What am I doing? Oh yeah, walking with Jesus!

We are back on the mainland soil (and for those of you in Africa, Hawaii is a state). I woke up this morning much earlier than I thought I would and was reminded it my Savior wooing me to spend time with Him. Such a sweet time it was this morning, thanking Him for being gracious to us on the flights, the car ride, through our first full day in Memphis and through reminding me that coming back was not a mistake. There have been a few moments when I thought "what am I doing, leaving this place? who is going to lead our group?". Then I realized Jesus is our leader, my job was to be connected to Him and lead others to do the same. Our time in Hawaii has changed us. I would like to share a few things that I learned from our time there and also what's next for our family.

1. My (and all of ours) primary calling is to be intimate with Jesus! I can tell you how wrong I have lived this truth out in the past. I believe that part of God taking us to Hawaii was to break the prideful way I was doing ministry. Many times I would boast on the Lord when I did not even consult with Him about activities, events and happenings in the last few years of ministry. Like one of the churches in Revelation, I had forgotten my first love. I had forgotten that this whole life is about Christ living His life through me. God used our time to get me alone, crush me and put me back together with Him being the bonding agent I need to live life. I found myself wanting people to know Christ in new and fresh ways. I found myself more excited when I got to point people to intimacy with Jesus. I began to see people become free from self inflicted bondage as they attempted "to do things for Jesus". This has become my secondary calling, to help people KNOW God and allow His life to be lived through them!

2. Ministry is not about what I can do but what Christ can do - I don't know how many times I would become prideful about what I was doing for Jesus. In fact, I would get a little indignant with people not sacrificing their comfort to share Christ. I started to think of myself as knowing God more than others since I said Yes to God. But God crushed this also. He showed me that He uses people how He has wired them. That this life is not about what ministry you are part of, but what things God brings us to while we walk with Him. I found great satisfaction in the realization that not everyone is going to be passionate about the things I was passionate about. Some people will fight for the orphan, some for the starving, some for the unreached. All of these things are Gospel centered and all can become idols that we worship instead of Jesus. Ministry is truly the OVERFLOW of intimacy with Christ. As I am intimate with Jesus, He works through me to accomplish what He sets to accomplish.

3. Christianity is NOT a destination but an intimate Journey with God! I know many of us say this or think we know it, but I lived it so wrongly. I found myself longing for heaven as if that was what I am created for. I found my focus more on my troubles than on the one that walks me through those troubles. We are not saved (from sin and the eternal wrath that is poured out toward our sin) for heaven but for Jesus. We are put back together with Him through His death on the cross, His resurrection and our faith in Him (understand that the last part is given to us by Him). From the point I am in an intimate relationship with God to the point of death from this earth, my life is about walking with Him. He has a will for my life and He will accomplish His will for my life. Throughout the journey He will nurture me, protect me, fight for me, live through me, correct me, crush me, break me, mold me, destroy me and put me back together. It is about abiding in Him and His life being lived through me. What freedom comes when my focus is my relationship with Christ and not where we are going. Sometimes I get impatient like my kids in the van on a long ride. But when I turn back my focus on Him and not the road, I find myself changing and growing. I find rest and peace in the hardest of times. We can trust Him because He has never failed nor will leave us!

4. People, whether followers of Christ or not, all need the Gospel - The Gospel is not only for those far from Christ, it is the very thing God uses to grow His kids! When we think we don't need the Gospel is the moment we walk in our flesh and religiously live. The Gospel tells me of the change that Christ brought and what that new life looks. The Gospel is not only to show people how to know God but to show His followers how His life looks lived through them. The Gospel reminds me that I am not capable of keeping the Law but He is. It reminds me that He is the VINE and I am a branch and that life comes from the VINE and my job is to bear much fruit, not produce fruit. It is Christ that we need and Christ that will forever satisfy. We were made for Jesus!

5. Pastor is a job title and not who I am - I am God's kid, that's who I am and that will never change. As of a week and a half ago, I am no longer in a pastoral position. I have had this title for the last 14 years and have had the honor of leading some really awesome people (you know who you are). But not today! Today I am part of the church like any lay person who loves Jesus and desires to see Him glorified. That could change, but I am also preparing my heart to lead people to Jesus not in the position of pastor. Maybe God will keep me in secular work (nothing wrong with that) or maybe He will put me in the position to lead others on staff at another church. Whatever He does is the best for me and I am excited to see what He has. 

Well, that's enough for now, so let me tell you what we have planned for the next few years.

(cricket, cricket!)

That's right, nothing. I don't know where or what God is going to do with us. We are heading to Lebanon, Ohio next week and will spend some time there as we attempt to transition into our house, purchase a van and other items we need and then look for a job. Hopefully we have 2 months or so saved up that will allow me to transition my family back into Lebanon and Urbancrest. Then I will see where God directs my feet and leads our family to be. The reality is we could be in Lebanon for 2 months or 20 years. That's something I need not to worry about since God holds the keys to my future and He has a plan for our lives. 

So we are really excited to see many of you in the next few months. However, we are really missing those we have done life with the last year. Please pray for those who are seeking God in Hawaii and for those that we desire to know God. Pray for our dear friends (not in any order): the Takaguchi's, Vierra's, Molitor's, Caldwell's, Hazelwood's, Robinson's, Ashley Bell, Devin Bae, the staff at HPBC, the crew at Starbucks (Farbucks Kapolei), Eliff's, Shiroma's, Davis', the crew at The Surfboard Factory, and the many others we prayed with or shared with. Pray for Aloha Community Church as they begin to merge our group and continue to be one GREAT church! Thanks for praying for us and for walking with us through these past two years. It has been a great part of our journey!

Comments

  1. Replies
    1. Mahalo from Campus Light for Christ.
      Your passion will bear much fruit in Hawaii and beyond.

      Delete
  2. Welcome home and may God be the glory!!

    ReplyDelete

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