The timing of Proverbs 3:1-10 in my life amazes me. May loyal love and truth not forsake you; bind them around your neck, write them upon your heart! Trust the Lord with all your heart; do not lean toward your own understanding!. Do not be wise in your own eyes; FEAR THE LORD... In ALL YOUR WAYS ACKNOWLEDGE HIM, AND HE WILL STRAIGHTEN OUT YOUR PATH! Every verse here resonates with me and where I am at, right now, in my walk with the Lord.
The reason these really hit home for me right now has a lot to do with the fact that recently my wife and I joined another church after feeling God calling us from the church-home we had known for seven years. My wife started feeling the Lord’s nudging in the summer of 2019. By August 2019, she believed the Lord was calling us to go. However, she followed my lead and chose to submit to whatever I felt God was placing on my heart, as the spiritual leader of our household. But, if I can be humbly honest: I really had no idea what God wanted in that situation. I wanted a neon sign that said: Thou Shall Do THIS… and I was not getting that.
Where we were was very comfortable. I had ministry there. I was on the Worship Team. I had an assortment of friends. I had really close friends there who were (and are) more like family than friends. I served at Celebrate Recovery, I served on the Weekend Worship Experience. My wife and I both got to serve on the security team there for Student Ministry and I even got to play percussion for the students with their worship team on occasion. I got baptized at a local lake in that church by my wife! We had dedicated our kid being raised in the Lord there. We even experienced a time of my being distant from the church, not attending, consumed with proving myself in the work field, drinking, partying, and avoiding those who loved us in Christ.
That season of my life inspired blog posts like Post Prodigal; and that season also took me further than I ever intended to go and kept me longer than I ever intended to be kept. However, God was merciful. He woke me up and brought me back to where I needed to be. We were able to get back to attending church, receive restoration and we were able to share our updated testimony there at Celebrate Recovery, as well as be interviewed at the Night of Worship and Stories where we laid out what had taken place and what God had done in getting us to where we were now!
For me, I was chasing after the call of ministry that I felt God placed on my heart in becoming a pastor, I had started back to school as a full-time student and was on fire for the Lord! As I went through each class at the Bible College I’m attending, I started getting in this place where all I wanted to talk about is God. There was so much I had hope in and hope for because I was truly starting to understand God’s Word, I was digging deeper into what the Scripture said and I finally had a clue how to approach the Bible!
My wife had her stance on what she thought we should do in our situation; but, I did not feel God had released us from where we were at! God had BIG plans!! I started praying and fasting in September. I kept on praying and fasting through October into November. We started throwing some names of churches around. Talked about possibly going to this one or that one. We checked things out, did some church previewing, and decided to do some visiting. On the spur of the moment we decided to visit New Passion about twenty minutes before it started one Sunday; and then we decided to go back to hear what the senior pastor had to say. In the process, we still went to and served at our home church by essentially doing two services on one day Sunday.
Yet, there was something about New Passion, though. The Worship was great. Coming in with a worship team background, I could suspend being a musician and just worship which is not always easy for musicians to do. It was nice to just sing and get lost in the worship of our Lord! Then Pastor Nick started preaching, teaching—it’s kind of a mixture of both; and I all I could say to God was, “Ok, Lord, I hear You.”
We held off on making a public choice and decided to wait until after Thanksgiving to make anything official. I prayed and essentially left it to God, if we were to stay, show me. If we were to go, let the path be unobstructed. After we got back from our Thanksgiving holiday, I knew what we had to do; and just a couple weeks ago we became owners at New Passion!
It has been an amazing transition. When we were going through the Owner’s Meeting, (the thought being: Members have privileges, Owners have responsibilities—so true!), I was struck by all that New Passion does. How they give to prison ministries; Nick’s heart for recovery and overcoming addictions; and their heart for being People of the Second Chance! There is just so much there that lines up with what God has put on our hearts as believers and as a couple! It has been both refreshing and renewing to be able to sit and soak within that congregation!
However, sometimes doing what God requires of us is uncomfortable. Sometimes it even goes against what you yourself want or have in mind. Yet, we are not to lean on our own understanding. We are told to fear the Lord. To lean on His Wisdom and to acknowledge Him in all our ways. Sometimes this means stepping out of our comfort zone and leaving what we know to become who God desires us to be. It’s not the same for all of us, either. None of us know what God’s plan is in its precise detail. To be honest, even in my walk, I have shared this with pastors, as well as college professors—I have no idea what God’s exact plan is for me! I believe I am called to ministry; I have had instances where it has seemed like lead pastor is what I am to do, and then there have been instances where leading a ministry as a pastor has rang true, too. God knows His plan. All we can do is be obedient and accept what He lays on us, even if it means stepping out of our comfort zones. Some of us have clearer paths, too. He reveals it all in His own timing but the key is being obedient and following Him!!
What about you? Where are you leaning on your own understanding? Where are you gauging what you are doing, or even what you should think about a situation, person or decision, based on your limited view in light of God’s truth? How might you NOT be fearing the Lord and instead are succumbing to the desire to be accepted by the crowd; or needing those around you to like you, rather than God liking who and where you are, right now, in your walk with Christ?
Until Next Time,