the bible kind and actual sword training in how do deal with crazy Christians because truth be told, and you wont hear this from too many pastors that are ‘employed’, but some of you Christians are just plain weird…. and creepy)
Sorry, I keep getting side tracked. At the end of the day, all the people getting ordained came up to the front altar at the church and the pastors and district officials who were there came up and prayed for us. And as clearly as I’ve ever sensed God speaking to me, He spoke to me then:
“There are new things on the horizon”
“There are big things in store”
So I was overcome with emotion and faith and uncertainty. What did this mean? Was I going to wake up the next morning to a phone call from Regis and Kelly? Did I need to quit my job? But I like my job! It is a great job at a great church and it… you know…. pays us so we can buy stuff like…. you know…. food and clothing for our kids.
Later that night, I shared with Kristie what I had experienced. She smirked and then she began to share what God had been speaking to her. Yup. Same thing.
Soon after that, I shared with Pastor Rob what God was speaking to us. That we believed that God was preparing for us something “new”. We didn’t know what that meant exactly. Pastor Rob was very supportive and at the time we both agreed that it didn’t seem like it was time for me to leave River Valley Church.
In the time since then, we’ve held on to this promise from God that there was something on the horizon for us. This was also confirmed several times from people we respect and are close to as well as people that we haven’t heard from in years. Each time, the conversation would start with them saying something like “This may sound strange to you, and I’m not exactly sure what it all means, but God put you on my heart….” And then they would share what God put on their hearts regarding Kristie and I. And time after time it was a confirmation of what God had been speaking to us.
And in the months since, the confirmations have continued and God has been putting new dreams in our heart. Dreams involving a number of things. Dreams of Kristie and I writing books and Bible Studies, travelling, speaking, teaching at retreats, conferences and churches. Writing music and recording albums. Helping churches with creative content and resources. All sorts of things. And although I see potential for that with me, I see great potential for that with Kristie. I see huge things in store for her. She truly is exceptional.
But it all kept coming back to the practical nature of life. I had a job. I knew how to do it fairly well. I had a family. I was getting paid every two weeks and things had settled nicely into a routine. Dad’s throughout history have gone to work and come home at the end of the day as their way to provide for their family.
And It also seemed a bit naïve to think that we’re going to step out into ministry outside of our church and think that there would be piles of money appearing on our front doorstep on the 1st and 15th of every month.
But when you are a disciple of Jesus, the practical, comfortable and routine are not at the top of the priority list. There is the element of faith. Faith isn’t one of the ingredients to a Christian walk, it’s the entire recipe. So through all of this, we opened ourselves up to God. We allowed those dreams to take root in us. And as God does, he continued working on our hearts. Which led us to September of this year when we felt like God was saying that the time had come to leap. It was time to leave our position at River Valley and step through the doors that God was about to open. “About to open????” I said. “How bout YOU open the door first…. Then we’ll be happy to go there”. But it doesn’t work that way all the time. Faith is belief with all your heart in something that you can’t see yet.
So this all led to the conversation with Pastor Rob. And as we’ve been all along, we were in agreement that this felt like God was at work. Which led us to the announcement this weekend and thus here today.
It has been a surreal couple of months. And it was a surreal week. Before the news became public, I was completely at peace with everything. But there was something about everyone hearing the news and having to explain to everyone that led to the doubting “voices” to creep in.
“What the heck are you thinking?”
(actually heck wasn’t the word. Sometimes my doubting voices use questionable language. I’m cleaning it up a bit for you sensitive types)
I’ve ridden a bit of a wave this weekend, from pillar of faith, to a puddle of tears and everything in between. But we know this is the right move. We know God is at work, and as he does with His followers, He’s asking for our devotion, and our trust. He’s a big God. He’s got this. I know it.
I also know that there will most likely be another step for me. Teaching, Pastoring, something. Who knows, you could be hearing from God what that next step for me is. And if you are hearing from God, give me a call.
It’s quite funny today. Because every time the phone rings, or the email dinger dings, I think “Here it is… here’s the ‘door’, here’s the big opportunity”. So far today I’ve been quite disappointed. Emails were from Expedia Travel Deals and the latest Groupon. The phone call from the number I didn’t recognize was just the Pioneer Press with their holiday season sale…. Wednesday thru Sunday newspapers for a couple bucks a week. “What?? The Pioneer Press??!!… No… I don’t want the newspaper… I’m waiting to hear from GOD!” Then I wonder if my next step is to work at the pioneer press…. There has to be a big future for news print, and I should get IN before it blows UP.
Anyway, I think that about sums it up. We are chasing after the dreams God has put before us. We are taking the steps (and leaps) that He has asked of us. We are not certain what it all means for us. But we are eager and truth be told, a bit anxious about the next season of life for us.
But we are full of faith.
So in the future you may all say “Wow I knew them before they were superstars”. OR you may say “Wow, I knew them before they went nuts”
But life is short. God is big. Why not go ‘nuts’?